In response to the coronavirus emergency various governments have approved temporary changes in procedural law to allow remote notarization within their jurisdictions.  In order to afford the intended coverage for notary public services under your lawyers professional liability policy where such temporary changes are being made the United States Fire Insurance Company is issuing an amendatory endorsement to its policy. Please see the attached endorsement (LPL 182 – 3/20) amending Exclusion N.  to affect the coverage occasioned by such changes in the law regarding requirements for notarization.

Thus far orders regarding virtual notarization embody certain conditions for such

    • the individual seeking to have a document notarized provide sufficient proof of identification in a video conference

    • and that the individual affirmatively represent that he or she is physically situated in the state.

Such conditions represent good practice and recognize the increased exposure to insurance fraud and cyber crime.  Remote work and changed operational practices raise new security issues for law firms.  In view of such increased risk please note the following risk management steps you should consider to protect your practice and your client’s interests:

    • Use a firewall.

    • Document your cybersecurity policies.

    • Plan for mobile devices.

    • Educate all employees.

    • Regularly backup all data.

    • Install anti-malware software.

    • Use multifactor identification.

The U.S Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, a branch of the Department of Homeland Security, warns individuals to be aware of potential scams related to the coronavirus. This includes emails containing malicious attachments and/or links to fraudulent websites that could result in theft of sensitive personal data or donations to non-existent charities or causes.

Among the CISA recommendations:

    • Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails and be wary of email attachments

    • Use trusted sources for up-to-date, fact-based information about COVID-19

    • Do not reveal personal or financial information in email, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information

    • Verify a charity’s authenticity before making donations

Also of note, other temporary changes in the law often include suspending statutes of limitation.  In light of these temporary changes in the law, lawyers should make sure they are on top of upcoming deadlines in both litigation and transactional matters and should plan accordingly.