A Great Present…A Fabulous Future
In our book, Data Protection Practice: The Brave New Legal World (Volume 1 or our 18-volume 21ST CENTURY LEGAL CAREER SERIES), available from Amazon.com https:/amazon.com/Data-Protection-Practice-Century-Career-ebook/dp/B06WW8W8B5/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=data+protection+practice&qid=1555010991&s=gateway&sr=8-2 or the National Association for Law Placement https://nalp.org/productdetail/?productID=216 we predicted that this area of law would be one of the premier “killer apps” of the twenty-first century. Three years later, it can be argued that we underestimated the phenomenal growth of this practice area.
In 2019, you can hardly go to a legal trade publication website or even a general circulation newspaper without coming across at least one, top-of-the-fold article about privacy, cybersecurity, hacks, foreign electronic attempts at subverting our democracy, etc. We find ourselves in a war perpetrated by nations, non-state actors, malicious individuals, corrupted artificial intelligences and random bots that are constantly trying to do us in. They are so agile that, as soon as we think we have erected suitable defenses, we discover that the bad guys have found ways around our battlements.
The law and lawyers thrive in situations where chaos reigns, and there has never been chaos like what is being perpetrated by so many thousands of evildoers. Congress and state legislatures are responding with a slew of new legislation designed to thwart them, but by the time they enact something, the technology enabling the damage has moved on. Governments at all levels are falling all over themselves trying to play catchup and finding that their cumbersome legislative and bureaucratic mechanisms keep them always on the defensive and far behind the ability of their adversaries to disrupt.
Consequently, data protection is a practice area that is destined to “keep on giving” for as far out as the legal eye can see.
Evidence of this surging practice is all around us. Virtually every major law firm and a growing number of their smaller counterparts now have a discrete practice group devoted to these matters. Companies are in a desperate battle to protect their proprietary information…and are losing that battle. Where, when Data Protection Practice was being written, we marveled at the massive number of attempted and successful database breaches of big companies were daily taking place, today those numbers look modest in retrospect. Government has also been deeply and adversely affected. The result has meant an increasing number of public sector job opportunities for attorneys. Not to be outdone, consulting firms have amped up their data protection law consulting arms.
Types of Positions
Go to any online job site and you will find a slew of data protection job opportunities, both in mainstream law and in JD Advantage arenas. Job titles such as Cyber Strategy & Governance Consultant, Data Protection Transactions Counsel, Counsel-Privacy and Data Protection, Attorney – Privacy, Data Security, & Advertising, Commercial & Technology Agreements Junior Attorney, Health Care Data Privacy Attorney, Data Privacy Specialist, Compliance & Privacy Officer, and Corporate Data Security Attorney, etc. abound.
At this writing, Indeed.com https://indeed.com alone listed more than 500 data protection jobs for which a legal or law-related background was either required or preferred. A quarter of these jobs were for entry-level positions.
A growing number of advertised jobs either prefer or require some certification in addition to a JD degree. The certificates offered by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) https://iapp.org are still the “gold standard” if you go by the fact that job ads mention them more often than any others. The Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP) certificate is the principal one offered by the IAPP. More specifically, a candidate may opt for one of the CIPP geography-specific certificates, i.e.,
- Asia (CIPP/A)
- Canada (CIPP/C)
- Europe (CIPP/E)
- U.S. private-sector (CIPP/US)
The IAPP also offers the following certification/training designations:
- Certified Information Privacy Manager
- Certified Information Privacy Technician (principally geared toward IT professionals)
- Privacy Law Specialist (ABA-accredited)
- Fellow of Information Privacy
If you seek a legal or quasi-legal career that is certain to thrive for many years to come, data protection fits the bill.