Alan L. Friel is chair of the firm’s Data Privacy, Cybersecurity & Digital Assets Practice. BTI Consulting Group has named Alan a Client Service All-Star, recognizing lawyers who stand above all others in delivering the absolute best in client service. He is tier-1 ranked by Chambers and has been recognized by leading industry groups and publications.

Alan is a thought leader in digital media, intellectual property, data privacy and protection, and consumer protection law, with over three decades of relevant experience to address the intersection of law and technology.

Having served as a general counsel for several years in the late 1990s before returning to private practice, Alan has the necessary expertise to advise clients on making practical and informed business decisions, and help companies and entrepreneurs navigate the complex opportunities created by disruptive technology. With his in-house and private practice experience, he assists clients with creating data inventories, and information governance and data privacy and security programs; developing and implementing policies and procedures for providing consumer data privacy transparency, choice and access; drafting and negotiating privacy and data security provisions for commercial contracts; evaluating privacy impact assessments; addressing data privacy and security issues in merger and acquisitions transactions; structuring personal data transfer arrangements (including cross-border, intracompany, sales and licenses, and disclosures that are exempt from, and/or comply with, certain legal restrictions); drafting and revising external and internal privacy and data security policies and procedures; and addressing complex intellectual property and consumer protection issues related to digital media, advertising and commerce, such as in connection with the development and deployment of artificial intelligence, tailored and targeted advertising practices, and digital transformation and data commercialization strategies.

Alan has been helping shape law and public policy regarding digital media since he was the Sherwood Shafer Fellow at the American Civil Liberties Union from 1992-1994, addressing the potential benefits and risks of the then emerging Internet, and has made the evolution of data technologies, and corresponding regulation, the focus of his legal practice. Alan remains at the forefront of emerging media and tech, advising publishers and other online services, advertisers, ad tech companies, marketing services providers, data brokers, e-commerce merchants, software and SaaS/PaaS providers, and other data controllers and processors of all sorts, on related legal issues. He also works closely with his clients’ trade organizations, such as the Internet Advertising Bureau and the Association of National Advertisers, and privacy professional organizations such as the IAPP and Bay Area Digital Marketing and Privacy Workgroup.

Alan is a sought-after speaker. He is affiliated with UCLA as an assistant professor in a multidisciplinary project at the Graduate School of TV, Film and Digital Media, and is an adjunct professor at Loyola Marymount School of Law. He and others in our Data Privacy, Cybersecurity & Digital Assets Practice supervise and manage law students from U.C. San Francisco (formerly Hastings) in a clinical program that provides pro bono legal services to non-profits and start-ups.

Prior to joining the firm, Alan served in several leadership capacities at other AmLaw 100 firms. This included chairing a global technology, media and telecommunications practice and as the coordinator of a consumer privacy practice.

