Category Archives: Law & Technology

Reducing E-Discovery Costs and Risks Through Litigation Readiness

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The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) require that companies must be prepared to discuss the location and accessibility of potentially relevant electronically stored information (ESI) shortly after the litigation begins.  The federal (and many state) discovery rules and recent case law require the quick and effective imposition of a litigation hold on critical ESI before the lawsuit even begins.[1]  This presents numerous challenges for large companies that are generating voluminous amounts of electronic documents and emails.  Litigation has also become increasingly expensive and is only increasing in the areas of intellectual property, products liability, employment, securities and mergers & acquisitions.

  • How can you mitigate and reduce eDiscovery risks?
  • What is the best way to manage and reduce eDiscovery costs?
  • How do you leverage existing and implement new technologies to achieve discovery objectives?

In this CLE course DTI Associate General Counsel Jeff Jacobs will answer the questions above and provides points on how to reduce discovery costs and risks through litigation readiness.  The main topics addressed by Mr. Jacobs include case law & rule evolution, proactively addressing the eDiscovery challenge, records retention & policy review, eDiscovery process development, litigation holds and risk & cost mitigation.  To access the course please click here: Reducing E-Discovery Costs and Risks Through Litigation Readiness.

Additional topics addressed include:

  • Why eDiscovery matters
  • Discovery sanctions
  • Judicial intolerance for poor eDiscovery
  • Critical sanction cases
  • The EDRM (Electronic Discovery Reference Model)
  • Finding the relevant information
  • ESI assessment
  • Saving costs through effective retention & disposition
  • What judges want related to eDiscovery
  • The development of an effective litigation discovery response plan
  • The creation of a targeted data map

Jeff Jacobs is the General Counsel and Senior Consultant for DTI. For the past five years he has advised clients on litigation readiness, email & records retention and the planning & execution of electronic discovery matters.  Prior to joining DTI, Jeff spent seven years as an Associate Litigation Counsel at MCI/WorldCom, where he managed the electronic discovery associated with the government investigations of the WorldCom accounting fraud, related securities class actions and other litigation and the acquisition of MCI by Verizon.  He also served as counsel to the company’s Records and Information Management group and managed the subpoena compliance unit.  Before MCI, he was a Special Counsel in the litigation group of Sullivan & Cromwell’s Washington, DC office.  Jeff is a graduate of Williams College and the University of Chicago Law School and was in the first class of candidates to qualify as a certified electronic discovery specialist by the Association of Electronic Discovery Specialists (ACEDS).

This CLE course on reducing eDiscovery costs and risks through litigation readiness is currently accredited in the following states:

  • Alaska (AK)
  • Arizona (AZ)
  • California (CA)
  • Connecticut (CT)
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Illinois (IL)
  • Maryland (MD)
  • Massachusetts (MA)
  • Michigan (MI)
  • New Jersey (NJ)
  • Pennsylvania (PA)
  • South Dakota (SD)

Attorney Credits offers continuing legal education (CLE) for attorneys in New York and around the country.  For more information about CLE in New York please click the following link: NY CLE.

[1] Litigation holds must be imposed once a triggering event occurs and litigation is reasonably foreseeable.

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New CLE Course on Refining Your Closing Argument

The way that juries filter and process information has fundamentally changed over the last few decades. Today, juries are less apt to soak up the volumes of complex information that today’s sophisticated civil and criminal cases require. During closing arguments attorneys need to be cognizant of their jury and should keep their message brief and easy to understand in order for jurors to be able to process the bottom line of the case.

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In this highly informative CLE course, you will learn how to provide a succinct closing argument that the jury will be able to process and remember in order for you to get a favorable outcome for your client. Three top trial attorneys present numerous practical points for you to deploy in your closing arguments while they provide real examples from past cases. Topics include framing the debate, focusing on jury instructions, honing your message, being outcome determinative, using story boarding, making the message easy to understand, streamlining your trial and solving the problem. The presenters also provide numerous case examples and two different six minute closing arguments based on two previously litigated cases.  To access the course click here: Closing Arguments.

We are dealing with a new generation of jurors.  People now learn information in a very different way than they did in the past.  People now learn information by having very short segments with a very particular piece of information combined with lots of different imagery.

