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legal ethics

Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:08 pm
by Anonymous User
Thanks for the advice ya'll.

Re: Confronted with unethical practice at new job

Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:16 pm
by Tanicius
Yikes. Yeah, I think it's questionable to offer an expensive service for free just to friend trying to look something up. Doing it when the firm stands to make thousands of dollars off of work it does relying upon that research... Yikes.

Re: Confronted with unethical practice at new job

Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:18 pm
by ph14
Anonymous User wrote:So, I'm a newbie associate at a private firm. I just found out the other day that a couple of associates (that I know of right now) have been using student Westlaw/Lexis accounts for research at the firm. A huge red flag went up in my head. It seemed pretty clear to me that they didn't really see that there was anything wrong with this practice, but I certainly do. I spoke to the partner of the firm, and mentioned that using student accounts was unethical and he sort of looked at me like he didn't realize this was unethical (which I just didn't buy at all). I was told the firm does have its own account, and I received it today from a senior associate I've been working closely with, but the username has the senior associate's name in it--I'm assuming he signed the firm up with an account and everyone just uses his account?? I haven't a clue how this works since I'm flying by the seat of my pants here. I'm thinking about contacting Westlaw and just inquiring about my firm's plan so I can stay within it when I do research. Good idea? Bad idea? I'm just hoping this might alleviate some stress knowing I'm using the right account.

I haven't done any research using a student's unlimited account and luckily the type of cases we deal with doesn't require a whole lot of research, but I will definitely need to do some at some point. I obviously will be strictly using the firm's account, but what about the other associates at my firm? Should I mention to them that what they are doing is unethical? I'm terrified. I mentioned it to another junior associate who started the week before and he seemed to agree with me that using student accounts was unethical.

I'm honestly losing sleep over this because I don't want to get caught up in any of this by simply being associated with the firm. Help!


Find your state's ethics hotline on this website: http://www.americanbar.org/groups/profe ... erest.html

Call them, figure out you ethical duties and go from there. Don't lose anymore sleep over this. Call them right away.

Re: Confronted with unethical practice at new job

Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:22 pm
by daryldixon
Report the firm. Then loudly announce that everyone is going to jail.

Then kiss hot secretary that has always ignored you because she thought you were a push over. Proceed to carry secretary out of the office in this fashion:

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lsefax2Mil1qgj4zoo1_250.gif

Re: Confronted with unethical practice at new job

Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:50 pm
by atcushman
As ph said, call your bars ethics hotline. This is a pretty serious ethics violation and could potentially be criminal.

http://blogs.findlaw.com/strategist/2012/01/using-law-students-for-their-westlaw-passwords-unethical.html

Re: Confronted with unethical practice at new job

Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:51 pm
by Anonymous User
This is very common practice.

Re: Confronted with unethical practice at new job

Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:56 pm
by gnuwheels
Anonymous User wrote:This is very common practice.


+1. Leave your gunnerisms at law school

Re: Confronted with unethical practice at new job

Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:58 pm
by atcushman
Anonymous User wrote:This is very common practice.


ya ethics committees give a lot of weight to the "everyone else was doing it" excuse.

Re: Confronted with unethical practice at new job

Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:03 pm
by Tanicius
Anonymous User wrote:This is very common practice.


This is at a firms, not a government office with an unlimited WestLaw plan or a public interest clinic with a deal through the funding host university. It's theft -- thousands and thousands of dollars of services going unpaid.

Re: Confronted with unethical practice at new job

Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:14 pm
by daryldixon
Tanicius wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:This is very common practice.


This is at a firms, not a government office with an unlimited WestLaw plan or a public interest clinic with a deal through the funding host university. It's theft -- thousands and thousands of dollars of services going unpaid.

That doesn't make it less common.

And the first two you listed are just as illegal as the last. Moral justifications don't make it any better.

Re: Confronted with unethical practice at new job

Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:20 pm
by A. Nony Mouse
If the people using student accounts are associates, and therefore have graduated, their access to student accounts will die pretty soon.

Re: Confronted with unethical practice at new job

Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:24 pm
by Tanicius
daryldixon wrote:And the first two you listed are just as illegal as the last. Moral justifications don't make it any better.


They aren't making money off their litigation or research, and they already have plans that give them unlimited access anyway. They are costing WestLaw literally nothing extra by not policing whether the students/attorneys use student accounts instead of the official account.

Re: Confronted with unethical practice at new job

Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:03 am
by BigRob
A. Nony Mouse wrote:If the people using student accounts are associates, and therefore have graduated, their access to student accounts will die pretty soon.


That's what I love about these law school students, man. I get older, they keep their student accounts.

Re: Confronted with unethical practice at new job

Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:31 am
by wbrother
Tanicius wrote:
daryldixon wrote:And the first two you listed are just as illegal as the last. Moral justifications don't make it any better.


They aren't making money off their litigation or research, and they already have plans that give them unlimited access anyway. They are costing WestLaw literally nothing extra by not policing whether the students/attorneys use student accounts instead of the official account.

But they are violating the terms and conditions! Guillotine those socialist libtard bastards.

Re: Confronted with unethical practice at new job

Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:40 am
by dixiecupdrinking
daryldixon wrote:
Tanicius wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:This is very common practice.


This is at a firms, not a government office with an unlimited WestLaw plan or a public interest clinic with a deal through the funding host university. It's theft -- thousands and thousands of dollars of services going unpaid.

