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Cyberwar Is Big 'Legal' Business ... and Too Expensive for Most Firms

By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on March 09, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Cyberwar and cybersecurity is getting to the point that it's even scaring credit card companies, financial institutions, and government agencies. In the past, the problem just wasn't expensive enough. Well, times they are a-changin'. Part of the problem, however, is that there's a bit of a supply and demand mismatch. There are not enough lawyers who are competent in cyber security exist to meet the sudden surge in demand.

That said, if you're wondering, "Should my small firm hire a cybersecurity specialist?" Our answer is: "Are you made of money?"

Fat Wallets

To give you an idea of recent hires in this area, let us point you to the case of Serrin Turner. Mr. Turner was the former U.S. Attorney who spearheaded the prosecution against Ross Ulbricht and his website Silk Road, the underground website known for trafficking all sorts of illicit wares including drugs.

He also oversaw the prosecution of the site Liberty Reserve, which was essentially the gathering place of all sorts of ribald activity. Liberty Reserve laundered upwards of $6 billion tainted by ponzi schemes, hacking plans, drugs, and kiddie porn. With this sterling CV, he was brought on as a partner in the New York office of Latham Watkins. No doubt his hourly rate would make most peoples' eyes water.

The Hoi Polloi

Without the deep pockets of BigLaw, what is the small office to do? Since the demand for cyber-security professionals is at an all time high, prices reflect this reality and solos will soon find that their revenue stream does not justify the expense.

The best option for small firms and solos is probably to encrypt data and to deal with the inconvenience of having backup copies of client data on data devices that are not connected to the network on a permanent basis. Yes, this is inconvenient, but convenience and security are on polar opposite ends. The small firm's main benefit is that supposedly their cases are smaller profile, meaning that there is a smaller likelihood of attack. But, that thought can't really be keeping the solo-practitioner warm at night. Take what small steps you can, and encrypt your data.

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