Legal mind, tech focus

Jennifer Beckage. Photo: Katie Ambrose.

Whether she’s speaking to current School of Management students or working with clients at her tech-focused law firm, Jennifer Beckage, BS ’99, offers the same advice: Keep moving, keep learning—and never be complacent.

It’s a motto Beckage has embraced over the past 20 years, as she’s focused her career on the fast-moving intersection of technology, data and law.

“Education doesn’t end when you get a diploma,” says Beckage, who earned two—a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the UB School of Management and a JD from the UB School of Law. “Your career’s an evolution, and you should always try to better yourself and challenge yourself by building on things you’ve already learned.”

In 1998, while she was still a management undergrad, Beckage joined EdgeNet and helped it become a top local web design and hosting company. Within two years, as an owner and operations manager, she guided EdgeNet through its successful sale to a publicly traded telecommunications company. Afterward, Beckage stayed on as vice president of operations for the company’s online division, overseeing operations and a team of project managers in 11 states.

“I tried to leverage what I was taught at the School of Management and build upon that foundation to succeed as a tech entrepreneur,” she says. “My education gave me the confidence and knowhow to look at every project and give it a full 360 review to improve the technologies we were building.”

Having led a company through a sale, Beckage was eager to learn more about the legal aspects of business and tech, and decided to go to law school. After completing her JD in 2007, she practiced at two of Buffalo’s largest law firms, becoming a partner and creating one of the region’s first integrated data security and privacy teams inside a firm.

“I’m always driven to find new ways to practice law by leveraging technology,” she says. “I love being in a room of IT directors and CTOs, brainstorming tech solutions to a problem and encouraging them to push the envelope.”

Beckage uses her unique background in law, tech and business to tackle complex litigation and advise clients on such areas as emerging technologies, crisis response and cybersecurity. She was among the first attorneys in the region to earn the Certified Information Privacy Professional/United States (CIPP/US) credential, and last year, Cybersecurity Docket named her one of the top 30 lawyers nationally for data breach response.

In August 2018, she founded her own law firm, Beckage PLLC, where she and her partners—including three other UB alumni—help clients grow their businesses by minimizing risks and maximizing opportunities associated with cybersecurity, information technology and privacy law. The firm has already gained national recognition for its work on regulatory compliance and privacy and breach litigation, and Beckage continues to grow her reputation as a leader in the space through frequent speaking engagements.

“I absolutely love what I do, and I’ve been blessed—both now and early in my career—to work at a time when technology is changing rapidly,” Beckage says. “With blockchain, AI and predictive coding, I’m excited to be a part of it and grateful to be with people on my team who are just as excited as I am.”

At their firm, Beckage and her team have made it a priority to support organizations that encourage girls and young women to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), including WNY STEM Hub and the upcoming Girl Tech Day at the School of Management.

Meanwhile, outside the office, she’s been a passionate volunteer with Make-A-Wish Western New York for the past 15 years, helping to grant wishes for children with critical illnesses.

Written by Matthew Biddle