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In-house lawyers - lock your cyber doors and windows!

View profile for Paul Fox

In-house lawyers – lock your cyber doors and windows!


Worrying news over at the Gazette: it would appear in-house legal departments are more likely to fall foul of cyber-criminals and phishing attacks than their colleagues.

Slightly counter-intuitively (you’d be forgiven for thinking lawyers would be more on-the-ball regarding cyber security than other employees), Verizon’s 2015 Data Breach Investigations Report suggests that legal departments were ‘far more likely’ to open a phishing email than other departments.

There are, of course, a number of potential reasons behind this failing – not merely a laxity when it comes to cyber security. As any lawyer would tell you, constantly opening and sending emails constitutes an enormous part of the working day: indeed as the report itself acknowledged, it is a ‘central, often mandatory component’ of their jobs.

Importantly, this was an international report which analysed data from more than 60 coutries, of which the UK was just one. As the Law Society’s tech advisor Tim Hill pointed out, in legal departments in the UK work under “Rigorous data protection obligations”, which are “set to be strengthened in the new general data protection regulation and cybersecurity is likely to be high on in-house counsels' agenda”.

Nonetheless, the threat of cyber-attack is ever-present, and there’s no doubt that legal departments are an attractive proposition for cyber criminals given the quantity of sensitive data to which any in-house lawyer will be privy. And UK-based survey commissioned by the government from PricewaterhouseCooper showed that 69% of large organisations had suffered an external cyber attack, up from 55% in 2014.

It is clear that rigorous and frequently updated cyber-security measures are a non-negotiable feature of the lawyer’s life, whether working in-house or within a firm. At Legastat, we offer a professional litigation support service which is fully alert to the demands of the modern legal marketplace, including the crucial importance of maintaining cyber security.