Personnel Files Are at Risk of Disclosure in Legal Mal Cases

July 21, 2014 – In The News
The Legal Intelligencer

Abraham C. Reich was quoted in The Legal Intelligencer article, "Personnel Files Are at Risk of Disclosure in Legal Mal Cases.” Full text can be found in the July 21, 2014, issue, but a synopsis is below.

A recent ruling in a legal malpractice case opening the door to personnel files being turned over is a stark reminder that firms may want to be cautious about what is written in performance reviews.

According to Abraham Reich, plaintiff’s lawyers often ask for personnel files and they have come into play in some cases, but he doesn’t think those files win or lose a case.

"But they can add flavor and can help," he said. "They're certainly not going to hurt a plaintiff because they say [the employees are] doing great work.”

As the result of some past cases, Reich said it has become the industry standard, at least for large firms, to be mindful of the comments that are put in reviews.

"Law firm reviewers are admonished repeatedly to be careful about how they say things and what they say and to be accurate and not to be inflammatory … all of those kinds of things," Reich said.