Tragedy In Paris Today & How To Create A Safe Office Environment For Your Employees & Law Firm Clients

A terrible tragedy occurred today in Paris.

French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, went under fire as at least two, likely three hooded gunmen assailed the office, shot and killed a reported 12 people, including the magazine’s top editor and cartoonist Stephane Charbonnier, as well as two French policemen, according to France 24, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today.

“We need to find the actors of this terrorist act,” French President Francois Hollande said in the aftermath.

“They must be arrested and brought before judges and condemned as quickly as possible. France is shocked today.”

Sadly, this is not the first time the controversial magazine has been victim to violence.

The magazine frequently depicts the Muslim Prophet Mohammed in satirical cartoons, much to the condemnation of Islamic religious representatives. In November 2011, the magazine Charlie Hebdo’s office caught fire the same day it was supposed to release a cover poking fun at Islamic law.

The magazine’s editor, Charbonnier, among the deceased, has been outspoken about his belief in the freedom of the press in France, once saying to the French newspaper Le Monde:

“It may sound pompous, but I’d rather die standing than live on my knees.”

Now trending on Twitter and other social media accounts are digital cries of solidarity, “Je suis Charlie,” or “I am Charlie.”

U.S. President Obama has also joined the many voices condemning today’s attack. He vowed to “help bring these terrorists to justice” and support “America’s oldest ally.” In the meantime, the New York Police Department is adding additional police offers to sensitive sites in the city, including the French Consulate, reports CNN.

Attorneys can relate to the dangers that sometimes come with upholding civil liberties. In many cases, lawyers are under both physical and verbal threat for their actions or words in the courtroom.

The tragedy in Paris should remind us all—beyond just journalists and law firm professionals—of the importance of security measures in and outside the office.

How is your firm protecting its employees from disgruntled claimants or former employees? Do you apply the same security measures to your computer access, as well as paper and digital data? Are clients’ personal information safe? What happens if your office experiences fire or water damage?

For physical security of your data center, Xerox Litigation Services suggests your firm employ extensive processes, including 24/365 staffing and monitoring with professional security guards. They also recommend camera systems to monitor all entrance and exit points and zoned keycard access with segregated security levels. If you work on particularly contentious litigation or corporate cases, consider placing a security guard at your office entrance at all times.

Your firm should also create a disaster recovery plan and develop business continuity capabilities. Faced with tragedy or natural disaster, for example, your firm still has an obligation to its clients to remain available and current, explains Xerox. Can your partners work remotely? Who is the voice of the firm or PR representative that will communicate to clients difficult-to-hear news?

Finally, beyond the physical space into virtual reality, law firm data security has been the subject of numerous articles, particularly after reports of breeches from foreign countries and hackers from Russia and China, as well as high-profile tech breeches of companies like Target.

“Clients are putting more restrictions on law firms about things to do to protect themselves,” said Mary E. Galligan, an executive in the cyber-risk services division of Deloitte & Touche and the former special agent in charge of cyber and special operations for the New York office of the F.B.I., to The New York Times.

“It is being driven by victims of hackers, and they don’t want to be victims again. It’s just good business sense.”

“A lot of firms have been hacked, and like most entities that are hacked, they don’t know that for some period of time,” Vincent I. Polley, a lawyer and co-author of recent book for the American Bar Association on cybersecurity, also said to The New York Times.

“Sometimes, it may not be discovered for a minute or months and even years.”

The bloodshed in Paris is a solemn reminder that simple criticism can quickly and unexpectedly escalate into carnage. So, don’t take any type of security for granted. Consult with experts today about your options for security measures and policies.

For cyber-security advice, consult C4CM’s webinar “Mitigating Cyber Risk: Strategies for Legal Counsel to Reduce Exposure and Avoid a Data Breach Devastation,” available on CD.

This comprehensive webinar will help you to mitigate risk by fine tuning or putting into place key procedures and policies for cyber protection. You will also learn what to do once a data breach is revealed.

  • Data breach response tactics and notification obligations
  • Practical and essential first steps to take if a breach occurs
  • What to include in your Incident Response Plan
  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) disclosure obligations related to cyber risks and data breaches
  • How cyber-insurance coverage acts a risk mitigation tool, and what to look for in your policy
  • Key individuals that your organization should be developing relationships with and why
  • Practical protocols for reviewing and including cyber clauses in vendor and client contracts
  • Much more…


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