Cybersecurity and Law Firms

Handling activities with large associated financial values such as property sales, or mergers and acquisitions, is making targeting law firms a highly attractive target for cyber criminals. Once hacked, law firms lose their most prestigious asset: their reputation. Clients will switch firms even if they just sense there is the potential risk of having personal data leaked.   Data is money, and even power.  It has to be protected at all costs.

It’s been suggested that law firms are not taking cybersecurity seriously enough and are not putting appropriate measures in place to avoid attack. Firewalls and antivirus systems may not be enough to ensure protection; clients are sometimes now asking firms to prove their cyber-security capabilities by requesting that periodic security audits and ‘ethical hacking’ exercises be carried out regularly to expose any weaknesses.

Law firms are the new target

Hackers have already breached the security systems of at least one major international law firm, transforming a long-predicted cyber espionage scenario into reality. In the US, two magic circle firms were among the top 48 firms targeted in order to gain sensitive information on mergers and acquisitions, highlighting the sophistication of hackers and their more bespoke approach to targeting firms in specific sectors or following high-profile business deals.

Yet it can be difficult to implement new cyber-security procedures within firms if senior partners do not adhere to them. For example, while firms may have policies barring the use of online storage services such as DropBox, some partners continue to use them (2).

Hacking is a growing threat

In 2014, 173 UK firms were investigated by the Information Commissioner’s Office in reference to a number of incidents that were suspected to have breached the Data Protection Act. A total of 187 incidents were recorded – 29% related to security and 26% related to the incorrect disclosure of data (5).

Victims of this rise in attacks are both big and small corporations; however, small businesses are becoming the easiest and preferred target due to a lack of security measures in place. In fact, half of last year’s cyber-attacks in the UK were directed at businesses employing fewer than 2,500 people (1).  With the majority of law firms falling within this bracket, cyber-security measures should be taken very seriously by everyone working in a law firm.

Particularly for law firms, many of the staff are decision makers, compared with other business sectors where only Managers or the Accounts department have access to important company information.  Conversely in a law firm, lawyers and partners have access to huge amounts of highly sensitive data about their clients.


The Metropolitan Police offers a variety of information on how to prevent firms from being hacked. The most relevant recommendations for law firms centre around protecting access to data, across: ensuring access control so that staff only have access to the files they need rather than granting company-wide access to shared folders.  Additionally, encrypting any information stored on removable media or portable devices and considering the use of systems that eliminate the need for any files to be stored on portable devices is important for controlling how and where data is stored.

In addition to this, firms should be making sure that any device connected to organisational systems, including remote working, is vetted for security. Data transmission within and beyond the firm should be secure at all ends and access rights for staff who have left the firm should be revoked immediately.  Predictably, it’s important as we know to conduct background checks on applicants, especially those who will have access to highly sensitive data – thinking about how employees could use or export data.  Are you making it too easy to quickly download all of your client information onto a hard drive?  Or are you providing adequate controls to employees who are using their own devices to record client information, such as tablets and mobiles?

Price Waterhouse Coopers also recommend to take other specific measures.  Firstly, some clients will have specific requirements around how their data is managed by the law firm.  IT Directors at law firms need to be mindful of how these requirements are adhered to over the long term so that standards remain high.

Secondly, a global law firm needs to be able to satisfy global clients on a global basis. So, sharing information across a global network in a secure way is critical, as is ensuring that data protection policies in each region are adhered to.

Finally, understanding what data you have, and where it is located is key.  With so many easily accessible cloud storage tools and USB products available, it can be a huge task to even figure out where information is stored.  Which applications have which data, who has used a USB stick to handle client data in the past year, and is anyone using DropBox or personal Microsoft and Google accounts to share information or send files?

Apart from the previous recommendations, it is also important to consider practices such as ethical hacking exercises, which are carried out from the inside to detect a firm’s weaknesses to uncover potential opportunities for hacking. One firm which is already carrying out this practice is London media specialist practice, Schillings.  The firm has recently rebranded itself as a risk consulting and technology security practice, even promoting its services to other law firms to help with penetration testing and ethical hacking exercises to test system vulnerability (1).

