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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > West Midlands > TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > IT and telecoms > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



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The ‘extremely astute, very commercial and hardworking’ Sally Mewies heads Gowling WLG’s IT and telecoms practice in Birmingham and ‘runs a very tight ship’. She is supported by commercial litigation partner Patrick Charles Arben and Sarah Sasse, who specialises in public-sector IT work, including integration and service outsourcing agreements. Recent highlights included advising a major high-street retailer on the regulatory landscape and commercial aspects of the client’s plan to offer deferred interest-free payment terms to customers purchasing products online; and assisted the University of Leeds with procurement matters. Sasse and director Richard Smith acted on that deal, while Mewies assisted a corporate consultancy client with regards to a cloud agreement with a leading healthcare provider, which involved complex issues of security and data protection. Other key names include dispute resolution specialist Helen Davenport, who specialises in representing technology purchasers and suppliers in conflicts arising from contracts for the design, build and implementation of IT systems and services. Peter Hall recently retired from the practice and director Kirsten Whitfield joined Fieldfisher in London. Other clients include M&S, Capgemini and Hiscox.

Shoosmiths LLP’s IT and telecoms practice in Birmingham is led by David Jackson, whose expertise covers complex outsourcing arrangements, with particular emphasis on the telecoms and leisure and tourism sectors. Other key figures include Craig Armstrong, who specialises in technology-centred outsourcing and procurements and is particularly active in the retail and financial services sectors; and Andrew Brennan, whose clients range from entrepreneurial businesses to large-scale corporations. Recent work includes advising a global software provider on options available for software financing and liability in the ICT sector, and assisting O2 with the rollout of wi-fi communication services as part of a tri-partite consortium delivering unified services to a public-sector body. Jackson led a team including senior associate Joe Stephenson and Priti Bansel-Branch advising Wifinity on the negotiation of its contract with Bourne Leisure Holdings, while Nichola Jenkins acted alongside Armstrong on a system integration matter on behalf of BAT. Senior associate Simon McArdle was part of the team assisting a major telecoms provider with its IT and core network transformation. Other clients include Volkswagen, Weetabix and PSA Group.

Technology Law Alliance is a niche technology firm specialising in IT and outsourcing work, with offices in London and Birmingham. Jagvinder Kang and Stephen Ollerenshaw are the key figures in the Birmingham office, which acts for new clients Webroot and Peugeot Citroen, who instructed the firm to advise on cloud computing arrangements and a series of IT and technology-related contracts respectively. Kang’s recent highlights include acting for Weetabix on technology procurement agreements with several leading providers, and advising a client in the petrochemical sector with the negotiation of service level and liability arrangements as part of a critical UK project. Ollerenshaw acted for a longstanding manufacturing client on the procurement of IT services for a new plant in mainland Europe, and handled a strategic partnership agreement between an international healthcare provider and a public-sector entity. Other matters handled by the team included global data protection work, especially in the context of the incoming GDPR. Capgemini, JLR and Xoserve are also clients.

At Browne Jacobson LLP’s Birmingham office, Richard Nicholas handles outsourcing, software development, distribution, and data protection in connection with emerging cloud-based solutions. Nicholas recently acted for the London borough of Enfield in several high-profile technology matters including the council’s move to cloud-based servers and the digitalisation of its servers; he also acted alongside associate Joe O’Callaghan in London for a leading food manufacturer on the development and implementation of a new e-commerce website based on a cloud platform. Other key contacts include Paula Dumbill, who is based in Nottingham and advised a leading UK medical retailer on a software licence and services agreement with an Ireland-based IT provider.

Charlotte Walker-Osborn, who is known for her ‘fantastic knowledge in the area and pragmatic approach’ handles IT and telecoms work at the Birmingham office of Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP alongside Gayle McFarlane, who recently re-joined the commercial practice and focuses on technology and privacy law. Other key members of the ‘very helpful team’ include senior associate Ben McLeod, who primarily handles customer-side mandates. Clients include Honda, National Grid and John Lewis. Walker-Osborn recently advised Severn Trent Water alongside London’s Simon Cloke on the outsourcing of its communications estate; she also acted for a global hardware provider on the re-tender of its support, development and operation services for its private cloud infrastructure. Other highlights included acting for an insurance premium finance company that entered into a master services agreement with the BIO Agency, and assisting a premiership football club with its digitalisation process to deliver content to its fan base across the world through a mobile app and website.

The ‘excellent’ team at Pinsent Masons LLP includes corporate partner Clare Francis, who leads the practice alongside London-based corporate partner Andrew Hornigold. Francis is advising the Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner on a partnership agreement with the private sector to design and develop its IT capabilities. Other recent highlights included advising a leading global construction company on the installation of fingerprint turnstiles on all its sites, which involved the drafting of necessary contracts and compliance advice regarding data protection regulations. On the transactional side, M&A partner Nicole Livesey acted for the shareholders of Node4 on its secondary management buyout by Bowmark, and represented the Financial Times with regards to its acquisition of a controlling stake in Alpha Grid; Francis also worked alongside Hornigold for a healthcare group on its first strategic transaction in the telehealth market. Other clients include the University of Birmingham, Millbrook and Balfour Beatty.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP’s IT group in Birmingham is headed by Andrew Hartshorn and supported by Barry Jervis and the London-based Kim Walker, who specialises in IT disputes arising from contract and procurement issues. Recent highlights include advising a leading energy client on a re-procurement arrangement, and advising a global software provider on the negotiation of its multi-year ERP agreement with a high-value building supplies business. Jervis and Hartshorn also recently advised a university on the termination of an IT contract with the system supplier, and Hartshorn acted alongside the firm’s regulatory team for a major car rental company on the development of a mobile app. Solicitor Stewart Argo frequently supports the partners and was part of the team representing a transport and tourism company in the reworking of the standard terms and conditions for telephony services. Notable clients include 4Net, HSO, University of Warwick and Intercity.

