Since 1998, Heather Clauson Haughian has worked as a full-time privacy and data security attorney, focusing her practice on complex technology, data privacy, security-related legal issues and counseling clients on intellectual property rights. Fully IAPP certified, Haughian advises corporate clients on cybersecurity issues such as high-level data breach response and mitigation. In 2013, Haughian acted as one of four co-founding members of Culhane Meadows PLLC, currently the largest woman-owned, nationally offered, full-service law firm in the country, where she now serves as the firm’s chief technology officer (CTO). Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® since 2019, Haughian is currently being honored as “Lawyer of the Year” for Privacy and Data Security Law in Atlanta for 2023.
When asked about her most recent work, Haughian stated: “I recently negotiated a technology licensing agreement that included a vast number of privacy and data security issues that truly required an in-depth knowledge of not only the regulations and current best practices but also a strong technical background. Because the opposing counsel was so knowledgeable in these areas and understood the counterpoints I was making for my clients, we were able to close the deal much faster than expected. I made sure that the in-house counsel and business teams on the other side of the deal knew how much we appreciated their outside counsel’s professionalism and knowledge base, as it enabled us to find a win-win for both sides and close the deal by the end of that quarter. Two months later, that same opposing counsel that I had negotiated against on that deal referred their client to me on a similar transaction when their firm was conflicted out of that matter. That referral from opposing counsel felt like such an accomplishment to me as it was a huge compliment to know I had developed that kind of rapport with an attorney I had just negotiated against and that the opposing counsel had an equal respect for my knowledge base as well.” Haughian noted that she believes this kind of success led to her recognition.
With nearly 30 years of legal experience, Haughian has extensive knowledge of IT, transaction outsourcing and corporate software licensing deals. In addition to advising clients on ongoing cybersecurity matters, Haughian regularly counsels \clients and vendors on compliance with HIPAA/HITECH as a business process and how to handle ePHI negotiations and agreements.
“My area of law is very technical in nature, and my clients always appreciate that I can decipher what the technical aspects of the privacy and data security regulations are and how best practices in data security can differ so greatly depending on the specific type of technology involved. It’s never a one-size-fits-all when it comes to privacy and data security and understanding the ‘why’ behind that helps me understand how best to advise my clients and how to negotiate deals for them.”
Last year, Haughian and her firm were honored by the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF), a nonprofit trade association founded in 2001 meant to offer support to both minority and women-owned law firms throughout the U.S. Haughian and her firm received the NAMWOLF Law Firm MVP Award, which is given to one member of a specific law firm for their achievements and efforts to promote both diversity and inclusion within the field of law.
“This award meant a great deal to me and to my firm, knowing that NAMWOLF’s members, business partners and corporate sponsors recognize the importance of having diverse and inclusive legal teams to help solve the problems facing corporate America today—a mission that our law firm also shares,” Haughian concluded.