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Do's and Don'ts of Establishing an Attorney-Client Relationship: Engagement Agreements and Disengagement Letters

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Do's and Don'ts of Establishing an Attorney-Client Relationship: Engagement Agreements and Disengagement Letters

You’ve identified a great client, but now you need make sure that you’re properly establishing that attorney-client relationship. You’ve withdrawn from a case, but now you need to make sure the client understands that your representation has ended. As with any relationship, knowing how to establish the parameters of an attorney-client relationship, and how to successfully terminate that relationship, is key. Participants in this course will gain an understanding of the importance of successfully establishing an attorney-client relationship, and how to address the end of that relationship.

Transcript

- Welcome to The Do's and Don'ts of Establishing an Attorney-Client Relationship, Engagement Agreements and Disengagement Letters. I'm Roya Samaghandi, a solo practitioner based in Chicago, Illinois. My practice focuses on all aspects of family law, from divorce and custody to adoptions and administrative appeals within the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. I am also a court-appointed child representative and guardian ad litem. In addition, I represent criminal defendants and parties to orders of protection and no contact orders. When I launched my firm in 2015, I began using an engagement agreement that had been shared with me by a colleague. I admit I didn't tweak it much. I changed the name, I changed the logo, and voila. However, since that time, I've continuously revised that engagement agreement to reflect not just my practice areas, but also the type of practice that I want to run. I have had many iterations along the way, but, truthfully, the bones of the agreement have remained the same. This course is intended to help you properly establish an attorney-client relationship from the get-go through the use of a written engagement agreement. We will identify why it's important to have a written engagement agreement and discuss some of the key components and provisions that should be included in that agreement. We will also discuss the ethical obligations that accompany the attorney-client relationship specific to the written engagement agreement. And finally, we will identify best practices in the termination of the attorney-client relationship, as well as how to deal with those potential clients with whom you've decided not to engage. Let's take a moment to consider why it is so important to have a written engagement agreement. Above and beyond anything else, it solidifies the attorney-client relationship. Keep in mind that generally from a malpractice standpoint, if there is a dispute between you and a client about the scope of your relationship or even if that attorney-client relationship exists, it's oftentimes the interpretation of the client that will govern unless you can show otherwise. Accordingly, identifying when the relationship starts, and, as we will discuss later on, when it ends is crucial. You should also be aware that many jurisdictions actually require your engagement letter to be in writing. As always, you should consult with your own local rules and regulations to determine whether the written engagement agreement is required, but regardless, I'm here to tell you it is absolutely best practice. It will help to ensure from a generalist perspective compliance with the ABA Model Rules and likely your local rules. But this may not be a one-size-fits-all solution. Depending on your practice areas, you may find that some cases necessitate additional or maybe even different provisions. In my practice areas, for example, I have different engagement agreements for my criminal cases versus my family law cases. This is in part necessitated by statute. Pursuant to statute in Illinois, all of my domestic relations engagement agreements are required to include what's called a "Statement of Clients' Rights and Responsibilities." This is essentially a one and a half page additional addendum that I include on each and every family law case that I take on. I also want to encourage you from the outset to constantly refine your engagement agreement. If you have a problem client or a problem case, take the time to think about what parameters or expectations you could have established with that client at the outset of the attorney-client relationship, and try to capture those parameters or expectations within your engagement agreement. One additional tip that I'll put out there for you is that each time I have occasion to see another firm or attorney's engagement agreement or letter, whether this be in the context of a fee petition or a discovery response, I like to review it for my own purposes and see what types of provisions that they've included that I think are practical and useful. As we move through the elements of the engagement agreement in a moment, one of those elements that I'll share with you is actually something I stole from another attorney, and I hope you'll see why it's useful. Turning now to the elements of the engagement agreement. First and foremost, you should use plain language. Engagement agreements don't have to be these formal esoteric documents. I see so many engagement agreements that are written in very verbose legalese, and truthfully, it's hard to believe that clients are fully providing informed consent when they can't understand the language of the agreement itself. Write your engagement agreements in a manner that anyone can understand. It's helpful to ask a non-lawyer friend, colleague, or family member to review your template and identify areas where you can provide even more clarity. Keep it simple. In this same vein, consider whether or not you're routinely working with non-English speaking clients. Even if you have one client who's not proficient in English, I encourage you to have your engagement agreement translated into the