Alston, Latham tap D.C.-based partners with cyber and privacy chops

Signage is seen on the exterior of the building where law firm Latham & Watkins LLP are located in Manhattan, New York City
Signage is seen on the exterior of the building where law firm Latham & Watkins LLP is located in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., August 17, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
  • Former deputy assistant AG Kellen Dwyer is joining Alston as a practice co-head.
  • Antony (Tony) Kim jumped to Latham from Orrick.

(Reuters) - Alston & Bird and Latham & Watkins are the latest major law firms to recruit lawyers with cybersecurity and privacy expertise, with both firms announcing new partner additions in Washington, D.C. on Thursday.

Atlanta-based Alston has brought on former U.S. Department of Justice cyber and national security prosecutor Kellen Dwyer as co-leader of the firm's national security and digital crimes practice.

Dwyer was most recently deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department's national security division overseeing its legal policy office, a position he took over last year when then-Attorney General William Barr removed his predecessor Brad Wiegmann from the role. Dwyer made headlines in 2018 when he inadvertently disclosed in a court filing that federal charges had been filed against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to reports.

Dwyer left private practice as a Kirkland & Ellis associate in 2014 to become an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia. He prosecuted several hacking cases, including the indictment of Assange, his new firm said. Dwyer said he got started in technology litigation at Kirkland, noting his representation of Facebook Inc in litigation arising from its initial public offering.

At the Justice Department, he worked on issues including election security, encryption, cryptocurrency and cybersecurity incidents, he said.

In his move back to private practice, Dwyer said he was looking for a place where he could continue to work on "cutting-edge legal issues," including high-profile litigation and government investigations in the cybersecurity and national security arenas. At Alston, his practice will focus on data security and privacy matters, civil litigation and white-collar defense, he said.

Dwyer, who is an adjunct professor at George Mason's Scalia Law School, also noted that Alston boasts a number of former federal prosecutors in its ranks. Some of those include Byung Jin (BJay) Pak, Joseph (Jody) Hunt and Joanna Hendon.

Los Angeles-founded Latham, meanwhile, looked to a rival firm, not government, for its latest privacy and cybersecurity hire. The firm said Thursday that it's adding longtime Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe lawyer Antony (Tony) Kim, who joins as a partner in the firm's litigation and trial department and a member of its connectivity, privacy and information practice.

Kim's practice focuses on the convergence of data, technology and regulation, the 3,000-lawyer firm said. He advises clients in regulatory investigations and enforcement actions involving data breaches, privacy and consumer protection issues by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, state attorneys general and international regulators, and counsels clients on governance, compliance and risk mitigation strategies.

Kim, in an email, said he was attracted to Latham for three reasons: "people, platform, and perspective."

"Companies are dealing with an onslaught of investigations and new regulatory requirements in every market in which they operate, and often in markets in which they don’t," he said. "The regulators are extremely aggressive, and the rules are frequently changing."

An Orrick spokesperson said in an email statement, "We are grateful to Tony for all of his contributions to the firm and wish him the best."

Read More:

Ex-U.S. Attorney Byung Jin Pak lands at Atlanta's Alston & Bird

Outgoing DOJ civil division head Jody Hunt lands at Alston & Bird

Privacy and data security lawyers bask in high demand as firms play tug of war

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Sara Merken reports on privacy and data security, as well as the business of law, including legal innovation and key players in the legal services industry. Reach her at