Social Media Ramifications for Professionals: A Cautionary Tale

The use of social media as a marketing tool for professionals has become increasingly common. Studies suggest that this trend will continue as more professionals are utilizing social media to develop business. In an ever-changing technological world, many attorneys and other professionals tweet, post status updates, engage in internet advertising, or blog on a regular basis without considering the legal and ethical ramifications . Recent decisions serve as a reminder that the outcome of social media activity may result in unwanted and unintended attention.
Continue Reading...


My Lips Are Sealed: No Liability For Attorney’s Non-Disclosure to Non-Clients

Let’s start with the basic principle: an attorney’s duty runs exclusively to the client apart from limited circumstances of fraud when an attorney may be liable to the client's adversary. The question remains whether an attorney’s decision to keep her mouth shut - i.e. not to disclose key information to the other side – constitutes actionable fraud. According to a recent decision by the Texas Appeals Court, the fact that an attorney did not disclose information to her adversary does not constitute actionable misconduct.
Continue Reading...

Attorney Sanctioned for Frivolous Claim

You are what you eat – but for lawyers, you are what you sign, file, verify or plead. An attorney in Pittsburgh just learned this lesson the hard way and is now $20,000 lighter in the wallet. The failure to properly investigate his client’s “frivolous” gun malfunction claim has landed Attorney Jason Schiffman with the hefty sanction after the judge disagreed with the attorney’s plea that he had reasonably relied on his client.
Continue Reading...

NFL Star Considering Malpractice Suit

A recent contract negotiation blunder may result in a hefty malpractice claim by a professional football player against his agent. The former agent for NFL defensive end, Elvis Dumervil, is in hot water over his handling of Dumervil’s contract negotiations with the Denver Broncos. Due to his agent’s failure to timely transmit an executed contract to the team worth $8 million per year, Dumervil is unemployed and considering a suit.
Continue Reading...

Who Really Owns a CPA’s Working Papers?

Accountants are well aware that clients, former clients, and others periodically request (or sometimes demand) copies of the accountant’s work-papers. The question invariably is: who owns those materials? Moreover, what is the accountant obligated to turn over and what categories of materials may be withheld? An accountant, and those that represent them, must be aware of the critical legal and regulatory issues facing the accounting profession when handling such a request.
Continue Reading...

Case Study: When an “Expert” Lies on the Stand

A Florida defense expert is facing criminal perjury charges for allegedly lying on the stand about his credentials. The defense attorney may be next. Claimed biomechanics expert, John Lloyd, allegedly misrepresented his educational background before testifying that “shaken baby syndrome” is a myth in a troublesome child abuse trial. It was allegedly discovered that Lloyd had perjured himself on the stand but the underlying defendant had already received a reduced sentence. The fallout and public outcry has been significant. This situation calls into question the ramifications for the defense attorney who proffered the so-called “expert.”
Continue Reading...

Vague Settlement Agreement May Result in Malpractice Claim

Reaching a settlement agreement is supposed to conclude litigation, right? Well the failure to draft a clear settlement agreement may result in serious repercussions for client and attorney. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that a plaintiff is entitled to attorneys’ fees and costs due to a vague offer of judgment.
Continue Reading...

March Madness and You: Implications

Brace yourselves, employers: March Madness is upon us. The 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament will start with play-in games March 19 and conclude with the Championship Game on April 8 in Atlanta. During the tournament’s three weeks, the US economy will lose an estimated $1.8 billion in productivity as employees watch early round games, participate in office pools, and discuss the outcomes with co-workers. Make no mistake, March Madness and participation in other work-place “gambling” such as fantasy sports has real world implications on the workplace.
Continue Reading...

A Lesson in Ethical Attorney Billing

A lawyer stands at the gates of heaven and pleads his case to St. Peter. “I’m much too young to die. I’m only 48.” St. Peter responds, raising an eyebrow: “Forty-eight? Not according to your time sheets." Unfortunately, some attorneys give the rest of the profession a bad name for abusing the billable hour system. Perhaps a lesson in ethical billing is in order.
Continue Reading...

What Does Daylight Saving Time Mean to Employers?

At 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 10, 2013, people all across the United States set their clocks forward one hour to start Daylight Saving Time. Daylight Saving Time (DST) is intended to place more sunlight into “daytime” hours in order to seemingly stretch the day longer and conserve energy. 2013 marks the seventh year DST was expanded by four weeks pursuant to the Energy Policy Act of 2005. For many, the change simply means one less hour of sleep, but for employers, the time change has unique and important implications.
Continue Reading...