The COVID-19 pandemic forced lawyers and judges to practice outside of their physical facilities, and continue professional services from their home offices. That same period was the worst on record for cyber attacks:

  • The Sodin (a.k.a. REvil and Sodinokibi) ransomware gang infiltrated a group of law firms and published directories, customer lists, contracts and credentials to the dark web.
  • Gootloader offered free resources and templates for professionals (lawyers, doctors and engineers) which were infected and used to establish initial access.
  • Attackers posed as law students to establish a mentor relationship with senior partners and judges and then sent a link to a survey which deployed payloader malware.

In response, the American Bar Association (ABA) published Formal Opinion 498 (FO498) to address practicing law outside of the traditional brick-and-mortar office environment. It reminds lawyers that while the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct permit virtual practice, these Rules provide minimum requirements and recommendations for virtual practice, particularly in the areas of competenceconfidentiality and supervision.