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United Kingdom > South West > TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > IT and telecoms > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

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  1. IT and telecoms
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Who Represents Who

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Burges Salmon LLP β€˜always responds promptly to client’s requests’. Its β€˜extremely impressive’ practice regularly handles large scale outsourcing transactions and technology services contracts. Clients include the John Lewis Partnership, Thomson Reuters, Teradata Corporation and AppDynamics. Andrew Dunlop is β€˜always available and able to think creatively’. In 2016 he advised Welsh Water on its procurement of IT infrastructure services and assisted health insurance company The Exeter with the design and implementation of a new software platform provided by TCP LifeSystems. Matthew Ramus, Keith Beattie and Helen Scott-Lawler are the key contacts for outsourcing mandates; Brioney Thomas and Simon Coppen have particular expertise in advising clients in the transport sector; while William Gard and Jeremy Dickerson focus on contentious IT matters. Associate Lucy Pegler has β€˜a very approachable manner’, β€˜good commercial awareness’ and β€˜an ability to handle issues pragmatically while ensuring her client’s interests remain protected’.

Osborne Clarke lost leading individual James Mullock to Bird & Bird LLP in 2015, but reinforced through the hire of Will Robertson, who joined from Bond Dickinson LLP in May 2016. According to a client, the level of service is β€˜superb’ and the advice is β€˜always pragmatic and quick’. The team β€˜keeps an eye on the commercial background’ and displays β€˜very in-depth knowledge of the client’s business and related legal issues’. It advises an impressive list of IT and telecoms companies on commercial transactions and contentious IT and cyber security matters. Highlights included advising Micro Focus on international software licenses and IP implementation agreements, assisting an electronic manufacturer on a breach of IT security systems dispute and advising a retail sector client on the termination of its existing IT outsourcing contract as well as the negotiation of a new contract across Europe. Robertson focuses on IT outsourcing and procurement of new technologies, acting for a large number of retailers; he also has particular expertise in cross-border data transfers and compliance issues as well as the monetisation of data assets. Charlie Wedin has β€˜huge amounts of litigation and mediation experience’, and is β€˜exceptionally responsive, providing spot-on, pragmatic advice’. Mark Wesker, Simon Spooner and Peter Clough are also key contacts. Emily Jones relocated to the firm’s Silicon Valley office in September 2016.

Clients find Ashfords LLP’s communications to be β€˜clear as well as precise’ and advice to be β€˜in plain English with every attempt to be practical and helpful’. Bristol-based Chris Dyson heads the five-strong team, which also includes utilities sector smart metering technology expert Garry Mackay, who is β€˜thoroughly professional with superb knowledge and experience in the IT arena’. Exeter-based firm chairman Mark Lomas is β€˜a friendly voice, wise council and great strategist’; he specialises in IT contracts as well as technology licensing and distribution. The team strengthened through the hire of highly regarded commercial practitioner Andy Braithwaite from Thrings LLP in April 2017. It recently advised Internal Results on the licensing and data protection aspects of its sale to Madison Logic, acted for Brightpearl and investors on inward investment from investment funds and venture debt from Silicon Valley Bank and Columbia Lake Partners, and is advising a technology company on its global distribution of a software product. The Land Registry, Bath & North East Somerset Council, the Post Office and Notion Capital are also clients. Associates Suzie Miles and Chris Coughlan are β€˜names to watch’.

Bond Dickinson LLP attracts praise for its ability to β€˜turn around urgent projects quickly’. It acts for clients from a wide range of industries, and particular excels in the financial services, insurance, retail, telecoms and public sectors, with TSB Bank, Highways Agency and Chartered Institute of Management Accountants key clients. Recent highlights include advising the Post Office on a systems integration procurement process, which involved dealing with issues related to Post Office card accounts provided and acting for the Ministry of Justice on the procurement of multiple service providers for court reporting and transcription services, also assisting it, in a separate transaction, with the procurement of interpretation and translation services from multiple suppliers. Practice head Alastair Mitton is recommended for his β€˜technical expertise, regulatory understanding and attention to detail’. Gareth Jones specialises in large scale technology implementations, licencing, outsourcing and development projects. Associate Georgie Morgan-Giles is recommended.

