Lawyers using information technology are giving away secrets, says offices report

Lawyers are in danger of letting secrets slip when using communal office equipment, according to a recent survey.

The survey of 100 lawyers, carried out by office equipment suppliers Gestetner, revealed that lawyers used fax machines enthusiastically but not always to best effect.

One lawyer faxed a confidential document to a newspaper, but another went one better and sent details of his plans to set up a rival practice to an existing colleague's home fax.

The survey also revealed that fax-using lawyers were rightly concerned about breaches of confidentiality, because twice as many confidential documents, including CVs and client accounts, were found on fax machines than on any other piece of office equipment.

Nigel Palmer, managing director of Gestetner, said: “Innovations in IT and office equipment have allowed lawyers and other professionals to offer their clients a faster and more efficient service.

“However, like any other tools, office equipment is open to misuse and very unfortunate mistakes can be made. The downside of sending a wrong fax is you cannot go and rescue it from the post room before it is sent on its way.”