You are welcome to access the Clinic anytime, including in the evenings and on weekends. Access to the Clinic is provided via a card-swipe reader at the front door using a valid Panther ID.
Whenever the University is officially closed you'll not be able to access the Clinic. The main key chain located in the Clinic locker has a key that opens all offices, except the Associate Director's office. It also has keys to all file cabinets. The procedures for locking the offices are posted on the side of the file cabinet as you first walk into the Administrative Coordinator's office.
Access to Clinic computers is with your College of Law Login ID and Password. If you've never logged into a computer in the computer lab, stop by the Library's Computer Lab and request a Login ID. Once logged into a Clinic computer, you will need to enter a second password which is "gsu." When you leave the Clinic for the day, logout and restart your computer; the computers must remain on.
If you are the last person in the Clinic area, please turn off all copiers, coffee maker, toaster oven and space heaters. Make sure that the all cabinets that contain client files, all doors to all offices are locked, all lights turned off. Please return the key to the locker. If you don't remember the locker combination, or the lock won't open for some reason, turn the keys in at the Law Library Circulation Desk and notify the Clinic staff by leaving a message at 404-413-9230.
Please keep your office in an orderly state. Avoid leaving personal items or books and other materials in your office. If you do, please place them in a drawer or under the cabinets. Please place the office trash can in the hallway for collection by the cleaning staff. All food items must be placed in the kitchen trash container.
If you expect to be out of the office for more than a couple of days, please inform the Administrative Coordinator.
Please do not use Clinic phones for long-distance personal calls. Please do not use Clinic copiers, other equipment, supplies or other resources for non-Clinic purposes. If you have problems with any office equipment or if you need supplies, please let the Administrative Coordinator know immediately.
Avoid contacting your clients from your personal phone. If you have to do so, you should block your name and number by pressing *67 before placing a call.
Client documents should not be left out on the worktables, copiers/printers, etc... when you are not working on them. All client documents and files should be placed in the client file and locked up in the file cabinet when you are not working on the file. If you're going to leave the office for more than a couple of hours, please return the files to the file cabinet.
All documents containing a client's personal and confidential information that are to be discarded must be destroyed by shredding. There are shredders in almost every office. If you have a large amount of documents to shred, please use the shredding box located in the round room.
All correspondence sent to the IRS must be sent via UPS. This is necessary in order to confirm the date of mailing. UPS packages should be ready to ship no later than 2:30 p.m. of the day to be sent. The Administrative Coordinator will prepare the shipping label. When a delivery confirmation e-mail is received, the Administrative Coordinator will match the email to the label and placed them in your mailbox. This confirmation must be inserted in the client's file attached to the piece of mail or notebook that was sent out. IRS correspondence and confirmations of mailing should be placed on Side IV of the file. It is the student attorney's responsibility to ensure that all documents have been timely mailed.
All IRS correspondence should be on Clinic letterhead, and a copy of the signed original should be placed on Side IV of the file. All significant correspondence, other than form letters, must be reviewed by the Associate Director prior to being mailed. After signing a letter to be sent to the client, make a copy of it and place it on Side II of the client file. Always include a self-addressed-stamped-envelope when sending something for the client to return to you. Seal the envelope and place it in the Administrative Coordinator's "Outgoing Mail" box for mailing.
Generally, the Clinic Director must review documents prior to them being sent to the IRS or Tax Court. These documents include petitions, the memoranda that accompany Offers in Compromise, appeals notebooks, audit reconsiderations, refund claims, innocent spouse relief requests, and other similar documents. You should allow enough time (about two weeks) for review and revision prior to the due date for submitting such documents.
The Clinic has an e-mail account on G-Mail for your use. Do not use your personal email to communicate with clients or third-parties. Instructions and the password will be distributed at the beginning of each semester. If you use the Clinic's account do not forget to check it. The administrative staff will also check the G-Mail account several times a day. However, you should also check it when you are in the Clinic for mail related to one of your cases.
Print a copy of any emails you send or receive, and place the copy in the appropriate section of the Client file. In most circumstances, you should not send confidential client information by email. However, there may be occasions when you may need to send out a draft document in Word (such as to a client for review). In these limited cases, you can protect client confidentiality by removing metadata from the electronic document.
Sending electronic files by email may compromise the confidentiality of client information. Metadata is information stored in an electronic document. Examples of metadata include the author of a spreadsheet, the time a photograph was taken, or the comments to a Word document. Because this information is contained in the electronic file, it can be transmitted to a third party when the document is attached to an email. In some cases, metadata may disclose confidential information.
Generally, an attorney has an obligation to keep a client's information in confidence. (For example, Rule 1.6 of the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct states, "A lawyer shall maintain in confidence all information gained in the professional relationship with a client….") In addition, "A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client" by "employ[ing] the requisite knowledge and skill." Rule 1.1 and Comment 1B of the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct. While the Georgia Bar has not yet addressed this issue, many other states have extended the rules of competence and confidentiality to cover metadata contained in electronic documents. In Minnesota, "a lawyer is ethically required to act competently to avoid improper disclosure of confidential and privileged information in metadata in electronic documents." Opinion No. 22.
How to Protect Metadata
You should take steps to ensure that confidential metadata is not provided to a third party. The only guaranteed way is to print a paper copy. When an electronic document must be used, there two options for removing metadata:
Using email may increase the risk of disclosing confidential information. If you have privacy concerns, please send your documents by mail, courier service, or fax.