Legal Professionals Section
April 2014 Issue
Content is updated daily

Industry News

Is Robo-Signing Taking Place In Your Workplace?

While the mortgage industry has cracked down on “robo-signing” involving foreclosure documents, accusations of unethical document signings and notarizations continue to impact law firms and other businesses....More

'Robo-Signing' Fallout Continues To Hit Legal, Financial Industries

The ripple effect of the foreclosure crisis continues to impact the legal and financial industries, with a number of companies and once-major law firms now facing severe sanctions, or, in some cases, being forced to shut down their doors completely....More

Three Questions To Ask Before You Notarize A Foreign-Language Document

While it’s possible to notarize a document written in a foreign language, it’s very important to take steps to ensure you aren’t being misled about the document’s content or the signer’s intentions before you proceed. Here are three important questions to ask before notarizing....More

ABA President Warns Young Immigrants Against 'Notarios'

The American Bar Association’s (ABA) top official recently issued a warning about “Notarios” who may try to take advantage of young immigrants following the launch of the federal government’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows certain undocumented residents brought to the U.S. as children avoid deportation....More

The Etiquette Of Oaths And Affirmations

Administering an oath or affirmation is a serious part of the notarial process, and it’s important for you and the person taking the oath or affirmation to act properly during the process. Here are some etiquette tips to follow while performing this notarial act....More

Q&A: E-Mail Tips For Legal Professionals

For legal professionals, courtesy and respect for a client’s privacy are essential practices in the office — and that doesn’t just apply to paper documents and oral communication. Etiquette and good judgment are also essential for e-mail communication. The Legal Professionals Section spoke with Dmitri Leonov, Vice President of Growth for the e-mail service company SaneBox in Los Angeles, California, to discuss important e-mail practices for Notaries working in the legal field....More

Always Keep Essential Information On Hand In Case You're Challenged

A member recently shared a story with the National Notary Association about a partner at a law firm who criticized  her for requesting ID from a client during a notarization. The lawyer pressured her to skip this basic step and only relented after another Notary confirmed proof of signer identity is required under state law. If you are ever challenged about proper notarial procedures or ethical issues while notarizing in a law office, it’s helpful to have the right reference materials on hand to back you up. Here is a list of some invaluable reference materials for Notaries in the legal field....More

Be Sure To Guard The Information Of Co-workers As Well As Clients

While legal professionals know the importance of protecting a client’s privacy, it’s also essential to safeguard identifying information of co-workers. Identity theft can even take place within the workplace, as seen in a recent case of a paralegal accused of stealing a former employer’s identity to pose as a lawyer....More

Guest Column: May Someone With Dementia Sign A Will?

By Mark Miller, Elder Law Answers

Millions of people are affected by dementia, and unfortunately many of them do not have all their estate planning affairs in order before the symptoms start. If you or a loved one has dementia, it may not be too late to sign a will or other documents, but certain criteria must be met to ensure that the signer is mentally competent....More

Housing, 'Robo' Crises Put Spotlight On Need For E&O Insurance

The collapse of the housing market and subsequent foreclosure crisis have led to an increase in litigation, causing people throughout the legal, financial and real estate industries to take a closer look at errors and omissions insurance....More

Mortgage Crisis Triggers Stronger Focus On Vendors

By Jonice Gray Tucker and Kendra Kinnaird

The use of outside vendors by loan servicers is not new, but their role in default servicing and the adequacy of their work has drawn increasing regulatory scrutiny during the last two years. Work performed by Notaries has taken center stage, garnering particular attention in the context of mortgage servicing. To date, enforcement activities by state banking regulators and attorneys general have focused on the servicing practices of the very largest loan servicers, but these entities have also pursued direct actions against a bevy of third-party service providers for their alleged inappropriate actions s during the foreclosure process....More

Thousands Of Mortgage Fraud Complaints Filed Against Attorneys

A “huge” number of mortgage fraud-related complaints are being filed against attorneys and law firms, according to the American Bar Association. And many of these complaints involved “loan modification” scams that actively try to recruit Notaries for illegal activities, a California State Bar spokesperson warned....More

Foreclosure Litigation Levels Off For Now

The pace of foreclosure-related lawsuits slowed in the first quarter of 2012, but the reprieve may only be temporary, according to the latest edition of the Mortgage Litigation Index....More

Special Recordkeeping Rules That Impact Legal Professionals

A well-kept journal of notarial acts is essential evidence of a Notary’s proper conduct, and the best defense against accusations of negligence. But some states have special journal-keeping laws  that differ from the norm and that legal professionals need to know about....More

The Notary's Role In Depositions

Depositions play an essential role in many legal proceedings and typically require the participation of an official who can administer oaths and affirmations, such as a Notary. But some states also permit Notaries expanded roles in the preparation of depositions. Before accepting any notarial request involving a deposition, however, it’s essential to make sure you have both the necessary skills and the legal authorization to proceed....More

Oaths Vs. Affirmations: Know The Difference

When executing a jurat, some signers’ personal beliefs may cause them to object to swearing an oath of truthfulness to a higher power. In these circumstances, the signer may make an alternative promise called an affirmation instead. An affirmation is a promise to be truthful based on the signer’s personal honor....More

Why Legal Professionals Must Take The Notary Seal Seriously

By Michael Closen

We sometimes forget that our seals of office serve a significant purpose. The seal is such a key feature of notarization that the Notary Public Code of Professional Responsibility specifically addresses it, as follows: “The Notary shall affix a seal on every notarized document and not allow this universally recognized symbol of office to be used by another or in an endorsement or promotion.” This ethical obligation applies to all Notaries, even those in states that do not at present statutorily require their Notaries to affix seal impressions on documents, for several reasons....More

Handling Improper Documents When It's The Drafter's Mistake

Long before the “robo-signing” crisis thrust Notaries Public into the crosshairs of regulatory and legal liabilities, we faced challenges with notarizations because of improperly drafted documents. These “drafter” errors remain prevalent today, and they continue to challenge even the most professional Notary Public, as the drafters rarely are trained in notarial procedures and responsibilities....More

Avoiding Accidental Privacy Breaches When You Notarize  And After

Any conscientious Notary knows that private client information must be protected. But are you aware that you might be violating someone’s privacy just by discussing their notarization in casual conversation? Below are some tips to help Notaries avoid unintentional breaches of signer privacy....More

Asking For Social Media Passwords From New Hires Carries Risk

While law firm personnel often review the Facebook pages of job applicants, some have taken the risky step of asking the applicant for their social media passwords. That request could be seen as a breach of privacy and trigger a discrimination lawsuit, warns Philadelphia employee attorney Christopher Ezold....More

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