Law Practice Management - Organization, Cloud, Social Media and Ethics


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Law Practice Management - Organization, Cloud, Social Media and Ethics

  1. 1. Law Practice ManagementJennifer EllisLowenthal & Abrams and Jennifer Ellis, JDjennifer@jlellis.netwww.lowabram.comwww.jlellis.netGeneral Practitioner’s UpdateLaw Practice Management, Security and EthicsMechanicsburg, 2013
  2. 2. About Me• Lowenthal & Abrams, PC▫ Plaintiff PI Firm – I focus on issues related to social media▫ Marketing▫ Technology litigation• Jennifer Ellis, JD▫ Online Presence and Technology▫ Legal and Ethical Issues involving Social Media
  3. 3. About Me• Frequent speaker and author on issues involving: SocialMedia, Research, Law Practice Management, Technology andEthics• Author of chapter on Social Media in ABA 2013 Solo andSmall Firm Technology Guide• Author upcoming ABA book, Wordpress Websites in OneHour for Lawyers
  4. 4. Topics• Office Organization▫ Paperless▫ Technology▫ Options• Ethics and Technology▫ Changes to Rules▫ Cloud▫ Metadata▫ Security
  5. 5. Office Organization• Is lack of organization:▫ Costing you time?▫ Costing you money?▫ Costing your clients money?▫ Requiring storage space rental?▫ Increasing risk of malpractice?• Technology can increase speed and decreasemalpractice risk and your need for space.
  6. 6. Save Time and Money: Go Paperless• Scan• Use Email• Case Management• Document Management and Backup• Financial Records• Electronic Discovery Tools• Trial Software• E-File When Available
  7. 7. Focus on the Future• Don’t let old files hold you back.• Focus on becoming paperless going forward.• Determine how long you need to keep files for your practicearea.▫ Get rid of what you don’t need to keep
  8. 8. Scanning• For Solo or Small firms recommend:▫ Fijitsu Scansnap $ 425 on Amazon• Touch each piece of paper once▫ Put it where it belongs immediately▫ If it is trash, throw it in the trash
  9. 9. Create a Naming Convention• Name your files in aconsistent fashion▫ Include important data to helpyou tell the documents apart• Organize your files in aconsistent fashion• Make Sure it Makes Senseto Anyone
  10. 10. E-Mail• Make sure everything syncs▫ Email Folders▫ Calendar▫ Contacts▫ Tasks• No longer requires expensive Microsoft exchange server
  11. 11. Office 365• $4-$6 per month per seat• Purchase directly from Microsoft (not your web host)• Syncs everything• Other options available – include Office 2013 and full OnlineApps
  12. 12. Google Apps For Business• $5 per month per seat or $50 per year• Includes Google Apps
  13. 13. Case Management• Many Cloud/Web-Based Options▫ Clio▫ RocketMatter▫ Amicus▫ MyCase• Look for integration with accounting• ABA comparison chart
  14. 14. Document Management• Case Management Tool with Document Management• Use Cloud-Based Document Storage for Backup▫ Make certain secure and encrypted• Recommend:▫ SpiderOak▫ Dropbox (add encryption - Truecrypt)• Use hard disk for extra backup▫ Encrypt the drive
  15. 15. Financial Records• Tabs3• PCLaw• Quickbooks▫ Not specifically made for lawpractice• Check for integration with casemanagement
  16. 16. Electronic Discovery and Document Review• Obtain records electronically• Use tools to save time and money▫ Research tools and identify which will perform what youneed▫ One good tool is Logikcull Recommended by a discovery expert colleague
  17. 17. Trial Software• Trial presentation organization▫ Put everything in one place▫ Connect documents and videos▫ Pack up electronically to bring to trial or deposition• Two leaders▫ Trial Director Free iPad app▫ Sanction Working on app
  18. 18. Don’t Lose Time• Use tools to track time▫ Case management software▫ Outlook – time feature▫ Chrometa▫ Many apps for phones and tablets• Failure to track time results in lostmoney▫ Even for contingency cases
  19. 19. Are These Ethical Problems?• Failure to:▫ Perform electronic research?▫ Check social media sites for harmful or helpful evidence?▫ Remove metadata▫ Secure cloud based data▫ Protect from cyber attacks▫ Timely respond to all methods of communication▫ Have a plan of action if problems arise
  20. 20. Ethics 20/20• ABA is seeking to explore and implement requirementssurrounding technology and ethical use in law practice.• Pennsylvania Bar Association exploring similar issuesand seeking to amend or provide comments toPennsylvania rules.
