Every year, the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center (LTRC) publishes TECHREPORT—a collection of easy-to-read breakouts of the annual ABA Legal Technology Survey Report, one of the leading surveys on how attorneys use technology. Practitioners, firms, and legal tech companies alike can use TECHREPORT to get a better grasp on legal technology trends and predictions.
Security is paramount to the foundational aspects of using technology in a law practice today. With the lawyer’s requirement to maintain confidential information in the information age, and to manage ever-growing amounts of data (whether client-related or not), it is not surprising to see the focus turn to securing this information on a lawyer’s network or across media for which the lawyer is responsible. 22% of all respondents indicated they had experienced a security breach. While this number gives pause, over 22% of all respondents said they did not know whether their firm had ever experienced a security breach.
Despite these growing numbers, those reporting a breach most often reported that no significant business disruption or loss had occurred. Yet, 38% of respondents reported that it resulted in downtime/loss of billable hours.
Solo and small firm lawyers have begun to increase their use of security tools; a logical step, as 32% of solos and 53% of attorneys in firms of 2-9 lawyers were infected with a virus, spyware, or malware. The numbers for security-related replies are as follows:
- Using email encryption: 24.4% of solos and 31% of 2-9 attorney firms
- Using virus scanning (desktop/laptop): 75.6% of solos and 70.5% of 2-9 attorney firms
- Using mandatory passwords: 60.5% of solos and 64% of 2-9 attorney firms
Cyber liability insurance coverage is increasing slowly among solos and small firms, with 18.6% of solo respondents and 26.9% of the 2-9 attorney firms indicating they have cyber liability coverage responding.With the need to secure data via passwords, a password management tool is used by 21.4% of solo respondents and 20.9% of firms with 2-9 attorneys. Over half of the solo respondents (56.9%) did not have policies or plans that govern technology. However, firms with 2-9 attorneys were much more likely to carry technology policies and plans—only 23.9% of those firms indicated they did not have such policies.