IT and telecoms in Scotland
CMS has strong expertise in the financial services and public sectors alongside substantial strength in mandates pertaining to new technologies and data privacy. The group handles large IT projects and is a key name in the market for fintech work; it has also been notably active in GDPR-related matters. Key practitioners include Alan Nelson, who focuses on IT and outsourcing projects; senior partner Laurence Ward, and Duncan Turner, who leads the technology team and assists with IT, commercial contracts and data protection work. Senior associate Caroline Connolly is also a noteworthy name in the department.
Alan Nelson; Laurence Ward; Duncan Turner
Other key lawyers:
‘CMS provides commercial, pragmatic and solution-focused advice.‘
‘The team is approachable, friendly and has a great overall service.‘
‘The IT team is strong and known for its excellent knowledge and understanding of the subject matter.‘
‘CMS is full of down-to-earth and easy to work with lawyers.‘
‘Caroline Connolly’s strong legal advice and negotiation skills are indispensable when it comes to finalising a complex deal in a short space of time. Working with her is more like working with a colleague than external counsel.‘
‘Douglas Mathie has excellent technical expertise and can work on a variety of complex deals.‘
‘Alan Nelson is very commercial and pragmatic in his approach and is a skilled, trusted advisor.‘
‘Alan Nelson has built a strong team with a good balance of technical skills and commercial awareness. He is very approachable and always available.‘
NHS National Services Scotland
Standard Life Aberdeen
Royal Bank of Scotland
Scottish Exhibition Centre
University of Glasgow
- Advised Standard Life Aberdeen on the negotiation and implementation of a transitional services agreement following the sale of its insurance business to Phoenix Group Holdings.
- Assisted a bank with the outsourcing of the monitoring, management and maintenance of its ATM fleet.
- Acted for a Scottish local authority on a major reset of an outsourcing agreement.
- Advising NHS National Services Scotland on the nationally strategic Sottish Wide Area Network, the largest public sector IT contract in Scotland.
Under the leadership of John McKinlay, DLA Piper Scotland LLP's IT team has substantial experience advising its client roster on major projects, particularly in the financial services and public sectors. The team has gained several new clients including BAE Systems. McKinlay is a key name for outsourcing and procurement contracts, technology licensing work and cross-border transactions; and legal director Ishbel MacPherson acts for entertainment and public sector clients.
Other key lawyers:
Ishbel MacPherson; Caroline Scott
‘The team at DLA Piper is very experienced in TMT work and its industry knowledge is invaluable during commercial and legal negotiations. It is a very strong part of DLA Piper’s Scottish team and is very well regarded in the sector.‘
‘With strong leadership by John McKinlay, the team is able to translate and communicate complex legal issues to a non-legal audience in a straightforward and practical manner. It is innovative,highly responsive, extremely patient and always makes clients feel like they are the only client. The team is truly commercial and takes ownership; it becomes an extension of and vital part of the client’s in-house legal team.‘
‘John McKinlay is the lead partner and is a joy to work with. He is knowledgeable, clever and attentive and is supported by a strong team of associates. He is extremely efficient and a very effective negotiator of complex contracts. The stand-out senior associate is Linzi Penman, whose youth belies her ability to produce outstanding, thoughtful results to tight timescales.‘
‘John McKinlay stands out as a stalwart adviser who draws on deep and wide ranging experience.‘
‘Ishbel MacPherson stands out. She is technically strong and extremely capable yet het ability to swap legalese for what makes commercial sense is what makes her a pleasure to deal with.‘
Royal Bank of Scotland
The Highland Council
- Assisted Scottish Water with procuring a new five-year partnership with consulting firms Capgemini and Atos to deliver a portfolio of services across Scottish Water including customer-focused IT services, core IT infrastructure and applications.
- Advising Heineken on matters relating to its BEAM (build, extend, accelerate and maximise) framework including advising on the introduction of telematics in its fleet management processes, drafting and negotiating a framework agreement for the adoption of a toolset to comprise Heineken’s strategic configurable platform for workflow, and further negotiating with a different technology vendor on the developments for Heineken’s critical lease management system.
- Advised Core on a variety of IT contract negotiations and drafting, involving a full GDPR remediation programme with vendors.
The IT practice at Pinsent Masons LLP is singled out for its sector-focused approach, notably in the financial services, public and energy industries, where it is particularly recognised for its outsourcing and procurement work. Also noted is the firm's dedicated TMT litigation team, and its digital and IT work for universities in Scotland and abroad. Yvonne Dunn leads the TMT group and also heads up the TMT financial services and fintech practice.
Other key lawyers:
Matthew Godfrey-Faussett; Chris Martin; David Woods; Kathryn Wynn
‘Pinsent Masons has true expertise and market-leading insight on how technology is impacting business. It is the leading European firm for all aspects of fintech.‘
‘The individuals at Pinsent Masons stand out through their inter-personal relationship skills, attention to detail, constructive approach and thorough understanding of the needs of their clients’ business.‘
Calmac Ferries / David Mac Brayne
University of Edinburgh
Allied Irish Bank
Edinburgh International Conference Centre
Hiscox Underwriting Limited
- Assisted the University of Edinburgh with several strategic IT transformation projects including the procurement of a suite of cloud-based core back office systems and a new campus wide local area network and cable management solution.
- Advised Legal & General Investment Management on its procurement of the Sonata platform from Bravura.
- Acted for David MacBrayne in a breach of contract action against Atos IT Services relating to the provision of a new ticketing and reservation IT system for the Calmac ferry network.
- Represented Oricom, a company insured by Hiscox Underwriting, in a claim against NHS Lanarkshire regarding the termination of a contract to provide telecoms infrastructure.
- Assisting a top UK supermarket chain with its contracts with Microsoft relating to an enterprise resource planning tool.
At Shepherd and Wedderburn the IT, media and telecoms practice focuses on assisting its client roster of broadcasters, telecom operators, content owners and technology companies with corporate, commercial and regulatory issues. The group also has a strong contentious offering under John MacKenzie and is active in the regulated sectors of financial services and utilities. Paul Carlyle leads the media and technology team and Joanna Boag-Thomson has specialist knowledge of the utilities sector.
European Competitive Telecoms Association
European Bank of Reconstruction and Development
Big Blu Broadband
Asia-Pacific Carriers Coalition
Capital Document Solutions Ltd
Water Plus Ltd
Satellite Solutions Worldwide
Multrees Investor Services Ltd
Scottish Enterprise/Highlands and Islands Enterprise
Baillie Gifford & Co
- Advised Big Blue Broadband on the negotiation of its distributor arrangements and partner status with Euro Broadband Infrastructure to expand operations based on a shared growth model.
- Prepared an intervention for the European Competitive Telecoms Association (ECTA) against the European Commission in an appeal brought by Orange Polska against the Commission’s decision to impose a substantial fine on Orange Polska for abuse of its dominant position.
- Advised CYBG on a £400m deal to fund loans through UK financial technology group Salary Finance, in a partnership with a fintech company.
The IT team at Addleshaw Goddard acts for clients across a variety of industry sectors including the retail, sports and financial services arenas. The firm recently leveraged its strong expertise in the personal data field to attract new clients including Edinburgh Airport and Lumesse. Ross McKenzie, who was previously the head of privacy at Burness Paull LLP, recently joined the Aberdeen office to strengthen the firm's capacity in the data protection space. David Anderson leads the IT practice in Scotland, and Helena Brown is a key contact for non-contentious matters.
‘Addleshaw Goddard is a consistently outstanding firm to work with. The lawyers’ knowledge of their clients’ business and work ethic means that clients get timely and accurate advice from them time and time again.‘
‘David Anderson is responsive, commercial and hugely knowledgeable about the industry. He is always looking to add value wherever possible.‘
‘David Horne is known for his excellent support and advice.‘
‘Helena Brown is technically excellent but also has a great commercial, pragmatic approach.‘
Highlands and Islands Airports
- Advised FNZ on its master services agreement regarding the provision of investment transaction and administration outsourcing services to a blue-chip financial institution.
- Acted for Highlands and Islands Airports on the production of a bespoke template contract to be used with individual airlines operating at Inverness airport and regulating the installation, repair and maintenance of hardware and software at the airport to enable individual airlines to conduct and operate check-in desks and departure gates.
