Holland & Knight takes two US privacy lawyers from Reed Smith
Mark Melodia

Holland & Knight takes two US privacy lawyers from Reed Smith

Mark Melodia and Paul Bond have joined the firm as partners in its New York and Philadelphia offices respectively. Melodia left his position as co-chair of Reed Smith’s IP, tech and data group, while Bond was co-chair of its information technology, privacy and data security group.

Melodia has significant experience in litigating data-related class action lawsuits, having defended clients, including Sony and Coca-Cola, in more than 80 putative class actions. He has worked on “bet-the-company” lawsuits and represents clients in multiple district litigation in data privacy and security, as well as in financial services disputes.

As well as acting as defence against private actions, Melodia also works for clients in response to government privacy investigations, often appearing before the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice and state attorneys general.

His academic work includes instructing students on Carnegie Mellon’s chief information security officer certification programme and lecturing at Seton Hall Law School and New York University School of Law.

Melodia cited Holland & Knight’s reputation for defence in cybersecurity cases as a motivation for the move. In a statement, he said: "Paul and I are delighted to be joining one of the leaders in cyber law. Holland & Knight is the go-to firm for companies facing the most sophisticated cybersecurity issues, cyberattacks and data breaches."

Melodia told GDR that Holland & Knight’s “deep bench” of lobbyists also attracted him to the firm. Though historically not that critical in the privacy area, he said “having people following legislative developments at federal and state level, in the hearing rooms, involved in the process” has grown in importance since the Cambridge Analytica scandal has pushed privacy legislation up the agenda.

“There are a couple of pending bills that would have a significant impact on my clients,” he said. “That’s not to say they will be anything approaching GDPR, but some more limited but still meaningful legislation at federal level is being discussed by a wider range of people.”

Growing conflicts were also behind the move, he said. He told GDR that the same insurance companies that pay Reed Smith’s legal fees through cyber incident insurance policies they offer are being sued by the firm’s large insurance recovery team. 

Casey Ryan, global head of legal personnel at Reed Smith, said: “Client or business conflicts within a firm can create stress on an individual’s practice, as we believe happened in the case of some of the departures. As a firm that actively recruits, we recognize that lawyers occasionally move to better align their practices with certain business realities.”

Bond advises clients on data and technology strategies, with a view to helping them get the most out of new technologies. He helps them with compliance issues relating to a number of federal and state regulations, including the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Like Melodia, he has experience in defending consumer privacy class actions as well as advising clients on government investigations in relation to cybersecurity and hacking.

"We were particularly attracted to Holland & Knight because of its strength in internal investigations and government policy and regulation," said Bond. "Increasingly, cybersecurity issues also are Wall Street issues and Capitol Hill issues, and Holland & Knight offers the perfect platform to serve clients on all fronts."

According to his LinkedIn page, Bond joined Reed Smith in 2004; before that he worked as an associate in Dechert’s Philadelphia offices. He served as a judicial clerk in the New Jersey Supreme Court from 2002 to 2003. 

Christopher Kelly, head of Holland & Knight's litigation section, said: "Mark and Paul are among the most sought after data security and privacy lawyers in the country and tremendous additions to our team. They have a well-earned reputation for consistently delivering litigation victories or favourable settlements for their roster of blue-chip clients."

Reed Smith has witnessed a lot of movement in recent months, taking healthcare and life science privacy lawyers from Norton Rose Fulbright in the US, and gaining a London-based financial services specialist from Taylor Vinters.

Personnel head Ryan told GDR that New York-based partner Anthony Diana will now co-lead the IP, tech and data group with Jim Hultquist, the long time co-leader of the group.