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Adapt to survive: cyber risk central to management plans

Adapt to survive: cyber risk central to management plans


The BSB has interviewed 170 ‘high impact’ chambers with a view to scoping out how the Bar is set to adapt to the changing legal landscape in the coming year. These ‘high impact’ chambers were chosen for the survey because of the serious consequences for their clients should anything go awry with the practice.

You’d think that since seismic changes shake the legal marketplace on what seems to be roughly a monthly basis, chambers would have business plans in place reflecting the need to constantly adapt in order to thrive.

Rather startlingly, the results of the survey indicated that despite struggles with cashflow, diminishing numbers, lack of diversity and the threat of cyber crime, a considerable number had felt no need to develop a business plan. In response, the BSB has pointed out that these chambers are far less likely to respond to both to risks and opportunities.

‘Lean stuff structures’ – which presumably one can interpret as fewer staff devoted to practice management, administration and IT – leaves chambers open to fraud, with at least 4% of those surveyed reporting fraudulent incidents (in fact, a number of chambers and law firms had been targeted by a single criminal who had found employment as a bookkeeper).

Perhaps the greatest concern is a lack of preparedness for cyber attacks. Given that cyber crime has been designated by the government as a high priority for national security, you’d be forgiven for thinking that chambers were alert to the need for iron-clad preventative measures. Apparently not, however: as the survey reports, chambers without adequate structures in place are increasingly at risk: “In an increasingly technologically connected world, chambers are seen as a weak link in the ‘supply chain’”.

It’s an inescapable aspect of modern legal practice that as chambers and firms make use of the wealth of legal tech innovations on offer, vulnerabilities open up. Legal tech such as 24 hour access off-site data storage, eDiscovery, eDisclosure and the use of digital bundles can bring enormous benefits – but with every benefit comes a risk.

At Legastat, our litigation support professionals are able to advice you not only on which IT and tech can help your practice thrive, but how to develop strategies to help guard against cyber attack.