Christopher Wolf

Senior Counsel Emeritus
Washington, D.C.

Practice in a dynamic area of law

High-quality opportunities

I’ve always been drawn to areas of law that are new and developing. Early on, I saw the enormous potential the Internet had for education, communication, entertainment, and the betterment of society. But for the Internet to evolve, there has to be a level of trust. Privacy issues are rapidly evolving and for the individual they can be challenging.  

There is a sea of change right now. We’re moving toward more stringent regulations regarding the collection and use of information. Through my involvement with the Future of Privacy Forum, I’ve had the opportunity to input into the public policy discussions on these matters.

Professional expertise

I’m a fourth-generation Washingtonian, and I’ve been practicing law for nearly 40 years. I’m also deeply involved in an array of pro bono activities. As well as being a national leader for the Anti-Defamation League, I chair an international Task Force on Internet Hate Speech, and I’m the founder of the Future of Privacy Forum, a think tank devoted to emerging privacy issues. 

In a pivotal 1998 case, my pro bono work gave me the opportunity to correct an injustice and take the government to task for violating a law. I was representing a Navy Officer in the precedent-setting McVeigh v. Cohen – the first successful case to tackle the U.S. military's ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell’ rule regarding gays in the military. The U.S. Navy alleged that my client, who had served honorably for 17 years, had publicly declared his homosexuality on his personal AOL account. But the federal court held that the government violated the Electronics Communication Privacy Act by improperly accessing the contents of my client’s AOL account, and that it had also violated its own ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell’ policy. 

Deep relationships

The firm has incredibly smart people, with humility and a true sense of collegiality. The ethos here is one of sharing and collaboration. We all win if the firm wins. In March of 2010, I was married to my partner of 12 years when same sex marriages were legalized in the nation's capital. I received enthusiastic calls of congratulations from my colleagues around the firm, which in my opinion is an example of the caring and consideration that characterizes Hogan Lovells. We are a huge law firm, but one with a soul.