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Privacy and Data Protection

  • Defending businesses before the FTC and state Attorney Generals, including CCPA enforcement actions brought by the CA Attorney General and COVID-related inquiries by the NY Attorney General.
  • As a Certified Information Privacy Manager (CIPM) and Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP), helped hundreds of companies develop, implement and maintain privacy programs and comply with applicable data protections laws, including the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA).
  • Advises clients regarding negotiations of proposed CCPA amendments and ballot measures, including regarding industry coalition negotiations with Alastair Mactaggart and his Californians for Consumer Privacy coalition. Also, on behalf of clients, files comments with the California Attorney General in connection with CCPA rule-making.
  • Conducts data risk assessments to help clients establish “reasonable security” and appropriate “technical and organizational measures” pursuant to the CCPA, EU GDPR, FTC regulations, and other federal and state regulatory requirements.
  • In the wake of a very public data security incident, developed, a personal information handling program and related policies and practices for a major movie studio, which included addressing compliance with the CCPA and the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA).
  • Counseled dozens of online and mobile services regarding compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and children’s advertising rules. Co-authored the BAA/PMA’s comments to the FTC on COPPA rule revisions.
  • Designed and conducted thousands of data practice assessments and audits for hundreds of companies; revised their privacy policies, terms of use, vendor agreements and information security policies; and helped design and implement comprehensive privacy, data protection and information governance programs. Such projects frequently involved multiple jurisdictions and/or affiliates. Coordinated local counsel in connection with international aspects of such work.
  • Worked with companies to implement privacy-by-design during product development.
  • Developed user consent programs for online services seeking to track, publicly disclose (including in “social ads” associated with the user) and otherwise make use of users’ online activity data, including video and other content consumption.
  • Counseled clients regarding privacy implications of location-aware services, and structured and negotiated agreements between e-brands and geolocation services providers.
  • Supports defense of consumer protection/privacy class action litigation matters by providing industry and law-specific (TCPA and CAN-SPAM) advice. Counsels clients on how to conduct text, telemarketing, email and digital advertising campaigns in a manner that will avoid non-compliance claims.
  • Advising an industry-leading internet and mobile advertising software solution provider on the impact of new privacy and consumer protection laws on its products and services. Counsel includes helping the client expand its GDPR compliance plan and program to address the changes in US privacy law implicated by CCPA.
  • Outside privacy counsel to a major cable and telco company, supporting the client in building a privacy compliance program in preparation for CCPA, and advising on regulatory compliance, industry self-regulation and best practices regarding its development of addressable (i.e., interest-based) advertising for VOD and set top box linear TV programming.

Advertising, Marketing and Digital Media

  • Represented the interests of multiple clients in the digital advertising sector while working with the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) to help develop a policy framework, multiparty agreement and technical signal program that will allow publishers and advertisers to integrate their CCPA “do not sell” requests with internet-based advertising technologies. Also worked with the Network Advertising Alliance, the Association of National Advertisers and the Digital Advertising Alliance on this and related efforts.
  • Serves on the internal data advertising and analytics review committee for a major media conglomerate, conducting assessments on data-driven marketing initiatives, including consumer tracking and/or targeting, inbound and outbound data sharing or acquisitions/dispositions, interest-based advertising, social media and other third-party integrations. Also regularly reviews existing practices in light of changes in the law.
  • Advised a growing streaming media provider regarding the acquisitions of competitor services, including how to acquire users and their data in compliance with complex federal and state video privacy laws.
  • Developed end-user license agreements, terms of sale/subscription and privacy policies for thousands of companies, including a movie studio, a major video game publisher, the largest educational software publisher, multiple mobile app/game publishers, a leading social network, e-commerce merchants and a leading toy company.
  • Counsels mobile and online publishers, as well as advertising networks and exchanges, regarding US and EU privacy and data protection issues (in cooperation with local EU counsel), including consumer tracking and ad targeting.
  • Advised an educational software provider regarding COPPA and FERPA compliance regarding product design and vendor engagements.
  • Advised social media and user-generated content service publishers regarding intellectual property issues related to user-generated content, content scrapping, music licensing and digital distribution issues.
  • Counseled numerous publisher clients, including a leading social network, on the legal aspects of social networking and user-generated content websites (including the best way to take advantage of the protections afforded by the Communications Decency Act (CDA) and Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA); legal issues regarding bots, scraping and robots.txt; compliance with the VPPA; and regarding behavioral and social advertising issues).
  • Advising a US podcast publisher on current and potential industry self-regulatory programs and data privacy and consumer protection laws regarding its current and contemplated digital advertising programs.

Sports and Entertainment

  • Negotiated television and film development, production and distribution agreements, including the representation of a sports league in a multiyear license arrangement with a major US network, the producer who brought the “Regis Philbin” show to Fox Sports, various studio theatrical motion picture producers and multiple reality TV projects on various networks.
  • Counsels an NFL team on its marketing, promotions and sales practices, including the privacy and consumer protection impacts of proposed practices.
  • Negotiated digital music distribution arrangements for the US and South America with major music publishers and labels for online and mobile music service.
  • Represented major brands in multiple sponsorships of national pop music tours (including, on some, branded entertainment cable TV and/or webcast specials) and related activation (e.g., Miley Cyrus, Justin Timberlake, Jonas Brothers and One Direction).
  • Advised brands, publishers and agencies on single-sponsor “editorial” websites and publishers on sponsored “native advertising” issues, particularly regarding rights of publicity, FTC and NAD deception standards, and IAB best practices.
  • Successfully defended a leading “influencer” agency in a Federal Trade Commission investigation alleging that the firm did not follow FTC guidelines, resulting in closing of the matter without adverse action or settlement. Helps brands develop influencer market programs that comply with FTC standards.
  • Advises brands and retailers on loyalty programs, including compliance with CCPA.


