Mary Ellen Callahan is co-chair and founder of Jenner & Block’s Privacy and Information Governance Practice. She has unique and broad experience advising clients at the interface of privacy protection with cybersecurity and national security issues. A nationally recognized privacy attorney with a decade and a half of outside counsel experience, she served as Chief Privacy Officer of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security from 2009 until August 2012. She is a prolific writer and speaker on cutting-edge commercial privacy issues. She provides advice and counsel to an array of clients in industries that include media, public health and health care, manufacturing, online retail, government contracts, energy and other critical infrastructure sectors.
In 2015, Ms. Callahan was recognized by The National Law Journal as a “Trailblazer” in the areas of cybersecurity and privacy, as well as regulatory and compliance. In 2013, she accepted the highest award in the privacy industry, the Privacy Vanguard Award, given by the International Association of Privacy Professionals. The award honors the privacy professional who has demonstrated outstanding leadership, knowledge and creativity in privacy and data protection. In 2011, she received the select Federal 100 Award, which recognizes individuals in government and industry who have played pivotal roles in the federal government information systems community. Ms. Callahan’s work on integrating cybersecurity, transparency and privacy at the Department of Homeland Security was cited as the reason for her Federal 100 recognition. She is a prolific writer and speaker on privacy issues, including having testified before Congressional Committees numerous times in her capacity as Department of Homeland Security Chief Privacy/Chief FOIA Officer. Ms. Callahan has served as Vice-Chair of the American Bar Association's Privacy and Information Security Committee of the Antitrust Division; Co-chair of the Privacy Committee of the CIO Council, the principal interagency forum for improving agency practices related to the design, acquisition, development, modernization, use, sharing, and performance of Federal information resources; and Co-chair of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Subcommittee of the Information Sharing and Access Interagency Policy Committee. She is a Certified Information Privacy Professional/United States (CIPP/US).