Erik Laykin
Office:
10100 Santa Monica Boulevard
Suite 1100
90067
City:
Los Angeles
State:
California
Country:
USA
Tel:
+1 310 245 2902

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders: Investigations Digital Forensics Experts

Erik Laykin, CHFI, CEDS, JMG, CFLC, is managing director, practice chair and founder of the global data risk practice at Duff & Phelps LLC.

As a fourth-generation native of Los Angeles from a prominent American jewellery family, Erik was always keenly aware of the value placed on things and ideas, from treasured gems to movie scripts. This, combined with a deep curiosity about technology, led him in the 1990s to be an early pioneer in the field of computer forensics and the protection of intellectual property on the internet. As a consequence, Erik has led, testified and solved some of the world’s largest and most complex cybersecurity investigations and electronic discovery matters.

WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO A CAREER IN THE INVESTIGATIONS SPACE?

Simply put; nothing is quite as intoxicating as discovery. Ask Galileo, Magellan, Einstein or even Buzz Aldrin. The cyber-investigative space allows me and my team to take virtual voyages of discovery in the modern sea of data to discover the truth. This is exciting.

Fundamentally, my interest in investigations and by association cybersecurity, computer forensics, privacy and electronic discovery has been driven by a lifelong personal curiosity in the world, a driving interest to discover the truth and finally a strong commitment to justice, the rule of law and ideals of reason. 

Nothing can obfuscate the truth quite as effectively as the cloak of anonymity or digital distortions afforded by the manipulation of the electronic environment which we all now rely on. I like to think that our work in this space is one light of clarity and that we can bring effective resolution to our clients most challenging questions and complications.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE MOST SIGNIFICANT CHANGES THAT THE FIELD HAS UNDERGONE SINCE YOUR BEGAN YOUR CAREER?

The information revolution has swept the entire world with change. In our lifetimes, a digital tide has washed over all of humanity’s institutions, in some cases leaving only a residue, but in other cases washing away age-old social structures as if they were mere sandcastles. All of this in our own lifetimes. In light of this great change, it is often difficult to fully appreciate the magnitude of it all when you are living within the sea of change day in and day out. 

The generation of people born after 1990 have a completely different life experience from those born in the 1960s like myself. How do you really fully explain the true frustration of waiting in line for a telephone booth at the airport in 1980 because you needed make a call to your loved one, when today a video call can be made from your own handheld device while in the airplane itself at 30,000 feet? The fundamental changes to society are still very much under way and they will continue for the balance of our lifetimes; these changes are reflected in the cyber investigations field as well.

In my opinion, the most significant change that the field of investigations has undergone since I began my career is the same as the most significant change that each of us, in all fields, has experienced: instant access to information.

YOU ARE RENOWNED FOR YOUR STRONG EXPERTISE IN THE FIELD OF IT – WHAT ARE THE MAIN CHALLENGES CURRENTLY FACING PRACTITIONERS IN THE SECTOR?

There are a variety of practical challenges facing the field presently, all of which I am optimistic will address themselves over the medium-term. They include the challenges posed by standards of practice which may only be still emerging – or worse, have yet to be fully defined. There is a challenge in the shortage of skilled practitioners who can bridge the technical and human aspects of the work; leveraging good judgement is just as important as knowing where all of the bits and bytes are stored. An additional challenge rests in corporations and institutions of every stripe: this is the challenge of education on matters as wide-ranging from data hygiene to privacy. A fourth (but certainly not the last) challenge is the need to develop protocols that will allow for more rapid cooperation for data preservation across international jurisdictions. Too many investigations are thwarted by “bad guys” who hide behind the age-old constructs of national borders; yet data flows across those borders unchecked and in free form, allowing fraudsters and criminals of every stripe a safe haven.

WHAT QUALITIES MAKE AN EFFECTIVE TESTIFYING EXPERT?

Among the many qualities that an effective testifying expert should have are personal integrity, objectivity and the ability to communicate. Without these and other fundamental building blocks, an expert witness – regardless of training and functional expertise – will be vulnerable and may more easily fail his or her clients.

WHAT IS THE MOST INTERESTING CASE YOU HAVE WORKED ON THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER?

