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“Taking Control of Stress” by Homewood Human Solutions

January 28, 2015 By: TimLemieux Category: Wellness and balance

LAWPRO believes that helping lawyers improve their personal health and workplace effectiveness can reduce the likelihood of claims, and financially supports the Law Society’s Member Assistance Program (MAP), which is administered by Homewood Human Solutions (HHS). Homewood offers a number of e-Learning Courses that lawyers can do from their desks, and from time to time we’ll highlight one of them here on our blog.

contemplate man on dock

According to Resolutions for Stress Relief, Wellness and Balance:

The life of a lawyer, especially a solo or small firm practitioner, is often stressful. Stress itself is not necessarily a bad thing; our body’s reaction to stress actually helps us to meet the sudden demands that we face as busy lawyers. However, too much stress too often becomes chronic stress, and takes its toll on our physical, mental and emotional well-being.

The “Taking Control of Stress” e-Learning course focuses on key stress management skills, including: managing thinking and feelings, time management, increasing positive experiences, getting active and relaxation.

The first segment, “About Stress” looks at how some stress can be a good thing, while too much can be debilitating. In an ideal world we’d all find a spot somewhere in the middle.

The next segment includes a “Signs of Stress” checklist to help you recognize mental and physical symptoms to watch for that might indicate that the stresses in your life could be having a negative effect.

Having identified a problem with stress, a number of techniques are offered to help you cope. These include reducing tension through breathing and muscle exercises, mental visualization tips and a daily worksheet to help you track your efforts.

All e-Learning courses offered on the HHS site are approved for the LAWPRO Risk Management credit. The program credits can be claimed by selecting “Credit for a Homewood e-Learning course through the LSUC Member Assistance Plan” on the Risk Management Credit declaration page. One credit ($50) per policy year can be claimed for completing an e-Learning course.

Commercial debt collection scam using the names Karlheinz Landauer and Celonic AG

January 28, 2015 By: FraudInfo Category: Confirmed frauds

A California firm notified us that they received an email from the purported Karlheinz Landauer of Celonic AG looking to retain them with regards to making a large commercial purchase.

This is a bad cheque scam that presents as legal matter requiring the assistance of a lawyer. In this scam lawyers will be duped into wiring real funds from their trust accounts after depositing a fake cheque received as payment from the purchaser (who is part of the fraud). See our Confirmed Fraud Page for more of an explanation of how these frauds work and to see other names associated with it. Our Fraud Fact Sheet lists the red flags of a bogus legal matter that is really a fraud.

Here is the initial contact email sent by the fraudster to the lawyer:

What are our chances in suing a company over failing contract dispute obligation, spanning over five months?

Regards,
Karlheinz Landauer
Operations
Celonic AG
Eulerstrabe 55
4051 Basel
Tel: +41 44 58 60 66 8
Fax: + 41 44 35 53 098

How to handle a real or suspected fraud

If you have been targeted by any of these frauds, please forward any of the emails and supporting documents that you have received to fraudinfo@lawpro.ca.

If you are an Ontario lawyer who suspects you are acting on a matter that might be a fraud, call LAWPRO at 1-800-410-1013 (416-598-5899). We will talk you through the common fraud scenarios we are seeing and help you spot red flags that may indicate you are being duped. This will help you ask appropriate questions of your client to determine if the matter is legitimate or not. If the matter you are acting on turns out to be a fraud and there is a potential claim, we will work with you to prevent the fraud and minimize potential claims costs.

What can you do to help put a stop to the fraud attempt? You can simply stop replying to the fraudster’s emails or inform them that you suspect fraud and will not act on the matter (or will take no further actions on the matter). You can report the fraudsters email addresses to the email hosting company. If you have a fraudulent cheque you can destroy it or send it to the fraud department of the financial institution, which may wish to see it. In Canada, you can report the fraud to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

We are often asked if it is worthwhile to report the fraud attempt to the police in the hopes of helping catch the fraudsters. You can certainly report the fraud to your local or federal law enforcement agencies, but unfortunately it is often difficult, expensive and time consuming for them to attempt to shut down these online fraud perpetrators (though there are some successes).

