Phyllis H. Marcus

With experience from the FTC, Phyllis has a unique combination of experience in advertising enforcement and privacy law.

Phyllis is a partner in the firm’s Competition and Consumer Protection group, where her practice focuses on advertising, marketing and consumer protection issues. She also counsels clients on compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule and managing related enforcement actions. In addition, she advises clients on cutting-edge privacy issues relating to mobile commerce and mobile applications. Phyllis joined the firm from the Federal Trade Commission, where she held numerous leadership positions during her longstanding tenure, handling both advertising and marketing issues, and privacy matters (with a focus on children’s privacy).

Phyllis is also a regular contributor to the firm’s Retail Industry Blog, commenting on topics related to Consumer Protection.

Phyllis has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and NPR Marketplace. She is frequently sought after to speak on consumer protection issues, such as protecting children online, the COPPA Rule and other FTC advertising initiatives and enforcement actions.

Phyllis was a law clerk to Judge John C. Eldridge of the Maryland Court of Appeals.

Relevant Experience

Advertising and Consumer Protection Experience

Most recently, Phyllis served as the Chief of Staff of the Bureau of Consumer Protection’s Division of Advertising Practices. In that role, she oversaw the FTC’s advertising workload, handled congressional matters, wrote high profile speeches and testimony regarding FTC advertising initiatives, and led several FTC investigations involving deceptive health claims, endorsements and disclosures.

While in the Division of Advertising Practices, Phyllis also served as a member of the alcohol advertising team, advising industry members on application of and adherence to self-regulatory guidelines. Prior to joining the Division of Advertising Practices, Phyllis served as Counselor to the Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection from late 2001 through early 2006, and as a staff attorney in the Division of Enforcement from 1998 through 2001.

Privacy Experience

From 2006 to 2013, Phyllis led the FTC’s children’s online privacy program. In this capacity, Phyllis was responsible for bringing a host of civil penalty actions enforcing the COPPA Rule, including the first $1 million COPPA civil penalty and a subsequent record-setting $3 million penalty. She regularly advised industry members on the scope and implementation of COPPA, and briefed congressional staff and representatives of foreign consumer protection and privacy bodies on US children’s privacy initiatives. Phyllis led the 2010-2012 team responsible for overhauling the COPPA Rule, and has a keen understanding of the complexities of the revised regulations.


  • Co-Chair, Privacy and Information Security Committee, ABA Section of Antitrust Law (2018-2019)
  • Vice Chair, ABA Section of Antitrust Law’s Privacy and Information Security Committee, 2016-2018
  • Member, Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent’s Cybercivility Task Force, 2014

Awards & Recognition

  • Recognized as a Recommended Lawyer by The Legal 500 United States in Cyber Law and Data Protection and Privacy, 2016 and 2018
  • Official Commendation for Distinguished Service, awarded by the Chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission, October 2015
  • Bureau Director’s Award for outstanding contributions to Bureau efficiency and unity, 2014
  • Bureau Director’s Award for outstanding contributions to children’s privacy, 2010