Attorneys have a duty to act as zealous advocates for their clients. This duty is particularly important during settlement negotiations, where counsel’s strategy and negotiation skills play a significant role in achieving a favorable result. However, settlement statements that are intended to deceive one’s adversary can quickly cross the line from permissible posturing to unethical misrepresentations of fact.
Attorneys, architects, accountants, engineers, insurance brokers and agents are all business-persons. Some of these professionals balance their professional obligations on the one hand with business obligations on the other. Pay bills, manage staff, execute leases, develop operational strategy. For some professionals overwhelmed by the business side of running a professional organization, an option is to rely upon laypersons for help. Indeed, it is not uncommon for firms to hire individuals to head up operations, some who may be designated with prestigious titles: CEO or COO. But as fitting as these titles are in the corporate world, these designations may be problematic for law firms.
Tweet with caution. It only takes 140 characters for professionals to embarrass themselves or worse. Social media has many advantages. No doubt. But, many users could benefit from an “unsend” option after their post has already infiltrated cyberspace. Of course this option doesn’t exist. We’ve all heard stories of the impulsive, ill-advised posts (like these), an embarrassing typo (like this) , or the heat of the moment tweet (like this) sent hastily without a second thought. In certain circumstances these posts go unnoticed but some professionals may not be so lucky. Take for example the attorney in Kansas who was sanctioned for blasting her opinions about pending cases on Twitter.
Letit be said: we don’t work for free. The business of law, like any profession, is based on a simple formula: quality work + results = payment. Sometimes obtaining payment can be the most difficult piece of the equation. When a fee dispute does arise, an attorney may be required to strike a balance between demanding full compensation and maintaining a productive and ongoing relationship with the client.
Dr. Oz, a well known TV personality, was recently named in a New York lawsuit arising from on-air advice he provided to his viewers. The doctor allegedly informed his audience about a “heated rice” remedy for insomnia. Dr. Oz called it "my night sleep special" on the April 17, 2012, episode of his NBC show titled "Dr. Oz's 24-Hour Ultimate Energy Boost Plan." Unfortunately for 76-year-old Frank Dietl, that Boost Plan left him bedridden for weeks with severe burns on his feet. According to the lawsuit, Dr. Oz failed to provide proper warnings and instructions about the home remedy. The plaintiff seeks unspecified damages from Dr. Oz, NBC Studios, Sony Pictures Television and Harpo Productions.