Effective risk management includes training for law firm personnel regarding the importance of maintaining client confidences and secrets as well as the potential consequences for failing to do so. Examples of situations in which the issue may arise, such as inquiries from outside the office, are helpful in defining the boundaries and explaining how to handle various situations. Just trusting employees to know what the boundaries are is too risky.
Leading by example is important. Attorneys who routinely discuss confidential matters with others without regard for secrecy should not be surprised when others in the law firm do the same. The best strategy is to adopt a strict confidentiality standard and then follow it.
In today's high-tech world, there is no substitute for adequate security protocols prepared by professionals. Regardless of whether the practice is a solo practitioner or a large law firm, clients expect that adequate security protocols exist to protect their information. This means that computer systems and Internet access need to be secure. Unsecure access for ease of use is no longer an option.
Following these steps will ensure that client confidences and secrets are properly maintained.
J. Randolph Evans and Shari L. Klevens are the authors of Georgia Legal Malpractice Law, published by Daily Report Books. J. randolph evans is a partner in McKenna Long & Aldridge's Atlanta office, where he is the chairman of the financial institutions practice. shari L. klevens is a partner in McKenna Long & Aldridge's Washington office and is the managing chairwoman of the firm's law firm defense practice.