The presentation features three excellent trial attorneys from a leading San Diego Law firm. The firm represents plaintiffs only in personal injury, wrongful death, businesses cases, employment and elder abuse cases. Since 2000, the firm has obtained over $150 million in verdicts and settlements for its clients. The firm has also obtained numerous awards of over one million and four jury verdicts over one million dollars when there was nothing initially offered to settle the case.

This CLE course crafting closing arguments is currently accredited in the following states:

  • Alaska (AK)
  • Arizona (AZ)
  • California (CA)
  • Connecticut (CT)
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Illinois (IL)
  • Maryland (MD)
  • Massachusetts (MA)
  • Michigan (MI)
  • New Jersey (NJ)
  • New York (NY)
  • Pennsylvania (PA)
  • South Dakota (SD)

Attorney Credits offers continuing legal education (CLE) for attorneys in California and around the country.  For more information about CLE in California please click the following link: California CLE.

Common Issues When Licensing Intellectual Property

There are three principal ways for individuals and companies to monetize intellectual property assets.  First, an individual or business may sell the intellectual property on their own.  Second, the intellectual property can be assigned and the IP rights are then sold to a third party.  Third, the intellectual property may be licensed, essentially a rental of the IP asset for a certain period of time.

screen-captureOur newly added course Common Issues When Licensing Intellectual Property will focus on the third option and discuss the most common issues associated with licensing intellectual property.  The course begins by providing a thorough discussion of the three main ways to monetize intellectual property and then addresses the principal considerations when licensing intellectual property and factors to consider before negotiating the terms of the license agreement.

Further topics covered include:

  • Patents
  • Trademarks
  • Copyrights
  • Ownership rights
  • Chain of title
  • Due diligence
  • Finding prospective licensees
  • Approaching potential licensees
  • Exclusive vs. non-exclusive licenses
  • Production minimums
  • The scope of the license
  • Sub-licensing
  • Product improvements
  • Sales rights
  • Quality control
  • Territory
  • Quotas
  • Royalty schedules
  • Royalties
  • Audit rights
  • The beginning & termination of the license
  • The term of the license
  • The business life cycle & IP value

Eric A. Hanscom founded the Law Offices of Eric Hanscom in 1995 as a sole practitioner.  Since beginning InterContinental IP he has added the legal talents of Todd J. Langford and formed long-lasting associations with numerous foreign attorneys and law firms and has grown his business into an international practice.  Lionel P. Bochurberg is an attorney admitted to the California and Paris Bars, with international in-house experience in the telecom, Internet, software and biotech fields.  He has over 19 years of experience assisting clients with complex business transactions and international matters.

This CLE course on licensing intellectual property is currently accredited in the following states:

  • Alaska (AK)
  • Arizona (AZ)
  • California (CA)
  • Colorado (CO)
  • Connecticut (CT)
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Georgia (GA)
  • Illinois (IL)
  • Maryland (MD)
  • Massachusetts (MA)
  • Michigan (MI)
  • New Jersey (NJ)
  • New York (NY)
  • Pennsylvania (PA)
  • South Dakota (SD)
  • Texas (TX)

Attorney Credits offers continuing legal education (CLE) for attorneys in California (CA) and around the country.  For more information about continuing legal education (CLE) in California, please click the following link: California CLE.

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IP Basics for Transactional Attorneys

Many businesses fail to understand and protect possibly their most valuable asset – the intellectual property of the company.  And in today’s Web 2.0 world, companies must also be especially cognizant not to infringe on the intellectual property rights of other companies and individuals.  This can lead to costly lawsuits and drain the company of precious time and resources.  Attorneys need to be able to counsel their clients on intellectual property issues and leverage their client’s intellectual property to help them realize the most value from these highly valuable assets.

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Join Peter Afrasiabi as he discusses the protections and limitations of United States copyright, trademark and patent law in IP Basics for Transactional Attorneys.  Copyright topics addressed include what is covered under copyright law, the three necessary elements to achieve copyright protection, when copyright protection begins, the copyright owner, employee rights vs. independent contractors, the duration of copyright protections, the rights of copyright holders, infringement and fair use.  Trademark issues covered include examples of trademarks, the purpose of trademark protection, how rights are acquired, generic, descriptive, suggestive & arbitrary marks, the duration of protection, filing a claim, infringement, cybersquatting, dilution and fair use.  Mr. Afrasiabi also discusses the benefits of having a patent, the scope of protection, obtaining a patent, patent rights, the competitive advantage in the marketplace, causes of action and design patents.

