Category Archives: Online Services

Risk of Cyber Breaches so high now that Insurance could become Mandatory for lawyers? Time to explore options.

Shocked young girl in front of computer monitor in a law firmInteresting comments from legal practitioners and the insurance sector at the Doctors Chambers Modern Law Conference 2016 at Old Trafford; reported recently in Modern Law.

According to David Hallam, Commercial Director at NCC Group –  the majority of data breaches arise from “phishing attacks”.  He explained that their expert hackers can gain access to systems “within 20 seconds” and once the hackers are in “40% manage to launch malware”, and of that 40%, “30% manage to obtain or compromise sensitive data”.  Responding to questions posed by the session chair, he concluded that cyber insurance “is moving towards becoming mandatory” for lawyers.


According to Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report, May 2015:

  1. 23% of people open phishing emails
  2. 11% open the attachments in those emails
  3. In 60% of cases, attackers can compromise your data within minutes
  4. It typically costs between £33 and £35 to fix each record breached

Michelle Garlick, Risk and Compliance expert at Weightmans said – “Firms can’t just sit and hope that attacks won’t happen … [they are] taking insurance more seriously” and looking more at “AAA rated insurance companies”;  also suggesting that when it comes to cyber risk, conveyancing is more risky than personal injury and that it is “too early” for cyber insurance to be mandatory.

On the other hand, Lesley Graves, MD of Citadel Law said that cyber crime could easily affect the personal injury market because firms often deal with “large amounts of money and sensitive information”. She recommended that delegates undertake a “business assessment” and look at how to build the long term cost into the business strategy”.

Ian Muldowney, Head of Professional Indemnity & Financial Risks (Reich Insurance Brokers) has seen a steep increase in calls surrounding cyber risks, particularly over the last 12 months, “with a huge increase in cyber crime activity both in the UK and globally, our clients are discovering that criminals are looking to target large organisations and SMEs alike.”

With the National Crime Agency noting that losses from such crimes exceed £16bn in the UK annually, clients are right to be concerned and to have cover in place which offers both preventative advice and a security blanket should anything go wrong. This is particularly were an expert broker can prove their worth.”

To address these critical risks:

1) Assess the risks and take steps to prevent breaches. The priority should be to take the 10 steps highlighted in this article to make your practice more cyber-resilient.

2) Insure against the breaches you can’t prevent.  You can be sure that no law firm can eradicate the risks completely – so backup insurance is essential with the risks clearly increasing here.  To give you a feel for the kind of cover available from reputable and reliable insurers, speak with a broker who has taken the time to understand Cyber insurance – such as Reich Insurance – who can review your needs and advise you on the best solutions available.

Reich Insurance, Cyber risksA policy can be sourced to provide:

  1. 24 hour incident number available 24/7.  Essential as it is critical to act quickly.
  2. A specialist IT forensics expert within 1 hour.
  3. Diagnosis of the issue, fixing it and getting the business back on track.
  4. Covering the costs of a) notification, b) data restoration, c) cyber business disruption and d) cyber extortion, all of which are real and potentially substantial costs in this situation.
  5. Help with public relations and specialist legal advice.

For more information about this and other relevant insurance policies, contact Reich on 0161 830 5491.

To discuss what steps you should be taking now to reduce the risks of cyber breaches and build cyber resilience into your practice, contact NIgel Stott at Inpractice UK on 0161 929 8355 or fmanning@inpractice.co.uk

6 practice development topics you will want to read … and share with some of your colleagues.

Internet Newsletter for Lawyers, Nick Holmes, Delia VenablesThe latest issue of the Internet Newsletter from Infolaw is now published.

In this issue

  1. Continuing Practice Development – Nick Holmes explains the changes to CPD being implemented by the SRA and the BSB
  2. Data protection – David Flint of MacRoberts considers two recent developments relating to data protection and trade secrets
  3. Customer care – Mindy Gofton of I-COM looks at the potential of using chatbots for customer service
  4. IT security – Lynda Minns considers the measures independent practitioners need to take in relation to IT security
  5. Cloud-based legal software – Delia Venables describes the products from 30 suppliers offering cloud-based software for lawyers
  6. Data protection – Alex Heshmaty of Legal Words introduces the new General Data Protection Regulation

Access the Newsletter online

NEW E-signature approval – now, how can you put this to work to reduce your operating costs and make legal transactions easier for clients?

Process improvement in Law firms - lean thinking, legal practice managementGood news here for clients (and for law firms) as we now have reliable backing for use of e-signatures in commercial transactions at least. The linked note from this Joint working party probably provides the clearest concise summary you will find of the current legal position on e-signatures across different areas of law, so you can decide how far you are willing to go in introducing more efficient (for you) and easier ways (for the client) of getting the job done.

I strongly recommend that you download the guidance note from the link below and share it widely in your practice to help initiate or progress improvements in process.

Download the working party’s guidance note and review here >>

A joint working party of more than 20 City law firms, co-chaired by Linklaters, has come together today to endorse the use of digital signatures in a business context. The joint working party of The Law Society Company Law Committee and The City of London Law Society Company Law and Financial Law Committees has produced a guidance note to help parties who wish to execute English law commercial contracts using an electronic signature.

The aim of this initiative is to make document signing faster, easier and more convenient by offering signatories the ability to sign documents directly from a smartphone, tablet or desktop. Electronic signatures have the potential to put an end to the time consuming practice of having to “print, sign, and scan” multiple documents and allow a signatory to access a document securely over the internet and insert his or her signature in the appropriate place.  Read more here >>

To explore how best to implement this guidance in your processes and working practices, contact Allan Carton at Inpractice UK on 07779 653105 or at acarton@inpractice.co.uk.  We are happy to have a preliminary confidential discussion to explore options for free and without obligation.