C24 is holding a specialist cyber-security and social engineering course that is nationally accredited and delivered by UK specialists who train police forces in cyber security.  Each place normally costs upwards of £300 ex VAT per delegate, but C24 is offering ten IT Managers, Directors or CIOs the opportunity to attend the accredited half-day course for free.

Register your interest here.











The Digital Courtroom and Big Data

Courts in the UK are becoming increasingly digitised – in how they handle case work through to the types of evidence that is now able to be presented at trial.  Birmingham has become the UK’s first paper-free court, and as the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service uses roughly 160 million sheets of paper every year, the prospect of moving all courts to paper-free could be a significant money saver for the judicial system.

Technology is being introduced into court rooms across the country, to assist with evidence handling and witness statements.  However it is increasingly being used (less so in the UK) for collating analytics to help lawyers understand the impact of different variables on their case success.


Analytics for determining case success

Lawyers are now using software to analyse the decisions, biases and previous case records of judges, and a firm called Ravel Law has launched a piece of software last year to analyse judge behaviour; in a bid to help lawyers become more informed about how judges involved in their cases make decisions, and what factors are likely to make their cases more favourable.

Lawyers would have historically done this manually, trawling through previous cases and documents about their assigned Judge, to come up with an overview of previous ruling decisions, particular biases and useful trends – in order to develop better strategies.

This can now be done by analytics tools that amalgamate previous case information and offer up insights quickly and simply.  These insights have made it possible to uncover particular trends that might not have been flagged up by a traditional manual process, for example, in Israeli parole hearings, cases held earlier in the day had a better chance of receiving a favourable ruling compared with cases held just before lunch.

This type of analysis across many years of cases has meant that lawyers can quickly search against certain keywords or scenarios to see how juries and judges made decisions in other similar situations.  Legal teams can then realign their strategy throughout the case based on the analytics coming through to them.

One issue that has arisen from the study of analytics has been the uncovering of certain biases on the part of judges – whether that is social or geographic – but it has shown that rulings can be incredibly subjective depending on personal factors (such as where the judge studied and the types of cases he/she typically draws on to support rulings).

Apps such as Voltaire’s solution are now assisting with data analytics during the jury selection process, to analyse jurors’ biases through their web history and general digital footprint.


Behavioural analytics

The advent of video technology has now meant that behavioural analytics can be studied within courtrooms and the wider judicial system.  Being able to monitor defendant and witnesses’ behavioural patterns at the police station or in the court, could potentially help lawyers in the future to distinguish patterns and analyse the emotional psychology of individuals.

Birmingham Magistrates Court’s decision to go paper-free and install Wi-Fi throughout many of its court buildings means that it can now show video and audio evidence in court and deliver remote statements via video link.

In the future, if the government’s plan to make courtrooms fully digital in the next year, video links could be used to present defendants before magistrates from custody suites to reduce the time taken transporting individuals between police stations and court.  This is all part of the plans from the coalition government in 2012 to have a judicial system that is “swift and sure”, focusing on reducing court delays.


Future of the digital courtroom

Courts are still catching up and going paper free is probably still a long way off for many regions, however forward thinkers are already looking to the future about how technology could further impact the court room.

One of the areas we think that may be impacted is through sensor technology – taking jury and judge behavioural analytics a step further by collecting data from individuals during trials.  For instance, sensor data might be able to tell us that prosecution teams that move around the court more when presenting their case are more likely to receive an advantageous result from juries or that witnesses whose heart rate is consistently high when testifying are perceived as lying.  These are all just hypothetical examples, but if we are already monitoring the outcomes of cases based on how close to lunch the ruling was, it’s not ridiculous to think that sensor technology could make its way into the court room in the next ten years.


For more information about some of the points we raised above, see below:


Image provided courtesy of Surrey County News.

Embarking on a Data Journey Like a Start-Up

In our recently launched whitepaper, we have been looking at how new professional services firms can integrate data analytics from the ground up, and how existing firms across the legal and accountancy sectors can look to start-up companies for a more entrepreneurial approach to big data.

Becoming data driven instead of data wary is a process, not a single project.  Many legal firms are now comfortable with the idea of using big data and analytics tools for management reporting and the preparation of financial data.  But the next step is moving along from Managing Information reporting, and building analytics activities into revenue growth and client facing activities.  For more information about moving on from MI reporting, read our other LinkedIn post on the subject.

