Friday, November 06, 2009

Wait, What?

Q: You are the sole partner in your law firm. You are in the process of closing a deal -- the only deal of the year, in fact -- for a new client. You feel your paralegal, who is a single parent, who has worked tirelessly on the deal, and who has contributed far more than the associates, is worthy of a bonus. So, you structure the fees for the deal to shift $200 of the fees from yourself to the paralegal. Your decision could subject you to discipline because:
(a) your decision is likely to betray your new client's expectations.
(b) your decision is likely to piss off at least one of the associates.
(c) your decision is not in the best interest of your firm.
(d) your decision is categorically unethical.
Welcome to the crazy logic of the MPRE. Open thread for tomorrow's test.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why "structure the fees for the deal to shift $200 of the fees from yourself to the paralegal" when you can just give her a $200 bonus for being a good paralegal? It only becomes categorically unethical when you jump through hoops to restructure fees... something that is unnecessary (unless you are trying to get away with something nefarious, I guess...)

11/06/2009 4:55 PM  
Blogger JohnSteele said...

Hey, everyone. John Steele here. Patrick's post puts the spotlight on the insanity of certain parts of the ethics rules.

But my professional advice -- and I formally and firmly disclaim any ACR with readers of this comment! -- is to ignore this post and all the comments until after the MPRE tomorrow. (Don't take it personally, Patrick! I agree with the implied criticism in your post.)

On Sunday, if you all still care about the topic, we can return to the wisdom vel non of the rules, the practical wisdom of the comment by 4:55 pm, and any other nooks and crannies of the rules you want to discuss. (Please feel free to shoot me an email about what you'd include in my MPRE prep lecture next year.)

Arrive a little early, bring some No. 2 pencils, and enjoy the test.

11/06/2009 7:10 PM  
Anonymous William said...

For those Boalters who may be taking the MPRE in the future... definitely go to John Steele's talk! It is REALLY helpful.

11/06/2009 8:10 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Agree with William. I listened to the recording of the talk at home today — was like this guy was in my apartment.

11/06/2009 8:14 PM  
Anonymous Vanessa said...

Don't forget that you need a passport-sized photo! That almost hosed me last year....

11/06/2009 8:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i <3 john steele

11/06/2009 10:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just took it, might be taking it again in Feb. John - lots of atty/client conflict questions, lots of fee agreement questions, I think three judicial ethics questions. One or two scope of representation questions.

11/07/2009 11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Prof Steele- On my version...lots of (detailed) questions on compensation structure , financial assistance to/from clients; not as many as on confidentiality, conflicts, or judicial ethics. Can't wait to spend another Saturday in Alameda.

11/07/2009 5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On an ethics-related note, will someone summarize the potential causes of action against Don Draper and company after what they did in the final episode of Mad Men tonight? Meinhard v. Salmon, anyone?

11/08/2009 11:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it blew...

11/11/2009 1:28 AM  

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