Can Lawyers Advertise With Yodle?

This lawyer won’t.

Yodle is an online advertiser. They “provide local businesses with a simple and affordable way to promote their services and generate new leads using internet marketing.”

I find buying keywords from Google to be complicated. Am I buying the right ones? How many should I buy?  How much should I spend? I went to law school not marketing school. I have no idea what’s a good approach with Google. Yodle attempts to solve this problem buy doing it for you.

For example, if I were interested in marketing a real estate practice, I tell Yodle this, we set a budget, they create a website for me and buy keywords. In theory, it is a great service for a small business – I have no idea whether or not it works but the concept is good.

The problem for lawyers is in the details. Yodle sets up a phone number for you and then records your calls. Yodle monitors the calls.

Here are Yodle’s terms of service:

6. Call Recording and Monitoring
For quality assurance, Yodle records and/or monitors calls between Customer (including the Locations) and Yodle agents, employees and/or its affiliates regarding the Services (the “Service Calls”). If the Services include call recording or monitoring, Yodle will record and/or monitor incoming calls and e-mails between the Location, or the Location’s agents, employees, and/or its affiliates and people who contact the Location through the tracking telephone numbers or contact forms Yodle provides (the “Inbound Calls” and, collectively with Service Calls, “Call Recording and Monitoring”). By this Agreement, Customer, on behalf of itself and each Location, consents to any and all Call Recording and Monitoring performed by Yodle or its agents, employees and/or its affiliates.

In speaking with Yodle, they advised me that the call monitoring service could be dropped. However, when I pressed the sales representative to remove the above clause from the contract they refused to do so. I then refused to hire Yodle.

Why?

Rule 1.6 of the ABA Code of Professional Conduct requires lawyers to protect the confidentiality of client information. The relevant comment reads as follows:

Paragraph (c) requires a lawyer to act competently to safeguard information relating to the representation of a client against unauthorized access by third parties and against inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure by the lawyer or other persons who are participating in the representation of the client or who are subject to the lawyer’s supervision. See Rules 1.1, 5.1 and 5.3.  The unauthorized access to, or the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, information relating to the representation of a client does not constitute a violation of paragraph (c) if the lawyer has made reasonable efforts to prevent the access or disclosure.  Factors to be considered in determining the reasonableness of the lawyer’s efforts include, but are not limited to, the sensitivity of the information, the likelihood of disclosure if additional safeguards are not employed, the cost of employing additional safeguards, the difficulty of implementing the safeguards, and the extent to which the safeguards adversely affect the lawyer’s ability to represent clients (e.g., by making a device or important piece of software excessively difficult to use). A client may require the lawyer to implement special security measures not required by this Rule or may give informed consent to forgo security measures that would otherwise be required by this Rule.  Whether a lawyer may be required to take additional steps to safeguard a client’s information in order to comply with other law, such as state and federal laws that govern data privacy or that impose notification requirements upon the loss of, or unauthorized access to, electronic information, is beyond the scope of these Rules.  For a lawyer’s duties when sharing information with nonlawyers outside the lawyer’s own firm, see Rule 5.3, Comments [3]-[4].

Yodle’s promise to “turn off call monitoring” while insisting on maintaining it in their terms and conditions presents an interesting problem for any lawyer seeking their services.

Any lawyer can tell you clients leave all sorts of highly personal information on voicemails. Especially, calls for initial consultations. Lawyers never know what they are going to find when they check their morning voicemails.

Any lawyer looking to advertise with Yodle should at the very least contact their malpractice carrier. My carrier provides free advice on such matters. Lawyers should also consider seeking an advisory opinion with State ethics counsel.

In the meantime, this lawyer will not be advertising with Yodle.

CT Lawyer Cyclists, Pedestrians, and Runners

Ryan McKeen founded ctroadsafety.com and is working to make the site a resource for Connecticut cyclists, runners, and pedestrians.

