Headless Chickens and Zombie Data: Your Ethical Obligations for Disasters and Data Breaches

Topics:
  • Attorneys/Legal Services

Don’t get caught running in circles, with no idea what to do when disaster strikes! From hurricanes and floods to cyberattacks, law firms have to ensure they have carefully considered how their data will be protected against and available after disasters and data breaches. Join us as we navigate the roadmaps of recent ABA ethical opinions on this topic and learn how best to prepare for the worst… BEFORE IT HAPPENS!


Not so long ago, locking up your paper files was sufficient to satisfy compliance with ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.15 (safeguarding client property). It is a whole new world today. In an attempt to address how lawyers should be evaluating the threats to their practice and its data, the ABA released two very significant ethical opinions: Formal Opinion 483: Lawyers’ Obligations After an Electronic Data Breach or Cyberattack (October 17, 2018); and, Formal Opinion 482: Ethical Obligations Related to Disasters (September 19, 2018).

Disasters and data breaches bring with them conflicting priorities to resolve. Duties of disclosure compete with those of confidentiality for your attention. The responsibility to provide legal services for which your clients have contracted may be adversely affected by disaster. Model Rules 1.4 and 1.6 provide the standards and the recent ABA opinions flesh out your their ethical duties in the event of a disaster (natural or man-made) or a data breach (which is of course a very specific form of a disaster!).

Join our panel of experts as they guide you through these opinions with practical examples of how best to ensure you and your clients are best protected in the face of this new world and all it has to throw at you.

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