That doesn't make it less common.

And the first two you listed are just as illegal as the last. Moral justifications don't make it any better.

You're actually wrong about that, Lexis/WL expressly allow students to use their accounts for government or PI employers, and expressly disallow it for private employers.

Sounds like the kind of shady employer who would also abuse the hell out of unpaid internships, and for that alone I say bring the hammer down.

Re: Confronted with unethical practice at new job

Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 1:33 am
by Anonymous User
.

Re: Confronted with unethical practice at new job

Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:33 am
by Anonymous User
Anonymous User wrote:This is very common practice.


So very, very common. Not saying it's right. Just saying, it happens. A lot.

Re: Confronted with unethical practice at new job

Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 4:49 am
by 20160810
A. Nony Mouse wrote:If the people using student accounts are associates, and therefore have graduated, their access to student accounts will die pretty soon.

Yeah this is my thinking. Maybe not a huge deal if WL just builds into the service and assumes an extra 6 months or so for students. OTOH, could be a felony. Seconding people who say it should be reported.

Re: Confronted with unethical practice at new job

Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:23 am
by NotMyRealName09
Nice job not looking the other way / not maintaining plausible deniability / creating an IP address paper trail of your knowledge. You seem to have two choices. (1) You have to tell the powers that be at your firm that you're aware of this practice, have analyzed your ethical duties, and believe you have to report the conduct if it does not stop immediately. Frame it as you are concerned for the well-being of the firm and the attorneys working there (and if that isn't going over well, add in you are concerned about your own license). Or (2) report it to the state bar.

Go with (1). Yeah, a crappy situation, but you're doing the right thing. If the firm gets pissed off at you and blacklists you - well, long term, you probably don't want to be affiliated with those types. Good luck.

Re: Confronted with unethical practice at new job

Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:17 pm
by Danger Zone
LOL at reporting this

Just do your job plebe

Re: Confronted with unethical practice at new job

Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:20 pm
by bjsesq
BigRob wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:If the people using student accounts are associates, and therefore have graduated, their access to student accounts will die pretty soon.


That's what I love about these law school students, man. I get older, they keep their student accounts.


Far, far too unappreciated.

Re: Confronted with unethical practice at new job

Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:55 pm
by sparty99
Danger Zone wrote:LOL at reporting this

Just do your job plebe


+1,000. OmG. I would fire you immediately. Clearly this is your first job. Just shutup and do your job and stop worrying about this. This is not a big deal. But you are making it a big deal. There are battels that you fight and there are battles that you don't. THIS IS NOT WORTH MAKING YOU LOOK LIKE AN A$$ WHEN YOU ARE NEW AND HAVE NO CLOUT IN THE FIRM. WOW.

Re: Confronted with unethical practice at new job

Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 1:12 pm
by Tanicius
sparty99 wrote:
Danger Zone wrote:LOL at reporting this

Just do your job plebe


+1,000. OmG. I would fire you immediately. Clearly this is your first job. Just shutup and do your job and stop worrying about this. This is not a big deal. But you are making it a big deal. There are battels that you fight and there are battles that you don't. THIS IS NOT WORTH MAKING YOU LOOK LIKE AN A$$ WHEN YOU ARE NEW AND HAVE NO CLOUT IN THE FIRM. WOW.



ZOMGZ GUYS EVERY RESTAURANT MANAGER POCKETS HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS OF REVENUE EACH NIGHT ILLEGALLY, JUST LEAVE IT ALONE AND DO YOUR JOB GAWD.

Re: Confronted with unethical practice at new job

Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 1:14 pm
by stillwater
Danger Zone wrote:LOL at reporting this

Just do your job plebe


this. this, if not flame, struck me as the most tone deaf, ridiculous OP of all human history.

Re: Confronted with unethical practice at new job

Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 1:17 pm
by kwais
Anonymous User wrote:So, I'm a newbie associate at a private firm. I just found out the other day that a couple of associates (that I know of right now) have been using student Westlaw/Lexis accounts for research at the firm. A huge red flag went up in my head. It seemed pretty clear to me that they didn't really see that there was anything wrong with this practice, but I certainly do. I spoke to the partner of the firm, and mentioned that using student accounts was unethical and he sort of looked at me like he didn't realize this was unethical (which I just didn't buy at all). I was told the firm does have its own account, and I received it today from a senior associate I've been working closely with, but the username has the senior associate's name in it--I'm assuming he signed the firm up with an account and everyone just uses his account?? I haven't a clue how this works since I'm flying by the seat of my pants here. I'm thinking about contacting Westlaw and just inquiring about my firm's plan so I can stay within it when I do research. Good idea? Bad idea? I'm just hoping this might alleviate some stress knowing I'm using the right account.

I haven't done any research using a student's unlimited account and luckily the type of cases we deal with doesn't require a whole lot of research, but I will definitely need to do some at some point. I obviously will be strictly using the firm's account, but what about the other associates at my firm? Should I mention to them that what they are doing is unethical? I'm terrified. I mentioned it to another junior associate who started the week before and he seemed to agree with me that using student accounts was unethical.

I'm honestly losing sleep over this because I don't want to get caught up in any of this by simply being associated with the firm. Help!


OP, calm the fuck down. Maybe you should report it, maybe not. But your way of explaining it sounds like you are talking about human trafficking or something serious. I'm curious, OP, where would you put this on a scale between getting 4 nuggets in a 5-piece and Jerry Sandusky?