Business of Law

620 ABA Journal articles on Business of Law.

Tech training helps lawyers meet client expectations
Tech training helps lawyers get up to speed to meet client expectations.
How can lawyers find cybersecurity solutions that work for them?
Lawyers don’t have to break the bank if they wish to be protected from cybertheft. But that doesn’t mean they can afford to be cheap in selecting security products and services.
Specialists show lawyers how to advertise effectively on social media
Businesses have been paying for outside social media help for years, but attorneys are just starting to supplement their social media needs—and it appears to be paying off.
Lawyers have an ethical duty to safeguard confidential information in the cloud
Remote storage and other internet-enabled technologies can create unique ethical quandaries for lawyers. With changes to ethics rules reflecting technology’s role in the profession, many find the prevailing reasonableness standard difficult to interpret.
A Fastcase original: Inspired by Netflix, the legal research service is creating its own content
Legal research provider Fastcase launched RAIL: The Journal of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence & Law. The print publication is sold via subscription by its new publishing arm, Full Court Press.
Yale’s civil litigation clinic aims to train law students and make a difference
Yale Law School has set up a law clinic for first-, second- and third-year students to work on novel lawsuits with the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office. This approach makes the subject easier and more meaningful, according to students.
Cyberthreats 101: The biggest computer crime risks lawyers face
Cyberattacks are on the rise, both in the number of incidents and the costs associated with the attacks. Hackers use the same methods regardless of firm size or data collected.
Companies and their lawyers brace for wide-ranging EU data-privacy law
The European Union's General Data Protection Regulation requires a company to gain consent to collect data through a clear, affirmative act that is freely given, specific and informed.
New billable hour tracking tools reignite fee debate
New software and cloud-based services have made it much easier for lawyers to keep track of billable hours. For example, Ping, which has won awards for its billable-hours innovation, works in the background and allows users to automatically track and bill their hours, while Amazon’s Alexa tracks time through voice commands.
Simulations test law firm system security
As technology evolves, threats and vulnerabilities evolve, too. To not be caught on the back foot, firms are using simulations to find vulnerabilities and build or bolster their cybersecurity systems, as well as cultivating firmwide culture change to train employees.
Legal analytics track gender diversity at law firms
Legal analytics can study the gender of attorney appearances in court to see whether a firm has true gender diversity.
Technology has not replaced need for paralegals
Although more lawyers are performing the work of paralegals, job prospects for trained assistants seem good.
Large law firms’ secret information from big-money clients entice cyberthieves
If personal and confidential data are the currency in today’s electronic world, then law firms are sitting on a gold mine.
Prepare, practice, protect: A strategy for defeating cyberthreats to lawyers

Corporate litigator Jane Doe sat down at her desk Monday morning and logged on to her computer. She opened an email appearing to be from a client that read: “Hi. Could you please take a look at this document? It’s urgent.” Doe clicked on the attachment. Two weeks later, a hacker website published confidential documents that one of her most important clients had given the firm in connection with a lawsuit alleging environmental violations. Doe’s client called, furious, to inform her that she was discharged, and that the client was considering a lawsuit against her firm.

Every week brings news of major new cyberattacks—the stealing of personal information from Equifax and the federal Office of Personnel Management, the Petya and WannaCry ransomware worms, the Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s emails, to name a few. Indeed, the cyberthreat from criminals, hacktivists and state actors is growing. The costs associated with these malicious activities are staggering: Last year, the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property estimated that the annual cost of IP theft in three major categories may be as high as $600 billion and that the low-end total exceeds $225 billion, or 1.25 percent of the U.S. economy.

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Cybersecurity and the law

A joint production of the ABA Journal and the ABA Cybersecurity Legal Task Force

Law firms have not been immune. In fact, they have been a ripe target:

  • Several major New York City law firms working on public mergers and acquisitions were hacked in 2014 and 2015 as part of a sophisticated insider-trading scheme.

  • In 2012, hackers believed to be linked to the Chinese government obtained confidential documents related to solar panel designs by hacking into a prominent Washington, D.C., firm.

  • A Panama-based law firm was the target of the largest data theft ever by volume: A hacktivist website obtained 11.5 million individual documents stolen from the firm (2.6 terabytes of data), which contained confidential financial information about the firm’s clients.

  • Among the many entities victimized by the Petya ransomware attack this past year was a BigLaw firm that was forced to take some of its email servers offline for an extended period.

Man in front of American Flag

John Carlin

The nature of their work and the resulting sensitive data make law firms enticing targets. Law firms conduct due diligence and internal investigations, negotiate settlements, provide advice on regulatory issues, and handle important contractual negotiations and litigations. In the course of their representations, they often have access to a wide range of confidential client information, including trade secrets and other intellectual property, financial data, business strategies and national security information. All of this can be valuable to criminals seeking monetary gain, to businesses seeking a competitive edge or to foreign intelligence services.

Technology enhances the risk. Records that a law firm once kept on physical pieces of paper in file cabinets now reside on data servers or in the cloud. Lawyers increasingly communicate using mobile devices or email. Firms’ use of a growing number of devices that are connected to the internet—the “internet of things”—creates new vectors of vulnerability. While these developments may have made the logistics of legal practice easier, they have also introduced additional opportunities for illicit access.

Cybersecurity and the Law
Our yearlong series explores cybersecurity and how lawyers can better safeguard their confidential information. See our first installments:

Prepare, practice, protect: A strategy for defeating cyberthreats to lawyers

Large law firms' secret information from big-money clients entice cyberthieves

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