Mitchell Hamline launches Cybersecurity and Privacy Law Certificate program

Cybercrime is estimated to cost the global economy more than $400 billion a year. More than 90 percent of businesses reported experiencing some form of cyber threat in the past year, according to a recent survey, with data breaches costing an average of more than $500,000 for large companies and nearly $40,000 for smaller firms.

Despite the growing risk, expertise in handling the threat is lagging. It’s estimated more than 200,000 cybersecurity jobs are unfilled in the United States, and the demand for people qualified to fill those positions will grow rapidly in the next several years.

Mitchell Hamline School of Law is now offering a certificate in cybersecurity and privacy law to help professionals deal effectively with the complex legal, policy, and compliance issues involved in this critically important area. The Cybersecurity and Privacy Law Certificate is a 13-week, non-degree, online program aimed at business professionals. Courses begin in September 2016 and will run twice a year—in the fall and spring.

The courses will be flexible and delivered through Mitchell Hamline’s online learning management system. Participants will have opportunities to interact and collaborate with each other, and faculty, in discussions and hands-on exercises.

The program will be taught by Mitchell Hamline faculty and by national leaders in cybersecurity, including Mike LaFontaine ’03, cofounder of knectIQ, a cybersecurity company that connects and protects sensitive data.

“Cybersecurity is critical, no matter the type of business,” LaFontaine said. “From health care to financial services to manufacturing, business and customer data is arguably today’s most valuable asset. Strong approaches to cybersecurity protect a company’s image and bottom line as well as the fundamental well-being of its customers.”

LaFontaine says he will focus his teaching on what to do in the first 24 hours after a data breach, from limiting damage and investigating what happened to working with law enforcement.

Instructor Emily Duke, who founded CyberSmart Law, a firm focusing on the data protection needs of small and medium-sized companies, says being in business today requires a smart approach to cybersecurity.

“I don’t know a business that doesn’t have a tremendous amount of value tied up in their digital assets,” Duke said. “If their point of sale goes down, they can’t do business and they lose money.”

The Cybersecurity and Privacy Law Certificate program is based on Mitchell Hamline’s practical approach to learning, giving participants access to hands-on, problem-solving exercises. They’ll create a network systems diagram, review insurance policies for cyber coverage, and draft an incident response plan, among other projects.

“We’re focusing on practical skills and real-world skills,” said Molly Canick, the program’s director. “Whereas some degree programs would spend more time reading, studying for exams, writing long papers, and doing long projects, we have the flexibility to focus on skills that make a difference in the workplace.”

The Cybersecurity and Privacy Law Certificate program is intended to be a good fit for professionals in a variety of fields:

  • Attorneys who want to become chief privacy officers or expand their practices to cover cybersecurity law
  • Directors, executives, and managers who make decisions based on privacy and information security law
  • Owners of small and midsized business
  • Government officials who need to be on the cutting edge of cybersecurity law and policy.

Mitchell Hamline Professor Gregory Duhl said by the end of the program, participants will be prepared to handle a broad range of cybersecurity scenarios.

“We’re not just teaching them what the law is in the abstract,” Duhl said. “Even as the law and the technology evolve, the way to analyze the problems will stay the same.”

For registration and program information, email More information is available online at

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