Volume 12, No. 23 | November 12, 2013

eye on ethics

Q: I have recently been retained to represent a client, but they refuse to sign my fee agreement. Ethically speaking, is a client's signature required to comply with my ethical obligations for communicating about my fees and costs?

A: A lawyer must provide a client written confirmation that discloses the scope of the representation and the basis or rate of the fees and expenses that the client will be responsible for within a reasonable time of commencing the representation of the client. ER 1.5(b). A lawyer is not required to obtain the client�s signature to comply with the obligation to keep the client informed about the lawyer's fee and reduce the possibility of any confusion about the fee. See, ER 1.5, Comment 2.


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member news

Attorneys Offer Free Legal Help on Family Law Issues: Nine family law attorneys came together to offer free legal advice on the State Bar of Arizona and 12 News' Lawyers on Call public service program on Thursday, November 7. During the two-hour program, attorneys answered 143 viewers' questions regarding divorce, child support, custody, and paternity issues. The State Bar of Arizona offers its sincerest appreciation to the volunteer attorneys who helped consumers accross the Valley through its access to justice programs. They include: Jennifer Brown, Brown Legal Group, PC; Mark Candioto, Parker Schwartz, PLLC; Craig Cherney, Edwards and Cherney, LLP; David Enevoldsen, Enevoldsen Law Office, PLLC; Larry G. Haddy, Burch & Cracchiolo, PA; Ryan Hardy, Farrington Hardy, PLC; Heidi Lukaskik, Zanon Law Offices; Kristi Morley, The Morley Law Firm, PLC; and Jennifer Moshier, Moshier Law Firm, PC.

In the news

US Airways, American Reach settlement with Feds: Tempe-based US Airways and American Airlines today announced a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, avoiding a Thanksgiving-week antitrust trial and clearing the way for their megamerger. The airlines, which announced the $11 billion merger in February, said in a statement that the merger will be completed in December. more�

5-ex Madoff Employees on Trial in NYC for Fraud: In the many years he spent as a trader at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, David Kugel learned that investments Madoff claimed to be making for clients were fiction. Kugel, 68, knew that because he was instrumental in concocting the phony trades. But he always kept his mouth shut. more�

Snowden Persuaded Other NSA Workers to Give Up Passwords - Sources: Former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden used login credentials and passwords provided unwittingly by colleagues at a spy base in Hawaii to access some of the classified material he leaked to the media, sources said. more�

from the bar

State Bar of Arizona Expands Mobile CLE Offering: Balancing your practice and personal life is a daunting task all on its own. Finding time to focus on advancing your career by taking valuable CLE adds just a little more pressure. If you find yourself in this predicament, the State Bar of Arizona has a solution for you. Now, you can take an expanded number of AZCLE� programs anywhere you go on your iOS or Android mobile device. Try it today!

Should the State Bar Change the Way it Handles Conservatorship Files? The Succession Planning Task Force is reviewing a proposal intended to reduce the amount of time the State Bar must store files before being able to destroy them. The draft policy also would direct that all unclaimed younger files and all files older than five years would eventually be destroyed, without culling out and storing any documents. The Task Force wants input from you on the implications of this proposal. more�

Three Days Left to Apply for Three Commissions and Two Legal Services Organizations That Seek Your Talent and Experience: The State Bar Appointments Committee encourages you to apply by November 15th to serve on one of the State's three judicial nominating commissions. Two of Arizona's legal services organizations also seek to fill seats on their governing boards. more�

Law for Veterans Website Launched in Arizona on Veterans Day: Thanks to a joint effort by the Arizona Supreme Court, the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education, and the Military Legal Assistance Committee of the State Bar of Arizona, veterans can find now answers to legal questions on a website specifically tailored to their needs--LawforVeterans.org. The website contains articles, legal information, and answers to frequently asked questions. more�

How Do Your Fees Compare to the Competition? Find out in the latest edition of the Economics of Law Practice in Arizona report. For the most current, updated numbers about legal salaries and billing practices in Arizona, order your copy online today!

