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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 > Yorkshire and the Humber > TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > IT and telecoms > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. IT and telecoms
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Michael Lowry heads Addleshaw Goddard’s Leeds commercial IT team and specialises in large-scale IT procurement, outsourcings and software-as-a-service (SaaS) arrangements, acting for major corporates such as, Morrisons and Arriva. For one client, he is ‘by far and away the best IT lawyer across the UK’. Lowry is assisted by commercial litigation partner Bill Gilliam on the contentious side, who is ‘straight talking’ and has acted for Diageo plc defending a claim by SAP (UK) Limited for alleged breach of contract and potential copyright infringement concerning additional software licensing fees amounting to around £55m. Recently promoted Simon Lofthouse acts for a number of private sector clients, such as Celesio, Bupa, Carphone Warehouse and 2sisters group, on major IT and IT-enabled projects. For Carphone Warehouse Limited, the team has been advising on its arrangements to implement a new consumer product with finance provider ThinkSmart, which allows customers to lease mobile phones rather than purchase them outright. Associate Ryan Gracey joined from 3volution Limited.

The Leeds intellectual property and technology practice at DLA Piper UK LLP is ‘highly skilled and technically able’ and is consistently ‘adaptable to the demands placed on it’. Practice head Mark Vipan leads on major public sector IT projects, most recently advising iDirect UK Limited on its proposal to the European Space Agency for participation in its ARTES 3-4 programme. Simon Kenyon is recommended for litigation and has been advising NHS Digital on the exit of the Department of Health from its national contract with BT for voice and data services across England to be replaced with a number of contracts for a Health and Social Care Network. Roger Gough leads the team in Sheffield, which focuses on the non-contentious side, providing advice on IT contracts to technology suppliers as well as customers of technology providers in the manufacturing, retail and student accommodation services. Sheffield litigation partner Richard Norman manages technology clients such as Telefonica O2, Verizon and Tata Communications and is an ‘absolute pleasure to work with’.

James Crayton has taken over as head of the IT and commercial department at Walker Morris LLP following Michael Stevens’ retirement. The practice advises on a range of commercial contracts relating to IT and technology arrangements and has clients in both the public and private sector. The ‘knowledgeable, time-efficient and pragmatic’ Crayton has been leading advice to Dart Group plc (Jet2) in the procurement of a technology infrastructure platform and to Amscreen Group Limited in several transactions relating to its digital advertising screens, including a partnering agreement, and a development and supply agreement with Clear Channel. Senior associate David Laville regularly advises on IT and technology related matters and supports Crayton on key matters for the practice.

The IT department at Clarion is headed by Matthew Hattersley, who advises on all manner of IT and telecoms arrangements, including outsourcing and service and software agreements. The team has particular strength in non-contentious matters, but is able to lean on its disputes lawyers to assist with contentious matters; Dominic Higham, a partner in the commercial disputes team, has a particular strength in IT and outsourcing matters. Recent highlights for the team include advising Card Factory on the legal and wider commercial aspects of replacing its payment systems, and assisting InterSystems with its bid to supply a community health software solution to the NHS in Scotland. The team also has an exclusive UK retainer with Asics and covers IT contracts ranging from software procurement and managed services to advice in relation to digital retail operations.

Leeds-based Michael Peeters heads the northern technology team at DAC Beachcroft LLP and works with a range of suppliers and users of IT. The team has been advising the Department of Health during a competitive public procurement procedure to acquire new management software that will include finance, peer-to-peer, HR and payroll functions, and has been supporting Cornerstone Telecommunication Infrastructure Limited with a bid to the City of London Corporation to upgrade and make available telecoms infrastructure in public spaces, including enhanced mobile cellular infrastructure and WiFi. Emilie Yates was promoted to legal director and has been leading the advice to Bupa on an IT outsourcing matter involving appointing KCOM to replace BT for its call centre telephony and call recording telecoms services. Richard Watkinson was promoted to the partnership in May 2016 and specialises in technology-related outsourcing and system integration projects.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s northern technology practice provides an integrated procurement, dispute resolution and data service approach, with James Hyde heading up the contentious side of the practice. Recent highlights include advising Vodafone on contracts to acquire rights to use technology for a new ‘smart’ service and mobile WAN services, and in connection with a new suite of customer contracts to enable the delivery of these services to corporate customers. Jones has also been advising Maplin on a number of strategic IT projects, most notably a new payment services contract with Worldpay to process all card payments for the client. On the contentious side, Hyde has been defending Peninsula Community Health in its dispute with BT Cornwall relating to alleged material breaches of a £260m ICT shared services agreement; this resulted in the judgment that Peninsula and other public sector parties were entitled to terminate the agreement with BT. Simon Jones joined Squire Patton Boggs.

Martin Priestley and Andrew Masterson head up the non-contentious and contentious sides of Pinsent Masons LLP’s Leeds TMT practice respectively. Priestley specialises in major sourcing projects, particularly for government clients and universities, whilst Masterson handles a wide range of high-value government and private sector IT disputes. On the non-contentious side, the team has been advising the University of Sussex on its transformation project for the procurement of a new student administration and records system and associated integration services in a matter worth up to £6m. Legal director Lisa Harley has also been advising JD Wetherspoon on the development of a master IT services agreement for use with third-party resellers of software and hardware. On the contentious side, the team has been acting for an IT and outsourcing solutions company in relation to the failure of its customer to meet a year one revenue target under a service agreement.

