McKesson’s New Head of Litigation Saw A Data Breach Up Close

July 21, 2017, 10:23 PM

The newest member of McKesson Corp.’s legal department, Robin Jacobsohn, has seen what the aftermath of a cyber attack looks and feels like from the inside.

In June 2015, Jacobsohn joined the U.S. Office of Personnel Management -- months after it discovered a massive breach of its internal system had compromised the personal data of an estimated 21.5 million individuals, including federal employees and others. Much of her time there was spent dealing with the aftermath.

“We were very much in the middle of a lot of people’s focus,” she said. “There was obviously a lot of time and energy spent responding to the underlying challenges and gathering information as quickly and clearly we could” about what had happened.

Jacobsohn joined OPM as general counsel and said she spent a substantial portion of her time dealing with the fallout from the hack. She will head up McKesson’s litigation, but said her responsibilities will include intellectual property, information technology and employment and benefits. Her title will be senior vice president, associate general counsel.

Previously in her career, Jacobsohn served as an associate deputy attorney general in the U.S. Department of Justice, a deputy general counsel in the U.S. Department of Defense, and as a partner in Williams & Connolly.

McKesson, a San Francisco-based company that distributes pharmaceuticals and is also involved in healthcare delivery, has been involved in 983 federal court cases since July 2013, according to Bloomberg Law. The vast majority of those cases featured product liability claims.

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Jacobsohn, who will be based in Washington, D.C., and started only two weeks ago, said she is still getting comfortable in her new position and her new role.

She said she doesn’t have any set rules about what she wants from outside counsel but they should be familiar with the company and its business. That may mean understanding the trends in class-action litigation occurring within the industry or simply being familiar with the nature of relevant regulatory investigations.

Part of her role will be figuring out how to optimize her own use of in-house attorneys for those tasks that they have the expertise to handle, and deciding when it makes sense to bring in outside counsel. As to the mix of law firms she plans to use, Jacobsohn said there is no one-size fits all approach to the ideal outside counsel.

“I’ve worked with a range of law firms over the years … and had terrific experiences with all manners of law firms [from] tiny boutiques, that are very local [to] very broad international practices,” she said.

UPDATED: This post has been corrected to reflect that Jacobsohn was an associate deputy attorney general at the DOJ, not associate attorney general, and that she joined OPM as general counsel in June 2015.

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