Category Archives: Attorney Websites

CLE Course on Legal Ethics and Evolving Technology


Are you required to keep hard copies of all your blog posts? Can you ethically post the big verdict from your trial on your website? Can you counsel clients to remove embarrassing photos from their Facebook page two weeks before trial? What if your friend endorses you for Maritime Law on LinkedIn… but you’re a family law attorney?

Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram… every new day seems to bring a new social media website and a new electronic fad. How can attorneys harness these new technologies in their legal practice without running afoul of the ethical rules?

It is now your ethical duty to be competent when using new digital technologies. Email and Facebook are not going away – they are now a part of your legal practice. However, as these new technologies evolve so rapidly, the ethics rules struggle to keep up. In this CLE course, attorney Ed McIntyre provides a practical discussion of your evolving ethical duties in light of emerging technologies. The main ethical issues discussed include: communicating electronically with clients, the ethics of cybersleuthing and counseling clients to delete information from social media accounts. To access the course please click here: What Me Worry? Professional Responsibility, Evolving Technology and Why I Might.

Additional subjects covered in this legal ethics course:

  • The ABA Model Rules
  • California Rules of Professional Conduct
  • The Duty of Competence
  • The Duty of Confidentiality
  • The Duty of Communication
  • The legal advertising rules
  • Ethical issues associated with websites
  • Blogs & twitter
  • Disclaimers
  • Confidentiality & social media
  • Website submissions & the attorney-client relationship
  • Friending parties & individuals involved in litigation
  • The no contact rule
  • Suppression of evidence
  • The ethics of LinkedIn endorsements

A veteran trial attorney, Edward J. McIntyre practices complex business litigation in federal and state courts. An expert on the topic of professional responsibility, he also now advises and represents attorneys on issues of professional responsibility, risk mitigation and professional negligence issues. He testifies as an expert witness in court, writes a monthly column on professional responsibility in the San Diego Lawyer Magazine and frequently lectures on this topic. He is also a member and chair of the San Diego County Bar Association Legal Ethics Committee and received the 2013 Top Lawyers of San Diego distinction.

This CLE course is offered in the following states:

  • Alaska(AK)
  • Arizona (AZ)
  • California (CA)
  • Connecticut (CT)
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Illinois (IL)
  • Maryland (MD)
  • Massachusetts (MA)
  • Michigan (MI)
  • New Hampshire (NH)
  • New Jersey (NJ)
  • New York (NY)
  • North Dakota (ND)
  • Pennsylvania (PA)
  • South Dakota (SD)

Attorney Credits offers CLE for attorneys in California and around the country. For more information about CLE in California please click the following link: CA CLE.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

CLE Course: Legal Ethics of Online Legal Advertising


Almost every attorney and law firm utilizes numerous online resources to provide legal information to the public and advertise services to potential clients. However, while numerous attorneys and firms rely on websites and social media to grow their businesses, many don’t give a second thought to the fact that their online activities could run afoul of the ethical rules on attorney advertising. Firm websites, Facebook, Twitter, Quora, LinkedIn, Quora and other social media platforms all pose significant ethical risks for lawyers who may be inappropriately or even inadvertently advertising to or soliciting clients online.

The following Model Rules will be discussed:

  • Model Rule 7.1 – false & misleading communications, required disclaimers
  • Model Rule 7.3 – solicitations
  • Model Rule 4.4 – transactions with persons other than clients
  • Model Rule 8.4 – integrity of the profession

In this legal ethics course, attorney Ken Matejka points out the ethical issues created by your online content and shows you how to fulfill your ethical duties when advertising and offering legal information on your law firm website, social media websites and other online resources like AVVO and Yelp. The five main topics that Ken discusses include false & misleading communications, solicitations, required disclaimers, privacy policies and eliciting online reviews. To access the course please click here – A Tangled Web: Ethical Issues Created by Your Online Legal Content.

