The following is an excerpt from Practice Perspectives: Vault's Guide to Legal Practice Areas.
Hayley L. Berlin, Counsel—Privacy & Security Law and Commercial Litigation
Hayley Berlin is a member of Perkins Coie’s Privacy & Security Law and Commercial Litigation practices. Hayley regularly litigates on behalf of communications service providers, including social media companies and mobile carriers, on a variety of legal issues, including compliance with and alleged violations of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) and conflicts involving First Amendment and national security law. Additionally, she counsels a wide range of clients on privacy and data security issues.
Hayley’s litigation practice focuses on electronic privacy law, including the federal Stored Communications Act (SCA), the Wiretap Act, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Hayley handles all aspects of civil litigation in federal and state court, including discovery, dispositive motion practice, dispute resolution and mediation, and trials.
Hayley regularly counsels clients in a variety of industries on their privacy and data security policies and practices. She has conducted extensive enterprise-wide privacy reviews, responded to significant data breaches, developed data breach incident response plans, and counseled clients on related regulatory concerns.
Describe your practice area and what it entails.
My practice is a mix of client counseling and litigation. I counsel clients on a wide variety of issues including how to comply with law enforcement processes while protecting their customers’ privacy, data security and governance, and incident response. My litigation practice generally focuses on issues related to national security legal process, First Amendment prior restraint, and the Fourth Amendment.
What types of clients do you represent?
I represent many of the firm’s large technology company clients, the majority of which are household names.
What types of cases/deals do you work on?
I work on a wide array of cases, including those related to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and the First Amendment. I am a member of our firm’s Tech Amicus team and regularly work with our clients as amici to brief novel issues of privacy and constitutional law.
How did you choose this practice area?
I was interested in privacy and First Amendment issues in law school, and when I arrived at Perkins as a summer associate, I discovered that we had a burgeoning Privacy and Security practice with some of the smartest attorneys in the field and a group of amazing clients. Since then, our group has grown substantially, and I feel grateful every day that I get to work with this group of intelligent, thoughtful colleagues and fantastic clients.
What is a typical day like and/or what are some common tasks you perform?
My days vary and can include drafting briefs, researching and drafting analyses related to various (and often novel) legal issues, working with our internal team to develop litigation strategy, and engaging with clients and opposing counsel.
What training, classes, experience, or skills development would you recommend to someone who wishes to enter your practice area?
If your law school offers classes focused on issues related to the First and Fourth Amendments beyond the required first-year courses, take advantage of them. In addition to taking any privacy and internet-related classes your law school may offer, there are a lot of excellent blogs that focus on privacy and national security issues that will help you stay abreast of hot topics and legal developments.
What do you like best about your practice area?
This practice area is exceptionally diverse, which means that I get to work on a diverse group of issues at any given time. The work is intellectually challenging, and I really appreciate that on a daily basis, I am thinking through complex constitutional issues and their application to novel scenarios.
What misconceptions exist about your practice area?
People often equate privacy and security law to data breach preparedness and response, when that’s only a fraction of what this practice involves. Privacy work ranges from class action litigation to data governance to First Amendment prior restraint to national security work. The practice is diverse, and it’s evolving daily.
How do you see this practice area evolving in the future?
This is a practice that will continue to see exponential growth as humans grow more reliant on technology that itself is growing more sophisticated and ubiquitous. As legislation and case law tries (and fails) to keep up with advances in technology and the various ways personal data is tracked and recorded, there will be an ongoing and increasing need for counseling and litigation defense.
Given how quickly technology is evolving, how do you stay ahead of the curve and prepare for issues that may arise?
I read blogs and follow scholars who work on issues that affect my practice. I keep abreast of case law development and legislation. I follow closely any news related to my clients. Most importantly, I work to have close relationships with clients and open lines of communication, which helps ensure that I understand and can anticipate their evolving needs.