  • Advises on HIPAA and state medical privacy laws regarding IT transactions and service providers, including de-identified data usage and sharing. Counsels covered entities on HIPAA and other compliance issues relating to marketing campaigns.
  • Advised an auto manufacturer regarding privacy and data protection issues related to in-car and smartphone computer applications and regarding data sharing arrangements with dealers.
  • Advised merchants regarding stored value, gift card, escheat, anti-money laundering and other laws relating to payment (including EFT and credit cards), prepaid discount, loyalty and virtual currency programs.
  • Counsels an academic information and marketing service provider on compliance with federal and state laws regarding student privacy, children's privacy, data brokers, marketing to students and government contracting. Also advises on the extent to which its entities and activities are in or out of scope for the CCPA and its options for addressing compliance.


  • University of California, Los Angeles Anderson School of Management, EPM, 2001
  • Northeastern University School of Law, J.D., 1991
  • Georgia State University, B.S., 1988


  • New York, 2002
  • California, 1993


  • U.S. Dist. Ct., C. Dist. of California
  • U.S. Ct. of App., Ninth Circuit

Memberships & Affiliations

  • Chair of The Association of Media and Entertainment Counsel: Law Firm Advisory Board, 2023-present
  • International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP)
    • Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP)
    • Certified Information Privacy Manager (CIPM)
    • Los Angeles County KnowledgeNet Chapter: Former Chair
    • Orange County KnowledgeNet Chapter: Founding Chair
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
    • Privacy and Cybersecurity Section: Executive Committee Member and Board Member
  • Association of National Advertisers: CCPA Working Group
  • Law360: Privacy and Consumer Protection Editorial Advisory Board
  • Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU): Supporter’s Council
  • American Lawyer Media publications: Internet Law and Strategy and Cybersecurity Law & Strategy, Board of Editors
  • Brand Activation Association (formerly known as Promotional Marketing Association [PMA]): Government Affairs Committee
  • American Bar Association
    • Entertainment Section
    • Intellectual Property Section
    • Advertising and Promotions Section
    • Privacy Subcommittee
    • Internet Subcommittee
    • Computer Industry Subcommittee
  • New York Bar Association
  • Loyola Marymount University School of Law: Adjunct Professor
  • UCLA School of Film, Television and Digital Media: Assistant Professor and Legal Advisory Board Member
  • Zocalo Public Square: Ex officio Board Member
  • Los Angeles Times, 2023 Legal Visionary
  • Thomson Reuters Stand-out Lawyer, 2023-2024
  • Los Angeles Business Journal, Top 100 Lawyers of Los Angeles for 2023
  • National Law Journal, Trailblazer for Media and Advertising Law in 2023
  • Chambers USA, Nationwide Privacy & Data Security: Adtech, Band 1, 2023
  • Best Lawyers in America, Advertising Law, Media Law, and Privacy & Data Security Law 2023.
  • Legal Visionaries, 2022, The Los Angeles Times.
  • Privacy Lawyer of the Year (US), Finance Monthly.
  • BTI Consulting Group, Client Service All-Star.
  • “Alan Friel is especially knowledgeable about privacy and technology issues involved in advertising. ‘He is extremely knowledgeable and provides concise and to-the-point advice. He is quite practical and thorough.’ and ‘extremely personable, and responsive’” – Chambers USA 2021.
  • “Alan is especially knowledgeable about privacy and technology issues involved in advertising. He is a ‘strong player in this space’ and ‘a very good negotiator.’” – Chambers USA 2020.
  • Chambers USA, Nationwide Advertising: Transactional & Regulatory, 2019 to present.
  • The Legal 500 United States, Media, Technology and Telecoms – Advertising and Marketing: Transactional & Regulatory, 2018 to 2020.
  • Best Lawyers in America, California: Advertising Law, 2020 to present, and Media Law and Privacy and Data Security Law, 2023.
  • Los Angeles Business Journal’s Most Influential Lawyers: Digital Media and E-Commerce Law.
  • Martindale-Hubbell: AV Preeminent.
  • American Lawyer Media: Top Rated Lawyers in Technology.
  • Adjunct Professor at Loyola Law School. 
  • Member, Cybersecurity Advisory Board of California State University – Chico.

