Today, law firms face unprecedented risk landscape. While lawyers are accustomed to self-control, increasing regulations and laws specific to companies. And customers are becoming more demanding and particular about the standard of care and confidentiality they expect outside counsel to follow.
From my perspective, the law firm working to understand and respond to this new world. Some are investing continuously in more staff, technologies, processes and education. Some are relying on the hope that the status quo is kept. But the world is changing and nothing can stop it.
A key change is how information risks. Technology has changed the routes are stored, access and used by lawyers. While issues like client conflict management, records management have been for some time, organizations must also respond to and comply with new regulatory rules that now apply to the law firm. These are the FTC Red Flag Rules (which can still be implemented), the HITECH Act on personal health and state data privacy rules, some of which are now reporting.
Technology means that more information is stored in multiple, central repository that is accessible by multiple internal parties. This access is often unmanaged, untracked and unrestricted. There is a huge opportunity for error or failure. If information is accessed inappropriate, regulations or requirements customer might infringe.
Fortunately, technology is also changing risk. There are many examples of risk management software for businesses. For example, the law firm will centrally manage the confidentiality of various reasons, including ethical walls. These issues are very important. Inadvertent exposure or access to confidential information within companies with lawyers or non-lawyers is a real danger. An ABA Commission recently called this out, writing: “When the data were strictly in hard copy form, lawyers could easily identify how to fulfill professional obligations and do not need elaborate ethical guidance.Now data is primarily electronic, however, necessary precautions are harder to detect. “
With so much information stored electronically, technology has made it impossible for individuals to prevent accidents without help. And with so many new rules, and so much attention focused on these issues, the impact of the mistake can be significant. Today, companies are using security technology to automate restrictions and measures such as the walls are automatically enforced, is minimized and accidents can not happen.This is a significant improvement over the manual and the “legacy” approach accordingly.
future is bright for companies that take a proactive approach to deal with these new items and abilities. Those who think new responses are not necessary, stop a rude awakening.