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State Bar committee work paid off in a big way for Jeffrey Selman. The Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe special counsel got a heads up on a new state law that calls for companies to announce a security breach if a database containing information on California residents is hacked. The law took effect July 1. “People don’t necessarily pay attention to what the California Legislature does in the business world,” said Selman, a corporate specialist. “It caught a lot of people by surprise.” Sponsored by Assemblyman Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, the law defines what constitutes personal information and at what point companies must notify individuals or the media of a breach. Banks and financial institutions are paying close attention to the new law, as are retail stores and other companies that do commercial transactions by credit card, Selman said. “People pay attention to security breaches,” Selman said, “but they don’t necessarily want to bring attention to them.” Selman has been active with the Bar for six of the last seven years. His current role as legislative point person on the executive committee of the Bar’s business law section means he must pay close attention to the Legislature. “If it weren’t for the fact that I was sitting on the State Bar committee, I wouldn’t have paid any attention to this,” Selman said. Because of his Bar work, he was able to effectively field calls from clients worried about how the new law will affect their business. Many of the clients who call are irritated that California’s making changes. They say it makes doing business more difficult — though supporters call the effort a consumer protection measure. “As an individual and consumer, I’d like to know when information about me is getting out there,” Selman said. “On the other hand, it always concerns me when I see legislation like this.” He said Bar committee members have begun planning with local lawyer organizations to disseminate more information about the statute. Selman said he devotes extra energy to Bar work to give him an edge on the issues. “I see what is happening at a very early stage,” Selman said, “The benefit at the end of the day is being able to stay on top of things.”

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