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Beware the Public Wi-Fi

Ethics in e-Discovery

One of the topics I speak about frequently is Ethics in e-Discovery. In my programs, I spend a good deal of time discussing the ethical duties to maintain the confidentiality of client information, and to protect the privacy of attorney-client privileged information. Those ethical obligations are becoming increasingly hard to meet, as it seems that every day we have a new way to easily, instantly, wirelessly – and often inadvertently – transmit sensitive information.

Many attorneys and legal professionals I speak to are startled to learn that using a free public Wi-Fi service carries a high risk that private information will be breached. I offer them some practical tips to minimize that risk, while recognizing the reality that today’s work style often puts us out in public spaces while working with our clients’ information. Recently I came across an excellent article by Lisa Needham that explains this risk in helpful detail, and offers some good advice for dealing with it. It’s a great read for anyone who works while traveling, or in some other place outside of a secure office or home network environment.

“You are not living up to your ethical obligations to a client if you are exposing their data to public wi-fi.”

At DiscoverReady, although we do not practice law, many of us are barred attorneys who must honor our ethical obligations in all the work we do. And even for those employees who are not lawyers, our commitment to protecting our clients’ confidential information runs strong and deep. We deploy industry-leading data security and privacy protocols, and maintain systems that meet the most rigorous security requirements. Each of our employees is taught that, despite the ease and convenience of working at Starbucks, we must remain diligent about guarding the information our clients trust us to protect.

Maureen O'Neill