Law firms to share info about cyber threats

Leading international law firms are moving to share information on hacking threats, a step that could revolutionize how the legal industry copes with attempted cyberespionage.

The threat-sharing forum, which is expected to launch in late spring, will mimic the system used by banks and financial institutions to help each other guard against cyberattacks.

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The legal group is expected to have between six and 12 initial members, according to The American Lawyer, which reported the news on Thursday. Five founding members were named: Sullivan & Cromwell, Debevoise & Plimpton, Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison, Allen & Overy and Linklaters.

The decision to move forward on a threat-sharing forum highlights the pressure facing law firms to protect clients’ secrets.

Hackers, including teams sponsored by the Chinese government, have found law firms to be a less-guarded “back door” for gathering information on major U.S. companies. While banks and financial institutions have hardened cybersecurity, law firms’ protections are typically less sophisticated.

In the new forum, law firm leaders will be able to anonymously share information about hacking attempts and cyber vulnerabilities for an annual membership fee.

The group will be organized as an offshoot of the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center, the threat-sharing forum for the banking industry, and will have access to some of its data.