Author Archives: Michael P. Luongo

Judicial Scrutiny of Frivolous Litigation Statute

Nobody wants to be named as a defendant in a lawsuit. Litigation is expensive, time-consuming, upsetting, and often intimidating for clients. Being dragged into a suit is even more frustrating when the defendant knows the claims are entirely without merit. Defendants who are the victim of frivolous litigation are not without recourse, however. Where the underlying lawsuit is unwarranted, without evidentiary support, or presented for an improper purpose, such as harassment or delay, defendants may have the opportunity to seek damages against the plaintiff and the lawyers who brought the claim.

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Contingency Fees from Former Clients

Many professionals work on a contingency fee basis. If they achieve a favorable result for their client, they receive a percentage of the profit; no win, no fee. The basic arrangement assumes that the professional will continue to represent the client throughout the duration of the matter. But what are a professional’s rights when a client decides to hire new counsel in the middle of a case?

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Facebook Post May Lead to Attorney Disqualification

Social media is ubiquitous in the workplace. Professionals use social media to write about their achievements, to discuss developments in their field, and to promote their practices. Professionals who use social media as an extension of their practice must be cautious, however, that the discussion of pending matters does not violate their duty of confidentiality to clients or expose confidential information that would prejudice others.

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Just How Super Are You? Advertising for Super Lawyers

We work hard. We achieve results. We want to develop business as a result of those successes. That's all understandable since self-promotion is an important part of the development of professionals. By touting personal achievements, professionals are better able to position themselves to compete for new clients. Not surprisingly, many professionals include personal accolades in advertising materials. While the use of awards may be an effective advertising tool, if can also lead to ethical violations when done improperly.

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The Ethical Breakup: How to Switch Firms

It's just business, right? Not when it comes to the ethical and professional requirements associated with the transition to a new professional practice. Many professionals are seeking to expand their practice, or move, or add partners in an effort to acquire new talent. Some firms are streamlining and shrinking their practice. Under the right circumstances, departures may lead to mutually beneficial business opportunities for the departing professional and the former firm. In other cases, however, the actions taken by departing professionals could lead to costly litigation.

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Liability for Failure to Report Misconduct

Many professionals are bound by a code of professional conduct. Sure, we have to play by the rules but those rules may require that we ensure others do as well. In a recent opinion, the Supreme Court of Ohio Board of Professional Conduct considered the circumstances in which an attorney is required to report rule violations by others. The Board addresses two specific questions in its opinion: (a) whether a lawyer prosecuting a malpractice case is obligated to report the defendant lawyer to the disciplinary authority and (b) whether the information acquired form the client regarding their prior lawyer’s conduct is privileged, thereby eliminating any duty to report.

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Liability for Hacked Emails?

Professionals depend on third-party email services to operate their business. As a result, professionals may assume that the vendor is safeguarding their electronic information and therefore the professional is not exposed. False. Consider an attorney sued recently for malpractice arising from an e-mail hacking scam.

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Cyber Risks for Contractors

Professional have become increasingly reliant on digital technology to run their practices. This digital revolution has reshaped the way that many professionals operate and has allowed professionals to better service their clients. At the same time, reliance on technology has created new areas of exposure for professionals.

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Ethics of Disclosing Client Identity in Advertising

Professionals love to advertise success stories. We want would-be clients to know the results we achieved for current clients. However, publicizing specific results could lead to the disclosure of confidential information. Professionals therefore must be cognizant of whether advertising a particular case or representation is likely to cause embarrassment or harm to the client, and ensure client confidentiality.

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Facebook + FMLA Leave = Termination

Had a great vacation? Post it on Facebook. Fun surfing? Post that too. Swam some laps while on FMLA leave due to a shoulder injury? You should probably keep that one to yourself. Employers continue to struggle with balancing their own marketing interests with the interests of employees in maintaining a social media presence. Of course, an employee’s use of social media may not always comport with an employer’s interests as identified in its social medial protocols or otherwise conflict with accepted practices. Take for example the recent decision from the Middle District of Florida.

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