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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.

Meeting a trusted friend for a happy-hour

Blogs written by lawyers and paralegals 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

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

malicious programs, viruses, and worms.

work-related griping. Whether their emails

In its infancy, email resembled traditional written mail. Today, email has metamorphosed,

third party.

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.

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,

If you are a paralegal, information pertaining

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FEATURE SPONSORED BY LAW FIRM STAFF

www.lawcrossing.com

1. 800.973.1177

On the Net

consequences can range from personal

employees can be frank about emotional,

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 25 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/25-common-

paralegal his current job but also shut him out of the legal profession altogether. Truth be told, the same factors that make paralegal work stressful also make it too sensitive to talk about in specific detail, especially when it comes to money and reputations. So while paralegals will always face stress, the trick is to find a healthy way to deal with that stress. Thankfully, there are strategies that can help you get some relief. Some articles suggest introducing a five- to 10-minute period into staff meetings wherein

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The list of people exposed or burned by past emails continues to grow, and in the legal field, where scrutiny and stress levels reach their peaks, these concerns are paramount. By far, the best solution to today’s electronic privacy concerns is to keep potentially sensitive information out of print-or keep it to yourself. Remember, even if you absolutely need to get something off your chest, someone else might be eavesdropping.

email-security-mistakes-022807 Role of Nonlawyers in Law Practice: Guidelines for Utilization of Legal Assistant www.michbar.org/opinions/ethics/utilization.cfm Solutions for Relieving Stress from the Workplace www.lawfirmstaff.com/articles/index. php?id=50071&cat=75

E-Griping: Not on My Blog  

A Lawyer Should Be Away Form E-Griping. The Attorneys Who Share Law Blogsphere Have To Be Very Careful About The Data Confidentiality. Blogs...