If you have been successfully duped, please immediately notify LAWPRO as there may be a claim against you. Instructions on how to report a claim are here.

For more immediate updates on fraud and claims prevention, subscribe to the email or RSS feed updates from LAWPRO’s AvoidAClaim blog.

Fraud Fact Sheet More fraud prevention information and resources are available on the practicePRO Fraud page, including the Fraud Fact Sheet, a handy reference for lawyers and law firm staff that describes the common frauds and the red flags that can help identify them.

Survey of U.S. law firms shows cyber security a growing concern

January 27, 2015 By: TimLemieux Category: Fraud prevention

Marsh USA has conducted a survey of fifty U.S. law firms to get their opinions on various issues concerning cyber security. The results indicate that the topic is high on the list of concerns at firms, but that many have not taken the steps necessary to prevent or respond to a cyber/privacy. 7% of firms say they have been the victim of a successful cyber attack in the past three years.

Here are the key findings:

  • 79% of respondents in aggregate viewed cyber/privacy security as one of their top 10 risks in their overall risk strategy.
  • 72% said their firm has not assessed and scaled the cost of a data breach based on the information it retains.
  • 51% said that their law firms either have not taken measures to insure their cyber risk (41%) or do not know (10%) if their firm has taken measures.
  • 62% have not calculated the effective revenue lost or extra expenses incurred following a cyber-attack.

Click here for the full survey findings.

Law firms wishing to learn more about the dangers of cybercrime and the steps they should be taking to prevent breaches should read Cybercrime and Law Firms: The Risks and Dangers Are Real and Protecting Yourself from Cybercrime Dangers: The Steps You Need to Take.

Separation agreement scam using the name Yumiko Murdoch

January 27, 2015 By: FraudInfo Category: Confirmed frauds

Firms in Ohio and Michigan notified us that they received an email from the purported Yumiko Murdoch looking to retain them with regards to a collecting overdue payments resulting from a separation agreement.

This is a classic bad cheque scam that presents as legal matter requiring the assistance of a lawyer. In this scam lawyers will be duped into wiring real funds from their trust accounts after depositing a fake cheque received as payment from the debtor (who is part of the fraud). See our Confirmed Fraud Page for more of an explanation of how these frauds work and to see other names associated with it. Our Fraud Fact Sheet lists the red flags of a bogus legal matter that is really a fraud.

Here is the initial email sent by the fraudster to the lawyer:

On Jan 27, 2015, at 7:26 AM, simonlewis@iprimus.com.au
wrote:

My name is Yumiko Murdoch. Please advise if you handle Enforcement
Issue in Family Law Matter.

Regards,
Yumiko Murdoch.

Replying to the email brought this response and fake ID:

Thank you for your prompt response. Am living in Japan and Timothy
Murdoch (ex-husband) lives in Mount Clemens, MI. Due to the time
difference (+13hrs EST) it is a little bit difficult to determine the
best time to call you. Following our divorce, we agreed under a
negotiated settlement agreement which is incorporated, merged into and
made part of the court decree for a one-time payment of $657,600.00USD
for Family support (this includes child support, alimony and medical
support). To his credit, he has paid me $208,000.00USD but still owing
$449,600.00USD and the due time for completion of payment is over.
Thus, I request your legal counsel and representation to enforce the
final judgment thereby compelling him to remit the balance owed me. He
is aware of my intention to seek legal actions. Attached is a copy of
the separation agreement, and Final Judgment and I will be pleased to
provide further information on this case on request. I desire to retain
your law firm, please forward your firm’s retainer fee agreement so
that we can proceed. Thank you and have a pleasant day.

Murdoch Passport

How to handle a real or suspected fraud

If you have been targeted by any of these frauds, please forward any of the emails and supporting documents that you have received to fraudinfo@lawpro.ca.

If you are an Ontario lawyer who suspects you are acting on a matter that might be a fraud, call LAWPRO at 1-800-410-1013 (416-598-5899). We will talk you through the common fraud scenarios we are seeing and help you spot red flags that may indicate you are being duped. This will help you ask appropriate questions of your client to determine if the matter is legitimate or not. If the matter you are acting on turns out to be a fraud and there is a potential claim, we will work with you to prevent the fraud and minimize potential claims costs.

