A young lady goes to see a lawyer regarding a minor matter. After consultation, the lawyer notes the fee will be $100. She gives him a crisp $100 bill and leaves. Sitting back, the lawyer gives the bill a flick and notices that the bill was so new and crisp it had another $100 bill stuck to it. Now he was facing the age-old ethical dilemma, should he keep it himself or split it with his partner?
This is one of the countless lawyer jokes out there that portray lawyers as categorically unethical. Unfortunately, there are many lawyers who would not return that extra $100 bill, despite state bar ethics rules that demand professional integrity.
Something you should always do before you hire a lawyer is to run a quick state bar attorney search on him or her. Here is a link to the State Bar of California's attorney search webpage. That link will take you to a page that looks like this:
Every lawyer who is licensed to practice in California is in this directory. So before you hire a lawyer, be sure to run a quick search. You will find their contact information, educational background, and - most importantly - a record of all actions affecting their eligibility to practice law. Ideally, you should see this:
Feel free to run a search on us. We take pride in our ethical and professional integrity. Then give us a call. Our consultations are always free.