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Legal IT Services:
The Benefits, Challenges, and Future

When it comes to running a law firm and working with legal services, having secure and reliable IT services is critical.

Not only are you working with sensitive and confidential client data, but you also need easy and safe access to all this data remotely from anywhere in the world.

So, how do you keep your firm's IT and technology optimized, secure, and efficient?

If you own or manage a law firm and are unsure of your IT security, then this article is for you!

We will discuss some of the concerns with legal IT security, why reliable IT is critical for a law firm, and also some recent IT breaches in the legal world.

Table of Contents
  • Challenges Facing Today's Law Firms
  • How Legal IT Services Helps Law Firms
  • Challenges of Law Firm IT
  • 5 Recent Security Breaches in Legal IT

Challenges Facing Today's Law's Firms

In a 2017 survey of law and legal technology, several interesting results came from the study.

In response to the question, “What are the top challenges currently facing law firms,” 40% said “Operational Efficiency” and 21% said “Cybersecurity.”

Both of these problems are directly related to a law firm’s technology and IT.

“Operational efficiency” is how efficiently your programs, data, and team members can access client and case records from the field.  It also includes efficient time tracking and billing of clients.

“Cybersecurity” is how secure the data is.  No law firm wants their data and servers to be vulnerable to hacking or malware.

So why is this important?

The report said in their survey, 98% of law firms said the legal market is “Very Competitive” or “Competitive.”  

This competitive field for law firms means having secure technology and efficient software could be the difference in your firm remaining productive and stable!

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The ability to quickly and securely connect with your team, clients, and data, whether if it is in the office or remotely, makes a big difference in how competitive your law firm will be long-term. 

What makes efficient legal IT even more critical is the fact that in a 2019 report, 26% of the law firms reported some kind of security breach, and 36% of the law firms reported malware or other viruses on their computers!

This point is critical:  The law industry has an IT and security problem!  

In the long-term, the firms with reliable legal IT services will be the firms with a competitive edge in this competitive market.

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How Legal IT Services Helps Law Firms

Now that we have established the need for reliable technology in the legal world, let’s discuss some of the benefits.

Technology has helped law practices grow and increase efficiency.  From looking through contracts and data quickly, providing secure data storage, and enabling remote access, it is challenging to envision law firms without technology. 

How do excellent legal IT services help law firms win?

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Contract Analytics

Everyone in law knows reviewing legal contracts are not the most enjoyable part of the job.  Going through the language and data takes time and introduces the risk of human error.

Contract analytics software, such as Kira Systems, is a way for law firms to save a lot of time on their contracts.  This type of software quickly analyzes contracts and other texts to identify errors, extract data, and fix mistakes.

Having technology work on these contracts saves valuable human time for any law firm.

 

Better Legal Billing

It doesn’t matter if you have a small local practice or a worldwide firm, keeping track of billable hours and billing the customers causes headaches if not done efficiently.

Thankfully, there is legal software available to accurately and efficiently record the billable time and resources for each client.

 

Smart and Current Research

Our world is continually changing, and this affects how you work on cases and the data you have.

Instead of spending hours trying to find current research or updates on your cases, you can utilize technology to do the research for you - 24/7.

 

Secure Client Records

Cybersecurity is no joke, and especially when you work with sensitive client data.

No law firm wants to make the news because a cybersecurity hack breached their client or case records.

If you are not sure if your security is what your firm needs, then you need to find a reliable IT provider today to give your firm the security you need to protect your clients!

 

Automated Processes

We already mentioned automating the billing process, but good IT automates more processes in your firm, especially on the admin side of the operation.

Depending on the size of your firm and logistics, there may be ways to automate more processes and free up your admin staff and clerks to work on tasks that move the needle for your practice.

 

Better Remote Access to Data

In today’s remote world, your team needs 24/7 access to your software and data wherever they are.

Even if you are a local firm that focuses on a specific area or city, you still need secure and reliable remote access to your data.

No firm can afford the downtime or frustration of having unreliable access when not working in the office.

 

Streamlined Data Sharing

With multiple people in the same company working on the same project, it is critical to have the ability to share data.

Just as important is the ability to have multiple people working on the same software or the same account at the same time.  Reliable IT helps make your data and accounts streamlined when multiple people are working on them.

 

Secure Data Backup

It is what nightmares are made of - the fear of losing your data.

Nothing crushes any company faster than losing your data, and that is why having a regular, secure backup is essential.

Whether your data is backed up on your firm’s physical servers or in the cloud, you need a regular backup of your data and information.

 

Get Quality IT Support For Your Firm

If you don’t want the headache of taking care of your own IT and are looking for IT management in the San Antonio or Corpus Christi areas, then contact the team at Straight Edge Technology today.  

We offer a full line of managed IT services for legal IT and security, combined with excellent customer service, and would love to give you peace of mind when it comes to your firm’s technology!

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Challenges of Law Firm IT

While having reliable law firm IT is vital to any firm’s success, it also brings a unique set of challenges to the industry.

