New Handbook Offers Tips for Mitigating E-Lawyering Risks

February 22, 2007

From describing their practices to offering legal advice over the Internet, e-lawyering has created new ethical and legal risks, according to underwriters at the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies.

Chubb has introduced a new handbook, “A Lawyer’s Guide to Managing E-Lawyering Risks,” to explain how lawyers and law firms can utilize new technologies while mitigating the associated risks. E-lawyering includes activities ranging from sending an e-mail to a client to online chatting or negotiating with clients or other parties. Some firms even have abandoned their bricks-and-mortar approach to become virtual law firms.

“The Internet and other technologies can help law firms serve clients, but these same tools can create risks that must be monitored closely,” said James Rhyner, vice president, Chubb & Son, and global lawyers professional liability product manager, Chubb Specialty Insurance. “Lawyers must be able to operate on the Internet without violating ethical and legal rules, including confidentiality, duties owed to prospective clients and the unauthorized practice of law in jurisdictions where they are not admitted.”

Chubb’s handbook reviews a variety of risks that lawyers need to consider when conducting business over the Internet, including unintended client engagements, disclosure of confidential information, premature destruction of electronic documents, unauthorized practice of law and security breaches. It also explains how software packages can help law firms better manage their business and enhance their risk management efforts.

A copy of the handbook can be downloaded at www.chubb.com/businesses/chubb3331.html.

Source: Chubb Group of Insurance Cos.

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