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Thriving in the evolving area of media and communication law

As technological advancements continue to shape our world, new legal issues have arisen in the media and communication sector. Here, award-winning young lawyer Emily Wood provides insights into the ongoing challenges and trends within this dynamic legal landscape, offering advice to aspiring young lawyers looking to build careers in this field.

user iconGrace Robbie 15 April 2024 Big Law
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Emily Wood is an associate at global law firm Clyde & Co. She was also the winner in the media and telecommunications category at the recent Lawyers Weekly 30 under 30 Awards and was also a finalist in the cyber security and technology category.

In a conversation with Lawyers Weekly, Wood delved into the various challenges facing the media and communications sector, highlighting the pressing need to respond “effectively to cyber security incidents”.

She stressed the importance of managing this challenge adeptly, noting that such incidents can result in “significant disruptions to business operations, financial losses, reputation damage, as well as legal and regulatory consequences.


She commented: “Organisations need to be aware of their cyber security risks and equipped to respond in a timely and effective manner.”

In light of the evolving cyber security landscape, Wood emphasised the crucial need for lawyers in the media and communication sectors to “adapt and engage with stakeholders in a way that educates around the risks associated with an incident, while also avoiding language that perpetuates these risks”.

Wood pointed out another significant challenge: data protection within the media and communication sphere. She emphasised the necessity for organisations to carefully review “their data management practices, including the collection, use and retention of data – in particular, personal information”.

She highlighted that organisations often “lack awareness of the types (and associated sensitivity) of data that they routinely collect and store, which can lead to issues from a legal and regulatory perspective, as well as negatively impact consumer trust”.

Wood also addressed how the emergence of new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, presents a novel challenge for the media and communication landscape, leading to an increase in “false information circulating throughout media channels”.

These technological advancements enable individuals to “create falsified information, including images”.

To effectively address these issues, it’s crucial for lawyers in the media and communication space to stay informed about developments within their field. Wood emphasised how “the environment is constantly changing, and it’s important to stay on top of emerging threats or challenges so that you are well positioned to respond”.

Wood also stressed the significance of dealing with these challenges proactively. She illustrated this, stating, “developing a cyber incident response plan that includes a communications strategy that can be prepared before an organisation is subject to a cyber threat. This means you/your client are not on the back foot and are familiar with the processes and material required.”

Like many legal entities, the media and communication sector must continuously adapt to technological advancements.

Wood highlighted the necessity for lawyers in the future to “address emerging legal issues that arise as a result of developments in the space (e.g., artificial intelligence, and quantum computing), as well as leverage technology to enrich the client experience”.

To effectively navigate these evolving technologies and the challenges they present, Wood emphasised the importance of innovative thinking. She stressed that such innovation is “essential in order for the legal profession to continue its value to clients and the broader community”.

Wood outlined the anticipated trends for 2024 within this sphere, highlighting the expected shift in public expectations regarding how organisations “respond to and communicate about cyber events”.

She commented: “We are seeing organisations go above and beyond their strict legal obligations in order to be transparent with their stakeholders as well as ensure that affected individuals have the opportunity to remediate any access to their sensitive personal information.”

In addition, Wood emphasised the growing trend of organisations prioritising what she refers to as “the media and communications piece”, with their primary aim being to “influence the narrative around the incident ahead of external media outlets”.

Wood also highlighted an increase “in the number of supply chain attacks affecting organisations”.

In order to respond to this continuing rise, Wood emphasised how “organisations need to look at the cyber security measures and response plans in place across their supply chain in its entirety – we are seeing sophisticated organisations that are being impacted by smaller entities in their supply chain that do not have sufficient cyber security practices in place”.

Further, Wood expressed how best leaders within the legal world can best support young lawyers in the earliest stage of their experience within the legal world.

“For me, support in the early stages of your career looks like being provided with consistent opportunities to learn and grow, combined with a safe space to ask questions and voice your opinion.

“I also think it’s invaluable to have leaders that enable you to take risks, explore alternative ways to approaching tasks and foster innovative thinking in your day-to-day tasks,” she commented.

Wood expressed this type of support best facilitated her continuing to learn and grow as a successful legal professional.

“I credit a lot of my career satisfaction to the wide range of opportunities I have been provided over the past few years. This encouragement to step out of my comfort zone has allowed me to continuously learn and grow.

“I’ve also had a number of fantastic mentors along the way, [who] have provided me with that safe space to ask questions,” she stated.