Moore & Van Allen Law Firm, Attorneys
Practice Areas
  • B.S., East Carolina University, 1989
  • J.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1992, with high honors; Order of the Coif; North Carolina Law Review Staff, 1990; Senior Staff, 1991
  • North Carolina, 1992
  • United States District Court Middle District of North Carolina, 1993
  • United States District Court Eastern District of North Carolina, 1993
  • United States District Court Western District of North Carolina, 1992
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, 1994
100 North Tryon Street
Suite 4700
Charlotte, NC 28202-4003

Karin M. McGinnis

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Privacy & Data Security Practice

With two decades of experience as a practicing attorney, Karin McGinnis, CIPP US, has handled a wide variety of privacy and data security matters for her clients, with a special emphasis on privacy and data security issues in the workplace. Recognized by her peers as a Martindale Hubble AV Preeminent and among the North Carolina Legal Elite and Super Lawyers, Ms. McGinnis is known as a true business partner when litigating and providing counsel to her clients.

Ms. McGinnis’ privacy and data security experience includes counseling and litigation regarding misappropriation of trade secrets, violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and state computer trespass laws, and common law privacy torts. Her litigation experience also includes HIPAA privacy issues, discovery challenges posed by the Stored Communications Act, privacy of consumer financial information under Gramm-Leach-Bliley, and confidentiality rights concerning mental health consumers.

Ms. McGinnis also handles data breach matters in the U.S. and internationally for her clients and has worked with the USSS and the FBI in investigating potential cyber-crime and data breaches. She has assisted clients with drafting and creating data breach procedures, FACTA Red Flag policies and procedures, online privacy policies, data security plans, data security provisions in vendor agreements, and employee data security training. 

In addition, Ms. McGinnis frequently advises clients and drafts policies and agreements in connection with employee monitoring, social media, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, limitations imposed by the National Labor Relations Act on employee confidentiality and social media policies and agreements, drug testing, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”), the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA), the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the CAN-SPAM Act, and protection of private personnel information under state law.

She has assisted clients with privacy and data security issues internationally, including an international ethics hotline, international data transfers, and data breaches affecting consumers overseas. Ms. McGinnis also has experience drafting record retention, Bring Your Own Device (“BYOD”), and employee mobile device policies and programs in diverse industries, as well as PCI-DSS issues.

In the age of increasing commoditization of legal services, from off-the-shelf policies to one-size-fits-all agreements, Ms. McGinnis knows that no two clients’ needs are alike, and she works to achieve results that best fit each client’s culture, resources and goals.

Her wide range of experience enables her to spot potential issues for her clients before they are raised by employees, the government or opposing counsel. Karin’s clients find that she has a strategic and practical perspective and the ability to advise on preventive measures, provide corrective solutions, and fully litigate her clients’ issues. This bespoke, forward-thinking approach saves companies time, money and frustration in the long run.

Karin has had significant success in achieving favorable dispute resolutions and in securing dismissals and summary judgment for her clients in litigation, avoiding the expense and uncertainty of trial. She has argued and won numerous motions for temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions, protecting client information and goodwill from competitors.

Representative Cases

  • TLV Corporation v. Stephen L. Villemez, 4:08-CV-02700 (United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, 2008). When an employee took a large amount of confidential and proprietary information from Karin’s client, TLV Corporation, Karin and her team obtained emergency preliminary and then permanent injunctive relief for the breach of contract and violation of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and Texas state law. The employee was required to return the information.
  • CNC/Access, Inc. v. Universal Mental Health Systems et al., 2006 NCBC 20 (November 15, 2006).  In this case involving consumers  of mental health services, Karin and her team represented the defendant against claims of defamation, tortious interference, raiding, and misappropriation of trade secrets case before the North Carolina Business Court, a specialized forum of the North Carolina State Courts’ trial division where cases involving complex and significant issues of corporate and commercial law are assigned. Karin and her team obtained partial summary judgment for the client, while defeating the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on the client’s claims of defamation, tortious interference and unfair trade practice. 