At the risk of sounding too formulaic, I can truly say that the case that I am working on right now is the most interesting case. It always is.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNGER INDIVIDUALS WHO HOPE TO BE IN YOUR POSITION ONE DAY?

I would advise that, as with any domain, there are no shortcuts. It is necessary to put in the time to not only know your field of expertise but also to live it, to embody it. That said, one cannot slavishly toe the line for one’s entire career and expect to be recognised from the rest of the pack. You will have to take risks; and while you should manage those risks carefully, so that you can maximise the odds in your favour, there is also the magic of timing, synchronicity and simple good luck, which cannot be discounted. 

Above all, however, I would recommend that younger individuals protect their reputation with all of their energy. This effort transcends simply protecting your image on Facebook – it manifests itself in the work that you do for others and your clients. 

The integrity that you build into every decision that you make on your client’s behalf is a direct reflection on you. Win, lose or draw… do it with honour.

Biographies:

Who's Who Legal Consulting Experts: Experts - Digital & Data - Digital Forensic Experts

Erik Laykin, CHFI, CEDS, JMG, CFLC is a managing director and founder of the global data risk practice at Duff & Phelps LLC.

As an early pioneer in the cyber investigations field in the mid-1990s he founded the first commercial computer forensic/cyber-investigation labs in Los Angeles, Chicago and Hong Kong and developed cutting-edge investigative techniques on behalf of multi-national law firms and corporations that are still employed today.  

Mr Laykin has assisted hundreds of foreign and domestic clients on issues such as complex electronic discovery, computer forensic disputes, investigation of cyber-crime, malware and viruses, trade secret theft, corporate espionage, software and hardware systems failures, intellectual property theft and other challenging information technology disputes. On many of these matters Mr Laykin serves in federal or state court as an expert witness, independent neutral or as a court-appointed special master.

As a cyber-forensic subject matter expert, author, futurist, and Sinophile, Mr Laykin regularly comments on emerging technology and business risks at international conferences and for the media. Mr Laykin provides education on cyber-related issues to law firms, corporations, government agencies and universities. He is chair of the American Bar Association computer forensic expert witness committee, committee chair of the ABA IoT committee, current president of the Forensic Expert Witness Association and the past president and Pacific Rim director of the FBI’s InfraGard programme. 

Mr Laykin’s newest book, Investigative Computer Forensics, was recently published by John Wiley & Sons.

WWL says: Erik Laykin is widely held to be a specialist in complex investigations and disputes and is particularly well regarded for his expertise in computer forensics and e-discovery.

 

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Consulting Experts which can be purchased from our Shop.

Who's Who Legal Consulting Experts: Experts - Digital & Data - Data and E-Discovery Experts

Erik Laykin, CHFI, CEDS, JMG, CFLC is a managing director and founder of the global data risk practice at Duff & Phelps LLC.

As an early pioneer in the cyber investigations field in the mid-1990s he founded the first commercial computer forensic/cyber-investigation labs in Los Angeles, Chicago and Hong Kong and developed cutting-edge investigative techniques on behalf of multinational law firms and corporations that are still employed today.  

Mr Laykin has assisted hundreds of foreign and domestic clients on issues such as complex electronic discovery, computer forensic disputes, investigation of cyber-crime, malware and viruses, trade secret theft, corporate espionage, software and hardware systems failures, intellectual property theft and other challenging information technology disputes. On many of these matters Mr Laykin serves in federal or state court as an expert witness, independent neutral or as a court-appointed special master.

As a cyber-forensic subject matter expert, author, futurist, and Sinophile, Mr Laykin regularly comments on emerging technology and business risks at international conferences and for the media. Mr Laykin provides education on cyber-related issues to law firms, corporations, government agencies and universities. He is chair of the American Bar Association computer forensic expert witness committee, committee chair of the ABA IoT committee, current president of the Forensic Expert Witness Association and the past president and Pacific Rim director of the FBI’s InfraGard programme. 

Mr Laykin’s newest book, Investigative Computer Forensics, was recently published by John Wiley & Sons.

WWL says: Erik Laykin commands respect from respondents who admire his enviable practice in the field of cyber security, computer forensics and e-discovery.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Consulting Experts which can be purchased from our Shop.

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