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In her closing plenary address at LegalTech New York 2013, back in January, FBI special agent Mary Galligan warned that “[w]e have hundreds of law firms that we see increasingly being targeted by hackers.” For those in attendance, and for those who read the resulting tweets and blogposts in the newscycles that followed, this was not un-remarkable. In fact, this was chilling: the kind of stuff that keeps those with vested interested in a law firm’s virtual document stores awake. (Not that they get much sleep anyway.) Galligan, the special agent in charge of cyber and special operations for FBI, was a last minute addition to the speaking roster after a late drop-out from NYC’s chief of police. I suspect that few who attended really had any expectations about what they would hear, but this certainly was not it. This was a dire warning indeed. “We all understand,” she continued, “that the cyber threat is our next great challenge.”
OK, fast forward a few months, in May of this year, Galligan was interviewed by NYLJ. Perhaps hoping that Galligan would say something printworthy about the woefully continued vulnerability of law firms, the iterviewer asked a perfectly reasonable question: “Are law firms equipped to handle the threat?”
Galligan had a surprising response:
Law firms are taking cyber security extremely seriously. As a result of their concerns, the FBI has done a significant outreach program to law firms to give them best practices, and to respond when they have an incident. The FBI recommends things like understanding their network, where their data is, patching all their vulnerabilities and having an inventory of all their software.
This canary sees a surprise in each sentence here, so I’d like to take them one-by-one:
1) It surprises me to learn that law firms, only a few months since her initial incendiary statement, are now all taking the matter seriously. No law firm I’ve ever worked for or with has been able to pull-off a quick turn-around like that on anything that did not immediately effect the balance sheets. And the isssue Galligan brought to our attention in January was not of the quick-fix variety. It was a cultural problem owing to perceptions of priorities and expertise within the firm walls. For such a straight shooter, this is an uncharacteristically empty statement including the unquantifiable terms “extremely” and “seriously”.
2) It surprises me to learn that the FBI has been so busy to respond to incidents when they happen, if the firms have become so serious about attending to their security. Security solutions have existed for years and, as events like Black Hat remind us, for every shady Anonymous hacker out there, there is a dedicated ex-hacker working to beat them all. The ability to defend themselves has existed for years, it surprises me to learn that so many law firms, if they are serious about the threat, need the assistance of the FBI and that the FBI is able to assist them all.
3) Finally, it really surprises me to learn that – after all’s been said – the recommendations are that the firms understand their networks, where the data is, what software they’re using and where the holes are. If firms still need to understand their networks, etc., how can they possibly be taking the threat seriously? When I was in digital kindergarten, these recommendations were right there next to “wash your hands after flushing”.
I know, this was a brief interview in broad daylight and I didn’t expect it to dive into sensitive materials. But, still, it troubled me. And I think it should trouble you too …
But, what does this have to do with E-Discovery?
Well, as a result of E-Discovery, law firms collect and hold enormous stores of client data, right? Still, it is no secret that cyber-security is not one of their core competencies. In fact, most law firms and, thus, most attorneys’ electronic files are not well protected. Indeed, most firms (and most small- to-medium-sized businesses in general) simply can’t (or won’t) provide the resources necessary to vigilantly protect their highly sensitive, confidential, documents. Many firms are not even aware that they have suffered a breach until well after the incident, when an agency like the Federal Bureau of Investigation informs them that their client’s data has been found on a server in another country as a result of a security compromise linked back to the firm.
So, what data is being targeted? How about every conceivable form of documented intellectual property? For instances:
• Proprietary knowledge around an invention: specifications, lab notebooks, draft patent applications.
• Financial details concerning a merger or acquisition (even transactions that never fully materialized).
• Details about an organization’s inner-workings – details typically shared with attorneys during many different types of litigation.
The bottom line is that clients generally do not approach law firms when things are going well and they have no sensitive issues. They seek counsel when they are engaged in either deeply sensitive and highly expensive conflicts, which tend to generate correspondingly sensitive information that is of potentially great value to third parties.
So, what do you do? ASK FOR HELP
AccessData has been in the business of detecting, preventing and, when that fails, helping businesses recover from cyber threats for nearly three decades. We understand that the threat continues to evolve at a rapid pace and that answers to and anticipations of the threat require constant and vigilant development as well. In order to find out more about how AccessData is helping organizations deal with cyber security threats, please take a moment to visit us here. And contact our Professional Services department and allow us to assess your needs and provide managed security options.
