Protect Your E-Filing Passwords

It wasn’t long ago when filing deadlines forced attorneys to rely on the speed and reliability of their process-server or messenger. How many filings were missed due to a flat tire or traffic? If the filing wasn’t stamped before the court closed at 4 PM, the filing could be considered late and the attorney left answering to the client. The dawn of electronic filing has changed this process. Many courts accept filing up to midnight of the due date and hand-delivery is no longer a …

Continue Reading

Does the “Private” E-mail Exist?

Innovations in technology have blurred the lines between work and private life.  Many professionals regularly utilize personal devices, such as smart phones and tablets, while in the office, and can likewise access company files electronically through work-issued computers while at home.  Given the lack of a bright-line distinction between that which is work and that which is private, employees may be tempted to engage in conduct on personal accounts or devices that would otherwise be clearly prohibited in the office.  

Take, for instance, the recent

Continue Reading

New Ethics Opinion on Safe Social Media Management

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