Prior Publisher

The Association of Digital Forensics, Security and Law (ADFSL)


The integrity of lawyers’ trust accounts has come under scrutiny in the last few years. There are strong possibilities of information technology security breaches happening within the firms, either accidental or deliberate. The damage caused by these security breaches could be extreme. For example, a trust account fund in an Australian law firm was misused in a security breach in which Telstra charged A$50,000 for phone usage, mainly for ISD calls to Hong Kong. Our study involved interviewing principals of ten law companies to find out solicitors’ attitudes to computer security and the possibility of breaches of their trust accounts. We simultaneously carried out a survey to see if the trends identified in our case-studies could be backed up with broader quantitative data. We have also conducted in-depth interviews of five trust account regulators from the Law society of South Australia to know their view points on security threats on trust accounts. An overall finding highlights that law firms were not current with technology to combat computer crime, and inadequate access control was a major concern in safeguarding account data. Our conclusions revealed the urgent need for law firms to adopt security controls, implement information security policies and procedures and obtain cooperation from management to communicate these policies to staff.


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