Thompson Coburn is pleased to announce the addition of a cybersecurity group in the firm’s Chicago office. Joining the firm are partner Melissa Ventrone, who previously chaired Wilson Elser’s data privacy and security practice, and her colleague, associate Aleksandra Vold.
The addition of Melissa and Aleksandra reflects a significant client service enhancement and strategic move for the firm as cybersecurity issues are increasingly a top concern for clients in all industries.
“We’ve heard from our own clients how important cybersecurity protection is for them, and we are delighted to strengthen our service offerings in this area of vital interest,” said Todd Rowden, Chicago office managing partner. “We now have a group who can do it all – proactively prepare clients for data breaches, launch and deploy an emergency response team and litigate any fallout.”
Melissa will chair Thompson Coburn’s cybersecurity practice. Her practice focuses on privacy breach response and counseling on cybersecurity preparedness, risk management and incident response planning. She also advises on data privacy and security regulatory compliance. Melissa received her J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law.
When a data breach occurs, Melissa leads a response team of lawyers, forensic experts and breach response vendors who quickly assess the situation and control any damage, including managing public and regulatory scrutiny. She has led these teams in connection with small breaches impacting a few hundred people to larger breaches impacting millions, tailoring each response to fit the varied circumstances inherent in these events. Melissa and her team have represented clients of many types, including merchants, financial institutions, insurers, governmental agencies, medical providers, educational institutions, restaurants and hotels.
Melissa’s practice also focuses on data breach prevention. She regularly works with clients to create and test incident response plans, advises proactively on state, federal and international data privacy compliance, and assists in creating information governance planning and training to help clients avoid or mitigate the risks of a data breach.
Melissa’s leadership abilities extend beyond her legal practice. She recently completed a distinguished 21 years of service in the Marine Corps Reserve, holding several key positions, including Company Commander for a 200-person unit, Executive Officer for a 329-person company deployed to Afghanistan, Operations Officer for a 1,000-person motor transport battalion, and the Logistics Officer for Combat Logistics Regiment 4. She also volunteers as an ombudsman for the Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve in which she serves as a mediator on employment-related disputes.
Aleksandra works closely with Melissa on all aspects of cybersecurity matters. She received her J.D. from The John Marshall Law School. Prior to developing a cybersecurity focus, she represented startups and closely held technology companies in a wide variety of commercial disputes, including intellectual property, trade secrets and federal labor law and contract disputes.
About Thompson Coburn
Thompson Coburn is a full-service law firm with 380 attorneys across the country, practicing in more than 40 areas of law. In 2015, the firm was listed among the 25 law firms nationwide that general counsel endorsed for each of the past five years in the Most Recommended Law Firms report by BTI Consulting Group, the nation's leading provider of strategic research to law firms and general counsel. In 2014, the firm was selected as one of the top 30 firms in the nation for providing exceptional client service, also as ranked by BTI.