Lawyers fail to protect client confidentiality

By Shannon Sweeney

16 June 2014 at 08:28 BST

Lawyers are not taking robust measures to protect their clients' confidentiality through practices like email.

A new survey report from LexisNexis examined how confidential data is being transmitted by law firms in the modern technology workforce. Sven Hoppe

Though email is convenient for lawyers to communicate with their clients, it is not secure and increases the risk of unwanted interceptions of data. Only 13.8 percent of respondents who use email choose to password protect privileged documents, and only 22 per cent of participants said they encrypt their emails, research reveals. The most common form of protection, according to 77 per cent of participants, is to use confidentiality statements on emails. Out of all the participants, 81.2 per cent of them said it would be 'consequential' or 'very consequential' if an unknown person gained access to client documents from the respective firm.

Email is high risk

The survey also found that 89 per cent of participants said they use email to collaborate on legal matter, known to be high risk for unwanted interceptions of data. Furthermore,  firms were  not doing much to alleviate risks for their clients,  the survey from  LexisNexis found. It  examined how confidential data is being transmitted by law firms in the modern technology workforce, asking more than 280 attorneys and other legal professionals working in the United States about how they share client information.  Source: Corporate Counsel.


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