Author Archives: Michael D. Shalhoub

Merging into a Conflict

It seems the law firm mergers are on the rise. 2015 was considered a “record year” for US law firm combinations. This merger-happy world has brought on a list of potential ethical questions. One of those issues was recently addressed in the case Victorinox AG v. The BF System Inc., 13 Civ. 4534, in the Southern District of New York.

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Fired but Still on the Hook

Most attorneys don’t end their careers in the same place they started. Rather, many attorneys make a move or two which may require the transfer of files and clients. When an attorney transfers a file to a new firm, the prior firm must maintain certain ethical obligations. Model RPC 1.16 provides that a lawyer must provide notice when terminating a representation and take steps to the extent reasonably practicable to protect a client's interests. Therefore, professional obligations are not always terminated as soon as the client ends the relationship. The following example demonstrates how failure to timely withdraw from a case after the attorney-client relationship ended resulted in a claim of malpractice.

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Using Good Judgment Before Seeking Summary Judgment

For the defense bar, a motion for summary judgment can be an incredibly effective litigation tool. The successful motion puts an immediate end to a matter before trial, can limit the issues in dispute, or can provoke more reasonable settlement discussions. The MSJ unclogs dockets and saves litigants and courts time, effort, and money. But statistics suggest that MSJ’s are rarely granted and are often expensive to prepare. So defense practitioners should be asking themselves: is this the appropriate case to file an MSJ? The following tips may help in your analysis.

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Double Covered but Uninsured

Prudent professionals maintain different types of insurance to protect against various risks. Some typical policies for professionals may include D&O, cyber, and/or E&O policies. The foregoing policies and others may overlap, while others allow gaps for claims that would not be covered. It is incumbent upon each professional to purchase the perfect mix applicable to her practice; there is no one size fits all and more is not necessarily sufficient. Although multiple policies may fit together seamlessly to form a safety net, other policies allow for gaps in coverage that could result in out-of-pocket exposure.

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Arbitrator’s Conflict Voids Arbitration Award

We previously warned of the risk that settlements purportedly achieved at mediation may unhinge due to the failure to document the settlement terms. Along those lines, a recent decision highlights the effect of an arbitrator’s failure to disclose his connection to a party. Many attorneys are chosen as an arbitrator due to their reputation in the community or personal/business relationships. Accordingly, there may be some heightened risks of potential conflicts, as seen here.

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You’ve Just Been Hacked, Now What?

All professionals utilize computers in the workplace. These devices are a must for providing professional services, meeting customer needs, marketing, billing functions and countless other tools available to professionals through the use of computer equipment. Make no mistake, however, the very equipment that is so crucial to your business is under cyber-attack and is constantly at risk of a virus or hack. Yet, inexplicably, 25% of all computers worldwide are not adequately protected. Professionals cannot afford to be a victim of cyber-liability.

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