CLAYTON G. NORTHOUSE is an associate in the Washington, D.C. office. Clay counsels technology, telecommunications, healthcare, and industrial companies on cyber incident response, consumer privacy, surveillance and information sharing, and regulatory compliance in domestic and international contexts.
Clay has experience representing companies that have suffered cybersecurity attacks and consumer privacy incidents and has developed multidimensional defenses to litigation, congressional inquiries, and regulatory investigations. He has experience in the use of cybersecurity forensics and the investigation of sophisticated international incidents.
Clay’s practice involves litigation and regulatory counseling regarding data protection and consumer privacy issues. He has co-authored briefs and motions in the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Courts of Appeals, and U.S. District Courts. He also regularly advises clients in transactional matters and conducts privacy and cybersecurity diligence to assess potential liability and compliance issues.
Reflecting the breadth of his practice, Clay’s recent experience includes:
- Representing companies in state attorneys general, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission and congressional investigations regarding privacy and cybersecurity issues.
- Providing guidance on insider threat programs for financial institutions and on behalf of SIFMA in the development of its Insider Threat Best Practices Guide (2018).
- Successfully defending companies against allegations of negligence, contract violations, unjust enrichment and other claims regarding data security incidents.
- Advising U.S. companies on EU cross-border data transfer and cloud computing issues.
- Reviewing TCPA compliance issues and developing governance policies and procedures for telecommunications, financial and healthcare companies.
- Assisting clients regarding CPNI regulatory compliance.
- Counseling U.S. and global companies on the EU General Data Protection Regulation.
Clay’s litigation experience includes:
- Hall v. MyHeritage, Ltd. (D. Utah 2018) – represented defendants in a purported class action involving allegations arising out of a data breach. Sidley obtained a complete dismissal prior to discovery.
- In re: Office of Personnel Management Data Security Breach Litigation (D.C. Cir. 2018) – represented U.S. Chamber of Commerce as amicus in support of OPM and KeyPoint Government Solutions to uphold dismissal of data breach litigation on grounds of lack of standing and government contractor immunity.
- Levandowski, et al. v. Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc. (E.D. Mich. 2016) – represented the defendant in a proposed class action alleging violations of the Michigan Video Rental Privacy Act. Sidley obtained a dismissal of all claims prior to discovery.
- CTIA v. City of New York (Sup. Ct. NY 2014) – represented a CTIA member wireless carrier to protect access to customer data.
Clay has performed significant pro bono work. In Hawkes v. Maryland, 433 Md. 105 (2013), Clay argued and won a case in Maryland’s highest court resulting in a precedential opinion that affected criminally committed individuals. Clay also regularly advises nonprofit organizations regarding their privacy programs.
Prior to joining the firm, Clay served as a law clerk to the Honorable D. Michael Fisher of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He completed a Pro Bono fellowship with the Barbara McDowell Appellate Advocacy Project at the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia. Clay was an information policy analyst at OMB Watch and the program manager of the Computer Ethics Institute at the Brookings Institution.
Clay earned his law degree, magna cum laude, at the Georgetown University Law Center, where he was the Senior Articles Editor of The Georgetown Law Journal. Prior to attending law school, he received his M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Maryland and his B.A. in Philosophy from Reed College.
- Edward R. McNicholas and Clayton G. Northouse, “Five Key Responsibilities of Boards in Managing Cybersecurity Risk,” Corporate Board Member magazine (2017)
- Edward R. McNicholas, Andrew Strenio, and Clayton G. Northouse, “Federal Trade Commission Enforcement of Privacy and Data Security,” 500 Privacy & Data Security Practice Series (Bloomberg BNA 2014)
- David T. Buente, Jr., Quin M. Sorenson, and Clayton G. Northouse, “Comment on: What Climate Change Can Do About Tort Law,” 42 Environmental Law Reporter 10752 (2012)
- Clayton G. Northouse, “Protecting What Matters: Technology, Liberty and Security Since 9/11,” (Brookings Institution Press 2005)
- Ramon C. Barquin and Clayton G. Northouse, “Data Collection and Analysis: Balancing Individual Rights and Societal Benefits,” (National Academy of Sciences 2003)
Admissions & Certifications
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit
- District of Columbia
- Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., 2010 (magna cum laude, Order of the Coif)
- University of Maryland, M.A., 2005
- Reed College, B.A., 2002
- D. Michael Fisher, U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit (2010 - 2011)