Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.6(c) provides that “A lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure” of client information. Generally that isn’t too difficult but things get complicated when it comes to electronic communication. Over 220 billion e-mails are delivered each day. According to reports, e-mail remains the most “pervasive form of communication in the business world.” Given the rampant use of e-mail, eventually there will be mistakes: your e-mail will land in the wrong hands or you will receive an e-mail meant for someone else. In some cases, the disclosure can be harmless, but what happens when the information lands in the hands of counsel for your adversary?
Lawyers wear many hats; the key is not to wear them all simultaneously. Many lawyers are well versed in areas outside of the law and can be a source of non-legal knowledge for clients. However, lawyers need to be mindful when their services extend beyond the traditional landscape of legal advice. Mixing business interests and legal advice can easily get you in hot water if the transaction goes awry. Take for example the case of Burk & Reedy, LLP v. Am. Guarantee & Liab. Ins. Co., in which a professional liability insurer denied coverage for an attorney that was involved in both the legal and business aspects of a transaction.
Emotional distress is not uncommon in malpractice cases. We have blogged before about jurisdictions that have expressly permitted the recovery of such damages, while other jurisdictions don’t have any law addressing this potential area of recovery. In the past year a few states have addressed this issue and the decisions are worth noting.
Attorney or accounting malpractice makes the headlines. Certainly we’ve all heard of high-profile medical malpractice cases. But the real estate professional community faces its own challenges. Real estate professionals face significant exposure to claims that may fall under E&O coverage. In particular, E&O coverage is useful when a buyer brings suit against an agent/broker for failure to disclose a property defect, for misleading the buyer about the purchase, or for breach of contract. Most commonly, E&O policies are useful for the real estate professional community when termite infestations, mold, hidden water damage, title problems, or disputes about square footage, easements, or property boundaries emerge.
Legal malpractice claims are on the rise…again. According to a recent study, lateral transitions by attorneys may be to blame. Professionally Liability Matters previously discussed an uptick in malpractice claims, particularly those stemming from attorneys handling real estate matters. However, a new survey released last week by Ames & Gough demonstrated an overall increase in legal malpractice claims and suggested that swapping firms is a main culprit.
Brace yourselves, employers: March Madness is upon us. The 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament will start with play-in games March 19 and conclude with the Championship Game on April 8 in Atlanta. During the tournament’s three weeks, the US economy will lose an estimated $1.8 billion in productivity as employees watch early round games, participate in office pools, and discuss the outcomes with co-workers. Make no mistake, March Madness and participation in other work-place “gambling” such as fantasy sports has real world implications on the workplace.