In 2020, we saw an increased regulatory focus on cybersecurity. Though former SEC Chairman Clayton largely took the view that existing statutes and regulations were sufficient, the Division of Examinations increased exam activities in the space while agencies like FinCEN increased enforcement against violators. We can expect to see a continued focus on cybersecurity going forward as a persistent long-term trend, but it is unclear whether it will remain among the top priorities of the SEC this year. As discussed in Risk #1, we believe that the Chairman, Gary Gensler, will take a more active approach generally and, as part of that, we expect a heightened focus on cybersecurity. Sponsors are a theoretically high value target for attack because even relatively small sponsors often control billions of dollars (whether directly or indirectly) and have highly confidential information concerning their investors and partners. It is important that sponsors’ commitment to, and investment in, cybersecurity systems, policies, and procedures is commensurate with their risks and profile in fact.

State voters have also increased their focus on cybersecurity and privacy. The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (“CCPA”) became operative on January 1, 2020, requiring qualifying businesses to enable consumers to know about and control the information collected about them. In November 2020, California voters passed the California Privacy Rights Act of 2020 (“CPRA”) in an effort both to expand and strengthen the scope of the CCPA.  (The CPRA will become operative on January 1, 2023.) Because both the CCPA and CPRA define consumers and businesses broadly, private investment funds and their sponsors and managers may be considered “qualifying businesses” and information they collect and use about their employees, job applicants, investors, and prospective investors (including KYC information) residing in California could be subject to either or both of the acts.

Overseas, now that the UK has left the EU, funds that operate in London and across the EU bloc must use a suitable route for the transfer of personal data. Thankfully, on February 19, 2021, the European Commission published a draft decision that the UK has an adequate level of protection for personal data (the UK has already made the reciprocal determination and has adopted the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) into national law). The next step is for the draft adequacy decision to be approved by the Member States.

Funds with data flows the EU/UK and between the US lost the protection of the EU-US Privacy Shield in mid-2020 so they will need to use one of the appropriate safeguards to transfer personal data – e.g., standard contractual clauses (SCCs) (for intragroup or third party transfers) or binding corporate rules (for intragroup transfers) – or else rely upon one of the applicable derogations. Funds must also have “appropriate supplementary measures” in place so that personal data transferred outside of the EU/UK is protected in any third country to the same extent as it would be under the GDPR.

Areas to watch in 2021 include possible divergence between interpretation of UK-GDPR and EU-GDPR, updates to SCCs that may require funds to replace existing clauses, and further guidance on appropriate supplementary measures.

Read more of our Top Ten Regulatory and Litigation Risks for Private Funds in 2021.

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Photo of Margaret A. Dale Margaret A. Dale

Margaret Dale is a trial lawyer and first-chair litigator handling complex business disputes across a wide variety of industries, including: consumer products, media and entertainment, financial services, telecommunications and technology, and higher education. She is a former vice-chair of the Litigation Department, and…

Margaret Dale is a trial lawyer and first-chair litigator handling complex business disputes across a wide variety of industries, including: consumer products, media and entertainment, financial services, telecommunications and technology, and higher education. She is a former vice-chair of the Litigation Department, and heads the Department’s Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Group. Margaret has been recognized since 2017 in Benchmark Litigation’s Top 250 Women in Litigation.

Margaret’s practice covers the spectrum of complex commercial disputes, including privacy and data security matters, as well as disputes involving M&A, intellectual property, bankruptcy and insolvency, securities, corporate governance, and asset management.

Margaret regularly counsels clients before litigation commences to assess risk, adopt strategies to minimize or deflect disputes, and resolve matters without going to court.

Margaret is a frequent writer, including authoring a regular column on corporate and securities law in the New York Law Journal. She also serves as the lead editor of Proskauer’s blog on commercial litigation, Minding Your BusinessShe also authored the chapter titled “Privileges” in the treatise Commercial Litigation in New York State Courts (Haig, 5th ed.), as well as the chapter titled “Data Breach Litigation” in PLI’s Proskauer on Privacy.

