While data breaches have become commonplace – almost a cost of doing business today, the legal industry has struggled to meet the increasing demand for lawyers trained on cybersecurity matters.

Downtown L.A.’s Loyola Law School, however, has plans to launch three cybersecurity degree programs next year to help fill the void.

“I hear about companies just scrambling, trying to piece together all their various regulations and some law firms panicking when the client would call and say they’ve had a breach,” said Sean Scott, the school’s senior associate dean who created the programs. “It’s one area where I think we’ve really been caught off guard.”

Loyola’s students can pursue their degrees with a concentration in cybersecurity and data privacy law starting next fall, Scott said. But the new specialization will also be available to attorneys currently practicing as well as other nonlawyer professionals through the school’s master of science in legal studies and master of laws degree programs.

The concentrations, Scott said, are the first of their kind on the West Coast.

Many law firms have “repurposed” intellectual property lawyers into cybersecurity attorneys and Scott said it has become increasingly clear that there’s a significant need for proper training in this area.

“We’re all playing catch-up,” she said. “It’s a little bit like laying track when the train is already running.”

Loyola will likely hire two or three new adjunct professors, but Scott said several existing faculty members plan to broaden the topics they already teach to include elements of the cybersecurity curriculum.

“This program, to me, represents what legal education should be doing, which is really paying attention to what’s happening in the market,” she said. “It’s going to be a program that’s constantly evolving.”

A Little Luck

Carney Shegerian can add a new feather in his cap: The prominent Santa Monica litigator secured a $7.1 million verdict in Los Angeles Superior Court this month, his 31st seven-figure payday.

Shegerian represented T.J. Simers, a former Los Angeles Times sports columnist who sued the newspaper after resigning in 2013. Simers argued he was forced to resign after he suffered a mini-stroke and lost support from the paper’s management.

Aside from the high-profile nature of the parties involved, Shegerian said the case reflects a growing trend of age and disability discrimination in the workplace.

“When things are tight – and the publishing business is a relatively tight business – you see corporations taking it out on a lot of the older workers,” he said. “We have a large amount of our workforce in the 60s … and we see these companies dismantling their careers and pushing them out.”

Shegerian, who founded Shegerian & Associates Inc. in 1999, said he recently has seen a slew of cases involving workers who claim to have been wronged by their employers.

The Simers case marked Shegerian’s 73rd jury trial victory. Yet despite his success in court, he said there’s not much of a secret recipe to winning. He put a lot of it down to preparation and luck.

“We’re lucky that we’re able to carefully select the cases we take,” he said. “I feel like I’ve always had a feel for how to help (my clients) best, but a lot of it’s just luck and … hours working and studying our cases.”

Legal Landscape

Loeb & Loeb has expanded its entertainment practice in Century City as Gregg B. Ramer joined the firm as senior counsel and Junzi “June” Tan was hired as an associate. Ramer joined Loeb & Loeb from Katten Muchin Rosenman, where he had been special counsel. … Sidley Austin has hired Richard Petretti, former partner at Morgan Lewis & Bockius, as a partner in the firm’s media and entertainment practice in Century City. Sidley also hired Jack S. Yeh as a partner in its complex commercial litigation practice in Century City. Yeh joined Sidley from Manatt Phelps & Phillips. … Diana Winfrey, former partner at Selman Breitman, and Ed Langhammer Jr., former partner at Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck, have both joined the Century City office of Tressler. Winfrey is now an insurance litigation partner at Tressler and Langhammer is an employment litigation partner. … Richard Wittbrodt, managing partner of Gibbs Giden Locher Turner Senet & Wittbrodt in Century City, has been appointed to the American Bar Association’s forum on construction law nominating committee and Gibbs Giden Partner Nathan O’Malley has been appointed to the International Centre for Dispute Resolution’s panel of arbitrators. … Paul W. Sweeney Jr., administrative partner in the Century City office of K&L Gates, has been appointed chairman of the board of Koreatown nonprofit law firm Public Counsel.

Staff reporter Cale Ottens can be reached at cottens@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 549-5225, ext. 221.

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