Morning Briefing: Law firms failing on cyber threats

by Steve Randall17 Dec 2015
Law firms failing on cyber threats
Law firms recognise the threat of cyber-attacks to clients and their businesses but are struggling to effectively mitigate the risk. That’s the finding of a survey carried out in October by ALM Legal Intelligence which discovered that almost a third of law firms have not carried out a formal security and privacy assessment and a similar number do not have cyber liability insurance policies. Although two thirds of law firms therefore do have plans in place or are intending to implement them, the still-high level gap in protection is a concern.
Steve Kovalan, senior legal intelligence analyst at ALM says that while not having policies and protection in place is a risk, having robust security is impressive for clients: “Firms that invest in leading-edge information security talent and make an effort to build credible expertise in cybersecurity can distinguish themselves by demonstrating a renewed level of commitment to the trusted attorney/client relationship.”
Clients operating in the EU? Prepare for huge fines
Law firms with technology clients operating in the European Union should prepare for new legislation that could result in huge fines. The regions’ lawmakers have agreed on a change to data laws which has been called the biggest shake-up to privacy legislation in twenty years and will give the region the toughest data privacy legislation in the world. The changes, which will become law in 2018, will require swift reporting of data breaches, an extension of the ‘right to be forgotten’ and a requirement for large data-handlers to employ a dedicated data protection officer. Breaches of the legislation could result in fines of 4 per cent of a company’s global annual turnover. Linklaters’ partner Peter Church told the BBC the changes would make privacy a “board-level issue” and that firms would need to take data protection more seriously.
Baker & McKenzie appoints new global dispute chair
John Leadley has been named as the new global chair of disputes resolution at Baker & McKenzie. The London-based partner will lead the 800-strong practice across the firm’s international locations. Leadley was made partner at the firm in 1995 and has led the London disputes team since 2008. He practices general commercial litigation and international arbitration, and has a special focus on product liability. 
Hogan Lovells in Tokyo wins community award
The Tokyo office of international law firm Hogan Lovells has won an award for its Citizenship Program led by Tokyo partner Rika Beppu and Counsel Jacky Scanlan-Dyas. The Community Contribution award was made by the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan in recognition of the firm’s initiative in which every member of the firm pledges to devote at least 25 hours a year to Citizenship activities including free legal advice and working with local schools.