Lawyer Spies On Former Firm – Act 4: Punishment Is Served

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Sit back and listen to a story about Justin Scott, a lawyer who admitted to spying on his former firm with TeamViewer. This is eCrimeBytes.com S 2 E 5-4 – Lawyer Spies On Former Firm – Act 4: Punishment Is Served.

For the background, please listen to the prior acts:

Lawyer Spies On Former Firm – Act 1: The Mysteriously Moving Mouse

Lawyer Spies On Former Firm – Act 2: The Investigation

Lawyer Spies On Former Firm – Act 3: Justin Scott Comes Clean

Sources:

Transcript:

00:00:10:00 – 00:00:39:00
Keith
Hey, welcome back to eCrimeBytes Season two, episode five. And we’re in the concluding Act. Act four, which is punishment is served. We have Justin Scott, who he and Charles Bratton split from their law firm and Justin Scott has now admitted to intentionally logging back into the Bratton law firm over a year later to look at the calendars to see competitively how they’re doing against each other.

00:00:39:02 – 00:00:43:19
Keith
So with that, why don’t you tell us what Mr. Scott thinks about this? Seth?

00:00:43:19 – 00:00:57:19
Seth
Scott says he was entitled to it. He was asked on deposition that whether he felt that he had permission to access that after he had left the firm.

00:00:57:21 – 00:01:18:16
Seth
And Scott responded with, I believe I did at the time because it was under Bratton Scott LLC. So the attorney is asking you, I’m sorry, this is after you left the firm. That is correct. So basically Scott is saying, well, technically the firm hadn’t changed names yet, so I was still entitled to it, which maybe contractually was true.

00:01:18:16 – 00:01:23:03
Seth
You know, I don’t know. But It certainly seems like an iffy ethical and legal reason to do it

00:01:23:03 – 00:01:30:21
Seth
again. And this deposition takes place in November of 2020 and further. And Scott says that

00:01:30:21 – 00:01:47:28
Seth
given that they were in a lawsuit at the time and because we had some discrepancies in how the business would end, meaning how we were separating our clients, such as sending and also such as sending out a letter to all the former clients and being able to let the clients decide whether they choose to stay with Bratton or move on with Scott.

00:01:48:00 – 00:01:56:23
Seth
He felt that he had to look at calendars and things like that to be able to help distinguish that. And it’s pretty aggressive thing Is it basically admitted it.

00:01:56:26 – 00:02:16:04
Keith
Yeah. And he goes on to say, the attorney questions him and says when you open up your own firm, what happened again? So this is the technical part. I talked about this in the last act. I’ll say it again here. This is in his words, he says so when you click through Teamviewer, Teamviewer has my credentials saved to access Bratton Scott.

00:02:16:06 – 00:02:37:21
Keith
So I logged into Bratton Scott and that’s how I had done it before. So he hadn’t shut me out of that piece of technology. I wanted to know what his week looked like compared to mine. The biggest reason was because he has a marketer there that was trashing my name and I just wanted to know who was actually referring to me versus him.

00:02:37:23 – 00:02:59:14
Keith
So then the question at the end of the day, everybody needs to ask himself, why the fuck did he do it? And he had a quote in the paperwork that I thought was just beautiful. I’m going to read it to you. It says he attributed his decisions to his competitive character and described his conduct as having, quote unquote, fell into stupid.

00:02:59:14 – 00:03:01:11
Seth
Yeah, that deserves its own noise effect,

00:03:01:11 – 00:03:21:18
Seth
though. It’s interesting if you read kind of the the progression of that deposition, he went from basically stating that, you know, he felt entitled to it because there was a legal naming convention to the firm. And then he felt he needed it because he needed to help distinguish whose clients were who based upon the disintegration of the firm.

00:03:21:20 – 00:03:43:06
Seth
And then he was like, well, I also needed to do it or I need to do it. Because one of the people Bratton had hired as a marketing expert was, quote, trashing his name. And I’m like, Well, what does that even mean? Right? Is there evidence of this? And, you know, it just kept evolving and evolving into, All right, clearly it was stupid, which basically means it was all inappropriate, if not illegal.

00:03:43:08 – 00:04:00:27
Seth
I thought that was interesting. So, yeah, a year later now, well, I guess on a year later, we’re into 2022. But in September, almost a year later, this case is actually argued in front of the New Jersey Supreme Court. And this actually was specifically, I guess, the Office of Attorney Ethics.

