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White Powder Attack at DA's Office: How to Safeguard a Legal Office

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By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on January 09, 2012 5:57 AM

White powder was found in a letter sent to a Florida state attorney's office.

Three individuals were hospitalized after being exposed to the substance last week. They were taken for treatment after suffering from headaches and vomiting.

Officials are unsure what the powder was. Preliminary testing was inconclusive. The substance was sent to a FBI lab for more testing.

Parts of the building were evacuated. Some were reopened after an air duct was sealed off. Authorities have declined to release information about the intended recipient of the letter and the sender.

Other attorneys might wonder about safety issues in their office. What if you received a suspicious letter?

Unfortunately, attorneys do have enemies. Most attorneys are professionals, and act that way in court.

But, not everybody will be happy with your work. Think about the disgruntled clients that wish you won their cases. Or, any number of other adversaries.

That's why it might be important for small firm owners and solo practitioners to adopt a safety protocol. Samples can be found on some state bar websites. Use these policies to address possible emergencies including natural disasters, fire, assaults, or threats.

It might be prudent to include information about who to contact and what steps to follow in the event of an emergency.

Train your staff on these procedures so that they will know how to respond. It's unlikely that white powder will be found in your office. But it's best to be prepared.

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