Additional issues covered in this CLE course:

  • Providing legal information/legal advice
  • Case results
  • Specialists
  • Guarantees
  • Establishing the attorney-client relationship online
  • Online Q & A websites
  • Contingency fees & costs
  • ABA Formal Opinion No. 10-457
  • Recommended elements for a valid disclaimer
  • Recommended placement for disclaimers
  • Unencrypted email & the attorney-client privilege
  • The integrity of the profession

Ken Matejka is a California attorney and a former member of the ABA’s Standing Committee on Lawyer Referral and Information Services (LRIS). For seventeen years, he worked at the Lawyer Referral and Information Service of the Bar Association of San Francisco and in 2006, co-founded LegalPPC, an Internet Services Company dedicated to helping lawyers and lawyer referral services get more clients from Google. Ken has been a regular presenter at events like the ABA’s Annual LRIS Workshop and for attorneys across California on the topic of online visibility and lead generation for the solo practitioner’s law practice. LegalPPC currently provides Internet services to about 20 bar associations and a large number of law firms nationwide.

This CLE course is offered in the following states:

  • Alaska (AK)
  • Arizona (AZ)
  • California (CA)
  • Connecticut (CT)
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Illinois (IL)
  • Maryland (MD)
  • Massachusetts (MA)
  • Michigan (MI)
  • New Hampshire (NH)
  • New Jersey (NJ)
  • New York (NY)
  • North Dakota (ND)
  • Pennsylvania (PA)
  • South Dakota (SD)

Attorney Credits offers continuing legal education (CLE) for attorneys in California and around the country. For more information about CLE in California please click the following link: CA CLE.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Naked Lawyer CLE: Understanding Professional Liability & Insurance Coverage


Robert is the Managing Partner of a very successful five-lawyer firm that has been in business for over thirty years. In that time, Robert’s firm has built up a substantial reputation that is second to none in the local community… and then “it” happened. Robert received calls from two of the firm’s top clients on the same day – they had both been the victims of identity fraud. At first Robert was baffled and frankly insulted that they would blame him, as his firm has state of the art firewalls protecting their computer systems. “How does this happen and why blame us,” he thought. Then he remembered that one of the associates at the firm had lost his tablet a few weeks ago in a taxi when he was taking a taxi back to the firm.

Cyber Liability and Data Breach protect attorneys and law firms from any type of occurrence where clients or employees information becomes compromised. This includes third party damages and defense costs.

A lawyer and law firm’s liability is much great than malpractice exposure. Cyber liability, car accidents by employees in the course of employment, discrimination lawsuits – these are just a few areas where lawyers and firms face potential exposure to liability. In this course, Michael Carroll will teach you how to protect you and your firm against these potential risks. Michael mainly discusses data breach insurance, cyber liability, office business insurance, hired and non-owned auto coverage and the grisly gremlins of insurance exclusion (earthquakes, floods, harassment, discrimination & termination) and malpractice liability & coverage. To access the course please click here: The Naked Lawyer: Understanding Professional Liability.

Additional topics covered in this CLE course:

  • Workers’ compensation
  • General liability
  • State data breach laws
  • The results of a data breach for your law firm
  • Cyber liability
  • Car accidents by employees in the course of employment
  • Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI)
  • Optional endorsements
  • The fine points of deductibles
  • Loss only deductibles
  • CEOL (Claim Expenses outside Policy Limits) vs. CEIL (Claim Expenses inside Policy Limits)

Specializing in law firms for over twenty-five years, Michael Carroll started Insuring Lawyer in 2002 and now has offices in Ohio and Arizona. His firm has been selected as a Best Practices agency for fourteen consecutive years. Michael is a featured speaker at many national events to lawyers. He also has authored a critically acclaimed book for Lawyers titled The Naked Insurance Lawyer. Michael also is the host of his national TV Show for Lawyers titled The Naked Lawyer Show with Michael Carroll.

