Protective orders limit how sensitive information may be accessed with a firm or disclosed to external parties. Applicable in several situations, they are often employed during litigation.
Example – During a trade secret suit, adverse firms may negotiate, or find themselves subject to a court-imposed protective order. In such cases, materials provided during discovery may be designated as "confidential" or "lawyers' eyes only."
In these instances, lawyers, internal staff and external expert witnesses may be required to read and sign the order and follow its guidelines. Such guidelines usually stipulate that only parties actively working on the matter may have access to designated materials in both physical and electronic form.
Importantly, as designated content is incorporated into lawyer work product, that material must be similarly protected.
Implications – Pleadings filed with the court referring to protected materials may need to be filed under seal. Firms must also control access to such work product during the creation process. This means restricting access to relevant work product stored in generally accessible information repositories such as document management libraries.
Furthermore, firms must be prepared to demonstrate compliance, especially during contentious litigation. Organizations that rely on manual or legacy approaches to access control may be disadvantaged against arguments that such approaches are prone to error and fail to produce comprehensive logs certifying compliance.
In this context, information access controls become a potential weapon and a defensive necessity, should firms call each other's standards and practices into question before a judicial audience. Firms able to demonstrate an automated, comprehensive approach to compliance that secures all key information repositories and provides logging and audit reports hold a powerful advantage over adversaries that employ weaker methods.
The Intapp Solution – Intapp Walls
For firms looking to ensure protective order compliance, Intapp provides the industry's strongest, most-adopted information security solution. Intapp Walls provides a straightforward mechanism to enact access controls across a broad variety of information repositories. It also automates key processes including notification and acknowledgment tracking.
More importantly, it also offers the flexibility to tightly control and log internal visibility of work product containing materials subject to protective orders, while leaving other information associated with a particular matter more broadly visible.