New Year's Resolutions for Lawyers in Risk Management
JANUARY 9, 2024
As we enter the New Year and set our intentions for the coming months, lawyers should resolve on a successful and secure year ahead. Our success often hinges on effective risk management, especially in today’s litigious environment. Therefore, when you set your New Year’s resolutions, prioritize strategies to safeguard your practice and your clients.
Here are some New Year’s resolutions tailored to aid lawyers in navigating the complicated realm of risk management in 2024:
- Embrace the Digital Shield and Be Vigilant About Wire Fraud. In an era increasingly dominated by technology, legal practices must fortify their digital defenses. In the New Year, resolve to stay informed of the latest cybersecurity measures, ensure your practice implements top-of-the-line protection of sensitive client information, and conduct regular cybersecurity audits to identify potential vulnerabilities. Be sure to stay abreast of the modus operandi of current day cyber criminals, such as increasing wire-transfer fraud. If you ever receive wire instructions through e-mail, call the individual who sent the instructions to verify the instructions as genuine. When communicating through e-mail, be sure that you are emailing the intended recipient. Inform your clients of safe cyber practices to help protect their sensitive information.
- Educate and Communicate. Proper communication with clients and colleagues is a keystone for effective risk management. In the New Year, re-commit to amplify your clients’ understanding of legal processes and potential outcomes/risks involved. By communicating consistently and clearly, you not only mitigate misinterpretations, but also foster trust. You should also strive to ensure your co-workers’ compliance with risk management protocols. Routine training sessions on best practice techniques will keep your team well-versed and curtail non-compliance.
- Stay Ahead of Case Law and Regulatory Changes. Strive to remain informed of developments or changes to case law and legislation relevant to your practice area.
- Prioritize Professional Development. In 2024, endeavor to advance your professional development by attending CLEs, conferences, workshops, and seminars to remain informed of emerging trends and best practices.
- Conduct Thorough Client Intake and Due Diligence. In the New Year, strengthen your client intake processes. When you are about to be retained by a potential client, run a conflict search, and perform due diligence to assess risks associated with potential clients and matters. If a representation could pose a potential conflict of interest, disclose the potential conflict and ramifications, and obtain your client’s written informed consent.
- Document, Document, Document. A robust paper trail is your best defense in a dispute. In 2024, resolve to diligently memorialize and maintain all client communications, agreements, and decisions. When appropriate, memorialize in writing any key decision requiring your judgment, outlining to your client the various options available to resolve the issue at hand.
- Invest in Professional Liability Insurance. Protect your practice from potential liabilities by ensuring you have a sufficient professional liability insurance policy in place.
As you step into the New Year, we hope these risk management methods will set you on the path to a prosperous and secure 2024. We hope that your legal practice flourishes in this New Year.
* This article was prepared by Andrew R. Jones, Aaron M. Barham, and Victoria Yachkouri of the New York City-based law firm of Furman Kornfeld & Brennan LLP. Shari is part of a team of over 40 lawyers and paralegals devoted to the defense of attorneys and other professionals in malpractice and disciplinary matters, as well as the defense of construction and personal-injury accidents. For more information about the above topic or the authors, please visit: www.fkblaw.com.
We trust that the above article was useful and thought-provoking; however, please note that it is intended as a general guide and opinion only, not a complete analysis of the issues addressed, and readers should always seek specific legal guidance on particular matters.