The coronavirus pandemic and social distancing measures have
spurred many attorneys to explore remote work and videoconferencing, some for
the first time. These work style choices
have repercussions for the unwary. The
attorneys in our office are fielding many questions about how to remain ethical
For videoconferencing with colleagues, clients, opposing parties,
and even judges, some attorneys and other professionals are turning to
is a flexible, easy-to-use tool for videoconferencing that is available across
multiple computing platforms and operating systems, and it has become quite
popular in recent weeks. It supports
video as well as audio-only connections, and has useful options like allowing
screen sharing, whiteboarding, file transfers, and breakout rooms for different
participants (a nice option for mediators).
The bells and whistles combine to make Zoom very appealing in these challenging times. However, it’s important to know your technology and watch for potential compliance traps and pitfalls. For attorneys, there are risks of leaking attorney-client privileged or confidential information. For all professionals, there are security risks that can be disruptive to relationships and business.
For example, screen sharing can be useful, but we recommend
that you consider changing the default settings before scheduling a Zoom
meeting. The default allows all
participants to screen share. That means
anyone can share their screen with confidential, privileged, or even
inappropriate content. You can change
the default to allow screen sharing only for the conference host.
You should also review Zoom’s options for
password-protecting and locking your meetings to prevent uninvited guests, and for
removing unwanted or disruptive participants.
this recent article reports, Zoom meetings across the country are being
“crashed” by uninvited and unwelcome hijackers engaged in “Zoom
bombing.” It might sound
far-fetched, but it is happening and it only takes a few minutes to change your
settings and minimize the security risks.
Another important aspect of Zoom is that it collects a lot
of data during videoconferences, and it allows the host of the videoconference
to record and monitor more than the other participants might realize. For example, participants have the option of
sending private messages to each other during the meeting. If the host chooses to record a Zoom meeting
to his/her local drive and participates in a private chat with another
participant, then the private chat exchange will be saved to the minutes folder
for that meeting. If that minutes folder is not secured, then anyone with
access to that folder will see what should have been a private chat.
As we adjust to the new normal of remote work and
videoconferencing, it is inevitable that we’ll encounter these kinds of
challenges. Do your research, stay
abreast of the news, and use the available measures to control risk for
yourself and your clients as much as possible.
I am a NC licensed attorney and practice in The Brocker Law Firm, P.A. I represent represent professionals before various licensing boards and administrative agencies. I counsel clients on ethics, disciplinary, and licensing matters, and provide general employment law advice and compliance counseling.