00:04:00:29 – 00:04:25:20
Keith
Yeah. So all this evidence that we brought to you up to this point, we tlked Seth said depositions and stuff, depositions were quoted, but basically all that stuff that we put together for you was this trial. So all this evidence was in this trial. So they’re basically making a decision of what to do with Mr. Scott because he did something bad and they got to discipline him somehow.

00:04:25:20 – 00:04:53:06
Keith
So this is in September 15th of 2022. And now we jump ahead a little over a month and they end up deciding his case on October 27th of 2022. And they decided that he was going to be censured. And then I did note that some of the panel that made this decision did vote for a three month suspension, which I’m not a lawyer.

00:04:53:08 – 00:05:09:19
Keith
I see censure. And I’m like, okay, that sounds like it’s bad. But really, what did it do for him? But then I read three months suspension. I’m like, okay, well, that would be he couldn’t work for three months. That seems like actual punishment. Well, he didn’t actually get the suspension. He just got the censure.

00:05:09:19 – 00:05:21:21
Seth
And but the censure wasn’t a big issue. But yeah, so let’s understand what essentially the sentence is a formal statement of disapproval, you know, by the governing body here. So here, the New Jersey bar,

00:05:21:21 – 00:05:34:24
Seth
it’s not found in the Constitution. It’s not like anything like that basically means shame on you. The bigger issue is for him, it is now a formal and permanent part of his record as an attorney.

00:05:34:24 – 00:05:49:17
Seth
We tell our kids it’ll be on your permanent record, which really doesn’t mean anything. But as a lawyer, it does, because especially a lawyer who’s fairly young is looking to bring in new clients. If you’re a new potential client, like, Oh, I wonder if this guy, Andrew Scott, is a is a good lawyer.

00:05:49:21 – 00:06:14:07
Seth
Let me check. There’s all kinds of, you know, websites and, you know, places to go that kind of help determine if your lawyer has been given a certain rating of a good A rating or if he has been sanctioned for being a terrible lawyer. And now he has the latter. He wasn’t sanctioned, but he was censured. So I can tell you, if I had a choice between three lawyers and I didn’t know any better, I wouldn’t pick the one with a legal censure associated with his name.

00:06:14:07 – 00:06:23:28
Keith
Well, we have the wording. Do you want to read it right? Maybe you want to pull out the points where he was found. I don’t know where he was censured, I guess not guilty, but he was centered on.

00:06:24:00 – 00:06:34:04
Seth
Yeah. So the disciplinary review board, you know, work with the court here and they ended up concluding that. Did I say Andrew Scott. I guess I’m either I apologize. It’s Justin Scott. Andrew Scott, of course is from office space

00:06:34:04 – 00:06:45:03
Seth
of Cherry Hill who was admitted to the bar on this day in 2014 should be censured for violating a specific, specific area of New Jersey law, which was making a false statement of material fact to disciplinary ethics.

00:06:45:03 – 00:07:17:05
Seth
Basically, he got busted for lying to the disciplinary authorities or to the New Jersey bar. The Ethics Committee, and committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on a lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer. In other respects. They also got him on engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation. Now, I’m not sure if all those are related to the fact that he lied about accessing Teamviewer or that he actually accessed Teamviewer when he shouldn’t have.

00:07:17:05 – 00:07:39:00
Seth
Or it’s both. I’m not sure about that, but either way, he was here by censured and it is further ordered that the entire record of this matter be made a permanent part of responded file as an attorney at law in this state. It is further ordered that respondent reimburse the disciplinary Oversight Committee for appropriate administrative costs and expenses.

00:07:39:00 – 00:07:51:23
Seth
So that’s, you know, short of being, I guess, criminally found liable guilty here. It’s a big problem for Mr. Scott in terms of trying to build a practice of law, knowing that he’s got a permanent

00:07:51:23 – 00:07:54:19
Seth
record, negative record on this issue.

00:07:54:19 – 00:08:06:07
Keith
and with that we’ve come to the end of the case here. So I just have a few quick thoughts and then I’ll give you a real quick preview of what to expect next week, because our case next week is absolutely crazy.

