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What's the role of security in your firm? Do you have security czars to impose restrictions on your information? And do you impose regulations on e-mail and mobile devices?

YOUNG: A lot of us have seen the recent hacking instances with some of the biggest names in the industry, Cravath, Weil Gotshal, Jenner & Block. The list goes on of these top-tier law firms that have been hacked. Some of these hackers are finding law firms to be an easy target. They're saying where can I get information for insider trading purposes, for other purposes to make a dollar? And the easiest, the lowest-hanging fruit is the law firms.

So were very foolish if we don't have a security czar, if we don't take every step we possibly can to try and protect our information resources, protect our clients' information. We do have a security czar. We're in the middle of a big push for every single lawyer in our firm to go through security training. It's absolutely top of mind for us. And it needs to be for everybody in the industry these days.

HULSE: We've got a security czar, our director of IT. He's been pushing security issues for the last 12 years. When we got rid of Blackberries many years ago, he'd make us bring them in to the office so he could drill through them. And I thought that was just ludicrous. But turns out that he was probably right to make sure there was no possibility that data bits could be obtained.

And he's really proactive with our clients, a lot of our larger national clients, that have their own security requirements as far as where their information's stored and how it's protected. They want to make sure that we're doing what we're supposed to be doing. And he makes sure that that happens.

LEISHMAN: Our financial institution clients are making us be compliant or we're ineligible to serve them. So they give us their criteria, and we have to meet them. Sooner or later it's going to become a competitive fatality issue if you're not able to tell your clients that you're in compliance. Even for us, for example, to do local counsel work on a bond offering, we have to be qualified to work with the institution, who's our ultimate client. So I suspect we're all going to have to deal with this sooner or later. And we've bit the bullet and invested a lot in it to try and figure it out.

WELCH: In the last six months, our firm has had two of its major clients experience cyber security breaches that resulted in identities of some of their people being stolen and much of their personal information in the marketplace. We are adept, as firms, at advising clients with regards to those issues, hiring experts, getting them involved immediately, talking to them about the major downside of a cyber security breach. But as is often the case, a lawyer is often the worst client. We need to do a better job advising ourselves, getting experts involved internally.


VARTABEDIAN: One thing that our firm recently had us all do was download an app that actually allows the firm, if you lose your mobile device, to remotely wipe your entire system off of the phone. And it's a pain personally, but we have to have a six-digit code password to get into our mobile devices.

ALDER: When you hire a law firm, you are also hiring the sophistication of that law firm, the development of that law firm's practice. And cyber security is going to be an important part of overhead going forward because it's not free.

On the flip side, the clients need to understand the importance of their own cyber sophistication. Daily we read about some client that lost some portion of the case file or missing part of e-discovery, and how terrible the sanctions are to that client--losing the case outright, receiving adverse instruction, just absolutely having bad outcomes because their own cyber structure is not up to speed. So this is an area where both law firms and clients need to get up to speed quickly, preserve data on the one end for us to be able to use it in court, but also not be subjected to the evils that are out there.
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Comment:What's the role of security in your firm?
Publication:Utah Business
Date:Jun 1, 2016
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