Data privacy a year-round issue for law firms, other businesses

privacy and data protectionMuch of the attention today, Data Privacy Day, is focused on how we as individuals can take better care of our personal information online and in other electronic formats.

For business, and law firms in particular, though, the issue is even more important. Increasingly, it’s not a question of if your law firm will suffer a data breach, but when it will happen and how severe the problem will be.

According to the most recent American Bar Association Legal Technology Survey Report, 23 percent of those responding said their firm had been victimized by a data breach at some point. No size firm was immune. Small firms of fewer than 10 attorneys reported nearly a quarter of the breaches, while big firms with more than 100 lawyers accounted for 31 percent.

The financial consequences for the firms were significant: 41 percent reported losses of billable hours and 40 percent faced remediation costs.

Additionally, 40 percent of the firms responding to the ABA survey reported experiencing virus or malware infections. While those infections don’t carry the same legal complications of a data breach, they still slow productivity and trigger clean-up costs.

That’s one reason Burnette Shutt & McDaniel created its Privacy and Data Protection team. Attorney Kathleen McDaniel and privacy and data protection consultant Francie Kleckley are poised to help law firms and other business with the full range of today’s electronic security needs.

How we can help with privacy and data protection

McDaniel and Kleckley can assist organizations in creating sound privacy policies that comply with a range of state, federal and, sometimes, international laws.

They can create training programs so that all the staff is fully aware of proper procedure. A single training session on phishing, for example, can raise awareness of what these fraudulent schemes look like. That awareness, in turn, can decrease the likelihood that an employee clicks on a link or attachment and spreads malware throughout the office.

In the unfortunate event of a security breach, the Burnette Shutt & McDaniel privacy team can respond rapidly and with a range of tools, from identification of the problem to remediation, notification and recovery.

As former national director for privacy policy for the Internal Revenue Service, Kleckley has coordinated responses to many high-profile data breaches across the country. She holds advanced certifications from the International Association of Privacy Professionals.

She teams up with McDaniel, an experienced attorney and skilled litigator, to help law firms and other businesses manage privacy risks and rapidly evolving responsibilities.

Contact Kleckley at or (803) 904-7931 or McDaniel at or (803) 904-7913 to see how they can help.