Monthly Archives: September 2011

California MCLE Deadline is Right Around the Corner!

Yes, it’s almost that time of the year again in California – MCLE season.  I have already noticed increasing numbers of California attorneys logging on to complete their CLE requirement online.  That’s because Group 3 California attorneys with the last name N-Z must complete their 25 hours of approved MCLE credits by February 1, 2011.

We have also been very busy finalizing the third major overhaul of our website. Now, attorneys from California and around the country will have an even more seamless experience completing their CLE online on our Attorney Credits website.

Luckily Attorney Credits has you covered if you need online CLE in California.  We offer a number of CLE Courses in California for online and offline study and attorneys may select self-study or participatory credit for each course. You may choose individual courses from our course list or select a suitable one-click state bundles to purchase your entire MCLE compliance package with one click of your mouse.

View CA CLE Courses

View CA CLE Bundles

Further, with CLE Your Way we allow you to complete your courses with various media formats. You can choose from the following media formats:

Online streaming video

Online streaming audio

MP3

MP4

CD

DVD

We also have a full selection of specialty CLE courses in Substance Abuse, Legal Ethics, and Elimination of Bias.

CLE Requirements in CA:

Total CLE Requirement:

      · 25 credit hours every three years

Specialty Requirements:

      · General – 19 hours

      · Legal Ethics – 4 hours

      · Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession – 1 hours

      · Substance Abuse – 1 hour

Reporting Date:

      · February 1

Reporting Date Rule:

      · Attorneys are broken up into 3 groups (last names A-G// H-M // N-Z).

Credits Attorney Can Earn on Attorney Credits.com:

      · Attorneys can earn all 25 hours on AttorneyCredits.com.

State Contact Info:

     Office of Certification
State Bar of California

     180 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1639

     (t) 415-538-2100

     (f) 415-538-2180

Further Information

FAQ

CA MCLE Requirements 

Compliance Information 

Forms

Late Deadline is September 30th for Illinois MCLE

Illinois attorneys in the N-Z compliance group needed to complete their MCLE credits by June 30, 2011.  However, if you are in this compliance period group there is still a little time left to sneak in under the ‘late deadline’ for MCLE in Illinois. … however, it will cost you.

Illinois attorneys who did not complete their required 24 CLE credits by June 30, 2011 were automatically given a ‘grace period’ until September 30, 2011.  By September 30 at 11:59 p.m., attorneys who (a) reported non-compliance, or (b) did not submit a Compliance Report need to:

  1. COMPLY with the MCLE requirements or be able to claim a valid exemption under Rule 791 that was effective on June 30, the last day of the attorney’s reporting period; and
  2. REPORT MCLE Compliance (either by mail or Report Online); and
  3. PAY THE LATE FEE specified on the Compliance Notice

Unfortunately, according to the Supreme Court of Illinois one of two late fees will apply:

  • $100 if the attorney reported non-compliance by July 31, 2011, OR
  • $150 if the attorney failed to report compliance or a valid exemption by July 31, 2011

Attorneys who are relying on the September 30 grace period may still report and pay the appropriate late fee online. To report your Illinois MCLE compliance, click here and complete the steps by September 30, 2011. Please note that this requirement does not apply to newly admitted attorneys who were sworn in to the Illinois bar on or after July 1, 2008.

According to the MCLE Website of the Supreme Court of Illinois:[1]

Please note that, under the MCLE Rules, failure to receive an MCLE Certification Form is not an excuse for failure to file the certification. (See Rule 796(a)(2).)


[1] A second MCLE compliance form was sent to attorneys who failed to file or reported non-compliance by July 31

http://mcle.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/214/

Google’s Evolution Revolution

Guest post by Eric Hunter

As part of the next phase in our ongoing Google evolution revolution at Bradford & Barthel, I have it on good authority that Google is currently researching an inter dimensional time portal. This allows attorneys to work their product through the space time continuum enabling clients to receive product at a fraction of our current AFA’s, while also ensuring that attorneys employed through this space time continuum are immune from international law. The result, of course is they can be employed at slave wages ensuring maximum profitability for the firm! (Enter Dr. Evil chuckle).

It’s really all about Business Solutions and Law2020

I think of Google Apps not as an ‘apps’ interface but as a business solutions driven interface. In legal, we look to future-focused initiatives like Law2020 and are continually struck with the reality that law firms must change the way they run their business. At Bradford & Barthel, as at other firms, an evolutionary restructuring is already taking place … alternative fee arrangements for firm clients, alternative staffing arrangements, project management, our take on six sigma, and a shift to a culture that integrates rather than interacts with clients.

