Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Opinions & Decisions: Lawyers on Groupon? Third Party Lawsuit Funding? When Does Client Engagement End?

 
  • Attorney Representation Concludes When Client No Longer Has Reasonable Expectation of Representation -- "The Washington Court of Appeals held that an attorney’s representation of a client regarding a specific matter concludes, for purposes of the statute of limitations, when the client has no reasonable expectation of representation or further legal services for the matter...a lawyer who is alleged to have unilaterally abandoned representation without the client’s knowledge may still be 'representing' the client during that time. Representation on a matter only will conclude when a client 'actually has or reasonably should have no expectation that the attorney will provide further legal services.'" Hipple v. McFadden, et al., ___ P.3d ___, 2011 WL 1653194 (Wash. App. April 28, 2011)
  • The City Bar of New York has opined: "It is not unethical per se for a lawyer to represent a client who enters into a non-recourse litigation financing arrangement with a third party lender."
    • "Non-recourse litigation financing is repaid to third party lenders by a litigant only in the event he or she settles the case or is awarded a judgment upon its completion. The reimbursement is drawn from the proceeds of the lawsuit. As the Opinion notes, 'from the legal ethics perspective, perhaps the greatest concern stems from a financing company’s involvement in the details of a claimant’s case.'"
    • As the Wall Street Journal notes: "Banks, hedge funds, and other firms are investing millions into others’ suits in the hopes of getting a sizable return if the borrowers score a favorable settlement or verdict."
    • See additional background, interview and commentary via: New York Law Journal.
  • South Carolina Bar Says "Groupon" Okay for Lawyers -- "Lawyer would like to use 'daily deal' websites that offer products and services at discounted rates to market her legal services...While the use of 'daily deal' websites may not be prohibited by Rule 5.4(a), the Committee is concerned with the effect the use of such websites may have on the reputation of the legal profession if the attorney does not ensure compliance with the Rules of Professional Conduct concerning advertisements. For this reason, the lawyer is cautioned that the use of 'daily deal' websites must be in compliance with Rules 7.1 and 7.2."

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