This CLE course is currently offered in the following states:

  • Alaska (AK)
  • Arizona (AZ)
  • California (CA)
  • Connecticut (CT)
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Illinois (IL)
  • Maryland (MD)
  • Massachusetts (MA)
  • Michigan (MI)
  • New Hampshire (NH)
  • North Dakota (ND)
  • Pennsylvania (PA)
  • South Dakota (SD)

Attorney Credits offers continuing legal education (CLE) for attorneys in California and around the country. For more information about CLE in California please click the following link: CA CLE.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

CLE Course on The Duty of Confidentiality and The Attorney-Client Privilege


Attorneys must have a firm understanding of the full scope of the attorney-client privilege in order to protect themselves and their clients from improperly disclosing confidential client information in violation of Rule 1.6. However, the attorney-client privilege is often confused with an attorney’s ethical duty of confidentiality – but you must realize that these are two very different legal and ethical principles. The ethical duty of confidentiality provides broader protection than the attorney-client privilege and applies to all information relating to the representation of the client, even the identity of the client in some cases. Unfortunately, many attorneys and even some judges still get tripped up by these two principles.

The attorney-client privilege is an evidentiary rule that protects certain communications between the attorney and client from a third party’s efforts to discover the content of the communications.

It is extremely important that you know the scope and coverage of both principles because an unintended waiver of confidentiality or privilege can be the difference between winning and losing your case – and could even result in a serious ethics violation. To learn more, join trial attorney Paul Marks as he discusses how to recognize and avoid unintended waivers of confidentiality and privilege. The main topics covered in this legal ethics CLE course include ethically naming your client, malpractice lawsuits & client confidences, the attorney-client privilege & third party disclosure and the attorney-client privilege in international discovery. To access the course please click here: Privileged and Confidential: Legal Ethics and The Attorney-Client Relationship.

The following topics are also addressed in this legal ethics CLE course:

  • Listing clients & businesses that you’ve represented on your website
  • Press releases & confidentiality clauses
  • Revealing information about clients to third parties
  • Writing books about former clients
  • Designating an in-house ethics counsel inside your firm
  • Billing, interpreters & experts
  • Furthering the interests of the client
  • The “reasonably related to the representation” standard
  • The Martha Stewart case
  • The attorney-client privilege & international litigation
  • The attorney-client privilege in civil law countries

Paul S. Marks has practiced civil and commercial litigation in California for over twenty years. Mr. Marks has served as first chair trial counsel in over thirty cases that have reached verdict, about half of them being jury trials. He recently served as a Delegate to the policy-making arm of the American Bar Association, the ABA’s House of Delegates. In July 2011, Mr. Marks was appointed to a three-year term as a Commissioner on the California Commission on Access to Justice, a State agency comprised of trial court and appellate judges and practicing lawyers and he also serves as an adviser on the Executive Committee of the Solo and Small Firm Section of the California Bar. Previously, Mr. Marks served on the Executive Committee of the State Bar’s Litigation Section, the Committee on the Administration of Justice, and the Litigation Section’s Committee on Civil Jury Instructions. In addition to being a member of the Board of Editors of Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine, Mr. Marks was honored as “Advocate of the Year” in 2008 by Public Counsel, the nation’s largest pro bono law firm.

This CLE course is currently offered in the following states:

  • Alaska (AK)
  • Arizona (AZ)
  • California (CA)
  • Connecticut (CT)
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Illinois (IL)
  • Maryland (MD)
  • Massachusetts (MA)
  • Michigan (MI)
  • New Jersey (NJ)
  • New York (NY)
  • North Dakota (ND)
  • Pennsylvania (PA)
  • South Dakota (SD)

Attorney Credits offers continuing legal education (CLE) for attorneys in Illinois and around the country. For more information about CLE in Illinois please click the following link: IL CLE.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

CLE Course: Ethics of Cloud Computing


Welcome to the digital age! The use of cloud computing technologies offers lawyers and law firms alike distinct advantages in terms of cost savings, flexibility & mobility, ease of use and more efficient client service. However, because cloud computing places data – namely confidential client information – on remote servers outside of the lawyer’s direct control, it has given rise to some serious concerns regarding its acceptability under applicable ethics rules. For these reasons, attorneys must be cognizant of their ethical duties when selecting an appropriate vendor and deploying cloud technologies in their practice.

Your law firm would like to take advantage of new technologies like “The Cloud” … but is it safe? How can you be sure you are fulfilling your ethical duties to your client to protect their confidential information?

