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Lawyers Must Safeguard Techie Property Too!

If you’re a lawyer, you know that the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct require you to “safeguard[]” a client’s property while it is in your possession. You can’t just be careless with things, or you’ll be guilty of an ethical violation.

Here’s an example our PR professor told us about. A lawyer’s client (and friend) asked him to hang on to his gun collection for a period of time. The lawyer obliged and stored the guns in his garage. The guns rusted from humidity. The client was ticked (who wouldn’t be?), and the lawyer was disciplined. The examples could go on and on.

The point is that lawyers must know how to appropriately “safeguard” any client property in their possession. Logically, this includes domains, blogs, computers, etc. If you don’t know how to make sure the property is taken care of, you should hire a consultant who can tell you.

Google is the perfect example. Due to some fumble in the company, one of its domains (google.de) was not renewed, so ownership lapsed. If the domain was in “possession” of a lawyer, he would probably be facing a disciplinary complaint right now.

But when would a lawyer possess a domain? Examples are hard to think of (for me), but perhaps a law firm is administering an estate or trust. Computer equipment might be “possessed” easier; if it is in operation, the firm should ensure that it is properly protected from security threats (viruses, hackers, etc).

Does anybody have other thoughts on this subject? I really just wanted to raise the issue, since it came to mind due to Google’s mishap. Honestly, there’s no excuse for mistakes like that. I have a domain expiring in April, and I already got a notice reminding me.

[tags]legal andrew, google, professional responsibility, pr, lawyer[/tags]

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3 Responses to “Lawyers Must Safeguard Techie Property Too!”

  1. Brent Pearson
    January 24th, 2007

    Another important issue to keep in mind is that standard email is not secure. Messages can be intercepted and the contents can be read. So if you are emailing a client’s information, make sure that you have a secure method of doing this. There are secure email vendors or you can use a secure document exchange program like the one from Lawdex.

  2. Andrew Flusche
    January 24th, 2007


    You’re absolutely right. It looks like you have an interesting service there. I might have to look into that more in the future.

    Thanks for commenting,

  3. cialis
    March 21st, 2007



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