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MONTH-IN-BRIEF (Mar 2020)

Cybersecurity

Law Firm Must Face Cyberattack Claim from Client

By Sara Beth A.R. Kohut, Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP

A law firm that allegedly made promises regarding its cybersecurity in agreeing to represent a prominent Chinese political dissident now faces malpractice claims from the client, after his information was published by hackers. Wengui v. Clark Hill, PLC, C.A. No. 19-3195 (JEB) (D. D.C. Feb. 20, 2020). Law firm Clark Hill, PLC, agreed to represent businessman Guo Wengui in connection with his application for asylum and allegedly represented to Wengui that the firm had adequate cybersecurity in place to withstand hacking that Wengui warned would target the firm, presumably from persons associated with the Chinese government. After hackers breached the firm’s computer systems and published Wengui’s confidential information on the internet, Clark Hill withdrew from the representation on the grounds that it may be called as a witness in connection with the asylum application.

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