Foot Anstey significantly enhanced its practice in 2016 by hiring Mark Rhys-Jones from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP and senior associate Alexandra Leonidou from Warner Bros. Entertainment. Rhys-Jones is strongly recommended for technology and IT disputes, while Leonidou has notable experience in data protection and data-related marketing issues. The technology team, led by Martin Cuell, acts for a range of digital innovation, technology, energy and media companies as well as software developers, licensors and customers, working on complex software and hardware procurements, software licensing and cloud-based cyber services. Cuell and Ed Bodey acted for Connect Group in its contract negotiations with Daisy Group for the provision of hosting and fixed network services to multiple sites across the Smiths estates, and advised Egress Software Technologies on its contracts with a major banking group and a national infrastructure company. Jonathan Oddy is advising The Royal Shakespeare Company on General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance in the context of its strategy to monetise its customer database and assisted a large newspaper, magazine and digital publisher with data protection strategy and compliance issues. Leonidou and Cuell advised comic book publisher Time Inc. UK on data protection-related direct marketing issues. British Solar Renewables, SVGC Technology and the University of West of England are new client wins.

Showcasing its ability to handle projects on a national scale, Michelmores LLP advised the Metropolitan Police Service on the procurement of a national framework for the delivery of IT solutions. Other standout transactions include acting for Flybe in its contractual negations with customer relationship management solutions provider Boxever and acting for an e-commerce software company on the launch of various mobile technology products, which included handling associated e-commerce compliance issues. Team head Tom Torkar, who splits his time between London and Exeter, advises has expertise in the IT, media, big data, e-commerce and financial services sectors. Commercial litigator Tim Richards handles a wide range in commercial disputes, and is supported by Sara Chisholm-Batten and senior associate Jayne Clemens, while David Thompson acts for a number of high-profile businesses from the food and drink sector, handling commercial and IP matters. Key clients also include the British Transport Police, The Met Office and Pay4Later.

TLT is singled out for its β€˜very high standard of service and cost effective commercial legal advice’, displaying β€˜particular knowledge of and experience in the retail sector’. Demonstrating this, it handled, for C. & J. Clark, the procurement from Accenture of a global e-commerce platform and related services to support its global retail operations. Practice head James Touzel has an established reputation for handling large procurements and outsourcings for national and international clients, covering IT and telecoms systems as well as cloud and managed services. He is a key adviser to Merlin Entertainments, helping it implement a series of IT programmes including the SaaS global asset management system, a global ticketing platform and its Oracle SaaS solutions service. Other highlights include advising Sainsbury’s on the procurement of enterprise cloud platforms, acting for WHSmith on both the renegotiation of its agreements with BT for in-store telecoms networks as well as the renegotiation of agreements with Aptos on the delivery of a global point of sale platform, and assisting The Co-operative Group on a range of IT and telecoms transformation programmes. Other names to note include Perran Jervis, who is β€˜a strong heavyweight commercial lawyer’, Chris Owen, who is β€˜an excellent litigator’ and Dan Read, who is β€˜extremely good and highly capable of handling big IT projects’.

BPE Solicitors LLP’s team is led by Iain Garfield, who advises on cross-border matters and data protection. Recent instructions include advising PCA Predict on licensing software and third party data to HSBC Global Services, and acting for an online and catalogue retailer on data protection issues following its recent technology investment by outsourcing payment card industry-compliant telephony services to a telephony service provider. Other clients include Mears Group, Coeus Software and Optimising IT.

