Atlanta Spotlight: Jim Jordan

Working as the Assistant General Counsel for Privacy and Chief Privacy Officer of Fiserv, Jim Jordan says that his job is challenging and exciting, but still fits into the common denominator of his career in law. “For the last 25 years, I have been helping technologists understand law and lawyers understand technology,” he says.

Jim was born in Macon and lived there through high school (at Mount de Sales Academy). At the University of Georgia, where he was studying Physics, he was recruited into the U.S. Navy Nuclear Submarine program in his senior year. After completing his bachelor’s degree, he spent four months attending Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island. His extensive nuclear submarine training program lasted two years including nuclear power school, nuclear prototype training and submarine school. It was 1981 before he reached Pearl Harbor ready to go to sea.

His first assignment was on a fast attack sub that could go as long as 90 days without surfacing. “My longest stay underwater was 55 days” he said. “The limiting factor is food. We could make our own power, water and air, but you had to go to port for food eventually.” After two and a half years at sea, Jim moved to submarine construction where he oversaw the building of the USS Georgia and the USS Alabama. Testing new submarines includes submerging them and looking for leaks 100 feet at a time all the way down to the maximum “test depth”. How far down is that? “I’m pretty sure that’s still classified information,” Jim says.

In 1985, Jim decided to transfer from active duty to Navy Reserve and go to law school. But he believes that his experience in the military was great leadership training. . “The best thing I learned, which I still live by today, is that you can delegate authority but you can’t delegate responsibility. The leader is still responsible no matter how many people are working for him or with him.”

Jim was awarded a scholarship to attend law school at Georgia and together with the GI Bill, he and his wife settled in to law student life. He was selected for the law review where he worked as Articles Editor, and he also participated in mock trial competitions sponsored by the American Bar Association and the American Trial Lawyers Association. He decided to be a litigator. Wanting to get in front of judges and juries quickly, he joined a boutique litigation practice fresh out of law school and later formed his own firm. In 1994, wanting a larger firm experience, Jim joined the Atlanta firm of Alston & Bird.

The change to Alston & Bird was more than a change of location. With his solid science and engineering background, Jim became an Intellectual Property attorney and one of the first “internet/e-commerce” attorneys. In the 1990s , he worked on some of the first company email usage policies, negotiated website development agreements, and handled a number of lawsuits regarding trademark issues pertaining to domain names. In a number of instances, even though a company had been operating under – and had trademarked – their company name, another company or individual would register their natural domain name for a nominal fee and then demand payment to transfer it to the trademark owner (a practice sometimes called “cybersquatting”). Jim sued and negotiated for the transfer of dozens of domain names, including, and He also did a lot of due diligence for mergers & acquisitions of “dotcom” companies.

In 1999, Jim was asked to join GE as their first e-commerce attorney. Jack Welch had just announced that the “E in GE stands for E-commerce” and Jim thought that it would be a great challenge to participate in the “digital transformation” of the large multinational company. While at GE, he managed the legal and compliance aspects of over 500 “business digitization” projects, and took advantage of GE leadership and quality training courses. In 2003, with privacy issues becoming more prominent, Jim was named “Chief Privacy Leader” for GE, and led GE’s pioneering initiative to implement Binding Corporate Rules for the transfer of personal data from Europe, personally meeting with dozens of European data protection officials. Eventually, though, it became apparent that Jim would have to move his family away from Atlanta to continue with GE, and he began searching for opportunities closer to home.

In 2005, Atlanta’s CheckFree was looking for a Chief Privacy Officer and decided that Jim would be the perfect person for the role. In December 2007, CheckFree was acquired by Fiserv, Inc. and Jim became the Chief Privacy Officer of the combined organization. Among other duties, Jim provides privacy and regulatory compliance guidance for the Fiserv Enterprise Risk and Resilience program. Founded in 1984, Fiserv (NASDAQ: FISV ) is a leading global technology provider serving the financial services industry , with over 500 products and service offerings. Fiserv had 2012 revenue of $4.48 Billion, has over 20,000 employees, and has over 16,000 clients in 106 countries, including relationships with all 100 of the top 100 U.S. banking institutions.

After more than seven years, Jim is still excited about working at Fiserv and feels that the future is bright. “I get to work on the cutting edge of of law, e-commerce and technology,” says Jim, “and that makes it fun to go to work in the morning.” Two of Fiserv’s more recent service offerings illustrate the point. The SpotPay payments service enables financial institutions to offer their small business account holders an anywhere, anytime mobile solution to accept both card and check payments from a smart phone with an attached SpotPay reader. The Popmoney person-to-person payments service, now integrated with the Mobiliti mobile banking and payments platform, enables consumers to make payments from a website, mobile phone, or tablet to people they know or owe using their email address or mobile phone number, so they can send out a quick payment, for example, to pay the babysitter or to reimburse a friend for buying lunch.


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