Mary Ellen Callahan, the former chief privacy officer for the Department of Homeland Security is going to lead the data privacy practice team at Jenner & Block, and brings a formidable credential for the privacy team. Callahan will focus principally on information governance and security, including counseling media and advertisement companies on national security-related issues that arise when the government shares data with contractors.
Privacy and data protection concerns itself with data security practices of businesses and the legal bounds of collecting and using consumer data. Privacy data lawyers also advise businesses on other aspects of internet and software use that have privacy concerns for businesses and clients. Though lawyers from Jenner & Block have previous experience with data privacy practice, this is the first time that a formal group is being formed to address this specific area of law practice at the firm.
The regular work of Jenner & Block is with media, entertainment, retail, and government contracting sectors. However, most regular clients of the law firm have concerns over data privacy and legal compliance.
Prior to joining homeland security, Callahan was a partner at Hogan Lovells and an adviser for the 2008 campaign of President Obama. While she could have joined any big law firm with an established data privacy practice, Callahan told the media, “Having run my own office for three and a half years, I wanted to do something new … I do think the market is ripe for this. There is a real growth opportunity in privacy practices, not just in D.C. but nationwide. “
Callahan, who is looking out for experienced people including attorneys who have represented companies in FTC investigations or have represented the FTC, said, “It’s probably a two-to-five-year prospect to have this be to the caliber that I want it.”