Gone are the days of the good old attorney who didn’t understand the demands and uses of digital information. Now, all attorneys are expected to be up to speed on electronic records and, more importantly to the client, how to safeguard that information when it is in their possession. This can include sensitive business information, evidence for a legal case, and even financial information. Law firms are expected to have security for digital information just as they have vaults for paper and important property.
When you send digital property to your lawyer, there are a number of things that will happen in an effort to keep your data safe. Law firms work hard to ensure client confidentiality, including confidentiality of client data. How exactly this is handled varies, but all take it seriously. First, you’ll receive a response from the attorney, confirming receipt of the data so you know you sent it to the right email or location. This may be as simple as a thank you email, but it will be enough to show that your information went through.
The attorney will then label and file your information, either in their email or in secure digital storage. This means labeling any physical device that the information came on such as a DVD or hard drive and storing it properly as well as labeling and storing the digital information appropriately.
Client property is kept separate from firm property and information. This means that it is stored in separate folder from the lawyer’s information and other client’s information. Attorneys are responsible for maintaining client records for a period of time, generally six years. Law firms will take periodic backups of data, some of which are stored safely off site, in order to maintain reliable copies of their client’s records.
If you request your information returned, your attorney will do so. This may means that the attorney sends you a copy of the records he maintains. In the event that you want the property returned to you and the information destroyed, talk to your attorney about the law firm’s information destruction policy.
Like many businesses, law firms are often targets of hacking attempts. Lawyers and their IT staff work hard to keep their systems up to date and secure. Much of the work involved in keeping client information secure is training employees and putting in place the business processes to make sure mistakes aren’t made. Information arriving in the office may mistakenly contain a virus, for example, and staff needs to be trained how to access the client’s information without causing the virus to infect the firm’s system.
Knowing that the data you send to your lawyer is secure is just as important to clients as knowing the lawyer will keep their concerns confidential. The attorneys and staff at Virtus Law Firm are committed to taking care of our clients and making sure digital information is as secure as the files we lock in our vault. For more information, reach out to one of our team members at 612.888.1000 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.