To quote Special Agent Galligan (the scary, January 2013 version) one last time: “The cyber threat is too big for any of us to fight alone.”
Eric Killough is the virtual canary AccessData has released into your digital mine. He is a JD, a CEDS, and a librarian. He thinks about electronic discovery probably more than he should. Please join him here, at Twitter, at LinkedIn, and at his own blog. He’ll be happy to meet you.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
The first sign of a deal flow pick up, from the very low depths of 2012 (a very down year in Hong Kong/China) was around last November. There was a marked improvement in deal flow activity then, although it was still a mediocre market. Back in December 2012, there was some cautious optimism for boom times to perhaps return in the second half 2013, but during the first quarter of this year, while the market was improved over 2012, there was not a continued pick up in the market. Part of it was of course the double holiday season of western new year followed by Chinese new year, but that happens every year. The feeling in the market even as recently as one month ago was not very positive regarding the Hong Kong/China market making a big rebound in the second half 2013. However, in the past few weeks we have seen an across the board increase in deal flow, including at all the top US firms that are established in Hong Kong/China.
Late last year and earlier this year we already saw pretty good hiring activity for US associates in M&A in Asia. Now we are starting to see US capital markets hiring again. The larger US capital markets teams in Hong Kong are likely not going to need new hires for a while longer because they were overstaffed during the downturn (and also some of these firms added new HK local cap markets teams in the past couple of years which added to staffing sensitivities), but a number the smaller US cap markets teams are hiring again. We have seen steady M&A hiring in Hong Kong/China in the past 8 months and that is only increasing now. FCPA / White Collar is turning into a real source of hiring US associates in Hong Kong/China. We see this area continuing to grow for years to come and most firms with such a practice in the US will eventually have that practice on the ground in their Hong Kong/China offices. This is a long-term trend.
Just in the past couple of weeks, we have a number of new US associate openings in Hong Kong/China, including: 5 new openings in US capital markets; 4 new openings in PE / M&A or M&A; 2 new openings in FCPA / White Collar; and one new opening in project finance. We also have a couple of new US associate openings in Singapore this week.
If the Hong Kong/China markets continue to improve then it will be much easier for US partners there to get clearance to make lateral hires. We could see a pretty busy lateral hiring market in Hong Kong/China by late summer / fall.
Like most law firms, Seyfarth Shaw was always looking for opportunities to improve its efficiency and better support the work of its trial lawyers.
“When I arrived at Seyfarth in 2005, most of the litigators used Microsoft Word on an ad-hoc basis to track details of a case or create case chronologies,” recalls Annette Tyman, a partner in Seyfarth’s Chicago office. “We’d sort through various facts and issues in depositions, and then input that information into Word so we could begin to construct a case roadmap.”
“While we were already doing things like fact assessment and issue management, we were now able to do so in a more efficient manner with a tool like CaseMap,” said Tyman.
And that was only the beginning.
Today the firm uses CaseMap as a “powerful repository for all of our firm’s knowledge about an individual matter in litigation.” It helps litigators to see the “big picture” in a case while revealing vital links in case information that might otherwise go undiscovered using just legal pads, Post Its® and various PC notes or records.
By using these industry-leading, innovative and integrated technology solutions, the firm is able to:
• Save time by organizing the facts and issues of a case in a more efficient manner
• Make critical connections faster and share them with the entire team
• Drive greater efficiency and cost-savings by utilizing integrated, innovative technologies
• Expedite training and software adoption across all office locations of the firm
• Create compelling, polished presentations with unprecedented ease and speed.
The benefits from using the CaseMap suite were so clear and immediate that the firm took the software on the road to expand Seyfarth’s use of the powerful tool, and to ensure all of their litigators could use CaseMap effectively and to their fullest advantage.
“As soon as we show them actual examples of how their partners in other offices have used the software in their cases, most of them adopt CaseMap for their own future matters,” says Lori Chavez, Director of the Litigation Information Management Office.
To hear more about Seyfarth’s experience with CaseMap Suite—and to learn how you can apply these best practices in your firm— read the free, full-text Seyfarth Shaw case study.
Looking for a great job? In this environment it can be tricky. You need every tool at your disposal. If you haven’t heard, JD Match is the first online service that helps introduce law students to law firms and vice versa. It matches law students and clerks to AmLaw firms based on mutual interest. And, get this – it’s free for students (firms pay the freight).
Get discovered by (more) great firms
Member students and clerks have a greater chance of being discovered – even by firms you may not be aware of.
