Safeguarding Client Property Self-Quiz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You talk to your client about what you think his case might cost, apart from your fee. The client advances you a few thousand dollars to cover some costs. You tell the client the money will go to a third person in connection with the case. Do you deposit these advances in your client trust account?
Yes
No
Say you represent three contractors in various business ventures. Money is forwarded all the time by them, given the volume of business they do. To facilitate matters you place all the checks they give you in one trust account, separate from your personal funds. A lot of these checks are for advances on fees, as well as funds with which you are empowered to negotiate in settlements. Could you be disciplined for commingling funds?
Yes
No
You went to law school, not business school. You don’t know the first thing about accounting for a client trust account. But you’re smart enough to work out a way to protect yourself by keeping a couple of extra thousand dollars of your funds in the trust account, just in case, by accident, you bounce a trust account check. Have you violated the ethical rules?
Yes
No
You negotiated for a nice settlement for your client, the plaintiff in an invasion of privacy case. According to the terms of the settlement, you will receive two checks on behalf of your client, one in each of the next two months. You of course deposit the checks in your client trust account. At the end of the second month you write out a check from the trust account, paying to the order of your client. You deduct your fee from the check, just to make sure you get what you’re due. You assume your client would want to do business with you this way, as do most of the clients. Any ethical problems with this arrangement?
Yes
No
You represented Van Illa in a suit against the bean grower’s association. Van thought that you told him your fees in the suit were $40 an hour, but really they were $400 (you’re straight out of a big-city firm). You know this was made clear from the outset of the representation, and in fact, you had Van sign an acceptance of this fee. Unfortunately, your secretary filed the fee agreement somewhere in the depths of your filing cabinet, and you’re having trouble finding it. While the dispute continues, where do you keep the funds in question?
Choice 1 In your firm’s general fund.
Choice 2 In your personal account.
Choice 3 In the client trust account.
Choice 4 Any of the above.
Say the fiancée of an old client of yours calls and says her man, your old client, is stuck in jail on a probably bogus arrest. You tell her you’ll work for $200 an hour, and ask if she can forward you $5000 for bail, which you say you’ll try hard to have the magistrate set. You also request that the fiancée forward four hours worth of fees, which you figure should cover the initial wrangling over bail. She agrees, and sends you $800 on top of the $5000 for bail. You properly deposit the funds in your client trust account. The next day, you work diligently for three hours in trying to get bail set, but have no luck. The client and his fiancée are up in arms against you. They are red with anger that you were so unsuccessful at a time they desperately needed you. They demand to be refunded for all that was paid, and immediately. So you return the $5000 to the fiancée and leave the $800 advance in the account, expecting a resolution of the dispute shortly. Any ethical problems?
Yes
No

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