Cyber LawThis Guest Post article was written for Great Lakes Computer’s Tips on Tech Blog by attorney James W. Slater of the Ohio law firm Slater & Zurz LLP:

With maintenance of confidentiality actually a requirement for lawyers dealing with clients due to professional ethics regulations, protection of data is a very important aspect of an attorney’s job.

The confidentiality rule in Ohio applies not only to matters communicated in confidence to the lawyer by the client, but to all information relating to the representation, whatever its source (Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 1.6, comment 3). However, protecting data is generally not something a lawyer wants to worry about on a daily basis. Most lawyers would rather spend their time working for their client to achieve the desired result of the representation.

Despite a possible wish on the part of attorneys not to spend time worrying about protecting data, hacking into computer data is a reality.  Nearly five years ago, the FBI issued an advisory warning in November 2009 that stated law firms are being specifically targeted by hackers (Law Practice).  Most firms have plenty of personal financial data, in a separation agreement alone, and those who handle business deals, mergers and acquisitions have files—in electronic form or otherwise—that contain what is referred to as “economic intelligence.”

Many data breaches are accidents. A sticky note taped to a desk listing several passwords could be a security target.  Who is reading this information which is quite likely confidential? Random visitors to the firm?  Other employees who do not need access to the password?  What seems very harmless may not be when regarded from a security standpoint.

Who is Responsible for Data Protection at Your Law Firm?

If the answer is a few guys in-house who know a little more about computers than the rest of us, your situation is probably not ideal, and neither is the data protection offered by your firm.  Even if your firm employs one, two or three people to handle Information Technology (IT) who are not lawyers, you may not be getting the best IT service and may be compromising your information.

What your firm likely needs is a Managed Service Provider (MSP).  This specialist can provide data security, data backup and remote management of document production.  Firm efficiency can also be improved with Managed Print Services (MPS) which can save up to 30% on printing costs in the not-yet paperless world.

If you would like to know more about a Managed IT Service Provider (MSP) or Managed Print Services (MPS), there is a FREE eBook, “Technology in Today’s Law Firm,”  that you can download to learn more about this means of data protection.

Slater & Zurz has been representing clients throughout Ohio with all types of legal issues for over 40 years. The law firm has handled over 30,000 personal injury related cases and helped clients receive more than $150,000,000 in verdicts and settlements. For more information, please visit