Contract Lawyer Security

According to multiple industry surveys, law firms are increasingly relying on the use of contract lawyers. This resourcing model offers a proven strategy for increasing profit-per-partner and the organization's bottom line. It also provides additional benefits including resource management flexibility to address times of peak demand.

In these scenarios, both the lawyer and the firm understand that the relationship is temporary. However, to make contractors productive, firms often need to treat them much like permanent employees. This means assimilating them into a team or practice group – providing a desk, a keycard, a login credential, and access to appropriate internal resources.

The Problem

By default, most law firms provide lawyers with open access to key information repositories such as their document management system (DMS) in order to leverage past experience and work product. However, multiple risks compel firms to control and track the information temporary workers can see. While outright abuse may be uncommon, clients are likely to be concerned that their sensitive information is accessible to non-employees not even assigned to their matters.

Unfortunately, there's no straightforward technical way to restrict contract lawyers’ access to just the matters they're working on. Instead, firms face two equally unpleasant options:

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    They can either try complicated workarounds, such as having staff members act as intermediaries between contractors and the firm's DMS and other repositories

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    Or, they can lock down their entire DMS and restrict all users throughout the firm to just the matters they're working on

Regrettably, both options represent a fundamental change to the way lawyers and staff are accustomed to working. In the end, some firms avoid the issue and accept the risks.

The Intapp Solution – Intapp Walls

Intapp Walls provides a straightforward way for firms to vigorously enforce controls over contractor access while preserving open access for other lawyers and full-time employees. It actually extends the native security controls provided by document management software. The effect is transparent to all who use the system, so there’s no disruption in work practice.

Most importantly, Intapp Walls automatically resolves and enforces overlapping security rules. For example, a matter staffed with contract lawyers may also need to be held confidential generally within the firm and made inaccessible to lawyers not assigned to the matter team. Intapp Walls allows organizations set multiple, independent security rules and policies (in this case, one for the contractors and one for the confidential matter team). It then transparently enforces the rules, notifying administrators of any clashes that require intervention.

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