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  • Speaker, “US Regulators Lift the Curtain on Data Practices with Assessment, Reporting, & Audit Requirements,” 2024 ARMA California Summer Conference, June 2024.
  • Moderator, “An Ocean In-Between – Harmonizing and Diverging US & EU Standards in AI,” ITechLaw 2024 World Technology Law Conference, May 2024.
  • Speaker, “Data Discovery and Classification – New Challenges for Data Compliance,” Round Table Discussion Compliance Virtual Discussion & Speed Networking Event, February 2024.
  • Speaker, “The Compliance Chasm: Business Practicality vs. Consumer Privacy Acts,” Round Table Discussion Compliance Virtual Discussion & Speed Networking Event, November 2023.
  • Speaker, “Drafting Vendor Agreements to Comply With CPRA,” Stafford Webinars, October 2023.
  • Co-author, “FTC Proposal Greatly Widens Auto-Renewal Regulation,” Law360, April 2023.
  • Speaker, “Consumer Privacy: What You Need to Know About the New State Privacy Laws,” 2022 ANA/BAA Marketing Law Conference, November 8-10, 2022.
  • Speaker, “How to Build a Privacy Compliance Program to Address 4, 5,… 20 State Privacy Laws,” 2022 IP Institute, November 4, 2022.
  • Speaker, “Publicity and Privacy Issues for Media and Advertising,” ACC Sports and Entertainment Conference, October 18, 2022.
  • Panelist, “Navigating Cross-border Challenges Relating to HR Data Protection and Employee Right-to-Work Compliance,” BABC Webinar, October 12, 2022.
  • Speaker, “Navigating Opportunities and Challenges: Cross-border Data, the Cookiepocalypse and Standard Contractual Clauses,” Webinar, May 23, 2022.
  • Speaker, “Preparing for 2023: Tools and Tips to be Ready for New US Privacy Laws,” Global Data Review Webinar, April 5 2022.
  • Speaker, “Data Retention: The Blind Spot in Your Privacy Program,” Compliance Week’s Cyber Risk & Data Privacy Summit, February 15-16, 2022.
  • Co-author, “Brand’s Influencer Marketing Practices in Regulators’ Crosshairs on Both Sides of the Atlantic,” The Licensing Journal, January 2022.
  • Co-Presenter, “Data – The ‘New Gold’ or the ‘New Liability’,” PrivacyOC’s PrivacyNext Summit 2022, January 26, 2022.
  • Speaker, “California Privacy: What Direction is Next for CCPA and CRPA?,”2021 ANA/BAA Marketing Law Conference, November 15-17, 2021.
  • Speaker, “New & Emerging Technologies in Digital Advertising & Public Policy Considerations,” NAI, November 10, 2021.
  • Speaker, “Data Privacy-LIVE”, Roundtable Discussion, October 28, 2021.
  • Speaker, “Data For Good: Empowering Innovation Through Ethical Uses of Data,” IAPP Privacy. Security. Risk. 2021, October 21-22, 2021.
  • Speaker, “Applying OneTrust to Key Learnings From the CA AG’s Examples of CCPA Non-Compliance,” TrustWeek Conference, October 12-15, 2021.
  • Speaker, “COVID-19’s Impact on Data Privacy, Protection & Security: USA Perspective,” Global Data Privacy ConfEx – LIVE Virtual Conference, USA, September 29, 2021.
  • Speaker, “Evolving Consumer Privacy Requirements,” SW Ohio ACC, September 22, 2021.
  • Panelist, “Review of California AG CCPA Non-Compliance Actions,” Webinar, September 9, 2021.
  • Panelist, “Are You Prepared For a Cookieless Future,” ANA, July 29, 2021.
  • Panelist, “Why Data Privacy, Security and Asset Management Are Crucial for Start-ups,” Venture Law Meetup Webinar Series, June 28, 2021.
