• PCLaw | Time Matters

How Legal Professionals Can Share Documents Securely Online



Online file sharing is something most people do every day, whether they are posting pictures or videos on social media or emailing invoices and other important documents to colleagues. The latter is increasingly true for professionals who work remotely.


In the past, legal practices had no other option than to share paper files. The early days of the internet introduced the ability to send documents and information electronically, but online security protocols were not up to the standards of today, and many legal professionals avoided the associated risks. Still, paper files are only as secure as where they are kept, and documents can be misplaced or stolen.


Sharing physical documents also requires people to meet in person, which is challenging in today’s increasingly remote work environment. With the needs of law firms, technology continues to evolve to provide new methods of communication and document sharing.


Email Considerations


For legal professionals, there are security factors and government regulations that can make the change to remote work a challenge -- especially when it comes to online file sharing. This is especially true when a legal professional opts to only share files using their personal or company email address.


Many firms worry about the responsibility they have to keep client information secure, particularly social security numbers, financial records, and other personal information. If these sensitive files are compromised or shared to unauthorized third parties, it could cause legal professionals financial harm, hurt their reputations, bring disciplinary actions, or even result in lawsuits or legal practice closures.


The following are just some of the potential hazards that legal professionals must contend with when sharing files via e-mail online:

  • Cybersecurity Concerns – Online security is crucial for any business, and the legal industry is no exception. There have been many stories about email hacks and company devices being infected with malware that bundles viruses or even ransomware into files that get attached to an email.

  • Confidentiality Requirements - Documents and PDF files are often relatively small in terms of file size. This means the ability to duplicate and share them with others is easier than ever. So even when a legal professional emails a sensitive or confidential document to a colleague, they must embrace the possibility that this file could be sent to any other contact this person knows – even by mistake. That turns every device-to-device file transfer into a risky proposition.

  • Lack of Control – Simply uploading and emailing files gives the sender no control over who might access or share the files with other people.

Legal professionals can benefit from the advantages of using an online file-sharing service.


A Multitude of Choices


In terms of online file sharing services, there are many choices. The choices range from well-known services owned by big name tech companies to newer options launched by upstarts less than half a decade ago.


Due in part to the sheer volume of options, choosing the right online file sharing service can be a challenge. To help legal practices select the file sharing service that is best for them, here are some criteria to consider:

  • Cost – Determining the cost of a file sharing service can be tricky. Many online file sharing services work on a ‘pay-for-play’ model, where the more data storage a legal practice uses, the higher their monthly rate will climb. Many services also charge add-on fees based on the number of users within a company or firm.

  • Security – For legal practices, security is just as important as cost, if not more so. Because of privacy and confidentiality laws, it is important for legal professionals to make sure the service they use is compliant with industry requirements.

  • Functionality – File sharing services which allow any user to download a shared file and resend it to other people without obtaining permission from the original sender are not optimal for legal professionals. Neither are options which do not give the sender the ability to remove access to documents or files should a colleague or peer leave their firm or withdraw from a legal matter.

A great option for law firms is a secure file sharing platform specifically built for the legal industry that hosts documents in a third-party setting. These third-party file or PDF hosts should also encrypt this sensitive data, limiting access to view, read, and comment on documents and PDFs only to those who have permission to do so.


LawConnect


LawConnect is a great example of a third-party host for legal professionals that empowers them to share documents and PDF files online. By storing data on a highly secure remote server, LawConnect gives legal professionals the ability to choose who can or cannot view these files at any given time. Files on LawConnect cannot be downloaded, duplicated, or shared without the express permission of the legal professional who granted access to the documents in the first place.

Additionally, if a colleague or team member withdraws or is assigned to a different case, LawConnect gives legal professionals the ability to remove access to the files that had previously been shared.


Here are some other key benefits of LawConnect:

  • Remote Work – As more legal practices are switching to fully or hybrid remote workplaces, being able to securely share files online is vital. With LawConnect, you can share documents from anywhere on any computer or mobile device. And for recipients to access the file, they can even log in to LawConnect using a Facebook or Google account.

  • Greater Collaboration - LawConnect does not just share access to documents or PDFs. This service also allows clients, attorneys, or other parties to leave comments or reply to documents, streamlining the revision process.

  • Office Health and Security – The ability to share documents securely with other parties online also means fewer visitors will need to view these documents by visiting your physical office.

For PCLaw | Time Matters AMP Membership Customers, another notable feature with LawConnect is its seamless integration with Time Matters®. Through this new integration, LawConnect can access contacts from the Time Matters dashboard and share access with up to ten people at once.


This new integration with Law Connect is now available on the latest version of Time Matters. There is no additional charge for LawConnect services through Time Matters and no additional configuration in Time Matters is required.


For more information or to upgrade to the latest version, Time Matters AMP Member Customers may click on the following link: https://cloud.email-pclawtimematters.com/TM_2021_Upgrade