client's native language so that you can be sure that the client truly understands the terms of the agreement. I imagine that this could be particularly useful in the immigration field, for instance, where undoubtedly you are constantly encountering clients who speak English as a second, third, or maybe even fourth language. Now, this is not a job for Google Translate. Put forth the time and the effort to engage a proper translation service to ensure that your engagement agreement is properly translated. Let's turn now to consider some specific provisions that should be included in your written engagement agreement. The first is simply to identify the client. Now, I know this may seem kind of silly or redundant, but trust me, it's important to actually specify who the client is and, by extension, to whom your ethical obligations apply. Regardless of practice area, I know we are all constantly bombarded by interested third parties, moms, new spouses, siblings. They may be actively engaged in your client's case, but they are not your client. It is your client to whom you owe the duty of confidentiality and privilege. For my criminal cases, for example, especially where my client is incarcerated, I may identify a particular individual within the engagement agreement with whom I will communicate as authorized by my client. I will communicate with that person directly about things like court dates and the like. But that does not mean that my obligations of confidentiality and privilege extend to that person. I will only communicate with that third party what is in the public record or what my client has expressly authorized me to share. Next, you want to define specifically the matter and the scope of your engagement. As was discussed in the limited scope in an unbundling course, there are times when you must limit the scope of your work to make sure the client is giving informed consent for the limitation in and of itself. However, even in cases where you intend to provide what is generally understood to be, quote unquote, full scope, it's best practice to be conscientious in defining the scope rather than providing something that is overly broad. This also helps to limit your risk in ensuring that you're not unintentionally incorporating legal services beyond what you and the client initially agreed upon. Consider a few examples. Perhaps your matter is appealed. Will that appeal itself fall within your original engagement? From a client's perspective, it's the same parties, the same issue. It's an extension of the same matter, and thereby it might be interpreted to be covered by your engagement agreement. What about something as simple as drafting a deed? Is recording the deed within the scope of representation? Are you merely just drafting and the client will be responsible for recording that deed? If I'm drafting an engagement agreement for an existing matter, I will define the matter as a proper term within the engagement agreement by identifying the parties, the case number, and the jurisdictional district in which the case is already pending. If it's a case I intend to initiate, I will still specify where I'm going to file and who the parties to that case will be. Next, I encourage you to include a right to renegotiate clause. When we evaluate each new case, we're considering the known knowns, the known unknowns, and the unknown unknowns at the start of each and every engagement. In most cases, you're going to know several things at the outset, who the adverse party or parties are, in which court the case may be pending. You may even know who your opposing counsel is. However, there are always going to be other factors that you may not anticipate. You should write your engagement agreements so if the unknowns change the dynamics of the representation, you have the right to modify the agreement so that you are adequately compensated and adequately protected from a liability standpoint. If a client comes to me saying that their matter is entirely uncontested, the adverse party is in complete agreement to move forward, they've agreed upon all specifics of the settlement, I'm going to include that assumption in the engagement agreement. That's also going to be captured in my right to renegotiate. Because, frankly, in the more than likely event that that turns out not to be the case, I want the opportunity to reevaluate and renegotiate the agreement if and to the extent necessary. Perhaps I priced the matter on the assumption that it was uncontested, and that's no longer the case. I want the ability to go back and adjust based on the changing factors. Perhaps a client retained you to handle a simple criminal case, which has quickly spiraled because of violations of bond, necessitating longer and additional litigation. In this case, the unknown, the client's non-compliance with the conditions of their bond, could necessitate a renegotiation of fees or frankly, maybe even a withdrawal. In that same vein, you want to capture a provision that puts the client on notice with regard to amendments or modifications to the agreement. Any changes to the written engagement agreement must be memorialized in writing and agreed upon by you and the client. This extends to anything from changes to the scope of representation or changes to the fee or fee structure. And speaking about fees, pricing obligations and payment terms should also be captured in your written engagement agreement. Fee issues are some of the most common sources of malpractice complaints and disciplinary actions against attorneys. So making sure that you have clear terms of payment outlined in your engagement agreement can significantly mitigate your exposure. I want to pause here and take a moment to consider ABA Model Rule 1.5. Your jurisdiction may have a similar rule. Now, I encourage you, when drafting your payment provision in your engagement agreement, to consider the language of ABA Model Rule 1.5, meaning that fees must always be reasonable. Reasonableness is determined by a variety of factors including but not limited to an attorney's experience, the novelty