Stephen Riden in Lawyers USA on the pitfalls of ‘frictionless’ social media

Stephen Riden is featured in the December 2011 issue of Lawyers USA in an article about e-discovery and avoiding the pitfalls of frictionless social media. The article is reprinted here. The article also appeared in the January 9, 2012, issue of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

The article is by Lawyers USA reporter Correy Stephenson. It focuses on how users of social media sites, like Facebook, may be unwittingly sharing a detailed history of their interests and purchases with other users. While it can be harmless to share songs from Spotify or articles from the Washington Post with Facebook friends, data shared over online social networks — like purchases from Amazon — can be a treasure trove litigants and their attorneys during the discovery phase of a lawsuit.

Stephen describes this so-called “frictionless” media as follows:

‘[It’s t]he idea that people who are connected to Facebook are connected to everything else on the Internet,’ said Stephen D. Riden, a commercial litigator at Beck Reed Riden in Boston. ‘But it also means giving away information. I have several friends that on a daily basis, I know what articles they are reading – it’s a little creepy’

In the article, Steve Riden also talks about Facebook’s Timeline and how access to this level of information can help lawyers, which is not the intention of the typical user:

‘So much of the discovery process is just setting up a timeline and creating a chronology of events, when certain things happened and what was said and done,’ Riden said. ‘Technology that can do that automatically and is almost failsafe makes a lawyer’s job easier.’ The Timeline feature also serves as a reminder that what you do online is never forgotten and does not just disappear, Riden said.

In the article’s conclusion, Stephen notes that individuals who are already involved in litigation should refrain from discussing their circumstances online:

Riden said he warns clients about the ramifications of expressing their frustration with their legal situation online, and suggests that they put it all in a long e-mail which they can send to him. ‘It helps them vent and is protected by the privilege.’

Steve Riden frequently writes and speaks about commercial litigation issues, including social media and electronic discovery.

About Us

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience at large law firms, working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and labor and employment. We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Russell Beck in New England In-House on Managing Legal Fees

The November 2011 issue of New England In-House features Russell Beck’s guide for controlling legal costs, called “Prevent runaway fees with structured agreements.”

When companies hire a law firm to provide ongoing legal services, the monthly bills can be unpredictable.  And unpredictable legal bills can wreak havoc on a company’s legal budget.  In his article, Russell Beck offers one solution to the problem of runaway legal fees: the structured agreement.

I had been handling multiple cases every year, year after year, for a particular client. It was complex business litigation. Accordingly, as would be expected, in some years the fees were substantial, and in other years they were comparatively little.

I asked the client whether, for predictability purposes, it would prefer an option in which we agree on an annual fee (to be paid monthly on a pro rata basis) for all of its litigation in Massachusetts (and certain other states). Such arrangements have colloquially been referred to as having a firm “on retainer,” though more recently the term “portfolio billing” has been used.

The client’s reaction was a bit surprising. While it liked the idea of predictable fees, it had a concern — but not the one I expected. Its concern was that the law firm where I practiced at the time would be inundated with all types of small claims litigation that had, to that point, been handled in-house.

The complete article is here. For more information about strategies for containing legal fees, click here.

About Us

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience at large law firms, working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and labor and employment. We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Stephen Riden in Forbes on Ownership of Twitter Accounts

Stephen Riden is featured in a November 17, 2011, Forbes story titled “Who Owns Employees’ Twitter Accounts?”

The article is written by Forbes staff writer, Kashmir Hill.  It follows an earlier Forbes story covering a lawsuit filed by a company against its former employee for using a Twitter account after leaving the company.

In the lawsuit, the company, Phonedog, claims that its former employee, Noah Kravitz, established a Twitter account at the company’s request, and then used that account to promote the company’s services.

When the employee left, the Twitter account went with him.  So the company sued and is seeking damages for the alleged theft of its trade secrets, i.e., the Twitter account and its followers.

In the article, Steve discusses the importance of addressing the use of social media accounts in the employee handbook.

It’s an interesting case, and illustrates the importance of employers and employees hammering out these details in advance. “It’s much cheaper to spell this out ahead of time than to litigate it after the fact,” says Stephen Riden, a partner at Beck Reed Riden LLP, who specializes in employment law. He points to Dell’s social media policy as a good example of this, calling it “forward-thinking.”

Click here to read more about the intersection of social media and employment disputes.

About Us

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience at large law firms, working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and labor and employment. We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Beck Reed Riden LLP Has Moved

Beck Reed Riden LLP has a new home. Our new address is 155 Federal Street, Suite 1302, Boston, MA 02110.  All other contact information remains the same.

Our new office is near South Station and directly across the street from the Bank of America building.

About Us

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience at large law firms, working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and labor and employment. We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Stephen Riden in Lawyers USA on Litigation Trends

Stephen Riden is featured in the November 2011 issue of Lawyers USA in an article about the intersection of technology and litigation. The article is by Lawyers USA reporter Correy Stephenson.

The article focuses on the ways that courts and lawyers deal with new sources of potentially relevant information.  For example, the widespread use of social media and embedded GPS technology represent a new avenue of pretrial discovery, with the potential to reveal minute-by-minute details about a litigant’s activities. The article is reprinted here.

Lawyers should be aware of the value of information from unexpected places, Riden said. In addition to the potential treasure trove to be found on social networking sites, he noted that apps with geolocation abilities can track a person without his or her knowledge.

For example, iPhones have “a stealth tracking feature that shows every place you have been,” Riden said, who pulled up his own information on his phone and was “shocked” at how accurate it was.

The article also addresses the the trend among judges toward a more nuanced understanding of electronically stored information, and its role in the courtroom.

