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How To Become A Cyber Lawyer

With the evaluation of e-governance and society moving towards digitization, the Information Technology has penetrated in every sphere of life and the profession of law, being no exception, is immensely impacted by it. The proliferation comprises of e-Business, Digital Communication, Digital Evidence, hacking, DDoS attacks, online frauds and includes everything in the digital realm which has to be handled in court litigations. Further, the internet lacks boundary and as such cyber laws have been structured in a manner to have universal applications.

Cyber crime is at all time high and so thrust broad challenges for the legal fraternity, judiciary and the investigating agencies who are required to equip themselves with new skills to meet these challenges. As high profile data breaches such as those that hit Sony, JP Morgan, Home Depot etc. continue to grab headlines, the demand for Cyber lawyers is rising who can, not only present their case in proper perspective, but also can help the effected companies in handling such cases particularly preserving the evidence and thus help to prosecute the cyber offenders. With the dynamically changing technologies, the challenges for the cyber lawyers are growing as there is a continuous need to update the technical knowledge. The main change is the movement of the data from the hard disk/static data analysis to different storage areas, from the cloud to browser based and to points such as mobile phones.

The cyber domains expand to mainly three categories: computers, network and mobiles all these three categories require a different set of knowledge about the protocols, technologies, operating system, devices etc. In cyber domain, the challenges for the techno lawyers are much more as compared to those in any other field as the original digital evidence always remains intact before the court and during litigations, the defense lawyer is expected to get the digital evidence forensically examined and demolish the case of prosecution.

Scope of Cyber Arena

The domains requiring application of cyber laws are even much wider than the legal domain itself. Its application is not limited to the existing civil & criminal litigations. Due to the unique nature of the internet, a large number of compliances have emerged involving combination of technology and law. The internet, being a public medium, has brought various inherent risks which have resulted into exponential expansion of the domains of privacy, freedom of speech or expressions, cyber security and thus, created wider scope for the legal professionals into this arena.

The opportunities in the cyber domain emerge as a cyber lawyer, specializing into litigations involving information technology, cyber consultant in the companies- particularly in every IT company and almost every government department. The tremendous growth of the information technology is pervasive in every domain of life and business which is responsible for expanding and opening–up of the opportunities for legal professionals in the cyber field exponentially. The field has great and wide scope incorporates particularly because of e-governance, virtualization, development of e-process technologies and internet becoming dominant level playing field for copyright and trademark violations.

Studying cyber law can help IT and other professionals like CIO, CISO, CISA, CISSP, CA, CS etc. to provide better services to their clients by providing them with know how about the legal aspect of the issues relating to e-businesses. The integration of processes in every domain with the information technology have resulted into all the processes exposed to cyber risks and as such the compliances and information system audit has become mandatory for all medium or big organizations. This has also generated more avenues for the cyber lawyers as consultant, advisors etc. Thus, a person with a good legal knowledge, skill and technological bent of mind would be able to master this field and surely going to rule.

Current Framework

In US and Europe, the cyber law field is dominated by technology lawyers and most of them enters into this arena at the bachelor stage itself by acquiring B.Tech, BCA or B.Sc Computer Sciences alongwith the legal degree i.e. L.L.B. Further, the specialized courses such as CFCE, CCFP, CEH, CISSP etc with specialised trainings in the field are also available into the various cyber forensics disciplines and cyber securities This allows these techno lawyers to hone their skills into cyber domain which are required in these litigations. The judiciary and investigative agencies are also trained to handle these issues and law & procedure have been developed but still they are struggling to be compatible with continuously fast changing technology.

In India, the scenario is quite dismal and the concept of techno lawyer is completely mis-understood. The judiciary as well as investigating agencies are not trained to meet these challenges and alarming situation being that it is not a priority even now. The half hearted efforts are being made to bridge these gaps by way of training but due to huge demand, potential and kind of skill required, the gap is ever widening with each passing day creating a large vacuum for techno-legal professionals in this digital arena. At present there are lawyers who have acquired some qualifications in IT or PG Diploma in Cyber Law or there are some technocrats who have done LLB and these professionals become so called cyber lawyers but are they competent to handle these complex issues of digital world?-- as has been discussed hereinafter.

Skills Required