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Future Law Career: Privacy Law Specialist?

By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

To think that a good privacy lawyer could possibly have saved the election for Hillary Clinton ...

After hackers got into her email, it was the beginning of the end for the presidential nominee. A few non-secure messages, an ill-timed FBI press release, a really bad connection to a guy named Weiner, and the rest is history.

We could what-if the Clinton situation all day, but the point is that people need privacy protection more than ever. And so the Information Age is giving birth to a new legal creature: the privacy law specialist.

The Future Is Now

The American Bar Association is currently considering a program to certify lawyers as privacy law specialists. The proposed program is expected to go to the ABA House of Delegates in February.

The International Association of Privacy Professionals, a networking and educational organization aimed at privacy experts and regulators, seeks to provide competency certification for lawyers as privacy specialists. The IAPP proposes that privacy law is a growth area for attorneys. It reports that cyber-security is on the knife's edge, with president-elect Donald Trump calling for massive changes to protect online privacy.

E-Ethics for Specialty Lawyers

The opportunity to mine a new field presents pitfalls, especially for lawyers who may unwarily step into unofficial training grounds. "The concern is that calling yourself a specialist can be misleading because it misleadingly implies that some outside organization has recognized your expertise when in fact that's not true," Fordham University of School of Law professor Bruce Green told Bloomberg BNA.

The Model Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 7.4 provides that a lawyer shall not communicate that he or she is a specialist in a field of law, unless that lawyer has been certified by an organization accredited by the ABA or approved by a state authority.

Hillary Clinton probably won't seek the certification in privacy law, but she certainly learned a lesson about privacy and cyber-security this year.

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