Dominique Shelton Leipzig has represented Microsoft, Meta, Discovery Communications and Amazon, as well as the California Chamber of Commerce in negotiations related to California's forthcoming consumer privacy law.

What You Need to Know

  • Mayer Brown hired data privacy partner Dominique Shelton Leipzig from Perkins Coie.
  • The new arrival underscores Mayer Brown’s growth plans on the West Coast and among tech companies.
  • Leipzig joins a growing base of more than 100 lawyers in California.

Mayer Brown, betting on data as a business differentiator, has brought on Los Angeles-based data privacy partner Dominique Shelton Leipzig.

Leipzig, who joined the firm Monday, had led the global data innovation team and co-chaired the ad tech privacy and data management practice at Perkins Coie since 2018. She has advised Microsoft, Meta, Discovery Communications and Amazon, among others, on data strategy and security.

She brings a “new dimension” to the cybersecurity and data privacy practice, as “a market-leading lawyer in data privacy and data governance issues,” said Rajesh De, the firm’s cybersecurity and data privacy practice leader.

De joined Mayer Brown in 2015 from the National Security Agency, where he served as general counsel for about three years. Since then, the growth of Mayer Brown’s cybersecurity and data privacy practice has been exponential, with more than 70 lawyers globally, he said.

Leipzig said that she was drawn to Mayer Brown’s established practice, incredible resources and global platform.

“Data privacy is a global issue. There are over 150 countries with data protection laws, and that number has doubled since 2018. Clients are drinking from a fire hose, and they need a strong global platform to tackle these issues,” she explained.

While Leipzig declined to speak for clients joining her at Mayer Brown, she said she is looking forward to working with the firm’s existing clients on “how data privacy is a business imperative, and an opportunity to enter a trillion-dollar market.”

Leipzig’s arrival also underscores Mayer Brown’s growth plans on the West Coast and among tech companies.

“Tech companies are navigating highly confidential privacy issues at the board level because of the enormous exposure that exists under California law,” De said, noting there is also a uniquely qualified talent base in the West to handle such challenges for clients.

And demand is being driven by both tech companies and tech-related work for other companies, according to John Nadolenco, managing partner of the firm’s Los Angeles office.

For instance, a few years ago, a Massachusetts law was passed requiring automakers to share data wirelessly with independent repair shops. While automakers aren’t traditionally considered tech companies, they too have a lot of data, he explained.
Mayer Brown has been moving full steam ahead in California, where it has grown to 100 lawyers from 60 since 2017, according to firm chairman Jon Van Gorp. And the firm’s newest office in Salt Lake City, which opened in January, has already grown to about 17 lawyers.

Looking ahead, De and Leipzig are bullish on the future of the cybersecurity and data privacy practice, within California—the first state to pass consumer privacy legislation in 2018—clients are busy seeking counsel on the new version of the California Consumer Privacy Act, called the California Privacy Rights Act, which will take effect on Jan. 1, 2023.
Leipzig said that is a large part of her work these days. She has trained more than 18,000 professionals on the CCPA and CPRA. She previously represented the California Chamber of Commerce in negotiations with Alastair Mactaggart and Senator Hertzberg regarding the CPRA.

As a result of the negotiations, the California Chamber of Commerce won an extension on an exemption that applies business to business and employee data, among other business-friendly terms. But the extension will expire in 2023, requiring clients to take stock of their data and be prepared to demonstrate responsible data stewardship, according to Leipzig.

Another significant change in the legislation will impact the ad tech sector, requiring new verbiage in agreements related to digital advertising and any sharing of cookies or tracking information.

That is the tip of the iceberg, as California legislation serves as a blueprint for other states. Currently, there are some 20 bills floating across the country.

De agreed that there is a building wave of demand from clients seeking to comply with laws, but also aiming to make more innovative use of data as the “new lifeblood of the economy.”

Last year, data breaches cost the global economy about $6.1 trillion dollars, according to Leipzig. And as a result of the pandemic, the world is generating 2.5 quintillion bits of data per day and every second, 127 new devices—whether cars or heart monitors—are connected to the internet.

Given the prevalence of tech, “data privacy and security are going to become table stakes,” Leipzig said.

She continued, “We have new laws on the one hand, but we have an increasingly connected society depending on data on the other. It will be critical for companies to leverage data as a matter of survival. It is key to help clients leverage, build upon and expand their use of data in a responsible manner that reflects their brand, values and trust that they’ve spent decades building.”

“Reprinted with permission from the April 4, 2022 edition of The Recorder © 2022 ALM Properties, Inc. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited.”