Data Privacy and Security Meets the Legal Industry

Huron Legal has recently reported that law firms are getting smarter about addressing data privacy and security issues. Aside from the efforts these law departments, law firms, and other service providers are making to protect sensitive and confidential data, the overall focus on privacy and recent data breaches is affecting the legal sector just like any other sector. According to the article, the four biggest trends in data privacy in the legal industry are the following:

  • Law Firms as Clients: As law firms become increasingly more involved with privacy issues, they are becoming more sophisticated consumers of external legal services. They are placing the information governance practices of vendors and third party legal service contractors under much greater scrutiny than ever before.
  • Opportunity Versus Threat: Although one could expect to see more pushback from law firms on newer stringent data security requirements, instead law firms seem to be responding to these heightened client demands and seeing them as a differentiator when competing for business. Demonstrating an ability to deal with sensitive and often high-value matters from an information perspective makes good business sense.
  • Privacy by Design Vendors: Legal vendors are largely playing catch-up in data privacy issues. For a long time, the tools they provided for legal services were narrow. But now legal vendors need to rise to the same challenge. Additionally, these vendors need to design both the software and processes with privacy in mind. This includes considering the “privacy by design” principles before they become hindrances to the sale of services.
  • Data Privacy Moves Fast: The most important consideration when dealing with privacy and security is understanding that it is an evolving field. Since the definitions and laws are changing, both within the U.S. and abroad, everyone in the legal industry needs to be prepared for change and to be flexible. The laws today may be different in two years, so planning with that in mind is critical.

The full article is here. Our Privacy & Data Security Group will continue to monitor the implications of privacy issues within the legal services sector.