At first, Justin Webb wanted to become a doctor.
He entered college as a pre-med student, but quickly learned the sight of blood had a way of making him faint.
As a self-professed “computer nerd,” he changed courses at the University of California, Los Angeles and ultimately became the chief-information officer at Marquette University while he was pursuing a law degree.
It was a good opportunity, he said, to marry his technology career to his pursuit of a legal practice. He found an immediate need in the legal world for someone well-versed in fending off cyber criminals and protecting data.
“I know what it looks like on the other side,” Webb said. “I can translate between the tech environment.”
After leaving law school, Webb eventually ended up at Godfrey & Kahn, which he said was working to build an information-security practice. The firm’s commitment to the quickly changing area of law was encouraging, he said.
After just two years, the firm made him a shareholder.
“There’s a recognition at Godfrey & Kahn that this is a really important practice area, and it touches all areas of law,” he said. “There’s overlap in labor and employment. Everybody has data that they need to keep secure and everybody is using technology more and more.”
Webb attributes his success to his desire to keep ahead of new developments. He spends weekends reading new case law and devotes time to speaking at conferences on information security. He’s also the information-security officer at Godfrey & Kahn itself, which requires him to protect the data of the company.
Often, he’s advising clients after they’ve experienced a data breach – an ordeal that can be made especially frustrating by its complexity.
“When you’re working on data breaches, you might be interacting with clients on the worst day of their life,” he said. “It could be a business-ending event. Your job is to be the voice of reason. That builds really strong relationships with clients, even though at the end of it they don’t want to see you again.”