Mark Bassingthwaighte

Latest Articles

In my role as a risk manager, I’ve heard all kinds of crazy comments from lawyers over the years.  For example, during a CLE event with ethics counsel sitting next to me on a speaker’s panel, two lawyer attendees tried to convince others in attendance that the panel’s position on conflict of interest resolution was clearly wrong.  In short, they boldly declared there is no such thing as a nonconsentable conflict.  All it takes is…
With the release of Formal Ethics Opinion 482 in September of 2018, the ABA finally made it quite clear. Lawyers do indeed have an ethical duty to develop a disaster recovery plan.  Just consider the import of how the Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility concluded their opinion when they stated: “Lawyers must be prepared to deal with disasters.  Foremost among a lawyer’s ethical obligations are those to existing clients, particularly in maintaining communication. …
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock of late, I suspect you are well aware of the rise of the attorney wellness movement within our profession.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not here to challenge the importance and value of all that’s going on.  While I will admit I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around this mindfulness thing, and when it comes to yoga, well let’s just say I’m more comfortable in…
This question is one I do get asked now and again.  I am always surprised by it because I honestly don’t understand why a lawyer would ever decide not to; but more than a few do just that. The reasons I hear are many. Some try to justify their decision by declaring malpractice premiums are beyond affordable. Others will share if they are ever sued and an adverse judgment is entered against them, they’ll just…
A call came in today that is one worth sharing because the learning it provides serves as a good reminder about the perils that can arise from a failure to follow through.  Here’s the short version.  A long-term client reached out to his attorney to ask for a favor.  While away on cruise vacation, the client’s daughter had been struck in the face by a falling object that resulted in substantial damage to her teeth. …
Common reasons lawyers close their practices include a medical disability, wanting to retire, a move out-of-state, or a career change. While the specific steps that need to be taken and the time frame involved can vary significantly depending upon the reasons driving the closure and the type of practice being closed, the following checklist covers the basics of what most lawyers will need to think about. If time allows, be prepared for the process to…
I recently asked several of our claims attorneys to identify the top habits they felt new lawyers should develop from day one.  Most of what they shared was what I anticipated claims attorneys would say; but one item caught my attention, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized how right they were.  In short, all lawyers, not just new lawyers, need to know how to write well. The professional writing you…
I could hear it in his voice, the frustration over trying to figure out how to deal with a never-ending flow of email was palpable.  Unfortunately, before I could share a few thoughts, the elevator door opened and I had to walk away wishing I could have had a little more time.  That’s the real issue, isn’t it?  It’s always about time.  There never seems to be enough of it.  I suspect you can relate…
The belief that “The odds of a computer or network breach isn’t an if, it’s only a when” is practically dogma now.  Given this reality, every law practice, to include solo attorneys, should have a data security plan in place.  Yes, I know the task can seem a bit daunting, particularly if you have no idea where to start; but failing to do this is no longer an acceptable choice. Putting our ethical duties and…
As with any cyber threat, prevention starts with awareness of the risk and, as a road warrior, I see people taking an unnecessary risk far too often.  This one involves smart phones. Here’s the problem.  The cable you use to charge your phone is the same one you use to transfer or sync your data.   This reality creates an attack vector that someone could take advantage of during the charging process.  In short, if…