Morning Briefing: Law firms criticised over cyber breaches

by NZ Lawyer30 Mar 2015
Law firms criticised for keeping quiet about cyber breaches
The legal profession has been criticised in a report for failing to confess to cyber attacks. The internal document from Citigroup’s cyberintelligence center warned that law firms’ websites and networks pose a potential vulnerability as “Due to the reluctance of most law firms to publicly discuss cyberintrusions and the lack of data breach reporting requirements in general in the legal industry, it is not possible to determine whether cyber attacks against law firms are on the rise". The document was obtained by the New York Times which reports that it suggests that law firms can reasonably be expected to be targeted due to the confidential data they handle. There are calls for law firms to do more to tackle the issue of cyber attacks and some want statutory requirements for them to do so.
Aussie firm elects health and safety expert to the partnership
Corrs Westgarth Chambers has elected senior workplace health and safety expert Siobhan Flores-Walsh to its partnership. She joins the firm from Norton Rose and will be based in Sydney.
Restrictions on ‘barefoot lawyers’ may backfire says academic
China’s ‘barefoot lawyers’, the largely self-taught group of legal representatives who have regularly featured in court cases in the country for many years, are now restricted in when they can operate. New rules brought in two years ago mean that unless they are a close family member of their client or they are approved by the party’s employer, residents’ committee or “social organisation". While the rules on civil cases are less clear, for administrative cases the rules could lead to unrest according to an academic. Writing in the South China Morning Post Aaron Halegua, a research scholar at New York University School of Law's US-Asia Law Institute, argues that as the residents’ committees are essentially local arms of the government and many “social organisations” are staffed by civil servants many citizens may end up without representation. That, he says, could lead to many people choosing not to take disputes to court but resort to “more drastic measures”. He suggests that measures such as legal aid, more independence for lawyers and encouraging pro-bono work could provide some answers to the potential representation gap.
Bus driver in court over ‘bouncy’ road
A school bus driver in the US faces a continuing court battle after being accused of negligence for driving her bus full of students along a notoriously bumpy road. Robin Edwards said that the kids loved taking the off-route road as it was a fun treat with dips sending them bouncing out of their seats. However when a child bit her lip, her mother filed a lawsuit. Three and a half years later; following a lower court decision that there should be a trial, and then an appeal; the appeal court has agreed with the lower court ruling and sent it back to the county judge for trial.