In-House Counsel Worry About Law Firm Data Safety

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By Yin Wilczek

July 21 — In the era of cyber breaches, law firm data security is a growing concern for in-house counsel, a recent study finds.

According to FTI Consulting's poll of in-house lawyers in Fortune 1000 companies, 52 percent of the respondents have security requirements for their outside law firms. However, a number of the respondents voiced growing concerns about their outside firms producing sensitive information to opposing counsel, especially smaller law firms with little or no security safeguards.

The study added that in one such situation, one respondent successfully argued for use of a central data repository controlled by a service provider that allowed the law firms to exchange documents securely. 

Top Priority

Data security clearly is a top priority, the study found. As cyber incidents continue, “we can expect to see more creative approaches to ensuring data protection.”

Released July 15, the study was FTI's ninth report concerning in-house counsel views on e-discovery. For the study, Ari Kaplan Advisors interviewed 31 in-house attorneys from November to December 2014.

In other highlights, the study found that 87 percent of its respondents are following potential changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Most of the respondents are hoping that the rules will be amended to more clearly define preservation requirements so that over-preservation can be avoided.

 Analytical Tools

The study also found that:

• e-discovery teams increasingly are using analytical tools earlier in the discovery process to help curb costs;

• 80 percent of the respondent organizations have fewer than 10 individuals working on e-discovery; and

• 90 percent of the respondents are not seeing any impact from state e-discovery requirements.

 

To contact the reporter on this story: Yin Wilczek in Washington at ywilczek@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ryan Tuck at rtuck@bna.com

The study is available at http://tinyurl.com/oygxvj6.