We see the next step in moving away from MI reporting is Demand Generation: utilising internal and external data feeds to drive revenue through more targeted and measurable marketing activities.  We are in talks with legal firms who are now pulling feeds from Mailchimp, CRM systems and internal case management systems to drive marketing strategies; such as who to target, where most sales come from, profitability of certain customers and responses to recent mailshots/marketing initiatives.

This effort of going beyond MI is all about firms looking at how big data can be used to drive revenue and increase profitability.  Previously, it was good enough for data analytics to spot trends to reduce operational inefficiencies.  Reducing cost isn’t good enough on its own anymore, new technology purchases now have to show how they contribute to business growth.

Following on from better marketing by harnessing data, client retention can be improved by extending data reporting and information visibility capabilities out to clients.  Customers want to be kept up to date in real-time about their individual case developments; they don’t want to wait for a letter to find out information – they want it now.  Online portals that can be used to report back billing information, KPI performance data and key milestone achievements back to customers, without adding extra workload onto the lawyers.

The UK Law Firm Survey 2015 from PWC highlighted that the top 10 firms feel they are winning against their competition by deploying technology – and we think that big data must be one of the fundamental keys to success in growth against the competition.

In our whitepaper, titled “Building a data driven professional services firm” which is all about how to be data driven, not data wary, we talked to Martyn Wells, IT Director at leading UK law firm, Wright Hassall.

Martyn shared with us his thoughts on how data has become integral to many legal activities due to new regulations such as the “Jackson Reform” rules that stipulate that cost management budgets have to be submitted to courts for each case.  This process relies heavily on data to create accurate case costings in the required time.

Martyn also highlights in the whitepaper his views on how it is crucial to “convince with confidence” when taking staff on a data journey – the data has to be correct and everyone working from a single version of the truth to avoid errors occurring and staff becoming wary of using data tools with bad information.

Read the full whitepaper at our site.

C24 Publishes Whitepaper: Building a Data Driven Professional Services Firm

C24 has published a whitepaper titled, “Building a Data Driven Professional Services Firm”, with thought leadership input from Martyn Wells, IT Director at Wright Hassall.

The topic of the whitepaper came about from C24’s continued focus on the legal sector, analysing big data trends and looking at what the next big thing in legal tech could be.

The whitepaper focuses on how firms in the future will move beyond the basics of management reporting and start to become data service providers themselves; delivering end-user reporting capabilities to customers and employing artificial intelligence technology to take on simple, repetitive tasks within firms.

We were lucky enough to have one of our key clients’ IT Director, Martyn Wells, provide insight into how Wright Hassall and Martyn’s team are leading the way in the legal industry by applying data analytics to many parts of their business processes.

Martyn also talks about the challenges that a multi-generational workforce face when new technologies are introduced.


Read the whitepaper in full here: C24 Whitepaper – Building a Data Driven Professional Services Firm.

20 Facts We Learnt From Our Blog in 2015


During 2015, I published a number of blog articles on LinkedIn and our company blog.  44 to be exact.  And within those blogs were quite a few facts, statistics and insights that we collected – so here is a round up of some of those facts to highlight the key numbers from our blog this year:

