Wednesday, 20 July 2022
The LMICK Minute - Issue #23
News & Updates
New KBA Ethics Opinion Addresses when a Potential Client becomes a Prospective Client
Many of you attended our session at the Kentucky Bar Association’s Annual Convention exploring when an attorney-client relationship begins. We advised of a forthcoming ethics opinion that would shed more light on the subject and promised to share it when it became available. The KBA Ethics Committee has now published its most recent opinion which focuses on when a potential client becomes a prospective client. We have a short summary of the Opinion on our website but encourage everyone to read the opinion in its entirety in the July Bench and Bar Magazine. Then, check out our On-Demand CLE library later this summer for our updated CLE, Wait, What Do You Mean She is My Client? When Casual Conversations Create an Attorney-Client Relationship.
US Supreme Court Decision Allows States to Seek Reimbursement from Both Past and Future Medical Care
On June 6, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Gallardo v. Marstiller, finding that states could seek reimbursement from settlement payments for future medical care, not just past medical care. Lawyers practicing personal injury law need to review the case and understand the potential implications on settlements going forward.
IRS releases updated guidebook for attorney audits
In 2022, the IRS released an updated guidebook for examiners when auditing attorneys. This guidebook provides insight on what examiners will look for when auditing a lawyer/law firm. Review the guidebook with your accountant to ensure you are keeping all of the appropriate records and keep an eye out for additional information from LMICK on this topic in the coming weeks.
Practical Tips in Cybersecurity Series #1: Cyber Insurance Primer
After participating in the Cybersecurity Panel at the Kentucky Bar Association Annual Convention, many of you reached out asking for more practical tips. We heard you and are excited to begin this new series where we will explore practical steps you can take to further secure your practice against cyber threats.
Our first installment is a Cybersecurity Primer from the cyber resource center available to LMICK Insureds. This primer provides a general overview and introduction of cyber security and prevention techniques for professionals that do not have an IT background. Future installments will explore specific preventative steps you can take to protect your practice.
Ethical Tips for Blogging (and other social media and online content)
When done well, lawyers can cultivate business through their online presence. The business model and platform of choice can dictate what type of content is created and shared. For example, LinkedIn is a great way to connect with other professionals (who could be your next referral source) by creating and/or sharing content about legal trends or workplace culture. On the other hand, Facebook or Instagram is a great platform for more lighthearted content, such as legal memes or feel-good legal stories.
However, lawyers must keep in mind their ethical obligations when utilizing social media. This includes following the same rules for advertising and soliciting as they would on a traditional webpage and steering clear of providing any specific feedback that could be construed as legal advice. Lawyers should also explore implementing automatic replies to direct messages informing the sender that you are not their attorney, but you would be happy to schedule an appointment to discuss their issue if they call/email your office.
Here are some quick ethics tips from Zach Wolfe at Five Minute Law to get you started. Then follow Lawyers Mutual of Kentucky on LinkedIn for more social media tips!
Lessons from Girardi Keese Lawsuits
Tom Girardi’s firm handled the successful legal battle against Pacific Gas & Electric in the case that inspired the movie, Erin Brockovich. Over twenty years later, the firm—Girardi Keese—has now closed and is facing numerous lawsuits from creditors, former clients, and Chicago law firm Edelson P.C.
Edelson is a plaintiff’s firm that acted as local counsel for Girardi Keese in plane crash cases. Edelson is now seeking its share of the attorney fees it claims it is owed under a fee sharing agreement. Meanwhile, Girardi Keese denies Edelson is owed any fees as the client did not provide written consent to the fee sharing at the start of the representation as required under California rules. This case is a good reminder of the complications in fee sharing arrangements, particularly when the fee sharing crosses jurisdictions and professional responsibility requirements differ. Hinshaw Law provides a good overview of these issues in their June/July 2022 Newsletter. If you participate in fee sharing arrangements, the Hinshaw Law article is a must read.
Girardi is also facing numerous lawsuits related to mismanagement of client funds. A Los Angeles Times investigation explored allegations of skimming of client funds to pay for expensive trips and meals for former bar officials. Girardi has now been disbarred from practice in California. He is currently under a conservatorship due to short-term memory loss and Alzheimer’s as the legal battles continue.
Check out www.lmick.com for more resources on fee sharing and handling fee disputes.
Beware of Burnout
Are you on the road to burnout? A recent study showed burnout is an especially serious issue for attorneys, leading to physical and mental health problems. You may be heading to burnout if:
- every day is a bad day
- caring about your work or home life seems like a waste of energy
- you are exhausted all of the time
- the majority of your day is spent on tasks you find either mind-numbingly dull or overwhelming.
Check out this Burnout Prevention and Treatment guide from HelpGuide to learn the signs and symptoms of burnout and tips for reversing and recovering.
Need a Break? A Day Trip Can Be a Perfect Recharge
Can you believe it is already late-July? Make sure the summer does not fly by without taking a little time to recharge. Check out the Kentucky Tourism’s Day Trips page for inspiration for your day to disconnect from work and the hustle and bustle.
KBA Young Lawyers Division Legal Aid University, Part 2 Webinar
Free Ethics CLE: Tuesday, August 30th at 1:00 p.m. EST: Effective Supervision: How to Meet Your Ethical Duties and Support Your Team
Our next quarterly CLE is for everyone in your firm: partners, associates, and nonlawyer staff! Join LMICK’s own Courtney Risk as she explores how attorneys can meet one’s ethical duties as well as the team’s needs for professional growth and support through effective supervision. This event is pending approval for 1.0 hour of CLE Ethics credit in Kentucky. Click here to register, today!
Kentucky Law Update Registration is Now Open
The 2022 Kentucky Law Update program will include one day of live, in-person training in each location as well as an on-demand component. Registration is now available!
We look forward to seeing you!
LMICK is proud to support the organizations that support you and your work! We will be out and about this summer, leading CLEs and tabling events. We hope you can join us at one of these currently scheduled events (and make sure to come say hello)!
|July 25-26||University of Kentucky Estate Planning Institute|
|August 15:||Kentucky Electric Cooperatives CLE|
|August 19:||Hopkins County Bar Association CLE|
Attending one or more of these events will help you reach your goal of 20 CLE credits which could earn you a credit on your next LMICK premium!
Need a CLE Speaker? Click here to schedule an ethics CLE for your event!