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  • Robert Stines

Freeborn's Emerging Industries Symposium

Last week, Freeborn & Peters LLP hosted its third annual Emerging Industries Symposium. Freeborn's Emerging Industries Team focuses on bringing legal insights to a number of technological innovations that are reshaping our society. Every year, the team picks several topics for the symposium and invites thought-leaders to discuss these issues in a panel format for the benefit of current and prospective clients.

This year, there were three major topics: Legal Cannabis, Cybersecurity & Data Privacy, and Allocating Risk Through Insurance. Here's a summary of what was discussed.


This session offered a multidisciplinary introduction to a number of issues that can arise for cannabis businesses and investors, including discussions on how employers should look at cannabis use by employees; how being a cannabis based business affects banking/financing options, and the types/cost of insurance currently available to cannabis based business.

The panel also discussed the current and proposed Illinois laws governing legalized cannabis.  Attendees walked away from this program with a better understanding of the current status of cannabis law both nationally and in Illinois.  

Cybersecurity and Data Privacy

This presentation addressed some of the foremost important data inventory and network security issues to consider for best practices. It also provided insights from incident response computer forensics experts who have been called to triage and investigate cyber-attack-vectors. 

The discussion touched on the over-hanging legal implications on both proactive preparation and incident response that inform the business decisions that C-suite executives face.  

Allocating Risk Through Insurance

I organized this panel and stacked it with some of the top cyber insurance talent, which included Stephanie Snyder from Aon, Mike Carr from Coalition, and Dan Raymond from Beazley Insurance. The discussion focused on the fact that every industry is going through a digital transformation and therefore have digital/cyber risk.

Industries such as driverless cars, drones, internet-of-things, cannabis, blockchain, augmented reality, e-commerce, and others, present fascinating possibilities for the future.  They also present many risks such as property damage, business interruption, data breaches, ransomware attacks, privacy claims, regulatory compliance failures, and third-party liability, any of which could destroy a company before it even has a chance to succeed. 

The panel discussed the risks that emerging industries face and how insurance can help with allocating and mitigating some of those risks.

My Learning Experience

Because I am in a bubble filled with discussions on cyber and digital risks, I forget that many people are not aware of these issues. After the panel, attendees told me that they were unaware of the legal implications of a cyber incident and how it could prove detrimental to a company - especially a SMB.

So, this motivates me to spread the word as much as possible. We are in the digital age with new and fascinating developments. But, the risks are changing, and we need to know, understand and prepare for these risks.


~ Florida Cyber Lawyer, Robert Stines, Esq., CIPP


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