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United Kingdom > London > TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Data protection > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



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  1. Data protection
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Bird & Bird LLP’s ‘very strong team of genuine experts’ is headed by the ‘very pragmatic and user-friendly’ Ruth Boardman, and was strengthened by the arrival of James Mullock, who joined from Osborne Clarke in October 2015. Highlights included advising techUK on the impact of the General Data Protection Regulation for European technology companies. Adobe and EE are also clients

In addition to assisting high-profile clients with issues arising from data breaches, Bristows LLP also handles compliance issues relating to new technologies for LG Electronics, and is advising Google on its response to the European Court’s invalidation of the Safe Harbor privacy principles. ‘SuperstarMark Watts heads the team, which includes senior counsel Christopher Millard and associate Hannah Crowther.

Covington & Burling LLP’s ‘outstanding’ team is led by the ‘authoritative, experienced and thoroughDaniel Cooper. Together with special counsel Mark Young, the US and UK-qualified Cooper advised Abbott Laboratories on the privacy aspects of its demerger, and assisted GlaxoSmithKline with the implementation of binding corporate rules (BCRs).

Dentons has a ‘great team’ headed by Nick Graham, who has ‘a calm manner, good listening skills and an extensive knowledge of data law’, and which includes Scott Singer (who is noted for his ‘focus on practical solutions’) and the ‘very commercialMartin Fanning. The team secured approval for First Data’s BCRs and advised Daily Mail and General Trust on a data governance project.

Fieldfisher’s practice handles data breaches, multi-jurisdictional compliance projects and Big Data analysis for clients including eBay, Kellogg’s, Expedia and Netflix. Key figures include ‘incredibly knowledgeable and approachable’ practice head Hazel Grant and Antonis Patrikios.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s practice is led by ‘absolute starEduardo Ustaran, whose track record includes assisting several clients with BCR applications, advising HSBC on the development of its data disclosure policy, and acted for the Government of Bermuda on the drafting and adoption of data protection legislation. Other clients include EY and Verizon. Mark Taylor moved to Osborne Clarke in August 2015.

The ‘extremely responsive, commercial and pragmatic’ team at Hunton & Williams provides ‘fantastic service’ to clients including UPS, Google, MasterCard and Garmin. Practice head Bridget Treacy is ‘a pleasure to work with’ and senior consultant Rosemary Jay is ‘extremely skilled’.

Allen & Overy LLP delivers ‘very good response times and excellent business acumen’. ‘Expert’ practice head Jane Finlayson-Brown advised Morrisons on an incident that involved the unauthorised publication of employee personal data. Nigel Parker’s clients include Four Seasons Hotels. The team also acts for News UK, GlaxoSmithKline and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. David Smith, former deputy commissioner at the Information Commissioner’s Office, joined in January 2016.

Harry Small’s ‘personable and professional’ technology group at Baker McKenzie LLP recruited barrister Dyann Heward-Mills from GE Capital in October 2015 to head the data protection and cyber security practice. Heward-Mills advises clients including Google, Netflix, Unilever and Pinterest on breaches, data transfers and the launch of new technology, among other matters.

Key data protection lawyers at Linklaters LLP include global head of TMT and IP Richard Cumbley and Julian Cunningham-Day. The firm’s track record includes work for the Ministry of Defence, British Gas and Visa Europe.

PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal LLP’s ‘formidable’ team is led by the ‘outstandingStewart Room, who ‘can provide real insight into the mind of the regulator’. Highlights included managing breaches for a number of major clients, assisting a pharmaceutical company with a global compliance project, and conducting a privacy impact assessment of connected cars for a manufacturer.

Taylor Wessing LLP’s ‘excellent’ practice attracts praise for its ‘incredibly prompt response times, first-rate knowledge and very good teamwork’. Practice head Vinod Bange and senior adviser Sally Annereau advised Verisign on the legal aspects of its data export solutions and cyber-threat analysis products. Other clients include PayPal, Hasbro, KPMG and Morgan Stanley.

CMS acts for BT, Fiat and Lloyds Banking Group. Emma Burnett heads the practice and advises clients on multi-jurisdictional privacy projects and BCRs. John Armstrong and Ian Stevens are also recommended.

