Kermit Wallace, the firm's Chief Information Officer, is quoted in an article, "Goodbye Email, Hello Brave New World," published on ALM's LegalTech News website. The article, which focuses on attorney's increased use of more informal chat tools, first appeared in the October print editions of Corporate Counsel and The American Lawyer magazines.
As noted in the article, communicating in the digital age can require a balancing act for attorneys. With so many ways to interact with clients, "we have a divergence of goals here," Wallace told LegalTech News. He explained there is a tension between wanting to protect client data while also wanting to be as available and responsive to clients as possible.
The article also reports on the various means of firm-approved and non-approved channels of communications that are preferred by external clients, which can be challenging to balance. "Our stance has been internally, and for client communication, the preferred—I'm hesitant to say mandated—way… is by email, or phone, or in a physically sent letter or memo," commented Wallace. Still, he acknowledged that sometimes there's no getting around talking on a non-approved channel. "We want to be responsive to our client, and obviously in a channel that is not as controlled, I think the attorney [needs to] be more sensitive with what they would communicate."
Managing client communication risks and enforcing policies is another focal point in the article, which notes that attorneys' ethical obligations mean they may have to keep up with the quick pace at which current communication channels change and new ones arise. Wallace says that platforms clients use are constantly evolving: "I guarantee you three years ago they didn't want to use Slack, because it essentially didn't exist and wasn't an option." According to several industry professionals, trying to keep communications on a few, approved channels is the best option. "I sort of feel like, that's the best you can do," said Wallace. "Because otherwise to craft a policy around every other non-email communication channel is a fool's errand."