My latest post is up on Lawyerist — what are a lawyer’s ethical responsibilities when personal politics collide with client interests.
If spending time with innovative solo lawyers with more ideas than you could hope to implement in a year is your idea of fun (it is mine!), you would have loved TBD Law.
TBD Law was a two-day conference in St. Louis that took place a couple of weeks ago, and I am still reeling from the energy and enthusiasm it inspired. Lawyers who code, lawyers who build tools for other lawyers, lawyers who practice low bono and have grand ideas of whole buildings dedicated to low bono + incubator + transitioning to retirement + think tank, and lawyers with more creativity than you’ll find in any BigLaw firm came together to share their ideas, from the fantastical to the nuts and bolts. We all came away with a new set of tools, new ideas, and new colleagues. I’ve described it as the two most valuable days of my professional life as a solo, and that is no overstatement.
Earlier today I posted that my best days at work are when I get to call a client and let them know their investigation has been closed without charges. Well, some days get even better.
Today, after receiving a letter closing an investigation, I then received a California State Bar Court Hearing Department decision from a trial I recently conducted in Los Angeles. My client was completely exonerated of all charges.
Yes, some work days get even better.
Today my two clients are set free of great burdens that have plagued them for many months; as for me, my life is generally unchanged in terms of personal burdens, but I feel as light and excited as both of them. Why? As my colleague Sam Glover recently explained so well in an unrelated blog post, we lawyers take on our clients’ problems as our own, losing sleep over them, stressing about them, as if they were truly ours. I did not face suspension, disbarment or restitution orders as my clients did, but my gut felt like I did.
For me, this feeling of synchronicity with my clients’ lives is how I know I found my niche in the practice of law. I work each day on matters about which I am truly passionate, which makes me one lucky lawyer.
Recently the State Bar of California held “Discipline Day,” where the Bar showcased its Office of Chief Trial Counsel’s system of handling complaints against lawyers. An investigator for the State Bar commented at Discipline Day that his worst day at work is when he has to call a complaining witness and tell them that no charges are being filed against a lawyer and that the matter is being closed.
That investigator’s worst day leads to my absolute best day. Today is one of those days.
I opened the mail this morning to read the following from the State Bar on one of my open cases:
The State Bar has completed the investigation of the allegations of professional misconduct reported and determined that this matter does not warrant further action. Therefore, the matter is closed.
Today I get to make my favorite type of call — the one where I tell my client he has nothing to worry about, that the State Bar did the right thing and closed the file. Definitely one of my best days at work.
Ever wonder what you would do if you got a letter of investigation from the State Bar? Attend my webinar on May 24 (offered through the State Bar of California Solo and Small Firm Section) to find out what to do and not do. CLE ethics credit!
Info and registration link here!
In case you missed the Apple v. DOJ saga slowly whimpering as it exited stage left, check out my post at Lawyerist.
If you feel you’ve fallen behind on Apple v. the FBI, take a listen to the Podcast at Lawyerist for the nuts and bolts of why this case implicates critical legal issues. Then take a look at Lawyerist’s main page for a feature coming today rounding up the latest on amicus briefs, the Congressional hearings, and the San Bernadino DA’s new bizarre claim that the iPhone might somehow contain a dormant cyber weapon.