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How to Handle Clients With Substance Abuse Issues

A client was late to a DUI hearing, so I called him on the cell phone.

"I got you a good deal. Get down here now," I said. He showed up 20 minutes later, reeking of alcohol.

What do you do with somebody like that? Is it possible to defend an impaired client and protect society at the same time?

New Guidelines on When Judges Should Use Internet Research

Sometime after Al Gore invented the internet, judges started including internet sources in their decisions.

That was then. Now the American Bar Association has invented guidelines for how judges should use the internet for legal research.

And if you believe that Gore invented the internet or that the ABA can tell judges how to do their jobs, you may want to check out bridges for sale on Amazon. In the meantime, there are these new rules:

What to Do for Immigrants and Clients in a Hostile Social Environment?

A murderer, a drug dealer, a drunk driver -- a few of my least popular clients.

They were not accused; they were already convicted. But clients like that are practically dead men walking into the courtroom because of a prejudice against innocence.

Lawyers have to fight for unpopular clients more than ever. That's because the legal world can be a hostile place -- especially for immigrants in America today. 

How to Respond When Your Opponent Calls You Stupid

'OMG, are you stupid?'

When your opponent says that in the midst of litigation, it means at least one of two things: either you are stupid or your opponent is stupid. It could also mean you are both stupid, but let's keep it simple.

In the case of Bradley P. Moss against Donald Trump, history will be the judge. For the rest of us, maybe we should keep our "stupid" thoughts to ourselves because it's never a good look to say everything that comes to mind.

Colorado Lawyers Can Avoid Disciplinary Issues With Online Program

Lawyers can avoid disciplinary problems by completing a new online program launched in Colorado.

Administered by the state's Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel, it is the first program like it in the nation. Attorneys who use it also can earn credits for continuing legal education.

Lawyers from other jurisdictions may use the self-assessment program, with some limitations. But Illinois is already following Colorado with a similar program.

Judges are people. It might not always feel like it, but they are human beings that can get drunk on holiday spirit (or just spirits), act stupid, and embarrass themselves like everybody else. Not only is there an annual judge holiday DUI or two, from time to time, there's a really ridiculous judicial holiday drunk driving debacle.

Fortunately for lawyers and litigants, judges rarely let that holiday spirit crash into the courtroom. In fact, it is a routine caution from the bench that the holidays are not likely to impact their rulings. The warning is usually followed by a stern "bah humbug!" However, if it does happen that you get an overly festive judge, you'll find a few tips on how to handle the unusual situation below.

Don't Give Inmates Anything But Advice

Steven M. Cohen apparently was concerned about his client's oral hygiene in jail, so he gave the man a toothbrush.

That resulted in a felony conviction for delivering illegal articles to an inmate. Then the state Supreme Court suspended Cohen's bar license and ordered him to pay $8,600 as a penalty.

So what's the lesson here? If your inmate client has really bad breath, do not give him a toothbrush? Or maybe it's more about timing.

Hypothetical: After putting countless hours into a case you know you can win, the other side ships over a dismal settlement demand or offer that you know is garbage, and to your dismay, your client, even after being told it's garbage, still wants to accept it (without even countering).

While the public may exclaim: "Cue the tiny violin!" for many lawyers, this is uncharted territory. For some lawyers, this is a big red flag. Below you'll find a few tips on what to do when a client wants to settle against your advice.

Even the best conflict checking system won't be able save you from getting disqualified if a case unfolds into a conflict, or some other insurmountable issue rears its ugly head. And while opposing counsel and parties may be happy to get you thrown off the case, what you do after getting kicked off can make all the difference (as to whether you or they will regret it).

After the initial shock wears off, you might be wondering what you actually need to do after a judge declares that you or your firm can no longer represent your client in court. Like with any setback, you need to pick up the broken pieces, and get out the super glue to try to fix things. Notably, getting DQ'd generally only applies to your continued representation in court. But if you're not careful and choose to continue your representation, your actions could get the successor counsel disqualified as well, and potentially land you in serious ethics trouble with your state bar.

What to Do When You're Kicked Off a Case

It's embarrassing to get fired, and even more so when it's executed in public.

Then there's the ultimate dismal dismissal, when a judge kicks you off a case. There's no place to hide when it becomes part of the record.

So what do you do when you get booted from a case? The lawyers at Frey Buck in Seattle did it like a boss.