Cybersecurity Law with Michelle Schaap, Esq. EP: 26
WE ARE ALL AT RISK
According to Michelle Schaap, a member of the law firm of Chiesa, Shahinian and Giantomasi, “Cybersecurity is the bleeding edge of the law---and it’s always changing.” “We are all at risk,” she warns--both in business and personally--”from cyber attacks.”
Listen as Michelle describes how cybersecurity law affects everything, from our personal banking and most private information, to information security breaches at the largest multinational companies. Michelle wants to educate her clients as to industry best practices; but to also help them stay calm and address the myriad of issues that arise should they experience a cybersecurity event.
YOU HAD ME AT PATTY HEARST
Michelle shares how her interest in law was sparked by her 8th grade teacher. “My teacher had our class “try” the Patty Hearst case,” Michelle recalls. “And I played one of the lawyers.” “I was hooked after that,” she says.
IT’S ALL IN A DAY’S WORK
Michelle began working with clients on cybersecurity matters in the early days of ecommerce. Cybersecurity law was in its infancy, and many of Michelle’s clients were woefully unaware of the risks and potential exposure. Michelle explains the importance of educating her clients in those days, in addition to drafting agreements and designing cybersecurity protocols.
Michelle appreciates a challenge. Listen as she shares her experiences in the male-dominated field of construction law. Early on she identified the need to develop credibility among other experts in the field, so she describes the importance of going back to school to get her construction project management certification.
And then, of course, there’s work/life balance. “Being a working mom isn’t easy even with a supportive spouse or partner,” Michelle explains. “I was always asking myself if I was doing the right thing.” “I have a great relationship with my kids,” says the proud mom, “and they are doing well in life.” She credits supportive employers in helping her find a balance between family life and professional success; but also shares the importance of knowing yourself and speaking up and asking for what you need. “Negotiating work schedules for maternity leave was a big step forward,” she recalls. “If you’ve proven your value,” she says, “it’s much easier to ask for and get the time off you want and need.”
THAT’S GOOD ADVICE
“Find what you love to do,” advises Michelle. “Do work that fulfills you. If it’s the law, find the field that appeals to you and be the best at it. Put yourself into the work you are eager to do every day.”
Michelle Schaap is a member of the law firm of Chiesa, Shahinian and Giantomasi in West Orange, New Jersey, where she leads the firm’s cyber-security practice. She also has a significant presence among corporate lawyers, choosing to focus on issues in the fields of construction, franchising and renewable energy. Her expertise is broad and deep: her clients range from the Fortune 500 to closely-held businesses.
She regularly advises clients on cybersecurity preparedness, counsels clients when data security incidents arise, and trains companies on best practices for security procedures, addressing both their business operations and their customers’ concerns.
Within the construction industry, Michelle negotiates complex agreements – including construction management, architect and design-build agreements. Complementary to Michelle's construction work is her experience negotiating solar facility agreements – including power purchase agreements and engineering, procurement and construction agreements.
She has won numerous awards for her work, including the New Jersey Law Journal’s 2018 Top Women in the Law, among others.
Connect with Michelle