of the issue, whether such fees are customary for that field, et cetera. But keep in mind, even if a client provides their consent, a court may not agree that your fees are, in fact, reasonable. So stave off some of these arguments and some of this litigation by considering the reasonableness of your fees at the outset. Your engagement agreement should be clear in setting forth the terms of payment. Is this an hourly engagement? Or maybe you're charging a contingency fee. Perhaps you're charging a mere flat fee for the entire engagement, or a subscription or recurring fee model. You also want to outline whether or not your fees are deemed earned upon receipt or whether they're going to be held in trust. Again, consult your local ethics rules to determine what obligations you have with regard to client funds and payments. Additionally, if you're charging interest on past-due sum or costs for collections, this should also be included in your engagement agreement. What is the rate of interest, and when does it go into effect? Outline that for clients so that they're on notice, so that in the event you do begin charging interest on past-due sums, you can merely point to that provision and identify it for the client should they raise an issue. Furthermore, I encourage you to advise clients at the outset in the engagement agreement that there will be additional costs and expenses that they may be responsible for in addition to your legal fees. This could be court costs and fees, transcription costs, travel expenses. To the extent that you can anticipate what these expenses are going to be, include them explicitly. I, for instance, know what each client is going to be charged upon our filing of their appearance. So I can spell that out with specificity literally to the penny in the engagement agreement. The next provision that I encourage you to include in your written engagement agreement is with regard to communication preferences. According to a study conducted between 2008 and 2011 by the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Lawyers' Professional Liability, approximately 16% of legal malpractice claims emanated from poor communication by the attorney. Think about your specific practice areas. Perhaps a client's case is only up in court every 45 to 60 days. Or maybe it's an immigration case where you could be waiting months if not years for an application to be reviewed. Regardless, a client may be expecting to hear from you weekly or monthly, but that may not just be reasonable given the nature of the case. So outline for them in the engagement agreement what is reasonable. For me, I fall within the category of cases are generally going to be up every 30 to 45 days. I put clients on notice that I will update them via email after each and every court date. I do this personally with a templatized email in which I detail what transpired in court, when the next court date is, what needs to be completed beforehand, and I also attach a copy of the court order for the client's records. Additionally, be explicit in outlining how you prefer to communicate with the client. This could be by phone, by email, by scheduled in-person meetings, or perhaps you have an open-door policy and you welcome clients popping in at any time. I don't know many attorneys that do, but perhaps you're one. For me, I tell clients during an initial consultation that I run a volume practice. I also spend most mornings in court. With that said, email is generally the most efficient way to reach out to me. Similarly, you may also want to put the client on notice if multiple attorneys or other staff members are going to be working on their file. Providing clients notice of this upfront will help prevent the client from feeling like they've come to your practice specifically for you, but have been passed along to someone else. In that same vein, to the extent that there are different fees that apply to different professionals within your practice, you want to make sure that that's also outlined in your fee section above. Another provision that's important to include in your written engagement agreement is the explicit expectations of the client. Generally, this will include promptly responding to requests for information or documentation, compliance with payment obligations, keeping your office up to date with regard to changes in basic contact information and the like. I have also seen attorneys incorporate what they've called client codes of conduct. This includes similar expectations of the client, but also goes above and beyond. It may include provisions like you'll be courteous to my staff, things of that nature. Based on your practice and your practice areas, a client code of conduct may be appropriate. I also include and encourage you to include a provision with regard to the client's expectations of you as an attorney. Above and beyond anything else, the client can expect you to reasonably and frequently communicate with them. As we know, clients always have a right to be kept reasonably informed of the status of their case. So being proactive and advising clients as to how and how often you'll be in touch with them will diminish the frequency of those calls and emails asking you what's going on in the proceeding. In that same vein though is the issue of prior attorneys. This provision specifically about prior attorneys is the one I mentioned at the outset with regard to maybe stealing it from another attorney's office, but I thought it was really wise and captured a really important point, particularly when it comes to liability. Clients need to understand and agree that you cannot be held liable for the mistakes or the negligence of any prior attorneys that had worked on their case. Again, I include a specific provision in my engagement agreement to address this very issue. Because I want the client to be put on notice that there may be things that can't be undone, and there is an agreement by the client not to hold me liable for that reality to the extent that it was the result of the action or inaction of prior counsel. I also