The Art, Science & Ethics of the 21st Century Retainer Agreement
Tuesday, December 18, 2012 from 12:30 PM to 2:00 PM (EST)
The Retainer Agreement is one of the most important contracts that you'll ever draft or sign as an attorney. Not only do Retainer Agreements protect clients from overreaching by unscrupulous lawyers, but they can immunize lawyers against malpractice claims and non-payment by clients. Moreover, from the terms of the Retainer Agreement to its design, a Retainer Agreement is a reflection of your practice and the way you do business - making it a potential selling tool for your firm.
Most of the retainer agreements for free online or even those drafted by various Bar Associations can provide a good starting point, but many do not address the multiple issues that lawyers must consider when dealing with 21st century problems and do not generally reflect 21st century form or style.
In this program, we'll address the following matters:
- Back to Basics: A quick summary of the basic structure of the Retainer Agreement;
- See the Fee: Providing for alternative billing, like flat fees or "subscription" fees in the Retainer Agreement -- and whether there's really such a thing as a "non-refundable"retainer;
- Electronic expectations: What do clients need to know about electronic communication, e-billing and storage?
- Cloudy or clear: should the Retainer Agreement notify clients of your use of the cloud to house client data?
- Outing Outsourcing: What should your retainer agreement say about outsourcing work to vendors, contract attorneys and virtual assistants? And as a bonus, a discussion of the types of agreements that you'll need for outsourcing to ensure confidentiality and ensure compliance with rules on independent contractors;
- The Long and Short of it: One-page retainer agreement versus multiple pages. Which works best for you? And how understandable are retainer agreements to clients;
- Draft versus Design: Today's lawyers draft documents, but increasingly, design counts too. Learn more about trends in form design and how to incorporate these principles into your agreement;
- Ipad versus legal pad: Non-traditional ways to execute the retainer agreement, as well as trends in document automation and ways to streamline execution of the retainer agreement.
The 21st Centruay retainer Agreement is presented by:
Carolyn Elefant, a Washington D.C. attorney with her own firm, creator of MyShingle.com and author of Solo by Choice: How to Be the Lawyer You Always Wanted to Be
and is produced/moderated by:
Andrea Cannavina, Legal Virtual Assistant and owner of LegalTypist, Inc.
Program materials include sample agreements, clauses and phrases with a compilation of relevant ethics rules and opinions for all 50 states.
**Special bonus** Sample website privacy policies, web disclaimer language and checklist of issues to address in law office policies.