During the Great Recession many law schools saw their admissions decline sharply and many lawyers found themselves without employment. In some areas of the country these effects are still felt and present challenges for young attorneys looking to provide services for indigent or lower income clients. What options are there for under or unemployed lawyers who wish to help this demographic?
In this episode of The Florida Bar Podcast, host Adriana Linares speaks with Open Legal Services co-founders Shantelle Argyle and Daniel Spencer about starting their nonprofit law firm. Dan starts the interview by mentioning that Shantelle came up with the idea, and that similar concepts had been attempted in the past, but an exclusively client funded firm had never been done before. They both recall that the catalyst for the idea was their unhappiness at their jobs at the time and that they were not practicing law. Shantelle describes their realization that the middle class was not able to access needed legal services and that there was a large untapped client market. She then goes into detail about how they established the nonprofit, their marketing approach, how they set their fees, and how they created the scale with which they determine which clients to accept. Dan also explains that although the company has never been profit driven it is critical for any new firm to meticulously monitor their cash flow. They both end the interview with a discussion of the technology they use to help manage the firm, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness available for attorneys working in the nonprofit sector, and the grand opening of their third office location.
Shantelle Argyle is the co-founder and executive director of Open Legal Services. She received her bachelor of science from Utah Valley University and her juris doctorate from the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law.
Daniel Spencer is the co-founder and supervising attorney of Open Legal Services. He received his juris doctorate from the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney School of Law.
Forty nine cents of each dollar spent on electronic discovery is wasted as a result of lawyers not understanding how to properly scope a preservation effort or use forms of production and collection that are both defensible and reasonable. How do lawyers stay abreast with new technology that might become a possible source of evidence and where do they get that information? Why do solo lawyers and small firms need to know about electronic discovery?
In this episode of The Florida Bar Podcast host, Adriana Linares chats with Computer Forensic Examiner Craig Ball about electronic evidence, e-discovery, and how important it is for litigators to understand this data acquisition process. Craig explains why small firms and solo lawyers should be interested in e-discovery, if they want access to electronic evidence, and why printing physical copies of documents for storage is no longer practical. He also talks about the denial that many lawyers have regarding their need to understand and use new tech and provides resources online where lawyers can go to become more informed about e-discovery. Craig discusses why law firms should insist upon certain electronic competencies from their lawyers, like understanding the appropriate means by which to do reasonable searches of electronically stored information, and why he thinks the bar associations have not done enough to stress the importance of such knowledge. He then closes the interview with an analysis of emerging tools designed specifically to assist small firms and solo practitioners with e-discovery and provides specific software options that can help lawyers with the collection and preservation of evidence.
Craig Ball is a trial lawyer and computer forensic examiner who focuses his practice on serving as court-appointed special master and consultant in computer forensics and electronic discovery. He is a founder of the Georgetown University Law Center E-Discovery Training Academy and serves on the academy’s faculty. Craig received his J.D. from, and teaches Electronic Discovery and Digital Evidence at, the University of Texas School of Law.
With the legal industry’s increased efforts to integrate new technology into the profession, it has never been more important for law firms to protect themselves and their data. However, what happens when a breach does occur and privileged information is compromised? More specifically, what is a breach notification and what procedures are Florida law firms required to follow immediately after the incident?
In this episode of The Florida Bar Podcast, host Adriana Linares sits down with Orange County Bar Association Technology Committee Chair Daniel Whitehouse to discuss data breach notification procedures and what constitutes personally identifiable information. Daniel breaks down what Florida statutes consider a data breach (basically an unauthorized party accessing restricted data) and gives a few examples of situations within a law firm where this definition applies. He then provides an in-depth explanation as to what types of data fall under personally identifiable information, such as social security numbers, medical records, and email addresses, and discusses what Florida’s data breach notification law is. Daniel takes time to explain what the Florida attorney general’s office will require from law firms that experience such a breach and analyzes what ethical obligations legal professionals have to their clients and the prevention of future unauthorized access. He closes the interview with tips on how law firms can encrypt their data and proactive changes companies can implement to increase their security policies.
Daniel Whitehouse holds a Bachelor of Science in computer science and a Master of Business Administration (MBA), both from Webster University. He interned for The Honorable Susan C. Bucklew of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida and attended Stetson University College of Law where he graduated Co-Valedictorian. Daniel is currently the chair of the Orange County Bar Association Technology Committee.