The ‘fantastic’ team at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is noted for its ‘combination of data privacy expertise with a practical sensibility’. Practice head Robert Bond is advising Actavis (now Allergan) on data protection issues arising from its acquisitions. Other clients include Cray Super Computers, Canopius and Nike.

Key figures at Cooley (UK) LLP include Ann Bevitt, who advised Warner Music International on various data protection issues, and Mark Deem, who assisted JPW Enterprises with a dispute concerning the aggregation of data for onward sale to British Gas. Sarah Pearce is also recommended. Other clients include Citibank and Nikon Europe.

Andrew Dyson leads the practice at DLA Piper, which was strengthened by the arrival of Ross McKean from Olswang LLP in May 2016. Dyson advised the London Stock Exchange Group on the adoption of consistent privacy policies across the group, and assisted Reckitt Benckiser with its digital programme. Other clients include Asda, Aviva and the Boston Consulting Group.

Eversheds LLP has ‘a highly experienced, professional, and well-run team’ led by Paula Barrett and which includes ‘excellent’ legal director Liz Fitzsimons, who undertook a data handling audit for The British Library. Other clients include Honda, Starbucks, Novartis and Transport for London.

Kemp Little LLP provides ‘fantastic response times and advice that is immediately applicable to the relevant commercial context’. Nicola Fulford’s team has a breadth of expertise covering wearable tech, the data aspects of cloud computing, breaches and the application of new policies. Clients include Morgan Stanley, Reckitt Benckiser and

The team at Latham & Watkins is led by Gail Crawford and was strengthened by the arrival of counsel Ulrich Wuermeling, who relocated from Frankfurt in January 2016. Crawford advised IAC Applications on the creation of a privacy policy for its online products. Other clients include Addison Lee, Deutsche Bank, EY and MGM.

Lewis Silkin LLP’s data privacy practice is led by Simon Morrissey, who advised Kellogg’s on its international data transfer arrangements, and assisted All Response Media with the creation of a new software platform. Other clients include Equity, Lutron and the Drinkaware Trust.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s ‘knowledgeable, insightful, pragmatic and commercial’ practice is headed by the ‘exceptionalMarcus Evans and acts for clients including Pfizer, BMW and Deliveroo. The team provides a breach response service through AIG’s CyberEdge insurance product.

Olswang LLP is noted for its ‘strong advisory practice and extensive litigation experience’. Ashley Hurst advises a variety of clients on issues such as General Data Protection Regulation preparedness, the invalidation of Safe Harbor and breach mitigation. Dan Tench continues to represent Judith Vidal-Hall and others in a privacy case against Google. Other clients include Groupon, marketing consultant dunnhumby and Adbrain. Ross McKean moved to DLA Piper in May 2016.

Clients of Osborne Clarke include Airbnb, Dyson, EE and Facebook. Bristol-based practice head Emily Jones advises clients on a broad range of data protection issues, including the launch of new technologies. Mark Taylor joined from Hogan Lovells International LLP in August 2015 and James Mullock moved to Bird & Bird LLP in October that year.

Paul Hastings LLP recruited the ‘client-focused and insightful’ Ashley Winton from White & Case LLP in December 2014, and has since handled significant cyber attacks and advised on data protection issues for a broad range of clients. Highlights included advising Subway on updating its online privacy terms and assisting American Express with the implementation of BCRs.

Marc Dautlich leads Pinsent Masons LLP’s practice, which provides ‘relevant, pragmatic advice’ to clients including Google, Facebook, TSB Bank and Balfour Beatty. Its expertise spans breach mitigation and handling contentious data protection matters. David Barker and Cerys Wyn Davies are also recommended.

Reed Smith LLP has a ‘particularly strong’ team led by Cynthia O’Donoghue and which includes newly promoted partner Kate Brimsted, who is noted for her ‘deep understanding of clients’ needs, and is an absolute pleasure to work with’. Clients include Abbott Laboratories, Condé Nast, and Koch Industries.

Sidley Austin LLP’s lawyers are ‘extremely competent, professional, commercially focused and responsive’. Practice head William Long is ‘a very able lawyer who provides high-quality, practical advice’. His team advises on privacy aspects across a broad range of transactions, and assists clients with BCR applications and data transfer agreements. Senior associate Geraldine Scali is ‘very well-informed’.

