When people work with a lawyer in California on a range of personal or business matters, confidentiality may be a major concern. People who are going through a divorce and sharing personal matters or who are planning an upcoming business deal with millions of dollars on the line want to make sure that the information they share with their attorneys is protected. Most law firms have digitized their records, moving away from the classic images of rows of filing cabinets. Digital records take up less space, are easier to search and provide more permanent retention options.

However, as with any digital project, security can be a major concern. Most law firm databases are networked, and some may be accessible to the internet. As a result, law firms may be prime targets for hackers looking for valuable confidential information. A data breach could not only expose clients’ personal data and financial information but also could provide material advantages to other parties in ongoing litigation or negotiations. Business owners may lose an edge when other parties in merger or acquisition talks are alerted to internal discussions about valuation. Others could have potentially embarrassing personal information brought to the forefront.

Lawyers have a responsibility to make sure that their client data is protected. While it is easy for smaller firms to pay little attention to IT matters, that type of negligence can be costly in the long run in the case of a data breach.

Clients whose personal information was divulged as a result of a data security problem at their law firm may be able to take action for legal malpractice, especially if the firm failed to follow recognized practices to secure client information. An attorney may provide advice on how people can seek compensation for the damages they suffered due to a law firm hack.