The Department of Homeland Security just disclosed its official policy on laptop seizures. It says it can and will take laptops of foreigners and U.S. Citizens for as long as it wants, for whatever it wants.
How can they get away with this? Because an out-of-touch judiciary says so. Border agents can search laptops without any suspicion of wrongdoing, according to the 9th Circuit, the most recent court to rule on the issue. And so the DHS policy, which they have been following for years.
If you don’t encrypt, you might as well just hand over your clients’ information. If you represent defendants in criminal matters, you might just create more business for yourself, when DHS stumbles across your notes on a file.
If you want to keep your information secure, encrypt it, and when you travel—or in other cases when you know there is a likelihood your computer will be searched—shut it down completely to protect against a cold-boot attack.