Pritchetts Law, a highly recommended specialist firm with β€˜extensive and in-depth data protection and privacy expertise’, receives praises for its β€˜technically strong, high quality and value for money service’. Data protection expert Stephanie Pritchett has a strong reputation nationally: she β€˜takes a very pragmatic risk-based approach in the advice that she gives’ and is β€˜very thorough in her planning of projects’. Ben Wootton focuses on commercial contracts, including outsourcing, software licensing, data-processing arrangements, data protection impact assessments and compliant cross-border transfer of data. He β€˜couples his knowledge of data protection with a strong feel for the commercial realities that companies face’, which makes his advice β€˜far more valuable’. Highlights include assisting Unison with the compliant use of personal data and the impact of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and assisting new client The 7th Chamber, an influencer online media and marketing firm that creates content and activates social distribution marketing, on a series of data-related matters. Its impressive client roster also features Thomason Reuters, Marketforce Business Media, Ceuta Healthcare and NatCen Social Research.

Roxburgh Milkins LLP’s client roster features start-ups and established technology companies, which it advises on software, hardware and financial technology matters including cross-border licensing, M&A and data protection. IP specialist Ian Grimley is praised for his β€˜pragmatic and helpful advice’, and is supported by Carl Spencer, who has particular expertise in e-commerce and consumer law. Recent highlights include acting for a data analysis company in its negotiations with a national charity and assisting software company Zegami with licensing issues as well as advising it on customer contract negotiations.

At Royds Withy King, practice head Jessica Bent acts for engineering, technology and IT companies on technology contracts and non-contentious matters. Bent’s team also includes John North, associate James Worrall and Philip Banks-Welsh, who handles contentious IT issues. It recently acted for an agribusiness software solution company on its software licensing and support contracts, assisted an academy with data protection issues regarding parents’ and children’s personal data, and represented an unmanned aerial vehicle operating company on the protection of its IT assets against infringement. Another highlight saw the team advising an online academic content publisher on its licensing agreements with academic organisations in multiple jurisdictions.

Clarke Willmott LLP β€˜demonstrates deep knowledge and experience, always responding swiftly to any queries’. It is highly capable of advising on β€˜very complicated areas of telecoms law in clear, plain language which can be easily disseminated’. The team uniquely acts for landowner clients against mast and telecoms operators, and has particular expertise in data protection and data security issues. In 2016, it handled a number of highly sensitive matters to obtain vacant possessions of telecommunications sites to enable development. Clients include Aster Group, Pinnacle Towers, Informed Solutions, Onecom and The Guinness Partnership. The β€˜excellent’ Kary Withers is the key contact.

Steer & Co is β€˜very responsive and flexible’, willing to β€˜go the extra mile when needed’. β€˜Not only is it legally very strong’, but it also has β€˜a strong understanding of the business-side of what clients do and so manages to craft agreements that help grow and flourish as a business’. The firm has notable experience in the semiconductor, emerging technologies, hardware and software sectors. It recently advised new client Platfora on its SaaS licence to Barclays Bank, and continues to assist XMOS with a series of software and hardware development matters relating to its voice and audio products. Rebecca Steer’s advice is β€˜always excellent and well thought through’. Senior associate Mailin Bala joined from Shoosmiths LLP in April 2016.

Stephens Scown LLP’s recent instructions include assisting a white label cloud services support provider with its IT system acquisition as well as data transfer compliance issues, also advising software developer Unity Five on software licensing agreements with international clients. Practice head Ben Travers is β€˜an excellent, solutions-driven lawyer’, and is particularly experienced in advising on issues relating to launching online platforms and data security matters. Tom Moore is β€˜patient, efficient, responsive and very helpful’.

Thrings LLP predominantly advises mid-sized technology suppliers and users, and has particular experience of advising owner-managed businesses including Safelink Data Rooms, TrueSpeed Communications and Winscribe. Recent instructions include assisting FF Group with establishing its new e-commerce platform with Demandware, a US-based supplier, and advising Altus, a fintech products and IT consultancy, on master services agreements with a number of large financial institutions. Key names to note in the team include Alastair Govier, who handles technology disputes, and associate Brett Lambe. Andy Braithwaite left for Ashfords LLP in April 2017.

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