Pursuant to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) rules implemented on October 3, 2015, real estate attorneys should obtain certification as being ALTA (American Land Title Association) Best Practices compliant and should maintain and enforce written policies and procedures to protect client privacy. Maintaining clean desk and document storage policies has resulted in real estate firms across the state embracing paperless environments. Managing and storing documents electronically helps to mitigate security risks and adhere to CFPB requirements. The good old days of document boxes and accordion files are gone!

Clean desk and document storage policies are meant to protect clients’ non-public private information. Clean desk policies specify how employees should leave their working space, whether they are leaving for the day or a coffee break.  Clean desk policies require employees to clear their desks of all papers, folders and portable storage media at the end of the day and they should have access to shred boxes and secure storage spaces. The purpose is to limit exposure to external parties. Law firms should now be sending documents with non-public private information via encrypted email and they should be storing documents securely. Because of these policies, many law firms have embraced secure document management systems and alternative ways to store and handle documents. The purpose of the CFPB’ s rules is to protect consumers information, using less paper is an added bonus. 

At Hutchens Law Firm, being ALTA compliant is a top priority. We use desktop scanners, encrypted email, shredding, multiple computer screens, secure office spaces and encourage electronic communications to maintain a secure and paperless environment. All documents produced from our paperless workflow are stored in a secure in-house online document management system—enabling efficient internal access and the production of electronic documents for our clients at the time service is provided or years later if a client needs a copy. 


Published on March 15, 2017