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Zoom: An efficient tool or path to legal malpractice?

The pandemic forced us to change our daily routines. We started shopping online, working remotely and even attending legal matters through our computers. Many of these activities required the use of technology that was relatively new and untested.

One example was the use of Zoom and similar apps that allow users to hold virtual meetings. A group of people could dial in through their computers and meet with their co-workers, family members, or even legal counsel. What we are now learning is that the privacy that came with these meetings may not have been as strong as we had hoped.

What are the privacy issues tied to use of Zoom and similar apps?

Security flaws allowed hackers to break into the meeting and gather data. There are also lawsuits that claim Zoom failed to protect user data from other apps, like Facebook and LinkedIn. Part of the issue, according to these lawsuits, is that those who designed Zoom did not put in a proper encryption for video communications. As a result the communications were less protected that expected.

These issues could lead to loss of private data exchanged during these meetings and could even compromise attorney-client privilege.

Is a lawyer liable for malpractice if they misuse technology?

There are some instances when a client could argue that their attorney failed to properly use technology and that failure had a negative impact on the outcome of their case. An attorney that records a meeting and fails to store the recording with proper protections could face legal recourse if that recording is accessed by opposing counsel or results in the loss of attorney client privilege and leads to the loss of the case.

Clients who believe there is a connection between inadequate tech security by their attorney and the loss of their case may be able to hold the lawyer accountable through a legal malpractice case.