If you have questions about utilizing cloud technologies in your practice while still maintaining ethical standards of practice then join intellectual property attorney Robert Cogan as he describes what the Cloud is and how you can use this new technology without running afoul of the ethics rules. By taking this course you will reach a basic level of familiarity with what the Cloud is in the context of law practice, be able to identify the ethical obligations that must be met in use of the Cloud, learn the actions the attorney must take in exercising due care when selecting a vendor, recognize significant security vulnerabilities that are not a function of Cloud use and take steps to address these security vulnerabilities. To access the course please click here: Ethics of Cloud Computing.

Additional topics addressed include:

  • Pertinent terms
  • Rules of professional conduct
  • Services
  • SAS
  • Advantages of using the Cloud
  • State ethics opinions
  • ABA opinions & Model Rules
  • Client confidentiality
  • Competence
  • Questions to consider
  • Knowledge requirements for non-technical attorneys
  • Terms of service
  • Practical care
  • Non-technical considerations
  • Social engineering
  • Phishing
  • Trojan horses
  • General guidance

Robert P. Cogan is a business and intellectual property lawyer with over 35 years of experience in both corporate and private practice as well as experience in operating management. His previous experience includes fourteen years as chief patent counsel of a Fortune 200 Company, where he managed the development and enforcement of worldwide patent and trademark portfolios. He has negotiated multimillion dollar agreements, including software licenses, distributorships and joint research projects. Mr. Cogan also has extensive experience in contracting with government agencies including Department of Defense, NASA, and NIH, as well as state agencies.

This CLE course on elder law is currently accredited in the following states:

  • Alaska (AK)
  • Arizona (AZ)
  • California (CA)
  • Connecticut (CT)
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Illinois (IL)
  • Maryland (MD)
  • Massachusetts (MA)
  • Michigan (MI)
  • New Jersey (NJ)
  • New York (NY)
  • Pennsylvania (PA)
  • South Dakota (SD)

Attorney Credits offers continuing legal education (CLE) for attorneys in New York and around the country. For more information about CLE in New York please click the following link: NY CLE.

Tagged , , , , ,

CLE Course: Online Security & Risk Basics for Attorneys

We now live in the digital era – an era of social media, mobile phones & devices and being connected and online 24/7. There are many benefits for attorneys and law firms that adopt and utilize online technology to enhance their practice and provide more cost-effective and efficient service to their clients. Unfortunately, there are numerous risks that are involved with utilizing online technologies as well.

“Which risks are relevant?  Those that impact business goals.  Which risks impact business goals?  They all do.” – Deborah Gonzalez

In this new CLE course, Deborah Gonzales of Law2SM presents the tools and resources that you need to better understand the security and reputational risks of online and digital activity for attorneys and how to mitigate those risks to minimize potential losses. The focus of Online Security & Risk Basics for Attorneys is to present security and risk management best practices that address major concerns for attorneys in our new online environment.


There is a wealth of practical information presented in this course and Ms. Gonzalez provides numerous practice points for attorneys to adopt in their everyday practice to minimize online risks.  The main topics addressed include setting the context of our new digital world, mobile devices, apps & BYOD, reputational risk, big data, content management/marketing, compliance and what you can do to mitigate your risk.

Further issues addressed in this CLE course include:

  • The relevant risks
  • Digital threats
  • Social media/online risk
  • Online security
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Sources of risk
  • Why risks happen
  • Crafting a social media policy
  • The NLRB’s (National Labor Relations Board) role in regulation
  • The 5 C’s
  • Monitoring risks
  • Suggested alerts
  • Metadata/geo-tagging
  • Protecting your online identity
  • Compliance with rules & regulations
  • The SEC regulations
  • FTC & compliance
  • Disclaimers
  • The FCC & net neutrality
  • COPPA (Children’s’ Online Privacy Protection Act)
  • The compliance toolkit
  • Audits & assessment
  • SLA™ Risk Assessment
  • Protecting yourself and your firm through insurance coverage

The founder of Law2SM, Deborah Gonzalez is an attorney whose legal practice focuses on music, art, entertainment, digital, social media and online law. She obtained her JD from New York Law School and is licensed to practice in both New York and in Georgia. Her clients include galleries, museums, artists & art professionals, animators, filmmakers, musicians & music professionals, authors, and various other creative professionals. Ms. Gonzalez is a member of the Georgia Production Partnership, Georgia Entertainment Association, Women in Animation, and the Entertainment Law sections of the Georgia and New York Sate Bar Associations. She speaks at various industry conferences around the world, such as SEIGE CON and SIAF, on legal issues and concerns for artists of all genres.  Attorney Credits offers continuing legal education (CLE) for attorneys in Illinois and around the country. To access more information about Illinois CLE please click the following link: IL CLE:

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

To Sue the Online Reviewer?

