Professional Liability Matters is pleased to present a multi-part blog series exploring a new opinion on the ethics of social media management. As sites like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook continue to skyrocket in popularity, the use (and abuse) of social media in the business world remains a hot topic in the professional liability realm. Without fail, most networking events, seminars, and CLE presentations include a social media component and for good reason. Social media can be a great tool for all professionals, but can also …Continue Reading
Cyber Lessons from Jennifer Lawrence
As you’ve no doubt heard, hackers recently accessed dozens of female celebrities’ personal cloud-based storage accounts, releasing hundreds of nude photographs and videos onto the web. Many of the photographs were taken by cell phones, which automatically backed up the files to popular cloud services, such as iCloud and Dropbox. Some suspect that the hackers then employed targeted attacks in which “brute force” programs were used to randomly guess weak passwords for a given username until it found a match. Once inside the celebrities’ cloud …Continue Reading
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 …Continue Reading
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 …Continue Reading
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.
In Miller v. Federal Express, an underlying construction project came to a halt when financial backers withdrew funding. The Indianapolis Business Journal reported on the funding …Continue Reading
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.
A New Jersey attorney recently sued two …Continue Reading
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?
Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency based on a mathematical algorithm. Bitcoin can be bought or sold online, and …Continue Reading
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 …Continue Reading
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 …Continue Reading
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 …Continue Reading