Margaret maintains an active pro bono practice advocating on issues relating to women, children and veterans. She serves on the Board of Directors of CFR (Center for Family Representation), VLA (Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts), JALBC (Judges and Lawyers Breast Cancer Alert), and the City Bar Fund.

Photo of Michael R. Hackett Michael R. Hackett

Mike Hackett is a partner in the Litigation Department and Co-Head of the Asset Management Litigation practice. An experienced litigator and trial lawyer, Mike’s practice focuses on complex commercial litigation, with a particular emphasis on asset management, financial services, M&A, shareholder, and life…

Mike Hackett is a partner in the Litigation Department and Co-Head of the Asset Management Litigation practice. An experienced litigator and trial lawyer, Mike’s practice focuses on complex commercial litigation, with a particular emphasis on asset management, financial services, M&A, shareholder, and life sciences disputes.

A significant portion of Mike’s practice concerns disputes and regulation involving private funds, including private equity, venture capital, hedge, real estate and private credit funds, as well as their sponsors, partners, investors, portfolio companies, and officers and directors. Mike’s experience representing private fund clients runs the gamut, from control contests within advisers, to disputes between limited partners and general partners, to representation of investment advisers in connection with regulatory examinations, investigations and enforcement matters. Mike routinely represents funds, fund sponsors, portfolio companies, and their officers and directors, including in significant post-closing M&A disputes.

Mike also litigates high-stakes commercial disputes in the life sciences and financial services areas, including for established pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, emerging and innovative start-ups, asset managers, and other private capital investors, in areas such as M&A, breach of contract, indemnification, fraud, contested earnouts and royalties, securities and capital markets, and corporate governance.

Mike has been recognized by Chambers USA and was named a “Rising Star” by Massachusetts Super Lawyers.

Photo of William Komaroff William Komaroff

Bill Komaroff is a partner in the Litigation Department and White Collar Practice Group. He has a nationwide federal practice focused on corporate defense and investigations, counseling and defending institutional and individual clients in connection with a broad array of complex government investigations…

Bill Komaroff is a partner in the Litigation Department and White Collar Practice Group. He has a nationwide federal practice focused on corporate defense and investigations, counseling and defending institutional and individual clients in connection with a broad array of complex government investigations, prosecutions and civil disputes.

Bill also has served as a member of the Criminal Justice Act Panel for the District Court for the Southern District of New York.

From 2003 to 2007, Bill served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and prosecuted tax fraud, money laundering, bank fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud cases, among others. He tried numerous cases to successful jury verdicts and argued cases before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Photo of Timothy W. Mungovan Timothy W. Mungovan

Tim Mungovan is the Chair of Proskauer.  He is also the immediate past chair of the Firm’s Litigation Department and head of the Securities Litigation practice.

His practice is focused on securities, commercial litigation, governance, and bankruptcy-related matters. He has a national reputation…

Tim Mungovan is the Chair of Proskauer.  He is also the immediate past chair of the Firm’s Litigation Department and head of the Securities Litigation practice.

His practice is focused on securities, commercial litigation, governance, and bankruptcy-related matters. He has a national reputation for advising sponsors of private investment funds (hedge, private equity, private credit and venture capital) in a wide variety of matters, including litigation, governance, securities, fiduciary obligations, and regulatory enforcement.

Chambers USA describes Tim as “an extraordinary lawyer who is a fierce and very talented litigator. He is extremely knowledgeable, responsive and client-oriented.” Best Lawyers in America lauds Tim’s experience, integrity, work ethic, communications and courtroom skills. Tim has been listed in the “Top 100 Lawyers” in Massachusetts, and Benchmark Litigation has continually recognized Tim as a Litigation Star in Massachusetts.

Over the last six years, Tim has been the lead litigator representing the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico in the historic restructuring of Puerto Rico’s debts. The scale and complexity of this restructuring has resulted in one of the most active litigation dockets in the U.S. Almost every aspect of the litigation involved matters of first impression in part because the restructuring is governed by the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act, which was enacted for Puerto Rico in 2016.  The track record of success speaks for itself:  in the more than 150 lawsuits filed, Tim and the Proskauer team have prevailed in almost 95% of the cases.

