Morning Briefing: Law firms a “treasure trove” for cyber criminals

by NZ Lawyer02 Apr 2015

Law firms are a “treasure trove” for cyber criminals warns bar association
The co-chairman of the American Bar Association’s cybersecurity taskforce says that large law firms are a “treasure trove” for organised criminal gangs as their data repositories provide so much of value. Harvey Rishikof says with company secrets, business strategies and intellectual property sitting on computers and servers law firms are prime targets. Figures reveal that 80 per cent of the leading US law firms, many of which operate globally, have been the subject of cyber attacks. There are many ways in which the data held by a law firm can be used by crime gangs; financial data can be used to access bank accounts; IP can be stolen and reproduced; confidential and perhaps damaging information about companies or individuals can be obtained and used for blackmail; the list goes on. Andrew Cheung from Dentons told Firms cannot afford to wait for regulatory guidance or requirements to force change in this area”.

India’s law minister objects to government using outside counsel
A memo sent by India’s law ministry to other government departments says that the country’s law minister has “taken serious objection” to the practice of them using outside counsel instead of using the ministry’s own legal team. It says that using private law firms should only be done in exceptional circumstances and having consulted with the law ministry’s legal affairs team. The Indian Times says that it had come to light that many government departments were spending large sums on outside counsel when matters could have been handled in-house.

Silicon Valley gender discrimination case could lead to tough appeal court
The battle between a venture capital firm and a former employee could be a tough one if taken to appeal. Ellen Pao’s case against her former Silicon Valley employer Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers was dismissed last week by a San Francisco court but sparked a wide debate about the treatment of women in the tech sector in the US. Pao will be up against the odds though if she takes her case to the California appeal court. It has a history of upholding decisions in gender-bias and discrimination cases where the employer has won in the lower court. In fact 84 per cent of cases that were appealed in the court were upheld. Separate cases in the sector,against Twitter and Facebook, are still proceeding.