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E-Griping: Not on My Blog

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					FEATURE                                                                                                 www.lawcrossing.com     1. 800.973.1177
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                            E-Griping: Not on My Blog
                            [By Casey Lyons]
                            Everyone has bad days at work; with every job, there is some measure of discontent. (Why else would so many people be
                            looking at job-placement websites?) Yet, often, such dissatisfaction can galvanize you by creating the motivation you need to
                            propel your career upward.




The legal profession is a demanding, fast-           to attorneys, and it is not unprecedented            threaten privilege claims and result in grave
paced industry that approaches stress more           for electronic communications between                consequences. Personal blogs and social-
as a form of currency than as an occupational        client and attorney-including emails-to              networking websites are also popular these
hazard. As a result, perhaps more quickly            qualify as privileged information. In order          days, but posting too much information-or
than in other fields, stress can build up, and       to clearly dictate the privacy expectations          being careless in posts-can unintentionally
you have to find a channel through which             of electronic communiqués, many firms                damage a reputation, reveal confidential
to safely vent it. The question is “How (and         have crafted detailed procedures for                 information, and spell trouble.
where, when, and to whom) is it safe to vent?”       protecting the confidentiality of all electronic
                                                     communication.                                       Blogs written by lawyers and paralegals
Meeting a trusted friend for a happy-hour                                                                 are abundant on the Internet, but most
drink and exchanging war stories is one              Maintaining the security of electronic               of them have one thing in common: they
matter-while no promises of confidentiality          communiqués can be a daunting task, as even          do not discuss the specifics of ongoing
are explicit here, it is safe to assume that         the most sophisticated equipment meets               cases. Some paralegals go so far as to post
your friend will not relate your woes to             constant challenge from tech-savvy hackers.          anonymously in order to keep their comments
others. (If he does, he’s no friend of yours!)       Furthermore, most companies have IT teams            from jeopardizing a current or future job.
To be similarly blunt and candid in email            that track and preserve all electronic data for      Despite the author’s intention, a blog can be
or the blogosphere is to enter a potentially         backup purposes. As a result, even long-since-       interpreted at the reader’s whim, and posts
dangerous gray area.                                 deleted emails are rarely eradicated without a       containing strong opinions can have equally
                                                     trace. Invasive as they seem, such measures          strong consequences.
In recent decades, email and other forms             are intended to safeguard information in
of electronic communication have become              case of technological glitches and ensure            It is incumbent on paralegals to remain
pervasive, as they are quick and easy methods        productivity is not lost to Internet wandering.      vigilant and ensure they never-intentionally or
for keeping in constant touch with professional                                                           accidentally-reveal sensitive information to a
contacts and friends. Many email platforms           On the other hand, attempting to evade               third party.
also archive messages, making organizing             company software by switching to a personal
correspondence almost irresistibly easy.             public-domain email account can put                  Confidential information is frequently
                                                     messages at greater risk of exposure to              threatened when paralegals use email for
In its infancy, email resembled traditional          malicious programs, viruses, and worms.              work-related griping. Whether their emails
written mail. Today, email has metamorphosed,                                                             are about coworkers, cases, a person’s plans
taking on a loose and informal style, even in        Under certain circumstances, sensitive               to switch firms or move, or any other personal
terms of the subjects that are discussed and         information shared with a third party can            information of a sensitive nature, once these
dissected through the medium.                        lose its privileged status, and this is what         juicy tidbits are discovered, the cat’s out of
                                                     paralegals ought to be most concerned about.         the bag.
If you are a paralegal, information pertaining
to a particular case or client is held in the        Even the smallest, most innocent lapse in            While the severity of the fallout will vary
same strict confidentiality that applies             judgment when composing an email can                 according to the email’s subject matter,


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FEATURE                                                                                               www.lawcrossing.com    1. 800.973.1177
SPONSORED BY LAW FIRM STAFF




consequences can range from personal              employees can be frank about emotional,             On the net
embarrassment to loss of a client’s trust to      personal, or professional stress originating from
a tarnished professional reputation. In the       particular clients or cases. Such gripe-fests are   The 5 Most Common Mistakes in Email
most extreme cases, it is not uncommon for        intended to allow professionals to work through     Security
a breach of confidentiality to not only cost a    problems constructively and professionally.         www.itsecurity.com/features/5-common-
paralegal his current job but also shut him                                                           email-security-mistakes-0807
                                                  The list of people exposed or burned by past
out of the legal profession altogether.
                                                  emails continues to grow, and in the legal
                                                                                                      Role of Nonlawyers in Law Practice:
                                                  field, where scrutiny and stress levels reach
Truth be told, the same factors that make                                                             Guidelines for Utilization of Legal Assistant
                                                  their peaks, these concerns are paramount.
paralegal work stressful also make it too                                                             www.michbar.org/opinions/ethics/utilization.cfm
                                                  By far, the best solution to today’s electronic
sensitive to talk about in specific detail,
                                                  privacy concerns is to keep potentially
especially when it comes to money and                                                                 Solutions for Relieving Stress from the
                                                  sensitive information out of print-or keep it
reputations. So while paralegals will always                                                          Workplace
                                                  to yourself.
face stress, the trick is to find a healthy way                                                       www.lawfirmstaff.com/articles/index.
to deal with that stress. Thankfully, there are                                                       php?id=5007&cat=75
                                                  Remember, even if you absolutely need to
strategies that can help you get some relief.
                                                  get something off your chest, someone else
                                                  might be eavesdropping.
Some articles suggest introducing a five- to
0-minute period into staff meetings wherein




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Description: A Lawyer Should Be Away Form E-Griping. The Attorneys Who Share Law Blogsphere Have To Be Very Careful About The Data Confidentiality. Blogs Written By Lawyers On The Internet Have One Thing In Common That They Do Not Discuss The Ongoing Cases.
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