Lawyer Ethics, Confidentiality, and Technology

This is a recurring theme on this site if only because I give a regular presentation on the topic for lawyers coming to practice in Ontario from outside the province.  The fundamentals of protecting client data – confidential and private information the lawyer collects during the delivery of legal services – are pretty clear but there are always new examples of lawyers making missteps.  The technology itself shifts, and it was interesting to note that, where in the past I spent a long time talking about encryption, it’s now so integrated into operating systems and devices that it’s mostly a matter of turning it on.

Passwords are another recurring topic.  They’re the front line and there’s still the concern that someone will use a simple – guessable – password to protect their client information.  But the password world is shifting and each new million-password crack that happens on a Web site creates additional scope for intruders.  This means that a password that is re-used in more than one location may get discovered in one place and create a vulnerability in a completely different one.  At least we’re getting away from just talking about not using 123456 as a password.

The paper for the session is available as an e-book or pdf (free). Here are the slides from this latest session:

David Whelan

I improve information access and lead information teams. My books on finding information and managing it and practicing law using cloud computing reflect my interest in information management, technology, law practice, and legal research. I've been a library director in Canada and the US, as well as directing the American Bar Association's Legal Technology Resource Center. I speak and write frequently on information, technology, law library, and law practice issues.