Cyber security training offered by LegalFuel
Site expands its practice tips and advice for Bar members
A recent LogicForce survey of 300 American law firms revealed a 41 percent increase in the number of data security audits demanded by their corporate clients.
The six-month trend is likely related to the recent hacking of two large Manhattan law firms, and the federal indictments of the alleged cyber criminals who used stolen law firm emails to facilitate $4 million worth of insider stock trades.
And the increase in demand for security audits is the good news, says Miami lawyer Alfred Saikali of Shook, Hardy & Bacon, a cyber security expert who advises law firms on safer methods for collecting, storing, and transmitting client data.
“At least it means they are taking the issue of data security seriously,” Saikali said.
The three quarters of Florida lawyers who practice alone or in small firms probably don’t consider themselves likely targets of sophisticated hackers, Saikali says. But law firms are potential gold mines of personal, financial, medical, and commercial data easily marketed on the dark web, Saikali said.
The bad news, Saikali said, is that the survey also found that 62 percent of law firms don’t have a designated information security professional, only 31 percent have formal cyber security training, and only 41 percent have formally documented cyber security policies, such as an “IRP,” or incident response plan.
“Lawyers are under attack,” Saikali said. “There has become an adage in the cyber security industry that law firms are the weak link.”
Young Lawyers Division immediate past President Zack Zuroweste said every Florida Bar member should recognize the threat and know how to respond.
Bar members are starting to pay attention. Since Saikali’s video was posted, it has generated 952 CLE hours; 1,423 page views, and 1,690 YouTube views.
Zuroweste spent the past 18 months working with a communications team to design LegalFuel to help Florida lawyers manage their practice in a rapidly evolving marketplace that is so demanding, lawyers are falling prey to stress-related disorders.
“What we accomplished I believe is one of the most practical and helpful websites in the country, and I can say that because I’ve looked at virtually every one of them,” Zuroweste said. “I think our finance and technology resources are particularly good.”
The speaker series was designed to boost LegalFuel’s visibility, impart the wisdom of paid consultants who would otherwise be unavailable to sole practitioners and smaller firms, and update the Bar’s CLE catalogue, Zuroweste said.
Saikali’s video advises lawyers how to comply with the Florida Information Protection Act of 2014, or “FIPA,” which makes professionals who collect data from the public potentially liable for data breeches like the one that occurred late last year in Manhattan.
When it comes to cyber security, Saikali stresses the acronym “TAP” — technological safeguards, administrative safeguards, and physical safeguards.
“There are business reasons to make sure that you are protecting client information,” Saikali says. “Clients expect it.”
In addition to Saikali, the speaker series includes:
• “How to Grow Your Practice and Career with Social Media,” by Ethan Wall, a Miami lawyer and social media legal consultant who boasts founding the world’s first social media law firm. A YLD board member, Wall has appeared on National Public Radio and CNN. Wall’s 43-minute video has been approved for 1.0 hours of General CLE, including 1.0 hours of Technology CLE and .5 hours of Ethics CLE. It has generated 1,186 YouTube views and 792 hours of CLE since it was posted in August.
• “Ten Ways to Avoid Bar Discipline,” by Brian Tannebaum, a Miami lawyer, president of the Florida Association of Bar Defense Lawyers, and a former columnist for Above the Law. Tannebaum was once described by a newspaper reporter as “the lawyer that lawyers go to when they find themselves in hot water.” Tannebaum’s 27-minute video has been approved for 0.5 hours of General CLE, including 0.5 hours of Ethics CLE. It has generated 1,690 YouTube views and 952 hours of CLE since it was posted in September.
• “Five Simple Lessons to Help You Earn More, Stress Less, and Be Awesome,” by Nora Bergman, an attorney and certified practice manager with the legal training firm Atticus. Bergman is an adjunct professor at Stetson University and the University of South Florida and has an undergraduate degree in journalism. Bergman’s 49-minute video has been approved for 1.0 hours of General CLE credit, including 1.0 hours of Mental Illness Awareness credit. It has generated 433 YouTube views and 235 hours of CLE since it was posted in December.
• “Enhanced Results through Effective Communication,” by author and life coach Debbie Lundberg, will soon be added to the lineup and will get lawyers to consider and embrace how effective communicating, rather than telling, or “lawyering,” has a positive impact on relationships and results.
Zuroweste knows the value of keeping abreast of the latest technology and taking advantage of help when it’s available. Zuroweste used The Florida Bar Member Benefit “Clio,” a practice management software, to update his Clearwater-based law firm’s IT system.
Cloud-based file storage paid off handsomely when the three-lawyer firm was uprooted temporarily last year by a hurricane, Zuroweste said.
“We were able to pick up our law firm and move it to Atlanta into a giant Airbnb house,” Zuroweste said. “We didn’t lose that much in revenue, we didn’t lose any documents, we were able to meet all of our court deadlines, and it was about as stress free as that situation could be.”
Zuroweste said he and the communications team spent hundreds of hours packing LegalFuel with the most valuable tips and information they could find, and the speaker series is just the latest in an ongoing effort to keep the Florida legal community on the cutting edge.
“So what we’ve tried to do is be as helpful as possible at allowing our members to rise to the next level, because when our lawyers are performing well, it makes our Bar stronger,” Zuroweste said.