Columbian Lawyers bring in cybersecurity expert for monthly meeting

May 12, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
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On Wednesday, May 3, the Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn hosted a monthly meeting at Gargiulo’s Restaurant in Coney Island, where attorney Daniel Garrie, a top voice in the cybersecurity and computer forensic space for over 20 years, gave an enlightening lecture on cybersecurity.

Daniel Garrie, a mediator, arbitrator, and Special Master at JAMS. Photo: Daniel Garrie.

The issue has become increasingly important since the pandemic, Columbian Lawyers President Salvatore Scibetta explained. While many attorneys have improved their technological capabilities in the past few years, many still have questions regarding security which is why Scibetta asked Garrie to lecture at the meeting.

Garrie, the Co-Founder of Law & Forensics LLC, and a Neutral at JAMS, has a history of successfully building and selling several technology startups before his legal career. His expertise in e-discovery, cybersecurity, and computer forensics has made him a sought-after expert witness in high-profile cybersecurity incidents.

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Yolanda Guadagnoli, the next president of the Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn, and Joseph Rosato, the next president of the Brooklyn Bar Association.

The lecture titled “Briefs to Breaches: Introduction to Cybersecurity and Cyber Threats Facing Law Firms” was a wake-up call for law firms, Scibetta said. Garrie shed light on how cybersecurity, the art of protecting networks, devices, and data from unauthorized access or criminal use, is no longer optional but a necessary measure for law firms.

As Garrie explained, law firms are a gold mine for cybercriminals because they handle and store sensitive and confidential data as part of their daily operations. Attorneys typically have little to no background in cybersecurity matters, making their firms even more vulnerable.

From left: Jake Baumgarten, Mark Longo, and Hon. Michael Pesce.

Garrie highlighted the alarming statistics from an ABA report: 25% of law firms have reported a security breach, and only 42% of respondents have an incident response plan. Most startlingly, 90% of attacks begin with a phishing email, with more than 97 percent of users unable to recognize a sophisticated phishing email.

New board member Rosemaria DeFrancisco.

He also shed light on the different types of cyber threats law firms face from hackers, hacktivists, criminals, nation-states, human error, and inside agents. These attackers aim at a wide range of data, from business financial data, client lists, customer databases, email addresses, and login credentials, to intellectual property and sensitive personal data.

Garrie emphasized the importance of regulatory guidelines like the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) of 2002 and the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2014 that aim to protect consumer cybersecurity and reduce cyber risks to critical infrastructure, respectively.

From left: Margherita Racanelli, Eva Cusack, Ellyn Kravitz, and John Dalli.

The lecture also highlighted notable data breaches affecting law firms, such as the incidents involving Bricker & Eckler LLP, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, and Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy LLP, demonstrating the real-world consequences of these threats.

Garrie’s talk was a potent reminder that cybersecurity is not a luxury but a necessity in today’s digital age, Scibetta said. Law firms must adapt and equip themselves with the necessary tools and knowledge to safeguard themselves and their clients from the growing threat of cyber attacks.

From left: Cristina Carabetta, chairwoman of the National Italian American Bar Association, President Salvatore Scibetta, and Chiara Parisi.
From left: Hon. Caroline Piela Cohen, Marisa Arrabito, and Betsey Jean-Jacques.

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