Midwin Charles & Associates LLC
MC&A Newsletter
Volume III
February 2009

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In This Issue
Recent News
The Market
Special Report
Recent News

MC&A forges ahead in 2009!  In 2008 we represented clients in litigations on issues ranging from predatory lending, breach of contract claims, insurance fraud, and criminal law.  In 2009, we aim to grow our practice by lecturing at law schools, publishing articles, and providing legal commentary to media outposts such as CNN Headline News, Tru TV (formerly Court TV), and FOX Business Network.  We will also continue to provide you with the latest legal trends and news.  We want to take this opportunity to thank our clients and look forward to working with you in 2009!
New Staff
Genese N. Walker, Litigation Analyst
MC&A proudly welcomes Genese N. Walker to the firm.  Ms. Walker worked at the law firm of Ventantonio & Wildenhain PC as an associate, where she practiced in the firm's litigation department.   Ms. Walker received a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland College Park and a Juris Doctorate from the American University, Washington College of Law where she served as a Junior Editor of the Business Law Brief, was a Marshall-Brennan Fellow, and member of the Moot Court Honor Society.  She also worked as a summer intern at the New York State Office of the Attorney General Antitrust Bureau, and clerked for the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C.  Ms. Walker is admitted to the New York and New Jersey State Bars. 
Upcoming Appearances
Midwin Charles will appear on Tru TV (formerly Court TV), Open Court on Wednesday, February 18, 2009 from 9:00 to 11:00 AM.
Midwin Charles will be a guest lecturer at The Institute for the Study of the Judiciary, Politics, and the Media (IJPM) at Syracuse University on Monday, March 2, 2009.  The lecture topic will be "The Impact of Media Coverage on a Defendant's Right to a Fair Trial."  For more information about IJPM, go to www.syr.edu.

The Market

Ode to Bankruptcy
The economy has plagued a number of industries and the legal profession has not been immune.  The year 2008 ushered in the demise of law firms that had been in existence for decades and in the case of California based firm Heller Erhman LLP, over 100 years. Other firms have laid off hundreds of lawyers and staff.  The areas of practice hardest hit with layoffs pertain to finance, mergers and acquisitions, and litigation.  One area of practice, however, has emerged as a beacon of light for law firms:  bankruptcy.  With the flagging economy, glamorous mergers have dried up and corporations are restructuring their debt, rather than wielding large deals.  Law firms realize this and are growing their bankruptcy departments by leaps and bounds.  Some have even brought in specialists to train associates that work in other practice areas.  While the rush to shore up bankruptcy departments is a good way to ensure revenue streams, these law firms run the risk of being too top-heavy in one area of practice when the market - hopefully soon -- turns around.  Nonetheless, lawyers looking for work who know little if nothing about bankruptcy should rush to the nearest bankruptcy Continuing Legal Education class.  It certainly won't hurt.
Source:  As Mergers and Other Work Dry Up, Bankruptcy Becomes Lawyers' Oasis, Jonathan D. Glater, New York Times, January 24, 2009 http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/24/business/24retool.html?scp=2&sq=Lawyer's%20Oasis&st=cse
The Practice Corner

Part II: Attorney-Client Relationship:
The Client's Perspective

Working with an attorney can be a daunting and expensive task.  Here are some ways to ensure that you receive top notch service:
Prior to hiring an attorney, ask your lawyer these questions:

(1)   What is your experience in this area of law?
Your lawyer should be well versed in the area of law in which your case is involved.  Ask the lawyer whether he or she has handled cases similar to yours and how long they have worked in the particular field of law.

(2)   What is the possible outcome of my case?
Your lawyer should explain the possible outcomes of your case.  Your lawyer will remind you that outcomes are not guaranteed, but given their experience, the matter might be resolved in several ways.  Also ask your lawyer whether there are any alternative ways to resolve the matter, how long will it take to resolve, and whether he or she recommends mediation, arbitration, or settlement.  The latter can save you thousands of dollars.

(3)   How will you approach my case?
The manner in which your lawyer approaches a case can make or break it.  Will your lawyer be a barracuda or a dove?  The facts and status of the case often determine the approach.  Ask your lawyer how they will approach your case.

(4)   How will you keep me informed of my case?
You should be kept informed of your case.  Ask up front how your lawyer plans to keep you in the loop on your case.  Will you have scheduled meetings and/or teleconferences and receive copies of all communication and court documents?  What is the frequency in which you will be informed?  Knowing the answer to these questions can help prevent a break down in communication.

(5)   What is the total bill (including fees and expenses)?
Ask your lawyer how much you will be charged and how much.  You should know if you will be paying an hourly rate, a flat fee, or whether your lawyer will take the case on a contingent basis.  You should also know when payments are due.

* Part I Attorney-Client Relationship:  The Attorney's Perspective appeared in Volume II, November 2008 issue.  http://www.charleslawfirm.com/specialreport_November_2008.html
MC&A is firmly committed to our valued clientele.  We provide services in the areas of litigation, criminal law, and general corporate and business law.

For more information about how we can be of service to you, call us at 212.551.3617 or send an email to midwin@charleslawfirm.com.

Midwin Charles & Associates LLC
230 Park Avenue, Suite 1000
New York, New York 10169

© 2008 Midwin Charles & Associates LLC