encourage you to outline explicitly in your engagement agreement withdrawal triggers. This may be failure to timely pay as set forth in the engagement agreement, failure to regularly communicate, or failure to abide by legal advice. Furthermore, the client is also on notice that they can terminate your representation at any time for any reason. Next, you'll want to address conflicts of interest. Now this may be one of those provisions that you don't need to include in each and every engagement agreement, but where it's applicable, you absolutely need to address it. Where you believe that a potential conflict of interest could exist and it is a conflict of interest that can be waived, because keep in mind, there are conflicts that can never be waived. But if it is a waivable conflict, you should also include this in the engagement agreement to comply with the requirement that the client is providing informed consent to the waiver. You also want to include your file retention period. Your local ethics rules may obligate you to maintain a client's file for a certain period of time after case closure. If so, outline this for your clients. If you have an internal policy, memorialize that in your engagement agreement. Cautionary tale here is, of course, to be sure to follow that policy, and err on the side of keeping those records longer if you have any questions about it. Lastly, I want to talk about validity. Think of your engagement agreement as a contract. You're making an offer of legal services, and the client needs to accept it. This is one of the reasons why I vehemently discourage sending out pre-signed engagement agreements. Now, you've heard me use the term engagement agreement throughout this course rather than engagement letter. I tend to refer to agreement because I think it's best practice not just to have the client sign, but also for the attorney to sign the agreement. This is because a huge concern is that a client can sit on your engagement agreement for weeks, months, even years. And then all of a sudden, you receive a signed engagement agreement back, putting you in a position where you may not have enough time to complete necessary tasks or meet applicable deadlines or statutes of limitations. Or frankly, you just no longer may have the bandwidth or the interest in taking the case. In this way, I encourage you to do a little bit of belt and suspenders. Yes, require both you and the client to sign, but also include a validity clause that states that the engagement agreement as an offer expires within a certain period of time. That could be 30 days or 60 days after it's sent to the client. Technology can also be a huge help in this regard. If you're sending your engagement agreements electronically, you can trigger a cutoff period where that engagement agreement is no longer available to the potential client. One last thing to know. Consider when you want your engagement agreements to become effective, depending upon whether you take the approach of an engagement letter that just needs to be signed by the client or an engagement agreement that is signed by both you and the client. Perhaps it's effective upon full execution. Perhaps it's effective on full execution and receipt of initial payment. That could be partial flat fee, a retainer payment, or the like. This was one of the more recent revisions that I made to my engagement agreement, which was to put in the preamble of the agreement, the very first paragraph. My engagement agreement says that effectiveness is tied not only to both my and the client's signature, but receipt of that initial payment. I do not want to be forced to start working if I have not yet been paid. Thinking about signing of the engagement agreement, consider whether you want the client to be required to initial each page, initial the most important provisions, like the payment obligation, exclusions of scope, et cetera, or whether you're satisfied with just the signature on the last page. From a best-practice standpoint, I encourage you to, at least at a minimum, require the client to initial each page. We've all been guilty of getting a stack of paper, flipping to the back, signing it, and passing it back over. But if our concern here is getting informed consent and making sure that the client understands what they can expect from us and what we expect from them at the start of the attorney-client relationship, making sure the client has reviewed and understood the terms of that agreement is going to be key. So I encourage you to implement, whether it be an initial on each page or an initial of the most important provisions, create some kind of trigger that forces the client to pause and review whatever is in front of them. You may also want to consider whether you're going to require a wet signature or at least a hand signature, or whether you're comfortable leveraging technology and facilitating electronic execution. This is entirely a personal preference, but I can say in my practice, I found that utilizing electronic signatures has really expedited the process and, in fact, has allowed me to keep track of what engagement agreements have gone out, which ones I need to follow up on, and which ones are close to the end of their validity. Lastly, consider discussing the engagement agreement with the potential client. How you present the engagement agreement may, in fact, be determined by how you conduct your consultations. If your consultation takes place in person or even via Zoom, you have the opportunity to have the engagement agreement on hand and to actually talk through it during the consultation or even just highlight the most important provisions. However, perhaps you're like me and you conduct your consultations by phone. Obviously, showing the engagement agreement to the client is not an option. However, perhaps you're like me and conduct your consultations by phone, in which case, showing the engagement agreement to the potential client really isn't an option. That said, I do tend to hit on the most important provisions in my consultation. I will talk about communication