What You Can Do as a Paralegal to Help Your Firm Avoid Malpractice Suits

Since this is hardly the first recession many of us have weathered, some of the articles we're reading could have been written in 2001 or in any of the other more infamous economically turmoiled times. However, the concerns may be the same but with regulation, more client awareness of what paralegals can do and increased utilization of paralegals, the stakes get higher each time. A recent article in The New York Lawyer states that hard economic times causes the number of malpractice suits against law firms to skyrocket. Not a pretty picture for anyone. Particularly vulnerable, the article notes, are... Read more →

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"Critical Care Without Consent"

This article in today's Washington Post (5-27-2007), both surprised & shocked me. I'd dearly love to hear what med-mal paralegals think about these research studies: "The federal government is undertaking the most ambitious set of studies ever mounted under a controversial arrangement that allows researchers to conduct some kinds of medical experiments without first getting patients' permission. "The $50 million, five-year project, which will involve more than 20,000 patients in 11 sites in the United States and Canada, is designed to improve treatment after car accidents, shootings, cardiac arrest and other emergencies. "The three studies, organizers say, offer an unprecedented... Read more →

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"New York's Most Obnoxious Lawyer"

Hmmm, I'm sure someone could nominate lawyers "worthy" of this "honor" in other states. But check out the "competition" in this Village Voice article: "'With so many jerks working as attorneys in New York City, you'd think there would be no way to determine who's the single biggest pain in the ass. You could be wrong. The winner (or loser) is arguably Kenneth Heller. "You can't count the number of crooks, shysters, or idiots among the city's 74,000 lawyers. But Kenny Heller was disbarred for simply being obnoxious. After 50 years of heaping abuse on everyone within earshot and hurling... Read more →

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"Paralegal licensing is good news"

After a hard-fought legislative battle, independent paralegals in in Ontario will become a regulated profession on May 1. This Toronto Star article outlines why licensing is needed: "In recent years, the need for regulating paralegals has been the subject of considerable comment by Ontario judges and in two Ontario government reports. The most recent comment occurred in a Superior Court decision of Justice Deena Baltman last October. It was published last month in the Ontario Reports. "In December 2002, Pamela Elliot received an eviction notice from her landlord claiming rent arrears of $2,700. Shortly afterward, the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal... Read more →

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"Trials & Tribulations of New Rules on EDD"

Could not understanding EDD issues -- both evidence rules & technology -- amount to malpractice? Oh, yeah, I think so, especially if the client didn't 'know' not to monkey with hard drives: "During discovery in a securities case in the Northern District of Florida, Miami attorney Michael Kreitzer's client wanted to see e-mails between two of the defendants. The defendants claimed that the hard drives on which the e-mails were stored had failed, and that all the data were lost. "Kreitzer, the chair of the litigation group at Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod in Miami, persuaded the judge to... Read more →

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"Associate Suspended for Offering Information to Opposing Party for Fee"

Simply amazing! Was potentially losing a legal career worth $2,000? Or even $20,000? "A former law firm associate who offered to provide information to an opposing party for a $2,000 fee has been suspended from the practice of law for five years. "Glenn A. Kiczales, a former associate at landlord-tenant firm Ingram Yuzek Gainen Carroll & Bertolotti, began representing real estate firm Stahl Associates in 2002 in an action to recover an apartment from a tenant and a sublessee named Rajiv Gosain. 'Gosain offered at various points in the action to pay Kiczales, 36, for help in the case, including... Read more →

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"Who's to Blame When EDD Vendors Go Boom?"

I hate it when companies "go boom," but this article really discusses what happens "when vendors let you down": "If you engage in e-discovery, chances are you depend on vendors to help you harvest, process, search and filter digital evidence. But is that a dependency that blurs the line between lawyer and service provider? "Selecting responsive information, planning search strategies and deciding forms of production are responsibilities traditionally reserved to counsel. But confronted by the Gordian knot of electronic data discovery (EDD), lawyers now share -- and sometimes surrender -- aspects of that role to vendors and experts. When all... Read more →

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