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Meet Our Professionals

Sarah F. Hutchins

Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Team Leader
Charlotte | 704.335.6639
Fax | 704.334.4706

Sarah Hutchins leads the firm's Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Team and is certified as a legal specialist in privacy and information security law by the North Carolina State Bar.

Sarah helps clients navigate business litigation, government investigations, and data privacy and cybersecurity. She has significant experience representing clients in business disputes, including over noncompetition and non-solicitation agreements, trade secret misappropriation, and unfair and deceptive trade practices. Her deep understanding of the digital aspects of business litigation allows her to assist clients in quickly identifying a digital trail and isolating key material.

Sarah also has extensive experience in large-scale government investigations featuring the U.S. Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), among other regulators. A seasoned litigator, she is admitted to practice before state and federal courts in North Carolina and Virginia, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

Sarah's experience with business litigation and government investigations strengthens her cybersecurity and data privacy practice. She is recognized by the IAPP as a Certified Information Privacy Professional/United States (CIPP/US), which is the gold standard for privacy professionals in America. Sarah counsels multi-national corporations on compliance with federal and state data privacy and security regulations, advises on the cross-border transfer of personal data, coordinates data breach responses with governmental and quasi-governmental entities, and guides clients through the intersection of data privacy and artificial intelligence (AI). Sarah's extensive litigation experience includes federal and state civil lawsuits related to data privacy, security, and information technology.

Within Parker Poe, Sarah serves as a member of the firm's Professional Review Committee and its Security Team.

While at the William & Mary School of Law, she was a member of the Journal of Women and the Law and the William & Mary Moot Court Team.

Representative Experience

Business Litigation

  • Handled disputes in a variety of industries, including financial services, energy, manufacturing, health care, and others.
  • Litigated numerous unfair competition, misappropriation of trade secret, and restrictive covenant disputes with wins at the injunctive stage. 
  • Counseled clients on the digital aspects of business litigation, including quickly tracing a digital trail and isolating key material.
  • Steered a leading global technology company through a series of litigations, arbitrations, disputes, and government investigations stemming from a cybersecurity incident.
  • Successfully defended a complex breach of contract allegation before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Government Investigations

  • Successfully defended a client in a three-week, high-profile political bribery trial. The federal trial involved allegations against a billionaire political donor attempting to bribe North Carolina's insurance commissioner. A jury found the donor, Greg Lindberg, and one of his associates guilty but found our client not guilty.
  • Represented broker-dealers facing regulatory scrutiny from the SEC and FINRA over alleged off-channel communications.
  • Led representation of individual subpoenaed for grand jury testimony with regards to an investigation by a U.S. Attorney and the U.S. State Department.
  • Represented an auto parts manufacturing company in an investigation conducted by the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice that resulted in no enforcement action being taken.
  • Represented an asset management firm and its principals in a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation that resulted in no enforcement action being taken despite criminal sentences levied against alleged co-conspirators.
  • Represented numerous corporate and individual clients investigated by the DOJ and other enforcement agencies for financial and regulatory crimes, including alleged participation in Ponzi schemes.
  • Assisted national conglomerate in an SEC investigation that resulted in no enforcement action being taken.
  • Counseled a hospital during a wide-scale state insurance investigation where no substantive sanctions were levied against the health care facility.
  • Advised corporate and individual clients under investigation by consumer protection agencies, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
  • Defended a client in connection with a merger and acquisition questioned by the FTC, including participating in one of the only post-merger trials prosecuted by the FTC in recent years.
  • Counseled companies on antitrust compliance and guided sales forces on appropriate competitive tactics.

Cybersecurity & Data Privacy

  • Provided legal counsel to clients following large-scale data breaches that prompted government investigations, data breach remediation, and cybersecurity improvements.
    • Represented clients in highly regulated industries, including an education technology vendor in one of the largest breaches impacting K-12 data. 
  • Litigated numerous disputes related to security incidents and information technology infrastructure, including high-stakes contractual disputes.
  • Represented North Carolina state institution in numerous putative class actions arising from alleged data security incident.
  • Defended alleged data broker in sweeping industry-wide litigation claiming violations of state nondisclosure law.
  • Counseled multinational corporations on best practices for cybersecurity and data governance programs.
  • Developed data processing agreements, information security agreements, and data sharing agreements tailored to clients’ specific needs.
  • Designed BYOD and mobile device programs, policies, and terms of use for HIPAA-covered entities.
  • Advised buy-side clients on data privacy and cybersecurity during mergers and acquisitions. 
  • Assisted clients in navigating the landscape of privacy laws applicable to their fields, such as HIPAA, GDPR, CCPA/CPRA, VCDPA, CPA, UCPA, GLBA, COPPA, FERPA, state education privacy laws, and state utility privacy laws.
  • Counseled national and global organizations in numerous sectors, including manufacturing, technology, energy, and beyond, on data privacy, data security, and consumer protection to ensure compliance with federal and state privacy regulations as well as best practices.
  • Negotiated agreements related to data privacy and security.
  • Facilitated the export of data out of various jurisdictions.
  • Advised companies on storage and sharing of customer and consumer information.

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Honors & Awards

  • Certified Information Privacy Professional/United States (CIPP/US)
  • North Carolina Bar Board Certified Specialist in Privacy and Information Security Law
  • The Best Lawyers in America in Criminal Defense: White-Collar, 2019-2024; Commercial Litigation, 2021-2024
  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers in White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations, 2022-2024
  • Benchmark Litigation, Future Star in North Carolina, 2018-2024
  • Parker Poe Community Service Award, 2022
  • North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society, 2021
  • The Mecklenburg Times' 50 Most Influential Women, 2021
  • N.C. Bar Association's Citizen Lawyer Award, 2019
  • Charlotte Business Journal's 40 Under 40, 2018
  • Business North Carolina magazine’s “Legal Elite” in Litigation, 2015; Young Guns, 2016-2017, 2019-2020
  • North Carolina Super Lawyers SuperLawyer 2023-2024; Rising Star, 2014-2022
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ in Antitrust, Commercial Litigation, White Collar Criminal Defense
  • North Carolina Lawyers Weekly "Leaders in the Law," Honoree, 2015
  • Mecklenburg County Bar Young Lawyer of the Year, 2014
  • William & Mary School of Law George Wythe Award for Distinguished Leadership, 2008


  • Mecklenburg Bar Foundation, Board of Directors, 2017-present; President, 2024-present; Secretary, 2022-2023; President-Elect, 2023-2024
  • Blumenthal Performing Arts, Development Committee, 2022-present; Board of Trustees Apprentice, 2016-2017
  • Criminal Justice Act (CJA) Panel of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, 2023-present
  • Humane Society of Charlotte, Board of Directors, 2015-2021; Immediate Past Chair, 2021; Chair, 2018-2020; Vice Chair, 2017
  • McColl Center, Board of Directors, 2015-2021
  • Mecklenburg County Bar, Board of Directors, 2014-2017; Nonprofit and Client Pro Bono Committee, Finance Committee, Bar Centennial Committee, Bar Candidate Interview Committee, Young Lawyers Division Pro Bono Committee
  • Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina, Board of Directors, 2011-2016; Secretary, 2012-2014; External Relations Committee, 2011-2016
  • Arts & Science Council, Leadership Training Program 2014-2015 Class; Young Donor Society
  • Mecklenburg County Bar Leadership Institute, 2012
  • Women’s White Collar Defense Association
  • Chief Justice William H. Bobbitt American Inn of Court, Barrister