  • Panelist, “Advertising Webinar,” Bet Tzedek, June 23, 2021.
  • Speaker, “Technology in Enforcement: How Technology is Impacting the Investigation and Prosecution of Crime and Cybercriminals,” Society for Policing of Cyberspace, Webinar, June 16, 2021.
  • Speaker, “Key Components of a Successful Legal GRC Strategy,” Little Big Stage, June 10, 2021.
  • Speaker, “Part II: Mobile,” SoCal ACC, June 2, 2021.
  • Speaker, “Advertising and Retail Law for Small Businesses,” Los Angeles County Consumer & Business Affairs and Bet Tzedek, May 27, 2021.
  • Panelist, “CCPA Workshop,” Privacy + Security Forum, May 24, 2021.
  • Speaker, “Part 1: Consumer Privacy,” SoCal ACC, May 19, 2021.
  • Panelist, “California Consumer Privacy 101 Explained,” ACG SV Privacy Program, May 5, 2021.
  • Speaker, “Trim Costs, Reduce Risks and Improve Compliance: Data Retention the Right Way,” IAPP Global Privacy Summit, May 5, 2021.
  • Editor, Privacy and Data Protection chapter, CCH and Wolters Kluwer Corporate Legal Compliance Handbook, 2007 – current.
  • Author, “Practice Note on Direct Marketing Regulations and Codes,” Thompson Reuters Practical Law, December 23, 2020.
  • Co-Author, “California: What CPRA Will Mean for Businesses, Consumers, and US Privacy Landscape,” One Trust/Data Guidance, November 2020.
  • Panelist, “CPRA Funded Enforcement and More,” Privacy OC Fall Series, November 10, 2020.
  • Speaker, “2020 CCPA Final Regulations: Approved Modifications and Extensions of Employee and Business-to-Business Exemptions,” Strafford, November 5, 2020.
  • Panelist, “Impact of CPRA on Digital Advertising,” Privacy + Security Academy, Virtual Fall Forum, October 21-23, 2020.
  • Co-Author, “Global Practice Guide: Advertising & Marketing 2020,” Chambers & Partners, October 2020.
  • Speaker, “Cybersecurity and Global Compliance,” PLI Compliance & Ethics Essentials program, September 22-23, 2020.
  • Speaker, “AdTech in View of Privacy Regulations,” IAPP San Diego KnowledgeNet Chapter, August 6, 2020.
  • Speaker, “Cybersecurity, Privacy & Data Protection: Audit, Risk & Regulatory Compliance,” IG3 West, July 29-30, 2020.
  • Speaker, “The Future of Ad Tech under CCPA and CPRA,” IAPP’s Virtual KnowledgeNet, July 16, 2020.
  • Speaker, “Implementing a Technology-enabled Data Privacy Program: Notes from the Field,” Epiq, July 15, 2020.
  • Author, “California: Provisions of the CPRA,” One Trust/Data Guidance, July 2020.
  • Speaker, “Is Your CCPA Consumer Privacy Response Stuck?” Privageo, June 25, 2020.
  • Panelist, “States Take the Lead on Privacy,” KnowIt’s Intellectual Property in a Digital World Conference, May 11-13, 2020.
  • Speaker, “Privacy Law Webinar Series, Part 1: A CCPA Q&A with the Tag Management Vendors,” Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), April 24, 2020.
  • Presenter, “Optimizing Data Privacy & Security,” CIO Leadership Forum, March 18, 2020.
  • Speaker, “CCPA and Recruiting: What You Need To Know,” Workable, February 19, 2020.
  • Speaker, “AdTech Under CCPA and CPRA,” OC’s Orange County Privacy Law Conference, January 2020.
  • Contributor, “What to Expect in 2020: A World Tour,” Thomson Reuters Practical Law, January 2020.
