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Interview with a Privacy Professional

Privacy is a hot topic right now and it has a global reach.  Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Sarah Taieb a Senior Associate in the Paris office of Hogan Lovells to learn about her career as well as learn about the privacy field.

Could you provide a brief summary of your professional background?

I studied law in France at the Université de Paris X Nanterre where I studied both French law and Anglo-American law and earned a dual degree.  Then I attended the University of Richmond in Virginia to obtain a JD.  I took the New York Bar exam and while I waited for the exam results, I returned to Paris. I was hired at the law firm of Lovells in Paris (which then became Hogan Lovells) to work as a trainee. When I passed the New York Bar exam, I was hired as an Associate attorney at Lovells in the Privacy, Media & Technologies department where I am today. I then took the Bar examination in France, under the special procedures available to lawyers licensed to practice outside France.

How did you become involved in the privacy field?

My interest in data privacy developed while I was enrolled in the University of Richmond, when I took a course in privacy as part of the Intellectual Property Certificate I earned there.

Within the privacy field, what are the areas that you focus on?

I advise companies on all types of privacy issues which vary according to our clients' needs. For example, our clients regularly seek our assistance with respect to multi-jurisdictional projects involving some or all jurisdictions of the European Community and involving transfers of data from those jurisdictions to countries outside the EU. Generally, my clients are banks, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and other entities.

What skills are important to be successful in the privacy field?

In my opinion, it is important to enjoy learning.  The privacy field is growing rapidly and is also very complex. As a result, one must enjoy a challenge in order to be successful.  Additionally, it is important to be versatile. Privacy entails advising clients on a broad range of topics.

What aspects of the privacy field do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy working with our clients because they always come up with projects which are almost unrealistic from a data protection purpose and it is very interesting for me to help them comply with applicable laws. Additionally, there exist many moving parts to privacy. I enjoy the fact that there are always new developments in the privacy field.

What aspects of the privacy field do you find most challenging?

First, as I said, the privacy field evolves and moves quickly.  Privacy professionals need to be current on the latest developments, not only from a legal perspective regarding relevant rules, regulations, court cases, etc. but also from a technological point of view.  Second, privacy is an international endeavor and is an extremely multi-faceted field.  This is often a challenge. Last, privacy professionals need to be constantly current on particular clients' specific needs as well as on the industry sectors to which their clients belong. This is also a challenge.  At Hogan Lovells, we have developed an industry-sector oriented way of working to ensure that we are aware of our clients' activities and challenges as well as of the legal developments which may affect their activities, whether related to privacy or not.

The privacy field is growing rapidly. How do you envision the privacy field evolving during the next few years?

I think that more and more companies will institute privacy programs due to the increased need. In addition, given the impending adoption of the new European Regulation, sanctions for non-compliance or for data breach will likely become more serious over time. However, I also believe that clients will view the privacy field differently in the coming years.  Clients will view privacy as a positive safeguard rather than as a cumbersome requirement.

Do you have any suggestions that could help someone enter the privacy field?

I suggest joining organizations such as the International Association of Privacy Professionals, attending conferences and showing a general interest in the privacy field.  I also recommend reaching out to privacy professionals in the field.  Since the privacy community is expansive, it is important to show an active interest.

Sarah is a senior associate at Hogan Lovells. She specialises in all aspects of data protection law.  She has advised international groups of companies in complying with all aspects of French data protection legislation, including by conducting audits of their activities, providing multijurisdictional advice prior to the implementation of projects, drafting data transfer agreements and assisting with all applicable formalities. Sarah also specialises in Internet related intellectual property and in particular the recuperation of domain names and Internet commercial transactions. Sarah has assisted a major social network with the recuperation of an important number of domain names in numerous different jurisdictions, either using the applicable dispute resolution policies or via negotiation.

Sarah earned both her French dual law degree from The University of Paris X Nanterre and her US Juris Doctor from the University of Richmond, Virginia in 2007. Sarah is a member of the New York and Paris Bars. Sarah recently became a Young Privacy Professional Leader with the International Association of Privacy Professionals for the Paris area.

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