Presenting Food Bank with Check

Ryan McKeen at the 2013 McKeen Law Firm “Race To Fill the Pantry” 5k presenting the Glastonbury food bank with a donation.

Ryan enjoys running in Connecticut. He is a veteran marathon runner. What he sees on Connecticut’s roads scares him – drivers choosing to drive distracted. These drivers needlessly endanger runners, cyclists, and pedestrians.

He understands the rights of runners because he loves running.

The purpose of www.ctroadsafety.com is to educate readers of the rights of runners, cyclists, and pedestrians. Ryan believes awareness is the first step in making Connecticut’s roads and highways safe.

The second step is accountability. Ryan regularly trades his favorite running shoes and the road for a suit and court. Ryan takes great pride in holding drivers who needlessly endanger the public accountable for their choices. He represents injured cyclists, pedestrians, and runners – and their families. It is his passion.

The third step is community. McKeen Law Firm, LLC pledges 10% of any fee it earns representing injured runners, cyclists, and pedestrians will go to charity. After a settlement or verdict, Attorney McKeen and the client will meet and mutually decide on a charity.

Justice is healing and protecting the community. McKeen Law Firm, LLC relentlessly seeks justice.

Ryan can be reached at ryan@mckeenlawfirm.com or by calling (860) 560-8163.

Connecticut Wrongful Death Verdict Amount

Connecticut juries have the difficult task of assigning a dollar value to a life in a wrongful death case.

In January of 2014, a Connecticut jury awarded a total of 8 million dollars in loss of life and loss of life’s enjoyment for a middle aged man who died as a result of a defendant violating safety rules designed to protect the man.

The jury found 4 million for loss of life and 4 million for loss of life’s enjoyment.

Connecticut Wrongful Death Verdict Form

Connecticut Wrongful Death Verdict Form

Growing

I’m thrilled to announce Ruth Deslauries is joining the McKeen Law Firm team. Ruth will be working as a litigation paralegal. Ruth brings 30 years of litigation support experience to the table. In the course of her career, she has worked tirelessly to provide the highest quality assistance to very talented lawyers and firm clients.

When I started practicing law she was my assistant. Ruth helped break me in as a lawyer. In addition to producing a first rate work product, I saw first hand the ways in which she connected with and cared for clients.

In addition to assisting clients and handling litigation matters, Ruth served as a sounding board. Whenever I have a case, I try to hone and refine arguments. Starting out, Ruth was the closest person to my office. She heard all of my first drafts. Talking a case out with her helped my clarify issues and focus arguments.

Ruth will be working part-time with me. I’m grateful she agreed to join the team. Her addition is a tremendous asset to the firm and the clients we serve.

McKeen Law Firm’s “No Wait Policy”

Earlier this month, I had a doctor’s appointment. When I scheduled the appointment, the receptionist tells me to arrive 15 minutes before the appointment to complete my insurance paperwork.

Bacon! What does bacon have to do with waiting in a doctor’s office? Read on!

The day of the appointment, I arrive 15 minutes early. I complete my paperwork and take a seat in the waiting room. Forty-five minutes after my scheduled appointment, I’m called in to see the doctor. My schedule is booked solid. Most days like most people – my schedule is booked solid.

In the grand scheme of life that 45 minute delay is nothing. It is a minor inconvenience. While waiting for my appointment, I reschedule my meeting. Life marches forward.

That doesn’t mean I have to like waiting.

As a business owner, I respect my client’s time as valuable. I have a lobby in my office. I strive to keep it empty.

When a client schedules a two o’clock appointment – I do everything I can to start the appointment at two o’clock. This doesn’t mean that I’m perfect. Sometimes emergencies happen. Sometimes an important phone call or meeting goes longer than expected and there’s nothing I can do about it.

If you have a regularly scheduled appointment (not a real estate closing where times often change out of my control), show up on time, and and our meeting begins more than five minutes from its scheduled time- I will buy you an appetizer and a beverage at a Max Restaurant. I will hand you a $25 gift card to the Max Restaurant Group for your inconvenience. 

