“Thursday Thoughts” Leadership Profile With Attorney Todd Kartchner

This year, Arizona Business Magazine rated attorney Todd Kartchner as one of the top 100 lawyers in Arizona. In 2020, Todd was recognized by Super Lawyers® as one of the top 50 attorneys in the State of Arizona. A top litigator, a devoted family man, as well as a competitive cyclist, Todd is the epitome of a Fennemore attorney and a true Renaissance Man.

We recently had the pleasure of talking with Todd about the current litigation landscape, as well as his life in the law.

You’re one of the most high-profile attorneys at the firm, a member of the Management Committee, and also Fennemore’s Chief Privacy Officer – along with being one of the friendliest and most accessible lawyers I have ever met. How do you maintain this amazing balancing act – and make it all look so easy?

You are far too kind. As far as balancing my life goes, I am fortunate to have such a great partner in my wife. She is pursuing her Ph.D. in Biochemistry, and she has an internship at Moderna this semester. Out of necessity, we have to be very organized to make sure that everyone and everything in our lives gets the proper attention.

Without naming clients, talk about some exciting legal trends in your wheelhouse:

Data privacy law is an exciting area that is constantly evolving. California already has a comprehensive framework that is quite similar in a number of respects to what has developed in Europe, and other states are gradually expanding their own regulations to protect their constituents’ privacy interests. We’re also seeing the federal government take a strong interest in data privacy, and they are now coordinating efforts with the private sector to create a more robust defense network against cyber-based crimes, including the rapid uptick we’ve seen in ransomware.

I have taken multiple courses on various privacy laws, including GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, COPPA, GLBA and others. I also spend an hour each day before I start my work taking additional courses and reviewing updates on various privacy laws. I have helped a number of clients properly respond to and address data breaches, and I have helped other clients draft or update their online data policies.  I also review and comment on privacy-related provisions in various client agreements. And, as the firm’s Chief Privacy Officer, I oversee the firm’s data privacy policies and obligations.

You’re an avid cyclist and competitor. Any thoughts on this year’s Tour De France, and now, cycling in the Olympic Games in Tokyo?

Tadej Pogačar has had quite a year. He won the 2021 Tour de France and took a bronze medal at the Olympics. Given how young he is, if he can stay injury-free, I think he is going to have an incredible career and is fun to watch.

And speaking of being competitive, talk about your biggest failure. What did you learn, and how did you pick up the pieces and move forward?

I’ve had far too many failures to count.  Looking back at my life to date, my main regrets have come from not trying something at all rather than trying and failing.  The latter bothers me far less than the former.

Who’s your hero – or the person who has had the greatest impact on your life and career?

I’ve had a lot of wonderful mentors over the course of my career. People like Judge Carroll, Amy Abdo, Bill Thorpe, Tim Berg, and John Everroad have all had a positive influence on me, both as a lawyer and as a person.

Post-pandemic, what are you reading; listening to (podcast or music); and watching/streaming?

I am part of a science fiction/fantasy book club that is comprised primarily of Fennemore alumni. I read at least one book per month from that genre. 

Science is big in my household, so we listen to a lot of science-based podcasts, including things like Science Friday and the Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe.

As for music, my children typically hijack the music in my car and my kitchen, so I’m well-acquainted with all that they listen to, including everything from Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole to Taylor Swift and Billie Eilish.

When I get to choose, I usually default to stations playing hits from the 80’s and 90’s.  (What can I say—I’m Gen X.)

You’re an amazing father who mentors his six children. What do you learn from them?

My children, much like their mother, are infused with empathy, and that seems to inform nearly every important decision they make. As a lawyer, it can be easy to view people from an adversarial stance. My children remind me to be more optimistic in what I expect and to have more confidence in people.

Okay, you and your family are hosting a lavish dinner party, name the three people, from any time in human history, who you would invite.

The Obamas (Yes, I’m going to cheat and get two outstanding guests through one slot—I’d love to sit next to either one!)

Albert Einstein (I probably wouldn’t understand half of what he explained, but I have to think you’d walk away from an evening with Einstein with some new insight or increased sense of awe for the universe at large.)

Lance Armstrong (Think what you want about him—the guy has got to have some GREAT stories!);

Honorable Mentions: Helen Keller, Christopher Hitchens, Nikola Tesla, Benjamin Franklin, Hunter S. Thompson (again, great stories!)

Here’s to Todd and all of the dedicated litigators here at Fennemore!

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