With the growing need for well-qualified privacy and data protection professionals, the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), a global information privacy community, in 2020 launched the Westin Scholar Book Award, an annual student award that encourages recipients to explore privacy and data protection fields upon graduation.
The first USC Gould School of Law recipient of the IAPP Westin Scholar Book Award is Harrison Park (JD 2022).
“The industry of privacy is fast growing and constantly evolving. We’ve created this award as a way to put the privacy profession at the forefront of students’ minds as they explore potential career opportunities,” said IAPP President and CEO J. Trevor Hughes in a past statement. “It is our hope that this award will encourage engagement with privacy courses that pave the way to the field of privacy. There is no shortage of privacy or data protection professionals needed.”
In addition to membership with the IAPP, Park will receive a scholarship award, IAPP certificate consideration and more. Below, Park shares insight into his experience at USC Gould and how he is redefining his career with a degree focused on privacy law.
What initially sparked your interest in learning about privacy law?
In America, my family worked hard to achieve success through technology careers. Their journey taught me that technology can improve lives, provide economic opportunities and solve real-world problems. When I came to law school, I looked to my upbringing and realized that a career in privacy and cybersecurity would be an excellent opportunity for me to advocate for the interests of innovators, like my parents, who drive American ingenuity.
What made you pursue coursework in privacy law in particular, and why at USC Gould?
I choose to attend USC Gould because there were many opportunities for me to learn about the intersection of law and technology. I took courses under expert practitioners, like Professor Eileen Decker, that taught me about information privacy, internet law and cybercrime. I was also able to serve as president of the Legal Technology Association, where I introduced students to potential legal careers in the technology field. Lastly, I gained practical experience through externships and academic projects, which exposed me to privacy matters in healthcare, consumer protection and employment.
What was the most memorable experience or learning from your USC studies?
My most rewarding experience was mentoring other students and helping them achieve their professional goals, including placements at large firms. As the first lawyer in my family, it was challenging to find opportunities in the legal field, and the pandemic made those obstacles even harder. I wanted to make the learning curve easier for other students, so I provided them with networking advice, mock interviews and resume reviews.
Later, I used my experiences to create an annual mock interview program, which is hosted by the Korean American Bar Association and the Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association. Today, there have been over a hundred Asian Pacific American law students from across California who have received mock interviews and resume feedback from attorneys before their on-campus interviews.
How does receiving the IAPP Award influence your studies or impact your career?
In addition to the scholarship, I will be given the opportunity to earn three additional certifications in privacy law. By receiving additional certifications, I hope to become a recognized expert in data privacy and cybersecurity law.
How does your degree from USC Gould influence your career?
After the bar, I will begin my career in the San Francisco office of Cooley LLP as a first-year associate in the Cyber/Data/Privacy Litigation group, where I will learn under the top legal minds in data privacy and cybersecurity. I look forward to counseling and defending start-ups, established technology companies and innovators on matters that concern cutting-edge technologies.
What advice do you have for students who may be interested in following a similar path to yours?
Students should take advantage of the Trojan Family alumni network to meet with attorneys and learn from them. When I came to Gould, I was surprised that there were several alumni who were already established data privacy and cybersecurity practitioners, and many became my mentors or provided advice when I asked for it. I would not have achieved my goals without them, and I am grateful for the insight they gave me over the last three years.
Learn more about the USC Gould School of Law degrees and certificates focused in privacy law: