Thomas J. Smedinghoff

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Chicago,  IL  U.S.A.

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Practice Areas

  • Intellectual Property
  • Privacy & Data Protection
  • Technology
  • Cloud Computing & Managed IT Services
  • Media & Telecommunications
  • Digital Media and E-Commerce
  • Compliance for Risk Management
University Knox College, B.A., Math
Law SchoolUniversity of Michigan, J.D.
Admitted1978, Illinois


United Nations
Uniform Law Commission
American Bar Foundation
American Bar Association
International Technology Law Association
International Association of Privacy Professionals
Chicago Bar Association

BornChicago, Illinois, 1951

Thomas Smedinghoff is a partner at Edwards Wildman, where his practice focuses on the new legal issues relating to the developing field of information law and electronic business activities. Tom is internationally recognized for his leadership in addressing emerging legal issues regarding electronic transactions, privacy, information security, and online authentication issues from both a transactional and public policy perspective. He has been retained to structure and implement first-of-their-kind e-commerce initiatives, electronic transactions, and identity management and information security legal infrastructures for the federal government, and national and international businesses including banks, insurance companies, investment companies, and certification authorities. He has also been actively involved in developing legislation and public policy in the area of electronic business at the state, national, and international levels.
•Chair of the American Bar Association Identity Management Legal Task Force, and working with private sector, federal government, and international organizations to address the challenges of developing an identity management legal framework

•Serves as counsel for companies, government agencies, and trade associations throughout the world in addressing new and developing legal issues relating to electronic business activities, online electronic transactions, identity management, information security, and data privacy.

•Has worked extensively with clients in newly developing legal areas such as identity management and online authentication, electronic negotiable instruments, digital signatures and voice signatures, PKI, e-notarization, and other unique forms of electronic transactions and e-business activities.

•Was a pioneer in the subject of PKI and digital signature law, representing the federal government, national banks, and certification authorities in developing first-of-their-kind public key legal infrastructures.

•Chaired the Illinois Commission on Electronic Commerce & Crime, and in that capacity wrote the Illinois Electronic Commerce Security Act (enacted in 1998). This Act had a significant influence on national and global e-commerce legislation, including the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act in the U.S., the European Union Electronic Signature Directive, the United Nations UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Signatures, the Canadian Personal Information Protection and Electronic Transactions Act, and the Singapore Electronic Transactions Act.

•Helped to negotiate the 2005 United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts as part of the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law. This is the first international treaty that focuses on general cross-border e-commerce and electronic transactions, and is expected to have a major impact on international business.

•Assisted in development of a new identity management legal structure for browser-based online authentication. Resolved rights, responsibilities, and liabilities of participants in system to allow website users to verify the identity of the company they are dealing with, in order to address the problem of phishing and to promote secure commerce.

Reported Decisions

•Central Point Software, Inc. v. Nugent, 903 F. Supp. 1057; 37 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1051; Copy. L. Rep. (CCH) P27,478, E.D. Tex. 1995

Professional Activities
United Nations

•Member, U.S. Delegation to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), participating in the Working Group on Electronic Commerce, 1997-present

•Member, World Customs Organization - UNCITRAL Joint Legal Task Force, 2008-present

•Member, Legal Working Group of the United Nations Center for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT), 2004-present

Uniform Law Commission (National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws)

•ABA Advisor to Committee to Implement the UN E-Commerce Convention, 2008-present

•ABA Advisor to Drafting Committee on Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (now adopted in 47 states), 1997-1999

State of Illinois

•Chair, Illinois Commission on Electronic Commerce and Crime, 1996-1998

American Bar Foundation

•fellow, American Bar Foundation, 2004-present

Academic Appointments

•Adjunct Assistant Professor of Business Law, Brennan School of Business, Dominican University, 2004-present

•Adjunct Professor, The John Marshall Law School, Chicago, 1985-2002

Editorial Boards

•Member, Board of Editors, BNA Electronic Commerce & Law Report, 2000-present

•Member, Editorial Board, Internet Law & Business, 1999-present

•Member, Board of Editors, Privacy & Data Security Law Journal, 2005-present

•Member, Board of Editors, BNA Privacy & Security Law Report, 2009-present

•Member, Board of Editors, The SciTech Lawyer, ABA Section of Science & Technology Law, 2008-present

American Bar Association

•Chair, Federated Identity Management Legal Task Force, Section of Business Law, 2009-present

•Co-Chair, Cyber Security Subcommittee, Section of Business Law, 2011-present

•Chair, Section of Science & Technology Law, 1999-2000

•Chair, Electronic Commerce Division, Section of Science & Technology Law, 1995-2003

•Chair, International Policy Committee, Section of Science & Technology Law, 2003-2011
International Technology Law Association

International Association of Privacy Professionals

Chicago Bar Association

•Chair, Computer Law Committee, 1984-1985

Recognized In

•Best Lawyers in America 2011 (Information Technology Law)

•Chambers USA 2012: America's Leading Business Lawyers (Privacy & Data Security Law; Technology Law)

•Chambers Global: The World's Leading Lawyers 2011 (Technology Law)

•International Who's Who of Internet & e-Commerce Lawyers, 2011 & 2012

•Legal Media Group: Guide to the World's Leading Technology, Media and Telecommunications Lawyers (Information Technology Law)

•Leading Lawyers (Computer & Technology Law; International & Business Trade Law)

Super Lawyers 2011 and 2013, (Illinois) (Information Technology/Outsourcing, International, Intellectual Property)

•Who's Who in American Law 2011, Marquis Who's Who

•Who's Who in the World 2011, Marquis Who's Who

Besides Edwards Wildman

Tom is married and has four children, and lives in the Western suburbs of Chicago. He likes to camp and to hike in the mountains. He continues to hope that someday the Cubs will win the World Series.


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Major Amendments to Florida Breach Notification Statute: Unique Requirements and Short Deadlines Take Effect July 1
Theodore P. Augustinos,Karen L. Booth,Mark E. Schreiber,Thomas J. Smedinghoff, July 1, 2014
Florida Governor Rick Scott recently signed the Florida Information Protection Act of 2014 (SB 1524, the “Act”) into law, amending Florida’s breach notification statute effective July 1, 2014. The amendments are significant, including the first statutory requirement to provide...

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Office Information

Thomas J. Smedinghoff

225 West Wacker Drive, Suite 3000
ChicagoIL 60606


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