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ABA Approves Privacy Law Certification

By William Vogeler, Esq. on February 06, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The American Bar Association narrowly approved a certification program for specialists in privacy law.

It was so close on a voice vote that it took a second call for the ABA House of Delegates to pass the resolution and approve a program. Before the vote, opponents complained about the program definition of privacy law and the potential that clients would be confused by it.

Barbara Howard, chair of the standing committee on specialization, told delegates that was not the issue. She said the program met the requirements for certification, and that ended the debate.

Privacy Law

Resolution 103A approved the International Association of Privacy Professionals to administer the program for lawyers. It says:

"A Privacy Law Specialist advises clients regarding the legal issues raised by the collection, storage, sharing, monetization, security, disposal, and permissible uses of information about individuals, businesses, and organizations."

The ABA Journal reported the delegates had a "spirited debate" about the definition. ABA President Hilarie Bass delayed her planned address to allow the debate to continue.

The proposed program had been in the works for more than a year. It hit a few snags along the way.

Specialty Certification

As with other specialty areas, lawyers may obtain certification by passing an exam, fulfilling educational requirements, and meeting other standards. Thirty-six hours of education may come by:

  • Attending continuing legal education classes
  • Teaching courses or seminars in the subject
  • Participating as a panelist, speaker, or leader at conferences
  • Publishing articles or books in the field

The new privacy certification program will be offered for a five-year term.

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