Firms To Watch: IT and telecoms

Led by Edinburgh-based social media and data protection specialist Paul Motion , BTO Solicitors LLP works with a number of Scottish SMEs and corporates on contractual and compliance matters. Lynn Richmond is noted for her cyber security focus.

IT and telecoms in Scotland

Brodies LLP

Praised by clients for its ‘excellent‘ sector knowledge and ‘first-class‘ performance, Brodies LLP‘s interdisciplinary IT and IP practice handles a significant volume of private equity-driven tech transactions and supplier-side cross-border disputes. In recent months, the team has been increasingly active on telecoms sector mandates–ranging from fibre network installations to cyber defence reviews–an area in which practice co-chair Martin Sloan is an anchoring presence. Practice co-chair Grant Campbell specialises in non-contentious technology, outsourcing, and data protection work, with recent engagements including corporate joint ventures and master service agreement reviews. The Glasgow-based Iain Rutherford spearhead’s the group’s contentious offering, leading IT and outsourcing disputes, both for customers and suppliers. Martin Ewan, who joined the Aberdeen office from Pinsent Masons LLP in May 2021, is noted for his energy sector expertise. All named lawyers are based in Edinburgh unless stated otherwise.

Practice head(s):

Grant Campbell; Martin Sloan

Other key lawyers:

Iain Rutherford; Martin Ewan

Testimonials

‘Martin and his team were excellent to work with – they provided advice which has stood us in good stead as we worked through our project delivery. Their responses have been timely and their interactions with our project team have been positive – very approachable and feedback on which we could rely without needing any subsequent clarification.’

‘Excellent IT/IP sector knowledge which has come in very useful when negotiating complex IT contracts. The team provided first-class support on the drafting and negotiation of a new CRM contract and examination delivery platform, both of huge reputational significance to our organisation.’

‘Martin Sloan has assisted us with a number of complex IT contracts and data protection compliance matters. He has an in depth understanding of our business and is always keen to learn more about it in order to deliver as effectively and efficiently as possible.’

Key clients

CGI

Capgemini UK plc

DC Thomson

Accel-KKR

Borderlink BroadbandLimited

Zumo

Abellio

Loytech

NVT Group

DocuSign

Work highlights

  • Advised Borderlink Broadband Limited on Project Gigabit as well as investments (potential value of up to £174.5m) from funds controlled by Gresham House Plc.
  • Advising Abellio Scotrail Limited across all areas, including agreements in relation to the supply, upgrade and maintenance of key IT hardware and systems.
  • Advised Accel-KKR’s portfolio group Kimble on the acquisition of California based competitor Mavenlink Inc.

Burness Paull LLP

Burness Paull LLP‘s sizeable cross-departmental practice regularly handles corporate, commercial, and contentious matters on behalf of a sterling roster of corporate and public sector clients. Glasgow-based practice chair Callum Sinclair is a highly experienced counsel to companies in the financial, public, and utilities sectors, working with some of the market’s leading players on deals and advisory mandates. Data privacy specialist David Goodbrand is well regarded by various energy and fintech players for his capabilities in digital transformation, outsourcing, and cloud transactions. Senior associate Murray Cree is recommended for his expertise in financial legislation. All named lawyers are based in Edinburgh unless stated otherwise.

Practice head(s):

Callum Sinclair

Other key lawyers:

David Goodbrand; Murray Cree; Linzi Chalmers

Testimonials

 ‘I have been extremely impressed with the quality of support received and would highly recommend their services.’

‘Both David Goodbrand and Murray Cree are highly knowledgeable, skilled and personable individuals who provided proactive advice and clear guidance throughout the various contract negotiations we were involved with.’

‘Their responsiveness and availability are of particular value to us, as we often instruct them on matters with challenging deadlines.’

‘Murray Cree was able to manage a variety of different pieces of work, all of which had very challenging deadlines. Despite the complexity of the contracting arrangements, he never lost focus on the bigger commercial picture and is skilled at reducing the complexities to those key issues with the biggest risk/value for his clients.’ 

‘David has a very pragmatic, focused approach and is a pleasure to deal with.’

‘They’ve got a raft of experience from some serious clients but remain very accessible, personable and client-focused.’

‘The team’s willingness to engage across the tech community to assist and support businesses on their growth journey from a place of genuine interest and support is an exemplar for other firms. They also bring huge experience to the start-up community, through their work with established, household technology clients. Their passion for the sector combined with this variety of experience and expertise, makes BP the standout firm in the sector.’

‘The variety of experience and the expertise within their team I believe makes them stand out in the market against competitors. We deal regularly with Callum Sinclair and Linzi Chalmers both of whom are exceptional.’