preferences, I will talk about pricing, and I will certainly talk about scope. Either way, I encourage you to send the engagement agreement in writing and give the client an opportunity to take it back, review it, and ask questions. This ensures that you're obtaining informed consent. Keep in mind that the engagement agreement is the guideline for the attorney-client relationship. If you have an understandable and unambiguous engagement letter, it will be the first step in establishing a positive relationship with the client, hopefully leading to better communication, timely payment for legal services, and a general appreciation for the services that you've provided. Let's take a moment now to talk about non-engagement letters. Even if you're not engaging with a potential client, it's best practice to memorialize the fact that an attorney-client relationship has not been formed in writing to avoid any misunderstanding between you and the potential client. As we discussed at the outset, any conflict between your understanding of the relationship and the client's understanding of the relationship will generally be interpreted by the client's understanding. This does not mean that every person who cold-calls your office needs to receive a written notification that you are not their attorney. But if you've consulted with a potential client and you've declined that case for whatever reason, you should send a letter or an email memorializing that declination. If it's a case that does not fall within your practice areas or your jurisdictional coverage or even if you just don't have capacity, perhaps you use that as an opportunity to provide appropriate referrals where possible. Regardless of the circumstances, I encourage you to lean on that old adage, "It's not you; it's me." You may have no real reason to decline other than just a gut instinct, but I encourage you not to place any blame on the potential client. Instead, use an innocuous excuse to communicate to the potential client. You can say that you simply don't have the bandwidth to dedicate to their case in the way that you would want. In your declination communication, reiterate that you'll maintain confidentiality of any and all of the information that the potential client has already provided to you. Perhaps you have potential clients with whom you've consulted, and perhaps you've either sent out an engagement agreement or you were waiting to hear back from them. I also want to encourage you to send out non-engagement letters in that circumstance as well. Conduct a periodic review, whatever makes the most sense for your office. Perhaps it's every 30 or 60 days. And close the loop on any potential clients with consultations that are outstanding. It doesn't have to be anything exhaustive. Simply say, "We've not heard from you, and so we're going to assume you no longer need legal assistance. We're closing out your file on the basis of non-engagement, but if you need anything in the future, you're welcome to reach back out." This actually serves two purposes. One, it clarifies that no attorney-client relationship was established. But on the other hand, it also serves to put you back in front of that potential client, and I personally have found we get a lot of responses from potential clients that just ended up getting busy and, in fact, did want to retain our office. So it's a great way to pop back up, remind you that you're available, remind them that you're available, and perhaps, in fact, engage that client that you might have otherwise lost. Next, let's turn to disengagement letters. Many times, there is unfortunately a recognition that it's time to part ways with a client. This may be because of a breakdown in communication. Perhaps the client is no longer returning calls or emails in a timely manner. They're not responding to requests for information or documentation. First and foremost, consider whether or not you've been fair to the client in terms of those requests. Were you waiting until the last minute to ask for that information, or did you give them as much time as reasonably practical to respond? There is a breakdown in communication, that may be a reason to terminate the attorney-client relationship. The same goes for the client who's stopped paying you or complying with the payment terms of the engagement agreement. Again, there are considerations here too. Have you been clear with them about what amounts are due? Have you put them on notice that their bill is outstanding? If so, perhaps they've activated the withdrawal clause in your engagement agreement. The same can be said for the client who's no longer taking your legal advice or acting contrary to your agreed-upon strategy. This just happened to me. It wasn't my case, but it was a case I was working on. There were four of us attorneys who spent weeks and hours negotiating a full settlement, a settlement that we all agreed was in the best interest of our clients, the best result any of us could hope for, and truthfully the only way to avoid a long, expensive, and drawn-out trial. Unfortunately, at the last minute, their client walked away from the settlement, and ultimately, that created a breakdown in the attorney-client relationship, necessitating those attorneys withdraw. Certainly, clients are willing to change course or go to trial. Whatever they want to do, it's their case. But if it comes to a point where you no longer feel like you can advocate for the position that they're taking, perhaps you do need to withdraw. And lastly, perhaps it's just all the lies. Maybe the client simply wasn't truthful about material facts of their case from the get-go, or maybe it's just that the little white lies are compounding. Either way, if a client isn't being truthful with you as their attorney, where there's confidentiality and privilege, that is, if it's not already, going to be very problematic. In that case, you may consider withdrawing. Now, even if you're not withdrawing but the case has come to its natural conclusion, a judgment has been entered, the case has been dismissed, a contract has