  1. C24 research found that 87% of legal firms were mainly motivated to investigate business intelligence solutions so that they could achieve better visibility of sales and business development information. (Read the blog here).
  2. Nearly 31% of law firms are at risk of financial failure in the coming year due to pressure created by competition from new volume market entrants such as Tesco, DirectLine and other insurance companies branching out into the legal market. (Read the blog here).
  3. Attorney at Work (2015) conducted a survey across legal firms and found that of the 91% of lawyers that use social media, 60% identified social media as playing a part in their marketing strategy.  (Read the blog here).
  4. PWC reports that investments in software as a service (SAAS) applications will more than double to $78bn while investments in traditional ERP deployments will decline by more than 30% to less than $15bn in the next year.  (Read the blog here).
  5. PWC predicts that cloud based SAAS ERP models are 6x less costly to implement, manage and support than traditional ERP deployments. (Read the blog here).
  6. PWC have also calculated that over a 10 year period, the total cost of ownership of a cloud-based ERP solution can be 50 to 60% less expensive than a traditional on-premise system. (Read the blog here).
  7. Complex supply chains can have up to 52 different sources of big data, generated from the supply chain alone. (Read the blog here).
  8. A report from Information Week highlighted that organisations only analyse 12% of their data, and that the challenge was dealing with the remaining 88% of data left. (Read the blog here).
  9. The average worker is said to stay at each of his or her jobs for 4.4 years. (Read the blog here).
  10. LexBlog estimate that 80% of the largest law firms now publish blogs. (Read the blog here).
  11. IT Directors in the Legal sector are predominantly white, male and have held their positions for circa 20 years.  On the contrary, a typical legal new hire is young, tech savvy with 57.1% of trainee’s being female, according to a recent survey. (Read the blog here).
  12. According to RBS, traditional law firms have lost out on over 50% of income that they would normally generate from transactional services such as legal-aid support and conveyancing. (Read the blog here).
  13. A founder of a CRM app called CRMNext found that the main reason that 50% of CRM application deployments failed was due to difficulty and complexity experienced by users. (Read the blog here).
  14. In 2012, Gartner reported that 80% of gamification applications would fail to meet business objectives.  However they have also predicted that 40% of Global 1000 organisations will introduce forms of gamification to boost revenue and drive better employee engagement.  Their analysts also believe that the gamification market will grow from $242 million to $2.8 billion in 2016. (Read the blog here).
  15. A survey conducted by Deloitte found that 54% of respondents would be investing in technology to improve user (customer) experience, mainly by delivering self-service portals to consumers. (Read the blog here).
  16. A 2013 study by the Aberdeen Group found that one of the key challenges to meeting sales goals was insufficient or inadequate information available. (Read the blog here).
  17. HBR found that 61% of sales reps thought that greater sales intelligence would deliver better lead quality and quantity – therefore resulting in more time spent actively selling. (Read the blog here).
  18. Companies that personalise customer information down to sales rep level (i.e. creating specific marketing and sales content at a sales rep level) have been known to achieve a 36% increase in lead conversions.  (Read the blog here).
  19. The Bank of America recently conducted research into how artificial intelligence could impact on workers across the US and found that 47% of American jobs had the potential to be automated by 2020, and that as many as 25 million finance legal job roles globally would be disrupted.  (Read the blog here).
  20. Accenture estimates that combining business intelligence with the Internet of Things could be a $500bn activity by 2020 and Gartner predicts that there will also be 25 billion IOT connected devices by 2020. (Read the blog here).

Image courtesy of Inpivic.

10 Ways for Law Firms to Use Big Data

Law firms are starting to hire analytics specialists to help them harness the valuable insights that big data can deliver for their company; primarily across the financial and business development departments.

Legal Data

Here are ten crucial areas that where firms can start utilising big data today in order to make positive changes to their business performance and results:


1 – Use predictive analytics to track and respond to consumer behaviour.

Whether your target client is an enterprise business or an individual, there is often a wealth of information available online to help build a picture of your customer and their associated legal needs.  Having a plan in place to track consumer behaviour, through social media, news feeds and client interactions, means you can start to predict outcomes based on historical data and learnings.  Once you have a more accurate picture of what ‘ideal’ consumer behaviour looks like, then you can start to apply that blueprint to other target customers to find prospects who fit the bill perfectly for your services.


2 – Make more accurate judgements on cases before they start.

Rather than relying on previous experience and intuition alone when deciding to take on a case, bringing a wider range of analytics into the fold when conducting early case assessments can ensure your chances of choosing the most successful cases are higher.  Combining existing financial data with analytics info showing trends based on customer profile or previous engagement can help to either bolster your decisions or provide a new perspective previously not considered.  Being able to do this analytics piece electronically via a business intelligence tool rather than manually reduces the time and costs associated with early case assessment work.


3 – Spot correlations between client behaviours to alert you to potential issues.

Apparently, vegetarians miss fewer flights than their meat-eating counterparts.  Would it then be less risky to bet on a vegetarian catching their flight than a carnivore?  Who knows… However, what we do know is that there is usually a range of behaviours that lead up to a final action taking place, and your ability to harness data to spot these trends could avert potential issues.  For instance, if every time you lose a major client there are a number of factors that tend to occur, such as; call waiting times to your teams increasing, the client repeatedly rearranging an important meeting or your company’s satisfaction survey experiencing a drop in ratings of over 10%, then early awareness of these activities could help you to prevent another major client leaving if you spot the pattern in time.


