You thought you were prepared for life by going to law school, selecting a successful field of law, opening your private practice, or gaining your impressive partnership. The last decade of technology has turned the security of your life choices into a black hole of liability and negligence. More specifically the information gratification of the internet has effectively tsunami-ed the law industry. Entire levels of compliance, procedure, statute and case law are changing at rates never before experienced.
1. Be Careful What You Search For.
Your go-to search engine is not your friend. Google, Yahoo, and Bing store valuable information in a personally identifiable manner – meaning they can be subpoenaed. Advise your clients to this danger as well, and you’ll have much less evidence to get thrown out in discovery.
Online research is a must – so the alternative to this is beefing up your security or using a private search engine like StartPage.com.
2. Your Field May Cross Industries.
As a lawyer, your doors open to a wide range of industries and entities. If you find yourself working with a health industry group, in many states you must abide by HIPAA Security and Privacy rules regarding electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI). That means that security risks can mean a serious threat for you. Let encryption be your friend in these situations.
3. Email Freedom Isn’t Free!
The bad boys of search are pulling the same stunt with your emails. Yahoo and Gmail are not encrypted, and therefore, completely compromised. A subpoena or search warrant could really scar your client’s chances at success in your next case.
4. New Laws Require Notice of Breach.
You hold and may disclose client’s information based on your case. Do so without authorization, and you could be opening yourself and your case up to a world of red tape. 46 states have instated laws requiring that residents be notified in the event of information security violations. Skip a step and make sure all the information is secured – but don’t have a chat about your case either. A violation is a violation in this case.
5. Digital Filing – Are You Filing Safely?
A majority of states are also requiring eFiling and eDiscovery. Are you performing discovery requirements in a safe and successful manner? Don’t waste time in making sure your system is 100% secure. Publicized evidence can create a painful situation for your and your client’s success rate.
Staying prepared in this akimbo world may seem difficult – but there is a method to the fun house-style digital trickery. We’re seeing online and judges recognizing security in the digital space as lawyer-held responsibilities. How can you keep ahead of opposing counsel?