Monday, October 6, 2014

Risk News: Strengthening Ethical Screens, Information Security

Two interesting stories to note today. First: "Additional safeguards against leaks ordered in San Bernardino County’s Colonies corruption case"--
  • "A Superior Court judge presiding over San Bernardino County’s Colonies corruption case issued a written ruling Thursday barring a former federal prosecutor - now working for the law firm representing one of the defendants - from having any access to all information in the case.
  • "Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Jerry Behnke was hired by the Los Angeles law firm Arent Fox, which is representing defendant Jeff Burum, in May. Behnke is the former supervisor of the U.S. Attorney’s Riverside office that oversaw the federal investigation of the Colonies case, which was shuttered in 2012 without a reason given."
  • "In his ruling, Judge Michael A. Smith determined that Arent Fox had in fact created an effective ethical wall when it hired Behnke, but included additional measures including prohibiting Behnke, his secretary and paralegal from having access to any electronic files pertaining to Burum and from sending or receiving any electronic communications related to the case, among other things."
  • "Smith also ordered that all files related to Burum’s case be kept in a locked room, and the files have written on them, 'SUBJECT TO ETHICAL WALL - DO NOT DISCLOSE TO JERRY BEHNKE OR HIS SECRETARY, PARALEGAL, ETC.' He also ordered that a memo be circulated, with Smith’s written ruling attached, to all Arent Fox staff advising them to report any suspected breaches of the 'ethical wall.'"
  • "A member of Arent Fox’s Professional Conduct Committee, Gerald Mitchell, will be tasked with monitoring the firm’s compliance with Smith’s order on a monthly basis, with any suspected violations being immediately reported to the court."
And another firm promotes their achievements in information security: "Shook Hardy gains certification for data security" --
  • "The firm recognized that security was being publicized frequently and that with some of the data breaches that have been in the news, it would be important to show that our firm has a strong commitment to security," said John Anderson, chief information officer for Shook. "Achieving this certification would help us show that commitment."
  • "All of our clients have sensitive confidential information and they expect us to have the appropriate security systems in place," Anderson said. "They're coming on site and doing security assessments, so having this shows them at the very beginning that we have good policies and procedures in place."

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