Texting, WhatsApp, Facetime … Modern technology has afforded all of us the convenience of reaching out, or being reached, instantly in a multitude of ways. Stuck in traffic? Out walking the dog? At the kids’ hockey practice? You are eminently accessible, anywhere, anytime. Whether you react positively or negatively to that reality might depend on your personality, your stress level, or your situation. In an emergency, technology like this is your friend. When it comes to law firm security? Maybe not so much. Clients have taken more and more to contacting their lawyers via text, social media, and other forms of communication that may not be as accountable as email. Some of the issues these casual client conversations present:
- Securely protecting client data
- Retaining accurate records of the content of such communications
- Blurring the lines between professional advice and a more casual “text”
When you’re writing a client on company letterhead, or through your firm email, the content is professional and responsible. Through texting, the message can sometimes be much more informal, but the accountabilities are the same. Of course, one very important benefit to these more “immediate” forms of communication, like texting, is just that: immediacy. While texts have an open rate of 98%, email opens lag way behind at only 20%, with a 6% reply rate. If you need a quick simple response, which method are you going with? But all of this leaves law firms in a bit of a bind. The 2019 LegalTechNews Tech Survey indicates that two-thirds of respondents say their firm doesn’t have a policy to address non-email forms of communication. But with many clients preferring the convenience of texting, and lawyers generally in the business of servicing their clients, what’s a firm to do? There are a number of ways of navigating this new terrain. According to The American Lawyer, many firms approve only certain communication channels, which are vetted for proper security protocols. Others allow only certain, less sensitive forms of communication on less secure channels, i.e. setting a meeting time or place, or confirming a court date.
There’s an App For That
Another excellent way of dealing with the influx of new communication technologies into the legal sphere is with technology itself. If it’s simple messaging with a client that you need, there are many encrypted messaging apps that could be the right fit for you. But if you’re looking to transmit a full document, just attaching it through casual messaging channels is never the way to go. Korbitec’s new xchangedocs is a robust, secure document sharing platform that eliminates the risk of sensitive client information falling into the wrong hands. Documents can be accessed securely through any web browser or mobile device. And xchangedocs integrates seamlessly with Korbitec’s Automated Civil Litigation (ACL5). Be accessible, be immediate. Clients expect that these days. But above all, be secure.