Career Notes 7.26.20
Ep 8 | 7.26.20

Dominique Shelton Leipzig: No matter the statistics, even if against the odds, focus on what you want. [Legal]


Dominique Shelton Leipzig: My name is Dominique Shelton Leipzig. I'm a privacy and data security partner at Perkins Cole and I am the co-chair of the firm's global adtech privacy and data management team. Very early, I was one of those that really just always wanted to be a lawyer. Early, if I can remember, I think probably I was seven or eight years old and I wrote to one of our Congress people at the time and I wrote to her because I was concerned about politics and the US's role in foreign governments. And I wanted to talk about the law and how is this being allowed.

Dominique Shelton Leipzig: I would say the first, you know, twenty-two years of my career, from 1991 till probably about 2012, I was litigating primarily. So my my I came to these issues as a litigator. And for the past seven years I've been doing something I really enjoy, which is counseling clients on how to access, leverage and access the power and sort of unleash the full potential of data. But at the same time, avoiding litigation. And a lot of that just be is based on being super transparent about what the company is doing with data. So I really enjoy that that aspect of the job a lot.

Dominique Shelton Leipzig: I describe my job as really helping companies consider the fact that all companies, whether or not they consider themselves, you know, a big tech company, all companies are data companies. And so I help companies deal with their data, you know, at the very simplest form. So it goes through, you know, all aspects of it. First, you know, I help them basically deal with their data as an asset of the company. To this regard I help leaders like C-Suite and board members understand what they're doing with data and also figure out what makes sense for the company. What should they be doing with data? How does this align with the mission and the values and mission of the company? And then getting rid of data that they don't need that's not related to the value and the aspirations of the company. And then looking at ways where they might need to acquire other companies or acquire technology to reach the full potential of the company when they get data aligned with their mission. And then finally, and most importantly, ensuring that they're not doing anything illegal with the data, of course. So that means complying with the one hundred and thirty four different data protection laws throughout the globe right now for a global company. And also, making sure you're protecting the data once you have it. And that's where the cybersecurity and data security work comes in.

Dominique Shelton Leipzig: My advice is, first of all, really go to where your passion and energy is, you know, and if it's in a legal career, I often tell young lawyers and students to wash their eyes, as I do every morning with, you know, start with the newspaper. You know, I read the Financial Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal every morning to kind of just get refreshed.

Dominique Shelton Leipzig: For me, as an African-American woman partner and I look at some of the statistics, it's always shocking to me that they're very similar to the days when I first started my practice in '91. There's less than one percent of all Amlaw 100 law firms that have equity partners like me. So I would also say for those young lawyers that no matter what the statistic is, that might be against the odds, don't really pay attention to those, really focus on what it is that you want to do and then go do it and have fun.

Dominique Shelton Leipzig: I hope they look back at me as someone who was independent, a trailblazer, and that maybe set a different perspective on a lot of issues that we see everyday.