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11 27 07 Ezor Attorney E Mail Ethics Presentation


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Ethics issues for attorneys using technology in their practices

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11 27 07 Ezor Attorney E Mail Ethics Presentation

  1. 1. E-mail Ethics: Rules and Best Practices for Attorney Use of E-mail and the Internet Professor Jonathan I. Ezor Director Institute for Business, Law & Technology Touro Law Center When Spam Isn’t Spam November 27, 2007 [email_address]
  2. 2. Computers and Technology Embedded in Legal Practice <ul><li>Document creation and management </li></ul><ul><li>Communication with clients, courts, government </li></ul><ul><li>Back office management </li></ul><ul><li>Legal and business research </li></ul><ul><li>Advertising and marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Courtroom presentation and practice </li></ul>
  3. 3. All Professionals Face Issues Depending On Technology <ul><li>Reliability of hardware/software can affect business </li></ul><ul><li>Employee abuse of Internet leads to lost productivity </li></ul><ul><li>Costs of acquisition, support can be extensive </li></ul><ul><li>Vulnerability to viruses, spyware </li></ul>
  4. 4. Legal Practice Raises Additional Concerns <ul><li>Confidentiality </li></ul><ul><li>Unauthorized practice </li></ul><ul><li>Verifiability of sources </li></ul><ul><li>Uneven “playing field” in courtroom </li></ul><ul><li>Electronic discovery </li></ul><ul><li>Others </li></ul>
  5. 5. Internet Technology Enables Mobile Workforce <ul><li>Telecommuters working from home </li></ul><ul><li>Sales and other traveling employees </li></ul><ul><li>Wired, wireless access widespread </li></ul><ul><li>Outsourcing spreading labor force worldwide </li></ul><ul><li>Handhelds include Internet access </li></ul><ul><li>Office apps include remote capabilities </li></ul>
  6. 6. Mobile Workers Open Doors <ul><li>Many bring corporate data to the outside </li></ul><ul><li>Home or third party computers vulnerable to compromise </li></ul><ul><li>Accessing corporate network via insecure connection </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wired/wireless sniffers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shoulder surfers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>E-mailed, paper files can get lost, missent </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1990: Intel and AMD’s Mike Webbs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dumpster diving </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kinkos </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Portable Devices Add to Concerns <ul><li>Mirroring brings corporate data onto mobile computers </li></ul><ul><li>Laptops can be lost or stolen </li></ul><ul><li>Not just an issue for PCs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>PDAs store documents as well as calendars </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hiptops, cellphones receive e-mail containing data </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Small storage units contain massive information </li></ul>
  8. 12. Attorneys: Confidentiality is Not a Privilege <ul><li>Attorneys required to maintain confidentiality </li></ul><ul><li>Encryption not required for e-mail, but must take appropriate precautions </li></ul><ul><li>Failure can lead not only to sanctions, but real-world consequences for clients </li></ul><ul><li>Problem compounded by lack of IT knowledge at many small firms </li></ul>
  9. 16. Attorney Advertising: E-mail, Web Sites a Concern <ul><li>NY courts regulate attorney advertising </li></ul><ul><li>Rules include restrictions, requirements for e-mail and online advertising </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Subject must include “Attorney Advertising” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No nicknames or tradenames implying success may be used—issue for domain names </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>All computer communications must be retained for 1 year </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web sites (including changes) must be preserved </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attorneys may not solicit for services in real-time or interactive-accessed online communication other than from existing close contacts </li></ul></ul><ul><li> for more information </li></ul>
  10. 17. Unauthorized Practice: Where In The World is The Client? <ul><li>Many Web sites offer legal information, form documents which could be “practicing law” </li></ul><ul><li>Almost impossible to limit where site will be viewed </li></ul><ul><li>Disclaimers, careful review of text essential </li></ul><ul><li>Issue faced by in-house counsel as well </li></ul>
  11. 18. Verifiability of Sources: Can the Internet Be Trusted? <ul><li>Web offers attractive alternative to traditional and electronic research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Zero- or low cost </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Easy cut-and-paste </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Clients balk at paying Lexis/Westlaw fees </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Younger professionals turn naturally to Internet </li></ul><ul><li>Some information available only/first on ‘Net </li></ul>
  12. 19. Double Trouble of Internet: Reliability and Currency <ul><li>Difficult to determine whether Web sites are accurate, complete </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Legitimate-looking sites can be fraudulent (“phishing”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Few sites offer guarantees of accuracy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can be problem to determine who owns/runs site </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Even official sites may not be current </li></ul><ul><li>Need to check “pocket part,” whether literal or figurative, before relying on material </li></ul>
  13. 20. Litigation Technology: High Stakes, Frequent Mistakes <ul><li>Courtroom technology increasing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Presentation graphics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multimedia exhibits </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Well-funded litigants with high-tech “toys” may dazzle jury </li></ul><ul><li>Unfamiliarity with technology can impede rather than help case </li></ul><ul><li>Best approach: Careful choice of technology, extensive rehearsal </li></ul>
  15. 24. Electronic Discovery: Giving and Receiving <ul><li>Many cases now hinge on digitally-stored materials </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E-mail </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Memoranda </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web sites </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Unfamiliar attorneys may request too little, produce wrong/too much material </li></ul><ul><li>Critical to enlist computer forensics consultants </li></ul>
  16. 26. Malicious Hacking: <ul><li>Long Island law firm brought Web server in-house </li></ul><ul><li>Consultant failed to close security holes </li></ul><ul><li>Firm ended up hosting Eastern European porn server </li></ul>“ The Case of the Law Firm Porn Server”
  17. 27. With Digital Records, Backups Required by Ethics and Best Practices <ul><li>Firms keep documents, client records electronically </li></ul><ul><li>Natural, man-made disasters can make them inaccessible </li></ul><ul><ul><li>9/11 and other terrorist attacks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hurricanes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blackouts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Failure to make backups could be grounds for sanctions </li></ul><ul><li>Not just onsite but offsite backups critical </li></ul>
  18. 28. Strict Controls Needed for Firm Information <ul><li>Clearly articulated policies about access, saving </li></ul><ul><li>Encryption at all levels </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Access </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Transmission </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Storage </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ensuring logoff, password changing </li></ul><ul><li>Personal, company-owned portable devices covered </li></ul><ul><li>Privacy laws require additional processes </li></ul>
  19. 29. For More Information Please Contact: Professor Jonathan I. Ezor Director, Institute for Business, Law and Technology (IBLT) Touro Law Center 225 Eastview Dr., Central Islip, NY 11722 Tel: 631-761-7119 Fax: 516-977-3001 e. [email_address]