02 Mar 2021

Squire Patton Boggs targets ‘epicentre of US privacy legislation’ with senior Los Angeles hire

Alan Friel joins top 40 US firm from BakerHostetler as deputy chair of data privacy and cybersecurity

By Roman Edwards

Squire Patton Boggs has boosted its California privacy expertise with the hire of BakerHostetler partner Alan Friel in Los Angeles.

Friel is joining the top 40 US firm as deputy chair of its global data privacy and cybersecurity practice, which is led by co-chairs Rosa Barcelo and Ann LaFrance. He spent seven years at BakerHostetler, where he was lead partner for its US consumer privacy practice and advised on the management of California digital assets and data.

Friel brings to his new firm expertise on the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and an understanding of the law’s upcoming update, the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), which is due to take effect in January 2023.

The additional compliance burden brought by the CPRA, and the fact that states including Virginia, Washington, Florida and New York are all considering data protection measures, means that the demand for lawyers with Friel’s expertise is rising sharply.

Fred Nance, Squire’s global managing partner, said: “California is the epicentre of data privacy legislation in the US, so Alan’s addition to our LA office and our international data practice fits very well with our local-to-global client service strategy.”

The firm has prioritised the expansion of its data privacy and cybersecurity capabilities with several appointments to the data practice in recent years – including the hire of Brussels-based Barcelo in October 2018 from the European Commission, where she was deputy head of its cybersecurity and digital privacy unit. Squire’s global data practice consists of around 25 full-time lawyers, with the partial involvement of at least 15 more.

In addition to his expertise on California data regulations, Friel aids clients in the creation and management of data inventories, privacy and security programs, and the drafting of data-related protocols in client contracts and M&A.

Friel also has experience advising clients in the digital media, e-commerce and adtech spaces – both for private practice and in-house as general counsel for Digital Entertainment Network. Previous firms include Katten Muchin, Kaye Scholer and Edwards Wildman Palmer.

Friel said his new firm’s data practice would benefit from its strength in several related practice groups, including  IP, technology and litigation. He added: “As an open LGBT professional who for many years has worked to defend LGBT rights and improve support and retention efforts for diverse lawyers, the commitment of Squire Patton Boggs to reflect the communities we serve is very important to me. I look forward to supporting the firm’s inclusion and diversity programs.”

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