- Appointed to advise on and draft the agreements between VIism and its external software design consultancy for the continual development, testing and implementation of improvements to the client’s products.
- Advising Red 61 on the provision of ticketing for the Edinburgh Festival, in particular the data protection arrangements applicable to the personal data acquired from applicants for tickets.
- Advised on the technology and corporate aspects of Par Equity’s investments into a number of fast-growing technology business and the disposal of its e-learning portfolio company, ICS Learn.
Brodies LLP is recognised for its work in the financial services and technology sectors acting on a variety of contentious and advisory mandates; the cross-departmental team has substantial experience handling major projects, audits and M&A transactions. The group also recently advised on matters involving new technologies including blockchain and online trading platforms. Grant Campbell and Martin Sloan jointly lead the practice; Campbell is a data protection specialist and Sloan is noted for his financial services technology procurement and outsourcing work and cloud issues. Gill Grassie retired.
Grant Campbell; Martin Sloan
Other key lawyers:
Robert Buchan; Iain Rutherford
‘Brodies covers all types of legal services required, from IT, employment, tax and corporate law, but it is the firm’s cross-departmental approach that makes it unique and a pleasure to work with.‘
‘The team is there whenever clients need them, be that out of office hours or even during holidays.‘
‘What makes Brodies unique is the commercial and non-legal input it provides on the strategy to deliver a successful outcome.‘
‘Grant Campbell has excellent legal knowledge and can explain things in simple commercial terms. He will raise concerns or issues in a measured way allowing sensible debate on how to resolve or address specific issues.‘
‘Iain Rutherford is excellent to have on side in a dispute. He is robust in difficult situations but creative in finding resolutions to complex problems and open to a challenge.‘
Aberdeen Standard Investments
Capgemini UK plc
Highlands and Islands Enterprise
- Acted for Capgemini in the bid, negotiation and conclusion of a five-year agreement to provide application services to Scottish Water as part of its new strategic digital partnership arrangements.
- Advised Episerver on its preparations for GDPR including a number of intra-group data issues, data mapping, privacy notices and changes to its policies and procedures. The team also advised on its subsequent $1.2bn sale to Insight Venture Partners.
- Advised the University of Edinburgh on a contract with EdX for the provision of a new platform and expanded strategic relationship for the delivery of online masters degrees and MicroMasters programmes.
- Instructed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise to develop a playbook on electronic signatures, which provides guidance to its internal legal and business teams on when it is appropriate to sign documents using electronic signatures.
Burness Paull LLP has particularly strong contentious expertise, which covers the full gamut of disputes including cybersecurity breaches, licensing issues and regulatory violations. The group recently added several high-profile clients including Ancala Water, Brandseye and Administrate to its diverse roster. Callum Sinclair leads the technology and commercial division and is head of technology for the firm; he is particularly active in the financial, public and utilities sectors. Other key practitioners include David Goodbrand, who is an expert in fintech matters; Colin Hulme, who heads up the contentious IT practice; and solicitor Andrew Maxwell.
‘The team at Burness Paull is absolutely fantastic. What makes this practice unique is the very fact that it truly approachs work as a team.‘
‘David Goodbrand is knowledgeable, approachable and delivers high-quality work, often in very tight deadlines. He leads his team with a calm confidence, which is an invaluable skill in negotiations.‘
‘Andrew Maxwell does exactly what he says he will in the time frame agreed.‘
The Weir Group plc
Viridian Group plc
Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society
The Scottish Football Association/Hampden Park Limited
Oil & Gas Technology Centre
Student Loans Company Limited
The Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Limited
Scottish Friendly Assurance
WHM – Malcolm
- Advising the Weir Group on a master services agreement with RSM to facilitate a number of key software services and development projects.
- Assisting a media client with data protection and security advice.
- Instructed by Viridian Group to handle its £65m re-procurement of IT services currently provided by incumbent Capita.
- Advising Ancala Water Services on its acquisition of Aquatrine Package A from Kelda Water Services including reviewing and advising on IT and business services contracts.
