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Cybersecurity is more important than ever for the legal profession. Since law firms work with so much confidential information, they are often targeted by cybercriminals.

Today’s law firms need to implement strong cybersecurity measures to prevent cyberattacks and keep hackers at bay. Unfortunately, many law firms haven’t yet caught up with the need for these security measures, leaving their firms vulnerable.

We’ve rounded up some of the most interesting law firm cybersecurity statistics to illustrate where the industry currently stands on cybersecurity, and how security policies could grow and change in the future.

 

Law Firm Cybersecurity Statistics

Many law firms are beefing up their cybersecurity strategies to protect both client information and internal business data.

Proactively implementing cybersecurity strategies helps law firms remove digital vulnerabilities and prevent cyber incidents like data breaches. However, many law firms don’t go far enough with their cybersecurity strategies.

  • 80% of law firms have at least one technology policy in place, but only 34% have an incident response plan. [American Bar Association]
  • Spam filters are the most common cybersecurity tool for law firms, with 80% of respondents using them in a 2023 survey. [American Bar Association]
  • 43% of law firms conduct online data backups, while 32% use external hard drives. [American Bar Association]
  • 10% of law firms have no one monitoring system cybersecurity at all, with no in-house security personnel or third-party support. [Above The Law and Arctic Wolf]

 

Law Firm Cyber Threat Statistics

Law firms are vulnerable

to a wide range of evolving cyber threats that can expose sensitive information and damage your systems.

One of the biggest data security threats for law firms is social engineering, which includes tactics like phishing and whaling. With these threats, hackers pose as trusted contacts in an attempt to gain access to confidential data.

  • 4 in 10 law firms experienced a security breach in 2023. [Above The Law and Arctic Wolf]
  • 8% of employees in law firms have failed phishing email simulations in 2023, down from 11% in 2021. [Statista]
  • Three of the top 50 law firms in the United States experienced breaches in summer 2023. [Above The Law]
  • A 2023 study found that the legal industry faced an average of 1055 attacks per week, an increase of 13% from the year prior. [Checkpoint]

 

Cost of a Law Firm Data Breach Statistics

A data breach can be

devastating for any law firm. Many data breaches happen as a result of cyber attacks, but they can also happen through accidental unauthorized access to your systems.

Repairing a data breach is a significant financial expense for any company, regardless of size. This includes the cost of repairing your systems and restoring data, as well as lost income from clients.

  • The average cost of a data breach across all industries was $4.45 million as of 2023. [IBM]
  • The average cost of a data breach for small legal firms is $36,000. [ExchangeDefender]
  • 56% of law firms who have experienced a data breach have lost confidential client data, leaving them vulnerable to fines and potential lost clients. [Above The Law and Arctic Wolf]

 

Law Firm Compliance Statistics

Law firms have strict compliance standards to follow. These include industry-specific regulations about maintaining attorney-client privilege, as well as broader data privacy protections.

  • 22% of law firms listed complying with changing regulatory standards as a top priority. [Thomson Reuters Institute]
  • 69% of law firms say they are not fully prepared to meet ESG expectations, which include data privacy compliance. [Wolters Kluwer]
  • 40% of law firms reported having cyber insurance in 2023, a 6% decrease from 2022. [American Bar Association]

 

Future Trends in Law Firm Cybersecurity

As legal technology grows and changes, it may become easier for law firms to manage their cybersecurity strategies. However, new technologies can come with new security risks as well.

One of the biggest trends in law firm cybersecurity is the use of AI technology. Some law firms are already using AI to make operations more efficient. However, these new AI tools can come with some additional cybersecurity threats of their own.

It’s also possible that law firms could use AI technology in their cybersecurity strategies in the future. This could involve using AI to spot vulnerabilities or identify system intruders.

  • 73% of lawyers plan to use generative AI in their work in the next year. [Wolters Kluwer]

The global market for AI in cybersecurity is expected to reach $46.3 billion by 2027. [Statista]