What can you do to help put a stop to the fraud attempt? You can simply stop replying to the fraudster’s emails or inform them that you suspect fraud and will not act on the matter (or will take no further actions on the matter). You can report the fraudsters email addresses to the email hosting company. If you have a fraudulent cheque you can destroy it or send it to the fraud department of the financial institution, which may wish to see it. In Canada, you can report the fraud to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

We are often asked if it is worthwhile to report the fraud attempt to the police in the hopes of helping catch the fraudsters. You can certainly report the fraud to your local or federal law enforcement agencies, but unfortunately it is often difficult, expensive and time consuming for them to attempt to shut down these online fraud perpetrators (though there are some successes).

If you have been successfully duped, please immediately notify LAWPRO as there may be a claim against you. Instructions on how to report a claim are here.

For more immediate updates on fraud and claims prevention, subscribe to the email or RSS feed updates from LAWPRO’s AvoidAClaim blog.

Fraud Fact Sheet More fraud prevention information and resources are available on the practicePRO Fraud page, including the Fraud Fact Sheet, a handy reference for lawyers and law firm staff that describes the common frauds and the red flags that can help identify them.

Commercial debt collection scam using the names Liu Wenbo and Toyama Steel Co

January 27, 2015 By: FraudInfo Category: Confirmed frauds

Firms in Ontario and Kansas notified us that they received an email from the purported Erik Liu Wenbo of Toyama Steel Co looking to retain them with regards to making a large commercial purchase.

This is a bad cheque scam that presents as legal matter requiring the assistance of a lawyer. In this scam lawyers will be duped into wiring real funds from their trust accounts after depositing a fake cheque received as payment from the purchaser (who is part of the fraud). See our Confirmed Fraud Page for more of an explanation of how these frauds work and to see other names associated with it. Our Fraud Fact Sheet lists the red flags of a bogus legal matter that is really a fraud.

Here is the initial contact email sent by the fraudster to the lawyer:

From: colvron@iprimus.com.au
Date: Tue, Jan 27, 2015 at 4:37 AM
Subject: Business Litigation
To:

   Please advise if handle Business Litigation / breach of contract and do
let me know if your office is currently accepting new clients.

Regard:

Mr Liu Wenbo
Independent Director
Toyama steel Co., Ltd
1-9 Nankokita,
Suminoe-ku Osaka, Japan
www.toyamasteel.com

Replying to the email brought this response:

Thank you for your promptly response. Attached is a copy of the sales contract, payment receipt for the deposit and our email correspondence with Fastenal Company. with regards to this transaction.

Following our request for a refund, they appealed to setup payment in 2 installments within a month interval, of which the first installment was paid on the 20th of November, 2014 in the amount of $497,500.00 after so much reminder and threat of involving a lawyer (payment receipt attached also). The balance was due in December, 2014 and since then, all our efforts to have them remit funds proved abortive. Detailed are all contained in our attached correspondence with Fastenal.

In summary;
Total amount of goods ordered: $2,540,891.00
Initial deposit made to Fastenal (i.e. 50% of the total amount): $1,270,445.00
Amount refunded (on the 20th of November, 2013): $497,500.00
Balance amount due to Toyama steel Co., Ltd: $772,945.00

Prior to retaining you, please forward a copy of your retainer agreement for our review and signature. We wait to hear from you.

Best Regards,
Liu Wenbo
Independent Director
Toyama steel Co., Ltd
1-2-11 CHOME, NISHI-KU,
OSAKA, 550-0005, JAPAN

How to handle a real or suspected fraud

If you have been targeted by any of these frauds, please forward any of the emails and supporting documents that you have received to fraudinfo@lawpro.ca.

If you are an Ontario lawyer who suspects you are acting on a matter that might be a fraud, call LAWPRO at 1-800-410-1013 (416-598-5899). We will talk you through the common fraud scenarios we are seeing and help you spot red flags that may indicate you are being duped. This will help you ask appropriate questions of your client to determine if the matter is legitimate or not. If the matter you are acting on turns out to be a fraud and there is a potential claim, we will work with you to prevent the fraud and minimize potential claims costs.

