YourABA October 2011 Masthead

Your ABA October 2011

Legal tech now: Social media effectiveness, software trends, mobile security, more
Technological advances have significantly changed the practice of law, with so many tasks once done manually or by assistants now handled by technology. In this ever-changing environment, are you keeping up with your peers? How can today’s technology improve your practice?  To help lawyers answer those questions, Josh Poje of the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center provides guidance.
Who’s getting clients from social media? >>

Advice on criticizing judicial decisions
Walter C. Kurtz, a senior judge for the state of Tennessee, says that lawyers are charged with maintaining the integrity of the justice system, but warns that “making false and reckless allegations about a judge undermines the rule of law and can lead to ethical and professional problems.” Acknowledging that legitimate criticism “is often necessary to properly represent the interests of a client,” Kurtz shares advice on doing so.
Five guidelines to follow >>

When cyber criminals hit—Is the bank liable for your loss?
Earlier this summer Comerica Bank was found liable for more than a half-million dollars in a case involving one of its commercial customers, Experi-Metal Inc., which lost money when the bank approved a series of fraudulent wire transfers. The decision in the case—one of the first to go to trial involving such cyber fraud—has been closely watched as the courts grapple with several cases involving bank security breaches in cyberspace.
Adequacy of banks’ security is key >>

Ethics of switching firms
When you’re wooed by another law firm, and you’re seriously considering a switch, can you just pick up and leave? According to Lawrence J. Fox, past chair of the Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, if you’re adverse to the new firm in a present matter, there are several ethical matters to mind before the switch can happen.
When disclosure must happen >>

Retaining diverse lawyers, eliminating hidden barriers
“The open door to diverse attorneys has now become a revolving door,” says Kathleen Nalty, executive director of the Center for Legal Inclusiveness. Citing five national research studies completed since 2006, she says that there are hidden barriers at law firms that prevent the advancement of lawyers of color, leading to a much higher rate of attrition for diverse lawyers, compared to their white counterparts.
Law firm efforts must go beyond recruitment >>

Data security breach: Is notice required?
If your firm experiences a data security breach, should you inform your clients? Ronald I. Raether Jr., who practices technology-related litigation at Faruki Ireland and Cox PLL, acknowledges that the answer is complex because the legal standard is not well defined. “The states and regulators have not provided a clear picture on this point,” he said. However, “there are some common questions in deciding whether notification is required.”
Companies trend toward over notification >>

Settlement agreements: Eliminating hassle associated with boilerplate language
When it comes to marital settlement agreements, there is often nothing standard about the clients, the petitions, the settlements or even the trials that occur. There is, however, a standard procedure that can be used to eliminate mistakes and save unnecessary time and effort. Checklists are often a very simple way to take your boilerplate language and customize it to specific cases.
Things to do before drafting >>

Get paid faster with credit cards
“In 2009, credit cards officially surpassed paper check transactions in the United States,” says Amy Porter, CEO of AffiniPay, a leading payment processing company for the legal industry. As the growing payment of choice among consumers, lawyers can better control their cash flow by accepting the use of such electronic payment methods.
Special considerations for lawyer merchants >>

Technology help desk services within your reach
“Once considered the province of big firms, hiring your own help desk is an increasingly feasible and affordable option for firms of all sizes,” says legal technology expert Tonya Johnson of the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center, noting that there are now many technology support providers with a variety of pricing plans.
Find list of recommended providers >>

Easy steps to organize your contacts for maximum results
“Lawyers who are successful at business development get results because they are diligent, thoughtful and organized,” says Sally Schmidt, president of Schmidt Marketing, Inc. Keeping clients, referral sources, and other contacts ordered and controlled is a laborious task, but it’s not impossible.
Prioritization is key >>

New jobs posted on the ABA Job Board

Hargrove Madden

U.S. Nationwide (posted Sept. 23)

Alcon Laboratories

Fort Worth, Texas (posted Sept. 21)

Holland & Hart

Denver (posted Sept. 20)


Los Angeles (posted Sept. 19)

Browse all job postings on
the ABA Job Board

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Eye on Ethics

Recent ABA ethics opinions: Email communications

In August of 2011, the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility issued Formal Opinions 11-459 Duty to Protect the Confidentiality of Email Communications with One’s Client and 11-460 Duty When Lawyer Receives Copies of a Third Party’s Email Communications with Counsel.

What the standing committee said >>

Technology Translators

Three tips on using technology to improve client service

Everywhere you look people are using technology outside the confines of the workplace. No matter what type of clients you serve, it’s likely they want to be able to use the same technologies for similar conveniences when they’re working with you. Happily, there are numerous tools to help you accomplish that, even within the limits of a solo or small firm budget.

Using web signature service, email encryption, more >>


Time to renew your membership!

September marked the start of the 2011-2012 bar year, and sending in your dues payment today ensures your continued access to the benefits and resources available exclusively to ABA members.

Paying your dues is easier than ever. Pay your dues online using your ABA ID, by phone at 800/285-2221 or by mailing it in.

Exclusive benefits of ABA membership >>

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