Thaw Bound? Protect client data at the border.

The VBA’s Young Lawyers Division Thaw is this weekend.  It’s shaping up to be as terrific as usual, and there’s still time to register.

Undoubtedly, many of you rely on mobile devices to practice law.  Reminder: as a lawyer, you have a duty to take reasonable precautions to protect against the disclosure of client information during a border crossing.

I’ve posted three blogs on this topic.  The most recent was Crossing the Border? Consider Bringing Only What You Need.  The post includes a link to (and summary of) the NYC Bar Association’s advisory opinion 2017-5.  The opinion, which is here, addresses an attorney’s duties with respect to protecting client information before, during, and after a border search.  The ABA Journal also reported the advisory opinion.

The post and links might be worth reviewing.

For more, and thanks to a tip from Attorney Caryn Waxman, check out Jeff Richardson’s latest post on his iPhoneJD blog: New Customs and Border Protection policy on searching attorney iPhones.  The post focuses on the “new procedures that a border patrol agent must use when confronted with data protected by the attorney-client privilege or work product.”  Note: the duty to protect client data at the border is NOT limited to data on Apple devices.

If you’re going to Montreal, have a great time!  But, before leaving, consider how important it really is to have client data with you for the weekend.

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Update: Protecting Client Information at the U.S. Border

Two months ago, I posted Protect Client Info When Traveling Abroad.

Earlier this week, Jeff Richardson posted New information on your iPhone being searched by Customs at the border.  If you’re heading to Montreal this summer, it might be worth a read.

For those of you who reflexively avoid any tech-related post, do so at your own risk. Here’s the concluding paragraph from Jeff’s post:

  • “I wish I could conclude this post with easy answers, but it appears that there are none at the moment.  I don’t know how you should weigh the usefulness of having your iPhone and iPad with you outside of the country versus the risk that a border agent will try to search the device as you enter the country.  And remember, we are just talking about U.S. border agents right now; you may also find yourself facing an official in another country who demands access to your device and who has no regard for the Rules of Professional Conduct or the Rules of Evidence governing privilege.” (emphasis added)

By the way, Jeff’s blog is a helpful resource (think “tech competence“) for lawyers who use iPhones and iPads.

Confidential