Gregory J. Leighton
Neal Gerber & Eisenberg LLP
Intellectual property law, privacy law
40 Under Class – 2019

Greg Leighton ranks as one of the most sought-after data privacy and intellectual property attorneys in Chicago’s legal community. His peers say that few lawyers boast as deep an understanding of this always-evolving field.

This knowledge has paid off. Leighton has built a deep and skilled practice group in data privacy and information governance while at Neal Gerber & Eisenberg. This group has attracted a client list of companies of all sizes, firms that are interested in building scalable and adaptable privacy programs. Leighton and his team have assisted these companies as they have worked to protect their most sensitive data.

Jennifer Woods, global data privacy counsel at Kraft Heinz, is a co-instructor with Leighton in the Introduction to Data Privacy class at Loyola University Chicago. She says that Leighton has earned the respect of his clients.

“I have been particularly impressed with Greg’s attention to practical, real-world solutions that prioritize defensible compliance while addressing client concerns about budget and resource allocation,” Woods said.

Leighton advises clients on both domestic and international privacy issues, assisting them as they build privacy policies, counseling them on data processing requirements and educating them on cross-border data flows. He also helps clients develop information governance programs that are both efficient and effective.

If a company suffers a data breach, they can turn to Leighton for his legal counsel on the steps to take next and the strategies they can develop to prevent a future breach. His goal is to prepare his clients for cyberattacks and help them build the best protections for their vital data.

Gary Friedlander, senior vice president and general counsel at TransUnion, said this about Leighton: “He understands business processes as well as law and is just as comfortable developing legal strategy and policies as he is in analyzing potential risks benefits of arcane technical licensing or governance requirements. In addition, he is also a formidable patent attorney.”

Leighton shines, too, in the classroom, Woods said. Leighton is passionate about privacy law, and this passion translates to his teaching, she said. Several students in Woods’ and Leighton’s class have decided to pursue their own careers in privacy law.

“Greg has the unique ability to translate difficult privacy law concepts to a student audience with no previous study or experience in the area while providing practical guidance as to the day-to-day realities of practicing privacy law,” Woods said.

Leighton also mentors associates in his practice group. This often includes newcomers to the practice of privacy law, young lawyers who are eager to benefit from Leighton’s experience and knowledge.

“Greg’s willingness to encourage and teach the next generation of privacy lawyers, both students and associates alike, is a great testament to his exceptional dedication to the practice of privacy law,” Woods said.

If that is not enough, Leighton serves on the Board of Directors for Illinois Legal Aid Online and is chair of the Measurement & Impacts Committee.