Of Note

  • Certified Information Privacy Professional/US (CIPP/US), International Association of Privacy Professionals
  • Included in Chambers Partners USA in North Carolina - Labor & Employment, 2014-2017
  • Selected for inclusion to the North Carolina Super Lawyers list in 2015-2017 for Employment & Labor
  • Named among The Best Lawyers in America for Employee Benefits (ERISA), 2016-2018
  • Business North Carolina's Legal Elite, 2005, 2008-2014, 2017
  • 2014 ATHENA Leadership Awards, Corporate Nominee
  • Leader in the Law, North Carolina Lawyers Weekly, 2012
  • Business Leader Media Award Women Extraordinaire, 2010
  • Martindale Hubble Rated AV Preeminent
  • Author, "New Data Breach Rulings — 4th Circ. Vs. 3rd Circ.," Law360 (February 9, 2017)
  • Author, "Expect More Privacy Challenges This Year," Legaltech News (April 2016)
  • Co-Presenter, "Cyber War Games," Association of Corporate Counsel- South Carolina Chapter Annual Meeting (November 10, 2015)
  • Co-Presenter, "Protecting Information While Employing Workers Overseas,” Globalaw Client Seminar (October 23, 2015)
  • Co-Author, “Efforts to Fix Data Security Flaws Carry Weight with FTC,” National Law Journal (February 2015)
  • Author, “The Ever Expanding Scope of Employee Privacy Protections,” ACC Charlotte Chapter Newsletter (December 2014)
  • Co-Author, “Cybersecurity Special Report: Trade Commission Takes Line on Data Security,” National Law Journal (November 2014)
  • Co-Presenter, “Privacy and Social Media in the Workplace,” MVA Privacy & Data Security Seminar Series (May 29, 2014)
  • Author, “Social Media- Love it or Leave it?” Business North Carolina (May 2014)
  • Co-Presenter, “Preventing and Responding to a Cybersecurity Event from the Legal and Technical Perspectives: NIST Cybersecurity Framework,” MVA Privacy & Data Security Seminar Series (March 27, 2014)
  • Co-Presenter, “Social Media Strategies and Risks,” Association of Corporate Counsel-Charlotte Chapter (February 5, 2014)
  • Co-Presenter, “Privacy and Social Media in the Workplace: What U.S. and E.U. Employers Need to Know,” Globalaw Webinar (December 9, 2013)
  • Author, "5 Ways to Reduce Liability in Hiring a Rival’s Employee," Corporate Counsel (October 10, 2013)
  • Author, "Look Before You Leap: Employee 'Bring Your Own Device' Programs," Corporate Board Member (January 2013)
  • "Legal Issues Associated with Corporate Bring Your Own Device Programs," JP Morgan Chase, New York, New York (December 6, 2012)
  • Co-Author, "4 Tips for Drafting an Enforceable Employment Covenant," Inside Counsel (August 13, 2012)
  • Co-Author, "3 Ways to Avoid Problems with Ex-Employees," Inside Counsel (July 30, 2012)
  • Co-author, "7 Ways to Avoid Trouble with the EEOC," Inside Counsel (July 16, 2012)
  • Co-author, "5 Ways to Avoid Trouble with the Department of Labor," Inside Counsel (July 2, 2012)
  • Co-author, "Avoid Trouble with the NLRB," Inside Counsel (June 18, 2012)
  • Co-author, "14 Tips for Smoother Hiring, Employment and Termination," Inside Counsel (June 4, 2012)
  • Lead counsel for the plaintiff, "Mock Trial: Hostile Work Environment" presentation for Society of Human Resource Management (Charlotte, NC chapter) (October 11, 2010)
  • Co-Author, "Feds ready to crack down on employee classification" for the Charlotte Business Journal (April 16, 2010)
  • Presented "Top 10 HR Priorities for 2010" at The Employer's Association (February, 19, 2010)
  • Author, "Employee Leave: The Essentials Behind What You Have to Do and What You Should Do to Retain Top Management," chapter in ExecBlueprints series
  • Author, "Helping Businesses Stay Compliant," chapter in Inside the Minds: Labor and Employment Litigation Strategies
  • Chair, Board of Directors and Personnel Committee Chair, Second Harvest Food Bank of the Metrolinas
  • Pro bono counsel assisting nonprofit organizations with employment law issues
  • Past Chair, Young Lawyers Division of the North Carolina Bar Association
  • Served as guardian ad litem for the Children’s Law Center
  • Serves as pro bono domestic violence counsel
  • Former member, Film Advisory Board of the Carolinas Partnership
  • Former Board of Directors member, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
  • Graduate, Charlotte Chamber of Commerce Leadership School
  • Named to the Access to Justice Pro Bono Partners 2013 Pro Bono Honor Roll by Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, Legal Aid of North Carolina–Charlotte, and Council for Children’s Rights

Professional Affiliations

  • International Association of Privacy Professionals
  • American Bar Association: Labor and Employment and Litigation Sections; Women Advocates Committee
  • North Carolina Bar Association: Labor and Employment and Litigation Sections
  • Young Lawyers Division, Secretary, Past Division Director for Service to the Bar, Long Range Planning Committee, Past Division Director for Service to the Public, Chair-Elect, 2000-2001; Chair 2001-2002
  • North Carolina Bar Association: Board of Governors, 2001-2002; Nominations Committee 2002-2003
  • North Carolina Bar Association: Lawyer Effectiveness and Quality of Life Committee 2006-2013
  • North Carolina Bar Association: President's 4-All Task Force, 2007-2008
  • North Carolina Bar Association Pro Bono Task Force