Jennifer DeTrani, general counsel at cybersecurity startup Nisos. Courtesy photo. Jennifer DeTrani, general counsel at cybersecurity startup Nisos. Courtesy photo.

Ephemeral messaging platform Wickr’s general counsel has moved to a new top lawyer role at cybersecurity and investigations firm Nisos.

Jennifer DeTrani, now executive vice president and general counsel at Alexandria, Virginia-based Nisos, joined Wickr in 2013. She was Wickr’s first general counsel. DeTrani plans to stay involved at Wickr in a limited role as special adviser and co-founder.

“Having spent five years at Wickr I was ready for a set of new challenges. It’s been really rewarding and fun to address a lot of the possible issues of the day in my role at Wickr,” DeTrani told The Recorder affiliate Corporate Counsel. “But focusing on threats that exist within enterprises and how to help solve those threats is where I saw myself spending more time in the future. That’s why it made sense to transition to Nisos.”

DeTrani is Nisos’ first general counsel. She will lead the company’s legal team, working on employment law and intellectual property issues such as licensing agreements. Aside from her legal responsibilities, which she said she takes “as a given,” DeTrani will work with clients’ in-house counsel to explain Nisos’ cybersecurity offerings from a lawyer’s perspective.

She played a similar role at Wickr. After lawyers for Google subsidiary Waymo alleged Uber used ephemeral messages to hide evidence in a trade secrets case that settled last year, DeTrani said companies’ in-house counsel began asking her, ”Can I use this?”

As the San Francisco-based company’s top lawyer, she helped walk potential clients through the potential legal benefits and complications of ephemeral messaging.

“I think it’s a matter of getting lawyers comfortable with helping companies solve problems related to risk,” DeTrani said. “That stems from a number of different vulnerabilities that enterprises are faced with, [including] weak systems, human error, a workforce that is not equipped to handle nation-state threats on a daily basis.”

Despite the similarities, DeTrani said the educational aspect of her new role will look different at Nisos. The regulatory gray area that exists for ephemeral messaging doesn’t exist around cybersecurity technology, she said. Most companies know they need to keep information secure, it’s just a matter of educating them on how to do it, she said. Nisos aims to defend companies from losing IP or reputation harm from external and internal privacy breaches.

DeTrani will also be in a different city, moving from San Francisco to Alexandria, Virginia. She grew up in Northern Virginia, but spent most of her legal career in California.

Before joining Wickr, she counseled startups in her private practice in San Diego. She’s also worked as an assistant U.S. attorney. DeTrani began her legal career as an associate at Cooley after earning a law degree from the University of Michigan Law School.

“We are excited to welcome Jen to the team,” Nisos executive director Landon Winkelvoss said in a statement. “Jen comes to Nisos with the perfect background to navigate the increasingly sophisticated legal and regulatory environment in which modern business risks propagate.”

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