Law Firm Sues Rival for Firm Hacking, Client Theft

By George Khoury, Esq. on August 30, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

When you think of law firms getting hacked, you usually don't envision it coming from other law firms, especially in the family law industry. Maybe a jilted spouse, an angry teen in a divorce case, an unsatisfied client you couldn't do anything for, sure ... but another law firm, that just defies logic.

However, a recent lawsuit out of Illinois makes some rather serious allegations of hacking and even employee espionage, the likes of which movie plots are based on. In short, it's alleged that a DUI/misdemeanor practice wanting to branch out into family law and more serious criminal matters decided to just steal an established practice's online presence and potential clients.

Stealing a Website

The case alleges that the offending firm, Dolci and Weiland, made a "lookalike" website to mirror the law firm Motta and Motta's website, copied content verbatim, and sought to trick legal consumers into hiring them, when they meant to hire Motta and Motta. It's also alleged that tags were placed on the website to lure viewers to Dolci's website. The hacked law firm also claims that an employee was compromised and was actively redirecting potential clients to Dolci.

Motta noticed a sharp decline in website traffic and callers corresponding with their allegations, but unfortunately not right away: the complaint asserts damages at $2 million over the span of two years.

Detecting a Hack

Even if you read all the blogs about auditing your firm's network and systems for "cybersecurity," do you ever do anything about it? Do you know what to look for? Would you even know if you were a victim of such a nefarious plan? If the answer is no, you should probably hire some help, and while you're at, get the full cybersecurity audit you've been needing, and follow that professional's security recommendations.

But if you're content humming along until something in the workflow breaks, you now have one more thing to check before blaming yourself, or legal A.I. and robot lawyers.

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