This post originally appeared on our Privacy & Data Security practice blog, Practical Privacy.
Wyrick Robbins is pleased to welcome Mario Meeks. Mario joins the firm’s Privacy & Data Security team from LabCorp where he served as Global Data Privacy Counsel. He is a two-time graduate of the University of North Carolina where he majored in Political Science and minored in Creative Writing before earning his JD. He’s a proud double Tar Heel or two-footer as some locals would jest. Mario’s prior experience with CCPA, GDPR, HIPAA, diligence and integration related to corporate acquisition targets, and records management will add valuable depth to the Privacy & Data Security team.
Although we did interview Mario before he joined Wyrick, we decided to put him through his paces on the first day. Here’s what we learned:
- What on Earth makes experienced in-house counsel join a law firm after more than a decade of practice? Are you okay?
Yes! To channel Robert Frost, I know it’s the road less traveled, but I thought it was a great opportunity to grow and cultivate my expertise in privacy law, which I believe will make all the difference. Joining Wyrick’s existing, diverse team means I have colleagues who can complement my strengths and supplement my experiences to really help me further develop as a privacy practitioner. For example, I have done a ton of CCPA, GDPR, and HIPAA work, but not as much data breach response. I am looking forward to helping with data breach response matters and, in the future, leading them. I was also excited by the opportunities this job presents; specifically, developing and nurturing a client base of my own while charting my own road.
- What is in your pocket or surprising thing you keep in your car?
Which pocket? Depending on the day and where I’m going—nothing, as I try to keep as little as possible in my pockets. Typically, I have my phone, my wallet, and maybe my keys. In my wallet, there is a multipurpose survival tool and on my keys is a flashlight. One can never have too many flashlights. As to what surprising thing is in my car—a mini bug out bag just in case I need to be ready for the zombie apocalypse.
- What keeps you up at night?
The meaning of life? The purpose of my life? Am I doing all I can do to be a good person? Am I doing right by my kids? Do they like me? Too existential? Too much caffeine or a binge-worthy Netflix series will definitely keep me up at night. Too literal? On the privacy front, I would say…it would be what are the long-term implications of the general shift towards GDPR-styled privacy regimes on innovation and technology (historically driven by US innovators and entrepreneurs) and how to strike the appropriate balance between data privacy protections and global technological advancement?
- Zoom or Teams?
Zoom-bombing is a thing. No, thank you.
- What book is on your nightstand?
I actually have a basket of books on my nightstand, which currently includes: The Fine Art of Small Talk, 99 Privacy Breaches to Beware of, Cybersecurity for Beginners, Fundamentals of Clinical Trials, the Constitution of the United States of America, and a diet/exercise book that I shall not name. All riveting page-turners.
- What is the biggest privacy/data challenge in-house counsel faces today?
What day of the week is it? It varies from day-to-day and at times within the hour, but I think it’s probably a culmination of things stemming from privacy personnel (and privacy concerns) not being fully integrated into all key business operations (e., privacy by design). At one end of the spectrum depending on the size and scale of the organization and its global footprint, in-house counsel may have to deal with implementing competing and at times conflicting privacy regulations, whereas at the other end of the spectrum, in-house counsel may be struggling to gain access to appropriate personnel or resources to effectively address the specific privacy concerns facing the organization. Perspective and context matters.