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From battles with Madonna over the “Material Girl” brand to fair use disputes with the Eagles’ Don Henley, Peter Afrasiabi primarily handles copyright, trademark, and entertainment disputes.  Recognized for his expertise, Mr. Afrasiabi has been a legal commentator on NBC and CBS, in addition to being recognized as a ”Super Lawyer.”  Also an adjunct professor of law, he was selected by the University of California’s prestigious CEB publications division to author an annual intellectual property chapter entitled Copyrights, Patents and Trademarks.  Mr. Afrasiabi’s recently published book Show Trials was a 2012 Indie Book National Finalist.

This CLE course on persuasion techniques for attorneys is currently accredited in the following states:

  • Alaska (AK)
  • Arizona (AZ)
  • California (CA)
  • Colorado (CO)
  • Connecticut (CT)
  • Delaware (DE)
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Florida (FL)
  • Georgia (GA)
  • Illinois (IL)
  • Iowa (IA)
  • Maryland (MD)
  • Massachusetts (MA)
  • Michigan (MI)
  • Nevada (NV)
  • New Jersey (NJ)
  • New York (NY)
  • Oregon (OR)
  • Pennsylvania (PA)
  • South Dakota (SD)
  • Tennessee (TN)
  • Texas (TX)

Attorney Credits offers minimum continuing legal education (MCLE) for attorneys in California (CA) and around the country. For more information about minimum continuing legal education (MCLE) in California, please click the following link: California MCLE.

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CLE Course: Ten Social Media Myths for Attorneys

Social media has changed society and along with it the practice of law.  Those attorneys who previously adopted the “Ostrich” approach – burying their heads in the sand and hoping it would all go away – must pull their head out and learn to adapt to our new Web 2.0 world.

It is now apparent that social media is not a fad – it is a paradigm shift.  Like email, Twitter and Facebook are here to stay … and that’s just the beginning.  There are currently over 400 social media websites and the list continues to grow every month.

Web 2.0 World

Social media is not just for teenagers and college kids anymore, companies and professionals now utilize social media for many business purposes.  Attorneys must be cognizant of social media and the legal issues that it presents in order to avoid legal liability and ethical violations in their own practice, and to fully counsel the clients they represent.

If you need help understanding the complex intersection of social media and the law, we have just added an excellent CLE course entitled Ten Social Media Myths for Attorneys.  In this extremely current and informative CLE course, Deborah Gonzalez of Law2sm provides an extremely comprehensive overview of the legal issues created by social media.  This course delves beyond merely introductory social media concepts and goes in-depth into complex legal social media issues so that attorneys are better able to counsel their clients.  The main areas addressed by Ms. Gonzalez include what is social media, ten principal social media myths for attorneys and resources for attorneys.

Further topics discussed include:

  • The many forms of social media
  • The new digital world
  • Why attorneys & professionals use social media
  • The principles of social media
  • Ethical rules that apply to social media use by attorneys
  • Disclaimers
  • Trademark protection
  • The FTC & false credentials
  • Astroturfing
  • Twitter-jacking
  • Cyber-stalking
  • Privacy
  • Employment law issues
  • The criminal system & the right to a fair trial
  • Digital legacy
  • Digital assets
  • State & federal laws impacting social media

Deborah Gonzalez is an attorney whose legal practice focuses on art, music, entertainment, digital, social media and online law.  She is licensed to practice in both New York and Georgia, and her clients include museums, galleries, artists & art professionals, animators, filmmakers, musicians & music professionals, authors, and various other creative professionals.  Ms. Gonzalez is the legal advisor to the Georgia Music Industry Association and currently serves on the board of Women in Film & Television Atlanta.  She is also a member of the Georgia Entertainment Association, Georgia Production Partnership, Women in Animation, and the Entertainment Law sections of the Georgia and New York Sate Bar Associations.  She speaks at various industry conferences around the world – such as SEIGE CON and SIAF – on legal issues and concerns for artists of all genres.

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Avoiding Ethical Violations & Legal Malpractice Claims

Legal Malpractice – two words attorneys never want to hear in their legal career … unless they are taking a CLE course with Attorney Credits.  There are many avenues that can lead to a malpractice claim, from conflicts of interest to improperly calendaring important dates.  However, many of these ethical traps can easily be avoided with a little knowledge and diligence.

