Dear Doc,

I thought that you were Dr. Copyright. What’s with this new name?


Madame Miriam Abacha (wife of late ruler Sonny Abacha of Lagos, Nigeria)

Dear Madame:

You may have heard that a large law firm in Bermuda, Appleby, had 13.4 million of its documents stolen by hackers and delivered to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which called in the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) to investigate the contents. Prior to that, the Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca had more than 2.6TB of data stolen by hackers. Other law firms in the United States and elsewhere have also been hacked, and have had not only confidential client information taken, but have been hit by ransomware that encrypted their computers, and by banking trojans that have allowed criminals to steal both firm and client funds.

Lawyers (and law firms and legal departments in corporations and government offices) are often not very knowledgeable about technical matters. Because lawyers are entrusted with their clients’ most sensitive information (such as new patent information, financial documents, evidence in court cases and regulatory proceedings, and the like) they are targeted by criminals, foreign spies, and other hackers. Attorneys should know this, and protect themselves and their clients, but often, they are both ignorant about the threats that they face, and about how to protect their important information. The issue has now become so important that more than half of the states in the U.S. have made a rule requiring that every lawyer, “keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.”

The “Doc” has been working in computer technology for more than 30 years, and has spent the past fifteen years working with the Foreign Policy Research Institute on cybersecurity. Beginning in 2018, the Doc will be offering continuing legal education services to other law firms and legal departments to help them deal with increasing cyberthreats to their information, so that they may protect their clients, and meet their obligations under the new rules. This new venture is called CLAS.Cyber Legal Advisory Services LLC. The Doc hopes that he may help other lawyers avoid having to tell their clients that their information has been hacked, and may be made public or used against them by allowing these lawyers to avoid “phishing”, “drive-by websites”, “trojan horses”, “ransomware” and the many other cyberthreats seen on the Internet.

Of course, because cyber hygiene begins at home, LW&H will soon launch a new website and email infrastructure to reduce its own “attack surface”. Stay tuned for announcements about these developments.

Have a question about IP (or cybersecurity)? Be sure to ask the attorneys at LW&H. Until next month, don’t click on links from strangers!

The (Cyber) Doc

— Lawrence A. Husick, Esq.