But that’s not the whole story. Just by creating a profile on JD Match, you immediately make yourself visible to law firms that are in the market for the very qualities you bring to the table.
Whenever firms search JD Match for people with your attributes, your profile comes up.
And your chances aren’t restricted to OCI season—firms use JD Match to find profiles like yours all year round.
JD Match can only expose you to more firms, improving your odds of getting a good job.
“You can’t have enough tools to help make the right job match.”
— Member Student
You can find more great firms
JD Match gives you the power to search for firms by size, geographic region and type of firm. You can also search for the many wonderful regional and mid-sized firms that just don’t have the resources to visit all the schools they’d like to due to the expense and increasingly compressed OCI.
And, JD Match gives those firms access to a nationwide pool of candidates, including you.
“It was common sense and easy to do.”
— Member Student
How does it work?
JD Match’s patent-pending matching algorithm and other, sophisticated never-before available features give you unprecedented control over your part in the recruiting process.
Studies show that the law school you attend has a direct and immediate impact on your starting salary after law school, and, to make matters even more critical, that starting salary differential carries through to subsequent years. And what is the primary factor in law school admissions decisions? Your LSAT score. Even a 5 point increase in your score (from, say, 155 to 160) can increase your starting salary by over $30,000, and gaining 5 points—and typically more—from proper LSAT preparation is commonplace. The question, then, is not whether you should study for the LSAT, but what method of studying will be most effective.
PowerScore has been preparing students for the LSAT for over 15 years. We are the publishers of the renowned LSAT Logic Games Bible and LSAT Bible Series, and we have helped countless students achieve their LSAT and law school goals. If you are taking the LSAT, PowerScore can help you prepare, whether your preference is self-study, an online or in-person course, or one-on-one tutoring. Regardless of approach, our methods have proven successful year after year; students have seen their scores improve by ten, fifteen, even twenty points or more, resulting in a tremendous increase in their potential salary. Read these comments to see what some of our students have had to say about their PowerScore experience.
LexisNexis and OverDrive®, the digital library solutions provider chosen by 22,000+ libraries, schools and colleges worldwide, have joined forces to provide a library management solution that suits evolving legal research requirements, including mobility, simplified library management, and space and budget reductions.
This innovative new service offers legal professionals access to the largest collection of authoritative legal eBook content plus these benefits:
Reduce Your Library Costs: With LexisNexis® Digital Library, overhead and administrative costs for maintaining a print library are reduced dramatically. Adopt an easy-to-use platform that requires minimal staff resources so your organization can make the most out of your library budget. Plus, multi-year purchase options let your library lock in savings.
Empower Your Librarians: Your firm’s librarians will have more time to conduct value-added research. They’ll have greater insight into what resources the staff actually uses so they can make adjustments to the collection quickly using a single website. Librarians can gain greater control, which can lead to better library utilization and increased strategic value to the firm.
Increase Anytime, Anywhere Productivity: Give your lawyers and staff around-the-clock access to the library on all major devices. Combine the benefits of a physical book with online functionality — understand the big picture when investigating an unfamiliar topic, and streamline research with intelligent links to online research. Plus, researchers can carry several books on a single device without the added bulk.
Add Titles From Other Publishers: Because the new LexisNexis Digital Library is publisher-agnostic, users can add titles from other publishers and centrally manage their library — eliminating the inefficiency of using multiple platforms or sites to manage an entire collection.
Flexible eBook Lending: Powering 22,000 library and school partners worldwide with more than 70 million check-outs since 2003, the OverDrive lending platform is time tested. With unrivaled device compatibility, 24/7 platform support, and no additional hardware required, you’ll leverage the experience of the world’s leading digital lending provider and gain peace of mind.
AdmissionsDean is now the most popular law school applicant tracking site on the Internet! The real power of AdmissionsDean is unleashed when users register (anonymously) and input basic information about themselves, like their LSAT score(s), undergraduate GPA and the law schools to which they have applied. Registered users can then track specific law schools and applicants to see who is getting admitted, wait-listed and rejected by which schools so you can better assess your own chances. Tracking applicants also helps you identify law schools that may not currently be on your radar screen, but should be.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
For the last twoinstallments, we’ve been talking about the coming empire, the reign of the machine, and anything I can think of to keep what attention you may have for this topic. And, in a questionable move, I promised two things for this installment: “just how the predictive coding engines work” and “ some recent case law not only validating but also mandating” their use. In retrospect, I realize that I could not possibly have promised you two less exciting cliffhangers. So, with apologies to anyone who is here anyway, I will be brief.
