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2020 Women to Watch Awards Americas EMEA

Christina Terplan Partner

Atheria Law P.C.

San Francisco

Christina Terplan says her move last year to leave a major law firm and start her own with seven other partners “was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. It was also the most rewarding.” 

In retrospect, starting San Francisco-based Atheria LLP, in light of the subsequent pandemic and raging California wildfires, “probably wasn’t an ideal time.” But the firm, which specializes in global insurance and reinsurance law, has been successful and, unlike many much larger law firms, has not had to lay off people or put anyone on furlough.

Ms. Terplan, a cyber law specialist who was initially president of Atheria, considers her biggest achievement leaving her old firm, Clyde & Co., on a Friday and starting the new firm the following Monday. Almost all of the group’s clients followed the partners to the new firm.

This meant that “on day one, we had to have everything 100% up and running, which was extremely difficult,” Ms. Terplan said. 

“We all got through the trials and tribulations together, and I’m really proud of that fact,” she said.

She’s also proud that more than 50% of the firm’s attorneys are women, with many from diverse backgrounds.

Ms. Terplan said her work at her first law firm spurred her interest in hacking culture, cyber issues and the internet.

“I started working with clients on drafting one of the first insurance policies for cyber coverage early on in my career,” she said, and advising insurers on privacy and the cyber risks presented by new technology has remained her focus.

“It’s such a relevant area of people’s lives right now,” she said. “Even if you put aside the legal issues, almost every single person has some aspect of internet or internet technology in their daily life” that was not even in existence just a few decades ago. 

“It’s fun, and it’s also challenging, dealing with an area that’s constantly changing,” she said.