Author Archives: Jill C. Owens

What to Report and When?

Applying for malpractice insurance is a critically important process and a necessary risk management tool. Professionals must be sure to complete the applications completely and must take steps to include all pertinent information. In a recent decision, the Northern District of Illinois concluded that an attorney omitted material information in his application and denied coverage. The result could be devastating for the attorney.

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Attorney Disbarred for Conspiring to have Adversary Arrested

Many professionals are driven, competitive, proud and devoted to their craft. Professionals want to achieve success for their clients, they want to win. But what defines success? Professionals must stay within the rules of the road at all times or the result will most certainly be a total failure. Take for example the attorney accused of conspiring to setup his adversary on a DUI charge. You can’t make this stuff up.

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Liability for Delegated Tasks

We’ve previously touched on the risks of delegation. Although most of the LPL cases we discuss involve an attorney’s own, direct negligence, an attorney may be responsible for delegating tasks to others. Can the delegating attorney avoid liability because the alleged negligence was committed by someone else? According to a recent South Carolina opinion, the answer is no.

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Technology in the Courtroom – The Dos and Don’ts

Stuck in court but want to use your tablet to respond to a client e-mail? Waiting for your case to be called and want to send a tweet from your phone? Is this sort of conduct permissible in the courtroom? Nowadays, it is anyone’s guess. Smartphones and tablets have become indispensable in the legal world, but the law regarding electronic communications sent from the courtroom is still in flux. The New Jersey Supreme Court’s proposed Guidelines on Electronic Devices in the Courtroom, which have yet to take effect, aim to provide some guidance in this realm. Now, if you want to scroll and tap on your mobile device in the courtroom, keep these new rules in mind.

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Former Lawyer for Rosa Parks Targeted in New Suit

A New York auction house has targeted Rosa Parks’ former lawyer, claiming that he mishandled her estate. According to the claim, the attorney caused the auction house millions in damages based on his alleged misrepresentations that Parks’ heirs had authorized the estate to proceed to auction. In particular, Parks’ reported $10 million estate included her Congressional Gold Medal and a postcard from Martin Luther King, Jr. Instead of proceeding to an individualized private auction as originally contemplated, the auction house alleges that the attorney’s gaff led to a lump sum sale of the estate to a non-profit organization which gifted the items to a museum.

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Open House = Open to Liability? Broker Liability to Open House Attendees

Open houses and showings are a critical part of any real estate broker’s job. More often than not, prospective buyers want to look at the property before committing. But what happens when a prospective buyer is injured while touring a property? Does a listing agreement impose a duty upon a real estate agent to ensure a property is safe before showing it? Is a listing agent a legitimate target of an injured open house guest? Nope, according to a recent decision out of Illinois. But that is not always the case.

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An Ethics Lesson from Judge Judy

Popular television judge "Judge Judy" is known for her no-nonsense approach inside her courtroom. Based on the recent lawsuit she filed against a law firm, it would appear that she maintains that same approach outside the courtroom. Judith Sheindlin – better known as “Judge Judy” filed a March 12 lawsuit alleging that a fellow Connecticut attorney used her image in advertisements without permission. The suit provides another reminder of the risks of attorney advertising.

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Flying Under the Radar: Taxing Frequent Flier Miles

Many professionals travel frequently. Hence, professionals may accumulate various rebates, discounts, frequent flier miles or “cash-back” as a result of travel or credit-card incentive programs. Over the years there has been some chatter amongst tax-preparers as to whether those travel-related or purchase perks are considered taxable income. Let’s take a closer look at this risk management issue facing the accounting profession.

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Ethical Advertising on LinkedIn

Most professionals utilize a LinkedIn profile and/or a professional Facebook page. A large proportion of LinkedIn’s 150 million users are professionals; about 2% of which are attorneys. The proliferation of social media use by professionals has sparked debate regarding the collision between ethics and online marketing. This is particularly so because the standard, one-size-fits-all format available to social media users does not take into account that many professionals must adhere to state specific ethical rules when advertising. This gap has prompted some serious ethical concerns.

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Arrests Follow Massive, International Cyber-Heist

Recent arrests followed one of the more complex cyber attacks in history. $45 million was reportedly stolen in the blink of an eye but it may take years to comb through the unprecedented cyber-liability issues. Two major banks are now evaluating novel liability issues and presumably deciding whether to lodge a series of lawsuits with major implications on the landscape of cyber-liability.

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