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Ethical Considerations in §1983 Practice: Retainer Structuring and Client Counseling

(1150 reviews)

Produced on January 23, 2017

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$ 89 Ethics, Constitutional Law, Civil Rights, and Public Interest Law In Stock
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Course Information

Time 90 minutes
Difficulty Intermediate

Course Description

Plaintiffs in §1983 civil rights actions against state and municipal actors are often persons who have been profoundly traumatized by agents of the government, and as such present unique counseling challenges for litigators who would seek to zealously represent their interests. Compounding these challenges, 42 USC §1988 provides for fee-shifting in the discretion of the Court for prevailing parties in §1983 actions. While this “private attorney general” fee-shifting statute enables attorneys to represent otherwise indigent civil rights plaintiffs in meritorious cases, it also presents significant ethical issues for retainer structuring in §1983 matters.

In this course, we discuss the ethical considerations and practical skills that are necessary for attorneys to provide effective counseling to §1983 Plaintiffs in the course of retention and various case decisions in the lifespan of §1983 matters. We review carefully prepared retainer provisions that will permit attorneys to seek fees on behalf of their clients if circumstances allow, while providing for a contingent fee recovery if an award of fees is unavailable or undesirable to the client.  

This course, presented by Samuel B. Cohen, noted New York §1983 practitioner, provides practitioners with important ethical guidelines for client counseling, tested sample retainer provisions for review and adaptation, and a guide to some of the common ethical pitfalls of §1983 practice.

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Identify overarching ethical considerations in §1983 client counseling
  2. Obtain an overview of retainer structuring in mixed fee-shifting/contingent matters
  3. Gain skills for managing client expectations in litigation
  4. Explore policy considerations in §1983 client counseling


Credit Information

After completing this course, Lawline will report your attendance information to {{ accredMasterState.state.name }}. Please ensure your license number is filled out in your profile to ensure timely reporting. For more information, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements page . After completing this course, {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} attorneys self-report their attendance and CLE compliance. For more information on how to report your CLE courses, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements FAQ .

Faculty

Samuel B. Cohen

Samuel B. Cohen Law

Samuel B. Cohen is an attorney and counselor at law, admitted to practice in the State Courts of New York, the Federal Southern and Eastern District Courts for New York, and the Federal Second Circuit Court of Appeals. He received his Juris Doctor degree from Brooklyn Law School, and a Bachelor of Arts in the Social Sciences from Hampshire College.

Samuel began his legal career as a litigation paralegal at the law firm Jaffe & Asher LLP, and served as the legal affairs director for the New York Dance Parade during law school, where he conducted independent studies in intellectual property issues, and received an award for research work in mixed for-profit/non-profit entities. Hired first as a clerk and then as an associate by prominent New York attorney Wylie M. Stecklow, Samuel discovered an aptitude and passion for civil rights litigation, and quickly rose to prominence among the civil rights bar.

Samuel lives with his wife, their devoted Boston Terrier “The Frances,” and two black cats, “Biggie” and “Puck.” He is an avid traveler and reader who enjoys finding interesting street art and exploring new places.




Reviews

RB
Randy B.

The Presenter was excellent and compelling.

LT
Lynne T.

Thank you.

RV
Ron V.

Excellent course. Good primer for those looking to get into the field.

VS
Vera S.

An amazing instructor! A real credit to our profession! I wish that every attorney operated his or her practice with such ethics, sincerity, insight and thoughtfulness. A real pleasure to listen to.

MP
Mark S. P.

exceptional

JJ
Joey J.

Very Good teacher

MF
melvin f.

Excellent presenter, clear, informal manner, no jargon. Great practical advice.even if you never do such cases. Very worthwhile.

EM
Ernst "Mitch" M.

Great series by Cohen

JB
Jamey B.

Very insightful.

MG
Michael G.

Good program. Good practical advice on a number of ethical problems.

WN
William N.

Very informative an thoughtout presentation.

