Risk Management Publications

Newsletters and articles   

Law Firm Data Breaches – A Legal Snaphot – January 2018

Attorneys recognize that law firm data security has become a top concern for clients, regulatory agencies and state legislatures throughout the country. Countless firms have suffered data breaches, from solos to Big Law, but beyond the initial headlines, early settlements and sealed records have left a paucity of case law governing post-breach liability.  As a result, many attorneys are left to wonder about the aftermath of a data breach and their potential exposure in an area of law that is rapidly evolving and far from settled.

Resolving Disputes Regarding the Client File  – Revised January 2018

This article addresses who owns the file, use of retaining liens, and who pays for copies, among other things.  It also includes an appendix of the law and ethics rules by state relating to those issues.  It does vary by state.

Seminar Cyber Memo Health Agencies – May 2017 Seminar –  March, 2017

This memo is an attempt to address some of the questions that came up about cyber security in the May seminars.  If you have additional questions or solutions that have worked for you, we would be very happy to hear from you.

Practicing Law in the Age of Social Media  –  March, 2017

Clearly, the emergence of social media represents the most recent frontier in the ever-changing information age. The influence of social media on legal practice, client relationships, and the boundaries between professional and personal activities must be scrupulously navigated.

Phishing Attacks Use Bar Complaints and HIPAA Audits as Bait  –  February, 2017

By mirroring an email from a state bar, legal organization, disciplinary board or government entity, these scams take a narrower focus than scattershot emails offering a free cruise or a once-in-a-lifetime deal with a Nigerian prince.  This article can help let everyone in the firm know what to watch for.

Retiring From Practice – Understanding Your Options –  December, 2016

An attorney, like anyone else, may look toward retirement with mixed emotions. Retirement means bidding farewell to angry client phone calls and late night brief writing, but it also means stepping away from your life’s work.  Although the decision of whether to retire can be a difficult one, the decision of how to retire need not be.  This article gives some guidelines for closing or selling your practice.

How Irrevocable Trusts Can Disqualify for Medicaid Benefits  –  November 2016

Wills, Trusts and Estates practitioners face challenges when a client representation involves the existence of an irrevocable trust which may influence eligibility for Medicaid. The article addresses the history of this issue in Massachusetts courts and provides relevant information for Wills, Trusts and Estates practitioners outside of Massachusetts.

Wills, Trusts and Estates – Professional Liability Fact Sheet  –  October, 2016

Legal malpractice claims from estate planning representations surged in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and have continued to hit hard.  Attorneys should be mindful of the inherent risks and the high level of expertise required to be effective in the wills, trusts and estates practice area.

An Overlooked Asset in Law Firms – Legal Counsel  –  September, 2016

Like the cobbler’s kids with no shoes, law firms often hesitate to use legal counsel.  Law firm counsel provides a valuable resource for the law firm as a business.  It also provides a conduit for privileged communications within the firm about potential risks and liabilities facing the firm, even for consultations regarding a current client of the firm.  Your CNA policy provides coverage for the cost of outside counsel in the event of a disciplinary complaint or to help you respond to a subpoena for documents or testimony.

 Business Transactions – Professional Liabiity Fact Sheet  –  August, 2016

Business transactions/commercial law (BT) representations are a staple of practice in all areas of the country, especially in small to midsize firms.  In contrast to the popular perception that BT is a “safe” area of practice, in this segment of law firms insured with CNA, BT claims have consistently been among the top loss drivers for many years.  If you include business transactions in your practice, this BT Professional Liability Fact Sheet will help you understand your risks.

To Err is Human – A Guide on How to Managing Errors  –  July, 2016

Across all practice areas, lawyers face rigid deadlines, busy calendars, and an endless stream of client demands. Even the most conscientious, hardworking and diligent attorney may make a mistake of significant consequence at some point in his or her legal career.  Make sure everyone in the firm is aware of the importance of dealing with errors and as comfortable as possible with admitting errors.

Expecting the Unexpected: Succession Planning for Lawyers –  June, 2016

Planning for retirement is important, but you also need to be prepared for an unexpected departure from practice.   What happens if you can’t come in tomorrow?

Ten Tips to Assist in Avoiding a Malpractice Claim –  May, 2016

A little broader than “tips” maybe, but if your office can master these ten areas, you have powerful defenses against ever getting sued over your professional services.  This should be required reading for lawyers and staff.

Practicing law without a legal degree may be coming your way… – April 2016

In Washington it is now legal to create an LLLT (Limited License Legal Technician) and practice as a quasi law firm without being a lawyer.  The LLLT can advise clients on how to manage family matters, prepare clients to represent themselves in court, research a client’s legal question, and draft legal documents to be filed with the court.  New Mexico is one of four states considering similar arrangements.

Alert: New Scam Targeting Lawyers Wiring Funds – February 2016

This is not your typical new client scam.  It is based on a sophisticated hack of your email that gives the scammer detailed information about your existing cases before they approach you.

Watch Out for Trust and Estate Risk – January 2016

What has happened to this nice, low risk area of practice that has changed it to the new professional liability nightmare.

Legal Malpractice Defendants Gain New Defenses – October 2015

It’s a Virginia case, but it still may warm the cockles of your heart to see a nearly $6 million verdict against a diligent, competent attorney trying to make the best judgement call for his client reversed.  Unfortunately, it also left the client who was wrongfully incarcerated with no recourse.

Creating a File Retention and Destruction Policy – May 2015

We ask you to have your file retention and destruction policy in your engagement letter.  This article gives you the rest of the story.  Certainly you don’t go into this detail in your engagement letter, but you need a consistent process so you never have to say, “I don’t know why I don’t have that file, Your Honor.”