Snapchat turns to Hogan Lovells for first GC hire

Image sharing app Snapchat has turned to Hogan Lovells for the appointment of its first general counsel.

Washington DC-based partner Christopher Handman is understood to have joined the image-sharing service yesterday (1 May), the same day that the app introduced a text and video call feature.

The decision to bring in a general counsel comes months after personal data from millions of Snapchat users had been hacked and posted online.

Christopher Soghoian, a former privacy advisor to the Federal Trade Commission, told a Bloomberg reporter at the time that Snapchat “better lawyer up” because there could be a number of class action lawsuits in the pipeline. 

It is not clear if Handman, regarded as one of America’s top appellate practitioners, is bringing anyone over to Snapchat with him. He joined legacy Hogan & Hartson as an associate in 2000 and was made partner in 2005.

While the fast-growing mobile app is not understood to have an internal legal team, it has been known to use Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan and Cooley for external legal advice in the past.

Founded in 2011, Snapchat allows users to send photos and videos that disappear a few seconds later. One of its co-founders, 23-year old Evan Spiegel, is the son of two lawyers. His dad, Munger Tolles & Olson partner John Spiegel, represented Warner Bros in litigation with actor Charlie Sheen following his termination from TV show Two and a Half Men.

Hogan Lovells confirmed Handman’s exit but did not provide further comment.