Login | April 23, 2019

Scary 2018 data legal department data breach stats

Technology for Lawyers

Published: September 14, 2018

Data breaches of in-house legal departments have doubled in the last year.

Yes, you read that right. According to a 2018 survey by the Association for Corporate Counsel, one-third of in-house counsel offices experienced a data breach in 2017, up from 15 percent in 2016.

OBTW, I’ve been telling you this was going to happen for the last 20 years. Did you listen? No, you did not. You probably use your credit card at gas pumps too, don’t you? Or Dunkin Donuts. I did a few weeks ago at a Dunkin and suddenly I was taking money out of my account $150 at a time at gas stations in Massachusetts. Except I was here in Kent, Ohio.

So that’s me. But imagine how corporate clients, individual clients, or the CEO or CFP who pays this counsel feels when their lawyer’s data is breached?

Not happy.

A recent ABA Journal article on the topic quoted Sterling Miller, general counsel of Marketo Inc., an online marketing technology company: “The possibility that your outside law firm could be breached and your sensitive data stolen is a huge nightmare for in-house lawyers. Outside counsel need to start taking this very seriously. If a breach happens, that law firm is probably no longer working for you and the malpractice claim could be very large.”

And if you are the outside counsel, say goodbye to your business.

Are you prepared for this yet? Not statistically.

That ABA article analyzed the ABA TechReport 2017 and found that “only 26 percent of responding firms had an incident response plan in place to address a security breach, and only two-thirds with 500 lawyers or more had such a plan in place. These plans were not a priority with smaller firms, as 31 percent of firms with 10 to 49 lawyers, 14 percent of firms with two to nine lawyers, and 10 percent of solo practices had such plans.”

And, oh yeah, 80 of the top 100 law firms have been hacked in the last seven or eight years.

So—you can pay the techies to protect you, or you can lose your business and maybe your law license. Why is this a hard choice?