Friday, March 13, 2009

British Law Firms Increase Employee Surveillance

Some British law firms have increased employee surveillance in light of economic presures. Many IT managers fear data loss as they fear some employees might be temped to steal data to sell to competitors, Legal Technology Journal reports.
IT heads at the top 20 firms admit that they are particularly wary of confidential material being downloaded into a transportable form now that the credit crunch has begun to bite and is costing jobs both internally and among their top financial institution clients.

At magic circle giant Allen & Overy (A&O), which last month announced jobs cuts affecting 9% of its workforce, IT director Jason Haines said: “Most law firm employees are bound by a professional conduct code but we would be careless if we weren’t being a bit more vigilant.”

The pressure is arising not only out of concerns that disgruntled employees may download firm precedents and other closely guarded intellectual property, but out of the need to meet a higher security bar imposed by many clients in relation to confidential material.

Addleshaw Goddard’s head of IT Graham van Terhayden said: “Clients want to do extra audits and are asking more questions about our capability and redoubling their questions.

“The more clients ask the question, the more we will focus on it.”

While many of the top firms have long banned access to social networking sites such as Facebook, the majority allow lawyers to use mobile media such as USB keys.

But where some firms are still monitoring activity on an ad hoc basis, others have rolled out constant surveillance of all employees.


Anonymous Anelly said...

The truth is that lately managers are integrating more and more employee monitoring solutions on the computers within their company. It is a precaution measure they take considering that many employees are stilling data and confidential information.

9:18 AM  
Blogger Isabel said...

I worked at Allen & Overy for a year or so, security was super tight even back then (8 years or so ago).

7:33 PM  

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