Paul Hastings announced it has hired Robert Silvers, the outgoing assistant secretary for cyber policy at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Silvers joined the Washington, D.C. office this week as a partner in the firm’s privacy and cybersecurity group and its white collar group.
It’s not Silvers’ first stint in private practice, but his specialty has shifted: before entering government in 2011, he had been focused solely on white collar crime as an associate at O’Melveny & Myers.
“Cybersecurity was an area where over the course of my tenure [at DHS], the interest and the priority escalated sharply,” said Silvers. “That’s because we were contending with really serious issues.”
He said a turning point occurred with the 2014 hack of Sony Entertainment, just before the release of “The Interview,” a movie that mocked North Korea’s “Supreme Leader” Kim Jong Un. The Obama Administration accused North Korea of the hack and launched several retaliatory attacks, although the country denied involvement, Bloomberg reported .
Silvers said that companies are increasingly under attack by criminal hackers, as well as nation-states. During his time at DHS, he said he played a key role in negotiating the 2015 pact with China that neither it nor the U.S. would support hacking to steal commercial secrets.
Paul Hastings’ cyber practice group includes James Koenig, who co-led the cybersecurity incident response and data management practices at PricewaterhouseCoopers and Booz Allen, according to his firm bio .
Silvers said his practice will include helping companies respond to a data breach. This includes making the required notifications and disclosures, conducting investigations of breaches, helping companies set up governance frameworks so they’re prepared in the event of a breach, and advising on litigation and regulatory risk.
About the increasing importance of cybersecurity as a practice area, Silvers said, “There are some who believe the general counsel is now the right quarterback when it comes to cybersecurity ... there’s not a uniform consensus on that. You’re seeing different companies handle it different ways, but certainly general counsels are increasingly becoming more involved.”