Alston & Bird today announced an important expansion of its Brussels office with the arrival of a new partner and two additional attorneys in the firm’s Privacy & Data Security Practice. In addition to bringing wide-ranging experience in the field of European Union privacy and data protection law, with in-depth capabilities advising Fortune 500 and other multinational companies in data protection compliance, the new group complements the firm’s globally recognized Payment Systems Practice, whose international activities are based in Brussels.
The new partner is Jan Dhont, who was previously a partner and head of the Privacy and Data Protection Practice at Brussels-based Koan Lorenz. He is joined by Counsel Jon Filipek and Associate Delphine Charlot.
“Jan is an internationally known authority in EU data protection,” said Alston & Bird Managing Partner Richard Hays. “He and his team significantly enhance our firm’s already strong practice in this fast-growing area and expand our presence in Europe’s legal center at a time when the EU’s vastly complex privacy and security regime is poised to become even more stringent.”
Dhont specializes in EU privacy and has significant experience in European regulatory matters. He counsels private corporations and public institutions, focusing on compliance solutions for the pharmaceutical, insurance, banking, direct marketing and telecom industries. He works regularly with multinational corporations on data protection issues such as cross-border data transfers, human resources privacy, data processing outsourcing and IT security. He also advises on the myriad privacy and data security issues that increasingly affect the payments industry.
“U.S. companies doing business in Europe simply face an overwhelming amount of complexity when it comes to handling data,” said Jim Harvey, partner and co-chair of Alston & Bird’s Privacy & Data Security Practice. “As one of Europe’s foremost privacy practitioners and thought leaders, Jan is ideally placed to advise clients on current and future EU data issues.”
Jan began his career with the Belgian Privacy Commission. He also served as an associate at Hunton & Williams LLP and Crowell & Moring LLP in Brussels.
“Jan comes to us with a lengthy track record of success advising leading U.S. multinationals that have significant privacy and security needs outside the United States,” said David Keating, Alston & Bird partner and co-chair of its Privacy & Data Security Practice. “He takes a practical approach to solving problems, leveraging his deep familiarity with local country laws and his relationships within the Data Protection Authority community. We think Jan will add significant value for our clients in managing global data issues.”
Along with Dhont, Alston & Bird has also added privacy and security Counsel Jon Filipek, who advises clients on data protection and privacy compliance. Based in Brussels for 15 years, he joins from Oswell & Vahida and previously served as senior vice president for regulatory affairs at ONDAS Media, S.A., the pan-European satellite radio start-up, and before that as partner in the Brussels office of Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP.
Rounding out the team is Associate Delphine Charlot, a French-qualified lawyer who arrives from Koan Lorenz and who has worked in France, Spain and Belgium. Focusing on e-commerce and data privacy, she advises global companies on cross-border data transfers, privacy policies and procedures, employee privacy, IT security and cybersecurity.
“We are delighted to welcome Jan, Jon and Delphine to our team,” said Richard Willis, partner in charge of Alston & Bird’s Brussels office and a member of the firm’s Payment Systems Practice who represents both public and private entities in the payments industry and who has been based in Brussels for over a decade. “Their arrival marks a key point in the growth of both our Privacy & Data Security and Payment Systems practices globally and significantly augments our Brussels capabilities at a time when a number of industries, including payment services, are facing far-reaching compliance challenges in light of evolving EU data privacy requirements and increasingly sophisticated global threats to data security.”
The addition of Dhont, Filipek and Charlot represents the latest expansion of Alston & Bird’s Privacy & Data Security Practice. Earlier in the year, the firm added senior counsel Peter Swire, former White House privacy official and member of President Obama’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology, which was formed in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations regarding surveillance activities by the U.S. National Security Agency.
Alston & Bird’s privacy, data and cybersecurity attorneys and public policy advisors comprise a multidisciplinary team with the extensive experience, knowledge of the law and vision to help clients transform the power of information into value for shareholders and customers. The team helps clients in significant data breach and network intrusion matters and at every step of the information life cycle, from developing and implementing corporate policies and procedures, to representation in transactional matters, public policy and legislative issues and litigation.