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Spotlight: Q&A with Buckley Sandler's Douglas F. Gansler, Former Attorney General of Maryland

Douglas F. Gansler

On January 20, 2015, Douglas F. Gansler, former Attorney General of Maryland, joined Buckley Sandler LLP as a Partner in the firm’s Washington, DC, office upon completion of his second term as Maryland Attorney General. An accomplished trial lawyer and appellate advocate with a unanimous victory before the U.S. Supreme Court, Doug’s in-depth knowledge and understanding of complex civil, criminal and enforcement matters will be, as firm Chairman Andrew L. Sandler recently noted, “an invaluable asset for firm clients in navigating the government enforcement challenges they confront on a daily basis.”

As he makes the transition to private practice, Doug is optimistic about the opportunities in front of him and is looking forward to getting to know his new colleagues and meeting with firm clients. He shares some added professional and personal insights for InfoBytes Spotlight.

1. Why did you decide to join Buckley Sandler?

This move was predicated on the desire to continue using my experience litigating in the federal and state courts to help the firm’s clients navigate through sensitive investigations and complex litigations. Since its founding, Buckley Sandler has grown into one of the nation’s preeminent litigation and enforcement law firms. I am very excited about becoming a part of this unique firm and applying my AG and litigation experience to further expand and enhance the firm’s nationally recognized enforcement and litigation practices.

The added benefit of joining Buckley Sandler also gives me the opportunity to practice law with longtime friends, Ben Klubes, David Krakoff and Jeff Naimon, with a firm I have followed with great interest and admiration over the past five years.

2. How do you feel about going into private practice?

I am very optimistic and hopeful for this next phase of my career. When I was considering what to do after my life as Attorney General, I was very fortunate to have been contacted by a number of firms. The more I learned of Buckley Sandler, its practice and culture, the more intrigued I became and soon realized it was the natural fit for me. I felt like Buckley Sandler would be the best firm for a seamless transition and for me to focus on the issues where I can make the most contributions.

I must say one of the most appealing aspects of Buckley Sandler was the quality of its lawyers and the high-level of work that the firm has done in the past and is currently involved with. Many of the attorneys are among the leading financial services law practitioners in the country and have a track record of successfully assisting clients with their regulatory, enforcement, litigation, transactional and public policy matters. And, they are continually recognized for delivering the absolute best levels of client service, which is a true testament to their commitment to their clients.

I am looking forward to helping to lead the firm’s robust and growing state and federal Government Enforcement practice and assisting firm clients in complying with increasingly rigorous regulatory expectations on CyberSecurity and Privacy.

3. As President of the National Association of Attorneys General and Chair of the Democratic Attorneys General Association, you were an early national leader in focusing attention on privacy and cybersecurity matters – what do you think is the greatest challenge for companies dealing with data breaches? Other thoughts on the practice?

It is absolutely vital for systems to be in place for companies to respond immediately to safeguard their customer and employee information. As company executives continue to address the incessant threat of data breaches, we will work closely with our clients by playing a critical, proactive role in helping them to navigate state laws and advising how to best handle fallout if and when their information is compromised. The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse’s “Chronology of Data Breaches” notes that, since 2005, there have been nearly 4500 data breaches that have been made public, with 1,012,730,026 records breached. The number may seem astounding, but unless safeguards are in place to secure systems, companies will continue to be under threat of cyber attacks.

There is great potential to continue to grow and expand the firm’s Privacy, Cyber Risk & Data Security practice exponentially with its renowned team of professionals counseling clients on matters involving the full spectrum of privacy issues affecting their business operations. The firm has been heralded for its ability to provide efficient, effective solutions to complex matters involving data breach class actions, counseling, risk mitigation and other litigation and enforcement actions. I am able to leverage my yearlong initiative on privacy in the digital age by helping clients to understand the heightened regulatory environment to ensure compliance and disclosure requirements are met. 

4. Are there other areas/issues you will be focusing on?

I am very much looking forward to growing the firm’s State Attorneys General practice, where I can pull from my two terms as AG, along with my role as former President of the National Association of Attorneys General to help clients better understand AG trends and developments, notably how to handle the most significant state AG actions involving consumer focused industries, cyber data issues, technology companies, consumer loan products and other financial services matters. I believe that I am uniquely qualified in the attorney general consultation and litigation space in terms of my background and understanding of how an AG office works, what AGs are looking for in litigation and how to work with staff to solve problems resulting in mutually satisfying terms between a company and an AG office.

In addition to working with new clients to the firm, I will be working closely with the partners to get to know the existing clients, their business and current challenges. We have already begun meeting and speaking with clients so they can learn more about me and I can get a better understanding of the issues they are grappling with to identify new opportunities that contribute to their legal and business strategies.

5. What do you think the biggest challenges/opportunities will be?

It’s only been a few weeks and already I’m having a great time in this new environment. As my mom has said, I get to finally be a “real lawyer.” It’s certainly a very different culture, with the day-to-day activities extremely different from what I am used to, but a welcome challenge. It’s an exciting time and I look forward to the opportunity.

While bringing in new business will be a challenge, it will be a top priority and I look forward to getting in front of firm clients, as well as leveraging my national network of personal and professional colleagues. Growing the firm’s state Attorney General practice will also be interesting and a true opportunity for the firm and to the benefit of its clients. In addition, I am looking forward to working with junior lawyers to help them grow and succeed. Having managed 65 lawyers while Montgomery County State’s Attorney for eight years, and 467 lawyers as Maryland Attorney General, I welcome the opportunity to work with young Buckley Sandler lawyers to share experiences and insights for continued growth and advancement.

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