Cooley is building out its cybersecurity, data protection and privacy team with the addition of three key lateral hires for its offices in Colorado, New York and Washington, D.C.
Boris Segalis and Dave Navetta, co-chairs of Norton Rose Fulbright’s U.S. data protection, privacy and cybersecurity practice group, are leaving the firm to join Cooley in New York and the Denver suburb of Broomfield, Colorado, respectively.
Dentons public policy and regulation partner Anthony Jannotta is also joining Cooley as special counsel in Washington, D.C. Jannotta, a former legal counsel to Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, leads corporate responses to large-scale and complex investigations brought by state attorneys general in a variety of areas, including data breach, privacy and technology.
Segalis and Navetta first joined Norton Rose in 2014 from cybersecurity boutique InfoLawGroup, the first in a wave of lateral hires by large firms looking to build out their data privacy and protection practices. Three years later, much of the same strategy that led them to join Big Law’s ranks sees them moving over to join Cooley’s cybersecurity operations.
“With Cooley, we have the ability to leverage their broader practices, [like] corporate practice and litigation and the ties to the emerging companies, for which this stuff really matters,” Segalis said.
A former project engineer at Pratt & Whitney who worked on the Space Shuttle and the U.S. military’s F-22 fighter jet, Segalis began his legal career at Dewey & LeBoeuf predecessor Dewey Ballantine in 2003. Four years later, he decamped for Hunton & Williams, where Segalis began specializing in privacy, data protection and information management issues.
In 2010, Segalis joined InfoLaw and teamed up with Navetta, who helped co-found the Chicago-based boutique the year before. Both Segalis and Navetta specialize in data privacy and information security across a wide array of industries, be it utilities, financial institutions or emerging companies. The duo used Roger Hsia, a former senior executive director of legal recruiting at Mestel & Co. who now serves as president of Wellspring Partner Advisor, to broker their move to Cooley.
“It is industry agnostic,” said Segalis of his and Navetta’s practice. “It’s actually a great approach, because we can take lessons from different ends of the spectrum and apply them to clients, from disrupters to established companies.”
Segalis said the move to Cooley will help him and Navetta provide a complete offering to the firm’s wide range of clients into issues that tie into different areas of their business.
Likewise, the addition of both lawyers, as well as Dentons’ Jannotta, are part of Cooley’s strategy to expand its cybersecurity practice by building out a body of expertise around a “cross-hatch” of legal domains and industry domains, said Michael Rhodes, co-chair of Cooley’s privacy and data protection and internet practice groups.
“We quickly realized that the combination of our platform [and] our group with their expertise and their group would solve a lot of collective problems,” said Rhodes, a prominent adviser to the technology industry.
Like its Big Law competition, Cooley has been growing its cybersecurity and data privacy team over the past few years. In 2016, Cooley hired Andy Roth, the former chairman of Dentons’ privacy and cybersecurity group, for its office in New York, where Cooley also picked up digital currency experts Marco Santori and Patrick Murck from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman.
“We view it as an area of law that is rapidly changing, expanding and most of the top-tier firms are definitely trying to build out this expertise and we’re no different,” Rhodes said.
Rhodes, who represents social media giants like Facebook Inc. and WhatsApp (the latter of which was bought by Facebook in a $19 billion deal), said that cybersecurity has evolved from being an issue only for online businesses in the early internet age to one that affects virtually every business in many different ways.
This growth has, in turn, created a need for legal counsel across all business operations for almost every industry, whether it’s counseling in commercial- and customer-facing agreements or advising a board of directors on how to oversee risks associated with large data piles, Rhodes said.
Cooley has plans to continue expanding its cybersecurity practice, said Rhodes and his firm’s newest hires. Washington, D.C., New York, the Bay Area and London, where Cooley opened an office with a 55-lawyer team in early 2015, are the cities in which Cooley wants to grow.
“I think [cybersecurity], given the way it’s going, is slated for tremendous growth,” said Segalis, whose search for a new apartment was once chronicled by The New York Times. “Generally, the practice area [has] grown exponentially every year, and I think it will continue to grow at a very fast pace.”