The CYLA eNews is sent automatically to all CYLA members several times a year.
By Kyle Nageotte
As the State Bar Sections and CYLA continue the process of separating from the State Bar, the CYLA Board of Directors continues to work closely with the Council on State Bar Sections and State Bar staff to ensure that CYLA, and its over 50,000 members, are represented in the soon-to-be-formed organization. As the Bar continues to move forward with this transition, CYLA is expanding its liaison program with the other Sections, providing young attorneys with networking and leadership opportunities. As part of the new, independent organization, CYLA plans to greatly expand this program and strengthen its ties to the other Sections in an effort to provide continuing education programs at low or no cost to young attorneys.
Additionally, CYLA is collaborating with the Lawyer Assistance Program (“LAP”) to help young attorneys struggling with substance abuse and/or mental health issues receive the assistance they need to be a productive member of the Bar. A recent study on the subject of substance abuse and mental health issues in the attorney population found that young attorneys have issues with substance abuse and/or mental health issues at much higher rates than previously believed. CYLA will assist the LAP in outreach and communication to young attorneys across the state to ensure that young attorneys are aware of and have access to LAP’s wonderful programs.
While there are many questions left to be answered relating to the Sections’ and CYLA’s separation from the State Bar, the opportunities offered in the proposed independent organization are boundless. The CYLA Board will continue to advocate on behalf of young attorneys to ensure that the new organization and the State Bar continue to address the unique needs of attorneys starting their careers in California.
The conversation about mental health and substance abuse in the legal profession is an important one. Far too many lawyers are struggling with alcohol addiction, substance abuse, stress, depression, and other mental health issues.
I had the opportunity to speak with Patrick Krill, the principal and founder of Krill Strategies and globally recognized authority on addiction and mental health issues in the legal profession. Patrick offered his insight on many of these issues plaguing the profession and shared his advice for new and young lawyers who are in need of help.
What we discuss in this interview:
Listen to the entire interview on The Gen Why Lawyer Podcast here: www.genwhylawyer.com/gwl102
Nicole Abboud is a former practicing attorney and founder of Abboud Media. She is the host of The Gen Why Lawyer Podcast, a weekly podcast focused on helping young lawyers thrive.
By Shafiel A. Karim
As a solo attorney, I’m responsible for just about everything. I not only have a duty to competently represent my clients, I’m also the IT-guy, marketing manager, and resident bookkeeper. When wearing my bookkeeper hat, I’m personally responsible for segregating client property from firm property in accordance with Rule 4-100. This can sometimes be tricky since fees are earned at different times under the three main retainer types.
A “[c]lassic retainer refer[s] to the payment of a sum of money to secure availability over…time.” Baranowski v. The State Bar (1979) 24 Cal. 3d 153, 164 n. 4. Put differently, the client is only buying the attorney’s availability so the attorney earns a classic retainer upon receipt. In fact, the attorney earns the classic retainer even if “services are [n]ever rendered.” T & R Foods, Inc. v. Rose (1996) 47 Cal. App. 4th Supp. 1, 7.
Conversely, a “security retainer” is created when a client pays an attorney in advance for services that have yet to be rendered. Id. The security retainer remains the client’s property until the attorney actually renders services and earns fees. Id. In other words, a security retainer acts as client collateral for the attorney. Unearned monies must be promptly returned to the client. Cal. Rules Prof’l Conduct, Rule 4-100(B)(4); T & R Foods, Inc., 47 Cal. App. 4th Supp. at 7.
An “advance payment retainer” is created when a client pays an attorney in advance for services that have yet to be rendered as well. But unlike the security retainer, the attorney earns the advance payment retainer upon receipt because it is intended to be prepayment for legal services, not merely collateral. T & R Foods, Inc., 47 Cal. App. 4th Supp. at 7. Again, unearned monies must be promptly returned to the client. Cal. Rules Prof’l Conduct, Rule 4-100(B)(4); T & R Foods, Inc., 47 Cal. App. 4th Supp. at 7.
To ensure compliance with Rule 4-100, attorneys—especially solo attorneys who maintain their own books and records—should (1) be familiar with the rules governing client property, (2) vigilantly keep true and correct records, (3) segregate client funds by depositing them in a separate IOLTA trust account, and (4) explain to clients when the attorney earns fees from a retainer. Of course, when in doubt, attorneys can take advantage of the State Bar Ethics Hotline and should consult with ethics counsel.
Shafiel A. Karim is a solo-practice attorney based in Southern California. Mr. Karim represents businesses in litigation and transactional matters.
By Lauren E. Powe
One last and most important take away, if you retain nothing else, remember: you will make mistakes. Big and little. The issue will never be that you made a mistake (everyone makes mistakes or has made mistakes in the past), what will matter is what you do to rectify the mistake. Don’t hide a mistake, try to fix the mistake (you’ll find most can be fixed if brought to light). If you can’t fix it, own the mistake and ask for help. The way you handle a mistake speaks volumes. Truth be told, you will learn more from your mistakes, promise.
Lauren E. Powe is an attorney with State Compensation Insurance Fund where she has been practicing workers’ compensation defense since July of 2015. She is very active in the Alameda County Bar Association where she can usually be found chatting and forging new connections.
When starting out as an attorney, the thought of becoming a judge may often be a distant dream. In California, one must be practicing law for at least ten years prior to seeking appointment as a judge. Young attorneys may think, “I don’t need to worry about it now” but in reality, every young attorney aspiring to become a judge should start thinking about the application even before year one. This article will provide the top five tips to become a California judge as provided by Southern California judges who were appointed to their position.
Finally, the applicant must be able to answer the question, “Why do you want to be a Judge?”
A new or young attorney intent on becoming judge must begin working towards that goal early in his or her career. When the ten-year mark arrives, he or she will be well prepared and ready to submit the judicial application for appointment.
Candice A. Garcia-Rodrigo is the founding partner at Rodrigo Law Firm, PC in San Bernardino, California, and practices estate planning, probate and business law.
The 2017 Jack Berman Award of Achievement will be presented on Friday, August 18, 5 p.m. - 6:30 p.m., at the Sections Convention in San Diego. The awards reception will be held in the Nautilus 5 room of the Sheraton San Diego Hotel. This award recognizes a new or young lawyer for distinguished service to the public, the judiciary, or the legal profession. The Sections Convention is the new platform for the State Bar Sections’ and CYLA's stellar programs and events previously offered at The State Bar of California Annual Meeting. We will be naming the recipient of the award in the near future.