Whiteford, Taylor going after cyber security clients with new group

Date: August 5, 2011

A Baltimore law firm sees a business opportunity in helping thwart the growing number of online crooks trying to swipe a company’s sensitive data or disrupt its computer network.

Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP, a 153-lawyer business law firm, has launched a new industry group to advise clients on the legal issues related to cyber security and the protection of online data.

It’s not alone in seeing a business niche in cyber law. At least two other firms with big Baltimore offices, Philadelphia’s Saul Ewing LLP and Richmond, Va.’s McGuireWoods LLP are jumping into cyber law as well, as firms nationally see a demand for legal expertise in the growing industry.

“Cyber is a booming field, so it stands to reason that law firms would move into this to handle cyber security concerns,” said Rick Forno, who directs the graduate-level program in cyber security at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He expects more law firms will follow Whiteford, Taylor’s lead and start marketing their cyber law capabilities.

Whiteford, Taylor’s group is the outgrowth of the firm’s existing technology law practice, said Eric Nastasi, the group’s co-head. Nastasi, a lawyer in the firm’s Washington, D.C., office, runs the group with S. Keith Moulsdale, a partner in the Baltimore office. Nastasi joined the firm in November, from Bitek International, a Newport Beach, Calif., software company, where he was general counsel and chief operating officer.

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