The practitioners at Thorntons Law LLP act for a range of software and cloud companies, IT service providers, universities, and corporate and institutional buyers at a national and international level. Liam McMonagle heads up the team and has a key focus on information security and data protection compliance, a growing area of work for the firm. Other noteworthy individuals include Lesley Larg, who acts for clients in the online publishing, games and online innovation sectors; commercial expert Alastair Lang and newly promoted partner Loretta Maxfield, who is based in Dundee.
‘Liam McMonagle is very pragmatic and knowledgeable, and is able to respond within tight timescales.‘
ThinkAnalytics (UK) Limited
Postcode Lottery Limited
University of Strathclyde
brightsolid Online Technology Limited
University of Abertay
SkillsScorecard Pty (trading as Performance Leader)
Sportsmate International (UK) Limited
- Advised ThinkAnalytics on the supply of recommendation software to the BBC as part of its personalisation programme.
- Advised Instastock, trading as Pixey, on the drafting and negotiating of a software development contract and the incorporation of AI technology.
- Advised Cyberhawk on the renewal of SSE’s licence to use its iHawk solution to manage its extensive portfolio of transmission towers, power lines and wind turbines.
Dentons' Scottish IT practice handles outsourcing matters, system procurements and implementations, e-commerce and data protection advice, and issues pertaining to hosted services. The group also leverages the firm's global network to advise on international matters. Alison Bryce leads the team, which also includes non-contentious IT specialist Ross Nicol and senior associate Julie Brown, who has experience in website compliance and e-commerce issues.
‘The group at Dentons is very much part of the combined team, working to achieve a common outcome for the client.‘
‘Ross Nicol does a fantastic job both bringing breadth and depth of expertise to an assignment, and working in a flexible manner, with a pragmatic approach, to achieve the best outcome for the client.‘
MUFG Bank Ltd/MUFG Securities EMEA
Finsbury Food Group
Aon UK Limited
Stream Technologies Limited
- Advised the majority shareholders on the sale of Glasgow-based Internet of Things company Stream Technologies to global chip-maker Arm.
- Handling the review and negotiation of MUFG’s business as usual IT contracts including software licensings, SaaS agreements, reseller arrangements and market data licensing.
- Assisted with the IT aspects of PCF Group’s acquisition of Azule, a provider of specialist funding and leasing services in the broadcast and media industries.
Harper Macleod LLP's practice provides full-service advice on IT and technology matters and also handles the IT aspects of wider transactional matters handled by other departments. The group is led from Glasgow by Tom Thomas and has significant experience in the public and third sectors, as well as the fintech, blockchain, life sciences, technology, telecoms and energy industries. Thomas regularly assists with technology contract work, Scott Kerr leads the food and drink group, and Jamie Watt has experience in competition-related issues.
‘The team shows great credentials and expertise in the sector and strong business acumen.‘
‘Tom Thomas gets to know his clients’ business and understands the importance of the solutions they are seeking to protect.‘
‘The team members are easy to work with, available and proactive.‘
Glasgow City Council
Paddle.com Market Limited
East Renfrewshire Council
Enduro Sports Organisation
- Advised Paddle.com on its £6m further investment from existing investors including Notion, BGF and Kindred Capital.
- Prepared an SaaS agreement and IP assignation for Haelo Consulting.
- Acted for G4K Fashion on several non-contentious commercial issues including IT contracts for its online business model.
MacRoberts LLP is particularly noted for its work for the Scottish government and related public sector bodies, regularly handling high-value IT projects. The team, led by David Gourlay, also acts on matters including cloud computing, software licensing, data protection and cybersecurity, e-commerce and open-source software issues and advises on privacy and data security work. Gourlay is singled out for his IT procurement and outsourcing expertise, Valerie Surgenor regularly assists with software licensing, cybersecurity and social media matters; and Euan Duncan has experience in the technology, media and digital sectors.
Dacoll Group Limited
Scottish Fire & Rescue Service
Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service
Scotch Whisky Association
- Advising the Scottish Government Procurement Directorate on new model terms for use when procuring ICT services.
- Instructed by new client Police Scotland to assist with an urgent process to secure a new ICT system.
- Assisted Sartorius Stedim Data Analytics with the commercialisation of a data analysis software system it has developed for use in the life sciences sector.
- Advising a leading drinks representation body on a digital transformation programme and the related contracts.