We have just added an excellent resource for attorneys entitled Avoiding Ethical Violations & Legal Malpractice Claims: An Expert’s Perspective. Prominent Legal Malpractice attorney James E. King provides a comprehensive discussion of the common ethical pitfalls that  lead to ethical violations from the state bar and legal malpractice claims from your clients.

The main topics discussed include:

  • The Golden Rules
  • The attorney client relationship
  • Avoiding legal malpractice during the representation
  • Avoiding legal malpractice once the attorney client relationship has terminated

In addition to the main topics Mr. King also discusses a number of other pertinent ethical considerations. Further points addressed include communicating with clients, procrastination, keeping current on fees, substance abuse, representing multiple clients, potential conflicts, clarifying & limiting the scope of the attorney client relationship, the retention agreement, clients who habitually change attorneys, suing for legal fees, withdrawal, handling matters promptly, staying current on the law, the “rescue attorney,’ mistakes, keeping a clear record and client papers.

The course is currently offered in the following states and qualifies for 3 credits hours of Legal Ethics:

James E. King is the Founder of the King Law Corporation in San Diego.  Mr. King specializes in attorney fee disputes, legal ethics, and advises corporate counsel and law firms on litigation costs.  Mr. King has testified as an expert witness on numerous attorney-client fee disputes and has skillfully represented prominent clients such as Prince Fahd Aziz of Saudi Arabia and Heisman Trophy winner Rashaan Salaam.  Mr. King serves as a Special Master for the State Bar of California and is Vice-Chair of the Fee Arbitration Committee for the San Diego County Bar Association.  Jim also lectures and publishes works on attorney fee ethics and other related topics.

Who Owns a Social Media Account?

As we have progressed into our new Web 2.0 world, social media has created a brave new world … but it has also created new legal issues.  Once again we are faced with a novel question: does the employer or the employee own the social media account?

The latest case comes from Pennsylvania and involves an employee’s claim that her former employer violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) when it took control of her LinkedIn account after she was terminated.[1] Last week the judge ruled that the employee – Dr. Linda Eagle – could not continue with her CFAA claim and that it should be dismissed before trial.

“In other words, Plaintiff asks the Court to rely on pure conjecture to find … that she suffered “loss” for purposes of the CFAA.” – Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter

However, although Eagle’s federal CFAA and Lanham Act claims were rejected, she is permitted to proceed to trial under various state law causes of action. These state law causes of action include identity theft, tortious interference with contract, misappropriation of publicity and civil conspiracy. Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter will continue to hear the case under supplemental jurisdiction.  The trial is set for October 16, 2012.

So who owns the account? What do you think?

For more information about the case click the links below:

11-4303 – Eagle v. Morgan et al

Employer Takeover of Employee’s LinkedIn Account Does Not Violate Federal Computer Hacking Law, Question of Ownership Remains

Judge Allows LinkedIn Account to be Stolen by Employer

Judge: Takeover of employee LinkedIn account doesn’t violate hacking law

And for more information about continuing legal education, please click the links below:

California CLE Page

New York CLE Page

Texas CLE Page


[1] The CFAA mandates that the plaintiff demonstrate that he or she was harmed by the defendant’s unauthorized access to a computer system. The CFAA states: “[a]ny person who suffers damage or loss by reason of a violation of this section may maintain a civil action against the violator.”

California Enacts Social Media Privacy Law

Social media privacy has been at the forefront of the headlines recently. Over the last few years, universities and employers have started turning to Facebook to check up on existing and potential students and employees.[1]

However, universities and employers in the Golden State no longer have that option starting January 1.  Two bills signed into law last week will soon prohibit California businesses and schools from requiring applicants, students and employees to turn over social media passwords and related private content.[2]

The bottom line is that California is leading the way in the enactment social media privacy legislation that protects schools, students, prospective students, employers, employees, and job applicantsBradley Shear [3]

The vetting of social media accounts first national drew attention last year in Maryland. In that case, a Maryland corrections officer was required to provide his Facebook user name and password as part of his recertification process.[4]  Since this case made it into the national headlines, more states have sought to protect student’s and employee’s privacy online – although some commentators claim there is no precedent for this type of employee and student privacy.  Once Maryland became the first state to pass this type of legislation Illinois, Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, Washington, Massachusetts and California are also began considering and passing similar legislation.

