Law firms are increasingly targeted by hacker attacks

Law firms are increasingly targeted by hacker attacks

Law firms are becoming more and more the target of hacker attacks, and the consequences of these incidents can be devastating. In Poland, every third law firm already admits to being a victim of cyber attacks in the last year. According to the “LegalTech 2023” report, published at a conference under the patronage of “Rzeczpospolita,” 33% of surveyed law firms experienced cyberattack attempts, the highest percentage in four years. These attacks often include phishing, malware distribution, and DDoS attacks.

This phenomenon is not limited to Poland alone. In the UK, there is also a sharp increase in attacks on law firms and corporate legal departments, where cybercriminals are resorting to new methods such as ransomware and email compromise. According to the latest data from 2024, the number of reported cybersecurity breaches in British law firms increased by 36% in 2022/23, indicating an increasingly significant threat to this industry.

Examples of hacker attacks on law firms

Hackers have long seen law firms as attractive targets due to access to valuable information such as trade secrets, customer data, and other confidential documents. Examples of such attacks are numerous:

  • the theft of Uber driver’s personal data from the Genova Burns LLC law firm;
  • the seizure of contract data and personal email messages from 200 known celebrities – including Lady Gaga, Madonna, and Rod Stewart – from the Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks law firm in New York in 2020;
  • the leak of the “Panama Papers” – 11.5 million documents relating to wealthy tax evaders – from the Mossack Fonseca law firm based in Panama.

Law firms are a weak link in the customer information security system as they are responsible for storing highly sensitive data, making them attractive targets for cybercriminals. Many of them serve entities from regulated sectors, which increases their IT security obligations. However, unlike financial market entities, law firms are not obliged to meet specific requirements in this area.

Smaller law firms are particularly vulnerable to attacks due to smaller budgets and lack of adequate security measures. They often lack knowledge about cybersecurity. As a result, law firms become easy targets for hackers, especially in the case of ransomware attacks.

The consequences of ransomware attacks on law firms are diverse and may include:

  1. Loss of data access: Ransomware can encrypt or block access to critical data stored by the law firm, hindering its normal functioning.
  2. Ransom extortion: Attackers often demand ransom in exchange for restoring access to encrypted data. Paying ransom can be risky and does not guarantee data recovery.
  3. Business disruption: A ransomware attack can cause significant disruptions in the law firm’s daily operations, leading to financial and reputational losses.
  4. Confidential data breach: Leakage of confidential client data can lead to serious legal and financial consequences and loss of client trust.
  5. Data recovery and system repair costs: Cleaning systems of ransomware and restoring data can be costly both financially and temporally.

How to secure a law firm against ransomware attacks

Therefore, law firms should take appropriate steps to protect themselves against ransomware attacks. One proactive strategy may be to provide adequate training for staff, covering the following areas:

  • Cyber threat awareness: Educating staff about various types of cyber threats, including ransomware attacks, can help identify suspicious online behavior.
  • Secure corporate practices: Implementing best practices for IT security, such as regular system and software updates, and using strong passwords.
  • Appropriate response procedures: Training staff on procedures to respond to ransomware attacks, including incident reporting and collaboration with the IT security team.
  • Business continuity after an incident: Planning for business continuity in the event of a ransomware attack, including data restoration from backups and minimizing financial and reputational losses.


To protect against such attacks, law firms must increase their awareness of cybersecurity threats and take appropriate steps to secure their systems. Staff training, implementation of best practices for IT security, and development of appropriate response procedures are crucial to mitigate risk and minimize the impact of potential incidents. Protecting client data and preserving the reputation of the firm should be a priority for the entire legal industry in the face of growing threats from cybercriminals.

Author: Alicja Pawłowska


Scroll to Top