Ethical Billing Made Simple: Tips to Use & Traps to Avoid for Client Trust Accounts, Fees, and Retainers


CLE credits earned: 2 ETHICS

Handling fees, retainers, and trust accounts is not only essential to running a successful practice, but is also one of the lifelines on which practices thrive or flounder. As part of a successful practice, attorneys must be sure that they’re aware of all ethical responsibilities to both ensure compliance with their ethical duties, and to lay the foundation for a thriving practice. Christopher Heredia will provide a comprehensive explanation of the ethical duties and responsibilities relevant to handling legal fees, retainers, client trust accounts, and recordkeeping under the Rules of Professional Conduct. The course will include a comprehensive analysis of requirements under the Rules, types of retainers, a walk-through of client trust account recordkeeping, common causes for Rule violations, and practical tips for billing ethically.

Date / Time: February 10, 2020

•   2:00 pm – 4:00 pm Eastern
•   1:00 pm – 3:00 pm Central
•   12:00 pm – 2:00 pm Mountain
•   11:00 am – 1:00 pm Pacific

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•   Live Video Broadcast/Re-Broadcast: Watch Program “live” in real-time, must sign-in and watch program on date and time set above. May ask questions during presentation via chat box. Qualifies for “live” CLE credit.
•   On-Demand Video: Access CLE 24/7 via on-demand library and watch program anytime. Qualifies for self-study CLE credit. On-demand versions are made available 7 business days after the original recording date and are view-able for up to one year.

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Original Broadcast Date: July 29, 2019

Christopher Heredia, Esq. is Litigation Counsel for the Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois (ARDC). Practicing in the area of attorney regulation and discipline, Chris has investigated hundreds of complaints of attorney misconduct and has prosecuted formal disciplinary matters before the Commission’s Hearing Board. He routinely presents to bar associations and other groups on various issues related to the Rules of Professional Conduct, and has appeared on Univision’s news segment titled “Conozca sus Derechos” to discuss the ARDC’s mission and functions. Chris is also a faculty member of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), where he teaches annually at NITA’s Deposition Skills training program in Chicago.

Prior to joining the ARDC, Chris worked as an Assistant State’s Attorney with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in Chicago in various capacities, including the Special Prosecutions Bureau’s Auto Theft Unit, where he prosecuted complex multi-jurisdictional vehicle-related felonies, and the Mental Health Unit where he litigated involuntary commitment and treatment actions involving people with serious mental illnesses.

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Section I: Overview of the relevant Rules of Professional Conduct for fees, safekeeping of property, declining or terminating representation, misconduct

Section II: Analysis of the affirmative duties for the safekeeping of client or third party property

Section III: Sample client trust account recordkeeping and walk-through

Section IV: Analysis of the requirements, prohibitions, and reasonableness of legal fees

Section V: Explanation of types of retainers

Section VI: Practical tips for billing, trust accounts, and recordkeeping