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    Archive for February, 2010
    The Scams Continue..
    Friday, February 26th, 2010

    ♫ The time is right to do it now
    The greatest rock’n'roll swindle
    The time is right to do it now…♫

    Music and Lyrics by Steve Jones, paul Cook, Julien Temple, recorded by the Sex Pistols.

    The ABA Journal reported on Feb. 22, 2010 that an email scam was targeted at 6 law firms in Honolulu and two of them fell for the scam, losing a total of $500,000.00.

    In this case the clients, who only contacted the firm via electronic communications, “overpaid” the retainer by way of a cashier’s cheque. When informed about the ‘overpayment’, the clients requested a wire-transfer refund.

    By the time the law firm realized the cashier’s cheque was counterfeit, the wire transfers were long gone…

    The ABA Journal states:

    “Law firms and other professional service providers are cautioned to be on high alert when dealing with clients who come forth via the Internet,” the FBI warns. Also, when dealing with wire transfers, firms should be sure the initial payment has fully cleared before issuing refunds.

    Law firms should be instituting policies regarding ‘know your client’ as well as policies regarding ensuring that funds deposited to their trust accounts have fully cleared before forwarding these funds along. The swindlers are counting on the fact that there are lawyers out there who have not yet taken steps to follow these precautions; in which case the swindlers are saying….the time is right to do it now…

    Posted in Firm Governance, Fraud and theft, Issues facing Law Firms, Trends | Permalink | 2 Comments »
    What Firm Leaders Should Focus on NOW…
    Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

    ♫ What are you doing the rest of your life?
    North and south
    and east and west of your life? ♫

    Lyrics and music by: Alan Bergman, Michel Legrand, Marilyn Bergman, recorded by Barbara Streisand.

    Robert (Bob) Denney of Robert Denney Associates, Inc. has just released the February 2010 Communique on What Firm Leaders Should Focus on Now.

    With Bob’s permission, here is his communique, which I think is excellent in terms of strategic planning and vision for the year to come:

    The economy is recovering although not as rapidly or steadily as we would all like. It is already apparent that this recession will have a far greater impact on the legal profession than any previous recession. Now it is time for firm leaders to shift from survival management to recovery and strategic management. Firms face challenges they have never faced before and for which there are few, if any, precedents. These are some of the areas where these challenges will occur and where firm leaders should now focus their attention.

    Leadership and Management: Managers have a short-range perspective. Leaders, on the other hand, need to have a long-range perspective and a vision. They also need to build consensus throughout the firm for achieving that vision. Leadership is different from management. Right now both are critical.

    Firm and Practice Management structure: The Managing Partner/President/CEO should focus on strategic issues and external factors – especially clients. But, in BigLaw firms and in many MidLaw firms, this top level manager should focus solely on running the firm and should not have any personal client responsibilities. There should be a senior management team including an Executive Committee, a Chief Operating Officer (or co-Managing Partner) and Practice Group Leaders. All positions should have job descriptions and the partners in these positions need to be given sufficient non-billable time to fulfill their management responsibilities. (more…)

    Posted in Adding Value, Business Development, Change Management, Firm Governance, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Trends | Permalink | 1 Comment »
    Guess it was Just a Matter of Time…
    Thursday, February 11th, 2010

    ♫ Well, who are you?
    Who are you? Who, who, who, who?
    I really wanna know…♫

    Music and Lyrics by Pete Townshend, recorded by The Who.

    A new service has sprung up. It is entitled “Career Excuse.com” Its purpose is to allow you to create false career references for your resume. They state:

    Lets say you are applying for a Retail position and have a 3 year gap in your resume you want to fill. CareerExcuse.com has a retail company already established with a 800 number, a real address, a real website, and a real contact person.

    Not only do they allow you to ‘fill’ that 3 year gap, they can act as new former job references, complete with: ‘company name, address, “800″ number, company website/Email address , contact name, contact phone number, contact email address’.

    You can create your own virtual company answered by a live receptionist, or direct any inquiries into voice mail limbo.

    What if someone should happen to call the listed job reference?

    When we receive a call inquiring about your references, they will be directed to our human resources dept. where they are instructed to fax, or e-mail, a Authorized Release Form and their Employment Verification Form to a contact person that we provided to you as your new job reference.

    It seems their creativity knows no bottom:

    Bankrupt companies make a great previous employer
    We have created a management company with dozens of bankrupt companies that are ready to provide any inquirer your desired reference information.

    Advising on ethics is just another part of their services:

    Is misinformation on a resume illegal?
    No, Since a resume is not a legal document, it is not illegal to misrepresent on a resume.

    Course if the employer should happen to find out about this, ah, deception:

    Can I get caught and fired?
    We can’t guarantee that you wont and not liable if you do. If you get the job in the first place..we did our part. It’s up to you to act responsible after you get the job

    After you get the job?

    It would seem that an employer must do their own due diligence by checking #800′s and email addresses against valid sources to ensure that they are receiving valid reference checks.

    It does seem that they are careful about privacy:

    What about my privacy?
    For your protection we do not collect or share any personal information about you, such as your name, mailing address or credit card number. All of your financial transactions are conducted through Paypal, our secure payment processor.

    When it comes to hiring people these days, it seems that one needs to carefully ask: “Who are You…who who????” because we would like to know…

    Hat tip to Pete Roberts for passing this site along!

    Posted in Firm Governance, Fraud and theft, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Technology, Trends | Permalink | 2 Comments »
    Feeling a Bit Paranoid???
    Friday, February 5th, 2010

    ♫ Everytime I turn around
    Something don’t feel right
    Just might be paranoid..♫

    Lyrics and music by: Nicholas Jerry Jonas, Joseph Adam Jonas, Paul Kevin Jonas II, Cathy Dennis, John Fields, recorded by The Jonas Brothers.

    I guess it was just a matter of time. IT World posted an article today by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols (sjvn@vna1.com) entitled: “Can you trust Chinese computer equipment?

    While this may seem like the musings of a hyper-active Homeland Security Department, it is based on MI5′s report in The Times Online “China bugs and burgles Britain” that the Chinese Government has given British executives equipment with security holes.

    The Times Online article contains a chilling paragraph in discussing a report on these incidents:

    Written by MI5’s Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure, the 14-page “restricted” report describes how China has attacked UK defence, energy, communications and manufacturing companies in a concerted hacking campaign.

    The rest of this post can be found on: Feeling a Bit Paranoid??? on slaw.ca.

    Posted in Law Firm Strategy | Permalink | No Comments »