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Secure Email Solutions for the Legal Industry

Considerations When Using Email within the Legal Industry

State and Federal regulations mandating privacy in the legal field are constantly evolving. Complexity is increasing. Regulations and risk exposure are always growing.

Attorneys and legal experts must take reasonable measures to protect their client information. However, when sending information via email, those risks can become more widespread. As a result, the most reputable law firms have adopted secure email sending practices in order to protect their clients.

Additionally, when legal professionals work with clients in various protected and sensitive industries, further protections are warranted. With data privacy failures and security breaches on the rise, law firms wisely institute protections before an incident occurs.

When attorneys, paralegals, and others sending email use secure encryption technologies, they are adopting a higher standard of client protections and confidentiality, which always reflects well on the law firm and suggests to the client that their relationship security is valued.

One simply has to read the news to see that, unfortunately, security breaches and identity theft are a common occurrence. The most common way that security is compromised is through insecure email transmission.

Thankfully, the American Bar Association has provided some guidance on the matter. In their "Ethics Opinion 477, May 11, 2017 they address some of the issues. This opinion and related information are addressed in the document titled "Email Communications and Electronic Data: Considerations for All Lawyers" By: Martin M. Shenkman, Esq. and Suzanne Thau, Esq.

Some findings and recommendations from their report are:

Healthcare regulations and regulatory authorities involved in healthcare include:

  1. Rapidly evolving technology is changing the practice of law, forcing legal practitioners to be aware of the risks involved in electronic communications, both from a cybersecurity and attorney-client privilege perspective
  2. Lawyers must take reasonable efforts to remain abreast of technological developments and ensure that communications with clients are secure and not subject to inadvertent or unauthorized security breaches.
  3. It [the Ethics Opinion 477] is also leaves attorneys vulnerable to claims that they have not taken adequate measures to protect client information.
  4. An attorney must take reasonable steps to use secure internet access methods whenever possible. Examples provided in the Opinion include secure Wi-Fi, the use of a Virtual Private Network, or another secure internet portal, using unique complex passwords, changed periodically, implementing firewalls and anti-Malware/Anti- Spyware/Antivirus software on all devices upon which client confidential information is transmitted or stored. . . .Other available tools include encryption of data that is physically stored on a device and multi-factor authentication to access firm systems.
  5. Secure VPN connections should be the norm, rather than less secure, off the shelf remote platforms.
  6. If client information is of sufficient sensitivity, a lawyer should encrypt the transmission and determine how to do so to sufficiently protect it
  7. Certain popular document sharing services such as Dropbox and Google Drive are not secure because they don't encrypt documents when they are transmitted
  8. Practitioners have ethical duties to remain cognizant of the risks and benefits of rapidly evolving technology, and should take steps to ensure that cybersecurity and attorney client privilege matters are adequately addressed.

The Net Atlantic Solution

The Net Atlantic Secure Message Suite is the easiest way available anywhere to provide secure encrypted email to your law firm or organization. The solution works seamlessly with Microsoft Exchange, Outlook 365, and Google G Suite to provide the level of security that your clients expect.

Industry trade groups in the legal field include:

ABA: The American Bar Association
AHLA: American Health Lawyers Association