MV
Mabel v.

Great seminar - the speaker gave very good information. Overall it was a great presentation. I would enjoy more online seminars from this speaker.

SB
Sheila B.

Really good presenter!

ZS
Zachary S.

Terrific presenter.

JK
Joyce K.

well done

EL
Eduardo L.

Excellent points on fee structuring.

RK
Robert K.

Excellent presentation by a knowledgeable instructor who imparted very useful information beyond that which is contained in the law itself.

DG
David G.

Would love to work w this guy.

SS
Samuel S.

Excellent course.

MC
Melvin Duane C.

Mr. Cohen made me feel good about being a lawyer again.

RA
Richard A.

Excellent presentation.

MH
Marjorie H.

Inspiring presenter.

RA
Richard A.

Good practical information.

BC
Bonnie C.

Great presentation!

JB
Joann B.

Best speaker I have heard so far in my use of Lwwline - very informative and practical

BH
Benjamin H.

very interesting. I enjoyed the presenter.

JL
Jody L.

Excellent Course.

SM
Suzanne M.

Love him

DM
Daniel M.

Fantastic presentation...

MB
Michael B.

He kept my attention.

AE
Amy E.

Well presented. Important information

KB
Kathleen Lewis B.

This lecturer was better than most Lawline lecturers in my opinion. I don't do this kind of practice but I was interested because I found him to be knowledgeable and extremely ethical.

MC
Migdalia C.

Excellent.

RC
Robert D C.

Mr. Cohen's presentation was excellent!

EP
Ernest P.

I have practiced as a defense attorney in 1983 cases. I was extremely impressed with Mr. Cohen. If the demeanor, level of knowledge, and reasonable attitude that he demonstrated in the video are an accurate reflection, then he is a credit to the practice in New York. Well done.

MM
Michael M.

Outstanding!

LG
Lourdes G.

Very well done!

IK
Irina K.

Great topic. Mr. Cohen made some excellent points.

KG
Katrenia G.

The Instructor was excellent.

NF
Nathan F.

As a former section 1983 practitioner who hasn't practiced in a while, I found this information very helpful and well-presented.

JH
Jakki H.

Loved it! Great speaker, great content.

GH
george h.

The presenter offered his personal perspective on many salient issues regarding clients' retainers. This was a fascinating course for me to view. Thank you.

BW
Brenda W.

I really enjoyed this speaker. The only comment that was disturbing to me was his comment about his Brooks Brothers suit. I found that distasteful for a civil rights topical seminar.

RM
Richard M.

Sam Cohen did an excellent job in covering the 42 U.S.C. 1983 requirements.

JM
Jeffrey M.

Well done

CB
Christopher B.

I don't practice in the area of section 1983 but still found the advice given by the presenter to be very relevant and meaningful. Excellent presentation!

CK
Christopher K.

great presentation

ND
nancy d.

Great

JF
Jennifer F.

excellent speaker. need to have him back again.

WB
William B.

Great program, thank you!

DM
David B. M.

Well, done, very clear.

RG
Richard A G.

Great practical advice and well presented.

JD
James D.

Samuel Cohen is an excellent presenter, very knowledgable and warm and friendly.

GT
Gary T.

Well done!

CC
Cecilia C.

It was helpful to hear the practitioners' stories about how he handles these matters and communicates with clients.

RC
Richard C.

Excellent presentation and Samuel was well informed. A must for any practitioner.

ML
Mario L.

Best course. Period

HB
Harry B.

Mr. Cohen did an excellent job. Makes me wish I did more of his type of practice.

AR
Alexandra R.

Very good detailed and solid civil rights litigation ethics advice.

JB
Julie A. B.

Enlightens, exposes, and explains. Speaker has the intensity of an eagle diving for a fish in a lake. Watch for Cohen’s other superb Lawline program, “An Introduction to §1983 Civil Rights Pleading Practice.” But why wait? This one’s here now, and it’s a home run.

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