JUNE 2023 – ARTICLES & ITEMS OF INTEREST
THE LEGAL QUALITY STANDARD OF IRELAND
JUNE 2023 – ARTICLES & ITEMS OF INTEREST
SOLICITORS ACCOUNTS REGULATIONS COME INTO FORCE 1 JULY 2023
Solicitors are reminded that the new regulations come into operation on Saturday 1 July 2023, replacing the existing 2014 regulations.
Below are 2 links relating to the new SARs, both are from the Law Society of Ireland, the first sets out the key points in bullet format and the second is a more detailed guidance for members.
NATIONAL CYBER SECURITY CENTRE – CYBER THREAT REPORT: UK LEGAL SECTOR
In June 2023, the National Cyber Security Centre published a 24 page Cyber Threat Report based on the UK Legal Sector.
The purpose of this report is to help law firms, lawyers and legal practices understand current cyber security threats, and the extent to which the legal sector is being targeted. It then offers practical guidance on how organisations can be resilient to these threats.
The report states the widespread uptake of remote working has increased risk from a cyber-security perspective.
The report outlines the main types of cyber-attacks namely:-
- Business Email Compromise
- Ransomware and Other Malware
- Password Attacks,
- Supply Chain Attacks
- and sets out how to defend against these cyber attacks
One example under Phishing is ‘Most law firm websites contain vast amounts of information and contact details for their senior staff, partners and associates, which criminals can use (along with information from social and business networking sites) to launch more targeted attacks. One technique involves criminals monitoring LinkedIn to identify new joiners at an organisation, and then sending a scam email to the HR department. The scam emails contain a fraudulent request to change the payroll account details for the new joiner, in an attempt to steal salary payments’.
To view this very relevant and informative report see https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/files/Cyber-Threat-Report_UK-Legal-Sector.pdf
LAW SOCIETY OF IRELAND ISSUES SUSPICIOUS EMAIL ALERT – ‘ACUITY LAW’
On the 14 June 2023, the Law Society of Ireland alerted members of the profession to a suspicious email purporting to come from UK firm Acuity Law.
The email prompts the recipient to download a .zip file, presenting it as ‘initial documentation and draft contact’. The article sets out a copy of the email.
Acuity Law, a legitimate firm with offices in England and Wales and the sender attempted to mislead the recipient with only a small change in the spelling of ‘Acuity’ in the sender email address.
The alert reminds practitioners to exercise vigilance when sending or receiving information by email. Always check the sender against a reputable source (such as Find a Solicitor or the Law Directory) and exercise particular caution if an email is unexpected or prompts you to download a potentially malicious file.
To view this suspicious email alert see https://www.lawsociety.ie/news/news/Stories/suspicious-email-alert–email-purporting-to-come-from-acuity-law/?filters=&location=&category=&area
LSRA PUBLISHES ITS 2022 ANNUAL REPORT
On the 20 June 2023, the LSRA published its Annual Report 2022.
Key findings in the report include:-
- More complaints closed than opened in 2022.
- 1,352 complaints were received.
- 861 related to alleged misconduct, 433 related to inadequate standards, 58 related to excessive costs.
- 1,310 were made against solicitors and 42 related to barristers.
- 504 were made against legal practitioners in Dublin, 151 made against legal practitioners in Cork, 67 made in Limerick, 60 made in Galway.
- 1,483 complaints closed in 2022 of these – 677 were found to be inadmissible, 348 resolved with assistance of the LSRA and 212 withdrawn or could not proceed.
- The LSRA issued 7 applications to the High Court for orders to enforce its directions against legal practitioners due to their failure to comply with same following the investigation of a complaint.
- 82 LLPs were authorised in 2022, bringing the total to 424.
To view this report in full see https://www.lsra.ie/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/LSRA-Annual-Report-2022-Final.pdf
LAW SOCIETY GAZETTE PUBLISHES FIRST ARTICLE IN A NEW SERIES ON FIGHTING CYBERCRIME
In the June edition of the Law Society Gazette, Tanya Moeller, Nicola Kiely and Deborah Leonard have begun writing a new series on fighting cybercrime in the office, what is it, how you can identify it and MOST IMPORTANTLY how you can stop it.
The article states ‘While technical measures focus on IT infrastructure and software components, organisational measures range from good management to business continuity planning and observing safe behaviours’.
This first article looks at human error, common threats, protections available (which discusses the importance of staff training and awareness) and changing behaviour.
They set out a cybersecurity checklist:-
1) Train employees on email and internet-security best practices,
2) Limit personal use of business email and browsers,
3) Create strong passwords and change these regularly,
4) Handle portable memory devices carefully,
5) Follow safe practices when working on the go,
6) Avoid open, public Wi-Fi,
7) Log out.
To view this article in full see https://www.lawsociety.ie/globalassets/documents/gazette/gazette-pdfs/gazette-2023/june-2023-gazette.pdf#page=28
NEW EMPLOYMENT RIGHTS COME INTO FORCE ON 3 JULY 2023
On the 26 June 2023, Minister Roderic O’Gorman announced the commencement date for new employment entitlements brought in as part of the recently passed Work Life Balance Act 2023.
Part 1, Part 2, other than sections 7, 8, 12 (a), 13 and 14; and Sections 32 to 39 of the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2023 will be commenced on 3 July 2023.
This includes the introduction of leave for medical care purposes (a right to take 5 days unpaid leave per year for medical care purposes for parents of children under 12, and carers) and the entitlement to breastfeeding breaks will be extended from the current period of six months – a time which coincides with maternity leave – up to two years. An order amending regulations relating to breastfeeding breaks made under the Maternity Protection Acts will also be made.
It is planned to commence the legislative provisions introducing domestic violence leave in the autumn.
The right to request flexible working for parents and carers will be commenced following the preparation of a Code of Practice by the WRC under Part 4.
Commencement of Part 3 and Part 4 are for the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment
Employers should review their workplace policies now to ensure they are ready to comply with the requirements of the legislation in respect of medical care leave and time off for breastfeeding.
To view this announcement see https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/6c834-minister-ogorman-confirms-introduction-of-new-employment-rights-for-parents/
MISCONDUCT INVOLVING ALCOHOL – PARTNER FINED £23,000
This year we updated the LQSI Dignity Policy to refer to the requirement to follow this policy during all social and work events, with or without the involvement of alcohol. We referenced two articles therein and advised Management and HR Managers in firms to review them.
This month on the Law Society of England and Wales website, a further case involving alcohol was reported on. In this case, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal ordered that the respondent should pay a fine of £23,000.
In summary, while in practice as a solicitor and partner at the firm and attending the firm’s Christmas lunch in December 2017, the respondent had sung a song in front of and directed at A, a trainee at the firm, and had made gestures which were sexualised in nature and comprised breaches of principles 2, 6 and 9 of the SRA Principles 2011.
To view this decision in full see https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/sdt-and-sra-interventions/decisions-and-interventions/5116418.article