“It created a story where there was none: Now it will show up in search, now it will attract attention. … It’s snowballing now, and it didn’t have to.”[1] – Jay Pinkert

Here’s the question of today: what do you do when your law firm gets a negative online review?

  • a. Ignore it.
  • b. Sue the anonymous blogger.
  • c. Comment on the negative post
  • d. Never use a computer again.

After thinking about the question and asking for feedback from my peers, we have decided that (c) is the best answer. The problem with suing the anonymous blogger is that you make a story where there would otherwise be none.

A Dallas law firm recently faced the same dilemma. An anonymous blogger had left negative comments about the firm. Here is what ‘Ben’ wrote:

After doing a little investigation the firm found out that the comments originated from Oregon. Since the Texas firm had never represented anyone from Oregon they deduced that the anonymous blogger was not a former client.

The firm then turned to Google to remove the comment … but by then it was too late. Google is like Hotel California – your comments can never leave. Once Google’s search engine ‘picks you up’ those negative results will still continue to turn up in searches – just ask Rick Santorum.  Since the Texas law firm relied on Internet traffic for a large portion of its business, it decided it had no alternative but to sue the anonymous blogger.

However, I read about this story on the law technology news – an outlet for law/technology geeks like myself. By filing a lawsuit, this firm had taken an issue would have gone relatively unnoticed and greatly magnified it.

Here, instead of turning to litigation, the better course of action might have been to write a follow up post to the review and then let the situation die down.  Once your firm picks up some more positive reviews, the one negative comment will be overshadowed.  You could also seek further facts about why the consumer left the negative review or you could even get creative – offer ‘Ben’ further legal representation at no cost since he was not previously satisfied.  That might make the situation better.

I think we’ve come to the point now when most of us know about online reviews – and the people that write them.[2]  And if a person doesn’t know the difference between an online rant and an intelligible review, then maybe you don’t want to represent that person anyway.

In the age of some attorneys and firms have become obsessed with managing and defending their online reputation. And there’s nothing wrong with that – you should actively monitor what’s being said about you online (Google alerts are a good start).

But when you or your firm get attacked online and it’s time to respond, try to use common sense instead of turning into a lawyer and suing the reviewer. Is the $50,000 really going to make you whole again? The damage has already been done – and it’s probably worse than $50K … and only getting worse the more people hear about the story.

For a link to the complaint, click here.

[1] Dallas Firm Sues ‘Doe’ Defendant Over Online Review

[2] Slightly unrelated to the law, but an online of a local hiking trail comes to mind. The online reviewer gave the local San Diego trail one star because it didn’t compare to Yosemite. Well, very few trails do and I can’t get in my car and drive 8 hours to the Sierra Nevada Mountains!

Blogging: Advertisement or Journalism?

Advertising has been a vexing problem for the legal profession for years now.  Before legal advertising was deemed legal with the 1977 Supreme Court decision in Bates v. Arizona, the fear was that advertising would erode notions of professionalism. And since advertising become legal for attorneys, we have had to suffer though the late night ‘Larry Parker got me $2.1 million’ commercials.

This tension between professionalism and advertising has followed into the online realms as well.  Chat rooms, websites and Internet Referral Services have all been fertile ground for attorney advertising – and unethical conduct.

Now blogs are at issue … once again.  The questions becomes, how big is the threat?

Attorney Horace Hunter, who maintains the Richmond Criminal Defense News blog has been charged with misconduct by the Virginia State Bar (PDF here). The Washington Post‘s Capital Business blog recently stirred the pot when it cautioned that the action against Hunter could have a chilling effect on blogging in the legal industry.[1]

However, the Washington Post‘s Capitol Business blog could be way off base here. The main issue in the case is whether a blog should be treated as advertising or as news & commentary.

