Greenberg Traurig just poached 5 more privacy and data-security lawyers, bulking up in a practice area that’s booming as clients rush to navigate new regulation and safeguard sensitive information

  • Greenberg Traurig has brought over five more lawyers from Bryan Cave Leighton Pasner, adding to the three who came over earlier this month.
  • The lawyers, based in Denver and Chicago, noted that it’s not just California tech startups that have to think about data-security laws.
  • Numerous firms have been setting up privacy and cybersecurity-oriented practices lately to take advantage of growing client demand.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Five lawyers from Bryan Cave Leighton Pasner’s data-privacy and security team are moving to Greenberg Traurig, following on the heels of three lawyers who made a similar move last month.

The attorneys, including Kevin Scott, who’d been counsel at Bryan Cave and is a shareholder at Greenberg, are joining in Chicago and Denver. They follow similar moves by David Zetoony and Jena Valdetero, two partners who moved to Greenberg in those cities earlier this month alongside associate Jessica Pederson.

Greenberg’s move to bulk up its privacy and data-security practice makes it the latest firm to add new lawyers amid growing concerns about consumer privacy. Winston & Strawn recently formed a data-privacy practice group, Blank Rome has targeted the niche of biometric data privacy, and recruiters and attorneys told Business Insider that firms are hungry for talent.

Gretchen Ramos, the global co-chair of Greenberg’s practice, said the pandemic has raised new data-privacy issues around health information. E-commerce platforms whose marketing makes use of consumer data are also seeking legal advice, she said.

“The work we have has increased dramatically, and I don’t see that subsiding at all,” she said.

The new hires include Scott and four associates: Sarah Schenker, Karin Ross, Andrea Maciejewski and Tyler Thompson. There are currently 59 people listed in Greenberg Traurig’s data, privacy and security practice on its website, some of whom also work on healthcare, intellectual property or technology.

Data privacy lawyers help clients deal with evolving mandates in California, the European Union and other jurisdictions and make sure they’re doing enough to defend against cyberthreats. Incidents in which companies have lost access to their files through ransomware have been on the rise, bringing reputational harm and the risk of lawsuits. 

On the regulatory front, a July decision by the EU’s top court called into question the “privacy shield” that companies had relied on to allow the transfer of personal data from the EU to the US. And in the US, the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 created new rules for companies that do business in California, and may soon be bolstered if a ballot initiative, the California Privacy Rights Act, passes this year.

Zetoony said in a recent interview that Greenberg Traurig’s existing privacy team was attractive because privacy and data-protection law was their true focus, not something they dabbled in. 

“We are not the lawyers you go to when you want a policy debate or discussion,” he said. “We are the lawyers you go to when you have business decisions that have to be made.”

Valdetero said the move came together after she got to chatting with a neighbor of hers who happened to be a labor and employment associate at Greenberg Traurig.

Other firms have been hiring in the privacy space, though Greenberg’s eight-lawyer group is notable for its size. In August, Lewis Brisbois announced a data-privacy partner hire in Chicago and Venable announced the addition of D. Reed Freeman from WilmerHale. Earlier this month, Orrick said that it hired Sarah Schaedler to its tech transactions practice.

Firms have also been bringing on a number of professionals without law degrees to provide cybersecurity advice. According to a survey by BTI Consulting, 46% of firms put their legal department in charge of the cybersecurity budget.

Bryan Cave didn’t respond to a comment request.

Want to hear from the leaders of digital transformation in finance? Insider Intelligence is hosting two free webinars called “The Bank Insider Panel – Acting on Consumers’ Accelerating Digital Adoption.” Click here to reserve your spot.

Learn more about the financial services industry

Read More

Jack Newsham