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Protecting Oneself With Legal Disclaimers

The following is a transcript of " The Legal Lad's Quick and Dirty Tips for a More Lawful Life, " a podcast from QuickAndDirtyTips.com . The audio program is available via RSS feed here and at TheStreet.com's podcast home page .

Hello, and welcome to Legal Lad's Quick and Dirty Tips for a More Lawful Life.

Today, I will answer the most common question I have received since I began this podcast -- why do I include the following annoying disclaimer at the beginning of every episode:

Although I am an attorney, the legal information in this podcast is not intended to be a substitute for seeking personalized legal advice from an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction. Further, I do not intend to create an attorney-client relationship with any listener.

The short answer is that I am covering my own butt from potential ethical violations and malpractice suits. I truly love doing this podcast, but a million-dollar lawsuit filed against me by a disaffected listener would be pretty devastating. This disclaimer helps to shield me from this kind of crippling liability.

Attorneys owe several duties to their clients, including prospective clients, current clients and former clients. One of these duties is a duty of competence. That is, an attorney must use legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary to represent the client. In order to competently serve a client, an attorney must also act diligently to pursue a case to the end. So, an attorney must respond to a client's phone calls and emails, and must also keep the client abreast of any major changes in the case.

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