Risk Update

Client Risk — Contacts & Client Identity Management Rules, Client Selection/Old Business Outtake (And Kanye…)

Ethics: Protect Your Electronic Contact List from Prying Eyes” —

  • “…a new [April 2022] legal ethics opinion issued by the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Professional Ethics. Opinion 1240 has this digest statement: ‘If ‘contacts’ on a lawyer’s smartphone include any client whose identity or other information is confidential under Rule 1.6, then the lawyer may not consent to share contacts with a smartphone app unless the lawyer concludes that no human being will view that confidential information, and that the information will not be sold or transferred to additional third parties, without the client’s consent.'”
  • “All lawyers likely have the client’s name, office and cell numbers, email and physical address, and job title. But many keep other information in the Notes field of Outlook, including such things as nicknames, anniversaries, birthdays, spouse’s name, names of children, pet names. etc. If you click on “Details” in the ribbon, you have a specific form for entering certain details, but most lawyers, in our experience, simply dump the information into the Notes field when they create a new contact.”
  • “Because we do digital forensics, we can tell you that there is often a lot of information in the Notes field, including passwords, social security numbers, building access codes, and a lot of other private information which the attorney wants readily at hand.”
  • “Many lawyers have no clue that apps can potentially see all that information if you grant them access. A quick search on Google shows that Venmo, Facebook, Zoom, Snap, Slack, Tinder, Signal, Pinterest, Telegram, Chase Bank, Wayfair and even Samsung’s smart washer will ask you for access to your Contacts. The list of apps seeking access to your Contacts is undoubtedly huge.”
  • “Sometimes, apps will restrict access. In iOS, third-party apps with permission can access any contact field, except for the Notes section, which requires additional approval from Apple. The company added that restriction in 2019, but it declines to say how many or which apps are cleared to access Notes.”
  • “Some will access just the basics – name, phone numbers and email address. Others will take anything they can get. Disabling the app’s privileges doesn’t necessarily result in the app deleting information it already has. An app may – or may not- give you instructions on how to delete previously obtained information.”
  • “Perhaps more significantly to lawyers, contacts have been leaked in data breaches. Once those Contacts are out there, there is no way to call them back. They almost certainly will be misused. Wire fraud and business email compromises are frequently the objectives.”

Kanye West will likely have a hard time finding new divorce lawyer: experts” —

  • “Kanye West will likely have a hard time finding a new attorney in his divorce from Kim Kardashian — as a problematic client who’d already cycled through several law firms before the latest ones ditched him amid his anti-Semitic rants.”
  • “Legal experts told The Post that since West, 45, isn’t entitled to legal representation like a defendant in a criminal case would be, firms will instead weigh whether agreeing to rep the controversial rapper could damage their reputation and alienate other clients.”
  • “It’s a balancing act between taking on celebrity clients who could attract attention and new business, and saying no to those who could scare away prospective or existing clients, legal experts agreed.”
  • “Lawyer Rachel Fiset added that a firm might not want to align themselves with the comments that West made because it could drive away Jewish people they represent. ‘An attorney needs to do a financial analysis of who they represent,” Fiset said. “They may lose clients as a result of representing Kanye.'”
  • “West had been represented most recently in his divorce by elite divorce attorneys Bernard Clair and Bob Cohen at the prestigious New York Cohen Clair Lans Griefer Thorpe & Rottenstreich LLP — but the firm parted ways with him amid the recent controversy.”
  • “And Camille Vasquez – who gained recognition after leading Johnny Depp to a victory in his defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard – also parted ways with West just a week after getting hired due to his anti-Semitic remarks.”
  • “‘He is entitled to be represented but that is dependent upon his ability to pay for an attorney and an attorney’s agreement to represent him,’ former California judge and current criminal defense attorney Halim Dhanidina told The Post.”

Fifth Biglaw Firm Says Goodbye To Kanye West” —

  • “Now Biglaw firm Greenberg Traurig, which currently represents Ye in at least two active litigations, is backing away from the rapper. As reported by Law.com, the firm issued a statement that Ye’s comments are antithetical to the firm’s core values, and are in the process of withdrawing from the representations.”
  • “Previously the firm indicated it was ‘taking steps in response to the reported remarks in accordance with ethical obligations and court rules.’ (Updated statement from the firm confirms they will not take future matters from Ye.)”
  • “Four other Biglaw firms — as well as family law firm Cohen Clair Lans Greifer Thorpe & Rottenstreich that represented Ye in his divorce battle with Kim Kardashian — have also recently parted ways with the star. First Brown Rudnick decided they were done with Ye when he refused to back off of his antisemitic comments. Cadwalader — which represented the rapper in his separation from Gap — also dropped Kanye. And Pryor Cashman ended its longterm engagement with Ye. Then Quinn Emanuel dumped the rapper.”