1) How predictive coding works (generally):
Generally, there are two methods employed by predictive coding applications:
a. SAMPLING AND CONVERGENCE
A subject matter expert (attorney) sits down with a random sampling of documents. She “codes” while the computer “watches”, building a model according to the attorney’s choices. Then, the computer “predicts” the coding of another set. When the computer’s predictions sufficiently match the attorney’s choices, it has learned all it needs to complete the batch itself.
b. KNOWLEDGE GATHERING
A team of reviewers (not experts) begins to code while the computer “watches” and compares each response with all of the other responses. It makes its own predictions at the same time, and when its predictions match the reviewers’, it has learned all it needs to complete the batch itself.
As you can see, the differences are in details so fine that you and I do not really need to know about them. What’s important to understand is that, through the miracles of parallel processing, machines can now watch, practice and eventually mimic the choices made by humans as the humans are making the choices. This means a real-time, actionable feedback cycle that makes it possible for us to trust that, yes, we can program a machine to think like us. As I’ve said before, for now, all we’re asking the machine to do is work that humans were never really well-suited to do in the first place: digest and make binary choices about non-binary information at speeds not humanly possible. Continue reading “Virtual Canary in the Digital Mine #5: Total Pre-Cull (Part 3 of 3), or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Predictive Coding”
Watch as our editors give a sneak peek of what you could get in this month’s box from the set of SUITS!
Proper hair pomade might be the only thing standing between you and the promotion you deserve. If we’ve learned anything from USA’s hit series SUITS’ Mike Ross, it’s that succeeding at a high-powered firm is more about looking the part than, say, actually earning a law degree. Being a genius helps too, of course, but even if you make all the right moves, you’ll still need a polished look if you want to make partner someday.
The best way to get cleaned up like the stylish lawyers on SUITS is to try all the best stuff on the market. Join Birchbox Man for $20 a month and you’ll get customized shipments of the best grooming and lifestyle gear—everything from hair care and shaving supplies to style accessories and tech gadgets. Join by June 30th and you’ll receive the limited edition SUITS box, with supplies inspired by the impeccably-dressed lawyers on the show.
Once you’ve signed up and filled out your personal profile, you can head over to Birchbox Man’s online magazine where you’ll find article and video tutorials on how to look sharp, interviews with tastemakers, and much more. You can pick up full-size versions of anything you like in the Birchbox Shop and earn points with every purchase.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Things have changed recently in Korea – a few of our US and UK client firms are looking, very selectively, for a lateral US associate hire. Until just recently, there was not much hiring like this going on in Korea, since US and UK firms started opening offices there. We have already placed two US associates in Korea in the past month at top firms. Most of the hiring partners we work with in Korea do not actively work with other recruiters.
If you are a Korean fluent US associate in London, New York or another major US market, 2nd to 6th year, at a top 20 firm, with cap markets or M&A focus (or mix), or project finance background, and you are interested in lateraling to Korea to a top US or UK firm, please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Our head of Asia, Evan Jowers, was just in Korea recently, and Evan and Robert Kinney will be in Korea in a few weeks. We are in the process of helping several firms open new offices in Korea (a number of which are interviewing our partner level candidates) and also helping existing offices there fill openings.
Professor Joel P. Trachtman has developed a unique, practical guide to help lawyers analyze, argue, and write effectively.
The Tools of Argument: How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win is a highly readable 200-page book, available for about $10 in paperback or e-book. Chapters focus on foundational principles in legal argument: procedure, interpretation of contracts and statutes, use of evidence, and more. The material covered is taught only implicitly in law school. Yet, when up-and-coming attorneys master these straightforward tools, they will think and argue like the best lawyers.
For most attorneys, time spent managing the books is a necessary evil at best. Yet it is undeniably a crucial aspect of running a successful practice. With that in mind, we invite you to view or download a free webinar by Above the Law and our friends at Clio to learn how to better manage your finances.
Take this opportunity to learn what it takes to streamline your accounting and get the most out of your time. The webinar agenda:
● The basics of accounting for lawyers.
● How legal accounting differs from regular accounting.
● Report and reconciliation issues surrounding trust accounts.
● How to pick and integrate the best accounting tools for your practice.
● Steps to prepare your tax return for your firm’s income.
Do not miss this crucial chance to optimize your accounting practices. Save time and get back to billing!