<img src="//bat.bing.com/action/0?ti=5189112&amp;Ver=2" height="0" width="0" style="display:none; visibility: hidden;">

    The Lawletter Blog

    Amy Gore

    Recent Posts

    ATTORNEY AND CLIENT: Maintaining Professional Competence in the Digital Age

    Posted by Amy Gore on Thu, Jan 31, 2019 @ 11:01 AM

    The Lawletter Vol 44 No 2

    Amy Gore—Senior Attorney, National Legal Research Group

                The Model Rules of Professional Conduct provide that “[t]o maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.”  Model Rules of Prof’l Conduct R. 1.1 cmt. 8.  Maintaining computer security is both a business responsibility and an ethical obligation for all lawyers.  Additionally, attorneys are charged with the ethical obligation to make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information relating to the representation of a client.  Id. R. 1.6(c).  The need for attorneys to maintain current security protocols for the technology used in their offices has never been more pressing. 

                Computer “hackers” have infiltrated thousands of computer systems from private individuals to government entities, and litigation firms have increasingly been targeted.  A recent article highlights the story of several firms involved in litigation arising out of the 9/11 attack, including the ransoming of sensitive and confidential information that had been on the firms' systems.  Dan Packel, “Dark Overlord” Hack Shows Mounting Cyber Risks for Law Firms, The American Lawyer (Jan. 07, 2019).  In another case, hackers destroyed files of global law firm DLA Piper in 2017, requiring expensive and time-consuming reconstruction of systems and documents. 

    Read More

    Topics: unauthorized disclosure, ethical obligations of attorneys, computer security, security protocols, safeguards

    INSURANCE: Automatic Revocation of Beneficiary upon Divorce

    Posted by Amy Gore on Mon, Nov 12, 2018 @ 10:11 AM

    The Lawletter Vol 43 No 6

    Amy Gore—Senior Attorney, National Legal Research Group

                The area of presumed intent in the designation of life insurance policies has long been a source of dispute and litigation. When a state legislature enacts statutes that address an automatic revocation of insurance beneficiary status under particular circumstances, additional litigation is likely to result. Such was the case in Sveen v. Melin, 138 S. Ct. 1815, 1817 (2018). There, a couple were married in 1997 and the following year the named insured designated his wife as the primary beneficiary under his life insurance policy, and his two children from a prior marriage as contingent beneficiaries. The couple divorced in 2007, and the divorce decree never addressed the disposition of the life insurance policy or the rights of the contingent beneficiaries. Upon the named insured's death in 2011, both the wife and the two children made competing claims for the entire proceeds.

    Read More

    Topics: revocation after divorce, presumed intent, insurance policy, designation of beneficiary, right to contract, legislative presumption

    TORTS:  Expanding Virginia's Anti-SLAPP Legislation

    Posted by Amy Gore on Mon, Apr 9, 2018 @ 15:04 PM

    The Lawletter Vol. 43 No. 2

    Amy Gore, Senior Attorney, National Legal Research Group

         The Virginia General Assembly has extended a grant of immunity from liability for certain otherwise defamatory statements in an amendment to Va. Code § 8.01-223.2 (Westlaw 2018).  Previously, the anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) statute extended immunity to claims for tortious interference with contract and similar theories when brought over a statement made at a public hearing or similar proceeding.  Such statements were subject to an immunity defense unless uttered with knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard of falsity.  The amendment makes two significant changes.

    Read More

    Topics: defamation, tort law, Anti-SLAPP legislation, tortious interference with contract, statutory immunity

    ATTORNEY AND CLIENT: Attorneys Must Preserve Confidential Information While Executing Judgment for Fees

    Posted by Amy Gore on Wed, May 17, 2017 @ 11:05 AM

    The Lawletter Vol 42 No 4

    Amy Gore, Senior Attorney, National Legal Research Group

              Most attorneys encounter situations in which a client does not pay the legal fees due and owing. There may, or may not, be a dispute over services rendered. Every state bar association has some form of fee dispute resolution program, yet some clients do not participate, leaving the attorney few options. At some point it becomes evident that the attorney-client relationship has terminated and the relationship with the prior client becomes adversarial in nature. The question thus arises: If the attorney pursues an action against the client to recover the fee, and obtains a judgement against a former client, may the attorney disclose confidential information obtained during the course of the representation while seeking to execute on that judgment?

              Model Rule 1.6(b) allows an attorney to disclose information to "establish a claim or defense on behalf of the lawyer in a controversy between the lawyer and the client; to establish a defense to a criminal charge or civil claim against the lawyer based upon conduct in which the client was involved; or to respond to allegations in any proceeding concerning the lawyer's representation of the client."

    Read More

    Topics: attorney-client, executing judgment for fees, preserving confidential information

    New Call-to-action
    Free Hour of Legal Research  for New Clients
    Seven ways outsourcing your legal research can empower your practice

    Subscribe to The Lawletter

    Latest Posts