An Approach for Attorneys and Clients In Dealing With Online Communications
Today we’re going to take a practical look at the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility and their recommendations for communications. These are tips for attorneys new to the field or more experience. Regardless of your years in law, we have a few ideas for you.
Not every single bit of communication is the same, but offers an insight into some general rules. For the most part, attorneys should consider their messages, and:
- The content of the message itself, including sensitive or private information. How are they organized?
- The practicality of improving or introducing new email security standards.
- The overall risk of this communication being intercepted or read by someone not authorized.
- What is the impact your communications with all of your clients: large and small, routine and more involved.
As you can imagine, all of this put together is a bit of a puzzle for an attorney not specialized in web or comm security. In some instances, this means that the lawyer’s office hires outside help. However, in others, there are several key steps your firm acts on internally. Each one makes a key difference.
Taking Plaintive Steps
This is why the ABA and other organizations ask about the way data is handled. Also, many attorneys have no or just cursory training in these matters. However, you only have so much time or money. Consider the following:
- Who handles your information? What is their info security training?
- What is your email routing method? Does your site use https protocol?
- Is sensitive data labeled or treated as such? Consider means of securing this type of data separately.
- Each attorney should read and digest the new Model Rules of Professional Conduct. This provides a key backdrop for lawyers in just about any field to prepare themselves for recent and upcoming changes.In addition, changing to a uniform secure email or communications network allows for less juggling between different systems and less to consider for each client. Often, firms utilize a secure cloud-based solution for their needs. In addition, even for those without a lot of cash on hand have options. Utilize Google Drive and Dropbox as their primary or secondary mode of such use. Each is free usage. Furthermore, keep each in mind as you proceed.
This list isn’t comprehensive. However, it allows firms of all sizes a jumping off point in making their communications ones that can and should be above reproach or worry. This pays for itself many times over. One less thing on your plate. Furthermore, each bit of security is key for your firm.