4 – Improving e-discovery activities.

Data analytics can help to provide more insight around e-discovery activities by not only analysing documents, but the text and metadata around those documents too.  Maybe the document itself isn’t of importance, but the number of revisions or the frequency at which the document was emailed out become important.  Without sophisticated analytics, these trends would be difficult to spot if a human were reviewing masses of electronic documentation themselves.  Sometimes the correlation between trends that leads to a discovery isn’t visible when conducting the search – the insight is only apparent after the data has been collected and layered against other data streams.


5 – Increase profitability across your firm.

Most firms know what their revenue position is and are fully aware of how their expense policy is being used.  However are they able to layer that information over less obvious data about how the firm operates (as a whole and at an individual level) to draw insight about profitability?  For instance, how do costs change in winter compared with summer?  Do your partners tend to take more taxis in winter but opt for walking or the tube in summer?  Do expenses jump when working with an enterprise client rather than an SMB client even though the revenue generated from each case is identical? Are you able to understand how profitability is affected by a client’s characteristics or demographics (i.e. is profitability affected if the client is based in the South or the North) from multiple perspectives?


6 – Increase productivity by understanding lawyer behaviour.

Understanding your clients is one thing.  But do you understand the workings of your lawyers?  Do you know which tasks lawyers spend the majority of their days performing – and how much time is spent face to face with clients?

Analytics can be a great way to obtain visibility of what tasks staff are spending their time on, and what those tasks cost based on the employee’s role versus the amount of revenue that is generated from that particular activity.  Maybe your partners spend time reviewing financial performance reports when in fact it would be cheaper to employ a reporting specialist to collate important data into one sheet to reduce time spent on the task, or that partners may be more productive when working at a client site than in your firm’s offices.

Understanding the impact of multiple different factors such as location, task type or client profile on lawyer productivity can lead to the business changing how they operate or what responsibilities each job role has, in order to make individuals more productive in their core roles.


7 – Know where you win customers from.

Firms sometimes have a mature CRM system or may manage their client list through spreadsheets – however as consumers interact with vendors through an omni-channel approach, it can be increasingly difficult for firms to understand how they won a client in the first place.

Analytics helps to marry up the entire customer experience journey, by combining web analytics with incoming call data with face to face meetings with email marketing etc.

Having a good awareness of how your clients find and select you helps with better targeting for future business development campaigns.


8 – Understand what campaigns are successful, and why and when.

Having reporting data about which marketing campaigns have been successful is fairly easy to come by.  Mailchimp offers great, free reporting on who has opened your e-newsletter and who has unsubscribed from your messages.

However, do particular campaigns perform better at different times, and are you capturing that wider information?

Are you more successful when sending out printed marketing collateral to technology companies compared with healthcare institutions?  Does email marketing resonate more with digital agencies or does social media attract them more?

By collecting as much data about who you are targeting, the business situation around the marketing campaign and the individual steps taken within the campaign, you can start to spot correlations between what factors work and what doesn’t, in order to become highly targeted and specialised in your approach.

Many law firms are now blogging and sharing insights online; but without data, how do firms know if their blogging is paying off as direct leads are unlikely to come from the blog alone but more as a result of another outbound marketing campaign in addition to reviewing the blog and website for further information.


9 – Use data to simplify data.

One of the main issues with data is that there is too much of it.  It’s usually in incomprehensible formats and the file types can be difficult to work with.

Many analytics tool can simplify the data from a mass (or mess) of information down to visual and simple insights that can be easily digested.  This increases the adoption of data across the organisation, with non-specialists able to understand and review data in order to base their decisions and activities.

A law firm we recently worked with reduced their management reporting file from 20 pages down to just one page, meaning that Managing Partners can now get a high level overview of the key metrics each day without filtering through reams of unrequired info.

Make it easy for your users to interact with data so that they see the value in collecting and inputting data back into the systems, to help with generating further insights.


10 – Make data go beyond the firm to clients.

Firms are now starting to extend data visibility out to their clients; providing real-time reporting to customers on-demand, via web portals or log-ins, without a solicitor or lawyer having to be involved in sending out updates or info to clients.

