FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 28, 2022
Contact: Thomas Nobile
Director of Communications
NEW BRUNSWICK – The New Jersey State Bar Association’s Member Celebration Days festivities this fall included a line-up of webinars, with information to help every attorney thrive in their professional lives.
From guidance on keeping trust accounts in ship-shape, to tips for improving legal research queries, to ways to keep client and personal matters safe online, a line-up of practical sessions offered takeaways that attorneys can put to work right away.
Member Celebration Days also included opportunities for members to talk with employers at a job fair; get free headshots to update their online presence; shred unwanted office documents; and connect and learn about the Association’s sections and committees at an open house.
Read on for the kind of tips and guidance from the virtual informational sessions.
Nine essential tips for attorney trust accounting
Jason Saunders, the First Assistant Ethics Counsel at the Office of Attorney Ethics, and Alison Picione, the OAE’s Chief of Investigations, shared valuable information about attorney trust accounting basics.
1. On a regular basis, double back and look at the Rules of Professional Conduct, especially Rule 121-6.
2. Protect your client’s money and know what is going on in your trust account. That means ensuring you have good recordkeeping, supervised staff and knowing how your bookkeeping software works. Keep good records that show what is happening in all accounts.
3. Use your trust account only for client funds. Don’t comingle personal money, beyond what is allowed to cover bank fees. Don’t use it as a personal bank account.
4. Treat each client’s money as a mini account. Don’t disburse more than you have for each client.
5. Wait for deposits to clear before disbursing funds. Individual banks can vary, depending on the type of transaction. Be aware of what is happening and when funds are available.
6. Maintain records and client files for seven years after a matter has closed.
7. Enter each transaction in three places: checkbook, client ledger card, receipts or disbursements journal. Be sure to add details and reconcile each month. Make a note if there are issues and correct any errors.
8. Negligent misappropriations happen. It is important to address it as soon as possible and restore good record-keeping practices. Knowing misappropriation is using client or escrow funds without authorization. Intent to steal is not required.
9. Where to get help: Invest in yourself and your practice: Take a trust accounting class. Read the Court Rules. Contact the Office of Attorney Ethics, your bar association or the New Jersey Lawyer’s Assistance Program.
Four ways to power-up legal research and get the most from Fastcase
NJSBA members have free access to the legal research tool, Fastcase. Here are four tips about how to improve research results and what Fastcase experts told our members during an informational session to help them get the most useful results from the platform.
1. Be sure to choose your jurisdiction at the right of the search bar prior to entering your search.
2. When considering your search, identify the keywords that would be found in the document you need and type those into the search bar. If you are getting too many results, try using a proximity indicator (w/15 for example) to limit how many words apart from each other your terms should be—like dog w/15 bite
3. The flag icon at the left of the case title will take you to Fastcase’s Authority Check report—their negative treatment citator tool that identifies if the case is still good law, and provides a list of cases that have cited the opinion you are reviewing. A red/colored in flag indicates negative treatment, while a neutral/not colored in flag indicated no negative treatment.
4. Fastcase’s search and document history are available by clicking the My Libraries icon, which appears as a clock, in the upper right section of the page.
How to keep personal and client data safe online—four easy tips
An ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure when it comes to cyber security. Did you know that having a modest cyber security plan can reduce the cost of a security breach by up to 92%?
1. If you are a lawyer who does work at home, consider having two Wi-Fi networks, one for work and one for everything else in life.
2. Don’t charge your devices using USB ports in public places like hotels and airports because cyberthieves can siphon off data from those sites. Instead, connect to an electrical outlet using your own charging cable.
3. If you receive an email asking you to log in to a site with a username and password, pick up the phone first to verify with the organization that it made the request.
4. Use a password manager to safely log in to sites.
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NJSBA celebrates members by providing critical advice every lawyer should have
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: NJSBA Communications Department
Email: [email protected]