Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Another Case of Lawyer Data Leakage & Client File Pilfering

(Hat tip to the Legal Ethics Forum.) Here's another case of a lawyer planning a lateral departure improperly removing client information in a bid to bring the client with him. The firm discovered this activity and eventually sued the departed attorney. As the decision notes:
  • "In the months leading up to his departure, Winters considered which of his assigned clients he wanted to try to take with him when he left the firm. During this time, Winters removed at least one client file from Mulholland's office and copied it before returning it. He kept other client files with him rather than leaving them at the office."
On a related note, the ABA Journal recently noted that it's not uncommon for firms to allow laid-off lawyers to retain limited access to firm email accounts.

No firm wants to find itself in the position of lawyers inappropriately removing client information. Some organizations are using technology tools to monitor abnormal lawyer document activity and providing early warnings by watching for unusual activity. This approach can give management early visibility so they can investigate and address any concerns before they become serious crises.

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