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MCLE Test and Answer Sheet
Test No. 101: The Costly Client (December 2001 LA Lawyer)

Instructions for Obtaining MCLE Credits
1.Study the CLE article in this issue.

2.Answer the test questions by marking the appropriate boxes. Each question has only one answer. Photocopies of this answer sheet may be submitted; however, this form should not be enlarged or reduced.

3.Mail the answer sheet and the $15 testing fee ($20 for non-LACBA members) to:
Los Angeles Lawyer
P.O. Box 55020
Los Angeles, CA 90055 
Make checks payable to Los Angeles Lawyer.

4.You can also fill in the test form and submit it directly to LACBA by clicking "Submit." To submit your test answers online you will need to pay by credit card. After submitting your answers you will be presented with a screen requesting payment information. This information will be submitted in a secure mode which will allow you to safely transmit your credit card number over the Internet. If you prefer not to pay by credit card, please print this answer sheet and submit your responses by regular mail.

5.Within six weeks, Los Angeles Lawyer will return your test with the correct answers, a rationale for the correct answers, and a certificate verifying the CLE credit you earned through this self-assessment activity.

6.For future reference, please retain the CLE test materials returned to you.
Test Sheet 
Mark your answers to the test by clicking next to your choice. Each question has only one answer. This test is worth 1 hour of credit.*

1. According to the decision in Trope v. Katz, an attorney who is a sole practitioner acting in propria persona:
A. Incurs attorney's fees in the value of the attorney's time and missed opportunities to handle other cases.
B. Incurs attorney's fees in the value of the attorney's time but not for missed opportunities to handle other cases.
C. Incurs no attorney's fees.
D. Incurs attorney's fees at the court's discretion according to proof presented by the attorney.

2. The Trope court ruled that a prevailing corporate litigant is entitled to recover attorney's fees based on the time expenditures of the corporation's in-house counsel.

3. In Trope, the court held that Civil Code Section 1717 bars recovery of attorney's fees by a law firm representing itself because:
A. Section 1717, on its face, expressly provides this result.
B. The purpose of Section 1717 is to deter law firms from representing themselves.
C. A and B.
D. None of the above.

4. Several cases that have been decided since Trope indicate a trend away from the holding and limit Trope to the narrow issue of whether pro se litigant attorneys are entitled to recover fees.

5. The Farmers Insurance Exchange v. Sayas case is notable because:
A. The prevailing parties were both law firms.
B. The prevailing parties were granted recovery of attorney's fees.
C. The law firm litigants incurred no fees under Civil Code Section 1717.
D. A and B.

6. According to Trope, a litigant incurs fees for the purposes of Civil Code Section 1717 when the litigant:
A. Becomes obligated to pay money out-of-pocket.
B. Experiences a reduced draw on the partnership to account for the amount of time the litigant's partners or colleagues have specifically devoted to the litigant's case.
C. Absorbs a share of the reduction in other income that the litigant's firm experiences as a result of the time spent on the case.
D. All of the above.

7. An attorney who is sued for professional malpractice retains litigators from her own law firm to represent her. Under Gilbert v. Master Washer and Stamping Company, Inc., is she entitled to recover reasonable attorney's fees?

8. A lawsuit for professional malpractice names an individual attorney and her law firm as defendants. If the named attorney defends herself and the law firm and prevails, both the attorney and the law firm will be entitled to reasonable attorney's fees.

9. The time a sole practitioner spends representing himself or herself is a lost opportunity. Under current case law, a sole practitioner therefore incurs fees for the purposes of Civil Code Section 1717 and is able to recover reasonable attorney's fees.

10. A law firm may circumvent Trope and ensure the recovery of fees by designating one of its attorneys as its in-house counsel to handle all suits involving the firm.

11. A pro se litigant moves for sanctions for his opposing counsel's discovery abuse. The most recent case law indicates that the litigant:
A. Can recover fees and costs as sanctions.
B. Can recover only for itemized expenses as sanctions.
C. Cannot recover sanctions.

12. The court in Trope held that a law firm's time should not be rendered less valuable simply because it represented itself rather than a third party.

13. Corporations with in-house counsel are said to incur fees for the purposes of Civil Code Section 1717:
A. Only when forced to seek outside counsel.
B. When they pay in-house counsel's salary.
C. Only when they pay in-house counsel more than the normal salary.
D. None of the above.

14. In an anti-SLAPP suit, the prevailing party is entitled to attorney's fees even if:
A. The litigant is represented on a partial pro bono basis.
B. The litigant is represented on a contingency fee basis.
C. The litigant's fees are paid by a third party.
D. All of the above.

Toothless Joe Jackson plays hockey for the Los Angeles Brawlers. Jackson suffers serious injury during a game and sues the Brawlers for providing him with ineffective mouthpieces to protect him during play. Jackson's contract with the Brawlers contains an attorney's fees provision. The Brawlers are represented at trial by the team's in-house counsel, Ms. Anestatty. The Brawlers prevail in the suit.

15. The Brawlers are entitled to recover attorney's fees for the services of Anestatty.

16. If the Brawlers recover fees for Anestatty's services, the amount recovered will be calculated based on the amount that the team actually pays Anestatty in salary.

17. If Anestatty had involved an outside law firm in the team's defense, would Jackson have been liable for the firm's fees in addition to Anestatty's fees?
A. Yes.
B. No.
C. Probably yes.
D. Probably no.

After being rear-ended by Joe Driver, Sally Smith suffers severe neck pain. She retains the law firm of Sayvar Jones LLP. The retainer agreement between Sally and Sayvar Jones provides that "client is aware of the Trope rule and Section 1717. Nevertheless, client expressly agrees to pay attorney's fees in the event that Sayvar Jones represents itself in a dispute with client and is a prevailing party." Sayvar Jones negotiates a settlement agreement, in which Sally releases Joe from all known and unknown injuries. Sally agrees that she "may have serious injuries of which she is unaware but she nevertheless agrees to take her chances regarding them." Sally also waives her rights under Civil Code Section 1542. Subsequently, Sally suffers severe back pain as a result of the car accident and disputes Sayvar Jones's fees. Sayvar Jones, representing itself, sues Sally for breach of the retainer agreement.

18. Would Sayvar Jones be entitled to recover attorney's fees from Sally if the retainer agreement did not expressly provide for them?

19. Under Casey v. Proctor, does Sally have a cause of action against Joe for the injury to her back?

20. Since the retainer agreement expressly provides for reasonable attorney's fees, Sayvar Jones will be entitled to recover them if the firm prevails in the litigation.

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*The Los Angeles County Bar Association has been approved as a continuing legal education provider of Minimum Continuing Legal Education credit by The State Bar of California. This self-assessment activity will qualify for Minimum Continuing Legal Education credit by The State Bar of California in the amount of one hour.

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