Tuesday, February 15, 2011

An appeal to the other side of the well

I'm addressing this post to my colleagues "across the well" who work as prosecutors in the State of Texas. The proposed changes to the disciplinary rules have absolutely no bearing on how y'all conduct business. But I know that many of y'all will one day leave the DA's office and hang out your own shingle. Some of y'all will come over to the side of the angels and practice criminal defense. Others will go into other areas of the law.

Once you've left the employ of the government, the disciplinary rules will become a reality. If y'all haven't voted because you don't see how the rules would have any effect on your job, please consider what you and your colleagues may do down the road.

If you  go into criminal defense, the assault on the flat fee is going to affect you. You will find that out the first time you take on a client who can't pay your fee in full - or the first time you file a motion to withdraw because a client has decided not to pay you.

If you go into the civil arena (be sure to watch your back, because you never know whose knife is there), the rules on conflicts are going to become your own personal living hell when you try to determine if you can take on a new client.

There aren't too many issues on which we can fight alongside each other. This, however, is one. If you haven't voted, or if there are others in your office who haven't voted yet, please take the time to do so. Your ability to make your voice heard will end at 5:00 p.m. on February 17.

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