Referendum Scheduled on Rules Regarding
Referral Fees and Lawyer Advertisements
By Cade W. Browning
Here is your chance to have a voice regarding the future of your profession. Be sure to vote in the upcoming referendum.
On October 9, 2003, the Texas Supreme Court adopted Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 8a, affecting certain fees paid to parties, including attorneys, who are not reasonably expected to provide substantial professional services in a case. The rule, set to go into effect on January 1, 2004, required disclosure of the payments to the court, defined an unconscionable referral fee, and imposed sanctions for the failure to report or the payment of an unconscionable referral fee.
Both the Supreme Court and the State Bar of Texas heard from lawyers who were concerned that the rules were more appropriately part of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, that they included a cap on the amount of referral fees, required public disclosure of all fee agreements, and required a hearing whenever a party questions the validity of the fee arrangement. At the State Bar's request, the Supreme Court suspended implementation of the proposed rule to allow further review.
The State Bar appointed a task force, and six public hearings were held throughout the state. Written comments were also accepted. The State Bar Board unanimously approved the Task Force proposals, and the Court has now issued an administrative order authorizing a Referendum on the proposed restrictions on referral fees and new amendments limiting lawyer advertising. (More info.)
Relevant Documents: (1)Task Force Report, (2)Court Order, and (3) Informational Brochure. And beginning November 5, follow these three easy steps to cast your vote:
- Click "VOTE NOW" in the Referendum 2004 section of the home page
- Follow the instructions to log in and vote
Born and raised down the street from "The Boss," Bruce Springsteen, Fair Haven, New Jersey native Joe Stallone now calls Corpus Christi his home. Now President of the Corpus Christi Young Lawyers Association, Joe used to play in a band during his high school and college years. His band won a radio contest with an original song and, true to his Jersey roots, the song was produced and recorded by Gary Talent . . . the bass player for the E Street band. Of course it was recorded in Asbury Park!
When Joe is not honing his skills on the guitar and piano for his dream career as a musician, he spends his time on the board of the Corpus Christi Boys & Girls Club, water skiing, and coaching soccer and basketball for his two sons, Spencer (6) and Jackson (4). Somewhere in there he finds time to practice law. (Cont.).
Feature TYLA Project
TYLA's "We the Jury" Curriculum Goes National
The American Bar Association-Young Lawyer Division (ABA-YLD) has adopted TYLA’s "We the Jury" curriculum program as its national project for the year. TYLA presented the program for the ABA-YLD during its fall conference in Austin. Volunteers from TYLA and Austin YLA presented the project to a dozen classes at three different schools. After the presentations, several of the students and their teachers attended the ABA-YLD conference to share their experiences. Several students wrote thank you notes to the presenting attorneys, and many said they are now interested in pursuing a legal career. Some even commented that they are looking forward to jury duty! (Cont.)
Article of Interest
Hold Your Horses (And Cattle, Sheep etc.)
By Alex B. Eyssen
Last year, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott issued an opinion stating, "Texas in general still uses open range law for its livestock." For most, this may sound surprising because many associate the open range and free ranging livestock with a bygone time when the West was still wild and cattle drives were commonplace. Others may simply question the relevance of an AG opinion on this topic. However, for those evaluating liability in a personal injury case involving an accident between a motorist and livestock, the question of whether Texas is still an open range state becomes very important. (Cont.)
Tips for Young Lawyers
Choosing Your Managing Partner: Common Mistakes
By Henry Dahut, Esq.
Choosing the next managing partner has historically been a knee-jerk response in most firms. Usually the choice is between either trying to fill the void by promoting the next best rainmaker, or going with a firm workhorse or a partner with particularly strong administrative and financial skills. Some choose a copycat of the previous managing partner. But, filling the most important leadership position in your firm is not a decision to be made lightly or frivolously. Finding a new leader with the right combination of clout and charisma to reshape your firm is a tremendous challenge which is critically important to the firm’s future. Don’t fall into the common trap of seeing the incoming managing partner as merely a replacement of the old one. (Cont.)
The New Lawyer Course: Hit the Ground Running! Live in Austin - November 12, 2004
You may have missed the early registration deadline but you won't want to miss this seminar, which is specifically designed for new lawyers. Approved for 6 hours MCLE credit (including 2.5 hours ethics), the course focuses on using technology in your practice, client communication, negotiation techniques, and other practical practice tips.
The luncheon presentation features the following panel of judges: Hon. W. Royal Ferguson II (United States District Court-Western District of Texas), Hon. Andrew S. Hanen (United States District Court-Southern District of Texas), H. Mary L. Murphy (14th District Court), Hon. J. Dale Wainwright (Supreme Court of Texas), and Hon. Jennifer L. Walker Elrod (190th District Court).
For more information, look for the New Lawyer Course on the TexasBarCLE website or call 800-204-2222 x1574.
SAVE THE DATE !!!
The 19th Annual Texas Off Campus Recruitment Program will be held March 4, 2005, at South Texas College of Law. The venue is designed to give employers a one-stop shopping opportunity for recruiting law students from all nine law schools in Texas. The deadline for employers to register is January 10, 2005.