3L Joe Marshall explores data privacy law

Sep 21, 2022 | Students

Joe Marshall grew up in a family of lawyers – which means he decidedly did NOT want to be one himself.

Instead, he was working in community outreach at a charity organization called Movember. This non-profit focuses on men’s health issues, including mental health and suicide prevention. Marshall found this work meaningful and empowering – especially as he himself had dealt with mental health issues in the past.

“I think that there need to be more examples of people who are willing to talk out about it, because it really affects a lot of us,” he said.

Some of his projects in this role required collaboration with the in-house counsel at Movember. Seeing the legal work at a nonprofit organization up-close piqued his interest – he realized it was possible to do real, meaningful work with a law degree.  He reversed his previous opinion and applied at the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah, starting law school the following year.

As an outdoor enthusiast, Marshall was originally drawn to Utah Law because of the strong environmental program and the green architecture of the law school building. But he was really impressed with the sense of community within the law school.

“I just felt really welcomed by everyone I met, whether it was the students I was introduced to on my tour or the professors who took time out of their day to chat with me,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve taken a class from any of the professors I met during my tour, and yet it was still really impactful to meet all of them.”

With a background in technology from his previous jobs, Marshall was interested in exploring how the worlds of technology and law intertwine. He spent this past summer working at O.C. Tanner as a data privacy legal intern, where he got to explore emerging privacy law, data privacy, and tech security.

“I just kind of have this sense that data privacy is an emerging field,” he said. “For example, my boss is one of the only certified data privacy lawyers in Utah, but it’s something that every company is going to need soon.”

During his internship, Marshall spent his time researching privacy laws both home and abroad, creating a playbook that answers common data processing questions for his colleagues to use with the company’s clients, building the privacy section on the company website, and making sure the company remains in compliance with the many different and ever-changing local data privacy laws.

This position helped prepare Marshall to get his privacy law certification from the International Association of Privacy Professionals. It also helped him learn how to work collaboratively on a legal team at a large organization.

After graduation next spring, Marshall plans to take the California Bar exam and is open to a variety of opportunities to start his career path, including tech and privacy law, environmental law, social impact, and more.

Wherever he ends up, Marshall is confident that his time at the S.J. Quinney College of Law has adequately prepared him for the road ahead.

“I think this was one of the best choices of my life,” he said.