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IT Regulations For Your Law Firm: Keeping Your Client’s Data Safe

As a law firm, you constantly handle sensitive data that attracts cybercriminals. Any data breaches could lead to your firm losing the reputation you’ve worked hard to create, as well as financial costs and penalties. Following the regulations set by the American Bar Association (ABA) on your IT will allow you to avoid any losses caused by hackers and data breaches.

The ABA’s Formal Opinions 477R & 483 lay out a series of requirements obliging your firm to make reasonable efforts to prevent unauthorized access to information relating to the representation of a client. Opinion 477R, revised in May 2017, took an updated look at the advances technology has made and the ever-increasing threat of cybercrime, and provides guidance on how to best protect your firm.

To determine what effort is reasonable in protecting data, the ADA recommends considering these factors:

  • The sensitivity of information
  • The likelihood of disclosure if additional safeguards are not employed
  • The cost of additional safeguards
  • The difficulty of implementing the safeguards and
  • The extent to which the safeguards adversely affect the lawyer’s ability to represent clients.

Opinion 483 identifies six Model Rules that could be implicated in the event of a data breach, with one in particular (Model Rule 1.15) requiring lawyers to safeguard clients’ data and property properly. The Opinion explains that “lawyers must employ reasonable efforts to monitor the technology and office resources connected to the internet, external data sources, and external vendors providing services relating to data and the use of data.” This Opinion, by default, requires law firms to have software that can monitor for data breaches. Of course, as cybercriminals are getting better at their job every minute, the Opinion acknowledges that not every potential hacker can be expected to be stopped, but as long as you and your team are employing protection of your data to the best of your abilities, you will be meeting the standards set by the ABA.

Certain software can help keep your firm safe of any data breaches and make your daily work life flow smoother. This includes a long list of legal software that we support here at Straight Edge:

  • Perfect Law
  • Needles
  • Clio
  • Relativity
  • Worldox
  • Copitrak
  • ProDoc
  • iManage

If your firm could use an upgrade in cybersecurity and overall IT functionality, give us a call today or fill out a contact form on our website. We aim to keep your firm at the top of your game and we’ll do everything we can to make sure you meet ABA regulations.

At Straight Edge Technology, we offer flat-rate pricing along with personalized IT solutions tailored to your business needs. With our experienced team and comprehensive services, we’re here to support your IT infrastructure and help your business thrive. Contact us today to discuss how we can assist you with your IT needs.