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Bar News - December 17, 2014

Client Seems Too Eager, Case Too Easy?

The holiday season apparently is bringing with it an uptick in the number of reported email scam attempts aimed at attorneys, in New Hampshire and elsewhere. With the heightened distractions of the the holiday bustle, scammers perhaps are hoping potential victims will let down their guard.

Recently, Paul Kennedy, a member of the Real Property Law section warned colleagues about a purported scammer whose cyber-identity and materials – for a collections case – seemed plausible enough to warrant spending time to check out the potential “client” – time that otherwise could have been spent productively on real matters.

Mark Bassingthwaighte, an attorney and risk manager for ALPS, one of the legal malpractice insurance providers that works with the NHBA Insurance Agency, said many lawyers are unaware of how prevalent such scams are. He says scams come not just via email, but can originate with a phone call, and not necessarily from a foreigner.

Bassingthwaighte encourages attorneys to instruct all of their staff to remain on alert for anyone calling to obtain information about the firm’s computers. Attorneys should also be wary of any client that communicates only via email or seems too eager to send the firm money. In short and as always, be skeptical of anything that seems too good to be true.

One good resource: LawPro, a Canada-based professional liability carrier, has a website tracking names and types of schemes swindlers are using. Check out

Wait for a check, even a cashier’s or certified check, to clear before using the money; provisional credit by your bank is not sufficient, warns the Illinois attoney disciplinary authority at its webpage at

If you are in doubt about the status of any meeting, please call the Bar Center at 603-224-6942 before you head out.

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