Nearly a third of all law firms report being targeted by scammers in the last 12 months, a new report has revealed.

The finding forms part of the Law Society’s annual professional indemnity insurance survey (PII), warning law firms about upcoming changes to the insurance environment.

The survey found that while just six per cent of attempted scams resulted in a data breach and just three per cent led to financial loss, cybercrime is still among the major threats to clients, law firms and staff.

The report said spam emails and phishing attempts were by far the most common approaches, with an increase of almost a quarter on the proportion of firms reporting having been targeted by scammers since 2016/17.

Commenting on the survey, Law Society president Christina Blacklaws said: “Some insurers now ask about the measures firms have taken to protect against scams, including their security and IT systems. The Law Society provides training and resources to help solicitors prevent scams and keep up to date on this important issue.”

The research also found that just 47 per cent of firms are aware of the closure in 2020 of the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF), which had provided run-off cover since the move to a market based PII system in 2000.

Ms Blacklaws said firms that are going to close without a successor practice need to think about the kinds of liabilities they might still have outstanding when the run-off cover ends, including the additional costs of extending run-off cover to avoid being sued in a personal capacity.

Likewise, the Law Society warned that the cost of insurance premiums may soon increase.

“The findings reinforce an increasingly widely held view that the market is hardening, and PII prices could well rise next year,” added Ms Blacklaws.

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