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To the digital barricades!

To the digital barricades!


Over in the US, it looks like even the largest and most formidable law firms are no proof against cyber attacks. The American Bar Association’s legal technology survey report 2015 – which runs to a princely six volumes, in case you’re tempted – has found that attacks on law firms have doubled since last year, with large firms particularly vulnerable.

The survey had responses from upwards of 900 practitioners, and found that firms with of between 100-500 lawyers, and those of 500 plus lawyers, 23% had reported experiencing a security breach in 2015. Compare this to a figure of between 10% and 17% last year, and it’s pretty clear cyber criminals are mounting ever more sophisticated and daring attacks.

Still, everyone knows about the ever-present threat of cyber crime, and go to great lengths to ensure their firm is adequately protected, yes? Alas for many of those surveyed, it would seem not.  Of the largest firms responding to the report only 55% had in place incident response plans in the event of a security breach. This falls to a rather troubling 39% of firms with between 100 and 499 lawyers, and 22% of sole practitioners.

The use of social media and email – a key area of cyber vulnerability – should be firmly governed within firms, and yet around half of those responding admitted to having no comms governance plan. The impact of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend – simply put, the modern way of working that sees most lawyers using their own smartphones and tablets as part of the working day – was included in the report. The survey found that 81% of firms allowed access to the network from personal devices, around half of which required approval from the firm, but one third of which allowed unrestricted access.

Here in the UK, law firms are no less vulnerable to security breaches. There’s a new trend for ‘vishing’ fraud, in which fraudsters phone law firms posing as employees of financial institutions and secure banking details. It’s been said that Friday afternoons are particularly popular, since firms are known to have a good deal of client money in the accounts at that time, and staff are more likely to be caught – shall we say – unawares.

At Legastat, our expert litigation support staff are keenly aware of the need to ensure that law firms and chambers are not only provided with the very latest in legal tech – but protected against cyber crime. We can advise on how best to ensure all tech processes  - including eDisclosure and eDiscovery – are carried out in a manner which fully meets the need to protect clients against the cyber threat.