Tim is recognized nationally for his experience in private fund litigation and disputes, having focused on the industry for more than 25 years.  As part of that focus, Tim created and is the lead editor of Proskauer’s blog on Private Equity litigation, The Capital Commitment.

Photo of Dorothy Murray Dorothy Murray

Dorothy Murray is a partner in the Litigation Department specializing in investment and commercial dispute resolution. She supports clients across a wide range of sectors, including financial services, asset management/private equity, energy, telecoms, and maritime.

Dorothy represents clients in disputes arising from all…

Dorothy Murray is a partner in the Litigation Department specializing in investment and commercial dispute resolution. She supports clients across a wide range of sectors, including financial services, asset management/private equity, energy, telecoms, and maritime.

Dorothy represents clients in disputes arising from all aspects of their business, whether those disputes are post M&A, shareholder, employment, contractual, partnership or JV related.

Dorothy has experience managing litigation in common and civil law jurisdictions, and in commercial and investor state arbitration.  She is fluent with all the key divisions of the English High Courts and major arbitral institutional rules, including LCIA, ICC, LMAA, SCC, ISCID and UNICTRAL.  One of her particular interests is in the enforcement of arbitral awards.

In addition to representation in contentious matters, she uses her disputes experience to support clients at the transaction and pre‑action stages, working with companies and funds to identify, understand and mitigate personal and corporate liabilities and risks.

Photo of Joshua M. Newville Joshua M. Newville

Joshua M. Newville is a partner in the Litigation Department and a member of Proskauer’s White Collar Defense & Investigations Group and the Asset Management Litigation team.

Josh handles securities litigation, enforcement and regulatory matters, representing corporations and senior executives in civil and…

Joshua M. Newville is a partner in the Litigation Department and a member of Proskauer’s White Collar Defense & Investigations Group and the Asset Management Litigation team.

Josh handles securities litigation, enforcement and regulatory matters, representing corporations and senior executives in civil and criminal investigations. In addition, Josh advises registered investment advisers and private fund managers on regulatory compliance, SEC exams, MNPI/insider trading and related risks.

Before joining Proskauer, Josh was senior counsel in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement, where he investigated and prosecuted violations of the federal securities laws. Josh served in the Enforcement Division’s Asset Management Unit, a specialized unit focusing on investment advisers and the asset management industry. His prior experience with the SEC provides a unique perspective to help asset managers manage risk and handle regulatory issues.

Photo of Todd J. Ohlms Todd J. Ohlms

Todd J. Ohlms is as a partner in the Litigation department and a member of the Asset Management Litigation Group. Todd has represented clients in business-critical litigation matters for over 25 years, and has tried several cases to verdict before juries and the…

Todd J. Ohlms is as a partner in the Litigation department and a member of the Asset Management Litigation Group. Todd has represented clients in business-critical litigation matters for over 25 years, and has tried several cases to verdict before juries and the bench. He has also participated in numerous arbitration proceedings, including counseling clients regarding disputes subject to international arbitration agreements.

Todd is often retained by private equity firms to counsel them and their portfolio companies on a wide range of matters and is frequently chosen to serve as outside general counsel to their portfolio companies. He also represents family offices in disputes related to their operating companies where sensitive and complex relationships often play as large a role in determining the result as the actual legal theories at issue.

Photo of Seetha Ramachandran Seetha Ramachandran

Seetha Ramachandran is a partner in the Litigation Department, and a member of the White Collar and Asset Management Litigation practices. An experienced trial and appellate lawyer, Seetha has conducted 10 criminal jury trials, argued 10 appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals…

Seetha Ramachandran is a partner in the Litigation Department, and a member of the White Collar and Asset Management Litigation practices. An experienced trial and appellate lawyer, Seetha has conducted 10 criminal jury trials, argued 10 appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and handled ancillary civil proceedings in forfeiture cases.