I’m a big fan of the candied bacon lollipops at Max Burger.

How To Print A Single Check From Quickbooks

Opening an office requires overcoming challenges. One of the challenges that I faced was printing a single check from QuickBooks. I buy checks, three to a page. Printing that “third” and single check was a problem.

The video below provides you with a no cost (other than a piece of paper that can be reused) solution.

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Ryan McKeen is an Attorney at McKeen Law Firm, LLC in Glastonbury, CT.

Starting A Law Firm? Find A Bank Near Your Office

As an associate at a 5 lawyer firm, I never dealt with the firm’s bank – we had a bookkeeper. She went to the bank.

Opening a law firm means spending time in the bank. Initially, you will spend hours setting up the right accounts. I have an operating account and two IOLTA accounts. The bank also extends me a line of credit. Lawyers trust accounts are highly regulated and are time consuming to open.

My bank is a half mile from my office. Even in the age of online banking being able to scan checks – I can’t convey the convenience of having my office close to my bank.

I can only wire money from my bank. When I have a real estate closing, I need to deposit certified funds at my bank. Almost always, I’m pressed for time.

Your relationship with your bank is important. I always go in to deposit checks. This allows me to build relationships. This helps when I have an emergency and need quick assistance. It has also earned me cases and referrals.

If you are opening shop, be sure to know what banks are within 2 miles of your office. Locating near the right bank is smart business.

Who Gets The Engagement Ring After A Break Up?

Much has been made in recent days of a Georgia man having to pay $50,000 for breaking an engagement to his fiancee.

Engagement ring.

Engagement ring.

In Connecticut the most common form of engagement litigation involves engagement rings. Engagement ring litigation is really an extension of property and contractual litigation.

Connecticut follows the modern view is that the gift of the engagement ring is a
conditional gift, the condition being the subsequent marriage of the parties. If the
marriage does not take place, the condition has not been met and the ring should be returned to the donor. Thorndike v. Demirs, No. CV05-5000243S (J.D. Waterbury at Waterbury, Jul. 26, 2007.

Connecticut has adopted the modern view for practical reasons. First, ”No-fault’ jurisdictions highlight that the primary purpose behind the engagement period is to allow the couple to test the permanency of their feelings for one another, and with that purpose in mind, it would be irrational to penalize the donor for taking steps to prevent a possibly unhappy marriage.

Further, Connecticut has adopted this rule for judicial economy.  “We do not want to require our judiciary to tackle the seemingly insurmountable task of determining which party was at fault for the termination of an engagement for marriage, as such may force trial courts to sort through volumes of self-serving testimony regarding who-did-what during the engagement.”

There are various exceptions to this rule (e.g. fraud) but the general rule in Connecticut is that the ring belongs to the donor until “I-do’s” are exchanged.

JFK

In his inaugural address, Kennedy said “”….civility is not a sign of weakness…” By it’s nature the practice of law can be contentious. Tempers flair from time to time.

Understanding that ”….civility is not a sign of weakness…” is essential to practicing law.

Dallek's "JFK: An Unfinished Life" on the shelf at McKeen Law Firm.

Dallek’s “JFK: An Unfinished Life” on the shelf at McKeen Law Firm.

 

 

 

Connecticut State and Federal Expert Discovery Law

Cases can be won and lost on how counsel and expert witnesses manage communications. Lawyers must know how to guide an expert through litigation. Failing to properly navigate draft reports and communications with experts can result in a damaged witness, preclusion or sanctions.

 CONNECTICUT LAW

 Under Connecticut law, lawyers must assume that every communication with an expert will be the subject of questions at deposition and trial.

Conn. Practice Book § 13-4 sets the parameters for discovery available by a disclosed expert:

 the party disclosing an expert witness shall, upon the request of an opposing party, produce to all other parties all materials obtained, created and/or relied upon by the expert in connection with his or her opinions in the case within fourteen days prior to that expert’s deposition or within such other time frame determined in accordance with the Schedule for Expert Discovery prepared pursuant to subsection (g) of this section.

