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MANAGING STAFF

Model Policy: Employee computer use and social networking

Why you need this policy:

The law governing your right to discipline employees for the things they say on blogs and social networks is still in its infancy stages. But even from the early cases, it has become clear that online conversations are not simply private matters. There’s a big difference between bad mouthing a company, supervisor or colleague to a friend in a bar over a glass of beer and making those remarks in a blog or correspondence on an external social network like Facebook.

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TELECOMMUTING

Model Policy: Telecommuting

Why you need this policy:

Telecommuting offers significant business advantages to a law firm. But it also comes with some liability challenges for employers who choose to offer telecommuting.

. . . download here

 

 

BILLING & COLLECTIONS

Model Tool: New matter intake form

Why you need this form:

Before accepting a new matter from an existing client, you should obtain as much information about the new case as possible. This process, known as “case screening,” can help you avoid many potential problems.

. . . download here

CLIENT RELATIONS

Model Tool: New client intake form

Why you need this form:

Before accepting a client, you should obtain as much information about both the client and the subject matter as possible. This process, known as “client screening” can help you avoid many potential problems.

. . . download here

COMPLIANCE

Model Policy: Nondiscrimination and diversity

Why you need this policy:

The diversity of the 21st century work force has made offering equality of opportunity to individuals regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, or other personal characteristics not related to their professional abilities is not just a legal mandate but an economic imperative.

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COMPLIANCE

Model Policy: Copyright compliance

Why you need this policy:

Copyright infringement has become a serious liability risk for law firms:
   * In 1991, a mid-sized Washington, DC, law firm was sued for $14 million by a publisher. The case was eventually settled but not until after the firm incurred over $1 million in legal fees;
   * In 1999, a large Wall Street firm settled a copyright infringement case for an undisclosed amount believed to be $115,000 per year to the Copyright Clearance Center;
   * In 2003, a major financial service firm was ordered to pay $20 million for copyright infringement.

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BILLING & COLLECTIONS

Model Policy: Client billing

Why you need this policy:

Attorneys have every right—and need—to be paid. But getting clients to pay their bills on time is a major challenge that forces you to confront a bewildering array of fee arrangements, billing of non-fee expenses, and ethical constraints stemming from the attorney-client relationship.

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RISK MANAGEMENT

Model Policy: Client privacy

Why you need this policy:

As with any other corporate website, law office websites collect and use personal information of site visitors, including “personally identifiable” information, i.e., names and other information that can be traced back to a specific individual. Such use and collection of personal information is subject to requirements under privacy laws.

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INFORMATION SECURITY

Model Policy: Client file retention and destruction

Why you need this policy:

One of the thorniest challenges of managing a law office is the handling of client files. It’s not just an administrative issue. Retention and destruction of client files are subject to legal and ethical requirements, including the ABA Rules of Professional Conduct.

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WORKPLACE SAFETY

Model Policy: Workplace violence and office security policy

Why you need this policy:

Acts of violence perpetrated in the workplace have become a major societal problem. In many places, homicide has become the leading cause of workplace fatality! In addition to tragedy, failure to safeguard your workforce from the risks of violence—whether from co-workers, clients, or outside third parties—can expose your law office to significant liability under negligence and other laws.

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