Author Archives: Andrew P. Carroll

Don’t Forget to Read Your Pleadings

World Wrestling Entertainment is punching back in a class action lawsuit filed by several of its former wrestlers. However, the WWE’s recent court filings take aim at the plaintiffs’ attorneys as much as the plaintiffs’ legal claims. The case provides us with a timely example of the ramifications of failing to carefully read pleadings before filing.

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What’s Reasonable Attorney Review?

Although some law firms are slow to embrace new technologies, debt collection firms appear to be the exception to this general rule. Most of these firms use sophisticated computer software to retrieve information from their creditor-clients, and use the program to automatically populates legal forms. This process saves a significant amount of time for attorneys in a high-volume field, allowing them to file hundreds of basic pleadings in a single day. However, this process has come under increasing scrutiny from both debtors’ rights firms and the government.

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Malpractice for a Client’s Failure to Report

Although some law schools are notorious for offering elective courses like “space law” that are of limited practical use to most attorneys, there is still a set of core classes that are invariably recommended. Courses such as tax law and corporate law often fall into this group, as most lawyers will have to consider tax repercussions or the structure of a company at some point in their careers, regardless of their practice area. One big firm is now learning that despite the dearth of classes in insurance law, it is a subject that every attorney should become familiar with.

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SEC Big 4 Settlement: CPA is Too Close to the Client

Eager young accountants - all professionals, really - often set high goals, but the most common endgame for most is to become a “rainmaker.” Those who build significant relationships and turn leads to a regular stream of business are often in a position to excel professionally. While perceived expertise in a particular field is a must, it is often the relationships that set these partners apart. But when does a relationship become so familiar that a CPA may lose his independence? The SEC recently weighed in on that topic in announcing its recent settlement with Ernst & Young.

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Attorneys Facing Addiction

It is an unfortunate reality that the legal profession reportedly has one of the highest levels of addiction of any occupation in the country. Although many states maintain hotlines and other services available to attorneys, it is all too common that addiction struggles advance to the point where ethical violations result for the attorney.

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Case Evaluation: Attorney & Accountant Conflicts

Professionals strive to develop a reputation within a particular field. The real success stories involve those who are known as the go-to professional for one or more situations. A problem with such success is that it may increase the risk of potential conflicts. If all clients seek the same professional for Issue X, there are bound to be conflicts down the road. In a recent case in the Southern District of Florida, one company alleged that its accountants and lawyers violated their professional duties when they provided proprietary information to a competitor.

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Baseball’s Cyber Lesson: The Cyber Field of Dreams

Remember when you chose your first online login credentials? Perhaps it was for your brand new Hotmail account, or that lightning fast AOL dial-up internet. Like many people, it was probably the first time you ever had to choose a password and it was also probably some combination of your kids’ names, your spouse’s name or your mailing address. Like far too many people, your password in 2016 may not be much different from the one you made in 1996. Despite the best efforts of IT, most people are loath to complicate their lives with long and varying passwords. However, corporate espionage is a real threat in today’s computerized society and executives must realize that treating the privacy of your company account is a recipe for liability. While it may not be your job to keep the entire system safe, it is your job to keep your key to it safe.

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Til Death Do Us Part: Prenuptial Agreements for the Professional

Engagement letters are a must. In case that wasn’t clear enough: all professionals should document the scope of the client relationship for each and every engagement. New clients and long-standing clients alike, engagement letters are a must. It’s a key aspect of best practices that is often overlooked. "My client and I have developed a trusting, professional relationship over the years and therefore it is entirely unnecessary to propose an engagement letter." It may feel a bit like a prenuptial agreement. Why plan for the worst when things are going so well?

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Facebook’s D&O Lesson

Just like in life, directors must sometimes decide between taking what seems to be an unnecessarily formal route, or simply reaching the inevitable conclusion. Anyone who has spent an entire day putting together IKEA furniture only to finish with a few “leftover” screws can certainly understand that completion is often more important than the path it took to get there. However, the Delaware Chancery Court has made clear that when it comes to director liability, “no harm, no foul” is not the rule of law.

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When Clients Turn on their Lawyers

Have you heard of the “Pharma Bro”; the CEO who, according to reports, notoriously purchased a drug used to treat AIDS patients only to dramatically increase its price? He’s made considerable press recently and now he’s turning on his lawyers. In a recent hearing, lawyers for pharmaceutical hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli requested a delay in scheduling trial as they contemplate asserting “reliance of counsel” as a defense.

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