 

It Makes Competition Tighter

With the same software and programs available to law firms of all sizes, the playing field is becoming more leveled as law technology becomes more advanced.

This has its positives and negatives.

The positives - smaller firms have a better chance of competing for work, especially in their local area.

The negatives - it makes the competition even tighter and more difficult since the same tools and information is available to all the firms.

 

It Makes Time Management Difficult

With 24/7 access to all client information, company records, and current news, time management has become more difficult in the legal world.

While hours used to be 9-5 on Monday to Friday, today’s lawyers and their teams are expected to be available to meet with clients or do emergency work at any time.

Remote access also means many law firms are doing work globally, and this can create logistical challenges with lawyers and staff working in many different locations and multiple countries.

 

It Is Difficult To Keep Technology Up-to-date

With the rapid pace of technology, legal IT services are difficult to keep updated and secure.  

Updated technology helps stay ahead of the competition, but it is also critical to keep your programs and data safe from the ever-increasing cybersecurity threats.

 

Global Data Introduces New Challenges

Having firms and data spread around the globe brings a unique set of challenges to the legal world.

We have already mentioned the increased competition and difficulty in time management and logistics, but it makes cybersecurity more difficult as well.

No longer do firms need to worry about local competition or technology issues, these threats have become global as the internet and online storage continues to make the legal world smaller.

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5 Recent Breaches in Legal IT

Even though law firms work hard to keep their records safe and data secure, security breaches still occur regularly.

The threats of a cybersecurity attack or security breach is significantly increased if your firm’s IT is unstable or outdated.

For more information on general cybersecurity, take a look at our recent blog post on Cybersecurity Threats & Solutions on our blog.  This blog article covers the most common online cyberattacks and tips on how to protect your firm and technology from attack.

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Here are five recent stories on breaches in legal IT.

 

W-2 Form Phishing

Two well-known law firms, Jenner & Block and Proskauer Rose, recently fell prey to a phishing scam.

A phishing scam is when hackers send requests or information that appears legitimate, but results in granting the hackers access to your data.

In this case, hackers requested employee W-2 forms with what looked like legitimate requests.  The incident resulted in 859 employees having their information exposed to hackers, including their Social Security numbers, salaries, and other personal information.

 

Federal Court Data Breach Reveals Names of Protection Visa Applicants

Earlier in 2020, it was confirmed the Federal Court had a data breach that revealed the real names of 400 people who had applied for protection visas.

There is a publicly available searchable database, but the names of the asylum seekers are put on the public database as pseudonyms.  

In this data breach, however, the applicants full, real names were listed on the database for public searching.  This exposed these people’s identities to anyone who may have been wanting to harm them.

A similar breach occurred in 2014, when over 9,200 asylum seekers in the United States had personal details listed on the Department of Immigration's website.

 

Law Firm Accused of Covering a Data Breach

A lawsuit filed on March 27, 2020, reveals that Hiscox Insurance, an insurer providing cyberattack insurance, is suing the law firm, Warden Grier LLP.

In the lawsuit, Warden Grier LLP is accused of quietly paying a ransom to hackers who had successfully hacked the law firm’s system.

While this is certainly troubling, the worst part was that Warden Grier LLP tried to keep the breach quiet without Hiscox Insurance or other clients learning about the breach.

The breach and subsequent lawsuit have raised debate about the relationship with law firms, their insurance carriers, and legal IT services.

One of the lawyers in the debate, Horn from Horn Aylward & Bandy LLC, said, “It’s not an issue of who will be hacked, it’s a matter of when.  At some point, what exactly is a law firm or any business supposed to do?”

 

Documents Leaked From Panama-based Law Firm

The law firm Mossack Fonseca, which is based in Panama, discovered 11.5 million documents were made public through a data breach.

The documents were over 2.6 terabytes of data, and the information was looked through by journalists and other law firms.

Sadly, the data showed the law firm was involved in creating illegal companies built for tax evasion.  As a result, different public figures across the globe were accused of fraud and resigned.  There were also criminal arrests made based on the information.

 

Stolen Documents Used for Insider Trading

The Wall Street Journal reported hackers had broken into some of the most prominent New York City’s law firm’s data as part of an insider trading scheme.

The stolen data was linked to being used for insider trading, and the hackers gained more than $4 million as a result of the hack and trading.

Conclusion

Having efficient and secure legal IT services is critical for your law firm to be competitive, safe, and effective in your market.

Thankfully, you don’t have to fight this battle or war alone!

Having a managed IT service and support team on your side makes all the difference.  You no longer need to worry about your IT weak spots or issues; instead, you have peace of mind knowing IT experts are taking care of your needs for you.

If your firm is located in the San Antonio or Corpus Christi areas, then contact the team at Straight Edge Technology today.

We offer IT support in San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and the surrounding areas.  Our dedicated support team gives you the software, technology, and 24/7 customer service you need to successfully run your firm and focus on your clients and business.

We offer a full line of legal IT services, and we look forward to talking with you and seeing how we can help you be secure and grow in your IT!

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