Along with securing the best possible outcome for matters and delivering a great client experience, client confidentiality should always be a top priority for law firms. Because client privacy is such a priority, though, many firms are hesitant to introduce new tools or technologies that deal with client data. Instead, they tend to stick to tried-and-true practices.
The reality, though, is that the practices that protected client privacy ten or twenty years ago may not be as effective as they once were. Technology has led to incredible breakthroughs, but it’s also introduced vulnerabilities when it comes to data and data security.
Law firms have a duty to their clients to protect their data, and one of the best ways they can do so is by keeping pace with the digital age. Employee training, secure offices, and firm privacy policies are all essential for protecting sensitive information. However, secure file-sharing and eSignature features are also critical tools that should not be overlooked.
Why digital security is critical for law firms in the U.S.
For law firms in the U.S., data breaches are more prevalent than ever. In 2021, law firm data breaches affected 720,000 Americans, and some of these breaches have led to significant financial burdens for the law firms themselves.
Case in point: in 2022, mid-sized Ohio firm Bricker & Eckler agreed to a $1.95 million settlement for a class action lawsuit stemming from a 2021 data breach at their firm.
To protect your clients’ information and your law firm’s reputation, it’s critical now more than ever to take proactive measures for data security and file encryption. One place to start is by implementing secure file-sharing and eSignature solutions.
Secure file sharing provides peace of mind and added convenience
Sharing sensitive documents via email or paper files opens the door to human error, which increases the risk of compromised client data. Secure file-sharing platforms are an essential way to eliminate human error and maintain document security. For example, Tabs3 Software’s practice management solution PracticeMaster integrates with LexShare, a file-sharing software that provides bank-level security measures.
With secure file-sharing platforms, you and your clients send and receive files of any size with an extra layer of protection while collaborating with clients and colleagues, no matter where they are located.
Remote work means secure file sharing is more important than ever
In the past few years, law firms have transformed to allow for remote work for many employees. In 2022, 87% of lawyers reported that their law firms allow for remote work. Additionally, nearly two-thirds of private practice lawyers can work remotely 100% of the time, while 23% follow a hybrid work schedule.
For firms that enable remote work for their employees, security is a significant concern. In addition to employee training and privacy policies, secure data access is critical to maintaining ABA compliance and protecting your clients’ data. Secure file-sharing programs, combined with eSignature features, allow lawyers and clients alike to make progress on case matters without ever having to enter the office.
eSignatures are legally binding and secure for clients
Digital signatures have been around since the 1970s, but became legally binding with the ESIGN Act in 2000.
Contrary to popular belief, eSignatures provide more layers of security than email or the postal service. For legal documents, eSignatures feature specialized encryption tools, knowledge-based authentication, and secure links to protect clients’ data security.
eSignatures don’t just protect client data online. While paper documents are vulnerable to theft, fire, flood, and other physical damage, electronic client signatures ensure document preservation. When combined with practice management software, this digital documentation also helps prevent incorrect storage, misplacement, or filing errors that could lead to additional security breaches.
Cost and time savings provide an added bonus
While security is the primary concern of eSignature and file-sharing programs, the cost and time savings for law firms shouldn’t be ignored.
The average office worker goes through 10,000 sheets of paper per year. By switching to more paperless practices, law firms can save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars per year in paper costs alone.
eSignatures also drastically decrease the wait time for signed documents. While many attorneys can spend hours requesting and collecting client signatures, eSignatures diminish document turnaround times by 80% (and prevent the likelihood of missing or incorrect signatures).
Combined with the security provided by eSignatures and secure file sharing, these advantages can lead to expansive benefits and peace of mind for law firms.
Protect your clients’ sensitive data with Tabs3 Software
Tabs3 Software is dedicated to following the industry’s strictest compliance and data security regulations while offering attorneys a flexible working experience.
When it comes to protecting sensitive data, Tabs3’s fully integrated suite of products can provide your firm and your clients the privacy, security, and efficiency you need to operate with confidence.
Schedule a walkthrough demo to see how Tabs3’s legal practice management software can provide digital security while also improving administrative and operational efficiency.