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GDPR and the Legal Sector

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GDPR and the Legal Sector

On May 25th 2018, the GDPR (General Date Protection Regulation) will be introduced by the European Union as the official legislation. Although Britain decided to leave the EU, this legislation is probably one the British government will adopt after Brexit. For those in the legal sector it is important to know what GDPR is, how it could affect them and how to prepare for it.

What is GDPR and how will this have an impact in law?

GDPR has been in preparation for four years. Only getting the go-ahead in 2016, it sets to create a framework that determines how the data is currently used, as with the ever advancing technology grows so does the amount of data we have to handle. When it was announced it was said that it would only impact the likes of Google, Facebook and Twitter, the huge organisations — but, this isn’t the case.

People working in law will be familiar with the Data Protection Act 1998, however, this will be suspended once the GDPR is implemented. Law firms control and process their clients’ data, which means it’s crucial they abide by the rules. If businesses do not comply with the GDPR they could face serious penalties – such as a monetary penalty of 4% of turnover, which is something all firms will want to avoid.

Once the new legislation is introduced there’ll be a definite impact in the legal sector, and with the new changes it could make or break a firm. This being one of the main reasons law firms need to prepare themselves for the changes now rather than later – to protect themselves and their clients.

Law firms handle a lot of personal data from clients, and with the new GDPR legislation it makes the process for clients to claim compensation against firms that breach GDPR. Which means firms should reassess their security policies and update security systems that are in place to ensure the risk of any data breach is minimised.

How to prepare before implementation

There are a number of ways that law firms can prepare for the introduction of GDPR. It starts with knowing the legislation – even with the UK set to leave the European Union, this doesn’t mean you should ignore the fact we’ll still be in the EU when the legislation is introduced and GDPR will likely be adopted by the government.

Law firms should carry out their regular assessments that look at your current data protection measures and of the back of this come up with ways that will comply with GDPR to make sure data is protected with no risk of breaching GDPR.

Review your ongoing contracts and company policies so that they’re in line with the data protection framework. You also need to make sure you outline what any third party that helps monitor your data can and can’t do. As well as inform them that they must notify you immediately if there are any suspicious data breaches. Update staff members on data protection policies so they meet new requirements too. There are certain organisations that must have a designated Data Protection Officer under the legislation, however even if it is not required under the regulations it is a good idea to consider whether your firm should in case of an event that threatens the company and clients protection.

Training is key for law firms to look at when GDPR comes around. Make sure staff are aware of risks, consequences of breaches and how to prevent mishandling of data. It could be useful to do this in 1 to 1 sessions where you can directly specify how their role and the data protection relate.

This article was created by True Solicitors, personal injury experts.

I am the founder of Startup Today. I am the main writer and have put in many hours of work into creating this blog. If you want to find out more about me then lets get in contact.

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