Nov. 6, 2013 – Technology can be a very useful tool for lawyers, but with that comes more responsibility for the lawyers about making sure they take care of their client confidentiality. In this video, Todd C. Scott, Vice President of Risk Management for Minnesota Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company, examines the latest trends in malpractice and ethics matters. He also offers advice for firms to keep client matters on track and avoid malpractice claims.
Scott offers two helpful tips: First, Don’t use unsecured Internet connections at Starbucks or other places when dealing with client data. There are scary devices that allow people to intercept that information. Second, if you are storing documents in the cloud, know your vendors.
Scott advises lawyers to ask vendors three questions to help ensure safety on the cloud:
Once your information is in the cloud, will it be encrypted?
Does the vendor have multiple servers in different geographical locations so that if they have a disaster and their server goes down another server will have your information
Is your information confidential when it’s on a third-party platform?
Have Rules and Good Systems in Your Firm
“We also suggest that lawyers don’t have information on small devices that can be lost,” said Scott. “Have rules in your firm about what happens to data and what is acceptable use of data so you don’t lose a flash drive that could turn the whole law firm upside down. We’ve seen some difficult matters where a lawyer loses an iPad or flash drive – the next thing you know, the client’s data is out there for the world to see.”
More Common Errors
A common error lawyers make is not understanding the law. “So often lawyers think they understood the law, but it turned out they didn’t. They might know how to do a certain kind of case, but they take on one that’s across the border, and they don’t realize there are different statute dates,” he said.
Believe it or not, procrastination has become the number two most common alleged error and seven percent of complaints against all lawyers nationally are losing files and documents. Scott advises lawyers to review and improve systems to keep client data safe in the digital age: “It’s all very preventable, if we have good systems.”
Scott presented New Trends in Malpractice & Ethics Complaints, 10 Tips to Avoid Attorney Errors at the State Bar of Wisconsin PINNACLE® Wisconsin Solo & Small Firm Conference in Wisconsin Dells last month.
Select programs from the conference institute will be offered as Webcast seminars later this year. Tuition for all institute webcast programs is included in the cost of the Gold and Silver Ultimate Pass, and the first two webcast offerings are complimentary for all other conference attendees.