Nothing contained in this section shall impair the right of any party from exercising that party’s rights under the rules of practice to subpoena or to request production of any materials, to the extent otherwise discoverableConn. Practice Book § 13-4

The purpose of §13-4 which is to assist the opposing party in the preparation of his case, and to eliminate unfair surprise by furnishing the opposing party with the essential elements of a party’s claim and to assist in the preparation of the defendant’s case. Rules of discovery are designed to “make a trial less a game of blindman’s bluff and more a fair contest with the basic issues and facts disclosed to the fullest practicable extent.” Wexler v. DeMaio, 280 Conn. 168, 188-90, 905 A.2d 1196 (2006) Grim v. Paggioli, 2011 Conn. Super. LEXIS 2374, 2 (Conn. Super. Ct. Sept. 13, 2011).

In pertinent part, Conn. Prac. Book P.B. § 13-2 provides that the discovery of information, documents, and the like which are “material to the subject matter” and “not privileged” may be obtained “if the disclosure sought would be of assistance in the prosecution or defense of the action” and the information sought “appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.” Conn. Podiatric Med. Ass’n v. Health Net of Conn., Inc., 2006 Conn. Super. LEXIS 452, 5 (Conn. Super. Ct. Feb. 1, 2006).

The right and opportunity to cross-examine an opposing party’s witness is an important, fundamental, and essential component of the adversarial method of resolving disputes; that right and opportunity should not be abridged or restricted absent clearly irrelevant inquiry or, more to the point, the establishment with specificity of a necessity to do so in order to assure the fairness and integrity of the proceeding. The right to fully and incisively cross-examine an adversary’s expert is particularly important  Chemical v. Executive Management Co., 1995 Conn. Super. LEXIS 3429, 24, 1995 WL 774526 (Conn. Super. Ct. Oct. 20, 1995).

Draft reports, communications with counsel, and engagement letters are all discoverable under Connecticut law.

 Federal Law

Federal Rule 26 applies to expert disclosures in Federal Court. Unlike Connecticut law, Federal Rule 26 provides work product protections to a testifying expert’s communications with counsel. All communications, aside from exceptions outlined in 26(2)(4)(C) (i-iii) between retaining counsel are protected. Draft expert reports are also protected.

Federal Rule 26(2), “Disclosure of Expert Testimony” in relevant part, reads as follows:

 (4) Trial Preparation: Experts.

(A) Deposition of an Expert Who May Testify. A party may depose any person who has been identified as an expert whose opinions may be presented at trial. If Rule 26(a)(2)(B) requires a report from the expert, the deposition may be conducted only after the report is provided.

(B) Trial-Preparation Protection for Draft Reports or Disclosures. Rules 26(b)(3)(A) and (B) protect drafts of any report or disclosure required under Rule 26(a)(2), regardless of the form in which the draft is recorded.

(C) Trial-Preparation Protection for Communications Between a Party’s Attorney and Expert Witnesses. Rules 26(b)(3)(A) and (B) protect communications between the party’s attorney and any witness required to provide a report under Rule 26(a)(2)(B), regardless of the form of the communications, except to the extent that the communications:

(i) relate to compensation for the expert’s study or testimony;

(ii) identify facts or data that the party’s attorney provided and that the expert considered in forming the opinions to be expressed; or

(iii) identify assumptions that the party’s attorney provided and that the expert relied on in forming the opinions to be expressed.

Federal Rule 26’s provisions regarding experts were enacted to reduce litigation costs, allow experts and retained counsel to communicate freely by avoiding wasteful measures designed to minimize communications.

 Conclusion

In order to ethically handle litigation, counsel must understand both State and Federal rules regarding expert disclosure and discovery. The difference between the State and Federal rules matters in the area of expert witnesses.