 

Key clients

Abrdn

Cazoo

ScottishPower

Cairn / Capricorn Energy

Lothian Pension Fund

Scottish Futures Trust

Hymans Robertson

Access Group

Aberdeen Football Club

Exception

Work highlights

  • Leading commercial contracts aspects of a complex acquisition by abrdn plc of Exo Investing Limited, Nucoro’s AI powered wealth management platform.
  • Following a recent tender win and appointment to their UK legal panel, advising Cazoo on a range of technology and data matters.
  • Advising Scottish Power on a number of IT and technology projects.

CMS

Praised by clients for their breadth of their capabilities, CMS routinely handles big-ticket transactions, projects, and procurement contracts for a diverse roster of blue-chip clients. The team enjoys a stellar reputation for its capabilities in financial services sector matters, driven largely by seasoned IT and outsourcing lawyer Alan Nelson. In Edinburgh, Duncan Turner, who is dual-qualified in Australia, and England and Wales, is sought out for his expertise in commercial contracts, software service agreements, and licensing issues. Senior associate Martin Beveridge is noted for his fluency in telecoms and IT infrastructure projects. Edinburgh-based senior associate Caroline Connolly's recent engagements include large-scale procurement ventures in the utilities sector. Senior associate Joy Calder and of counsel Douglas Mathie also come highly recommended. All named lawyers are based in Glasgow unless stated otherwise.

Practice head(s):

Alan Nelson; Duncan Turner

Other key lawyers:

Martin Beveridge; Douglas Mathie; Joy Calder; Caroline Connolly

Testimonials

‘The CMS team have strength and depth across all disciplines and are very customer focussed.’

‘Alan Nelson and Martin Beveridge go above and beyond to contribute to our work.’

‘The team brings with it a wealth of knowledge of the sector and experience from working on other large IT and telecom projects which really informs and comforts us as a client.’

‘Martin Beveridge has excellent knowledge of issues facing clients in the IT/telecoms sector and is never short of useful, innovative thinking. It is comforting to have Martin’s depth of knowledge to call upon and he is adept at explaining even the most complicated of concepts in a practical and user-friendly manner.’

‘Douglas Mathie has a deep technical understanding of the IT/telecoms sector and combines this with an excellent command of drafting and commercial know-how. Douglas brings real challenge to the process which makes for a well rounded and robust result.’

‘Alan Nelson is very responsive and commercially astute.’

‘Joy Calder knows her stuff; nothing is too much trouble; advice presented in a clear and concise way.’

‘Alan Nelson’s team are knowledgeable, pragmatic and easy to deal with. Nothing is too much trouble.’

Key clients

National Services Scotland (NHS)

Marie Curie

Northern Ireland Water Limited

ReAssure UK Services Limited

Sainsbury’s Bank Plc

Northern Ireland Water Limited

Provar Limited

B&CE Holdings Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising National Services Scotland (the central procurement body for the NHS in Scotland) on the Future of SWAN procurement project.
  • Advising Marie Curie in relation to a number of commercial and IT matters, including drafting a subscription services agreement with Blue Prism and drafting a template IT services MTA.
  • Advising Northern Ireland Water on the procurement of a replacement ERP software solution.

DLA Piper

Helmed by leading IP and IT partner John McKinlayDLA Piper is routinely engaged by a litany of blue-chip domestic and international clients seeking assistance in big-ticket commercial matters, ranging from procurements to outsourcing agreements. McKinlay is a key port of call for a number of world-leading brands and financial institutions, who turn to him for his expertise in complex contractual work. Senior associate Catriona Melton focuses on data protection and regulatory compliance, and possesses in-house experience in the offshore energy and financial services sectors, serving as key relationship manager to one of the UK’s major commercial banks. Senior associate Linzi Penman is noted for her capabilities in outsourcing and high-value projects, working with entities across the financial services, retail, and entertainment sectors.

Practice head(s):

John McKinlay

Other key lawyers:

Catriona Melton; Linzi Penman

Testimonials

‘John McKinlay and Linzi Penman are knowledgeable, responsive, and seek to understand our business and concerns, ensuring that they focus on issues which are important to us.’

‘Strong team, real attention to detail resulting in a more efficient service.’

‘Linzi Penman strives to understand the client’s business, and delivers high-quality advice.’

