Read the hypothetical below:
After working in the new office for a few months, Janet Hannah became concerned about Internet use. She expressed a potential ethical concern to both attorneys after seeing on the secretary’s computer a message posted on a trial attorney discussion board with a fact pattern that was very similar to a case on which both Mason and Marshall appeared to be working. She also expressed concern that Marshall was addicted to the Internet for legal and factual research, as well as for personal activities like trading stocks and exploring virtual environments to the point that the whole system slowed down using the dial-up connection that they shared. And, if they did not stop downloading information and freeware and saving everything on the file server, they would be out of computer storage space very soon. As a result of this conversation, Mason asked Hannah to draft an Internet policy for the office, outlining how the Internet should and should not be used on the office computers.
- Perform an online search to locate Internet policies established by law offices or other businesses. Review them to get a feel for the types of rules and guidelines that can be established and enforced to control Internet use in an office.
- Draft an Internet use policy for the law office described in the scenario. Be sure to consider both security and ethical issues as you prepare your Internet use policy. At a minimum, your policy must include guidelines for:
- Managing passwords
- Sending and receiving e-mail attachments
- Downloading files and software
- Performing free and fee-based online research
- In an Internal Memorandum, include your Internet policy and briefly state reasons for each policy established. In order to educate the attorneys and office staff, and to impress upon the importance of complying with the Internet use policy, briefly summarize your reasons for each rule or set or rules in your policy.