What can you do to help put a stop to the fraud attempt? You can simply stop replying to the fraudster’s emails or inform them that you suspect fraud and will not act on the matter (or will take no further actions on the matter). You can report the fraudsters email addresses to the email hosting company. If you have a fraudulent cheque you can destroy it or send it to the fraud department of the financial institution, which may wish to see it. In Canada, you can report the fraud to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

We are often asked if it is worthwhile to report the fraud attempt to the police in the hopes of helping catch the fraudsters. You can certainly report the fraud to your local or federal law enforcement agencies, but unfortunately it is often difficult, expensive and time consuming for them to attempt to shut down these online fraud perpetrators (though there are some successes).

If you have been successfully duped, please immediately notify LAWPRO as there may be a claim against you. Instructions on how to report a claim are here.

For more immediate updates on fraud and claims prevention, subscribe to the email or RSS feed updates from LAWPRO’s AvoidAClaim blog.

Fraud Fact Sheet More fraud prevention information and resources are available on the practicePRO Fraud page, including the Fraud Fact Sheet, a handy reference for lawyers and law firm staff that describes the common frauds and the red flags that can help identify them.

Capture More Billable Time and Stress Less

January 26, 2015 By: TimLemieux Category: Law Practice Management

On the Attorney at Work blog, Jacqueline Vinaccia (an expert in lawyer fee auditing) has some tips on how to better capture billable time and reduce the stress and aggravation that goes along with it.

Here are her strategies (click here for the full article to read her explanations of each one)

  • Don’t think of it as “doing my time.”
  • Record time spent when it’s performed
  • Record the interruptions in long projects as they occur
  • Create a distraction-free zone for larger projects
  • Keep a notepad for writing down tasks that occur away from the office
  • Review your firm’s time and billing program
  • Review the efficiency of your staff
  • Communicate with the client regularly
  • Consider alternative billing arrangements

The ideas nicely compliment our own Resolutions to capture more time (and make more money), from the December 2012 issue of LAWPRO Magazine.

In the practicePRO Lending Library: The Complete Guide to Designing Your Law Office

January 26, 2015 By: TimLemieux Category: Law Practice Management

designing your office

Here’s the information you need to create an impressive, efficient law office that meets your business requirements. Learn the best approaches for designing every area in the law office, including offices and work stations, conference rooms and reception areas, and more. You’ll be guided through every step of the process, from determining your optimal square footage, to selecting the right security systems and technology, to hiring and working with movers. In addition, helpful checklists, schedules, forms, and letters are included on an accompanying CD-ROM to make your renovation or relocation as easy as possible. For anyone contemplating a new or redesigned office, this is the book that covers all the details.

The practicePRO Lending Library is a free resource for Ontario lawyers of more than 100 books on a wide variety of law practice management related topics. You can see a full listing of our books here. You may borrow a book in person or via e-mail.

The practicePRO Library is located in our office at 250 Yonge Street, Suite 3101 in Toronto and can be visited during our regular business hours (Mon to Fri, 8:30 to 5:00). We invite you to come by anytime (please email in advance)to peruse our selection. All titles in the practicePRO Lending Library can be shipped to Ontario lawyers at our expense, and returned at yours after three weeks.

If you would like to borrow this or any other book please email us. Most of our titles are also available from the American Bar Association Web Store or the major booksellers here in Canada.

Commercial equipment purchase scam using the names Erik De Haas and Boskalis Group

January 26, 2015 By: FraudInfo Category: Confirmed frauds

Firms in Ontario and Minnesota notified us that they received an email from the purported Erik De Haas of Boskalis Group looking to retain them with regards to making a large commercial purchase.

This is a bad cheque scam that presents as legal matter requiring the assistance of a lawyer. In this scam lawyers will be duped into wiring real funds from their trust accounts after depositing a fake cheque received as payment from the purchaser (who is part of the fraud). See our Confirmed Fraud Page for more of an explanation of how these frauds work and to see other names associated with it. Our Fraud Fact Sheet lists the red flags of a bogus legal matter that is really a fraud.

