The CCPA and Law Practices: Figuring out Where You Stand

Technology—Probate provides information on current technology and microcomputer software of interest in the probate area. The editors of Probate & Property welcome information and suggestions from readers.

Technology-Probate Editor’s Note: As technology continues to play an increasingly important role in estate planning and administration, and as attorneys gather and store more client data, understanding privacy compliance will soon become an essential part of professional conduct standards. In this month’s Technology-Probate article, cybersecurity and privacy attorney Patrick Hromisin discusses the California Consumer Privacy Act—the first privacy act of its kind in the United States. Although this law may not currently affect most trust and estate attorneys (and their clients) who have no professional ties to California, like Europe’s GDPR it is a harbinger of the type of privacy law that could be adopted elsewhere in the US and should be understood for its potential effect on the way attorneys everywhere work with and gather data from their clients.

In 2018, California became the first state in the US to impose a broad-based privacy law with its passage of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and its scope has posed some challenging questions for businesses of many types and sizes, including law firms. The general approach to privacy regulation in the United States is “sectoral,” with particular pieces of legislation aimed at discrete categories of data—such as HIPAA for health information or FERPA for student records—but the CCPA applies to personal information in a multitude of settings, which means far more organizations fall within its scope.

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