Volume 13, No. 3 | February 4, 2014

eye on ethics

Q. A client wants to hire me but he won't sign my fee agreement. Must I have clients sign my fee agreement?

A. In most cases, no; in some cases, yes. ER 1.5(b) only requires that a lawyer confirm in writing the scope of representation and the basis or rate of the fees and expenses within a reasonable time of beginning the representation. It doesn�t require that lawyers have their clients sign that writing. (As a business matter, you might want your clients to sign.) In some types of cases, however, clients must sign the fee agreement, such as if you are charging a contingency fee. It also depends on the kinds of provision you include in your fee agreement. If you include a clause requiring that any claims of lawyer malpractice be arbitrated, your client must sign the agreement. Ariz. Op. 94-05.


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Dues Dialogue
The Bar's Board addresses a possible dues increase at its February meeting. Read our FAQs and pro-con.

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member news

Arizona Lawyers Continue Helping Communities Across the Valley: Six dedicated volunteer lawyers will provide free legal advice on the State Bar of Arizona, 12 News, and azcentral.com's Lawyers on Call program this evening.  Lawyers Jim Bielenberg of the Prescott Law Group, Nathan E. Carr of Carr Law, Tracy Essig of Essig Law, Joseph Lunsky of the Lunsky Law Firm, PLLC, Lawrence "D" Pew of the Pew Law Center, PLLC, and Kathryne Ward of Kathryne Ward Law will answer viewers' questions regarding tax law. Their commitment to this signature Bar program is greatly appreciated.

In the news

Echoes of Zimmerman Might Be Heard in Murder Trial: A man with a gun. A black teen, shot dead. Was it murder or self-defense? Jury selection began Monday in Florida in the trial of 47-year-old Michael Dunn, a software developer charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder in the November 2012 shooting of 17-year-old Jordan Davis outside a Jacksonville convenience store. more�

Supreme Court Watch - Security Act Gives Airlines Immunity: A $1.2 million defamation verdict won by an airplane pilot has been tossed by the U.S. Supreme Court, which found that the airline was entitled to immunity for statements its employees made to Transportation Safety Administration employees indicating the pilot was "mentally unstable" and could be carrying a gun. more�

Why Are Lawyers Killing Themselves? Finis Price III was a successful Kentucky lawyer, a popular professor, and a sought after technology consultant. He also enjoyed a marriage so close that his wife was also his business partner. The good days ended abruptly when he jumped to his death in 2012. more�

from the bar

Did You Miss the February 3 Deadline to File Your State Bar Annual Statement and Dues? You can still file, but late filing fees are now in effect. Your 2014 statement is available for you to complete, review and submit online at www.azbar.org/fees. A paper statement will not be mailed to you. Payment can be made by credit card or E-check through the Bar's secure website. When you submit your statement and submit dues online, your receipt will include a temporary Bar Card for use until the permanent one is mailed to you. more�

Run For Election to the Board of Governors: Active members in Districts 1 (Mohave, Navajo, Coconino and Apache Counties), 2 (Yavapai County), and 6 (Maricopa County) are encouraged to run for eleven open seats on the State Bar of Arizona's Board of Governors. Nomination packages are due by Friday, February 28, 2014. more�

Nominate a Colleague for Annual State Bar Awards: Here's your chance to see that your colleagues, deserving of recognition, receive their just rewards. Nominations for the annual State Bar awards are now being accepted through March 26, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. more�

You Still Have Time to Weigh in on the Proposed State Bar Dues Increase: The State Bar of Arizona Board of Governors is going to consider a proposed increase in membership fees at its February 28 meeting. If you are interested in learning more about the proposed increase, you can click here to find a web page that outlines the process undertaken by the Board of Governors to arrive at this point, as well as a list of frequently asked questions to help inform you. Don't miss your opportunity to comment on this important matter. more�

Become a Part of Merit Selection: Don't miss your opportunity to apply for openings available on the Arizona Commission on Appellate Court Appointments, Maricopa County Commission on Trial Court Appointments, and the Pima County Commission on Trial Court Appoints. To find the best candidates for the bench, Arizona relies on commissions to screen, interview and select candidates for submission to the Governor. Get engaged and learn more about the commissions by clicking here.

