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The Privacy Advisor | How Seton Hall Law is supporting the growth of the privacy and cybersecurity profession Related reading: Roundup: Austria, India, EU, US and more



The rise of privacy and cybersecurity has undoubtedly had an impact on the job market and as a result, more students are eager to find a pathway forward. Hoping to develop future waves of privacy and cybersecurity lawyers, Seton Hall Law school devotes two institutes and a JD curriculum to shape a deliberate path to privacy and security law. While many hear that privacy is hiring, Seton Hall Law responded by expanding their reach, offering courses to lawyers and non-lawyers alike. Realizing the privacy and cybersecurity space affords students real post-graduation opportunities, the law school developed its Master of Science in Jurisprudence and its Online Graduate Certificate in Privacy Law and Cyber Security, not only to reflect the growing demand for expertise in this area, but to support professionals who find themselves in need of deeper knowledge after graduation. In addition to tracks offered for traditional law students, MSJ and graduate certificate offers students an opportunity to sharpen knowledge in the field, taking advantage of the university’s own existing privacy and cybersecurity operations.

Professor Timothy Glynn, senior associate dean, described Seton Hall Law's MSJ as one that provided students with “a powerful combination.” He said the MSJ program is designed for people who, given their professional track and expertise, interact with the law frequently but may not practice law.

“Privacy is a new enough phenomenon and set of legal risks that there isn’t a clear educational path to becoming a privacy professional or expert. The goal of the MSJ is to take people with other educational backgrounds and areas of expertise and give them an advantage of having an understanding of the law that governs cyber and privacy, as well as the analytical skills to address risks and solve problems in this area.”  

Glynn said, “It is intended to give students not only an understanding of the law that governs in the cyber and privacy areas, but also a basic knowledge of the structure of American law, basic legal reasoning and analytical skills, and a sense of legal writing. The degree is designed for working professionals and aims to engage them with relevant law and to develop skills they can utilize in what they are currently doing or plan to do in their career.” 

Offered both online and in-class, the MSJ is designed to be flexible for working professionals. Offered in eight-week modules, Glynn said, “The idea is that a working professional can take one course at a time, five times a year and complete the master’s degree in two years.” He added, “What we really focus on here is our expertise: the law and analytical skills. We are focused on the legal aspects, the legal implications and the legal risks associated with privacy and cyber security — it’s a law and practical skills focused curriculum.”

Speaking on the online certificate program, Glynn said the approach is appealing to students on two levels. “Not only does it provide deeper knowledge of the law that governs what they are doing on the ground, but it is also helpful for lawyers who are practicing in one area of law, keep coming across these issues more regularly and want to have more substantial knowledge in cybersecurity and privacy.” He also noted that the program sees lawyers who use it as a basis to transition from one area of law to another.

While the MSJ program and the online certificate program are designed make privacy applicable and relevant to what students are doing in their professional lives, Seton Hall Law offers traditional JD curriculum for students looking to break into the field. The law school’s privacy and security law track draw upon the law school’s Institute for Privacy Protection and its Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology, supporting the expansion of privacy and security research, discussion and education.

Professor Gaia Bernstein, director of the Institute for Privacy Protection, said Seton Hall’s programs reflect a shift towards privacy. "When we did a survey of the job market, we found there are many more opportunities for diverse jobs in the privacy area. We thought it would be a great opportunity to provide students a way to get into the field.” Bernstein added she has noticed a significant increase in privacy students over the past two years, marking what she describes as a remarkable shift.

Professor David Opderbeck, who co-chairs the Gibbons Institute with Professor Bernstein, said “The privacy and security area is inherently interesting, and it has a lot of different angles. We’re seeing it in practice too — there is a lot of need to have professionals in this field.”

Opderbeck said, “Having people who are specifically educated in this area has to benefit the overall level of expertise and compliance atmosphere. Our students get a sense of law and policy that they wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to. They get a feel for how the technology works, for the business context and how privacy and security issues arise in context.”

Bernstein added, “Privacy law has evolved so much over recent years and has become increasingly complicated. Law students can decide to specialize in privacy in advance, or they can come back and take our MSJ courses if they have found a need for privacy knowledge. Now there is an option to plan in advance, and there’s an option to come back and meet a need that has arisen throughout a career.”

While privacy professionals practicing in the field today can testify they did not go to school for this, Seton Hall Law school is hoping to bridge the gap for professionals practicing in the field and provide a deliberate choice for those looking to enter. 


photo credit: IMG_4990 via photopin (license)


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