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Cybersecurity Concerns Serve as Impetus for Law Firm Acquisition: eDiscovery Trends

We all know that data breaches and cybersecurity are more of a concern than ever.  In at least one case, those concerns were part of the decision for two law firms to announce their decision to merge last week.

As covered by Bloomberg Law (L.A. Divorce Lawyer to Join Big Law: Her Cybersecurity Worries and More, written by Casey Sullivan) and other outlets, celebrity divorce attorney Stacy Phillips and her four-lawyer boutique law firm, Phillips Lerner, decided to be acquired by Blank Rome last week and joined the firm last Friday.

Over the years, Phillips has represented Bobby Brown in his divorce from Whitney Houston, Corina Villaraigosa in her divorce from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Darcy LaPier in her child custody battle with Jean Claude Van Damme.

When interviewed by Bloomberg Law, Phillips indicated that cybersecurity concerns were part of the reason for the decision to join Blank Rome.

“I wanted to be part of a larger institution. I made that decision as the world gets far more complicated. I wasn’t sleeping at night because I was worried about cybersecurity”, said Phillips.  “I wanted to practice law and develop business. Running the business isn’t my interest and isn’t my strength.”

Asked about her specific concerns about cybersecurity, Phillips responded: “Divorce is a contentious process and people do bad things and people in other cases can be resentful and make efforts to hack into our computers. And what we have of our clients is extremely personal. It’s everything from their emotions, to their finances, and their kids. It’s very scary. The law firms can be hacked and infiltrated. It’s not a question of ‘if,’ it’s a question of ‘when?’ Each law firm and many law firms are going to be hit. [Blank Rome is] a bigger platform and you don’t have to worry about things like that. I don’t want to worry about that at the level that I have been. Other people know and understand it better than I do. I am grateful that others will take care of it. For me, to learn how to do all the computer stuff is a challenge. My son is an engineer and I didn’t get that brain chip.”

Perhaps stories like this will cause other firms to consider similar moves to join larger firms with a more secure infrastructure.  We’ll see.

So, what do you think?  Is this acquisition part of a growing trend?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

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