Law firm Akerman this week announced the launch of its newly created Data Law Practice, and the expansion of the firm's varied services in the increasingly business critical areas of information governance, e-discovery, and data privacy and security.

Chicago-based partners Jeffrey Sharer and Martin Tully will lead the Data Law Practice, which will help clients navigate the myriad legal and compliance challenges in these areas, keep pace with best practices, and adapt to emerging technologies. Both have significant experience counseling and litigating on behalf of healthcare and financial institutions, national retailers, and other corporations on matters across the data law spectrum.

Sharer counsels clients throughout all stages of the information lifecycle, including global records retention policies and schedules, litigation readiness, privacy and security policies, and incident planning and response. He also advises and advocates for clients in all phases of the discovery process—from preservation through production—in litigation and regulatory matters. He is at the forefront of using predictive coding and other analytic technologies to save time and costs and improve quality and defensibility of results.

Tully is a veteran trial lawyer with national experience representing companies and individuals in complex commercial litigation that often involves conquering the thorniest ofe-discovery challenges. He is nationally recognized for his experience in the fields of electronic discovery and information governance. In these areas, he helps clients stay ahead of the curve with respect to developing law, technology, and best practices concerning e-discovery in both litigation and regulatory matters.

Additional members of the firm's national Data Law Practice include:

Darren Traub, who advises clients in data breach and privacy matters, including cybersecurity preparedness and response plans;

Alia Luria, who worked for multiple startup companies as a software engineer and web developer and now counsels clients in corporate, intellectual property licensing, data privacy and security, and internet law matters; 

Betsy Hodge, a former president of the Florida Academy of Healthcare Attorneys and a West Palm Beach-based member of the Florida Hospital Association's HIPAA Preemption Analysis Task Force;

Robert Slavkin, a former corporate counsel, compliance and privacy officer at Priority Healthcare Corporation; and

Dara Tarkowski, who counsels creditors and other clients in navigating state and federal electronically stored information (ESI) requirements; among others.