Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

Are Your Vendors Cyber Secure?

Your law office and computer system might be cyber safe, but what about your vendors?

If they’re vulnerable, you might be too.

These days, law firms use a panoply of companies for cloud data storage, case management, payroll, cybersecurity, tech support and assisting with almost every function in the law office. This is great for efficiency, but it poses a cyber security risk. If an outside vendor is breached, the bad guys might have a direct conduit to your systems and data.

A case in point: a 1,000-lawyer firm in California was forced into mitigation mode when its electronic discovery vendor was the victim of a ransomware attack that might have exposed client data. The firm told Reuters the attack was “limited to a small portion of our clients and matters.”

In response, the firm notified “fewer than 2,000 individuals” of the incident, according to Reuters, and filed “a notice  with the California attorney general's office that an unknown party ‘accessed or acquired’ data from the data center's network between May 13 and 14, 2022.’”

The firm also “retained cyber and forensic experts to understand the scope of the attack and has worked with law enforcement authorities ‘to prevent further breaches and to recover the electronic discovery material,” per Reuters.

In 2021, the Jones Day and Goodwin Procter firms were impacted by a breach at the file transfer vendor Accellion, Reuters reported.

Other firms, including Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, and Loeb & Loeb have notified the California attorney generals of possible data breaches in 2022 or 2023.

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NC Rule of Professional Conduct 1.1

A lawyer shall not handle a legal matter that the lawyer knows or should know he or she is not competent to handle without associating with a lawyer who is competent to handle the matter. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness, and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.

Comment [8] To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with the technology relevant to the lawyer’s practice, engage in continuing study and education, and comply with all continuing legal education requirements to which the lawyer is subject.

SOURCES: Quinn Emanuel reports cyber attack involving 'limited' client data | Reuters

Rule 1.1 Competence | North Carolina State Bar (

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About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

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