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Malpractice Traps:

What You Need to Know

Beverly A. Michaelis, J.D. Professional Liability Fund

1. Everyday Mistakes Can Be Costly 2. eCourt Pitfalls 3. Confidentiality Traps for the Unwary

Everyday Mistakes Can Be Costly

Transactional Practice

Lack of Client Follow Through

UCC Renewals Transferring Assets Into Trust Changing Beneficiaries

Failure to Document
1. With CPAs Filing Subchapter S Election 2. With Other Lawyers In-House Counsel Co-Counsel

Drafting Errors
Failing to Take a Security Interest Over-Reliance On Boilerplate New Case New Rule Not Found

Litigation Practice

Administrative Errors
1. Missing Statute of Limitations
2. Inadequate or Incomplete Service

3. Allowing Defaults Or Dismissals

Inadequate Investigation
Failing to Accurately Identify Parties
Failing to Verify Details

Failing to Discover Lienholders

Poor Client Relations

1. Lack of Informed Consent
2. Poor Case/Client Screening

3. Fee Disputes

9 Proven Solutions to Avoid Claims

1. Apply the ARMS Test 2. Use Engagement Letters 3. Document the File 4. Investigate the Clients Facts 5. Carefully Review All Forms

9 Proven Solutions to Avoid Claims

6. Double-Check Statutes, Rules 7. Accurately Identify All Parties 8. Docket Follow-Up Dates 9. Use Teamwork

Teamwork Controls the Risk

Keep Your Own Calendar
Take Initiative

Give Tactful Reminders

Get to Know Clients

Meet Weekly

eCourt Pitfalls

eFiling Basics
1. Create PDFs Electronically 2. Avoid Scanning 3. Documents Must Be Searchable 4. Acrobat is the Gold Standard
Free if you buy a Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500

eNotice Basics
Keep Your E-mail Address Current Clean Out Your E-Mail Server Learn How to Recover Notices

Common eCourt Traps

Upload the Correct Document

Dont Rely on Grace Periods

Give Documents Proper Names

Verify Before You Upload Always Check the Confirmation

Help! I Deleted the E-Notice

1. Double-Up on E-Notices
2. Train Staff

3. Consider Changing Outlook Defaults

4. Try or

5. Run an eCourt Report

White List Court Domains

Choose Actions
Junk E-Mail, Junk E-Mail Options Safe Senders Tab, Add

Or Right Click, Choose Junk E-Mail

Computer Viruses
1. Keep Software Up-to-Date

2. Use More than One Line of Defense: 3. Monitor the ECF System Directly
4. Speak Up!

Keep Informed
1. Include Staff Addresses on e-Filings

2. Use Rules to Forward Court E-Mail

3. Set Up a Generic Address for Court Notices:

Dont Rely on the Court File

1. Maintain a Complete File
2. Backup! Backup! Backup!

Avoid Last Minute Filings

1. No Internet Connection 2. Court Web Site Offline

3. Other Technical Difficulties

4. No Help Desk Support

5. Out of Time for Paper Filing

Confidentiality Traps for the Unwary

Consider the Consequences

Damage to your Client

Damage to your Reputation

Loss of Trust Loss of Future Business

E-Mail & Fax

1. Verify
2. Send a Greeting

3. Understand Auto-Complete
4. Resist Reply to All

5. Use Disclaimers

Remote Access
+ Unencrypted + No Firewalls + Unsecured Wi-Fi = Breach of Confidentiality
Consider Air Cards


Always Inspect
Copy Document First
Office Button

Inspect Document

Invoke Warnings

Best Practices
Individual Documents in Acrobat
Document > Examine Document

All Documents In Acrobat

Edit > Preferences > Document > Examine Document When closing document When sending document by e-mail

The permanent removal of text or images

Protect confidential content

Through proper use of software

What Redaction is NOT

Changing the Background Color Covering Sensitive Text with Fill

Use Acrobat to Redact

1. Shred Paper 2. Wipe Hard Drives

3. Properly Dispose of Electronics

Thank You!
Beverly Michaelis
Practice Management Advisor 503-639-6911 or 800-452-1639

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