Hunter asserts that the blog is not an advertisement, but rather consists of news and commentary. Since his blog falls into a ‘news and commentary’ category, no disclaimer is required and the blog is protected by the First Amendment.  The Virginia State Bar contends that Hunter’s blog is advertising and as such, under Virginia Ethics Rule 7.2 Hunter must ethically post a disclaimer on his website.  Since Hunter didn’t have the disclaimer in his blog posts noting his firm’s wins, the Bar claims this is unethical.

However, this Rule 7.2 Disclaimer Rule is only to apply, “when listing previous wins in advertising.”  The disclaimer must state that prior results don’t guarantee future success. The issue will be will be whether Hunter’s blog posts are written in a truly journalistic fashion, or are they simply disguised advertising taking the form of blog posts.[2]

The Viriginia State Bar claims may ultimately hold merit. Carolyn Elefant seems to think that Hunter’s blog is a thinly veiled newsfeed of his firm’s triumphs and successes. You can see for yourself by visiting the blog here.

We will have to see what the Virginia Bar decides, the hearing is set for October 18th.  Even if the Bar succeeds, attorneys will merely have to place some small text reading “Attorney Advertising” on the footer of the main blog page – not even at the bottom of each post. This is not a major issue.  Further, as Kevin O’keefe of RLHB points out there is no record of disciplinary action against Virginia attorneys regarding blogging dating back to 1999.

Brief summary of Advertising rules & issues:

  • Lawyers cannot state anything false or misleading
  • Lawyers cannot state they are a specialists, unless so certified by their respective State Bar
  • Lawyers cannot use testimonials in some states with the implication that past performance will dictate future results
  • It’s smart to include a disclaimer on your website that you practice in a certain geographic region to avoid unauthorized practice of law claims
  • Use common sense – if you can’t do it on the T.V. or the radio, you can’t state it in your website, blog, Twitter, or Facebook (remember Rakofsky!)

Further Resources:

[1] Washington Posts’s Catherine Ho (@WapoCat on Twitter) warns that Virginia lawyers who blog about their cases may suffer  the consequences from their state bar.  Ms. Ho also state that the Hunter case could set precedent fo other states bar’s limiting legal blogs.

[2] One thing that I have found in years of tracking these ethics and technologies issues is that each case must be decided on a case-by-case basis. Because each case involves specific electronic conduct by the attorney or firm at issue, it’s tough to make blanket statements on the merits of one case. There are numerous firms – especially P.I. firms – whose blogs are thinly veiled advertisements or direct solicitations. And that may be the case here.

Calling All Bloggers

I wanted to personally introduce a new feature that is now available to our presenters. The ability to add blog posts on our Attorney Credits Blog. While we have spent a good part of our efforts making the best website on the Internet for attorneys to get CLEs, we have recently been re-branding our Content Partner pages. With the launch of our newly redesigned site (with all it’s cool new features) in two months, our speakers will now be featured on our Featured Faculty pages. This section of the website has received a total makeover and will be a vast improvement over our current pages.

We try to make speaking on easy. We give speakers free CLEs for life and great SEO juice with our new Featured Faculty pages. On top of that we blog, twitter, facebook and all the other social media voodoo we can.

Attorney at Work

Since I have written about Fastcase, LinkedIn, and LawPivot the last few weeks, I thought I would mention one more resource – Attorney at Work.

The premise behind the website is pretty simple – put a collection of experts together and deliver one good idea a day.[1] Not surprisingly, Robert Ambrogi is part of the project – along with a number of other noted professionals. For a full list of people taking part in the collaborative project click here.

According to the website, the ‘minds at work’ provide ideas on everything from coping with burnout to cloud computing. The majority of posts seemed to be centered on productivity, marketing and technology in the legal workplace.

Here is a small sampling of some of the posts:

It seems like Attorney at Work has assembled a nice collection of professionals.  Let’s hope they can continue to expand in the future.

[1] According to the website, “Attorney at Work was created by a small team of practice management experts and communicators who, in concert with experts from around the globe, seek to offer you the help you’ve been looking for to create a law practice — and life — you can love.”