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Legal malpractice claims for lack of email security

New York residents who face legal situations are often flummoxed by the complexity of the issues involved. Because an attorney has specialized knowledge, clients often take a leap of faith that the lawyer is safeguarding the information with which he or she is entrusted. When that trust is misplaced, the lawyer may end up facing allegations of legal malpractice.

One woman wanted to buy a home — a simple, three-bedroom ranch in another state. Following the advice of many, she hired a real estate attorney and sent a wire transfer of $73,401 from her bank, following instructions she received in a series of emails she believed were from her realtor. Despite the fact that the wire transfer for a local real estate transaction was being routed to an out-of-state trading company, the bank completed the transfer without confirming the details with the woman’s attorney.

The woman had even received further emails, which seemed to be from the attorney’s email address, advising her to instruct the bank that the transfer information was correct. However, the attorney had not sent the emails. He did not realize his email account had been hacked weeks earlier because he had apparently failed to use proper security to protect confidential client information. The lawyer apparently admitted he had seen unfamiliar emails in his Sent folder but did not investigate their origin. The money wired by the woman for the purchase of her home was diverted through Canada and lost without a trace. 

In addition to a legal malpractice lawsuit against the attorney, the woman is suing the bank for negligence. Those entities should fully understand the life-altering ramifications of their lack of diligence to their duties. New York residents who have been harmed by the negligence of an attorney have every right to seek restitution.

Source: Joliet, IL Patch, “Joliet’s Rambo, BMO Harris Sued After Home Buyer Loses $73K To Hacker“, John Ferak, Oct. 11, 2017