Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Business North Carolina has released the 2019 "Legal Elite"

The start of a new year brings many opportunities to improve ourselves, but it is also a time to reflect on the accomplishments of the prior year. Each January, Business North Carolina releases the results of its annual survey of lawyers. The survey asks one simple question: "Of the Tar Heel lawyers whose work you have observed firsthand, whom would you rate among the current best in these categories?"

(Lawyers are never allowed to vote for themselves.) This year, I was included among the 22 honorees in the "Corporate" law category, along with some incredibly talented and accomplished lawyers.  I want to thank all of the lawyers across the state who took the time to vote.  Your confidence is humbling (and inspires me to be a better lawyer to meet your estimation!).

[I was also included in the "Young Guns" category again this year, and I'm delighted that some people still consider me young!] 

I hope each of you find meaning and purpose in your work in 2019 and that your efforts are rewarded with great success!


Thursday, December 13, 2018

Lawyers Weekly Covers New NC Bar Specialization


The legal magazine NC Lawyers Weekly has published a great piece about our new Privacy & Data Security Specialty Certification in North Carolina: https://nclawyersweekly.com/2018/12/13/nc-bar-first-in-country-to-offer-privacy-law-certification/ (Thanks to Bill Cresenzo and David Donovan for this excellent coverage.)

Monday, November 19, 2018

The North Carolina State Bar Becomes the First State Bar in the Nation to Certify Privacy and Data Security Law Specialists

Image of stamp bearing the word "Certified"

Today we accomplished something unprecedented, as North Carolina's legal community continues to demonstrate foresight and leadership in the profession.  After almost two years of work, the North Carolina State Bar has recognized ten (10) individuals as Certified Specialists in Privacy and Data Security Law.  The North Carolina State Bar is the first in the United States to certify specialists in this emerging area of law, making these individuals the nation's first state bar certified specialists in the field.  Please join me in congratulating these worthy--and now certified--professionals:
  • Tara Cho of Wyrick Robbins
  • Erin Illman of Bradley Arant Boult & Cummings
  • Alex Pearce of Ellis & Winters
  • Steve Snyder of Bradley Arant Boult & Cummings
  • Karin McGinnis of Moore & Van Allen
  • Elizabeth Spainhour of Brooks Pierce
  • Nathan Standley of Allen & Pinnix
  • Marshall Wall of Cranfill Sumner and Hartzog

Each of them will be publicly recognized at the NC State Bar Specialization Annual Meeting in April 2019.

This milestone was not achieved easily or by accident; it is the product of pioneering work by a number of dedicated individuals over a period of almost two years.  I want to publicly extend a very sincere thanks to the members of the NC State Bar Privacy and Data Security Specialization Committee: 
  • Elizabeth Johnson (Vice-Chair) of Wyrick Robbins
  • Elizabeth Spainhour of Brooks Pierce
  • Karin McGinnis of Moore & Van Allen
  • Nathan Standley of Allen & Pinnix
  • Marshall Wall of Cranfill, Sumner and Hartzog
  • Clark Walton of Reliance Forensics and Alexander Ricks
  • Alicia Gilleskie of Duke University/Duke Health

I appreciate each of them for believing in this concept, contributing their considerable intellects, and dedicating significant time to the effort. 

I also want to thank Alice Neece Mine, Denise Mullen, Brian Oten, and Lanice Heidbrink at the North Carolina State Bar for their tireless work on this project.  When I first discussed the concept with Alice and Denise in the summer of 2016, no bar in the nation had ever contemplated the idea, and it took vision for them to see the potential. 

Shortly after we embarked on this effort in North Carolina, the American Bar Association also recognized the need for a specialization in privacy and data security law, and the ABA was able to move more quickly than we were.  As best I can tell, Alex Pearce of Ellis and Winters (formerly the chief privacy counsel at SAS), Patrick Brown of Lawyers Mutual Insurance, and I are the only three ABA-certified lawyers in North Carolina, and Alex and I are currently the only lawyers in the nation who are certified by both state and national bodies. I expect more to join our ranks soon as lawyers and bars across the nation continue to recognize this unique practice area.

You can learn more about the Privacy and Data Security Law Specialization Certification process here, here, and here.  You can read about the ABA/IAPP specialization here, and about tests that both state and national bodies rely upon, in part, from the International Association of Privacy Professionals here and here.