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The Increasing Role of Cybersecurity Experts in Complex Legal Disputes



The testimonies and guidance of expert witnesses have been known to play a significant role in high-stakes legal matters, whether it be the opinion of a clinical psychiatrist in a homicide case or that of a career IP analyst in a patent infringement trial. However, in today’s highly digital world—where cybercrimes like data breaches and theft of intellectual property are increasingly commonplace—cybersecurity professionals have become some of the most sought-after experts for a broadening range of legal disputes.

Below, we will explore the growing importance of cybersecurity experts to the litigation industry in more depth, including how their insights contribute to case strategies, the challenges of presenting technical and cybersecurity-related arguments in court, the specific qualifications that make an effective expert witness in the field of cybersecurity, and the best method for securing that expertise for your case.

How Cybersecurity Experts Help Shape Legal Strategies

Disputes involving highly complex cybercrimes typically require more technical expertise than most trial teams have on hand, and the contributions of a qualified cybersecurity expert can often be transformative to your ability to better understand the case, uncover critical evidence, and ultimately shape your overall strategy.

For example, in the case of a criminal data breach, defense counsel might seek an expert witness to analyze and evaluate the plaintiff’s existing cybersecurity policies and protective mechanisms at the time of the attack to determine their effectiveness and/or compliance with industry regulations or best practices. Similarly, an expert with in-depth knowledge of evolving data laws, standards, and disclosure requirements will be well-suited to determining a party’s liability in virtually any matter involving the unauthorized access of protected information. Cybersecurity experts are also beneficial during the discovery phase when their experience working with certain systems can assist in potentially uncovering evidence related to a specific attack or breach that may have been initially overlooked.

We have already seen many instances in which the testimony and involvement of cybersecurity experts have impacted the overall direction of a legal dispute. Consider the Coalition for Good Governance, for example, that recently rested its case as the plaintiffs in a six-year battle with the state of Georgia over the security of touchscreen voting machines. Throughout the process, the organization relied heavily on the testimony of multiple cybersecurity experts who claimed they identified vulnerabilities in the state’s voting technology. If these testimonies prove effective, it will not only sway the ruling in the favor of the plaintiffs but also lead to entirely new policies and impact the very way in which Georgia voters cast their ballots as early as this year.

The Challenges of Explaining Cybersecurity in the Courtroom

While there is no denying the growing importance of cybersecurity experts in modern-day disputes, it is also important to note that many challenges still exist in presenting highly technical arguments and/or evidence in a court of law.

Perhaps most notably, there remains a significant gap in both legal and technological language, as well as in the knowledge and understanding of cybersecurity professionals and judges, lawyers, and the juries tasked with parsing particularly dense information. In other words, today’s trial teams need to work carefully with cybersecurity experts to develop communication strategies that adequately illustrate their arguments but do not result in unnecessary confusion or a misunderstanding of the evidence being presented. Visuals are a particularly useful tool in helping both litigators and experts explain complex topics while also engaging decision-makers.

Depending on the nature of the data breach or cybercrime in question, you may be tasked with replicating a digital event to support your specific argument. In many cases, this can be incredibly challenging due to the evolving and multifaceted nature of modern cyberattacks, and it may require extensive resources within the time constraints of a given matter. Thus, it is wise to use every tool at your disposal to boost the power of your team—including custom expert witness sourcing and visual advocacy consultants.

What You Should Look for in a Cybersecurity Expert

Determining the qualifications of a cybersecurity expert is highly dependent on the details of each individual case, making it critical to identify an expert whose experience reflects your precise needs. For example, a digital forensics specialist will offer an entirely different skill set than someone with a background in data privacy regulations and compliance.

Making sure an expert has the relevant professional experience to assess your specific cybersecurity case is only one factor to consider. In addition to verifying education and professional history, you must also assess the expert’s experience in the courtroom and familiarity with relevant legal processes. Similarly, expert witnesses should be evaluated based on their individual personality and communication skills, as they will be tasked with conveying highly technical arguments to an audience that will likely have a difficult time understanding all relevant concepts in the absence of clear, simplified explanations.

Where to Find the Most Qualified Cybersecurity Experts

Safeguarding the success of your client or firm in the digital age starts with the right expertise. You need to be sure your cybersecurity expert is uniquely suited to your case and primed to share critical insights when the stakes are high.

As a leader in the industry, IMS is your best resource to quickly secure a highly qualified expert who can not only guide you through a cyberattack response plan but also explain intricate matters to decision-makers. Whether it involves dissecting the technical nuances of a data breach or interpreting the implications of privacy regulations, we deliver the best-suited independent and staff experts who bring invaluable data management, storage, and security expertise to bear.

Furthermore, IMS provides access to an integrated team of consultants who help you convey your argument in a clear and precise manner through strategy sessions, mock jury research, and visual tutorials on complex matters such as cyberattacks, data breaches, and criminal access to intellectual property. We are by your side from initial strategy through final delivery, allowing you to focus on gaining the best position and reducing reputational risk.

Visit to start your expert witness search and learn more about our full suite of services.

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