Cyber Security for Small Firms and Solo Practices is a topic I was recently asked to discuss as a guest on the Digital Detectives podcast. As most of you know, I have co-hosted the Digital Edge podcast for many years with Sharon Nelson of Sensei Enterprises. This time the tables were turned as Sharon and her husband John W. Simek hosted me on their podcast. Let me also add that discussing cybersecurity with John and Sharon is somewhat akin to teaching a class on religion to the Pope.
But the topic of cybersecurity is extremely important and many lawyers now know someone who has endured a serious data breach or digital disaster. We see almost daily news reports about businesses and other organizations being hacked and their private information exposed, so this is a critical topic for law firms of all sizes. Ransomware is a new threat that requires a good understanding of how to prevent these attacks and how to recover from them.
I include in the podcast my top five cybersecurity tips for solo and small firm lawyers along with a range of other topics. It is free and you can listen to the podcast via the Legal Talk Network or subscribe to it on iTunes. I hope you enjoy it.
But there’s an additional opportunity to learn about information security and get some continuing legal education credits at the same time. Locked Down: Practical Information Security for Lawyers, will be presented as a live webcast from the Oklahoma Bar Association on September 7 at noon Central Time.
The presenters will be John Simek and Sharon Nelson of Sensei Enterprises. They, along with David Ries, are the co-authors of the 2016 book, Locked Down: Practical Information Security for Lawyers, Second Edition. I’m grateful that Sharon and John are doing this for Oklahoma Bar Association members, but it is a live webcast so anyone can attend online. If you’re not an OBA member, to enroll you must place a phone call to our CLE registrar Renée Mongomery at 405-416-7029 during business hours, Central time.
A young lawyer named Benjamin S. Wright followed me on Twitter today. That is not news. I tweet and re-tweet a lot of law practice management tips and every reader of my blog should be following me on Twitter. You can go to my Twitter account and do that right now. (Shameless self promotion mode now turned off.) Mr. Wright recently left his fledgling private practice to take a position as an attorney editor with the State Bar of Wisconsin. He recently wrote something for their Young Lawyers publication that is not only worth reading for lawyers of all ages, but people of all ages.
My Struggle for Perfectionism: The Myths and Realities of Being a Young Lawyer is a great read, about a topic which covers one of the challenges facing our profession. I sometimes joke to audiences that one of the problems with being a lawyer is we only have two standards of conduct: perfection and malpractice. That often gets a chuckle, if not a very loud chuckle. But that is how many lawyers feel. We acknowledge our imperfections as human beings, but we also have the professional standard that all legal work should be error-free.
Wikipedia defines perfectionism:
Perfectionism, in psychology, is a personality trait characterized by a person’s striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high performance standards, accompanied by overly critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations. It is best conceptualized as a multidimensional characteristic, as psychologists agree that there are many positive and negative aspects. In its maladaptive form, perfectionism drives people to attempt to achieve an unattainable ideal, and their adaptive perfectionism can sometimes motivate them to reach their goals. In the end, they derive pleasure from doing so. When perfectionists do not reach their goals, they often fall into depression.
I will note in passing the higher-than-average rates of depression, substance abuse and suicide within the legal profession.
“Perfect is the enemy of good’ is an often-quoted principle relating back to the time of Voltarie. Many business management books talk about the concept of “good enough,” contrasting it with the pursuit of perfection that actually drives down profits.
I’m not about to try and convince lawyers that their legal work shouldn’t be perfect. We all know it should be. But take a few moments to read some wisdom from a young lawyer in Wisconsin and try to make sure that your entire life is not ruled by perfectionism.
Having a great friend you haven’t talked to in a while as a podcast guest is one of the perks of being a podcast host. Sharon Nelson and I got to do that when we interviewed Andy Adkins for his “tell all” interview Tips for Managing Technology from a Chief Information Officer on the Digital Edge podcast. (OK, it isn’t really a “tell all” because he didn’t share any deep dark secrets.) But I really enjoyed hearing his tale of how he went from “slowing down” into some consulting work to being a CIO of a large law firm with offices in several states. Andy is one of the most knowledgeable guys you will ever meet about law firm IT operations. His story of spending time as a big law firm CIO should be interesting to everyone because it also demonstrates that law firm IT isn’t just about managing hardware and software, but also about interacting with lots of people.