DOWNLOAD: New Internet Newsletter for Lawyers

Blended LearningThe latest issue of the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers is now published here >>

In this issue

  • Developing People – Allan Carton of Inpractice UK explains how firms can introduce more effective training using e-learning tools and blended learning
  • Marketing – Susan Hallam of Hallam Internet tells us about the recent changes to Google AdWords results
  • Workplace – Chris Bryden and Michael Salter analyse the “snoopers’ charter” regarding employee communications
  • ODR – Graham Ross of Modria alerts us to the new ADR regulations being ignored by online retailers
  • Office applications – Alex Heshmaty of Legal Words explains how Google Apps for Work can benefit office productivity
  • Legal practice – Delia Venables considers the emergence of the new breed of “dispersed” law firms
  • Social media – Nick Holmes walks us through how Twitter works

Access the Newsletter online


Need CPD? – Details of the new Internet for Lawyers CPD 2016 competence courses are now online.

Three Boxes: a Clear Strategy to lead effective innovation in your legal practice.

Well worth watching.  Simple and rational – but I hadn’t looked at this clearly before.

At a time when the most successful lawyers will be those that become more pro-active in developing innovative ways of delivering legal services that give clients and business partners more value from using legal services … here is an interesting way to structure your thinking.  It should help you create more thinking time about new services, while also getting on with running the current business.

With this clarity, there is a better chance of making it happen!

To Innovate, You Have to Manage the Past, Present, and Future

Meeting EU requirements for Online Dispute Resolution is the best approach for clients … and law firms.

EU ORD Directive ComplianceThe European Union has stipulated that consumers who buy a product or service online should be able to submit complaints to the supplier via an EU Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform, so – from 15 February 2016 – all e-commerce businesses must carry a link to this platform on their website.  The complaint, once submitted, will be transmitted to a recognised alternative dispute resolution entity to try to facilitate a solution.

It appears that law firms are probably caught by these regulations as providers of legal services,  so the safest approach is … to comply and then make the most of this approach to improve client satisfaction.

The link to the EU ODR platform is accessed here.

Weightmans Solicitors, which advises on regulatory issues in respect of law firms, has advised members of Manchester Law Society to update their websites to include the ODR EU Platform link due to a new EU requirement that came into effect on 15th February 2016 – and they practice what they preach here where you will find their wording for this on their own site.

Why Lawyers Should Take Steps Now to Comply

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) considers that the regulations will affect law firms who send or receive contracts and client-care information by email as this constitutes “offering goods or services on a website or by other electronic means”.

An advert for legal services on a website is not an offer; merely an invitation to treat, but emailing  a contract or an engagement letter might be construed as an offer “by other electronic means.”

To comply with the regulations, businesses MUST provide:

1. A link to the ODR platform

2. The firm’s email address

The Legal Ombudsman (LeO) will continue as one option to resolve any complaints, but there is also an obligation to nominate a certified ADR entity such as ProMediate (with particular experience of legal services) to mediate complaints and claims.

  • LeO is not a certified ADR provider, so complaints coming though the EU’s ODR system cannot be referred to them.
  • ProMediate offer faster turnaround times than the LeO, which both law firms and their clients generally want, which increases satisfaction with the complaints process.
  • Many clients will prefer engagement in the dispute resolution approach in contrast to a complaints process.

Even if the LeO become an approved ADR provider in the future – which is unlikely as they decided NOT to do this in early December 2015 – there would still be a requirement (in addition to any existing regulatory requirements under relevant Codes of Conduct) for law firms to provide information regarding the ODR platform to clients by email and in Terms and Conditions.

We recommend that law firms should:

  • Include a link to the EU ODR platform on their website; and,
  • Identify and nominate an appropriate certified ADR entity to deal with:
    • At least any complaints that are initiated through that platform; but also,
    • Other disputes that arise with clients if they or you consider mediation is a more attractive approach than making a complaint to an Ombudsman in the circumstances.
  • Nominate ProMediate as your certified ADR entity because they have all the accreditations needed, commit to a short turnaround time, charge a reasonable fee and have experience with legal services.

For more information about how to comply or about nominating ProMediate, contact Peter Causton on 07827 961764 in confidence to explore options; or by email to enquiries@promediate.co.uk options.

ProMediate is a CTSI Certified Alternative Dispute Resolution Provider under the ADR Regulations 2015 and have partnered with Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce to deliver a dispute resolution service to their c. 4,500 members.

FREE ONLINE ACCESS: The Jan / Feb Issue of Internet Newsletter for Lawyers is now available.

infolaw, Internet Newsletter for Lawyers, Delia Venables, Nick HolmesA helpful review of the new Free2Convey portal here for conveyancers amongst another interesting range of topics covered in this issue of the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers from Infolaw:

  • Publishers – Paul Magrath describes how ICLR are developing their service by expanding coverage online only
  • Resources – Delia Venables looks at the most important sites for free current awareness legal resources online
  • Conveyancing – Matthew Lancaster of Pracctice tells us about Free2Convey, the new free conveyancing portal
  • Marketing – Gavin Ward of Moore Legal Technology provides his ten top tips for effective content distribution
  • Technologies – Alex Heshmaty of Legal Words on driverless cars, their relevance to lawyers and the legal issues
  • Resources – Rosalind English describes the background and current activities of UK Human Rights Blog
  • Documents – Nick Holmes offers guidelines for working with documents sourced via the internet.

FREE ACCESS to the newsletter web pages here >>