The IAPP received confirmation Tuesday that its Privacy Law Specialist certification has been granted accreditation by the Minnesota Board of Legal Certification. The approval comes following a final review of the IAPP’s application for approval during a monthly board meeting June 20.
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. Prior to the approval, Minnesota was one of 13 U.S. states that recognized the PLS certification but required state accreditation. It now joins Alabama as the only states to fully approve the PLS recognition under their official lists of specializations.
The IAPP submitted its application for accreditation to the Minnesota board in November. The board reviewed the application in February before engaging the IAPP in discussions on clarifications prior to last week’s board meeting, which was preceded by a period of public comment.
Attorney Brent Bidjou, CIPP/E, CIPP/US, PLS, the only PLS-certified lawyer practicing in Minnesota, attended the public portion of the board meeting. Bidjou was initially set to attend the meeting on his own accord as an observer, but the Minnesota board then invited him to offer supporting testimony for the application’s approval.
“I explained to the board that this is one of the fastest growing legal areas that there is,” said Bidjou, who is one of just 61 PLS certification carriers. Bidjou appealed to the board with points on the rising attendance of privacy law sessions at conferences he has spoken at and the growing interest and studies of privacy law with students at the University of Minnesota. He also alluded to Minnesota’s early jump on privacy from an “industry best practice standpoint,” mentioning his own involvement in the Twin Cities Privacy Network that brought together privacy advocates from all industries for the purpose of sharing experiences and challenges with privacy.
The Minnesota board, which is made up of members from several industries, found few holes in IAPP’s application, according to Bidjou.
“They did comment about how truly prepared IAPP was and how the application was very thorough in providing the board the information it needed,” Bidjou said. “There was some discussion back and forth about the definition of what constitutes privacy law practice, so that definition was made more expansive.”
Bidjou added that the board will now look to the IAPP as the accrediting agency, meaning Minnesota will ask the IAPP to “identify, screen and confirm that these PLS holders are in good standing with their entity.”
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