Seetha is a leading expert in anti-money laundering (AML), Bank Secrecy Act, economic sanctions and asset forfeiture matters. Her practice focuses on white collar and regulatory enforcement defense, internal investigations, and compliance counseling. She represents banks, broker dealers, hedge funds, private equity funds, online payment companies, and individual executives and officers in high stakes and sensitive matters. Seetha has deep experience representing institutions and individuals in financial penalty phase of criminal and regulatory matters, and is often retained to litigate forfeiture and restitution claims on behalf of victims and third parties in criminal cases, as well as handling these issues for individual defendants.

Seetha served as a federal prosecutor for nearly 10 years, including as Deputy Chief in the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section (AFMLS), Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice. She was the first head of DOJ’s Money Laundering & Bank Integrity Unit, where she supervised DOJ’s first major AML prosecutions, and oversaw all of the Criminal Division’s AML cases. In that role, Seetha coordinated closely with state and federal banking regulators, including FinCEN, the OCC and the New York State Department of Financial Services, giving her deep experience with how these agencies work together, especially in matters involving civil and criminal liability. Her work developing and charging criminal cases under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) formed the model for AML enforcement that regulators and prosecutors follow today.

Seetha also served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York for nearly six years, in the Complex Frauds, Major Crimes and Asset Forfeiture units where she investigated and prosecuted white-collar cases involving a wide range of financial crimes, including bank fraud, mail and wire fraud, tax fraud, money laundering, stolen art and cultural property, and civil and criminal forfeiture cases.

Seetha is a frequent speaker and prolific author on topics including enforcement trends in the financial services industry, OFAC sanctions, effective AML programs and asset forfeiture.

Photo of Ana Vermal Ana Vermal

Ana Vermal is a partner in the Litigation Department and co-head of the firm’s International Arbitration Group.

Ana Vermal is a quadrilingual common law and civil law lawyer with over 20 years of experience representing corporations from around the world in complex arbitrations…

Ana Vermal is a partner in the Litigation Department and co-head of the firm’s International Arbitration Group.

Ana Vermal is a quadrilingual common law and civil law lawyer with over 20 years of experience representing corporations from around the world in complex arbitrations arising out of their cross-border business transactions such as acquisitions, joint ventures, distribution and licensing agreements. Ana handles arbitral proceedings under the rules of all major arbitral institutions. Ana is also frequently appointed to serve as arbitrator. In addition, Ana represents clients before courts in France and the United States in connection with the enforcement or annulment of arbitral awards.

Ana sits on the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). In that capacity, Ana participates in the Court’s judicial supervision of ICC arbitrations, including the appointment of arbitrators, decisions on challenges against arbitrators and the scrutiny and approval of ICC arbitral awards.

Ana is Vice Chair of the Arbitration Committee of the International Bar Association, and also serves as the Argentine representative to the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR.  She is a frequent speaker on international arbitration topics.

The wealth of Ana’s legal and cultural experience is highly sought after by our clients. An Argentine national, she has lived in Germany, Spain, the United States and France, and is fluent in English, French, Spanish and German.  Ana is qualified to practice in both New York and Paris.

Chambers Global notes that “clients highlight her ‘extremely strong courtroom presence and strong cross-examination skills’,” while The Legal 500 EMEA reports that clients view Ana as “a great strategic thinker” who “shows an unmatched commitment to her clients and a knowledge and understanding of case law and the intricacies of each case that distinguish” her. Who’s Who Legal notes that Ana “is recognized as a ‘brilliant and insightful counsel with vast knowledge of international arbitration proceedings’. She comes highly commended for her expertise in post-M&A and contractual disputes.”

Photo of Jonathan M. Weiss Jonathan M. Weiss

Jonathan Weiss is a partner in the Litigation Department. Jonathan represents both plaintiffs and defendants in a wide range of high-stakes litigation, including antitrust, class action, financial services, securities and other complex commercial litigation. Jonathan has won multiple noteworthy jury verdicts, including the…

Jonathan Weiss is a partner in the Litigation Department. Jonathan represents both plaintiffs and defendants in a wide range of high-stakes litigation, including antitrust, class action, financial services, securities and other complex commercial litigation. Jonathan has won multiple noteworthy jury verdicts, including the fourth largest jury award in the history of the State of Arizona (over $110 million), and has significant appellate experience briefing and arguing appeals in both state and federal courts across the nation.

