When in grade school, David Rifkind sat in a Miami courtroom watching his uncle try a case.
“There’s a lot of buzz going on in the courtroom, and this guy walks in, and the whole room just went dead silent,” he recounts. “Everyone stared at him as he walked to the opposing counsel table and deliberately put down his ancient, leather briefcase, opened it up, and pulled out some papers. And the room immediately went dead silent.”
The old, weathered lawyer slowly lifted his head, surveyed the room, and then broke the silence with, “Your honor, F. Lee Bailey for the plaintiff.”
It’s a moment he never forgot—even though the legendary attorney wound up losing that case. What struck him at an early age was just how Bailey completely commanded and controlled the room—and Rifkind knew he wanted to be like that someday. “I always drove to be a lawyer, and that took me from college to law school to clerking to a judge to working at a law firm,” he says.
His early career journey in big firms gave him many different opportunities—as a white-collar criminal defense lawyer, a hostile-takeover lawyer, a prosecutor at the Delaware Attorney General’s office, and more. Rifkind knew he wanted to be in the courtroom and work with the businesspeople, earning their respect.
“But working at a big law firm was miserable, because striking my life into six-minute increments was painful, and I was not very good at keeping track of time,” he admits. “I was good at working with clients and motivating and managing other lawyers and staff to successful outcomes. So, early on, I looked for opportunities in-house.”
That opportunity came while defending a big client, Exide, against significant civil and criminal allegations. “We got a great result, and I thought, I can do this from the inside just as effectively,” Rifkind says. That led him to major roles at General Electric, Brenntag, Thermo Fisher, and Avantor.
In March 2022, Rifkind joined Caidya as its chief legal officer. CEO Lingshi Tan challenged him to build a world-class legal team to support Tan’s vision and mission of impacting people’s lives directly on a global scale as a best-in-class clinical research organization.
“One of the reasons I came to Caidya was [the opportunity] to take all of the tools I have developed and skills I learned about dealing with the government [and] regulations, and [work] as the trusted business advisor to really help implement a number of important programs to propel Caidya to the next level,” he notes.
One of Caidya’s most vital projects is its world-class data privacy and data security programs. Relying on his past experiences, Rifkind takes a proactive approach to global data privacy and data protection compliance that not only creates value for organization, but its clients, as well.
“Every company has a basic program, so when I joined Caidya, we had a base program in place sufficient to meet the regulations,” he explains. “What we did not have at the time, but designed with executive leadership, is a self-perpetuating system that drives privacy into the DNA of all of our employees.”
To accomplish this, the chief legal officer first established a data privacy team comprising inside legal, the chief information security officers, IT personnel, and Todd Mayover at Privacy Aviator LLC, an outside data privacy and data protection consultant.
The program emphasizes privacy-by-design and privacy-by-default concepts to generate value for clients by minimizing exposure to data privacy and data protection regulations. It also ensures compliance mechanisms are in place to address ever-evolving global data privacy and data protection obligations placed upon the company and its clients sponsoring global clinical trials.
Having a team well-versed in global data transfers allows Caidya to minimize exposure to data transfer risks for its customers, while maximizing efficiencies and compliance with data transfer obligations under data privacy and data protection regulations.
Rifkind adds that Caidya’s data privacy team oversees the company’s compliance efforts and supports business objectives. Positioning data privacy and data protection as key business drivers allows the organization to offer customers proactive services to address concerns and obligations—instead of shifting the risks back to the customers. These efforts apply across all of Caidya’s services, including data management, pharmacovigilance, data analytics, and clinical trial services.
“The privacy team actively monitors and responds quickly to ever changing privacy obligations,” he says. “For example, utilizing the similarities between the European Union’s GDPR [General Data Protection Regulation] and China’s PIPL [Personal Information Protection Law] to establish appropriate work instructions to address the highest standards of data privacy and data protection globally.”
Many clients regularly seek help with pressing data privacy concerns. Caidya’s team employs data privacy and data protection solutions individualized for each customers’ unique needs, including the use of secure systems, such as Medidata Rave.
“By investing in data privacy and data protection today, Caidya ensures its customers will not be blindsided by insufficient compliance or mishandling of data privacy and data security obligations,” Rifkind says. “At the same time, we maximize the positive business potential of effective data privacy and data protection compliance measures to benefit both Caidya and its customers.”
Medidata, a Dassault Systèmes company, is leading the digital transformation of life sciences, creating hope for millions of patients. Medidata helps generate the evidence and insights to help pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device and diagnostics companies, and academic researchers accelerate value, 2,000-plus customers and partners access the world’s most trusted platform for clinical development, commercial, and real-world data.