Risk Update

A Thank You, “Irreconcilable” Lead Conflicts, “Baby” Conflict, Client Security Concerns & More

I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone for their support of BRB. The blog is off to a strong start and I sincerely appreciate the many who took a moment to send in notes of encouragement, share the news with colleagues, and “like” this on social media this week.

(That last part is something I thought I’d never say… but now that it’s working I’ll take every “like” everyone out there might be kind enough to click here and help out with. >smile<) Starting fresh was definitely a bit of a risk, but one that’s paying off well in terms of job satisfaction. Now, back to work.

Lawyer asks judge to disqualify Nessel’s office from Flint civil lawsuits” — 

  • “A lead lawyer in the civil lawsuits linked to the Flint lead-contaminated water crisis has asked a judge to disqualify the entire Michigan Attorney General’s office from further representation in dozens of Genesee County civil lawsuits.”

  • “The state created ‘irreconcilable conflicts of interest’ by assigning the same four assistant attorneys general to both defend state officials against suits from Flint residents and represent Flint residents in a civil lawsuit against engineering firms that performed work in the city prior to the water crisis, lawyer Corey Stern said in his motion.”

  • “Stern represents 2,500 Flint children suing the state, was appointed lead counsel for plaintiffs involved in Flint-related litigation in state courts in 2016, and is liaison counsel for individual plaintiffs in federal court.”

  • “An ethics officer in the Attorney General’s office reviewed the case after Stern raised the issue in a letter to Nessel. Ethics officer Frank Monticello ruled in early March that there is no conflict in Kuhl’s dual roles because the office’s interest in the ‘health, safety and welfare’ of Michigan residents doesn’t conflict with its interest in ‘protecting the state treasury.’ But Stern’s legal ethics expert, who submitted his opinion on the issue, disagreed with the Attorney General’s office.”

  • “The Attorney General’s office has received the motion and is reviewing it, said Dan Olsen, a spokesman for Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office.”

Baby Conflict Leads To Resignation” —

  • “The Oklahoma Supreme Court has accepted the resignation of an attorney.”

  • “The Bar’s complaint received by the Bar Association concerning her conduct and alleging she engaged in conflicting representation of clients…. The Complaint against Claborn states she represented Geiser in a criminal case while representing Claborn’s daughter in the guardianship case involving Geiser’s son, and Claborn created a conflict of interest in violation of Rule 1.7 of the Oklahoma Rules of Professional Conduct, 5 O.S.2011, Ch.1, App. 3-A, (ORPC). The Complaint states Claborn had conversations with Geiser when she lacked an attorney, and these conversations were false and misleading regarding Claborn’s interests. The Bar asserts Claborn’s conduct violated Rules 4.1 and 4.3 of the Oklahoma Rules of Professional Conduct, 5 O.S.2011, Ch.1, App. 3-A.”

Judge in Dougherty Case Says Co-Defendants Repped by Same Firm Waived Conflict” —

  • “The federal judge overseeing the case of Philadelphia union leader John Dougherty and several co-defendants has ruled that attorneys from the same firm working for two separate defendants can continue their representation, despite the government’s concerns that a conflict of interest exists.”

  • “Prosecutors claimed that because both defendants were represented by the same firm, there was an inherent conflict of interest. In his Monday order, Schmehl said the defendants waived the right to raise any conflict concerns, but left room for the prosecution to bring up the issue again down the line.”

The other day we noted a story about firm hacking risk, here’s an interesting take from client eyes I took note of last November: “Access to Law Firm Data ‘Just Too Easy,’ Worrying Clients” —

  • “A cybersecurity scare at Foley & Lardner has drawn new attention to a debate over data security at top law firms, and some clients and outside organizations are taking matters into their own hands. The incident last month, described by a firm spokeswoman only as ‘a cyber event that caused a disruption to our IT systems,’ comes as general counsels’ offices express renewed concern about whether even the biggest law firms are adequately protecting highly sensitive data.”

  • “In recognition of the threat, Whipple [Associate GC of DHL Supply Chain Americas] said his company last year revised its outside counsel guidelines to include added cyber protections. This includes giving the company the right to conduct its own audit of outside law firms’ cyber defenses. At stake, he said, is the sensitive DHL information that can include everything from employee pay rates and product pricing to personally identifiable information.”

  • “Gilead, along with the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC), a group of legal ops professionals, are working on an initiative to create standardized legal security assessments. CLOC’s Cybersecurity Initiative Steering Committee includes several law firm and in-house leaders, such as Baker McKenzie Global CIO Daniel Surowiec, Greenberg Traurig CIO Jay Nogle, and Google Legal Operations Manager Marika Daggett, group officials confirm.”

  • “‘Sadly, in any industry, most breaches trace back to choices that have been made to choose profits over effective security,’ Jeffrey Ritter, founding chair of the ABA’s cyberspace law committee and an external lecturer for the computer science department at the University of Oxford, said in a written statement.”

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