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Crowell Looks to Bolster Cyber Group as Feds Respond to Threats

Oct. 6, 2022, 9:00 AM

Law firm Crowell & Moring is looking to deepen its bench of privacy and cybersecurity attorneys amid what the group’s leader said is an onslaught of new federal activity.

The White House, Congress and the Defense Department are trying to tackle fast-evolving cyber threats to corporations, said Evan Wolff, the co-chair of Crowell’s privacy and cybersecurity practice group. That has spurred the Washington-based firm to bolster its team of cyber savvy lawyers.

Quickly interpreting a range of new laws and regulations for clients is standard for cyber lawyers, he said in an interview. “The expression is, ‘it’s like learning how to fly while you’re in the air,’” he said.

The firm announced Thursday that it has hired Jennie Wang VonCannon, a longtime federal prosecutor, in Los Angeles. She joins a Crowell group that includes about 20 full-time cyber and privacy attorneys and another 20 or so who handle those and other matters.

Congress in March passed a new law requiring that “critical infrastructure” entities report certain incidents and ransomware payments to an agency within the Homeland Security Department. At the same time, the Defense Department has streamlined its cyber security certification program for sharing information with federal contractors.

Crowell is known for representing a wide range of government contractors and other companies, including Lockheed Martin Corp., UnitedHealth Group, and Northrop Grumman Systems Corp.

Wolff, who joined the firm in 2013 and launched the practice group a year later, said the federal government “needs to be more supportive” of the victims of often large-scale cyber attacks. Government response is particularly key when the perpetrators are foreign nations or related entities, he said.

The Biden administration is set to soon unveil an updated national cybersecurity strategy. The White House has also urged Congress to authorize the Environmental Protection Agency to set cyber standards for the nation’s water sector, as ports and terminals face an increasing number of cyberattacks.

VonCannon said in an interview that she “sort of ate it up” when she started handling cyber crime cases during her 11-year stint as a federal prosecutor. She served as deputy chief of the office’s cyber and intellectual property crimes section, before joining Ellis George Cipollone O’Brien Annaguey, where she handled data privacy and other types of cases as a defense lawyer.

VonCannon said she will focus on providing clients with holistic cyber and privacy-related advice to mitigate the effects of attacks, and to try to prevent them in the first place.

“It all boils down to data,” she said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sam Skolnik in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at; John Hughes at