During a recent virtual call with Venable partners and associates, D. Reed Freeman, CIPP/US, recalled a partner teasing him a bit about his participation in a 2009 conference.
“And I loved it,” he said. “Work is dead serious, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun while you’re doing it, and I really like that a lot. I think that’s a real plus. Feeling free to tease each other and have some fun while we’re doing work for clients, I like that. It suits my personality.”
It’s that team atmosphere that feels like family that partly drew the longtime privacy lawyer to Venable, where he joined this month as a partner in the eCommerce, Privacy, and Cybersecurity Practice in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. He comes to Venable from Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Door, where he was partner and co-chair of the firm’s Cybersecurity, Privacy and Communications Practice.
In joining Venable, Freeman said he’s part of a “world-class privacy group” with a “very deep bench,” led by friends and peers he has known for more than 20 years.
With a practice that “straddles the intersection of privacy and marketing,” Freeman said he was drawn to Venable’s strong privacy and security team, as well as its advertising law practice. The firm’s experienced class-action defense practice for privacy and data protection matters, on both coasts — particularly in California where the California Consumer Privacy Act is now being enforced — was also important.
“The class-action trajectory has been rather linear in increase year over year, but I think it’s about to be hyperbolic and I wanted to be somewhere at the dawn of the age of the hyperbolic curve for class-action lawsuits,” Freeman said.
Freeman’s practice has focused on privacy, cybersecurity and the privacy aspects of advertising online on mobile devices, social media and connected devices, and that likely won’t change. What will be different, he said, is Venable’s large team and the experience it brings in all areas of privacy law, which he’ll be able to draw from. Venable serves a worldwide clientele of organizations, nonprofits, entrepreneurs and others, with more than 850 professionals across the country.
Making a professional move during the COVID-19 pandemic has been somewhat challenging, Freeman said, but he is connected with partners and associate team members through virtual meetings and has received a warm welcome.
“Frankly, I was thinking in August, while we’re dealing with the pandemic and Washington typically slows down just a little, is probably a good time as any to make a move and to get to know every other member of the team and what their narrow specialty is, so when I get a request for help from a client or another partner, if it’s not squarely within my wheelhouse, I know who to turn to because somebody in the group has done it,” he said.
Freeman said he hopes his experience will be valuable for Venable clients, and he knows the firm's team and knowledge around privacy, data security and advertising litigation is “going to be a huge benefit to clients that I’ve had the good fortune to serve for a long time.”
Venable Chairman and eCommerce, Privacy, and Cybersecurity Practice Co-Chair Stuart Ingis called Freeman an “experienced and well-respected privacy attorney” and said he is excited Freeman is joining the Venable team.
“Reed joins and strengthens a nationally recognized team that helps clients at the forefront of data privacy and technology navigate complex regulatory, compliance, and enforcement challenges,” Ingis said. “He will make a strong addition to the firm, particularly at the intersection of our privacy and advertising practices.”
When considering making the move, Freeman said it was a conversation with Ingis that sealed the deal. The two were talking about their futures in practice and how they plan to continue until they “stop having fun.”
“That’s what sold me,” Freeman said. “Nobody says that. Nobody in a law firm says we’re going to keep practicing until we stop having fun. That made such an impression on me, and it was so sincere. He was just being honest.”
Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash
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