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Law Departments and Law Firms Getting Smarter About Data Privacy and Security, According to Huron Legal: eDiscovery Trends

How are recent trends related to data privacy and security affecting the legal industry? Though one recent report was critical of law firms for failing to disclose data breaches, according to a new Q&A from Huron Legal, law departments, and law firms are getting smarter about addressing data privacy and security issues.

The new Q&A with Huron Legal director David Ray is titled Data Privacy and Security in the Legal Industry and discusses the efforts law departments, law firms, and other service providers are making to protect sensitive and confidential data.

“By nature, the legal industry deals with a large amount of potentially sensitive information, and as a result, data privacy is becoming increasingly more important,” said Ray, a data privacy and security expert. “Traditionally, legal professionals have seen themselves as somewhat immune to these issues. However, the increased overall focus on privacy and recent data breaches is affecting the legal sector just like any other. Law departments, law firms, and legal vendors are recognizing this growing pressure and have started to make changes accordingly.”

According to Ray, the five biggest trends in data privacy in the legal industry are in the following areas:

  • Law Departments are Getting Wiser: Law departments are becoming increasingly more involved with privacy issues as well as data breach responses and, accordingly, becoming wiser consumers of external legal services. Unsurprisingly, they are placing the information governance practices of their suppliers under much greater scrutiny than ever before.
  • Vendor Information Governance Scorecards: In fact, law departments are more often using metrics and scorecards to evaluate law firms and legal service vendors with the expectation they can meet or exceed the same privacy and security practices expected from non-legal service providers elsewhere within the organization. Scorecards allow organizations to know that the information that goes outside their walls is secure and protected by the appropriate practices.
  • Law Firms See Opportunity Rather than a Threat: One might expect to see pushback from law firms on newer stringent data security requirements. However, 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 sense.
  • Legal Vendors are Playing Catch-up: 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, consulting the “privacy by design” principles before they become hindrances to the sale of services.
  • Data Privacy is Fast Moving: The most important consideration when dealing with privacy and security is understanding that it is an evolving field. 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 Q&A can be found here, with a podcast of the Q&A available here.

So, what do you think? Do you think the legal industry has made significant strides in dealing with data security and privacy? Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.