Related Professionals: Mark S. Melodia Cynthia O'Donoghue Paul Bond Albert E. Hartmann Michael O'Neil Alexander Y. Thomas Anthony J. Diana Divonne Smoyer Therese Craparo

Type: Firm Award, News Releases

August 19, 2015 – Reed Smith LLP has been named the “Data Protection and Privacy: 2015 Firm of the Year” by The Legal 500 United States. A year before, Reed Smith had been honored by the same publication as “Product Liability Defense: 2014 Firm of the Year.” That’s a combination of experience clients will need in the coming years, according to Mark Melodia, founder of the firm’s Information Technology, Privacy & Data Security Practice.

“We’re seeing a wave of product-linked cybersecurity class actions start to hit, with associated government investigations and recalls,” said Melodia. Every device capable of connecting to the Internet faces the potential to be compromised, hacked, hijacked, or turned into a snooping device. Reed Smith’s Information Technology Privacy & Data Security Group is working with clients to prepare for this data protection and products liability perfect storm.

Melodia has developed the group into a think-tank for the firm’s clients, linking experienced cybersecurity and privacy professionals with veteran intellectual property litigators, top-tier information governance advisors, technology contracting specialists, and others with a similarly data-oriented perspective. For more than a decade, Melodia has worked with his partner Paul Bond, co-leader of Reed Smith’s Information Technology, Privacy & Data Security Group, to plug the emerging discipline of privacy into many of Reed Smith’s vibrant practices: insurance (cyberinsurance), aviation (drones), life sciences (HIPAA), energy (smart meters), and all phases of corporate governance and due diligence. Reed Smith’s privacy team collaborates with its advertising and media practices to help some of the world’s largest customer brands, advertisers, and publications with the legal risks and opportunities in social media, reputation management, and targeted advertising. Reed Smith’s financial services group also teams with the privacy group to provide in-depth Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) advice to some of the world’s top financial institutions.

Over the past two years, Reed Smith has bolstered its practice with the addition of seven leading attorneys in three U.S. markets:

Chicago

  • Michael O’Neil and Albert Hartmann are nationally recognized for major privacy counseling and litigation, with a focus on FCRA issues. Michael and Albert work for credit bureaus and employment screening companies, among others.
  • William Cook brings deeps experience in global data security, compliance, IP, technology, internal investigations and cybersecurity standards. Bill is an accomplished data privacy and security lawyer, with significant technical experience in intellectual property law.

Washington, D.C.

  • Angela Angelovska-Wilson advises clients on all manner of cutting-edge financial services technology, from third-party data aggregators to digital payments and bitcoin, to biometric recognition technology.
  • Divonne Smoyer adds her prominent state attorneys general practice, enhancing Reed Smith’s ability to anticipate and deal with emerging issues from state and federal regulators for clients. Reed Smith has defended more than 75 class actions on issues involving privacy and data security, but increasing aggressive government investigations and enforcement action is at least as much a concern.

New York

  • Anthony Diana and Therese Craparo focus their practice on information governance and enterprise risk management. Their holistic, risk-based, approach addresses all of the sources and types of risk associated with an organization’s data. Anthony and Therese have been advising leading financial institutions and other major corporations on the data challenges and opportunities in the full lifecycle of M&A transactions, from due diligence, to negotiations, to post-closing integration.

While The Legal 500 United States Awards recognize work done domestically, according to Bond, “much of the work done by the group in the United States leverages experience and talent from overseas, or our U.S. lawyers provide support for a global multi-national project.” Cynthia O’Donoghue, co-leader of the group based in London, works with the U.S. team on strategic transactions, crucial regulatory matters, and the data transfer issues that arise in cross-border litigation.

Legal 500 describes its U.S. Awards for 2015 as “recognizing and rewarding the best in-house and private practice teams and individuals over the past 12 months.” The organization selected this year’s elite legal practitioners based on comprehensive research into the U.S. legal market, including more than 50,000 interviews. The 2015 awards were divided into 12 sectors, with each sector comprising several practice groups. For the 2015 awards, Reed Smith was also shortlisted in "media, technology and telecoms: transactional" and "product liability defense."

“The data protection and privacy group is a headline success story for answering client needs the Reed Smith way – listening to clients, embracing innovation, and building off each other’s strengths, all to find practical solutions,” said Sandy Thomas, Global Managing Partner of the firm. “We are pleased to be recognized by The Legal 500 United States for our data protection and privacy work.”

About Reed Smith

Reed Smith is a global relationship law firm with more than 1,800 lawyers in 26 offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Founded in 1877, the firm represents leading international businesses, from Fortune 100 corporations to mid-market and emerging enterprises. Its lawyers provide litigation and other dispute resolution services in multi-jurisdictional and other high-stakes matters; deliver regulatory counsel; and execute the full range of strategic domestic and cross-border transactions. Reed Smith is a preeminent advisor to industries including financial services, life sciences, health care, advertising, technology and media, shipping, energy and natural resources, real estate, manufacturing, and education. For more information, visit reedsmith.com.

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