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Posts by Mark Bassingthwaighte

When Passwords Fail - A Personal Story

Sometimes married couples see things differently and the only way to resolve the tension is by finally deciding to agree to disagree. That’s how things played out in our home for a number of years on the issue of passwords. My wife seemed to view my focus on computer security and passwords as...read more

Try Not To Be a Patsy, Seriously.

I’m not sure why, but I’ve always had a fondness for the word patsy. While the word doesn’t seem to be in wide use anymore, I personally believe the time for its resurgence has arrived given its meaning. Think about it. A patsy is a person who is easily taken advantage of, especially by being...read more

How to Identify the Potential Clients You Really Should Say No To

Everyone makes a bad decision now and again. Unfortunately, if the bad decision was agreeing to take on a client that you really should have said no to, life just got a little more complicated. In short, you have likely signed up “a problem client.” When this happens, some will recognize the bad...read more

Don’t Minimize the Importance of Managing Your Side of the Attorney-Client Relationship

Over the years, numerous articles have been written on how to successfully manage attorney-client relationships. Typically, these articles emphasize effective and thorough communication skills, maintaining a professional presentation at all times and in all work spaces, learning all you can about...read more

Is the Death of the Legal Profession Upon Us?

Over the years, I have witnessed a few vigorous debates where the point of contention was whether the practice of law is a business or a profession and, let me tell you, this can be an emotionally charged topic. Things can get really exciting if in one of these debates you have those who really do...read more

If You Failed to Document It, It Never Happened.

  Please, can we just acknowledge that lawyers as a group are terrible when it comes to properly and thoroughly documenting their files? Of course, not you, but all the other lawyers out there sure are. You wouldn’t believe how bad it can get. I say this because with almost every claim we handle we...read more

Yes, Virginia, There Really are Accidental Clients

I will share that I can appreciate a well-crafted cocktail; but I can also assure you that when I am in a situation where such beverages are being served, I never allow myself to get involved in a conversation about someone else’s legal problems and I strongly encourage you to do the same. Let me...read more

When Nonprofit Boards Come Calling

Look, I get it. An opportunity to sit on the board of a local nonprofit is finally yours for the taking. Better yet, it’s a charitable cause you strongly believe in, the opportunity will allow you to get you name out there, and one would expect that the new contacts made will lead to new clients...read more

How to Minimize the Risk of Becoming a Victim of Wire Fraud

If you aren’t already aware, attorneys are increasingly being targeted by scammers hoping to get away with wire fraud. Here’s just one example of how it can play. An attorney represents a seller in a real estate transaction. Unbeknownst to anyone involved, someone has hacked into and been monitoring...read more

What You Need to Know Before Buying Malpractice Insurance

I have yet to read an insurance policy that I would consider a great read. So let’s admit it, insurance policies are rather boring. I suspect few of you have ever really taken the time to read completely through your homeowners or auto policy. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with this as long as...read more

Don’t Minimize the Value of Client Intake Forms

Occasionally a lawyer will ask if there really is a need to use a standardized form during the intake process. As is often the case with such questions, the answer is “it depends.” A basic intake form that is general in nature may do little to improve your intake process. On the other hand, the use...read more

How in the world can you not know who your client is?

From time to time I get involved in conversations with lawyers who have called in with a question or concern and as we talk through the situation it becomes clear that part of the problem is the lawyer doesn’t seem to know who his client is. These are the times I find myself thinking “How in the...read more

Again with the Metadata? Enough Already!

I have been writing and lecturing about metadata for years. (And in case you have forgotten, metadata is the “hidden” information about the electronic documents we create that we’re all supposed to be worried about.) I guess for some of late, I’ve run on with the topic long enough because a few have...read more

How Long Do We Need to Keep Our Closed Files?

As a risk manager, this question is the one question I’m asked more than any other and I get it. Although my wife is a physician, she had to deal with the same issue. We were paying to store her closed files for years after she left private practice and we both breathed a sigh of relief when that...read more

How to Avoid Blowing a Statute of Limitations Date

Allowing a statute of limitations (SOL) to run on a client matter has always been a common malpractice error and I really don’t see that changing. One would think that with the rise of computerized calendaring systems there would be a decrease in the frequency of these types of errors....read more

How to Manage the Risks Associated with Substantive Errors

The American Bar Association Standing Committee on Lawyers’ Professional Liability has been providing a statistical analysis of claims data collected from various lawyer-owned and commercial insurance companies for years. One number that I consistently pay attention to has been the number of claims...read more

One Reason Why You Never Want to Get Lazy With Your Time Keeping

This post is directed toward those of you who fail to accurately record your time on a consistent basis throughout the day, day after day. I know it can be a hassle but there are really good reasons why this should be a priority. Now I could start lecturing and talk about the studies that confirm...read more

The Ashley Madison Hack and its Lesson for Attorneys

I am going to assume that you, dear reader, had no personal information leaked as a result of the Ashley Madison hack. In addition, let’s set the curiosity response aside because, of course, who didn’t wonder that if they could look at the list would they recognize anyone? With worry and curiosity...read more

Never Minimize the Significance of Client Driven Indemnity Provisions!

I recently took yet another call from a lawyer wanting to know my thoughts about a new business opportunity. It’s the call that starts out with so and so company wants the lawyer to be their exclusive local point person and the lawyer so wants to say yes to this wonderful new opportunity. This type...read more

Are You Happy?

I am so curious about how others might respond to title of this post. I suspect more than a few would simply dismiss the topic viewing it as irrelevant. In fact, there was a time in my own life where I would have felt the same; but times have changed. Life has a way of doing that if you really start...read more