Sam Martin, an attorney, receives a settlement check for a client’s case. It is made out jointly to Sam and his client. Sam endorses the check and instructs his paralegal to deposit it into his law firm’s account, instead of the client’s trust account, because he wants to take out his fee before he gives the client his portion of the money. Can Sam do this? Why or Why Not? What should Sam’s paralegal do?
2) James Johnson is a sole practitioner. His office is about an hour’s drive from the federal district court at which he files many lawsuits. He used to talk on his cell phone to clients as he traveled the two hours to and from the courthouse. He would bill the client on whose behalf he was going to the courthouse for two hours and the clients with whom he talked on the phone for increments of the same two hours. When the American Bar Association issued its rule prohibiting double billing, he was concerned that the rule would drive him out of business due to the drop in income. Is what Johnson is doing ethical? Why or Why not?