Our February Digital Edge Podcast covers What's Hot in Technology for 2010. Sharon Nelson and I had a great time trading predictions for the future of technology as it applies to the legal profession. It was fun to try to look in our crystal balls. We hope you have as much fun listening and learning as we did recording it.
Let me start by saying that whatever you think you know about cashier’s checks and certified checks being secure simply doesn’t apply any more. Some forged bank checks are so good that you cannot distinguish them from the real thing simply by looking at them. Please make sure that your staff, your colleagues, your clients and your friends understand this.
A new wrinkle is the scammer calling other professionals (like real estate agents) to get the names of local lawyers and then using that person’s name when they contact the lawyer to give them more credibility. A referral from a local businessperson isn’t going to be a scammer, right? There are reports of this fraud expanding and that is why this is a good topic for a law firm client newsletter. A person who is trying to sell a house might hear from a foreigner who is going to move to the state and wants to buy the house. They send a large certified check as a deposit and then a few days later note that a tragedy has occurring preventing them from moving. They ask the person to return part of the deposit, keeping a nice portion for their trouble.
While we have typically seen these checks in the mid six figures, Dan notes that the amounts are becoming lower to make them seem less suspicious. Let’s face it. Stealing $50,000 ten times a year is a pretty good living for a thief.
Of course, those of us who follow these things knew it would be a valuable resource since it was under the stewardship of my good friend, Dan Pinnington. Dan is Director of practicePRO, Editor in Chief of Law Practice Magazine, co-author of A Busy Lawyer's Guide to Success and a former chair of ABA TECHSHOW. So keep up the good work, Dan, and keep up the ongoing information flow on risk management for lawyers.
I love ABA TECHSHOW. I learn more at ABA TECHSHOW than any other conference. Early Bird Registration deadline for ABA TECHSHOW is today- February April 19, 2010. Go here to register. The lineup of scheduled presentations is online here. Not only do you have your choice of many educational session while at the confrence, but the conference CD has the materials from all of the sessions. Pack lightly because you may be bringing back a lot of reading material and other goodies from the vendor exhibition hall. See you there!
Before I direct you to Mongo, let me note two really great lawyer-columnists who no longer write their columns. In bygone days, there was one primary source for lawyers for information about technology advances. Each month in Law Practice magazine, Burgess Allison used to write Technology Update. His humor was great. I used to LOL reading this column before most of us had seen it typed as LOL. And no one could skewer Microsoft as well as Burgess. We miss you, Burg. Maybe you need to take up Twitter?
Another great column was McElhaney on Litigation in the ABA Journal by Jim McElhaney. Talk about learning at the feet of a master! Although this no longer appears as a regular column, the ABA Journal still runs reprints occasionally because his advice is great and timeless.
This brings me to Mongo. The February 2010 ABA Journal has reprinted a July 1995 McElhaney on Litigation column now-titled Meet Mongo. The tag line says "Unleashing your inner beast in Court hurts you, not the other side." Every lawyer should read this one, even non-litigators. It is funny and so very true. Many of us have had that moment in court where some inner Mongo whispered for us to lash out or otherwise misbehave.
If you want some more good reading and good advice for courtroom lawyers, just input "McElhaney on Litigation" into Google or your search engine of choice. But perhaps you should do this on a date without a lot of deadlines. You could be reading for a while.
For years, Texas lawyers enjoyed the humorous columns of Judge Buchmeyer. In his memory, a group of Texas lawyers has now launched OverheardInCourt.com. They invite you to submit your funny courtroom stories and are even offering some cash prizes this month for those selected among the submissions. Every trial lawyer has a few great stories, so send them in. No lawyer jokes are needed.