Actually, it’s really all about Integration and 2020

Keep in mind Google’s consumer line tends to be integrated in one way or another with their Apps platform over time. In addition to a business solutions platform, think of Google as an integration platform. The platform is built to integrate and evolve with the organization and competitive industries at large. In legal, we integrate areas of practice, client/matter integration, project management, business case, the list goes on. The platform is not only built to be intuitive, flexible and adaptable to third party platforms and vendor integration, but to anticipate where these industries are moving and innovate appropriately. Why? Remember, by choosing a hosted platform, you’re choosing to integrate a portion of your business model with your hosted platform, and Google in it’s current form continually innovates.

The Marketplace

Vendors looking for seamless interfacing capabilities interface through the Google Apps Marketplace. Part of their model is enhancing the products to seamlessly integrate within the platform. It’s a business model shift for vendors, with impacts on licensing, development and integration. In essence though, is it truly any different than developing apps interfaces for mobile? How fast do mobile apps evolve? As we move towards law2020 legal vendors will also need to evolve and innovate their path forward… or go the way of the newspaper industry.  When attending conferences like ILTA in Nashville this year, walk through vendor hall, check out all of the legal vertical specific vendors that benefit our industry. Then think of those that will need to transform their business models to successfully integrate within a model that integrates monthly, that no longer demands license upgrades, but instead provides annual license fees while continually innovating. The sooner our vendor partners rethink their integration business models, the more they’ll be able to shape the game.

Google+ and the Evolution Revolution

Google+ as an alternative to Facebook or Twitter is not a case I’m going to make here. But I am going to make the case for Google+ integrated through Google’s business solutions platform. This is where the concept of the merging of identity becomes quite literal. One of the biggest challenges my organization faces is not the third party application integration described above. That will happen; it takes development, vendor cooperation, coordination development, and will. What about Google+ integrated throughout every aspect of daily business?

So what’s actually going to happen though, really…

Now, is Google going to integrate any of the above? I have no idea, but I certainly hope so, and if Google does not, I hope emerging competitors will. To reach 2020, our industry needs a kick in the pants to re-shape our vendors to meet our competitive strategy needs. As the next few years go by I would love to see vendors begin to integrate this kind of technology within their platforms, and seamlessly integrate with others that do. I’d love to see competitors to Google with this model, as the competition would only benefit our industry.  Behavioral and organizational change are tied to these emerging technologies, but so is change management, project workflow and the merging workplace and consumer identities.

About the author: Eric Hunter is the Director of Knowledge Management and Technology at Bradford & Barthel, LLP, where he is currently integrating a Google driven collaboration platform within the firm’s 12 office environment. Eric speaks and writes on competitive strategy and collaborative cloud solutions globally. He is the recipient of ILTA’s 2010 Knowledge Management Champion Distinguished Peer Award. Eric can be reached at ehunter@bradfordbarthel.com.

If you need further information please view Eric’s course Knowledge Strategy & Behavioral Change: Google, Innovation & Consumer Market Integration.  The course also features Don Barthel and Alec Bradford of Bradford & Barthel.

Moving A Law Firm To Google Apps

Guest post by Eric Hunter

Why Google Apps? Why Not.

I know, it sounds a little nuts, but Google is going to take over the world, our collective consciousness and all of us in it, so we might as well just jump on board! Seriously though, from a strategic investment perspective, there’s a lot to Google Apps and competing collaborative cloud hosted applications that should catch the eye of firms of all sizes.

Consider my firm and our move (leap of faith?!) to the cloud as a decent starting point and case study in what collaborative cloud solutions, in our case Google Apps, can offer as well as what they can’t or shouldn’t provide (silver bullets are still tough to find!).

Technology Outsourcing

All right, so what happens with your Technology? I was told by a good friend of mine recently, and recognized expert in her field, that “I don’t really do Knowledge Management, that my focus is purely on infrastructure.” I told her my choice is actually to outsource the infrastructure and solely focus on KM! Consider it fact, that the more collaborative cloud platforms like Google Apps evolve, the more technology will be outsourced. Both a portion of the humans in your tech departments, and the applications running wherever you currently have them, will be outsourced to Google in this model.

Behavioral Change?

Yep. We chose to migrate to Google’s browser hosted web app. We wanted the most dramatic shift for our users possible to ensure they would begin altering their day to day behavior immediately. Google’s platform is built to tie in mail, documents, sites (their sharepoint/extranet equivalant), and messaging in ways completely outside the box from a traditional business perspective. Such a ‘shock and awe’ strategy helps users quickly get out of existing behavioral thinking patterns they take for granted, and to do something different, innovative, and evolve with both the business and consumer market. This is good, because when you move your firm to evolving cloud hosted collaboration, it’s going to change, all the time. Of course, the ability to implement such extreme change is dependent on a lot of factors, some behavioral, some business strategy focused. I firmly believe the concept that “law firms do not embrace change” is something that will change to “our law firm demands continual change to stay ahead of our competition and engage in the most strategic fashion possible with our clients.”

So how do you stay on top of this evolving platform?

