Ethical rules are changing to include an affirmative obligation that lawyers remain abreast of technology to protect client documents and information. What does that mean? It means cybersecurity.
What is the biggest issue law firms of all sizes are facing? Cybersecurity. Cyber experts universally agree that what is the most alluring to cybercriminals is large amounts of data. And what industry has large amounts of data of all kinds? The legal industry... law firms.
With the recent “Petya” Attack that infected and affected DLA Piper's operations for nearly a week, it is clear that cybersecurity for law firms cannot, will not and should not be ignored. Everyday law firms counsel clients who face any number of problems. However, what could be a client'’s most significant "problem"? LAWYERS! We have our clients' data and our adversaries' data. We have financial, personal, criminal, business, and intellectual property (just to name a few). We are the secret keepers and we take a sacred oath to keep our clients' secrets. Therefore, law firms cannot afford to put their heads in the proverbial sand when it comes to cybersecurity and technology.
On May 11, 2017 the American Bar Association issued Formal Opinion 477 entitled "Securing Communication of Protected Client Information." What does that mean? It means cybersecurity. Unlike other threats to our clients that are more sporadic, cybersecurity is a daily threat and the law firm is the front line of the assault on our client's data. Twenty-four hours a day seven days a week- cyber criminals never sleep. And while no one can predict with any certainty what lies ahead, the evidence is clear - cybersecurity is a concern that is here to stay.
While many small and mid-sized law firms will argue that the DLA Piper attack only occurred because of the size of the firm and their small firm need not worry. If the business world is any indication, the size of a business (or in this case law firm) has little correlation with the frequency of the incidents. In fact, small and mid-sized businesses account for nearly 43% of all reported cyber attacks. And while DLA Piper and other large businesses have the financial resources to fight back from this devastating cyber attack, the ramifications of a breach for a small or mid-sized law firm (or company) can be dire.
This CLE will address the top 10 tips law firms should consider when assessing whether their systems are "secure" enough while determining if they are satisfying their ethical obligations to understand technology and protect their clients' data. The presentation will also examine how to approach cybersecurity which should be of paramount importance to every law firm, no matter the size.