Instant Messaging in the Law Firm

Below is a comment I made in repsonse to AShell’s post on e-mail security for solicitors.  The original blog can be found at


What of instant messaging type communications?  When I sit down in the majority of my classes at home (unlike UNSW where the powers that be seem to feel that chairs and desks that look like trees are more important than wireless internet!), I can’t help but notice that everyone with a laptop (which is nearly everyone) has either MSN messenger or G-mail messenger open and ready to go.  While this undoubtedly leads to some mindless chit chat, it is also an effective medium for discussion.  As a generation of lawyers graduate from law school having used instant messaging networks, it is not a stretch to think that these lawyers will want to use this form of communication in their practice, but what of security of these systems?  When I went to the IT geek at my former job to ask her if I could install MSN Messenger on my work computer (It really was for work purposes! Seriously.) she nearly shat her pants.  Apparently having Messenger on a secure LAN is like waving a red flag to a cyber hacking bull.  I guess that this means that Messenger, in its current form, isn’t a good idea to sensitive legal material.  However, this doesn’t mean that ALL instant messaging networks need be insecure.  Personally, I think that messaging is a great form of communication.  Its quicker and more personal than e-mail, while less invasive than a phone call.  I, for one, hope that messaging evolves and sticks around. 



2 comments so far

  1. Michael on

    I agree – we use instant messaging in our office and it really does enable efficient communication between all offices, whether in the same building or around the country.

    The only thing I am paranoid about, is whether the instant messages are monitored or recorded, so I am always careful not to discuss with collegues how that job interview with our direct competitor went etc.

    Only problem is, it creates a ‘big brother’ type atmosphere whereby everyone can see what time other employees log on/off and arrive/leave work to go home. This obviously makes it harder to sneak into work late un-noticed after a big night hitting the town.

  2. ashell on

    I actually do know that companies like skype…use their skype talking and chatting system to communicate within and between offices. I can’t remember the article name though. They seem to believe it to be very effective.

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