been signed, whatever it may be in your practice area, you still need to fully close out the file. If you are withdrawing, make sure you filed a motion to withdraw and that an order granting you leave to withdraw has been entered. Again, make sure you comply with your local rules with regard to withdraw procedures, including, and importantly, notice to your client. If your client is substituting in another attorney, comply with the applicable substitution procedure. Never forget that you are the client's attorney of record until you receive leave of court to withdraw. You will always want to be mindful as well with regard to how you transition the file to the client and/or their new counsel. Regardless of how the relationship ends, either natural termination or withdraw, you always, always, always want to send a disengagement or close letter. If you've withdrawn, include with that disengagement letter the order of withdraw for the client's records. But generally, when you're sending a close letter, include a summary of the major events or the work that you've undertaken on behalf of the client. You also want to put the client on notice of any upcoming statutes of limitation dates, deadlines for filings or discovery, things of that nature. You also want to reinforce your file retention period to the extent that the file has not already been transitioned to the client or to their new counsel. We'll talk about that a little bit more in a moment. As part of your disengagement or close letter, you may also want to send an accounting statement. Be mindful of the payment provisions outlined in your engagement agreement, including whether funds received are earned upon receipt or if they have to be held in a trust account. If you are currently holding funds in a trust, do they need to be dispersed? If so, determine the best way to facilitate refunding those funds to the client, and include a reference to that remittance in your engagement, or disengagement letter. As noted, you may also want to indicate how the client can obtain a copy of their file. If there is a substituting attorney coming into the case, facilitate the exchange of the file with the new attorney. If you're providing your physical file to the client or a substituting attorney, it's best practice to have a written file receipt signed and dated by the client or that attorney memorializing that handover. Further, consider whether you use a case management software that grants clients access to their file through a client portal. Perhaps you notify them that they're able to access their file until a date certain, 30 days or 60 days after termination. Lastly, you may want to consider including in your disengagement or close letter a client satisfaction survey and/or a request for reviews and referrals. I've incorporated a client satisfaction survey into all of my disengagement letters. It's an anonymous way for clients to give me feedback on what worked for them and what didn't, and it's been a really invaluable resource for me as I evolve my practice. We've talked about ethics rules throughout this course, but I want to take a brief moment to focus on them. As mentioned at the outset, while it's best practice, your state or jurisdiction may require that your engagement agreement be in writing. Be very mindful of that obligation. There may also be obligations tied to how you handle receipt of payments from clients, including whether or not fees are earned upon receipt and/or administration of trust accounts. You also should be mindful that your ethical obligations as an attorney extend even beyond the termination of your attorney-client relationship. Unfortunately, a lot of attorneys forget this. Even after you are no longer representing a client, you still owe that client a duty of confidentiality and attorney-client privilege. The only real exception is if and to the extent necessary to defend yourself in the event you are subject to a malpractice claim or an ethics complaint. But this is a very tight rope to walk. So if this becomes an issue for you, I encourage you to engage your malpractice carrier and/or an ethics attorney as soon as possible. If you're looking for more resources in drafting your engagement agreement, the great thing is there's a plethora of them out there. Many malpractice insurance carriers offer their covered attorneys their own template engagement agreements. I encourage you to use these as starting points. Minnesota Mutual, Lawyers Mutual of North Carolina are just a couple that come to mind. Additionally, there are some great articles online to help you in considering what to include and not include in your engagement agreements. ALPS insurance has a great blog post entitled, "Why The Use Of An Engagement Letter Should Never Be Optional." The American Bar Association also published an article entitled, "Engagement Letters with Your Clients." And the San Diego County Bar Association's "For the Record" published an article entitled, "Anatomy of an Engagement Agreement: An Overview of the Ethical and Practical Imperatives Requiring an Engagement Agreement." And on the topic of withdrawal, I encourage you to take a look at the Illinois Bar Journal's "Attorney and Client, Avoiding Withdrawal Pains" and CNA Professional Counsel, "Attorney Withdrawal: The Ins-and-Outs of Getting Out." And if you're looking for even more feedback or resources, reach out to your local colleagues, mentors, or even your local bar association. I'm sure other attorneys would be happy to share their templates with you. But keep in mind again, this is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Different practice areas and different practice styles may necessitate different provisions. So tailor your engagement agreement to meet your needs and those of your clients, and utilize workflows to help implement these processes. And lastly, let me reiterate that you should always be looking for ways to better make clear the confines of your attorney-client relationship. So don't be afraid to continuously refine your engagement agreement as your practice grows.