Jonathan has been recognized as a “Rising Star” by Southern California Super Lawyers every year since 2011, and was recognized by Legal 500 U.S. in their 2015 leading lawyers in appellate litigation edition, noting his “incredibly dedicated” advocacy on behalf of his clients. Jonathan has also spent considerable time on pro bono matters, for which he has been honored by Public Counsel among other organizations.

In addition to his busy practice, Jonathan has taught courses on Ninth Circuit appellate advocacy throughout Southern California and has lectured at several universities nationally, including Harvard Law School, UCLA Law School, the University of Illinois and the University of Pittsburgh. Jonathan is also a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy.

Photo of Kelly McMullon Kelly McMullon

Kelly M. McMullon is special international labor, employment & data protection counsel in the Labor & Employment Law Department and member of the Firm’s International Labor & Employment, Privacy & Cybersecurity and Sports Groups. Kelly has been recommended in Legal 500 UK for…

Kelly M. McMullon is special international labor, employment & data protection counsel in the Labor & Employment Law Department and member of the Firm’s International Labor & Employment, Privacy & Cybersecurity and Sports Groups. Kelly has been recommended in Legal 500 UK for her “responsiveness and practicality.”

Kelly assists clients in a variety of sectors including financial services, asset management, life sciences, fintech, consultancy, retail, sports, leisure and manufacturing in a wide range of contentious and non-contentious matters.

In her employment practice, she provides general day-to-day counselling and advice on all employment-related issues, including hires, terminations, grievances and redundancies, as well as the employment aspects of transactions.

In her data protection practice, Kelly provides strategic advice as well as practical support and guidance on all aspects of data protection compliance, including international transfers of personal data, data breaches, direct marketing and employee data protection concerns. She also provides advice on the data protection aspects of transactions.

Kelly also has experience working with businesses on CSR and ESG initiatives, human rights and modern slavery issues.

Kelly is a contributor to Proskauer’s International Labor and Employment Law and Proskauer on Privacy blogs and is the Editor for Proskauer on Privacy’s “International Data Privacy” chapter. She regularly provides training and speaks on employment and data protection issues.

Her pro bono experience includes counselling not-for-profit organizations on data privacy and employment-related issues.

Photo of James Anderson James Anderson

Jim Anderson is a litigator and trial lawyer. His practice focuses on complex commercial litigation involving leading technology and pharmaceutical companies, as well as private equity, private credit, and venture funds. Jim leverages his technological background and expertise to represent clients in high-stakes…

Jim Anderson is a litigator and trial lawyer. His practice focuses on complex commercial litigation involving leading technology and pharmaceutical companies, as well as private equity, private credit, and venture funds. Jim leverages his technological background and expertise to represent clients in high-stakes business and intellectual property disputes.

Jim has experience litigating cases for clients in the life sciences, biotech, software, consumer electronics, and financial services industries.  Jim has also handled lawsuits for venture and hedge funds, and real estate clients.   He has litigated cases in courts throughout the United States, as well as before the International Trade Commission and Patent Trial and Appeal Board.  He has also represented foreign and domestic companies in disputes before international arbitration tribunals under ICC and CPR Rules.

In addition to his commercial litigation practice, Jim counsels and advises private equity and private credit clients in fund-fund, lender-sponsor, and portfolio company disputes.  Jim leverages his courtroom experience to help these clients navigate regulatory and litigation risks.

Jim also advises clients on intellectual property strategy spanning the full range of patent, trademark, and trade secret protections. He has developed and maintained intellectual property portfolios in a broad range of industries, including consumer products, medical devices, machining and fabrication equipment, and semiconductor devices. Jim is registered to practice before the USPTO.

Jim also maintains an active pro bono practice. He has received awards for his work on behalf of victims of domestic violence and abuse.