A Nugget of Knowledge from the State Bar: Did you know you can bookmark/favorite the "For Lawyers" page on the State Bar of Arizona's website? Simply visit www.azbar.org and click on the "For Lawyers" tab. Once you're there, add it to your favorites--or bookmark it--on your preferred web browser. You can also click here to be directed to the "For Lawyers" page now.

Law Practice Tip from Ahern Insurance Brokerage: How can you avoid ethical issues when withdrawing from representation? Ahern, a State Bar Member Discount Provider offering professional liability insurance, will tell you how when you click here.

Ship and Save with UPS�: State Bar members can now save up to 34% on UPS shipping services including UPS Next Day Air�. To enroll and start saving today, click here. For more information, call 1.800.MEMBERS (1.800.636.2377).

Top Ten Malpractice Traps And How to Avoid Them: Don't miss this FREE webinar from Clio for State Bar members on Nov. 19. Register here. State Bar Members Receive a 10% discount on Clio, a practice management system specifically designed for small to medium-sized firms. To sign-up for a 30-day free trial, click here.

State Bar Member Discounts: For a listing of all State Bar member discounts, click here.

court decisions

Arizona Court of Appeals
Division One
Division Two

October 24, 2013 - 1 CA-SA 13-0239 - Arizona Clean Elections Commission v. Hon. Mark H. Brain/Ken Bennett, et al.
1. Whether the Citizens Clean Elections Act fixed campaign contribution limits as they existed in 1998, subject to a 20% reduction and adjustments for inflation by the Secretary of State. 2. Whether the campaign contributions limits imposed by the Citizens Clean Elections Act pre-empts House Bill 2593. 3. Whether a trial court must make findings of fact and conclusions of law when denying preliminary injunctive relief. Read Opinion.

October 16, 2013 - 2 CA-CR 2012-0032 - State of Arizona v. Daniel A. Snider
(1) Did the state present sufficient evidence that the defendant used or threatened use of force and was armed with a deadly weapon to support two of the armed robbery convictions? (2) Did the trial court err by sentencing defendant to life imprisonment with the possibility of release after twenty-five years under A.R.S. � 13-706(A), when the defendant had no prior convictions and the multiple offenses committed on different occasions were consolidated for trial? (3) Did the trial court err in reducing defendant's monetary penalties to a criminal restitution order at sentencing and by ordering that "no interest, penalties, or collection fees" would accrue while the defendant was incarcerated? Read Opinion.


9th Circuit Court of Appeals

November 7, 2013 - 11-30119 - United States v. Todd K. Horob
The district court's imposition of the same total sentence on remand for resentencing for defendant's convictions for bank fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and bankruptcy scheme to defraud, after this court had overturned defendant's convictions for false statements to a bank and aggravated identity theft, is affirmed, where: 1) the presumption of vindictiveness does not apply when a district court does not impose a more severe overall sentence on remand, even when, as here, the vacated conviction carried a mandatory consecutive sentence; 2) defendant failed to show actual vindictiveness; and 3) the district court properly considered as relevant uncharged conduct that was a part of a common scheme with the offense of conviction; 3) the district court did not err in applying a sophisticated means enhancement; and 4) the district court did not err in rejecting defendant's challenge to the accuracy of the trial transcripts. Read Opinion.

November 7, 2013 - 12-70268 - Natural Resources Defense Council v. United States Environmental Protection Agency
A petition for review of a decision of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granting an application for conditional registration of two pesticides that an applicant sought to apply to manufactured textiles such as clothing, blankets, and carpet, is granted in part and denied in part, and remanded, where: 1) petitioner has standing; 2) substantial evidence supported the EPA's decision to use the characteristics of toddlers rather than infants in determining whether the pesticide placed consumers at risk; 3) the EPA's decision is vacated insofar as it concluded that there was no risk concern requiring mitigation for short- and intermediate-term aggregate oral and dermal exposure to textiles that are surface-coated with the pesticide; and 4) substantial evidence supported the EPA's decision not to consider additional sources of exposure to nanosilver other than the pesticide in concluding that the product would not have adverse effects on consumers. Read Opinion.




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