Presenter(s)

RS
Roya Samarghandi
Managing Attorney
Carmel Law LLC

Course materials

Handout

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                                            Tennessee
                                            • 1.0 ethics
                                            Pending
                                            Texas
                                            • 1.0 general
                                            Pending
                                            Utah
                                              Not Offered
                                              Vermont
                                              • 1.0 ethics
                                              October 19, 2024 at 11:59PM HST Approved
                                              Virginia
                                                Not Offered
                                                Virgin Islands
                                                • 1.0 ethics
                                                October 19, 2024 at 11:59PM HST Available
                                                Washington
                                                  Not Offered
                                                  West Virginia
                                                    Not Offered
                                                    Wisconsin
                                                      Not Offered
                                                      Wyoming
                                                        Not Offered
                                                        Credits
                                                          Available until
                                                          Status
                                                          Not Offered
                                                          Credits
                                                          • 1.0 ethics
                                                          Available until

                                                          October 19, 2024 at 11:59PM HST

                                                          Status
                                                          Available
                                                          Credits
                                                          • 1.0 professional responsibility
                                                          Available until

                                                          October 19, 2024 at 11:59PM HST

                                                          Status
                                                          Available
                                                          Credits
                                                          • 1.0 ethics
                                                          Available until

                                                          October 19, 2024 at 11:59PM HST

                                                          Status
                                                          Approved
                                                          Credits
                                                          • 1.0 ethics
                                                          Available until

                                                          October 19, 2024 at 11:59PM HST

                                                          Status
                                                          Approved
                                                          Credits
                                                            Available until
                                                            Status
                                                            Not Offered
                                                            Credits
                                                            • 1.0 ethics
                                                            Available until

                                                            October 19, 2024 at 11:59PM HST

                                                            Status
                                                            Available
                                                            Credits
                                                              Available until
                                                              Status
                                                              Not Offered
                                                              Credits
                                                              • 1.0 ethics
                                                              Available until

                                                              May 31, 2024 at 11:59PM HST

                                                              Status
                                                              Approved
                                                              Credits
                                                              • 1.0 ethics
                                                              Available until
                                                              Status
                                                              Unavailable
                                                              Credits
                                                              • 1.0 ethics
                                                              Available until

                                                              October 19, 2024 at 11:59PM HST

                                                              Status
                                                              Available
                                                              Credits
                                                              • 1.0 ethics
                                                              Available until

                                                              October 19, 2024 at 11:59PM HST

                                                              Status
                                                              Approved
                                                              Credits
                                                                Available until
                                                                Status
                                                                Not Offered
                                                                Credits
                                                                • 1.0 professional responsibility
                                                                Available until

                                                                October 23, 2024 at 11:59PM HST

                                                                Status
                                                                Approved
                                                                Credits
                                                                  Available until
                                                                  Status
                                                                  Not Offered
                                                                  Credits
                                                                    Available until
                                                                    Status
                                                                    Not Offered
                                                                    Credits
                                                                      Available until
                                                                      Status
                                                                      Not Offered
                                                                      Credits
                                                                        Available until
                                                                        Status
                                                                        Not Offered
                                                                        Credits
                                                                          Available until
                                                                          Status
                                                                          Not Offered
                                                                          Credits
                                                                          • 1.0 general
                                                                          Available until

