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HALL OF FAME INTERVIEW

HALL OF FAME > INTERVIEWS > BRIAN L HENGESBAUGH

INTERVIEW: BRIAN L HENGESBAUGH
PARTNER, BAKER MCKENZIE

The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence.

H A L L   O F   F A M E   I N T E R V I E W


What has been your greatest achievement, in a professional and personal capability?

My greatest achievement professionally, prior to joining Baker McKenzie in 2001, was serving at the US Department of Commerce on the core team that negotiated the US-EU Safe Harbor Privacy Arrangement. Safe Harbor served as a bridge between Europe and the US for 15 years, which is quite a feat in the Digital Age, especially considering that it was built as an unprecedented new solution during a time of significant uncertainty. Since joining Baker McKenzie in 2001, my greatest achievement is helping to build a first class global privacy and security team in the US and around the world.

Greatest achievement in personal capacity – that's easy – "Winning the heart of my wife and having three wonderful children."


What do you do differently from your peers in the industry?

I think our differentiators in the market are our ability to deliver on projects globally with our large platform, as well as the degree to which we view everything we do through the lens of commercial pragmatism. There are many good privacy and security lawyers who understand the law, but our focus has always been on developing solutions to issues and helping clients to assess risks intelligently and apply resources to manage the highest and most significant concerns.


What advice would you give to your younger self?

Focus on interesting issues and working with good people, and everything else will follow. Also, equate learning technology with brushing your teeth – it’s something you need to do at least a few times each day!


Can you give me a practical example of how you helped a client add value to the business?

There are many practical examples. Among others, we have helped clients to overcome the privacy restrictions so that they can launch their global consumer websites and mobile applications. We have helped clients to balance the potential conflicts privacy requirements against global compliance requirements to facilitate internal investigations and monitoring. In the context of data privacy incidents, we have helped clients to isolate and assess breach notification duties so as to avoid overly broad notifications to customers and others and focus on communications that enhance customer trust.


Within your sector, what do you think will be the biggest challenge for clients over the next 12 months?

Dealing with the perfect privacy storm of more regulation, more data, and more enforcement. The European General Data Protection Regulation is a default baseline for global operations. It’s broader and stricter requirements are driving all organizations to upgrade their privacy programs, including not only policies and procedures but also underlying databases and applications. These and other stricter regulations are coming into effect at the same time all industry verticals are being transformed in the Digital Age to expand collection, use, and sharing of data through Internet of Things (IoT) and other technology developments. And, on top of everything else, the expanding array of internal and external threats to data coupled with more rigorous breach notification duties, and the increased scrutiny from authorities and plaintiffs firms, means that companies will face more enforcement on privacy matters on several levels. So, the next 12 months will be tougher than the prior 12 months, but the outlook after that is even more challenging.

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