Category Archives: Technology

Don’t Tweet During a Depo

Today, everyone is a potential news source. Through a handheld device we can instantaneously upload photographs or content via social media to be delivered to an anonymous (and often eager) audience. In a sense, the world is shrinking due to instant access and connectivity. This technology has impacted the way we prosecute and defend cases. It plays into our strategy. Some attorneys use technology in an attempt to strengthen their case. But there are risks and limits. Take for example the Texas attorney who used Twitter to gain an arguably improper advantage.

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Waiving Privilege in the Cloud

The security of confidential information is an increasingly hot topic in the age of cloud-based commerce. Indeed, the all-important attorney-client privilege could be subject to waiver if confidential information is revealed to a third party. Yet, in the age of e-communications, almost all contact between attorney and client involves a third party. Consider the Dropbox program for example, which is utilized by many professionals to store client and case information in the cloud. Does the attorney-client privilege still apply given that this third-party may have access to confidential materials stored in the program? Perhaps you’ve overlooked the danger that cloud based storage constitutes a disclosure of confidential information and constitutes a waiver of any privilege.

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Employer Liability for Employee’s Online Activity

Many employers have made great strides in adapting to the risks posed by online activity. Some maintain employee handbooks with social media and computer use policies. Others provide training and many monitor employee use of employer-provided devices. But risks still remain. Take, for example, the recent Indiana appellate decision regarding potential employer liability for an employee’s online conduct.

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Don’t Steal Your Competitor’s Website Content

Search engine optimization provides a marketing edge. Would-be clients may be more apt to contact those professionals at the top of the online list. So, some professionals spend considerable resources to maintain a priority position in search results. There are marketing tricks to achieve priority status, and tools to employ. But, professionals must not go too far. Take for example the New Jersey attorneys who allegedly stole a competitor’s website content to generate more hits on their website.

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Does Bitcoin Make Cents? Evaluating New Payment Options For Your Firm

Recently, a New York law firm made news when it announced that it would begin accepting Bitcoin as payment. The firm will partner with a Bitcoin payment processing company who will host the firm’s payment system and assist the firm in converting digital currency payments into fiat currency. Other professionals are taking notice, and are permitting clients to pay for legal services using Bitcoin. Should you?

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When Ethics and Online Reviews Collide

Before making dinner reservations, hiring a dog-walker, going to the movies or finding a plumber many consumers utilize online review websites to help make an informed decision. Sites like Angie’s List, Yelp, Consumer Reports and even Facebook provide the opportunity for an online community to publish a review for all to see. Professionals fall into the class of other service-providers who may be reviewed online. These reviews may serve as a nice source of referral business; they can also tarnish a professional’s reputation instantaneously. In the case of the latter, one attorney recently took an offensive approach by responding to an online review written by a former client. The result was undoubtedly not what the attorney intended.

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Legal Zoom’s Business Model Prompts Ethical Debate

As the legal industry evolves, attorneys and would-be clients continue to experiment with alternatives to the standard law firm model. Some websites offer do-it-yourself standardized legal forms for basic legal needs such as will preparation, lease agreements or corporate formation documents. You’ve probably seen the commercials for Legal Zoom, Nolo, RocketLawyer and others. But, what is actually for sale? Has an attorney drafted these documents? If so, are these attorneys subject to professional malpractice exposure? If not, are these sites engaged in the unauthorized practice of law? These are hot issues in many states. Notably, according to a recent opinion out of South Carolina, Legal Zoom’s practices are consistent with the rules of professional conduct.

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Social Media Use Before and During Trial

Often, the fate of your client is in the hands of a group of strangers. These strangers, aka jurors, will determine whether your client is guilty or innocent, liable or not. Sure, jurors’ decisions are based on their evaluation of the evidence, credibility, and the law but verdicts are also reached due to juror bias, personal experience, or tendencies. Thus, the process of selecting a jury is critical and attorneys utilize various methods and strategies in picking only those strangers more likely to decide in their client's favor. Given that a large population of the juror pool utilizes social-media, it may be tempting for attorneys to tap into this wealth of information during voir dire and throughout the trial. Before checking out a would-be juror’s Facebook profile, however, consider the following.

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Great Career “Moves” – Treadmills in the Office Boost Productivity

In the non-stop business world, many employees struggle to find time to exercise. Yet, some employers encourage physical fitness as a means of boosting the health and productivity of their teams. A recent study suggests that a new double-tasking combination – exercising while working – might be a good business “move”.

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Search Terms for Sale: Cautionary Tale

Maintaining a website is just the tip of the iceberg for professionals engaged in online marketing. There are many more options available to professionals fishing for business, depending on their technological comfort level. Today’s professionals also compete for prime domain names and utilize tools to manipulate “searchability.” Commanding that top spot on search engine results can be crucial to a marketing campaign by taking advantage of the reportedly 3-4 billion number of google searches per day. As a result of these staggering statistics, some firms purchase search terms to quickly direct users to their site. This practice is not free of risk.

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