Louise Handley heads the TMT department at 3volution Limited in Leeds, which assists a wide range of clients with various IT matters, including implementation and development of projects, e-commerce, social media and software licensing. Recent highlights include advising Bloom Media - alongside the firm’s corporate department - on licence agreements and ongoing IT services agreements between joint venture partners. The team was also involved in the sale of Conexus Limited, an IT-based business, to PFSweb, reviewing the IT contracts and assisting with due diligence. The IT team also sits on the Morrisons plc legal panel for IT. Sara Ludlam works with a range of clients, advising on software contracts and compliance with data protection law.

The IT team at Irwin Mitchell is ‘very commercial with excellent industry knowledge’ and is led by Joanne Bone in Leeds. Bone specialises in IT contract advice and acts on complex outsourcing arrangements, master service agreements and cloud arrangements, as well as sets up suites of standard contractual documents. Recent highlights include advising key client Interchange and Consort Hotels Limited on IT agreements, including booking terms, licence terms and a website agreement, and advising Lhasa Limited on standard documentation and the drafting and negotiation of complex international licensing terms with pharmaceutical companies.

Head of Ward Hadaway’s IT team Gareth Yates is highly experienced in the IT sector and provides advice on matters including software licensing and development contracts, services agreements, disputes and channel sales strategies in both the private and public sector. Yates has been leading litigation regarding multimillion-pound disputes over expired software licenses, while Bill Goodwin, another key figure in the Leeds team, has been advising clients with software licensing negotiations and customer agreements.

Name partner Paul Berwin heads the commercial and digital division of Berwins in Harrogate and has a knowledge of IT law which ‘stands out head and shoulders above other legal firms in the IT sector’. Berwin and James Talbot advise corporate clients on their IT and telecoms issues, as well as technology providers with integration agreements and licence documentation. The team continues to act for the UK buildings division of Trimble in its technology contracts and for Gap Systems in contract negotiations for its product, a market-leading workflow system for the packaging industry.

Recently promoted Lewis Goodwin heads the department at McCormicks in Harrogate and acts for a broad range of clients, including SMEs, private investors, high-net-worth individuals, corporates, charities and sports sector clients in connection with technology matters. The firm has been retained by Welcome to Harrogate Limited to advise on all IT matters, and most recently has been advising on an e-tourism platform. It has also been advising various clients on licensing rights, software development and partnership agreements and, for key client the Premier League, it has been advising on IT usage policy and data protection.

Specialist IT lawyer Dai Davis heads the IT practice at boutique Leeds firm Percy Crow Davis & Co, which focuses on IT, IP and product safety. The ‘very responsive’ Davis acts for technology suppliers, which are mainly owner-managed businesses, as well as buyers and is recommended for his ‘business acumen, technical knowledge and mathematical skills’. He also advises on data protection and Freedom of Information on behalf of further and higher educational institutions, shopping centres, local authorities and limited companies. On the technology side, he works with numerous clients in relation to cutting-edge technologies and IT solutions, as well as cloud computing and social networking, and is experienced advising on safety-critical IT systems and European technology regulations.

Keith Benton heads the IT department at Rollits LLP in Hull, which has a particular focus on advising charities, colleges and other education providers that undertake significant IT projects. Recent highlights include advising Ideal Standard in relation to an agreement with Logicom Computer Services (UK) to use Logicom’s virtual reality software. Benton has also been advising an educational fund trust on a project to move its grant-making software to a cloud-based provider, and assisting a retailer with advice on e-commerce and data protection in respect of its website.

At Shulmans LLP, Mark Lumley leads on IT matters, while the telecoms side is headed by Michael Watson, who has ‘seen it all, litigated it all and is completely unflappable – a real class act’. Recent highlights for the team - which is noted for its ‘fast, knowledgeable turnaround’ - include acting for Redfern Travel Limited in its sale process, which included assisting with complex contracts for IT services and joint ventures for its technology platform. The team also has considerable expertise in assisting with the removal and review of telecoms apparatus across clients’ portfolios and has the ‘leading landowner representatives in telecoms disputes’. Luke Maidens, ‘a real rising star’, and Richard Robinson are also highly recommended.

Director John Baddeley heads the department at Wake Smith Solicitors Limited and is experienced advising manufacturing, games development, digital media, health and telecom sector clients on IT agreements and e-commerce solution contracts. Recent highlights include acting on behalf of Gala Technology in connection with its licensing of a new payment system. Baddeley has also been instructed by an online clothing retailer in connection with potential passing off issues with branding and identity.

The commercial and IT practice at Schofield Sweeney is headed by Luisa D’Alessandro, who spends time in both the Leeds and Bradford offices. The team predominantly handles non-contentious work and has been providing support to coach tour operator Shearings in connection with a number of IT contracts, including reviewing and negotiating terms with a replacement software supplier. It has also been advising a higher education client on its contractual position with an IT software and services provider. Assistant solicitor Rosa Waters-Brown joined the team in 2016 from Addleshaw Goddard.

Paul Jinks heads up the Leeds intellectual property and technology team at Squire Patton Boggs and was promoted to director at the start of 2017. The team advises major corporate IT users on day-to-day IT matters, as well as offering data protection expertise. Recent work includes assisting clients with software agreements, data protection and privacy law compliance, ad-hoc contract and compliance queries, and the drafting and negotiation of IT deals. Clients for the team include credit union Retail Cure, SME Liquid Voice, EDF, CTI Travel and financial comparison service Eclipse Financial.

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