Pennsylvania Modifies Work-Product Rule

In a recent decision, the Pennsylvania Superior Court clarified the application of the attorney work-product doctrine in the context of an e-mail exchange to a third-party consultant. The decision addresses the question of whether the work-product doctrine in Pennsylvania applies to otherwise confidential communications sent to a public relations company.

In Bousamra v. Excela Health, a hospital retained an outside consultant to manage the results of peer reviewed studies regarding arterial blockages and inappropriately implanted stents.  The hospital was concerned with publicly disclosing the …

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NY Continues Trend of Rebuffing Online Legal Service Providers

New York has joined a growing list of states with ethics boards limiting an attorney’s ability to participate in online legal service providers like Avvo and LegalZoom. Similar to other jurisdictions, the New York ethics board authored an opinion honing in on the so called “marketing fee” charged by Avvo for attorney use of its website. Although the opinion declines to decide a list of other potential ethical issues with the company, it concludes that the “marketing fee” is actually a referral fee in violation …

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Too Reliant Upon Technology?

Recent technological advances have rapidly changed the way professionals operate.  Professionals are no longer tied to their offices, have myriad resources at their fingertips to research new issues and handle new tasks, and are able to reach new clients through social media.  In general, these advances allow professionals to work more efficiently, increase their output, and broaden their professional footprint. However, professionals must tread cautiously when they employ technologies that do not merely assist with professional services, but actually supplant the professional’s role.

According to …

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Attorney Uses Confidential Info to Complete Insider Trades

The concern for the public’s trust in the legal profession remains a core goal of attorney ethics committees nationwide. Especially with the ease of accessing confidential information, attorney’s protection of client data has truly come into focus in recent years. This week, the Kentucky Supreme Court will decide whether an attorney will be permitted to continue his career in light of allegations that he used confidential client information to complete insider trades. The Kentucky Board of Professional Conduct recommended that the attorney be suspended for …

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The Ethics of Professional Crowdfunding

Starting up a successful professional practice requires ingenuity, business acumen, and a passion for the profession, but it also requires cash.  In order to overcome financial barriers, some entrepreneurial professionals have looked to crowdfunding as an alternative method for raising capital.  By utilizing social media and dedicated crowdfunding websites, professionals are now in a stronger position than ever to pitch their brand and solicit donations from large numbers of individuals in the general public.  Crowdfunding offers the promise of a quick source of revenue, but …

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Court Adopts New Test in Harassment Cases

Professionals strive to maintain safe and welcoming workplaces for employees and guests.  To further this goal, many firms have incorporated into their employment manuals anti-harassment policies and training.  Yet, despite such precautionary steps, an employer cannot guarantee an environment free of wrongdoers. In the unfortunate event of a claim, it is up to the court to determine whether an employer that took proactive measures to protect employees is nonetheless liable in employment related harassment claims.

This question was recently presented to the New Jersey Supreme …

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Duties to Non-Clients: The Exception, Not the Rule

The standard malpractice claim pits former client against professional. In most scenarios, the client alleges that the professional’s conduct fell below the acceptable standard and/or below the expectations set forth in the engagement contract. On occasion, non-clients test the waters and sue professionals under various theories. However, the knee-jerk defense to claims from non-clients is usually lack of privity. Lack of privity is often a successful defense but there are exceptions to the general rule. Professionals must be aware of these exceptions and take into …

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Dropping the Problem Client

Professionals and their clients do not always see eye to eye. Whether there are disagreements over litigation strategy, conflicts in personality, or a client who refuses to pay, many professionals encounter a problem client at some time in their career. While professionals may be tempted to cut ties with these clients when the relationship turns sour, an ugly break-up can make matters worse and may invite a malpractice suit. 

Professionals should consider several factors before deciding to end the relationship. Take the time to assess …

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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”. 

A recent study found that walking while working might boost productivity, with the added benefit of ameliorating overall employee health.  In the study, 40 employees of a financial services company regularly walked on …

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Gaga’s Overtime Problem

Would you pay attention if we told you that Stefani Germanotta allegedly failed to pay her assistant over $375,000 in overtime pay? What if we told you Stefani Germanotta usually goes by “Lada Gaga”? Reportedly, the uber-famous singer reached a settlement in the 2011 FLSA lawsuit filed by her former personal assistant. The lawsuit serves as a reminder to employers of all sizes that unless their employees meet the requirements of the administrative exemption test, they must be paid overtime under the Fair Labor Standards …

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