It's my pleasure to introduce you to Brent Arnold, a partner at Gowling WLG.
Brent let's talk first about your background and how you came to be a lawyer and head of the firm's commercial litigation technology group.
So I started off studying politics which is obviously all about law in one way or the other. I went back to law school and I emerged as a commercial litigator, did that for a few years started to get really interested in technology and being interested in litigating over technology sort of takes you pretty naturally to cyber security. Can you tell us a little bit about your personal practice, the clients you represent and your approach to helping your clients?
Sure, so on the litigation side, actual litigation, the biggest ones that we deal with are we defend clients that have been sued because of data breaches so internet service providers device manufacturers that sort of a thing and those are very high stakes litigation and the law is relatively new here in Canada so it's a very exciting time to be in it. Separately I'm what's called a breach coach which means when a client is attacked in a cyber attack they call us and I essentially corral the horses bring in the other experts the public relations people the forensics vendors, our own privacy experts, to manage the crisis and see the client through the various stages hopefully ending in things being peaceful but sometimes ending and defending them in the litigation.
Brent you were appointed recently as the vice chair of the DRI cyber security and data privacy committee you tell me a little bit more about this the DRI is the defense research institute? It's essentially represents the American defense side of the civil litigation bar and we head up a committee that educates lawyers and the public on issues of data private data security and privacy so we put together programming for the lawyers we also advocate and do a lot of thought leadership in the area aside from the defense research institute you were also involved with the Ontario Superior Court's e-hearing task force can you tell me more about this?
Yeah a few weeks into the pandemic the court realized that we didn't know how to practice virtually so they put together a task force from the advocate society, the Ontario Bar Association, and Outlaw and we researched and we put together best practices for remote hearings which is a guide for judges and litigants including self-reps in how to do virtual hearings.
We're all struggling through the covet pandemic even as we speak what is the most common advice that you have been asked for by clients they want to know how is the matter going to proceed is it going to take longer is it going to be more expensive we still don't know how long things are going to take but the technology and mastering the technology makes it possible for us to get a lot done cheaper than we ever could actually there's no reason matters can't be moving forward now with all of this at our disposal. What cyber security issues has the pandemic given rise to?
Oh this has really opened up a can of worms and we've dealt with a lot of cases arising out of this it's a combination of people being remote deployed who'd never been before the professionals or road warriors they know how to how to protect them themselves staff members who've never worked remotely are clicking on emails they shouldn't click on using work arounds using devices they shouldn't be using that sort of a thing, so it opens up and the hackers know this so they've been incredible heightening of attacks during covet there's also problems of having to remote deploy so quickly so hastily installed VPNs are very vulnerable.
Do you think that the exposure to cyber security attacks can be managed? This is essentially a cold war and it's a cold war between nations and between uh the rest of us and cyber criminals so it never ends and we have to keep investing and that means companies have to keep spending board boards and executives need to educate themselves on the risk and treat it as business risk and the government needs to invest in a really robust cyber community cyber security community and government.
So Brent I want to thank you for being here today it was a great conversation and I hope you have a great day.