  • Panelist, “4 Bet-The-Job Questions for Privacy Professionals in 2020,” Exterro/IAPP, December 2019.
  • Panelist, “Practical Insights on Building CCPA Compliance,” IAPP San Francisco KnowledgeNet chapter, November 21, 2019.
  • Speaker, “California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and its Impacts on Businesses,” Capital Alpha Partners, November 14, 2019.
  • Speaker, “Digital Advertising: The CCPA Dilemma,” 2019 ANA/BAA Marketing Law Conference, November 4-6, 2019.
  • Author, “California: CCPA Rights and Obligations Clearer Following Amendment Bills and Proposed Regulations,” Data Guidance, November 2019.
  • Panelist, “The Impact of CCPA and Consumer Privacy Laws on Digital Advertising,” Privacy + Security Forum, October 14, 2019.
  • Author, “The California Consumer Privacy Act: Everything You Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask — 100 Days Out – Part 1,” Law Journal Newsletters, October 2019.
  • Author, “The California Consumer Privacy Act: Everything You Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask — 100 Days Out – Part 2,” Law Journal Newsletters, October 2019.
  • Panelist, Various Sessions, IAPP Privacy. Security. Risk. 2019, September 22-23, 2019.
  • Co-Author, “Guide: United States: Data Protection & Cyber Security,” The Legal 500, June 2019.
  • Moderator, “CCPA and New U.S. Privacy Laws,” IG3 Mid-Atlantic Conference, June 26, 2019.
  • Author, “Ad and Publishing Industries Confront CCPA Challenges which Congress Considers Privacy,” Thomson Reuters Westlaw, June 24, 2019.
  • Co-Author, “Nevada Adds “Do Not Sell” Requirement to Privacy Law,” Thomson Reuters Westlaw, June 19, 2019.
  • Speaker, “AI and AdTech: Contractual, Ethical and Legal Issues,” 16th Annual Digital Economy Best Practices Conference hosted by Stanford Law School, June 10, 2019.
  • Co-Author, “California Radically Alters US Consumer Privacy Law,” Taylor Wessing Global Data Hub, April 2019.
  • Speaker, “California Consumer Privacy Act,” IAPP’s Atlanta KnowledgeNet Chapter meeting, April 16, 2019.
  • Co-Author, “United States: Ad Industry Groups Tackle CCPA Provisions In Open Letter,” Mondaq, March 2019.
  • Speaker, “Understanding Privacy Laws: Not Child’s Play,” Children’s Advertising Review Unit in Marina del Rey, Calif., March 6, 2019.
  • Panelist, “Intellectual Property Rights in the Media,” The Caucus for Producers, Writers and Directors, August 23, 2016.
  • Author, “Privacy Law Will Confuse Consumers, Businesses,” Daily Journal, September 23, 2013.
  • Author, “Calif. Privacy Bill Seeks Middle Ground With Online Ads,” Law360, September 2013.
  • Author, “10 Steps to Build a Privacy and Security Program,” Corporate Compliance Insights, September 2013.
  • Co-Author, “Safeguarding Brand Reputation In Social Media,” Law360, June 2013.
  • Co-Author, “5 Tips For Staying Ahead Of Mobile Privacy Enforcement,” Law360 Expert Analysis, April 2013.
  • Co-Author, “FTC Path Deal And Mobile Guide: A Warning To App Industry,” Law360 Expert Analysis, February 2013.
  • Author, “Growing Promotional Use of Social Media in the Government’s Crosshairs: The New FTC Guidelines,” M/E Insights, January 2010.
  • Author, “Navigating FTC’s Guidance on Social Media Marketing,” AdWeek, November 2009.

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