Watson, Farley & Williams has rushed to remove a video from YouTube which exposed confidential client and partner information.
The five and a half minute video showed someone with administrator-level access moving around the shipping specialist's website demonstrating various features.
Three minutes in, the cursor opens a 'Business Development' section which reveals a list of 'Deals' and a list of 'Pitches'. Several matters are shown, two of which are labelled explicitly as 'Confidential'.
Not to give too much away, but lots of those redacted deals concerned boat stuff.
The tour then turns to WFW's billing system. In doing so, it reveals the identity of WFW clients and the matters on which the firm was working. Details of clients' invoices are also shown, and their balances on client account.
Clients, matters, monies, all set out clearly. Looks like a great system!
The footage has been available for anyone to see for two years. It was uploaded in 2017 by an employee of Aderant, a US IT business which claims to be "Reimagining law firm success".
"Just gonna upload it like...that. Bingo."
Steve McHargue, a 'Senior Solutions Architect' at Aderant on whose YouTube channel the video was posted, describes himself as a 'portal evangelist'. Luckily for WFW his congregation is very small and in two years Aderant's blooper reel garnered only 17 views.
Which is just as well, because at least two partners have the right to be absolutely livid about the breach.
The final third of the video takes viewers on a spin around pages showing WFW lawyers' utilisation rates. Two named WFW partners are used as examples, with the operator revealing screens that show that their performances were below average compared to the rest of the maritime team, as well as compared to the London office and the firm as a whole.
The humiliating information even includes the amount of sick leave they took, along with their remaining holiday entitlement. About the only detail Aderant didn't reveal was their pay.
Billings up over last year, at least.
The video was deleted from YouTube within hours of RollOnFriday alerting WFW.
In a statement the firm said McHargue intended to share the video privately for an internal training scheme, but inadvertently posted it on a public site. He is said to be "mortified" by the slip.
The firm said Aderant did not have WFW's permission to create the video. It said it took data breaches "very seriously" and was "concurrently conducting our own investigations including, among other things, action on the part of the supplier".
WFW warned "third parties" that the information contained in the video "is confidential and should not be disseminated" and that "the video or any parts of it should be deleted”. An important message to send, albeit two years ago.