Joining Minnesota and Alabama, the State of Texas granted accreditation of the IAPP's Privacy Law Specialist certification. On March 6, the Texas Board of Legal Specialization fully approved the PLS designation as an official specialization.
The PLS certification is approved by the American Bar Association, which follows U.S. law in allowing attorneys the right to advertise their specialization in a specific field of law when certified by a recognized or credible organization.
The Texas board's executive director, Leo Figueroa, said "there was no question" that privacy law is a specialized area of practice. He cited the almost regular reports of data breaches and "the havoc they've created" as glaring examples of the need for such specialized practitioners.
"There was and is a recognition that this type of specialization is an important consideration for everyone, including individuals, companies and government entities," Figueroa added. "More needs to be done to address those issues and protect individual privacy as we go along."
The IAPP is the seventh certification provider to be granted accreditation, though the Texas board has certified more than 7,400 individual lawyers across 25 specialty areas over its 46 years of work.
"Texas has unparalleled opportunities in technology and internet services, particularly for startups and tech companies," Verizon Media Legal Director David Patariu, CIPP/E, CIPP/US, CIPM, FIP, PLS, said. "Texans themselves are in need of competent advice on privacy issues. The PLS certification will allow businesses to quickly identify attorneys and companies that have devoted the time and energy to an emerging field."
Patariu, a former resident of Austin, pointed to the efforts Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, has put forth to make consumer privacy a priority in the state in recent years, specifically via the creation of the Texas Privacy Protection Advisory Council in May 2019. With that council working to draw up comprehensive state privacy legislation for potential adoption in 2021, Patariu sees the PLS designation as something that will ease the burdens and concerns of those individuals and organizations that could fall under potential legislation.
"It lets people outside of the organization know they are dealing with a highly qualified privacy professional who knows what they are talking about when making representations about what a client is doing or how they are handling data," Patariu said. "It’s immensely helpful, but especially when dealing with other companies. The training and expertise are what people look for."
Photo by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash
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