In addition to his role as a cybersecurity lawyer, Roy E. Hadley Jr. is well-versed in the operational and technical aspects of cybersecurity. At Adams and Reese LLP, he assists clients with response and recovery efforts in the event of an attack and assists clients with hardening their enterprises against cyberattacks.
Thanks to his technical and operational experiences as well as legal acumen, Hadley often acts as a quarterback for companies that have been victims of large and complex cyberattacks. Hadley frequently works in assisting municipalities and other state and local governmental entities with cybersecurity awareness and mitigation efforts, as well as response and recovery efforts.
According to Hadley, perhaps the most memorable event in his career, is the ransomware attack on the City of Atlanta in 2018 that affected numerous applications and client services. As a result, some of the city’s data was encrypted, and citizens were not able to access city applications.
“In the months and years following the attack, the City of Atlanta has worked hard to become more resilient and capable with respect to its technology infrastructure,” Hadley says. “Working with many dedicated and capable city employees and other partners, we were able to recover from the attack. Perhaps the achievement I am most proud of is that Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, when first responding to the attack, said that the operation of the City of Atlanta and the provision of services to its citizens and guests would go on — and they did.”
Hadley ensured all departments and resources communicated with each other, developed a situational response and recovery plan, and implemented that plan. “It was only through the combined and dedicated work of many individuals, working collaboratively, that we were able to effectively respond to the attack. Mayor Bottoms said that we were going to be ‘good citizens’ and share information with others so that they can be better prepared to respond to an attack and become more resilient. I am proud of our efforts to do just that, and I am proud of the city’s ongoing efforts on cybersecurity and technology deployment.”
As part of these ongoing efforts, Hadley has taken those best practices and lessons learned from the City of Atlanta and currently works with municipalities and other governmental agencies nationwide to promote resilience and preparedness. Hadley’s work with Hartsfield Jackson International Airport and the City of Atlanta’s water systems helped to ensure continued operation during the Atlanta ransomware attack; it also highlights the need for municipalities to think more broadly about cybersecurity and vulnerabilities, he says.
In addition to being named to the City of Atlanta’s CIO Advisory Board, and being honored by the State of Georgia House of Representatives for his work in cybersecurity, Hadley serves as a member of the Georgia Defense Industrial Base Task Force Board, a collaboration between the Georgia Department of Economic Development and the Technology Association of Georgia. There, Hadley assists Georgia businesses with cyber issues with respect to the U.S. Department of Defense supply chain.
Whether he is speaking to law school classes on cybersecurity or working with colleges and universities to promote their cybersecurity programs, Hadley continuously strives to promote cybersecurity and learning. Currently, he co-chairs the Social Justice Working Group for the Technology Association of Georgia, whose mission is to make the cybersecurity community open and accessible to all, regardless of racial background, and which seeks to engage people of color in the technology and cyber fields. He also frequently mentors young lawyers and young cybersecurity professionals. Hadley has served as Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary of AirGate PCS. Prior to his time at AirGate, Hadley was Vice President, General Counsel, and Chief Privacy Officer of WorldTravel BTI.