Bradley Shear, a Washington, D.C. based attorney specializing in social media law, has helped a number of states draft their online privacy laws to combat social media monitoring. It’s not surprising that Mr. Shear also served as an adviser to the two California bills’ respective authors and is frequently cited when it comes to the intersection of social media and the law.

In the long run, these two bills will reduce liability and save businesses and universities millions of dollars because it now means that there is no legal duty to monitor their employees’ and student’s personal password protected digital content.[5]

Fore more information, please click the links below:

California Social Media Privacy Laws Give Students, Employees Online Rights

Facebook, Twitter, email passwords made private under California law

No password for you: california enacts social media privacy laws affecting employers and postsecondary educational institutions

Should States Enact Social Media Privacy Legislation?


[1] A number of employers have began asking applicants for social media passwords and some Universities have begun monitoring student athletes.

[2] The bills AB-1844 (bars employers from demanding social media-related material) and SB-1349 (similar legislation for colleges and prospective students) – will go into effect January 1.

[4] A CareerBuilder survey found that roughly 2/5 of polled employers were using social networking tools to screen candidates as of last spring.  See California Passes Tough Social Media Privacy Laws

[5] Universities are already utilizing reputation monitoring services like UDiligence and Varsity Monitor to monitor certain high-profile student athletes.

Law Blogs … Here to Stay

It was only last year when I overheard this comment between a couple of seasoned practitioners at a CLE event: “Well, I guess I have to go out and get an email account … because that email thing isn’t going away!”  Yes, I did almost spit out my morning coffee when I heard this – although I was luckily able to refrain and simply offer a small chuckle under my breath.

There was a bit of facetiousness to the comment … but there was also bit of seriousness.  These attorneys have probably seen quite a few advancements in their years of practice, from the fax machine to Personal Computers.  Somewhere deep inside, I think that last thing this attorney wanted to do was adapt to a new technology in the last few years of his career.

One thing that is apparent in 2012 is that law blogs are here to stay – and they have come a long way since the early days of Web 2.0.[1]  We have come so far in fact, that the ATL blog (Above the Law) even found it’s way to the top of the Business Insider’s 15 Most Influential Law Blogs.  All the way to #2 in fact.

Like many technological advancements in the legal community, blogs have taken a little bit of time to catch on.  But at this point in time, blogs, tweets and ‘friending’ have become firmly entrenched in our online society. These are no longer fads … Facebook and blogging are now part of the legal landscape as well – just like courts, depositions and angry judges.

To check to see if any of your favorite blogs made the Business Insiders Top 15 Most Influential Law Blogs, please click here.   And to learn more about law blogs, take a look at what Kevin O’Keefe is doing over at LexBlog.


[1] For an incredibly great (and entertaining read) see “What Is Web 2.0” by Tim O’Reily

http://oreilly.com/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html

Now Offering CLE for Alabama Attorneys

We are happy to report that we are now offering CLE courses for attorneys in Alabama. Attorneys from the “Yellowhammer State” may now take a number of Attorney Credit’s courses that have been pre-approved by the Alabama CLE Commission.

Alabama attorneys may earn up to six credit hours each reporting cycle with online CLE courses. This is not bad considering this represents half of the required 12 CLE units that Alabama attorneys must complete each year.

In addition, we also keep track and report your compliance to the Alabama CLE Commission within thirty (30) days of course completion. Many attorneys enjoy this value added reporting feature.  It saves you the time and hassle of reporting your CLE units yourself.

Credits for the 2012 MCLE year must be completed by midnight of December 31, 2012. Transcripts will be available ONLY online in late January after posting of programs and attendance has been completed. Non-compliant attorneys will receive a written Notice of Non-Compliance on or about January 31, 2013.[1]

We have also created an FAQ for attorneys in Alabama. This is a very comprehensive FAQ that answers a number of important questions an attorney might have about the MCLE requirements in Alabama. Please make sure to complete and report your CLE by the deadlines listed above. Failure to report by January 31 will cost you $100 — and any deficiency plan must be accompanied by another $100 check.

Please click the links below for further information:

Alabama CLE FAQ    

Alabama How Does It Work?    

Alabama CLE Requirements    

Alabama State CLE Page

Alabama One-Click State Bundles    

Alabama CLE Commission


[1] https://www.alabar.org/cle/