Arnold & Porter (UK) LLP acts for Tesla Motors, Adobe Systems, ITV and Urban Outfitters. Richard Dickinson is recommended.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP acts for Balfour Beatty, National Grid, Thames Water, Lonely Planet and Tesco. Disputes and regulatory expert Ian De Freitas heads the data team and Tamara Quinn leads on non-contentious data and privacy matters.

At Bond Dickinson LLP, Andrew Kimble’s ‘very attentive and sensible’ team acts for Kingfisher, the Post Office, Network Rail and TSB Bank. The Freedom of Information Act is a particular area of expertise.

Lawyers at DAC Beachcroft LLPwork hard to ensure that clients receive the service they expect’. Practice head Rhiannon Webster ‘cuts through issues in simple terms and prepares written advice beautifully’. Its workload covers data breaches and subject access requests and litigation. Clients include NHS England and AIG.

DWF’s ‘efficient’ practice was joined by the ‘very thoughtful and tactically astute’ John Benjamin from White & Case LLP in October 2015 and the ‘remarkably experiencedElaine Fletcher, formerly senior privacy manager at Asda, to the Leeds office in April that year. In August 2015, Robert Machin joined dunnhumby and Rob Sheldon moved to Fieldfisher’s Manchester office.

Avril Martindale leads the IP and IT department at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, which includes Justin Watts, Giles Pratt and Richard Lister. The team’s high-profile clients include Novartis, Deutsche Bank and the charity Women’s Aid.

The ‘fantasticHarbottle & Lewis LLPalways provides spot-on advice’. ‘Immensely knowledgeable’ practice head Daniel Tozer acts for Virgin Red, Civitas Learning and Crowd Emotion.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s team is noted for its ‘strong understanding of the issues faced by clients’. The key contact is Nick Pantlin, who advised Martin Brower on restrictions on the transfer of personal data following the European Commission’s invalidation of the safe harbour agreement with the US, and assisted ElectraLink with its participation in a smart metering programme. Amanda Hale moved to Ashurst in March 2016.

Macfarlanes LLPconsistently provides top-quality advice’. Highlights included defending eight construction companies in group litigation involving a breach of the Data Protection Act. Other clients include Visa, Deluxe Media Group and Schroders. Practice head Rupert Casey is ‘a brilliant data protection lawyer’.

Nabarro LLP’s ‘very helpful’ team is led by Guy Heath and includes barrister and consultant Ashley Roughton. Clients include Qatar Airways, Costco, EY and Investec Bank.

Lawyers at the ‘excellentOrrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP are ‘knowledgeable and able to think flexibly’. Practice head Kolvin Stone ‘provides sensible, balanced advice’. Of counsel James Drury-Smith* is ‘an excellent privacy lawyer’. Clients include EY, Lucozade Ribena Suntory, Secret Escapes and Telenor. *James Drury-Smith joined PwC in June 2016.

Pritchetts Law has a ‘reliable and expert practice’ led by the ‘immensely experienced and very friendly’ Stephanie Pritchett, whose highlights included advising DFS Furniture on a data protection audit and assisting Unison with regulatory compliance.

Ropes & Gray LLP recruited Rohan Massey from McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP in August 2015. He advises major international clients on privacy policies, breaches and BCRs.

Sheridans’ practice is led by the ‘very knowledgeable’ Philip James and includes Eitan Jankelewitz, who has advised on drafting codes of practice for Sport England and the Internet Advertising Bureau.

Alexander Brown heads Simmons & Simmons’ ‘very professional and experienced team’, which advises Moody’s, Huawei, Telefónica UK and Virgin Media.

Stephenson Harwoodoffers a great service’ to clients such as Barclays and Threadneedle Asset Management Holdings, which it advised on intra-group transfer agreements. ‘Superstar’ practice head Jonathan Kirsop is ‘responsive, practical, polite and dedicated’.

Travers Smith LLPprovides clear advice and pragmatic solutions’ to clients such as Trainline, LK Bennett, Nature Delivered and Prudential. The team handles breaches, audits and compliance and outsourcing contracts. Practice head Dan Reavill is ‘excellent’.

At Wedlake Bell LLP, practice head James Castro-Edwards advises a broad range of clients on compliance projects and Jonathan Cornthwaite’s work includes drafting data protection policies.

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