Jim has a background in Mechanical Engineering, with a focus on energy, power, and fuel cell technologies. Prior to his career at Proskauer, Jim served as a judicial intern in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut and represented clients with the UConn Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Law Clinic.

Photo of William D. Dalsen William D. Dalsen

Will Dalsen is a senior counsel in the Litigation Department. His practice focuses on complex commercial litigation, with a particular emphasis on private credit, private equity, venture capital and hedge funds. Will is highly regarded for his deep knowledge of the private credit…

Will Dalsen is a senior counsel in the Litigation Department. His practice focuses on complex commercial litigation, with a particular emphasis on private credit, private equity, venture capital and hedge funds. Will is highly regarded for his deep knowledge of the private credit fund industry and ability to resolve disputes for both sponsors and portfolio companies. He provides counseling regarding creditor rights, lender liability, sponsor liability, operating company disputes, control rights and regulatory compliance and investigations.

He advises funds, fund sponsors, investment advisers, and institutional and individual investors. In addition, he has represented public and private corporations in contractual disputes, business tort cases, and government investigations.

Will leads all phases of the litigation process, including pre-suit investigations, negotiating discovery disputes and arguing discovery motions, managing expert discovery, preparing and arguing dispositive motions, and preparing witnesses for trial. He has elicited deposition testimony from numerous witnesses on topics ranging from corporate finances to document preservation.

Prior to joining Proskauer, Will served for two years as a law clerk to Judge Susan Phillips Read of the New York State Court of Appeals, drafting bench memoranda and assisting with opinions in a variety of civil and criminal matters. In law school, Will was Editor in Chief of the Wisconsin Law Review and served as a judicial intern to the Honorable Shirley S. Abrahamson, Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Photo of Adam L. Deming Adam L. Deming

Adam Deming is an associate in the Litigation Department and a member of the firm’s Appellate and Product Liability groups, and Asset Management Litigation team. He focuses on complex commercial litigation in federal and state courts, covering a broad spectrum of business disputes…

Adam Deming is an associate in the Litigation Department and a member of the firm’s Appellate and Product Liability groups, and Asset Management Litigation team. He focuses on complex commercial litigation in federal and state courts, covering a broad spectrum of business disputes touching on corporate governance, fiduciary obligations, financial services, securities and insolvency. Adam has also represented clients in appeals spanning various areas, including consumer products, life sciences, bankruptcy, labor relations, patent and constitutional law.

Prior to joining Proskauer, Adam served as a law clerk to the Honorable Patty Shwartz on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Adam was also an associate in the New York office of an international law firm. Adam graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he was the managing editor of the Journal of Constitutional Law and an Arthur C. Littleton Fellow instructor in legal writing.  Before law school, Adam was a Teach for America Corps Member in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he taught middle school English for three years.

Photo of Hena M. Vora Hena M. Vora

Hena M. Vora is an associate in the Litigation Department and a member of the Asset Management Litigation practice and Products Liability group. Her practice encompasses a range of complex civil and commercial litigation matters, including securities litigation, partnership disputes, and consumer products.…

Hena M. Vora is an associate in the Litigation Department and a member of the Asset Management Litigation practice and Products Liability group. Her practice encompasses a range of complex civil and commercial litigation matters, including securities litigation, partnership disputes, and consumer products.

Hena has experience with various stages of litigation, including pitching clients, coordinating discovery, drafting dispositive motions and trial memoranda, and preparing witnesses for depositions and trial. She also has experience conducting highly sensitive and confidential internal investigations.

Hena maintains an active pro bono practice and has been awarded for creating a partnership between Proskauer’s Boston office and Minds Matter Boston, through which she helps high school students from low-income backgrounds achieve college readiness and success.

Hena earned her J.D. from Emory University School of Law, where she received the Pro Bono Publico honor and a Transactional Law Certificate. In addition, she was a national competitor on the Moot Court Society and served as president of Emory’s South Asian Law Students Association. While at Emory, Hena served as judicial intern for Judge Denny Chin at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.