Legal ethics: Securing electronic communications

In nearly every state, ethics rules require a lawyer to make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information relating to the representation of a client.  Colorado Rule 1.6(c), for example, says:

A lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information relating to the representation of a client.

Does it violate ethics rules to use email in client communications?  Does it violate ethics rules to use ordinary text messaging on a mobile phone?  What about Skype, or Whatsapp, Viber or Signal?

What about the use of ordinary landline telephones, which can be easily tapped?  Are VOIP phone lines more secure or less secure than ordinary landline telephones?

In this webinar, learn what steps can be easily taken to greatly improve security of email communications.  Find out how some VOIP phone lines are vastly more secure than others and are much more secure than ordinary landline telephones or ordinary mobile phones.  Learn which messaging services are much more secure than others.  Learn how to be smart about these things in international communications and during international travel.

When and where?  Friday, December 10, 2021, Noon to 1:40 PM Mountain Time (100 minutes)

Format: Live webinar

Cost?  $59.  This registration fee covers one login link.  The link is usable on one computer or one projection screen or one tablet or one smart phone.  If two or three or more people watch the webinar on that computer or screen or tablet or smart phone, and if each of them learns the material, and if each of them fills in whatever forms they need to fill in to get CLE credit in their state, then each of them has the prospect of earning CLE credit in their state.  

Carl Oppedahl

The faculty. Your professor is Carl Oppedahl, the author of the Ant-Like Persistence blog.  Carl is a partner in Oppedahl Patent Law Firm LLC. He has served as an adjunct professor at University of Denver law school, teaching Patent Prosecution. Carl has been a Fellow of the American Intellectual Property Law Association. He has spent more than twenty-five years serving intellectual property clients.

Here’s what some attendees had to say about a recent webinar taught by Professor Oppedahl:

“Great. Concise, to the point and practical.” — M.Z., Suffern, NY

“Attorney Oppedahl does an excellent job of explaining procedures before various patent authorities and does so in an effective webinar format.” — R.K., Manchester, NH

“This webinar was extremely helpful, very current, and professionally presented. Carl is an excellent presenter, answers as many questions as possible, and speaks with perfect pacing.” — S.B., Boston, MA

“Oppedahl Webinars are the best for patent practitioners!” — P.M., Portland, ME

“Very interesting, well presented and topical.” — S.M., Ottawa, Canada

In our evaluation questionnaires we usually ask “is there any topic that you would like to see Carl Oppedahl cover in some future webinar?”  Almost always at least one attendee will respond with something along the lines of “any topic that Mr. Oppedahl feels like talking about.”

CLE accreditation?  This program has received CLE accreditation in Colorado for two CLE units.   You can see the Notice of Accreditation here.

What about CLE credit in states other than Colorado?  In some states the paperwork for CLE accreditation is extremely burdensome.  In some states the required fees are unreasonably high.  Many states nowadays try to shift the burden of recordkeeping regarding attendance away from the CLE agency and onto the CLE provider, and require that the CLE provider forward attendance information electronically and in bulk to the CLE agency.  For such a state, it is pointless to even think about trying to be a CLE provider unless there is some reason to think that one will regularly get dozens or hundreds of registrations from attendees in that state.  We have an impression that in some states, the CLE paperwork and recordkeeping and reporting requirements are set up to favor one or two in-state CLE providers and to tolerate half a dozen big nationwide CLE providers, and to exclude everyone else including small local independent CLE providers such as our firm.

If we were to set a goal of doing the paperwork and recordkeeping and reporting for all of the states that have CLE accreditation procedures, we would have to charge registration fees of hundreds of dollars per program and even then I suspect we would lose money on some programs.  Instead, by leaving it to you to try to navigate the paperwork burden in your state, we are able to keep our registration fees much lower.  

What we have heard is that some attendees from some states other than Colorado have successfully gotten credit in their own state by handing in the Uniform Certificate of Attendance that we provide.  Some attendees have kindly reported back to us about their successes as you can see here.

CLE assistance?  Please note that to keep our prices as low as possible, the registration fee does not include assistance from our office in attempting to obtain CLE credit from your state CLE agency. We will provide a Uniform Certificate of Attendance and related material, and it is up to you to attempt to obtain the CLE credit from your state CLE agency. If you wish assistance from our office in attempting to obtain CLE credit from your state CLE agency, please understand that (a) there will be an extra charge for such assistance; (b) our assistance will be limited to answering questions and filling out forms for you, but it will be up to you to communicate with your state CLE agency directly, and (c) we cannot make any assurances of successful CLE credit in any state in which we have not promised to provide CLE accreditation.

More than one location?  This registration is per login computer or smart phone or tablet location. If your firm or corporation wishes to make it possible for people to attend at two or more locations or at two or more computers or smart phones or tablets, you should make a registration for each location or computer or smart phone or tablet so that each location or computer or smart phone or tablet can have its own login credentials to the webinar system.

In the past, we have heard of some attendees attempting unsuccessfully to use Citrix or other desktop sharing applications to share the audio and video from one location to a second location. We have heard that this does not work well. We urge you to avoid problems by registering individually for each intended login computer location.

