The general counsel role continues to expand, and in-house lawyers are integral players in business development activity. But the most important piece of any GC’s job description remains as simple as this: Protect the Company.
Accordingly, I often ask our clients: “What keeps you up at night?” After the hack into Sony’s internal computer network, the eye-opening “60 Minutes” piece that followed, and a general recognition that all companies are vulnerable to cyberattack, the answer is fairly unanimous.
No wonder the word “cybersecurity” was used in 20 percent of the agenda items at last week’s InsideCounsel SuperConference, and cybersecurity was the keynote topic. I looked through my old conference programs from previous years, and I couldn’t find the word cybersecurity anywhere. So, is the concern overblown, reminiscent of “Y2K” fears back in 1999?
No, this concern does not feel temporary. Job titles such as chief information security officer, chief privacy officer, and data security counsel are now commonplace. Once a potential nightmare mainly for financial services companies, now the threat of data breach has spawned an insatiable demand for professionals with the right mix of IT and legal expertise. Major law firms are building highly profitable Data Security practice groups, and they can’t hire fast enough.
Evers Legal has developed a national network of contacts in this area. We recently conducted a national search to fill a newly created position of vice president, information policy and management for a Fortune 100 company. This individual will have cross-functional leadership responsibilities and work closely with the CIO. Companies are not only developing new best practices for securing customer and corporate information, they also are still figuring out the talent needs associated with developing and implementing cybersecurity strategies.
If your company wants to bolster the legal/IT/compliance talent on hand to address cybersecurity concerns, we can help.
Speaking of help, I want to thank Sheila Nielsen for pitching-in this month as our guest author of the “Your Career” column. I am very pleased to add Sheila’s viewpoint and expertise to eNews. Sheila is a veteran career coach with specific expertise in legal. I encourage you to consider her latest book, now available on Amazon, titled “Job Quest for Lawyers: The Essential Guide to Finding and Landing the Job You Want.”