2022 Top Women: Amy de La Lama

Amy de La Lama

England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Colorado — the list goes on and on for Boulder-based attorney Amy de La Lama, who has worked with companies all over the world as she strives to build a data privacy team.

De La Lama, who is a partner and chair of global data privacy and security at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP, has been working in the law for more than 20 years serving as a pioneer in multiple ways including with remote work, being a champion for a more diverse workforce and being a leader in the ever-changing world of data privacy. Whether it’s helping local companies get prepped for the new Colorado Privacy Act or working with multinational companies in a variety of arenas, de La Lama has done it all.

With all this, it’s clear that being an attorney is in her blood. De La Lama said she’s known she’s wanted to be a lawyer since high school, as she was influenced by her father, who is an attorney in Wyoming. She went to the University of Virginia where she got a degree in English, then took a two-year detour to Mexico City before going to the University of Colorado Law School.

With a husband, 15-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son, de La Lama has her hands full, but she’s always been able to make it work with the help of remote work. She started working from home long before the pandemic hit, as the law firms she worked for have been flexible and understanding of her and her family’s needs. She does plan to move forward with a more hybrid approach in the coming years, missing the connection she has with people. 

“I will probably maintain a hybrid approach going forward,” de La Lama said. “It’s been really a treat actually to come back and have an office to go to. I’ve appreciated that and I think not being able to travel, not being able to meet with people at all, helped me remember how useful that can be at times. I would say for now over the next few years, while my husband and I are juggling a lot of different schedules and driving schedules, it’s really beneficial for me to do both. I really appreciate the opportunity to be able to, when I need to, be home.”

With this incredible schedule, de La Lama has made data privacy her own as she helped double the size of her team while also adding clients. 

“I really started in privacy before privacy was a thing,” she said. “Over the years, privacy and security and data breach and sort of all those related areas, have just kind of gone crazy, so I had the opportunity to help build a privacy team.”

Much of her work deals with incident response connected with data breaches and ransomware attacks. Change is another big aspect of her practice as data privacy concerns continue to expand across the globe including in the U.S. where new laws are coming to fruition in California, Colorado, Virginia, Connecticut and Utah

“That means I can never say, gosh I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I just know the answer now,” de La Lama said. “That is also unnerving because you kind of feel like … new clients are coming to me for my expertise and nobody really has this expertise yet because the law is brand new. It came into effect yesterday or it [will come] into effect. It’s kind of a source of frustration, but also really … keeps me engaged because I’m always learning.”

Locally she keeps her foot on the gas as well, helping businesses with data privacy programs that meet ever-changing laws.

“We’re really working hard, first of all to help companies,” she said. “We’re focused on helping companies integrate, [to] expand or flex their privacy programs to pull in Colorado and make sure you are meeting it versus addressing Colorado in a vacuum because there are so many new laws.”

De La Lama also does pro bono work. This includes working with Silicon Flatirons at the University of Colorado Law School, while also helping mentor young lawyers. 

“I would love to see that become more of a focus as I continue to build my practice,” she said. “We are connected to CU, the law school. I have a friend there who runs the Silicon Flatirons Center … he’s been very receptive [to] me speaking to students and working with their clinics to help provide some pro bono advice and some training. That’s been really an opportunity for me to capitalize on as I’ve come back to actually being part of the Boulder legal community.”

Diversity is another key factor for de La Lama. Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner partner in charge Paul Lopach wrote Law Week Colorado saying she is “passionate about diversity and inclusion. As she has built her practice, she has been conscious of building a diverse team and half of her team consists of women, lawyers of color and/or LGBTQ team members. She serves as an official and unofficial mentor to many diverse associates both within the firm and through the University of Colorado Law School.”

De La Lama added that she’s always worked hard for a more diverse workforce.

“It’s one of the things I’ve been able to build upon, both here and at my prior firm, is real commitment to changing the firm’s internal, company-wide commitment to helping chart the course in building a more diverse law firm,” she said. “Diverse teams help build more diverse teams. … Just speaking [of] my own perspective, which is that of gender, we have a lot of women in leadership here and it makes a huge difference; you can see it in the perspective, you can see it in the familiarity of other working parents.”

As for the advice she often provides to young lawyers or those still studying the law.

“It’s worth sticking with opportunities and maybe thinking your experience in the first and second year really isn’t necessarily what will be around the corner for you,” de La Lama said. “There’s so many interesting things that can come from this career.”

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