In case we did not make this clear, you need to understand that the login link that you will receive is good for only one login.  If you try to use it for logging in at two or more locations, it is extremely likely that at least one of the login attempts will fail and it would not be surprising if the second login attempt would make some sort of problem for the first login attempt.

Will the webinar be recorded?  Many people ask this question.  The answer is that maybe we will successfully record the webinar, and maybe we will fail to successfully record it.  Either way, the money that you pay to attend the live webinar will not entitle you to view the recording later, if we do successfully record the webinar.  If you want to get the benefit of paying your registration fee, you need to attend the live webinar.  If you miss the live webinar, your consolation is that you will have received the presentation materials and you might get some benefit from reading and studying the presentation materials.  If you have paid the registration fee and if you realize you are not going to be able to log in to attend the live webinar, then probably the most productive thing you could do so that your money does not go to waste is to find some deserving colleague and give them the login link as a gift so that they can attend the live webinar.  

Keep in mind that even if there were an opportunity to view a recording at a later time, this would not include the ability to ask questions.  A live webinar offers the opportunity to ask typed questions through an “ask questions” function.

How to sign up? To register for this program, click on the big button above.  After you have paid, you will receive a confirming email message with a link for logging in to the webinar itself.  If you do not receive the confirming email message shortly after registering, ask yourself whether you might have mistyped your email address when registering for the program.  Another possibility is that in the past, you asked our hosting provider (GotoWebinar, also known as LogMeIn) never to send you any more emails, in which case they will have honored your request never to send you any more emails.  Maybe it was a mistake to click that “unsubscribe” link in some past email from GotoWebinar or from LogMeIn!

How may I receive the presentation materials?  You will receive an email about one hour before the program, with a link to download the program materials.  If you do not receive the email message about one hour before the program with this link, go back and look to see whether you received the confirming email message when you registered for the program.  If you did not receive that earlier email message, ask yourself whether you might have mistyped your email address when registering for the program.  See the previous paragraph “How to sign up”.

This is one of the reasons that you should probably try very hard to get your registration done more than one hour before the starting time of the program.

Format. This program is a webinar, meaning a seminar offered over the Web. It is anticipated that at some law firm and corporate locations, the presentation-slide content of the webinar will be projected upon a screen in a conference room.  The projection-screen approach can provide a nice way for several people to attend. 

Other attendees will view the presentation by themselves, on their own computers or smart phones or tablets.

Participants will be able to submit typed questions through the webinar system.

After the webinar has finished, participants will be requested to complete an online evaluation form.

For users who attend by means of a computer, audio will be provided through the attendee’s choice of either computer speakers or a dial-in telephone number.  A user with a computer headset can use the headset to listen to the audio. Many attendees will find it convenient to receive the audio through their computer speakers, which is free of any per-minute charge.  It will also be possible to dial in to a telephone conference bridge to receive the audio; this will be a toll call with regular per-minute long-distance telephone charges.

You may find it convenient to use a USB speakerphone to broadcast the audio in your conference room.  

Are you a smart phone or tablet user? If so, you may wish to try attending using a Gotowebinar app. Before the date of the webinar, please do at least one test webinar as mentioned on the technical support page. On the date of the webinar, please log in at least ten minutes early so that you will have time to try to solve any problems. Plan ahead so that if you cannot get the app to work, you will be able to switch to an ordinary computer connection to attend the webinar.

Group viewing.  We hear from our attendees that one of the most pleasant and productive ways to attend one of our webinars is by means of group viewing.  Pick a conference room or some other comfortable setting.  Make sure, of course, to have a writing surface available for each attendee, since this is required by most state CLE accreditation rules.  Set up a large-screen monitor with an HDMI cable to display the program, or use a computer data projector to show the program on a big screen.  Use a USB speakerphone to broadcast the audio.  Keep a keyboard handy so that when attendees have questions, somebody can type in the questions in the “ask questions” box in the webinar system.

Beverages during the group viewing?  The plain fact is that most of the topics upon which we provide presentations have the potential to be very dry.  You do not know the full meaning of “very dry” until you have suffered through the first thirty minutes or so of a discussion of some of the finer points of the Patent Cooperation Treaty or the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, and then you glance at a clock and you realize that there are another seventy minutes to go before we are done.  You may thus find it helpful to plan ahead and to arrange to be well rested for the webinar.  One approach for a beverage is to consume some caffeinated beverages ahead of time and to have refills available during the program.  Another approach for a beverage during the group viewing would be to provide half a glass of wine to all attendees at about the half-way point.  This is very much a matter of personal choice.

Technical support on the day of the program.  Sometimes when we host a webinar, we receive frantic telephone calls on the day of the webinar from people who have problems. Usually the cause of the problem is something that we cannot help with in any way.  Please see our technical support page for technical support.

Cutoff time for registrations.  Please plan ahead and register with at least one hour to spare before the webinar. We can offer no assurances that an attempted webinar registration will succeed if you try to do it with less than one one hour remaining before the starting time of the webinar.

Other educational programs?  You can see other upcoming educational programs from Oppedahl Patent Law Firm LLC.