  21. 21. Proposed Comment [6] to Rule 1.1Maintaining Competence – To maintain the requisiteknowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changesin the law and its practice, including the benefits and risksassociated with technology, engage in continuing study andeducation and comply with all continuing legal educationrequirement to which the lawyer is subject.Slide from Daniel Siegel, Law Offices of Daniel J. Siegel
  22. 22. Proposed Change to Model Rule 4.4• “Inadvertently sent” includes electronic informationas well as paper form.▫ Triggers notification requirements▫ Includes metadata
  23. 23. Ethics Fundamentals• Attorneys must:▫ Be aware of available technology▫ Understand how to properly use technology▫ Use technology when ethically required▫ Manage and mitigate risks
  24. 24. Metadata – Data About Data• Data hidden within electronic files▫ Documents▫ Pictures▫ Video▫ Websites and pages
  25. 25. Examples of Metadata• Author• Date• Location• Time• Meta tags (Websites)• Computer network• Document edits• Hidden notes for author’s use• Who owns it• What type of camera took it
  26. 26. Exif Data
  27. 27. Ethical Obligations on Transmission &Receipt of Metadata• PBA Committee on Legal Ethics and ProfessionalResponsibility – Formal Opinion 2009-100▫ Attorney must “avoid sending electronic materials containingmetadata, where the disclosure of such metadata would harmthe client’s interests.”▫ Recipient attorney “may generally examine and use themetadata for the client’s benefit.”
  28. 28. Removing Metadata• Numerous tools▫ Office provides Document Inspector▫ Adobe Acrobat includes tools in full version▫ Images JPEG & PNG Stripper Within Windows▫ Overall removal Metadata Assistant MetaReveal
  29. 29. Cloud Security Formal Opinion 2011-200 Attorneys may ethically use the cloud to store confidentialinformation Must “take reasonable care to assure that (1) all such materialsremain confidential, and (2) reasonable safeguards areemployed to ensure that the data is protected from breaches,data loss and other risks.”
  30. 30. Reasonable Steps?• Confirm the reliability of the provider in terms of▫ Security▫ Longevity▫ Location of data (and applicable laws)▫ Who has access▫ Plan if data is breached▫ Backup
  31. 31. Law Firm Data Security• Take all reasonable steps to prevent a data breach througheither technological means or phishing▫ Proper training of staff▫ Secure passwords At least 12 characters (letters, numbers and special characters) Changed frequently▫ Update technology as necessary▫ Prevent viruses and malware
  32. 32. Email Security• Make certain your clients understand email is not 100%secure• Obtain approval to communicate via email• Make certain your client’s email is private▫ Not shared with a spouse▫ Not employer’s email▫ Concerns about accessing on employer’s equipment(including Internet connection)• Consider encryption (rare in practice)• Make certain you use a secure provider
  33. 33. Phone, Computer & Tablet Security• Secure all firm devices• Require security for all non-firm devices used to access firmdata• Include ability to wipe phones, laptops and tablets• Include software and applications to help find lost or stolenmachines• Require reporting of lost devices• Have a plan for handling lost devices
  34. 34. Policies• Create policies on all computer, Internet and email use• Train all employees on policies• Require employees to sign off on policies• Enforce policies for all
  35. 35. 1 billion1 billion users per month343 million100 million4 billion photos49 million500 million1 in 4200 million24 million1 millionbusinessesSocial Media = 2 Way Communication
  36. 36. Social Media Can Destroy Cases• Twitter▫ Client posted pictures and discussed how she was enjoying life and becoming used to a scar▫ Low verdict• Blog & MySpaces▫ Woman posted about belly dancing despite claiming a serious injury▫ Angry judge, loss of substantial alimony• Facebook▫ Numerous people claim serious injuries and show contradictory information on Facebook▫ Decreases settlement strength and value of case. Sometimes results in lost cases.