Here is the initial contact email sent by the fraudster to the lawyer:

From: info-boskalis-group@groupmail.com
[mailto:info-boskalis-group@groupmail.com]
Sent: Monday, January 12, 2015 12:28 PM
To:
Subject: Enquiry……

Hello

checking if your firm handle purchase & sale transactions and agreements? If
not, a referral will be appreciated

Erik De Haas
Purchase & Logistics Manager
BOSKALIS Group
Head Office: Rosmolenweg 20
3356 LK Papendrecht PO Box 43, 3350 AA Papendrecht Netherlands
Logistics: 1702, TW133 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon Hong Kong

Replying to the email brought this response:

I am in the process of selling a dredger to a buyer residing in your area. I need an attorney to
help me draft a purchase and sale agreement for the transaction. I have attached some necessary details
of the dredger for your review, please advise on your rate, retainer fee and forward to me your retainer
agreement to sign. Find below the name of the proposed buyer for your conflict check.

Proposed Buyer:
St Lawrence Marine & Dredging
87 Fitzsimmons Rd
Lansdowne, ON Canada

Erik De Haas
Purchase & Logistics Manager
BOSKALIS Group
Head Office: Rosmolenweg 20
3356 LK Papendrecht PO Box 43, 3350 AA Papendrecht  Netherlands
Logistics: 1702, TW133 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon Hong Kong
Direct Line: +3278484042 (currently in Belgium new office)

How to handle a real or suspected fraud

If you have been targeted by any of these frauds, please forward any of the emails and supporting documents that you have received to fraudinfo@lawpro.ca.

If you are an Ontario lawyer who suspects you are acting on a matter that might be a fraud, call LAWPRO at 1-800-410-1013 (416-598-5899). We will talk you through the common fraud scenarios we are seeing and help you spot red flags that may indicate you are being duped. This will help you ask appropriate questions of your client to determine if the matter is legitimate or not. If the matter you are acting on turns out to be a fraud and there is a potential claim, we will work with you to prevent the fraud and minimize potential claims costs.

What can you do to help put a stop to the fraud attempt? You can simply stop replying to the fraudster’s emails or inform them that you suspect fraud and will not act on the matter (or will take no further actions on the matter). You can report the fraudsters email addresses to the email hosting company. If you have a fraudulent cheque you can destroy it or send it to the fraud department of the financial institution, which may wish to see it. In Canada, you can report the fraud to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

We are often asked if it is worthwhile to report the fraud attempt to the police in the hopes of helping catch the fraudsters. You can certainly report the fraud to your local or federal law enforcement agencies, but unfortunately it is often difficult, expensive and time consuming for them to attempt to shut down these online fraud perpetrators (though there are some successes).

If you have been successfully duped, please immediately notify LAWPRO as there may be a claim against you. Instructions on how to report a claim are here.

For more immediate updates on fraud and claims prevention, subscribe to the email or RSS feed updates from LAWPRO’s AvoidAClaim blog.

Fraud Fact Sheet More fraud prevention information and resources are available on the practicePRO Fraud page, including the Fraud Fact Sheet, a handy reference for lawyers and law firm staff that describes the common frauds and the red flags that can help identify them.

Commercial debt collection scam using the names Hitomi Kimoto and Wu Lee Steel Co.

January 26, 2015 By: FraudInfo Category: Confirmed frauds

An Ohio firm notified us that they received an email from the purported Hitomi Kimoto of Wu Lee Steel Co. looking to retain them with regards to a commercial debt collection.

This is a classic bad cheque scam that presents as legal matter requiring the assistance of a lawyer. In this scam lawyers will be duped into wiring real funds from their trust accounts after depositing a fake cheque received as payment from the debtor (who is part of the fraud). See our Confirmed Fraud Page for more of an explanation of how these frauds work and to see other names associated with it. Our Fraud Fact Sheet lists the red flags of a bogus legal matter that is really a fraud.

Here is the initial email from the fraudster to the lawyer:

—– Message from “Jensen, Julia” on Fri, 23 Jan 2015 23:06:23 +0000 —–
Subject: Do you handle Breach of Contract?