According to one client, Squire Patton Boggs is ‘by far the most competent firm in the area of IT’ and its lawyers ‘are of great help when acquiring IT companies’. Team leader Stuart James (who attracts praise for his ‘great commercial acumen and sound, practical advice’) specialises in procurement matters in the retail, financial services and utilities sectors; he recently acted alongside senior associate Sam Tibbetts for Masabi on the drafting of its standard form documentation for the supply of its mobile ticketing platform in France and the US. In other highlights, the team advised a leading provider of web-portal based employee benefits packages on its acquisition of a competitor’s UK assets, and assisted The Weather Channel Global Media Limited with the BBC’s tender for the procurement of weather services. Associate Christopher Inns is also recommended. Other key clients include Arrow Global, IDS Indata, Piriform, and Penta Hotels, as well as new clients Revolut, Chinacache and Intechnica.

Lindsay Ellis heads Wright Hassall LLP’s IT and telecoms practice and advises on high-value procurement and outsourcing agreements. Other key figures include technology specialist Christine Jackson, who assists clients with contractual matters involving SaaS terms, app developments, e-commerce, digital media and PR contracts; and Pete Maguire, who focuses on the defence, advanced manufacturing, logistics and support services sectors. He recently spearheaded the firm’s work for a leading international consulting and outsourcing company on the cessation of IT service contracts provided to a major international airport, and acted in a dispute arising from delays in the migration of applications and data from the customer’s multiple data centres to the client’s single centre. Legal director Jo Goodworth and associate Mairead Powell assisted Jackson with the advice to EOS Electro Optical Systems in connection with its purchasing contracts. Consultant Justin Byrne is also recommended.

Brethertons LLP’s two-partner team consists of CEO and director of legal services Shaun Jardine and Brian Auld, both based in Banbury. They are supported by solicitor Katherine Cereghino, who works in the Rugby office and specialises in commercial structuring, share allocations and break options. Recent highlights include teaming and IPR agreements, copyright ownership management and software licensing, and the drafting of terms and conditions. Sitekit, WIPC, Westminster Security and Zebco are all clients. Solicitor and data protection expert Claire Halle-Smith recently joined the Banbury office from an in-house position at a multinational care provider. Colin Witherall recently retired from the practice.

Led by Gareth Stokes, DLA Piper UK LLP acts for a prominent client roster including Barclays, Genting Casinos and Unicef. Stokes advises on outsourcing and procurement agreements, often involving heavily regulated industries; his past experience includes acting for Allied Irish Banks on various ITO and BPO deals and representing several major high street banks in complex trust arrangements.

At Freeths LLP, Lee Clifford regularly handles high-value corporate and private equity transactions for clients in the retail, energy and natural resources, logistic and human capital sectors. Other key figures include Nigel Gardner, who recently advised a major social media moderator on its contracts with major brands including ITV and Disney, and acted for a leading global supplier of passenger carrying robotics on international projects for amusement rides. Mark Neale is prominent in the education and financial services sectors and assisted NCR with its supply of new ATMs and IT systems to high-street banks, and advised a major services outsourcing provider with regards to its multimillion-pound SAP development and maintenance arrangements.

Irwin Mitchell’s IT and telecoms practice acts for global brands and fast-growing SMEs on a range of matters including software development, licensing, outsourcing, data sharing arrangements and cloud computing. Sarah Riding is the key contact in Birmingham and is part of the firm’s national practice, which continues to act for longstanding clients such as National Grid and Bidvest, and recently advised BIT Consulting on contractual arrangements with a developer based abroad and licensing issues regarding the release of its software products. Riding co-operates with the firm’s banking and corporate teams to advise on licensing agreements and ICT supply chain issues for clients in the manufacturing and financial services sectors. Solicitor Charlotte Avery is also recommended.

Jayne Hussey heads Mills & Reeve LLP’s commercial, IP and IT department from the Birmingham office and has notable experience in the automotive and engineering sectors. She is supported by senior associate and data protection and cyber security expert David Hall, and principal associate Ruth Andrew, who specialises in IT contract law and acts for clients in the retail, automotive, engineering and digital technology sectors. Recent highlights include acting for Academies Enterprise Trust on its contract with Advanced for the supply of cloud-based management information system to the client’s portfolio of academies; Hall led the team in this matter with support from associate Sophie Richardson. Hussey also advised Elster Metering on framework, supply and interface contracts for the supply of smart electricity matters as part of the UK government’s £1bn rollout of smart meters.

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