04 Mar 2015

GCs urged to develop IT expertise in legal team to tackle cyber threat

General counsel are being urged by Latham & Watkins to build up their in-team technology understanding in order to have the 'comfort and competence in technology issues so that they can advise at the highest level on hard questions' on cyber attacks.

To mark the publication of specific cybersecurity guidance by the US's Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, Latham & Watkins is urging in-house lawyers to become more specific in response to the threats of hackers. Washington DC-based partner Jennifer Archie, writng in Lexology, said: 'We don't get trained in this [technology issues] at law school; teaching data security to lawyers is not customary or even available perhaps, but I think that is going to change.' She added: 'I think that where focus is needed in the future is the development of technical expertise inside the legal function.' 

Attack on the most important asset

As a short-cut, she advises in-house lawyers to think in practical terms about the response of their organisations to a hacking threat. Ms Archie, a specialist in litigation and IT, said: 'What are your core assets? What is the most important thing that you have to protect? A lot of companies can't tell you that. They have a very flat network and they have a perimeter approach, so they really can't identify the “nuclear” secrets of their company. The number one thing, quite frankly, is to know the number one thing and then to rehearse for responding to attacks on the number one thing.'  Source: Lexology