Barristers Vulnerable To Cyber Threats

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has found that barristers’ inability to adequately embrace technological change could leave them more vulnerable to cyber threats than solicitors.

The report has found, that unlike many solicitors that are guarding themselves against potential attacks, specialist risk management expertise and software are very rarely found within chambers, leaving them increasingly vulnerable to potential attacks.

In addition, the BSB also stated that more research was needed into vital LawTech in order to embrace these technologies effectively in the future.

When it comes to price transparency, barrister chambers are also extremely reluctant to modernise their practice. 2017 research suggested that only 5% of barristers’ organisations planned to change their fee structures when price transparency comes into effect on December 6th.

The Bar Standards Board (BSB), Consultation on the Bar Standards Board’s strategic programme for 2019-22, commented: “Data security is a particular area of risk as use of technology increases among the Bar and in the courts system – solicitors have already fallen victim to a range of IT threats and cyber-attacks and the Bar could become equally vulnerable too. BSB supervision of Chambers has found that “dedicated IT resources and specialist information risk management expertise are rarely found within chambers themselves”.

“Some further examples of technological innovation include Artificial Intelligence (AI), and blockchain (the linking of a growing list of records using cryptography). The BSB needs to gain insight in these areas and will need to build good relationships with subject matter experts in the first instance.

“A lack of flexibility in terms of how barristers’ services are delivered may make it more difficult for the Bar to adapt to a changing market and respond to changing consumer needs. 2017 research indicated that over the next five years, only 5 per cent of barristers’ organisations planned to change fee structures, 7 per cent their governance structure, and 8 per cent the way they receive instructions.

“Allied to this risk, is the need to understand the impact on consumers and the justice system of having to deal with a vast amount of digital evidence and the ethical issues that arise for barristers in relation, amongst other things, to disclosure.”

Should barristers be more prepared for the technological changes entering the legal profession in the future? Should more be done to ensure price transparency is offered throughout all legal services?

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