Performance against individual client KPIs is also a useful resource that could be extended out to clients, along with billing and case information.

This ability to access data when they want also has the added benefit of reducing the time clients spend getting in touch with your firm and therefore increases customer satisfaction levels.  For instance, having real-time billing information on a secure portal that the client can log into means they don’t have to call your firm up to check the billing position, reducing time on the client’s side and resources on your side.  Or if a client is awaiting info on an important decision, their portal can be updated as soon as the info is available, rather than waiting for their associated legal representative to find the time to call them and update them.



As you can see, data can be used for collating and simplifying financial and operational data, but also for supporting business generation activities and for analysing the results of marketing campaigns.  The end result is that the actions of the business become more deliberate; backed up by data and statistics rather than just experience and personal preference.



Image provided courtesy of NEC.

Is blogging the future for legal firms’ marketing strategies?

Increasingly legal firms, like many professional firms, are using the medium of blogs to communicate with new C24 Legal Hosting Bloggingclients and foster prospective customer relationships.

The law sector is particularly interesting for blogging as it is a marketing medium being employed by a fairly traditional profession whose business is based on the advice and guidance they provide, and are now offering free information online.


Typically the main reasons cited for law firms starting blogs are:

  • Enticing new clients through promotion of industry perspectives and knowledge
  • Distinguish firms from competitors
  • Responding to change in nature of buyers who are increasingly shopping around for their legal services

Whereas some social media platforms may not suit the field of law, such as Twitter with its 140 character limit, blogging has become a way for firms to share specialised information within their specific niches with potential clients and demonstrate their capabilities over and above competing firms.

However, as an article from Bloomberg highlighted, timing is critical.  If lawyers can be blogging on a decision the day it is released or the day a case is ruled, then they can quickly position themselves as experts and the go-to person in their field.  Being able to quickly turn news items around and into language that your clients can understand easily will mean readers look to you for info and latest developments.

But blogging is nothing new to this sector; LexBlog estimate that 80% of the largest law firms now publish blogs – a sign that blogs are becoming part of the fabric of legal marketing.  In fact, in a survey from Attorney at Work (which we cited in our report Employing Business Analytics to Achieve Better Sales Results For Your Legal Firm), 91% of lawyers that use social media, 60% identified social media as playing an important part of their marketing strategy, and platforms that allow for longer form pieces such as LinkedIn proved most popular.

Such is the popularity of blogging in the sector, that companies have now aligned themselves to providing services dedicated to helping lawyers and partners operate effective, business-generating blogs.  An example is LexBlog, a company that is dedicated to facilitating blogs for legal professionals and cites the reason for firms to now invest in their blogs is due to the view that “authentic online engagement accelerates relationships and word-of-mouth” in order to drive more business activity.

A feature on about why lawyers blog included a few interesting snippets that give us better insight into the wider reasons, outside of pure business generation, behind the legal blogging phenomenon:

  • Helps keep lawyers abreast of developments in the industry
  • Allows bloggers to give something back to the legal community
  • Enables lawyers to organise their thinking about complex topics
  • ‘About half of my new clients find me because of my blog’

The standout quote from the article that really embodies why blogging is such a valuable activity in the legal sector particularly is,

“When you can explain a concept clearly, your own understanding of the subject matter increases exponentially”.

A simple search on Google brings up hundreds of law related blogs, and what is now interesting is that the breadth of topics is expanding.  Firms are branching out into specialist niche areas of law in addition to the operational side of the business. There are now a number of blogs dedicated to marketing and business development, specifically targeted at the legal sector, such as LegalBizDev and the Legal Marketing Blog – who have specialised in their function and sector to provide industry specific advice and news that is more up to date than any textbook could hope to be.


It’s an exciting space and we especially look forward to find more blogs around the legal technology space.  If anyone can recommend any then it would be appreciated.


Image courtesy of Andy Piper.



About C24

C24 Ltd is one of the UK’s leading privately owned specialist managed service and hosting providers, based in the Midlands, UK. Working with businesses all over the globe, the company manages, secures and delivers critical business applications to over 100 countries, with a particular focus on the legal sector. As a strategic Thomson Reuters’ partner, we deliver enterprise hosting platforms for Thomson Reuters Elite clients who are looking for more flexible solutions for their core practice management platforms.