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Can a cybersecurity failure lead to legal malpractice?

A data breach in any organization can lead to the exposure of sensitive information and the loss of customer loyalty. In some situations, however, the breach can have far-reaching implications and devastating consequences.

Law firms employ hardware, software and physical security to ensure the safety of delicate information stored on their computers. Unfortunately, hackers understand the value of this sensitive data and often engage in tactics such as ransomware and phishing to profit from the firm’s lack of security. Do these data breaches, however, translate into legal malpractice?

Unfortunately, this is a new area of conflict and there is no clear answer as yet. Many clients claim that a data breach indicates malpractice on the part of the firm as a violation of secure information has occurred. Private information is now at risk for public exposure. Whether the information centers on documents, spreadsheets or email communications, the data represents attorney-client privilege and the firm must ensure its security at all times.

What is legal malpractice?

Numerous elements can factor into a legal malpractice claim. From conflicts of interest and intentional wrongdoing to ethics violations and missed deadlines, a law firm’s mistakes can harm a case and lead to devastating outcomes.

Information safety and cybersecurity are newly-evolving legal conflicts. A client who fears or has evidence of a data breach will likely seek to lessen their exposure to legal consequences as well as hold their negligent attorney accountable for their violations. It is wise to seek experienced guidance through these complex matters as soon as you uncover a potential issue.