Training and professional development. Senior Management must embrace this behavioral shift to their business, and stay unified. Ensure your committees, practice groups and mid level managers are all part of continual training sessions on the evolving platform and the new ways your firm is utilizing these features. Some of these training sessions will be ‘target specific’ within your firm, and some of these sessions will target all. Granted, most firms have similar training procedures in place. But with a model like Google, the decentralized nature of the system and the continually evolving product demand these sessions to be consistent and innovative. We’ve found our relative knowledge level has risen across all departments, departments are better connected, we connect more effectively with our clients, and our end users are demanding change, faster than Google’s product is developing.

What about Microsoft?

Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite is a great product with considerable cost savings in licensing, and is a collaborative cloud option that competes directly with Google. It’s because of Microsoft’s investment path with this product I think Google is going to continue to innovate in this market. It’s because Microsoft has come out so publicly with their “cloud” offerings, that I think Google will continue to emerge as a player, and Microsoft will continue to refine and offer a better competing product. Bottom line, licensing drops across the industry, cloud hosted collaboration products continually improve, and it’s a win for legal and their clients.

Are law firms defined by the vendors they use?

Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite is a great product with considerable cost savings in licensing, and is a collaborative cloud option that competes directly with Google. It’s because of Microsoft’s investment path with this product I think Google is going to continue to innovate in this market. It’s because Microsoft has come out so publicly with their “cloud” offerings, that I think Google will continue to emerge as a player, and Microsoft will continue to refine and offer a better competing product. Bottom line, licensing drops across the industry, cloud hosted collaboration products continually improve, and it’s a win for legal and their clients.

How will it all play out?

Google is still an emerging player, but they are highly innovative, and we are experiencing daily innovation within our line of business and our forward thinking investment strategy. We’re trusting that Google’s continual investments in improving their search and collaboration features and bridging them across all applications and to as many devices and mediums as possible will not only bring them obscene amounts of ad revenue, but will benefit their clients, like my firm, in a cloud hosted relationship. I’m trusting Microsoft will continue to compete in the business arena to protect their licensing revenue in Office, Sharepoint, and related applications. I’m trusting there is too much of a financial and market incentive for Legal’s third party players in business, financial and competitive intelligence to sit on the sidelines and not integrate in this medium. As you can see, I am very trustworthy (or is it trusting) … Stay tuned to see how it plays out.

If you need further information please view Eric’s course Knowledge Strategy & Behavioral Change: Google, Innovation & Consumer Market Integration.  The course also features Don Barthel and Alec Bradford of Bradford & Barthel.

ABA Suggests Added Duties for Emailing Attorneys

ABA Formal Opinion 11-459 discusses the steps that lawyers must take to address the risk of third parties gaining access to email and text communications with a client.  The Formal Opinion –  entitled Duty to Protect the Confidentiality of E-mail Communications with One’s Client – seems to suggest that lawyers now have an added duty to warn clients of the confidentiality concerns when sending ‘substantive’ client communications via email, text and other electronic means.

A lawyer sending or receiving substantive communications with a client via e-mail or other electronic means ordinarily must warn the client about the risk of sending or receiving electronic communications using a computer or other device, or e-mail account, where there is a significant risk that a third party may gain access.

The main gist of the opinion is that people send emails and texts messages from numerous sources.  People don’t just have one desktop computer that they solely use – now people have smartphones, work on computers in the library or at a hotel, or use other people’s devices to email/text.  Further, your client may be at risk because of the electronic devices they are accessing your emails on – namely their employers computer.  And many company’s written internal policy provide that the company has a right of access to all employees’ computers and e-mail files – this even extends to those relating to employees’ personal matters.  This is troublesome for the confidentiality of this information.

Model Rule 1.6 requires a lawyer to refrain from revealing “information relating to the representation of a client unless the client gives informed consent.”  Therefore, Formal Opinion suggests that the attorneys must advise that the confidential information may be compromised by the computer or other electronic device that the client uses to access the electronic communications.

A lawyer sending or receiving substantive communications with a client via e-mail or other electronic means ordinarily must warn the client about the risk of sending or receiving electronic communications using a computer or other device, or e-mail account, where there is a significant risk that a third party may gain access.

When is the duty to advise triggered?

In the context of representing an employee, this obligation arises, at the very least, when the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that the client is likely to send or receive substantive client- lawyer communications via e-mail or other electronic means, using a business device or system under circumstances where there is a significant risk that the communications will be read by the employer or another third party.

The bottom line is a little bit vague.  If there is a “a significant risk that third parties will have access to the communications,” an attorney must take reasonable care to protect the confidentiality of the electronic communications by giving “appropriately tailored advice to the client.”

What consists of “appropriately tailored advice to the client?”  That’s anybody’s guess.  However, I would suggest an appropriately tailored line or two addressing these concerns in your email disclaimer.

Further Resources:

ABA Formal Opinion 11-459

ABA FYI: Playing it Safe With Encryption

Legal Industry Series, Part 1: Are Lawyers Required to Encrypt Client Email?