Columbus Business First - 20 People to Know in Law Columbus Business First - 20 People to Know in Law

Columbus Business First - 20 People to Know in Law

November 21, 2014
By: Katy Smith - Print Editor-Columbus Business First
Read the full article here.

Bill Barath

Partner, Ice Miller LLP

Practice area: Cyberlaw

How did you get into this profession? I grew up in a family of fourth-generation union steel workers. I was always fascinated by labor/management issues so became an employment lawyer. The twist is that I represent management. Early in my career, I noticed a recurring theme that the most interesting and farfetched fact patterns arose from employment lawsuits. The personal nature of those disputes leads to increased passion on the part of all parties, which raises the stakes of their disputes.

What's the most exciting thing happening in your area of law? Employment law is expanding to address increasing levels of data protection and cybersecurity concerns. Data breaches often are caused by careless or malicious employees. Employers need to proactively take steps to avoid and protect against breaches.

What's the greatest challenge your area of law is facing? Employers need to understand the risks and available protections related to constantly expanding cybersecurity exposure in a world of hacking and cyber attacks. Too many companies ignore or minimize this risk instead of protecting themselves through policies, IT security, employee training, and in some cases, cyber insurance.

What pending case will most impact your area of law and why? The pending class actions and Federal Trade Commission investigation against Target related to its customer data breach are progressing through the legal system. Those actions will magnify the potential risk to entities involved in data breaches including direct costs, such as paying for credit monitoring services, loss of good will, and even potential actions against corporate directors and officers related to impacted stock prices. The magnitude and publicity of the Target breach will help quantify the risk faced by all companies dealing with electronic information.

What advice can you give to someone who wants to build a career similar to yours? Do not be afraid to reinvent yourself – embrace it. Lawyers need to be adaptable and embrace change. Five years ago, I was an employment lawyer with no special interest in electronic data or cybersecurity issues. Five years later, I am an attorney at Ice Miller after a successful firm merger with an employment practice expanding to include cybersecurity and related insurance coverage issues.

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