Replying to the email brought this response:

Thank you for responding to our email. With regard to the above subject matter, we placed an order for some goods from Airgas, Inc. back in August, 2013 and the terms of the sales contract requires we to pay 50% of the total cost of the ordered goods before delivery and the balance after we have received the same goods. However, after we paid the initial deposit, we did not receive any goods as required.
The goods ought to be delivered in September, 2013. More time was given to them to deliver the goods which they were still unable to meet with. Hence, we requested for a refund. We have made several efforts to have them refund the initial deposit, but to no avail. We have therefore decided to resort to legal means since there is an existing agreement prior to the transaction.
Find below details of the supplier.

Airgas, Inc.
2020 Train Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113-4205
United States

We have suffered so much loss as a result of this failed transaction and we are ready to proceed with litigation if the need should arise. Let us know the best way to have this issue tackled and we will comply as long as we get results. Furthermore, we have concerns and would like you to respond in detail in your reply.

Are they any foibles you see in this case? If litigation is involved, the distance gives us some concern with regards to court appearances. How can this be handled? How much is your legal fee? Do you charge on hourly basis or contingency? What should we expect from you? Any guarantees?
Please advise on your assessment of this case. A quick response will be appreciated.

Best Regards,
Hitomi Kimoto
Wu Lee Steel Co.

How to handle a real or suspected fraud

If you have been targeted by any of these frauds, please forward any of the emails and supporting documents that you have received to fraudinfo@lawpro.ca.

If you are an Ontario lawyer who suspects you are acting on a matter that might be a fraud, call LAWPRO at 1-800-410-1013 (416-598-5899). We will talk you through the common fraud scenarios we are seeing and help you spot red flags that may indicate you are being duped. This will help you ask appropriate questions of your client to determine if the matter is legitimate or not. If the matter you are acting on turns out to be a fraud and there is a potential claim, we will work with you to prevent the fraud and minimize potential claims costs.

What can you do to help put a stop to the fraud attempt? You can simply stop replying to the fraudster’s emails or inform them that you suspect fraud and will not act on the matter (or will take no further actions on the matter). You can report the fraudsters email addresses to the email hosting company. If you have a fraudulent cheque you can destroy it or send it to the fraud department of the financial institution, which may wish to see it. In Canada, you can report the fraud to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

We are often asked if it is worthwhile to report the fraud attempt to the police in the hopes of helping catch the fraudsters. You can certainly report the fraud to your local or federal law enforcement agencies, but unfortunately it is often difficult, expensive and time consuming for them to attempt to shut down these online fraud perpetrators (though there are some successes).

If you have been successfully duped, please immediately notify LAWPRO as there may be a claim against you. Instructions on how to report a claim are here.

For more immediate updates on fraud and claims prevention, subscribe to the email or RSS feed updates from LAWPRO’s AvoidAClaim blog.

Fraud Fact Sheet More fraud prevention information and resources are available on the practicePRO Fraud page, including the Fraud Fact Sheet, a handy reference for lawyers and law firm staff that describes the common frauds and the red flags that can help identify them.

practicePRO’s Top Downloads of 2014

January 23, 2015 By: TimLemieux Category: Law Practice Management

At the end of each year we at practicePRO take a look at what articles, checklists, tips, and other resources had the most downloads. As always, the list contains many resources that remain popular year after year (e.g. our retainer precedents, ILA checklist and e-Discovery reading list).

There are also some new and interesting entries on the list that stand out:

  • Self-represented litigants (A survival guide): This 2006 article by Carol Cochrane was #19 on the list last year, but jumped to #2 this year. Does this indicate that the issue of clients choosing to represent themselves is starting to become a more pressing concern?
  • Protecting yourself from cybercrime: The steps you need to take: This article from December 2013 lists 16 things lawyers and firms can do to protect themselves from a cyber security breach. LAWPRO’s efforts to inform the profession of the dangers of cybercrime resulted in nearly 7,000 downloads of this article.
  • Social media: A quick primer for lawyers:This overview of blogging, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc from 2009 wasn’t in our top 40 previously, but appeared at #23 this year with about 2,300 downloads. Are more lawyers starting to take an interest in establishing a social media presence?

The full list of the top downloads can be viewed here, as well as the Top 40 lists from previous years. Have a look to see what other lawyers are reading!