I am not above revisiting a topic. It can be like jury work where you need to tell them three times and then show them the visual of the same. So, I say again you should be selecting which clients you will represent with conscious aforethought. See, April 2016 at http://goo.gl/lGKoWi
When you started to elementary school, you needed basic instruction which always included: “Stop – Look – Listen” before you crossed the street. That single admonition will serve you well as a lawyer taking on new business. Even lawyers fell for some version of the early Nigerian email scams. Any such scheme preys on the human frailties and the failure to use conscious aforethought.
A new and previously unknown client presents what appears to be a nice piece of business. You properly limit the factual information so you can first do a conflicts check and then advise the new client if you can proceed. How about some old-fashioned checking of this prospective client to see if you deserve to be their lawyer? Public information is readily available using the internet. The reasonable attorney standard should now include vetting of the prospective company and its individuals. Thereafter, more in-depth questioning of the new client should also allow you to use the old-fashioned smell tests with regard to any shell entities or money-raising schemes they may be proposing.
Lawyers, in their zeal for new work, can easily get pulled into financial schemes which leave them as the only solvent payor where the enterprise goes bust. Before lending your name and reputation to an unknown client, shouldn’t you know why they want you to do work for some other geographical area, or if the structure they seek to use is overly complex? See, Law360, April 8, 2016.
Further, in the modern practice there are many areas where you will just lack the required technical experience. I often advise lawyers not to “dabble” or engage in areas beyond their experience. There is nothing wrong with learning new areas, but it is easy to misstep without training and guidance. Like going through a buffet line, do not take on a new case beyond your current capacity and be very wary of the last-minute new client who needs you tomorrow.
Truth to tell, no startling or novel advice is offered here. However, there is a reason that we often tell jurors something three times and then show them a visual to make the point. Don’t be a defendant because you failed to do what the modern “reasonable attorney” would have done.