The National Law Journal (NLJ) has named Lieff Cabraser partner Michael W. Sobol a 2017 Cybersecurity & Data Privacy “Trailblazer.” The third annual Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Trailblazers listing is a special supplement to the The National Law Journal with profiles of 25 individuals “who have helped make a difference in the fight against criminal cyber activity and towards adding much needed layers of data security in an increasingly digital world of commerce.”
The publication recognizes Sobol as “a consumer advocate at heart.” As Michael states, “I have been representing consumers in a number of fields for more than two decades. They are facing a real assault on their privacy and the integrity of their autonomy.”
The NLJ highlights Michael’s role as chair of Lieff Cabraser’s digital privacy and data security practice group, including the representation of clients in litigation over the Anthem Healthcare database hack of more than 37 million customers and the Google message scanning case, which alleged the popular Gmail service scanned some outgoing user email messages to build marketing profiles and serve targeted ads. Recent litigation includes cases against Disney, Viacom, and other mobile gaming app developers and their partners who have allegedly violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
“There is a special relationship between consumers and the entity that is trusted with some of their most private information, so the company has a responsibility to safeguard it,” Michael explains. “Some of our cases have shown that these platforms are not necessarily neutral. There’s a connection of information when you are on that platform that allows feedback of selective messages. And people want to get back their sense of autonomy. Privacy is critical for our democracy, and the country is starting to wake up to the importance of that.”
Congratulations Michael on this prestigious recognition!
About Michael Sobol
As the chair of Lieff Cabraser’s consumer protection practice group for the past thirteen years, Michael W. Sobol leads novel and challenging consumer protection class action lawsuits of first impression. Within the last few years, Michael’s cases have recovered over one billion dollars and have reformed the business practices for the benefit of tens of millions consumers nationwide.
The Consumer Attorneys of California have repeatedly honored Michael as a finalist for the organization’s Consumer Attorney of the Year Award. In 2011, the CAOC recognized Michael for Gutierrez v. Wells Fargo, a class action trial that proved Wells Fargo deceptively represented its accounting of debit card transactions. Those findings were affirmed on appeal, and a $203 million judgment for restitution has been entered on behalf of a class of over one million California consumers.
Michael currently represents consumers asserting that Facebook violated their privacy rights by scanning private email messages, and residents of Detroit, Michigan in a class action lawsuit against Morgan Stanley for actively ensuring the proliferation of high-cost, high-risk mortgage loans to bundle and sell mortgage-backed securities to investors.