Former US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Leads CHCI Lecture Series: The Arizona Alumni Chapter of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) invites you to joining them at "A Conversation with Former US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales," on Wednesday, February 26. Attorney General Gonzales will discuss national security and executive power, among other topics at the lunchtime program. more�

Have You Calendared the 2014 State Bar Convention in Tucson? This year, the State Bar of Arizona convention heads south and will be held on June 11-13 at the Westin La Paloma in Tucson. Start making plans to attend now! more�

Law Practice Tip from Ahern Insurance Brokerage: Do you identify conflicts when hiring lawyers from other firms? Click here for advice from Ahern, a State Bar Member Discount Provider offering professional liability insurance.

Save on Payroll Processing: The State Bar's partnership with SurePayroll, a provider of online payroll services to small businesses nationwide, helps you save time and money when processing payroll. You can even process payroll from your mobile device. Click here or call 877.954.7873 to find out more.

Save on Practice Management Software: State Bar members receive a 10% discount on Clio's practice management software, specifically designed for small to medium-sized firms. To learn more or for a 30-day free trial, click here.

Save with all your Member Discounts: For a listing of all companies offering State Bar member discounts, click here.

court decisions

Arizona Court of Appeals
Division One
Division Two

February 4, 2014 - 1 CA-SA 13-0285 - State of Arizona v. Hon. Jerry Bernstein/Herman et al.
1. In assessing admissibility of expert testimony, may the superior court consider the credibility of the potential expert witness? 2. What is the standard of proof required for the proponent of expert testimony to show that it is admissible? 3. Where do the non-exclusive factors mentioned in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 593-94 (1993), which were adopted post-January 1, 2012 by case law but not codified by rule, fit within the Ariz. R. Evid. 702 analysis? 4. Is the fact that Defendants have not independently tested their blood samples relevant in determining the admissibility of the State's blood alcohol test results? Read Opinion.

January 27, 2014 - 2 CA-CR 2012-0273 - State of Arizona v. Migual Francisco Inzunza
(1) Did the emergency aid exception justify the warrantless entry into and search of the defendant's apartment where a missing, intellectually disabled adult was last seen? (2) Did the trial court err in precluding evidence of a prior sexual assault committed against the victim? (3) Did the defendant's prior conviction in Washington for assault with a deadly weapon support the enhanced sentences imposed here? Read Opinion.


9th Circuit Court of Appeals

January 29, 2014 - 11-35858 - Experience Hendrix, LLC v. HendrixLicensing.com
Judgment for plaintiff, which owns trademarks that it uses to sell and license products related to deceased rock legend Jimi Hendrix, in an action alleging that defendants were licensing merchandise that infringed plaintiff's trademarks, is: 1) affirmed in part, where defendant's use of "Hendrix" in its domain names infringed plaintiff's mark "Hendrix"; 2) vacated in part and remanded, as to the permanent injunction entered in plaintiff's favor, so that the district court could revise language in the injunction to clarify what conduct is and is not enjoined; 3) reversed in part, as to the district court's decision to strike most of the jury's award of damages; 4) affirmed in part, as to the order granting a new trial on damages; and 5) vacated in part and remanded, as to the district court's award of attorney's fees under Washington�s Consumer Protection Act. On defendant's declaratory relief action, the district court erred in concluding that the Washington's Personality Rights Act is unconstitutional. Read Opinion.

January 29, 2014 - 12-17681 - David H. Pickup v. Edmund G. Brown, Governor of the State of California
California Senate Bill 1172, which bans state-licensed mental health providers from engaging in "sexual orientation change efforts" with patients under 18 years of age, does not violate the free speech rights of practitioners or minor patients, is neither vague nor overbroad, and does not violate parents' fundamental rights, and because it regulates professional conduct, and not speech, it was subject only to a rational basis review. Read Amended opinion. Read Amended Opinion.




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