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Clayton Utz strengthens cyber practice with New Partner
Mon, 13th Nov 2023

Australian law firm Clayton Utz has strengthened its cyber and data governance practice with the appointment of Brenton Steenkamp as a new Partner. Coming from a Big 4 forensic consulting and cyber risk background, Steenkamp has more than two decades of experience in cyber security. His appointment will bolster the firm's end-to-end cyber offering, specifically in the areas of prevention, preparedness, incident response, investigation and remediation.

Clayton Utz is currently the only legal firm in Australia that provides a full in-house suite of digital forensics and incident response services. Steenkamp's extensive experience in these fields will enable the firm to provide a comprehensive solution for clients, from legal advice to technical security measures. The overall aim is to deliver a 'one stop shop' for all cyber and data governance needs.

Paul Fontanot, Forensic and Technology Services Partner and National Practice Group Leader at Clayton Utz, says: "We have built the cyber and forensic advisory practice from the ground up. We have a deep pool of highly technical specialists and have invested millions into cutting-edge technology. Our legal and technical teams work as one and under the efficiencies of one instruction."

Steenkamp will work with these multidisciplinary teams, harmonising the complementary skills of legal, technology and subject experts to bring effective solutions to complex data governance issues and cyber risks. Fontanot adds, "Brenton’s specialist advisory skillset will provide a unique offering for Australian businesses and our clients.”

Steenkamp comments: “In my experience of working with global Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies, there is still a significant delta between the perception and reality of being adequately prepared [for a cyber-attack]. Boards need to play a central role in preparedness and ensure that they, and the business, are fully-prepared for the chaotic and emotionally charged realities of a cyber-attack.”

Clayton Utz's enhanced capabilities come at a time when cyber threats are intensifying in scale and severity across Australia. The country's government is seeking to counter these threats with ambitious goals to make the nation the most cyber secure by 2030. This expected change in the regulatory and legislative landscape is prompting business leaders to reduce their risk appetites and invest in robust defence strategies.

Cyber security has evolved to no longer be purely an IT issue but one which commands decisions from the very top of an organisation. It requires a proactive, all-encompassing approach spanning prevention, preparedness and post-incident handling. Working with a legal firm like Clayton Utz can offer greater protection and form a more robust defence against potential liability.

Prior to joining Clayton Utz, Brenton was the Managing Partner for EY's Cyber Response and Forensic practice across Europe. He has had extensive hands-on experience in managing multiple sensitive cases, including cybercrime and regulatory investigations. In addition to this, Brenton has worked closely with risk advisors, legal representatives, and major law enforcement agencies globally.