Privacy + Data Security

Morrison & Foerster's highly respected global privacy and data security practice group is comprised of more than 60 lawyers in offices in the United States, Europe and Asia.

Over 100 countries now have their own data protection laws regulating the collection, use, disclosure and security of personal information. The complex and sometimes conflicting obligations imposed by these laws can be challenging for companies seeking to comply with their privacy and data security obligations. Our lawyers are able to offer practical advice that helps our clients balance compliance with running a business in a cost-effective manner.

Our straightforward approach has made us the privacy counsel of choice for some of the world’s largest and best-known global enterprises, as well as for a host of smaller organizations. Our skills are particularly valued by companies that operate in highly-regulated sectors (such as financial services, healthcare and pharmaceuticals), those with an online presence, and those operating internationally. Organizations in these areas face multiple layers of regulation and appreciate the timely, knowledgeable and realistic advice that our attorneys provide. We work with our clients on compliance and risk management, establish programs and policies, provide employee training, respond to regulatory inquiries and investigations, and, where necessary, litigate.

We advise on a broad range of privacy and data protection matters, including:  privacy policies and procedures, information handling, security breaches, regulatory investigations, global compliance, cross-border data transfers, training programs, compliance audits, commercial transactions, website privacy policies, email and telemarketing regulation, litigation and legislative advocacy.

We believe clients value our ability to provide practical, commercial advice. We think there are a few key reasons that we are able to do this.

Our multidisciplinary practice.

Our privacy practice includes legal specialties such as corporate, financial services, employment, technology transactions and litigation.

Our technology focus.

A trend driving data protection regulation has been a shift from notice and choice to a focus on data security. Our lawyers advise many of the world’s leading technology businesses as well as major technology users such as governments, banks and financial institutions. Our technology expertise enables us to speak to general counsel, chief privacy officers and chief information officers regarding technical and non-technical means to safeguard information.

Our technical knowledge.

We are among the first full-service law firms to develop a dedicated practice to advise clients on issues pertaining to the privacy and security of information. Many of our lawyers were involved in enacting key pieces of privacy legislation, such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970. We have been intimately involved in the evolution of privacy laws around the world and have worked with business groups, legislatures, and data protection authorities on the development of privacy laws.

Our big picture view.

We recognize that privacy and data security concerns are implicated in every aspect of the information management life cycle. We also understand that the effective protection and management of information is at the heart of every well-functioning organization.

The resources we offer.

We offer important resources to support our clients in their privacy compliance and data security efforts.

Legal Resources: The privacy team writes extensively on privacy and data security matters, including Global Employee Privacy and Data Security Law, setting out the U.S. and international legal landscape related to workplace privacy and data security; Information Security and Privacy: A Guide to Federal and State Law and Compliance and Information Security and Privacy: A Guide to International Law and Compliance, which compose a 4,300-page, three-volume treatise that examines all aspects of privacy and security laws, published by Thomson-West; and The Law of Financial Privacy, covering the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Financial Privacy Act, Bank Secrecy Act and Internal Revenue Code requirements, including discussions of state financial privacy laws, use of technology, and use and protection of confidential information. The team has also written Health Care Privacy and Security, Corporate Counsel’s Primer on International Privacy and Security and Internet Marketing and Consumer Protection.

Privacy Library: Morrison & Foerster’s Privacy Library is an online resource, providing links to privacy laws, regulations, reports, multilateral agreements, and government authorities for more than 90 countries around the world, including the United States. The Privacy Library is the most comprehensive collection of privacy laws and regulations ever assembled, the result of years of research and experience working with clients around the world.

MoFoNotes: Morrison & Foerster provides content to Nymity ( for its MoFoNotes product, a subscription-based database that helps organizations determine local compliance requirements in jurisdictions around the world, spot potential compliance issues and simplify the development of global privacy approaches.

Chambers USA
Nationwide: Privacy and Data Security; BAND 1 (2011 – 2018)
Finalist for the Award for Excellence: Privacy and Data Security (2017)
Data Protection & Privacy Firm of the Year (2008)

Chambers Global
United States: Privacy and Data Security; BAND 1 (2011 – 2018)
Global: Data Protection; BAND 2 (2013 – 2018)
Europe: Data Protection; BAND 3 (2014)

The Legal 500
United States: Data Protection and Privacy; TIER 1 (2012 – 2018)
Germany: Data Protection; TIER 2 (2016)
U.S. Cyber Crime Firm of the Year (2015)
U.S. Media, Technology and Telecoms Regulatory Firm of the Year (2015)
Belgium: EU Regulatory, Privacy and Data Security; TIER 2 (2018)

Financial Times
“Top 10 Innovative Lawyers in North America” (2016)

National Law Journal
“Privacy + Data Security Trailblazers” (2015 - 2016)

The Recorder
California Class Action Litigation Department of the Year (2015)

Privacy and Consumer Protection Practice Group of the Year (2012)

Here is what they say about us:

“Experienced, knowledgeable and practical" and "extremely efficient without compromising on the quality of advice and responsiveness.”
(Chambers USA 2018)

“Morrison Foerster's Data Privacy group was one of the early leaders in [this] developing area, and, as a result has a breadth and depth of expertise globally.”
(Chambers USA 2018)

“Long-standing data protection team with a strong global approach and a global client list to match.”
(Chambers Global 2017)

“When you work with MoFo, you know what you are getting - the best advice possible, a deep bench of talented lawyers working together as one team and a strong relationship with people you would want to spend time with after work. The last isn't a requirement, but it does make the work a lot more fun and rewarding, and probably encourages better results, too.”
(Chambers USA 2017)

“They are global, pragmatic and take a risk-based approach. I am very happy with the services they provide.”
(Chambers Global 2016)

“They understand the regulated industry very well.”
(Chambers Global 2016)

“It is always such a pleasure and relief to find talented, service-oriented counsel in whom you have absolute confidence.”
(Chambers USA 2015)

“A leader in the global market and very strong in Asia-Pacific.”
(Chambers Global 2014)

“Incredibly thoughtful, smart and responsive lawyers, who work seamlessly across different continents.”
(Chambers Global 2013)

“‘Knowledgeable, creative’ team is recommended for its ‘good, actionable advice’”
(Legal 500 2013)

“With regard to international data privacy and security issues, they have more lawyers who are knowledgeable in this area, more collective experience and better worldwide resources.”
(Chambers USA 2013)

“Recommended as ‘excellent in all respects’”
(Legal 500 US 2012)

Client Service: “Its ability to meet and work with us has been top-notch.”
(Chambers USA 2012)

“Morrison & Foerster's global privacy and data security group is held in high esteem for its breadth of expertise in the financial, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors. This cross-disciplinary approach benefits national and international entities who regularly praise the high standard of service they receive.”
(Chambers USA 2012)

"The work quality is exceptional, they are incredibly responsive, and they know about all the hottest issues in data privacy.”
(Chambers Global 2011)

“The team stands out for its credentials, expertise and in-depth market knowledge.”
(Chambers USA 2011)

“They give clients really practical advice on global privacy matters, working out a strategy that takes compliance and our business needs into account.”
(Chambers Global 2011)

“The practice is professional, responsive and adaptable, with extensive data privacy knowledge at the local level. They know our culture and how we do things.”
(Chambers UK 2011)

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