James Vargo and Jerry Kaltenbach announce new law practice.

KV Law Full Size jpgWith nearly 30 years of combined experience practicing in large and in mid-size law firms, and after embarking on successful careers as sole practitioners, Jerry Kaltenbach and James Vargo have teamed up to bring you Kaltenbach Vargo, LLC.

Kaltenbach Vargo, LLC, was founded on the principal of delivering top quality legal services in a more economic manner.  We do this through our efficiency and our ability to utilize technology in almost all aspects of our practice.

While our primary focus will continue to be business litigation, we can assist you or your business in many other areas, including business formation, employee and vendor agreements, and various other contractual matters.

We also leverage our extensive experience in fee disputes, consumer complaints, commercial and residential real estate matters, and ethical matters before the Ohio Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing, as well as local Boards of Realtors and associations, to assist agents and brokers seeking representation on any of these matters.

In addition, we are strong advocates for consumers, protecting their rights through the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act and various federal laws, and by representing those who were injured by a defective product or who suffered a significant personal injury due to the negligence of another.

If we can assist you or your business in any of these matters, please feel free to contact us for a free consultation.

Lawyers using social networks: attorney beware!

These 12 networks just scratch the surface. There are literally hundreds of them. Click for a list.

Lawyers have all kinds of rules to follow when it comes to practicing law, giving legal advice, and advertising.  As social media has expanded over the last few years, one study suggests that 3/4 of lawyers belong to at least one online social network such as LinkedIn, facebook, and twitter.  If you look to either side of this blog, you can see that I am squarely within that 3/4 group.

There is nothing wrong with lawyers belonging to social networks, is there?  In my mind, they are free tools that provide an enormous community for users to share ideas and connect with people that would otherwise be unavailable.

But, lawyers must use their heads when using these networks.  Common sense and experience should be sufficient for most lawyers.  Perhaps the most important key to avoiding foot-in-mouth disease is to proofread, review, and THINK.  We have all had that sickening feeling in the pit of our stomach when we click “send” when we meant to click “cancel” on an email.  Even worse, is the classic “reply all” when “reply to sender” was the intent.  You can’t take those emails back, but at least the audience is limited to (hopefully) a short cc: list.  But, when you post a status update on facebook, all of your “friends” see it, your friends’ friends may see it, and eventually your post will be indexed by Google and may permanently link your name with your entertaining bathroom mishap in search results.

A recent article by Vicki Voisin sets out some examples of lawyers that should have thought twice before using social media.  One example sums up why caution, care, and though should be the focus:

Judge Susan Criss, a Galveston, Texas, state court judge, relayed an interesting personal story as part of the 2009 ABA Annual Meeting program “Courts and Media in the 21sr Century: Twitterers, Bloggers, the New Media, the Old Media, and What’s a Judge to Do?”  Judge Criss admitted learning to adapt to social media as a way to connect with long-lost friends, leveraging Facebook as a tool-and then learning a few surprising things on Facebook … The judge granted a continuance requested by a lawyer upon the death of the lawyer’s father.  Judge Criss also checked the lawyer’s Facebook page. While there was a funeral, there was also a string of status updates posted on Facebook that detailed not mourning her dear departed father, but, instead, the lawyer’s week of drinking and partying.
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I’m guessing the continued hearing was a bit awkward for the lawyer and Judge Criss.  Social media is here to stay and it makes the world smaller and communication easier.  This can be a good thing or a bad thing and it all comes down to using social networks consciously and responsibly – if you value your career, that is.