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Law Firm Raided by FBI in Aggressive Seizure of Property

By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on November 18, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The FBI appeared at the headquarters of Martin & Seibert L.C., a West Virginia law firm, and "aggressively seized property and detained personnel." The firm said that it was surprised by the magnitude of the action by the FBI but maintained that it would "rise above th[e] allegations" and return to client service.

The ordeal appears to have started months ago when allegedly defamatory remarks were made against the firm on social media.

Massive Raid

The massive raid by the FBI of Martin & Seibert's offices is apparently linked to a number of threats and past complaints against the firm by some disgruntled former employees. According to the firm, several attempts to defame Martin & Seibert's character had previously failed, and it appeared that a larger attack had been coordinated.

Lessons to Learn

  • Online Reputation: It should go without saying that firms should strive to maintain good morale and cultivate an internal culture that will diffuse potential employee dissatisfaction. As more and more people turn to the internet as their means of communication, this means that online reviews (or character attacks) will soon be just as relevant as more traditional means of defamation. The management of one's online reputation is becoming a task that is worthy of its own department. Consider also managing your social media accounts with a decent dashboard.
  • Cybersecurity: In the case of Martin & Seibert, L.C., the attacks were from one of their own, so it's possible (pure speculation so far) that these employees used their intimate knowledge of the company's network vulnerabilities to attack the tendons of the firm when defamation failed. There is, unfortunately, very little in the cybersecurity paradigm that can effectively handle this save changing the entire company's security protocols every time an employee is let go.

Martin & Seibert's ordeal with law enforcement authorities will hopefully be an unfamiliar type of inconvenience to most firms, but it highlights the need to stay on top of your firm's network vulnerabilities.

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