Did you know that giving your computer to charity can run afoul of your ethical requirements as an attorney? Did you know you had an ethical duty to be technologically competent enough to handle all of the technological aspects of a basic discovery request?
These are the kinds of questions we’ll be answering at the Legal Technology Leadership Summit. You can sign up to attend the conference here. One of the panels will feature a dedicated discussion of ethics when it comes to electronic discovery and social media.
The panel will explore these specific situations:
A lawyer “friends” an opposing party or a witness in a pending trial.
A judge “friends” a lawyer.
Lawyers fail to consolidate duplicate electronic records and perform unneeded reviews of duplicate records.
Lawyers place client data on unsecured drives.
A lawyer’s PC has unencrypted client data and is stolen at a restaurant or in an airport.
For attorneys, missing deadlines is a big no-no. BIG no-no. A Goodyear blimp-sized no-no. People have literally died because of blown deadlines. Cases worth millions of dollars get tossed out because of missed deadlines, even if someone has a decent excuse.
That being so, I do not envy the lawyer who had to tell his client that the 4th Circuit shut down their lawsuit because he didn’t know how to use his Microsoft calendar.
More about the difference between “excusable neglect” and this run-of-the-mill bonehead mistakes after the jump…
Dickie Scruggs was at one time a preeminent plaintiffs tort lawyer, with major wins in tobacco, asbestos and insurance litigation. His reign ended with his conviction for the attempted bribery of a Lafayette County Mississippi Circuit Court Judge. Former U.S. Attorney Tom Dawson was heavily involved in the Scruggs investigation and prosecution. He and political blogger Alan Lange of YallPolitics.com detailed Scruggs’ dealings in their recent book, Kings of Tort.
In their keynote address, Dawson and Lange will provide an inside look at Scruggs’ modus operandi – complicity in the theft of corporate information (paper and electronic) by a company’s employees who are later paid consulting fees; providing those records to state attorneys general for their potential use in civil and criminal proceedings; striking contingent-fee arrangements with government agencies; the well-orchestrated political and public relations campaigns that accompanied the litigation; and the funneling of political contributions to state officials.
The authors will also provide an inside view of the eight-month undercover investigation and four months of litigation that followed resulting in the conviction and prison sentences of Scruggs, and four other defendants, three of whom were also tort lawyers, including Scruggs’s son and a former State Auditor.
Maybe I’m just naive, but I find the concept of conducting any courtroom business via video enthralling but also a bit unnerving. It seems so inconsistent with the mythical and timeless ideals of the hallowed halls of justice, yadda yadda yadda.
Whether we like it or not, however, video conferencing is creeping into courthouses across the country. For example, as I previously reported, a Georgia court let a criminal witness testify via Skype.
Last week a government survey revealed that Pennsylvania state courts conduct more than 15,000 video conferences each month. More than half were preliminary arraignments, but the state used videoconferencing for warrant proceedings, bail hearings and sentencing hearings, too.
According to the survey, not only does video conferencing save the state a boatload of money, it also saves magistrate judges from having to personally interact with the pesky “derelicts” charged with crimes.
Keep reading to find out how virtual arraignment conserves dollars and judicial peace of mind….
Allegations of criminal conduct can be made against attorneys from all walks of life. An innocent-looking solo practitioner in Illinois can be accused of prostitution. A partner in a well-regarded Minnesota law firm, the incoming president of the state bar association, can be accused of molesting a child (and convicted of criminal sexual conduct, after pleading guilty).
Such seamy accusations aren’t limited to the heartland; we also see them here in New York, at elite law firms. As we mentioned last night, Moshe Gerstein — a 35-year-old corporate associate in the New York office of Gibson Dunn, who also once worked at Skadden — has been charged by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office with child pornography possession. And we’re not talking about garden-variety kiddie porn, but images of a particularly disturbing nature.
