Security and Privacy

Foley Hoag’s Security and Privacy practice provides clients with experienced and effective legal counsel on the security and privacy issues encountered by businesses that often require immediate and discreet solutions. We actively guide our clients through the process of complying with the ever-growing number of state, federal, and international laws governing information security, identity theft, surveillance and other privacy issues. We have decades of experience in investigating, litigating and resolving a wide variety of security incidents, including thefts of confidential information, government investigations, competitive espionage, as well as breaches and leaks involving proprietary data.

Our lawyers advise clients striving to guard company records, personnel files, customer data, intellectual property and other valuable information assets. The Security and Privacy practice is a comprehensive advisory service for clients that face an expanding universe of security and privacy issues that affect numerous industries, including technology companies, healthcare providers, investment and financial services firms, manufacturing companies, government contractors, insurance companies, and retail businesses.

We draw together experienced counsel from all areas of legal specialty, including litigation, labor and employment, business crimes and government investigations, intellectual property, technology transactions, health care, regulatory compliance and tax. This enables us to provide efficient, cross-disciplinary solutions tailored to our clients’ needs.

Our lawyers assist clients with questions on how to legally and ethically investigate abusive email, take down infringing websites, maintain surveillance of company facilities and information systems, and fix breaches of security. We work with clients to ensure the legality and success of existing security policies and protocols and help them develop new programs when necessary. Our lawyers have managed unexpected crises ranging from surprise inspections by government investigators, to obtaining emergency court orders needed to secure stolen company computers from rogue insiders. Above all, we successfully safeguard our clients’ confidential information and manage each matter with the level of attention and discretion companies require from security and privacy professionals.

Representative Experience:

  • Guided clients through compliance with new state and federal information security regulations.
  • Investigated leaks of information governed by Massachusetts security breach disclosure laws and regulations and developed the required customer and government notifications.
  • Successfully secured confidential data misappropriated by potential competitor by implementing an internal investigation and obtaining the emergency court orders needed to seize computers, track anonymous electronic transfers and prevent damaging disclosure of trade secrets.
  • Negotiated favorable settlements from former employees that were discovered using company computers to make unauthorized copies of confidential information.
  • Guided client through the process of isolating and removing unauthorized copies of a competitor’s materials brought to the client by a new employee.
  • Assisted clients in responding to unexpected “knock on the door” from law enforcement officers seeking to secure evidence from proprietary files or protected computers.
  • Investigated insider trading activity that involved stock information obtained by hacking a client’s computer systems, negotiated a favorable resolution to the matter with SEC regulators and developed a program for the client’s technology managers to address similar breaches.
  • Successfully effected the removal of confidential company information from numerous public websites and bulletin boards.
  • Advised and managed internal investigations and audits to ensure compliance with federal and state surveillance laws, including the wiretap acts, Computer Fraud & Abuse Act, Electronic Communications Privacy Act as amended by the U.S. PATRIOT Act as well as other information privacy laws.
  • Structuring business transactions and agreements to comply with state and federal privacy laws.

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Foley Hoag’s commitment to diversity traces its roots to the founding of the firm in 1943. Henry Foley and Garrett Hoag were determined to hire the very best lawyers, based entirely on individual merit and without exclusion -- an attitude that set them very much apart from others in the Boston legal community of that era. Those twin traditions of excellence and inclusiveness have remained guiding forces in the firm’s culture. We have brought together at the firm lawyers of different backgrounds, skills and experiences, because we recognize that those individuals bring with them a diversity of thought and perspective that enriches the firm’s culture and enhances the quality of our work. We are committed to fostering an environment in which diversity of every type can flourish and in which every lawyer is positioned to thrive.

Recruitment Initiatives

Foley Hoag is a founding member of The Boston Lawyers Group, a consortium of large Boston law firms, and government and corporate legal offices dedicated to increasing the number of lawyers of color practicing in Boston. Foley Hoag’s lawyers are highly active in BLG’s efforts, serving on its Executive Committee, interviewing law students at BLG job fairs, mentoring local first-year law students of color, and participating in career panels and mock interviews held for students at Boston-area law schools. We are also a regular sponsor and participant at conferences and job fairs organized by minority law student groups and other organizations dedicated to addressing the issues of recruitment, retention and promotion of lawyers of color, and we host an annual resume workshop for local first-year law students of color.

Associate Initiatives

The firm is a strong supporter of the efforts of The Partnership, Inc., an organization working to make a lasting change in the Boston community by fostering key relationships among existing and emerging leaders and developing programs to strengthen the retention of minority executives and professionals. Foley Hoag sponsors our associates of color as “Fellows” in The Partnership’s Boston Fellows Program, a nine-month program bringing together professionals and executives of color, providing opportunities to meet and develop relationships with Boston’s most influential people of color and key non-minority decision-makers as well.

