Bloomberg Law
March 2, 2020, 10:48 PM

Sidley Austin Hires Kirkland’s Data Privacy Co-Leader

Roy Strom
Roy Strom

Sidley Austin has hired Brian Kavanaugh, the former co-leader of Kirkland & Ellis’ data privacy practice, as a litigation partner in its Chicago office.

Kavanaugh is a trial lawyer who has represented clients in cases regarding data breaches, reimbursement claims in the healthcare industry, and other disputes including class actions and arbitration.

He represented the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and Health Care Service Corp., one of the nation’s largest health insurers, in data breach cases involving affiliates Anthem Inc. and Excellus.

“A trial lawyer of Brian’s caliber making a move to Sidley is another example of our status as a litigation powerhouse,” Yvette Ostolaza, co-leader of Sidley’s global litigation group, said in a statement. “Brian’s energy and experience fit seamlessly with that of our talented team, and will undoubtedly strengthen our healthcare, insurance and privacy litigation work.”

Kavanaugh has made appearances in 20 federal court cases for the insurer HCSC since 2007, according to Bloomberg Law data. The Chicago-based insurer has turned to Kirkland for 85 federal cases in that span. That is the second-most of any law firm behind only Reed Smith, which has made appearances on 123 federal cases for the company.

Bloomberg Law data does not indicate that Sidley has previously represented HCSC. But Kavanaugh is listed as a Sidley lawyer representing HCSC against an ERISA claim filed in Dallas federal court. He notified a Chicago federal judge that he is with Sidley in a separate ERISA case where he represents HCSC.

Kavanaugh was not immediately available for comment.

“We enjoyed working with Brian and we wish him well at his next law firm,” a spokeswoman said in a statement on behalf of Kirkland.

Also on Monday, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher announced it had hired two private equity partners from Kirkland, Abtin Jalali and Chris Harding. The lawyers joined Gibson Dunn in its San Francisco office.

Meanwhile, Kirkland on Monday said it hired an executive compensation and employee benefits partner, Stephen Jacobson, from Vinson & Elkins in Houston. Jacobson is the second Houston-based executive compensation partner to join Kirkland this year, following Rob Fowler who joined the firm from Baker Botts in January.

To contact the reporter on this story: Roy Strom in Chicago at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at; Rebekah Mintzer at