  37. 37. Advice• Discuss social media use with your clients• Instruct clients to stop using social media▫ Explain that anything can impact a case▫ Explain client cannot delete content▫ Discuss privacy settings• Review client’s social media account immediately• Review opposing side’s social media account immediately▫ Preserve relevant information▫ Obey ethical rules
  38. 38. Ethics of Social Media in Cases• Can review openly viewable data from opposing side▫ Cannot friend opposing side Two NJ attorneys in trouble for friending opposing client Numerous guidance opinions including Philadelphia
  39. 39. Ethics of Social Media in Cases▫ Can friend opposing witness Must make it clear who you areDistrict attorney fired for friending witnesses, pretendingto be ex-girlfriend of defendant▫ Can research jurors Must not communicate with jurorsIncludes friending
  40. 40. Spoliation & Social Media• Cannot delete account, posts, pictures or other content▫ Adverse inverse for deletion – Gatto▫ $700k in sanctions - Sprouse• Can:▫ Change privacy settings▫ Disable account
  41. 41. Obtaining Social Media Data• Gather Data about Person• Find Account(s)• Review Accounts• Verify Information
  42. 42. Litigation Tools• Notice to Preserve• Interrogatories• Request for Production• During Depositions• Continuous surveillance of ethically available online content
  43. 43. What to Request• Immediately request preservation of all online activities• Obtain links to all social media accounts▫ Direct links• Obtain all email addresses used to access social mediaaccounts• Watch out for duplicate accounts• Request information about all online activities▫ Don’t forget blog comments
  44. 44. Discovery of Social Media• General rule:▫ Contradictory information viewable in social media account?Discovery granted.• Social media sites will not help in civil cases▫ Stored Communications Act• Will provide data to government in criminal cases▫ Sometimes will fight
  45. 45. Data Preservation• Download Entire Facebook Account▫ Facebook tool• Access site and preserve▫ Recommend record actions as take screen shots. Camtasia to record screen and voice Snagit to record screen shots▫ Do not do preservation yourself Will become witness in your case
  46. 46. Marketing & Social Media For Your Firm• Begin with a website• Add a blog▫ Update content frequently• Identify appropriate social media sites to reach yourpotential clients
  47. 47. Networking & Social Media For You• Create a personal presence• Post about yourself, ethical aspects of your work▫ Keep within your comfort level• Use as a networking tool
  48. 48. Understand Account v. Page• Account▫ For an individual• Page▫ For a business• Use the correct format
  49. 49. What Do I Post About?• Links to blog posts on technology, law and other items▫ I have written▫ Others have written• Random bits of information I don’t mind sharing• Details about speaking events• Input on legal issues (within ethical rules)• Links to articles with commentary• My dog, Curtis D. Ellis
  50. 50. What Do I Post On Behalf Of My Firm?• Links to content▫ I have written for the firm▫ Others have written that is interesting• Information about the firm• Conversation starters• Video we have recorded• Discussion on issues of the day▫ Not religion or politics
  51. 51. Develop a Plan• Which sites are best?• How often will you post?• What will you post?• Who will post?• How will you respond if problems arise?• What are your goals?• How will you measure results?
  52. 52. Follow The Plan• If you do not plan on creating a robust presence withfrequent updates, don’t bother• Begin slowly and ramp up as you are able• Use tools such as HootSuite to manage your time
  53. 53. HootSuiteIn Action
  54. 54. Understand The Ethics• Is social media marketing?• Overarching ethical rules of honesty, integrity and clientconfidentiality apply to all postings.
  55. 55. Ethical Rules For Marketing• When marketing, follow advertising rules (7.2)▫ Geographic limitations▫ Solicitation▫ Appropriate fee language▫ Follow rules for all states in which licensed orseeking clients (8.5)
  56. 56. Watch for PA Rules• Specialization – not an expert unless▫ Patent▫ Admiralty▫ Other approved• No testimonials from famous people• Keep copies
  57. 57. Disclaimers• Not legal advice (informational only)• Does not form an attorney/client relationship• Confidentiality concerns• Geographical limitations
  58. 58. Attorney/Client Relationship (5.5)• Be careful about answering questions in comments (or onother sites)▫ Don’t want to inadvertently form attorney/clientrelationship▫ Suggest people call you instead of answering onlinewhen appropriate▫ Practice in state where not licensed
  59. 59. Personal v. Professional = No Difference• Efforts to separate personal and professional will fail• Always use care in what you write• Examples:▫ Attorney fired for tweeting “Use Real Bullets”▫ Viral case – attorney attacked gay student, fired and made amockery of across country Recently lost substantial verdict for harassment
  60. 60. Jennifer EllisLowenthal & Abrams and Jennifer Ellis,