                                                                          December 31, 2026 at 11:59PM HST

                                                                          Status
                                                                          Self Apply
                                                                          Credits
                                                                            Available until
                                                                            Status
                                                                            Not Offered
                                                                            Credits
                                                                              Available until
                                                                              Status
                                                                              Not Offered
                                                                              Credits
                                                                                Available until
                                                                                Status
                                                                                Not Eligible
                                                                                Credits
                                                                                  Available until
                                                                                  Status
                                                                                  Not Offered
                                                                                  Credits
                                                                                    Available until
                                                                                    Status
                                                                                    Not Offered
                                                                                    Credits
                                                                                    • 1.0 ethics
                                                                                    Available until

                                                                                    December 31, 2025 at 11:59PM HST

                                                                                    Status
                                                                                    Approved
                                                                                    Credits
                                                                                    • 1.0 ethics
                                                                                    Available until

                                                                                    October 19, 2024 at 11:59PM HST

                                                                                    Status
                                                                                    Available
                                                                                    Credits
                                                                                    • 1.2 ethics
                                                                                    Available until

                                                                                    January 16, 2025 at 11:59PM HST

                                                                                    Status
                                                                                    Approved
                                                                                    Credits
                                                                                      Available until
                                                                                      Status
                                                                                      Not Offered
                                                                                      Credits
                                                                                      • 1.0 skills
                                                                                      Available until

                                                                                      October 19, 2024 at 11:59PM HST

                                                                                      Status
                                                                                      Available
                                                                                      Credits
                                                                                      • 1.0 general
                                                                                      Available until
                                                                                      Status
                                                                                      Unavailable
                                                                                      Credits
                                                                                      • 1.0 ethics
                                                                                      Available until

                                                                                      October 19, 2024 at 11:59PM HST

                                                                                      Status
                                                                                      Available
                                                                                      Credits
                                                                                      • 1.0 general
                                                                                      Available until

                                                                                      December 31, 2024 at 11:59PM HST

                                                                                      Status
                                                                                      Approved
                                                                                      Credits
                                                                                        Available until
                                                                                        Status
                                                                                        Not Offered
                                                                                        Credits
                                                                                          Available until
                                                                                          Status
                                                                                          Not Offered
                                                                                          Credits
                                                                                            Available until
                                                                                            Status
                                                                                            Not Offered
                                                                                            Credits
                                                                                              Available until
                                                                                              Status
                                                                                              Not Offered
                                                                                              Credits
                                                                                                Available until
                                                                                                Status
                                                                                                Not Offered
                                                                                                Credits
                                                                                                  Available until
                                                                                                  Status
                                                                                                  Not Offered
                                                                                                  Credits
                                                                                                  • 1.0 ethics
                                                                                                  Available until
                                                                                                  Status
                                                                                                  Pending
                                                                                                  Credits
                                                                                                  • 1.0 general
                                                                                                  Available until
                                                                                                  Status
                                                                                                  Pending
                                                                                                  Credits
                                                                                                    Available until
                                                                                                    Status
                                                                                                    Not Offered
                                                                                                    Credits
                                                                                                    • 1.0 ethics
                                                                                                    Available until

                                                                                                    October 19, 2024 at 11:59PM HST

                                                                                                    Status
                                                                                                    Approved
                                                                                                    Credits
                                                                                                      Available until
                                                                                                      Status
                                                                                                      Not Offered
                                                                                                      Credits
                                                                                                      • 1.0 ethics
                                                                                                      Available until

                                                                                                      October 19, 2024 at 11:59PM HST

                                                                                                      Status
                                                                                                      Available
                                                                                                      Credits
                                                                                                        Available until
                                                                                                        Status
                                                                                                        Not Offered
                                                                                                        Credits
                                                                                                          Available until
                                                                                                          Status
                                                                                                          Not Offered
                                                                                                          Credits
                                                                                                            Available until
                                                                                                            Status
                                                                                                            Not Offered
                                                                                                            Credits
                                                                                                              Available until
                                                                                                              Status
                                                                                                              Not Offered

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