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The news these days is filled with reports of significant data breaches. In fact, most experts opine that it is not a matter of “if” but “when,” as to whether an entity will fall victim to a cyberattack. Unfortunately, those in the legal profession are not immune to a data breach. What’s more, ethical obligations put lawyers and law firms at even greater risk for significant business, financial and reputational harm should they experience a cyberattack. More firms are falling prey to schemes as simple as “phishing” tactics or as sophisticated as a coordinated cyberattack, exposing client data that could include sensitive financial information, market-influencing mergers and acquisitions intelligence, and intellectual property from a patent filing. As a result, attorneys have both an ethical and legal duty to take reasonable steps to protect their clients’ personal sensitive data against a cyberattack, or face serious ramifications.
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