As judges have become more sophisticated about electronically stored information (ESI), parties are having an increasingly difficult time convincing them that every single piece of metadata is needed in discovery, said Stephen D. Riden, a commercial litigator at Beck Reed Riden in Boston.

“Courts are more resistant to a soup-to-nuts request and will clip parties’ wings if they feel like they are being too aggressive.” Instead, lawyers should be prepared to tailor their ESI requests to the case at hand, he said.

Steve Riden frequently writes and speaks about commercial litigation issues, including electronic discovery.

About Us

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience at large law firms, working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and labor and employment. We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Stephen Riden in Forbes on Social Media Employment Disputes

Stephen Riden is featured in a November 14, 2011, Forbes story about a lawsuit filed by a company against its former employee for using a Twitter account after leaving the company. The article is written by Forbes staff writer, Kashmir Hill.

In the lawsuit, the company, Phonedog, claims that its former employee, Noah Kravitz, established a Twitter account at the company’s request, and then used that account to promote the company’s services.

When the employee left, the Twitter account went with him.  So the company sued and is seeking damages for the alleged theft of its trade secrets, i.e., the Twitter account and its followers.

Stephen Riden, a partner at Beck Reed Riden LLP, who specializes in employment law, says the case is ‘murky,’ in part because Kravitz included ‘Phonedog’ in his Twitter handle. ‘Employers usually address this in their employee manuals — whether an employee can include their name or brand in social networking accounts, and whether accounts are being set up for the company or the employee,’ says Riden. ‘It’s much cheaper to spell this out ahead of time than to litigate it after the fact.’

Click here to read more about the intersection of social media and employment disputes.

About Us

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience at large law firms, working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and labor and employment. We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Stephen Reed Presenting Seminar for Employment Attorneys on MCAD

On October 26, 2011, Stephen Reed is giving a presentation about appearing before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) as part of an MCLE seminar titled “On Your Feet at the MCAD.”

This seminar will help attorneys build the skills needed to make an effective case when appearing before the MCAD.

The agenda for the seminar is as follows:

  • MCAD Overview.
  • Faculty Demonstration of an Investigative Conference and Mock Investigative Conference with MCAD Investigators.
  • Faculty Demonstration of Conciliation Conference and Mock Conciliation Conference with MCAD Mediators.
  • Faculty Demonstration of Pre-hearing Conference and Mock Pre-hearing Conference with MCAD Hearing Officers.
  • Faculty Demonstration of Opening Statement and Mock Opening Statement with MCAD Hearing Officers.
  • View from the MCAD.

Stephen Reed represents employers in a wide array of labor and employment matters, from counseling companies on day-to-day employee-relations issues to litigating cases in court and administrative agencies.

About Us

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience at large law firms, working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and labor and employment. We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Russell Beck Among Top 100 New England Super Lawyers

Super Lawyers

Massachusetts Super Lawyers Magazine selected Russell Beck as one of the Top 100 Super Lawyers in New England for 2011.

Russell Beck’s practice concentrates on complex business litigation, including high-tech and intellectual property matters, business-to-business conflicts, unfair competition claims, breach of contract claims, employee mobility issues, attorney/partner mobility matters, land use cases, and healthcare payor/provider disputes. Russell is also a leading authority on the law of trade secrets and noncompetes.

The selection of the top 100 Super Lawyers in New England is based on a process of peer review following a survey of lawyers from the region.  The Super Lawyers selection process is described in detail here.

All of Beck Reed Riden LLP’s attorneys have been selected as Super Lawyers or Rising Stars this year.

About Us

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience at large law firms, working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and labor and employment. We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

2011 Super Lawyers Magazine Selects All of Beck Reed Riden LLP’s Attorneys

Super Lawyers

For the seventh year in a row, Russell Beck and Stephen Reed have been recognized as Super Lawyers by Massachusetts Super Lawyers Magazine. And Stephen Riden, for the seventh year in a row, has been recognized as a Rising Star by the Magazine.

The title of Super Lawyer is given to 5% of the lawyers in the Commonwealth while the Rising Star designation recognizes 2.5% of lawyers under 40.  The Super Lawyers selection process is described in detail here.

About Us

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience at large law firms, working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and labor and employment. We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Russell Beck to Chair Intellectual Property Seminar

On November 2, 2011, Russell Beck will be chairing MCLE’s Intellectual Property seminar titled “Practical steps to protect your clients’ intellectual property.”

Registration and more information is here.

This seminar will guide attorneys through the basic issues in key areas of intellectual property. Although aimed at practitioners new to these areas, this program also provides enough depth to be of interest to those with some experience.

The agenda for the seminar is as follows:

  • Copyright: The statutory framework; Copyright registrations; Computer software license agreements and the freelance programmer; Graphic arts agreements and the freelance artist; Website design and ownership; User-generated content; Bringing and defending an infringement case.
  • Trademark: The statutory framework; Selecting and evaluating a trademark—registration and infringement risk; Getting a federal registration; Foreign registration; Trademark licenses and assignments; Maintaining the value and strength of your trademarks; Bringing and defending an infringement case.
  • Trade Secret: The sources of trade secret law; The impact of restrictive covenants; Establishment of a proper trade secret protection program; Bringing and defending a misappropriation case.
  • Patent: The statutory framework; Patent novelty and clearance searches; Patent prosecution; Foreign patents; Patent licenses and assignments; Duty of candor; Patent misuse and its extensions; Bringing and defending a patent infringement case.
  • Counseling Technology Based Clients: General considerations in licenses; Building and maintaining a portfolio of patents and trademarks; Deciding whether to file for copyright protection.
  • “Ask the Experts” Q&A Session.

About Us

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience at large law firms, working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and labor and employment. We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

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