Let’s learn more about the charges against this young lawyer, have a look at Moshe’s mug, and hear from some tipsters who know him — including a former colleague….
The normally tepid e-discovery world felt a little extra heat of competition yesterday. Recommind, one of the larger e-discovery vendors, announced Wednesday that it was issued a patent on predictive coding (which Gabe Acevedo, writing in these pages, named the Big Legal Technology Buzzword of 2011).
In a nutshell, predictive coding is a relatively new technology that allows large chunks of document review to be automated, a.k.a. done mostly by computers, with less need for human management.
Some of Recommind’s competitors were not happy about the news. See how they responded (grumpily), and check out what Recommind’s General Counsel had to say about what this means for everyone who uses e-discovery products….
Sorry, we can’t help you with registering for the New York Bar Exam.
Yeah, for those who haven’t been paying attention to some of my prior coverage, the New York Board of Law Examiners occasionally has problems. Today they’ve got a big one. People were supposed to be able to figure out where they’d be taking the bar exam this summer, but things have not gone smoothly. A tipster reports:
the email with a link to the sign up for NY Bar locations for out-of-state test takers went out today at 2:36. The site crashed at 2:41. I think that the Bar Association could at least pretend to give a s*** and make an effort to make sure their equipment works.
Service has been spotty to non-existent since then. That’s okay, out-of-state test takers. I hear Albany is lovely in the middle of the summer. (/Sarcasm off.)
We can’t make registering for the bar any faster, but perhaps we can make studying for the bar a lot faster for everybody taking BAR/BRI this year…
Google announced yesterday that hackers in China had gotten access to hundreds of Gmail accounts. And it wasn’t just anyone’s email. The attack targeted senior government officials in the United States, Chinese political activists, officials in several Asian countries, military personnel, and journalists.
I have a feeling we will hear a lot more about this over the next few days. For the moment, let’s take a look at the details we know so far….
Facebook goes on the offensive to protect its founder from a man it says is a scammer
When Facebook called Paul Ceglia, the man who claims to have a contract with Mark Zuckerberg for half of Facebook, an “inveterate scam artist,” Ceglia’s lawyers at DLA Piper replied that the company had no facts to back that claim up. “We are prepared to move the case forward into discovery and our client looks forward to his day in court,” said DLA.
Facebook is ready for discovery too: their lawyers at Gibson Dunn have filed to expedite it. Their attached memorandum of law makes a strong case against Ceglia. Facebook’s hoping to give Ceglia his day in court, but it’s hoping that it’s a criminal court.
Facebook wants the original version of the contract that Ceglia claims Mark Zuckerberg signed and the emails that Ceglia said were exchanged regarding that contract. Facebook says they’re as fake as that app that claims to let you see who your Facebook stalkers are. To support their claims, they’ve dug into the dark corners of Ceglia’s past, mentioning again his drug and fraud convictions as well as disclosing a land scam that Ceglia has allegedly been running for years, that had not previously been discovered. Note to self: do not sue huge corporation with any potential skeletons in the closet.
If the allegations Facebook’s lawyers make are true, Ceglia could end up with prison time instead of a hefty chunk of Facebook stock.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: [email protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months (Robert Kinney and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong again March 15 to 23), and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.
Are you challenged by the costs and logistics of maintaining your office, distracting you from the practice of law?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Everyone is talking about the importance of Social Media in Corporate America. But it is relatively safe to say that most law firms and lawyers are slightly behind the social curve. Most lawyers, at minimum, use LinkedIn, for networking. Some even use Twitter for pushing out short, pithy content, while many have Blogs, where they write their little hearts out. The adage “it is better to give than to receive” is not always true though in the world of Social. In the Social World – it is best to listen, give back and engage.
Social Media is a communications tool that can deeply educate you about the needs and wants of your clients and prospects when used in conjunction social media monitoring and sharing tools.
Take this quick quiz and see if you know how to use Social to help you engage more with your clients or to better service the ones you have.