00:08:06:09 – 00:08:32:08
Keith
So some thoughts I put together on this. Accessing a former firm in any way, shape or form, in my opinion, is generally a bad idea. Legally, in most circumstances it’s also a bad idea. If you think about accessing a former firm and you don’t work there, I will just say pause and don’t do it. There’s probably a better way you can go about it now.

00:08:32:09 – 00:08:52:05
Keith
Computer forensics. Well, there’s a new term we threw out. Yeah. Which is basically like putting together the last moments of a computer or how a computer was used. It can be used to solve cases like this. And I do want to point out that Teamviewer is not it’s not a hacking. It’s not like he hacked something to get into this firm.

00:08:52:07 – 00:09:16:03
Keith
It’s a normal system administrative tool that people use in IT all the time. So don’t walk away here thinking if you hear teamviewer, that’s a bad thing. Teamviewer is just one tool that someone can use to do what Justin Scott did. Now what I the last thing I wanted to leave you with is this could have been a lot worse.

00:09:16:05 – 00:09:24:15
Keith
He just viewed some calendars. He could have gone in there, deleted data. He could have gone in there and changed data. He could have stole exfiltrated data.

00:09:24:18 – 00:09:27:11
Seth
You could have stole it. Yeah, he.

00:09:27:13 – 00:09:36:21
Keith
He could have gone and try to stole, you know, client information that’s probably on the networks. There’s a ton of stuff that he had access to that

00:09:36:21 – 00:09:48:23
Keith
if he would have just even put a couple of minutes in, could have made this case exponentially worse for the victim. And with that, Seth, did you have any other points you want to make for to take us out?

00:09:48:25 – 00:10:10:14
Seth
I mean, real quick? You know, look, people make mistakes and I’m trying to look at this in the best possible light for Mr. Scott. I mean, clearly it was an unpleasant separation. I’m assuming it was like, you know, delusions or illusions of taking over the firm when Bratton retires and, you know, having a nice big firm to himself and, you know, becoming very wealthy in the process, representing, you know, elder law clients.

00:10:10:16 – 00:10:37:12
Seth
And it clearly blew up in his face. And he made a bad choice and then he lied about it, which is always saying, you know, the cover up is worse than the crime. I think that he could recover from this. I think he’d basically have to have a standard way to explain it away. And it sounds like you could probably take a bar in a different state and open up a practice in a different state and try to, I guess, obfuscate to some escape extent that he doesn’t have a permanent record indicating that he might be a dishonest attorney.

00:10:37:14 – 00:10:53:29
Seth
The decision making process and the, you know, internal ethics here is scary. You know, we’d like to think that lawyers are should be held to higher standards. Of course, there’s enough law jokes, legal jokes and just current events to tell us. It’s clearly not always the case. As an attorney, I always try to, you know, think about that.

00:10:54:01 – 00:11:20:00
Seth
But, you know, I guess in the moment people will justify their actions. So anyway, you know, it’s an interesting case because of the technology involved. And, you know, in hindsight or looking at it from our perspective, like, that’s crazy shit, right? But, you know, if you legitimately thought that it was his clients or he legitimately got screwed out of certain clients, I could understand at least the, you know, the reason why he would do such a thing.

00:11:20:00 – 00:11:24:16
Seth
Not that I would ever agree to his more appropriate ways to claim that somebody stole your client’s.

00:11:24:16 – 00:11:50:22
Keith
Yeah. So how do you reach us? Our website is the best spot for that. Our website is e c r i m e b y as in yellow milk t e s dot com. So it’s just spelled out e crime bytes dot com. If you go there on your phone, you’re going to have a little three line hamburger looking thing up in the upper right hand corner.

00:11:50:22 – 00:12:07:01
Keith
If you click that you’re going to have all our links there, all our social media, our glossary, our newsletter, anything you might want is going to be there. If you’re on your desktop, you’re not going to have that extra little button. It’s just going to be across the top for most browsers that I’ve used to them.

00:12:07:01 – 00:12:18:15
Keith
So next week is going to be a fun case because we have you could take any little chunk of this case and it would be interesting on its own.

00:12:18:15 – 00:12:41:25
Keith
We have a rapper whose name is BigRigBaby who owns a a WeedGenics company. So it’s a weed company and it ends up being a Ponzi scheme. Just let that sink in and we’ll bring it to you next week. So look forward to seeing you then. And until then, thanks.

00:12:41:28 – 00:12:44:14
Seth
Bye. Take care.

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