Needles & TrialWorks Customers Deal with System Outage from Ransomware Attack

SmartAdvocate® Offering Free Standard Conversion to Needles Customers

On October 13, 2019, Needles and TrialWorks were hit with a Ransomware attack.  The corporate siblings were recently purchased by venture capital company Ridge Road Capital Partners.

Ransomware is defined as “malware planted illegally in a computer or mobile device that disables its operation or access to its data until the owner or operator pays to regain control or access”.[1]

While it appears the companies may have paid the ransom, their law firm customers have been slow to recover access to their critical client data.  “The ripples of disruption from this incident made it impossible for lawyers to access the legal documents hosted on TrialWorks’ platform.”[2]  Some customers remained without full access to their documents almost two weeks after the attack began.[3]

Imagine your law firm without access to crucial client and firm data and documents for weeks!  Consider the potential breaches of attorney – client confidentiality that could result from third-party access to your data!

According to the Miami Herald, at least one law firm was “forced to request more time to meet a filing deadline in … federal court because it could not access its electronic documents”.[4]  Some customers found it difficult to obtain details about the outage, claiming that “request[s] for information [fell] on deaf ears….”[5]

The effected companies have promised to “expend all the resources required to both address this issue head-on and mitigate the chance of a recurrence”.[6]

SmartAdvocate® Chief Technology Officer Igor Selizhuk applauded the efforts by Needles and TrialWorks to resolve the outage quickly and thus provide their customers with access to their critical data.  A better solution however, said Selizhuk, is to anticipate and prepare for such an eventuality in advance.

The underlying technology upon which SmartAdvocate® Cloud was built makes the success of such a ransomware attack extremely unlikely.  SmartAdvocate® is a fully browser-based system and is only accessible via HTTPS.[7]  According to Selizhuk, SmartAdvocate® Cloud does not run virtual workstations and does not provide its customers with direct access to its server file structure.  As a result, he says, this “virtually eliminates any possibility of our servers being infected by ransomware or other malware”.

In addition, should the unlikely occur and SmartAdvocate®’s Cloud servers somehow were impacted by malware, a daily backup regimen and a long-term historical backup retention policy make it even less likely that an infection could impact customer access to their data for any extended period.

SmartAdvocate® is currently offering a free standard conversion for Needles customers and 50% discounts off the regular prices for TrialWorks conversions.  Please contact a SmartAdvocate® representative to learn more at 877-GET-SMART (1-877-438-7627), or visit our newly updated website at

SmartAdvocate® is the most powerful, fully integrated case and document management system available. Initially designed by and for personal injury and mass tort litigation firms, SmartAdvocate® is now used by a wide range of litigation firms throughout the United States and Canada.


[2] BleepingComputer, TrialWorks Ransomware Attack Disrupts Court Cases and Deadlines, 10/27/2019,

[3] Cyber Guards, Ransomware Attack Disrupts Court Cases and Deadlines TrialWorks, 10/28/2019,

[4]   Miami Herald, ‘Ransomware incident’ in South Florida blocked some law firms from countless records, 10/25/2019,

[5] Miami Herald, ‘Ransomware incident’ in South Florida blocked some law firms from countless records, 10/25/2019,

[6] Cyber Guards, Ransomware Attack Disrupts Court Cases and Deadlines TrialWorks, 10/28/2019,

[7] “Hypertext transfer protocol secure (HTTPS) is the secure version of HTTP, which is the primary protocol used to send data between a web browser and a website. HTTPS is encrypted in order to increase security of data transfer. This is particularly important when users transmit sensitive data….” CloudFare, What is HTTPS?,