The firm has been recognized in a publication entitled “Presumed Equal: What America’s Top Women Lawyers Really Think About Their Firms,” which ranked Foley Hoag 24th in the nation on the satisfaction of women lawyers on the issues of advancement, firm attitudes and atmosphere, and balancing work and family life.

Dedicating Our Resources

As a leader in the legal and business community, we are also dedicated to supporting and expanding diversity throughout the community in which we live and work. We take great pride in the fact that we have been able to employ our own resources and our legal talent to promote the goals of diversity and tolerance.

Foley Hoag prevailed in a highly charged and visible lawsuit in which we partnered with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under Law to challenge the Massachusetts Redistricting Act on the basis that it diluted minority voting strength in the Boston area. This most recent success, which changes the political landscape of Boston, is reminiscent of our representation of plaintiffs over thirty years ago in the landmark case requiring desegregation of the Boston schools. Also, for two decades we defended on behalf of our client, the NAACP, consent decrees implemented in actions to remove barriers to the integration of the Boston Police and Fire Departments, and we continue to work with a variety of cities and towns to assure that they utilize non-discriminatory hiring practices.

We have represented many organizations which empower women or people of color in the United States and abroad to create and foster businesses and other entrepreneurial opportunities in their communities, such as Accion International, the Center for Women and Enterprise, Initiatives for a Competitive Inner City, and others. Our lawyers have assisted the NOW Legal Defense Fund in defending the Violence Against Women Act, and we have worked with GLAD and other organizations to defend the rights of gay and lesbian members of our community. Also, we have represented organizations (such as Arc Massachusetts, formerly the Massachusetts Association for Retarded Citizens) to fight discrimination against the handicapped.

  • Chambers USA: The Client’s Guide has again ranked Foley Hoag’s leading practice areas in Massachusetts. The 2010 guide includes Foley Hoag in the areas of Antitrust, Banking & Finance, Bankruptcy/Restructuring, Corporate/M&A, Environment, Health Care, Hedge & Mutual Funds, Intellectual Property, Labor & Employment, Litigation: General Commercial, Litigation: White Collar Crime & Government Investigations, Private Equity: Venture Capital Investment. International Arbitration practice is noted nationally. Chambers cited 26 individual lawyers and 13 Foley Hoag practices in 2010.
  • The Legal 500 2009 U.S. Guide has recognized Foley Hoag’s M&A, Venture Capital and Antitrust groups as leading practices in the northeast. Several individual lawyers were also recognized including Peter Rosenblum, Chair of the Business Department, for M&A; Peter Coogan, John Hancock, William Kolb, John Patterson and Carol Pratt all within the M&A practice area; David Pierson for Venture Capital; and Bruce Parker and Lisa Wood for Antitrust.
  • Best Lawyers in America® included 27 lawyers from Foley Hoag LLP in its 2010 guide. The ranking represents just over 27% of partners at Foley Hoag included in the rankings, one of the oldest peer-review publications in the legal profession. Six of the Foley Hoag lawyers have been listed in the guide for at least 10 years.
  • Working Mother magazine named Foley Hoag among 50 firms to its prestigious 2009 Top Law Firms list for the second consecutive year, citing such firm attributes as advancement opportunity, recruitment and retention policies, quality of life, and professional development.
  • Foley Hoag is ranked 12th on Vault's "Best 20 Law Firms for Diversity" list, 12th on its "Diversity for Minorities" list, and 10th on its "Diversity for Gays & Lesbians" list for 2009.
  • Individual lawyers practicing across many Foley Hoag service areas have also been ranked by leading publications such as PLC: Which Lawyer? and The Legal 500.
  • In its inaugural "AmLaw Pro Bono 100" report in 2009, The American Lawyer ranked Foley Hoag #25 in its evaluation of the pro bono efforts of the top 200 firms identified in its annual "AmLaw 200" listing.
  • Foley Hoag maintained its top 25 pro bono ranking from The American Lawyer in 2010.
  • Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) has honored Foley Hoag three years running with the top honor of “Largest Donation” in its annual Associates Drive. Many of the firm’s approximately 20,000 hours of pro bono legal work annually are devoted to matters stemming from our close relationship with GBLS.
  • Foley Hoag’s clients named the firm a “Go-To-Firm” in both Intellectual Property and Technology recently, as reported in Corporate Counsel magazine.
  • The Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest advocacy group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans, has honored Foley Hoag with a perfect score in its 2009 Corporate Equality Index and Best Places to Work Survey.
  • Multicultural Law magazine regularly cites Foley Hoag among its Top 100 firms for diversity.
  • The publication “Presumed Equal: What America’s Top Women Lawyers Really Think About Their Firms” ranked Foley Hoag 24th in the nation on the satisfaction of women lawyers on the issues of advancement, firm attitudes and atmosphere, and balancing work and family life.

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