With the addition of four partners today, Orrick has created a destination practice supporting clients with the full range of advisory, litigation and enforcement needs in the growing area of cyber, privacy and data innovation. The move adds to Orrick’s team Doug Meal, the first-chair trial lawyer, formerly of Ropes & Gray, with a distinguished record of helping clients navigate precedent-setting data breach matters; corporate advisor Heather Egan Sussman, who co-led Ropes & Gray’s Privacy & Cyber practice with Doug; and rising star litigation partners Michelle Visser and Seth Harrington.
Orrick now has an 11-partner global team dedicated full time to all aspects of cyber and privacy – a practice that is essential to every client’s data protection and innovation strategy. The team includes the six-time Law360 MVP of the Year for Privacy, nine partners cited by Chambers or The Legal 500 in 2018, and four partners on Cybersecurity Docket’s Incident Response 30 list (no other firm has more than two).
At Orrick, Doug will lead the Cyber & Privacy litigation and enforcement practice and Heather will co-lead the Cyber & Privacy advisory practice with Orrick’s Aravind Swaminathan. In addition, Heather will serve as a leader of Orrick’s new Boston office.
“Being a top firm in cyber and privacy law is key to our strategic focus on helping clients to innovate in the tech, energy & infrastructure and finance sectors,” said Orrick Chairman Mitch Zuklie. “This move brings together a global team of practitioners with unparalleled experience in the transactional, regulatory and litigation aspects of data and innovation.”
“We have enjoyed a wonderful run at Ropes & Gray developing and growing this burgeoning area of law,” said Doug. “Orrick’s focus on tech and innovation, its premier litigation platform, the quality of the global team that Tony Kim and Aravind Swaminathan have already built at Orrick, and the firm’s global reach all make it an ideal home for the future of our practice.”
Learn more about the team and Orrick’s launch in Boston in this feature from The American Lawyer.
Heather, Doug and Seth will be founders of a new Orrick office in Boston that Heather will lead, while Michelle will join Orrick in San Francisco.
“Orrick is an ideal platform on which to build the law practice of the future,” said Heather. “The firm’s sector focus, global reach, recognition as a best place to work and leadership in innovation are attractive to clients and candidates alike. It’s an incredibly exciting vision for Boston.”
“We could not have a higher quality, more collaborative team to found this office,” added Mitch. “Boston is a market that clearly offers top talent in areas that are well aligned with our strategic focus on serving the tech & innovation sector.”
The firm plans to announce additional founding partners in the coming months.
Boston will be the fifth office Orrick has launched worldwide in the past five years, including Houston (2016) and Austin (2018), Abidjan (2014) and Geneva (2015).
Doug is Chambers Global Band 1-ranked for U.S. Privacy & Data Security and was selected by Law360 as a Privacy MVP six years in a row. He defends clients targeted by litigation and government investigations related to major data breach incidents, including some of the most high-profile instances involving consumer information. He has been lead counsel for clients such as Target, Neiman Marcus, Home Depot, Sony, Arby’s, TJ Maxx, Hilton Hotels and Wyndham Hotels. Chambers USA 2017 reported that Doug “is regarded by market sources as the leading privacy litigator in the USA.” The American Lawyer named him Litigator of the Week in 2018 for his representation of LabMD in its successful petition to the U.S. Court of Appeals resulting in the first-ever court decision overturning an FTC cybersecurity action. Financial Times selected him as one of the most innovative lawyers in North America, and separately has recognized three of his engagements among the most innovative legal results of the year. He is named to Cybersecurity Docket’s 2018 Incident Response 30 list.
Heather is recognized by Chambers USA and The Legal 500 United States as a leader in privacy, cybersecurity and information management. She has helped some of the world’s most valuable brands operationalize privacy and data security requirements and advance their data and innovation strategies globally. Clients praise Heather for her ability to advance commercially reasonable, culturally relevant solutions – and for her passion for helping them leverage data and digital technologies in ways that not only meet compliance obligations but also support innovation, deliver value to the business, and solidify brand and consumer trust. Where clients’ data and technology flow across borders, she develops streamlined approaches to complex and conflicting regimes, collaborating with a proven network of local experts in jurisdictions around the world. She has particular experience managing significant cybersecurity incidents and has helped clients successfully navigate responses to incidents in more than 50 international jurisdictions. She is named to Cybersecurity Docket’s 2018 Incident Response 30 list.
Michelle has been honored as a Law360 Rising Star, by The Legal 500 as a Next Generation lawyer and is on The Recorder’s list of Leading Women in Technology Law. She has extensive experience in defending companies that face the regulatory investigations, class action litigation, and payment card brand claims that frequently follow the announcement of cybersecurity incidents. In addition to litigating privacy and cybersecurity matters, Michelle has navigated numerous companies through their cybersecurity responses, including overseeing technical forensic investigations, advising on notification obligations and coordinating communication strategies.
Recommended by The Legal 500, Seth counsels clients through all stages of a privacy or data security incident, navigating the array of legal issues that arise, managing the response and investigation of an incident, and defending clients against resulting litigation and regulatory investigations. He is also a trusted advisor to top U.S. companies on cyber risk insurance, leveraging his experience to provide a nuanced understanding when evaluating cyber risk insurance contracts. Seth serves as co-chair of the Privacy Law Committee of the Boston Bar Association’s Intellectual Property Law Section.