Key clients

Scottish Water

Fidelity International

Heineken UK

Merlin Entertainments

The Highland Council

Innovation Group

Hyve Group plc

Lumi

Eco World

Leidos Holdings

Pinsent Masons LLP

Fielding a sizeable team operating between Edinburgh and Glasgow, Pinsent Masons LLP fields a ‘really strong bench‘ of practitioners who work with a multitude of financial services, tech, education, and energy sector clients. Practice chair Chris Martin enjoys a stellar reputation as an advisor on tech and data issues in the energy sector, including cleantech and blockchain initiatives. Glasgow-based Yvonne Dunn spearheads the TMT financial services and fintech practice, with recent engagements including strategic outsourcing and IT transformation projects for the practice’s high-profile financial services clientele. Matthew Godfrey-Faussett is noted for his expertise in annuity IT and commercial contract support for large businesses, as well as for his burgeoning focus on the procurement and delivery of major IT projects. The ‘excellent’ Kathryn Wynn concentrates exclusively on Information Law, advising variously on data protection and information security as it pertains to the financial services and fintech sectors. Legal director Mhairi Mival is recommended for strategic IT procurement projects and outsourcings. All named lawyers are based in Edinburgh unless stated otherwise.

Practice head(s):

Chris Martin

Other key lawyers:

Yvonne Dunn; Matthew Godfrey-Faussett; Kathryn Wynn; Mhairi Mival

Testimonials

‘I trust Kathryn’s advice implicitly as she takes time to understand my perspective, internal challenges, and frustrations, and works with me to articulate a response that will land with the business teams.’

‘The team are thought leaders with a deep technical and legislative knowledge, which they consider through the lens of the commercial activities in question. They are solution-oriented, willing to go the extra mile, and highly amenable.’

‘Kathryn Wynn is always on hand to offer help or guidance and her support is always incredible, answering questions and being flexible with her time. I especially appreciate the way she come up with answers to difficult questions or solutions to complex situations. She always works so passionately to make sure customers get the best experience and insight.’

‘Really strong bench at all levels. Flexibility and innovation in delivering legal solutions to maximise the cost efficiency for clients whilst delivering quality service.’

‘Kathryn Wynn is an excellent leader. She drives advice fine tuned to expertly guide clients through to pragmatic solutions. Her depth of experience sets her apart.’

‘Yvonne Dunn consistently demonstrates expert and collaborative leadership in engaging with the full range of stakeholders, ranging from large enterprises to entrepreneurs and government officials.’

‘Yvonne Dunn was exceptional in her ability to provide clear guidance on an exceptionally complex contract.’

‘Chris Martin has a very calm and assured approach and will always find a solution that is pragmatic and tailored to the needs of the business.’

Key clients

Lloyds Bank

Tesco Bank

Visa

sticklr

Lowell Financial

Aldermore Bank Plc

Mercer

Calmac Ferries / David MacBrayne

University of Edinburgh

Nucleus Financial Services Limited

Jisc

Allied Irish Bank

Edinburgh Airport

University of Southampton

Pomvom UK Limited

Assurant General Insurance

Work highlights

  • Advised Tesco Bank on the outsourcing of its collections and recoveries services to Arrow.
  • Advised Otterpool Park LLP on the structuring of a data trust framework, which will open up access to data generated across the energy, transport, built environment and utilities infrastructure within the Otterpool Park garden community.
  • Advised PomVom (an Israeli start-up) on the UK and EU data protection issues associated with the use of facial recognition technology in theme parks for the sale of souvenirs.

Addleshaw Goddard

Working across multiple sites throughout Scotland, Addleshaw Goddard regularly handles a mix of data protection, tech litigation, and digital transformation projects, as well as an increasing volume of outsourcing contracts in the wealth platform space. Practice head David Anderson routinely advises clients on major strategic projects and investments into fast-growth technology businesses, spearheading the firm’s nationwide tech and fintech accelerator programme. The Aberdeen-based Ross McKenzie’s broad focus encompasses retail, consumer goods, and energy tech, while Helena Brown is noted for her capabilities in financial services and sports, assisting a host of clients with data protection and regulatory matters. Sam Lawson possesses key experience in systems procurement and implementation, while Glasgow-based Calum Fisher concentrates on e-commerce, software, and consumer goods. All named lawyers are based in Edinburgh unless stated otherwise.

Practice head(s):

David Anderson

Other key lawyers:

Ross McKenzie; Helena Brown; Sam Lawson; Calum Fisher

Testimonials

‘David Anderson is a true gem untiring, and ferociously committed to agreed deadlines, were unwavering in their support and spot on in their commercial analysis of options as they presented.’

‘Addleshaw Goddard’s Scotland team has exceptional knowledge across a range of functions in the business. The IT, telecoms, and technology team is widely respected in Scotland, and the team has strong engagement with the wider tech industry.’

‘Helena and I have worked very closely over the last few years, and her knowledge/input is always extremely insightful.’

Key clients

FNZ (UK) Ltd

Gener8 Ads Limited

Tumelo Limited

Capita Scaling Partners and Capital plc

Par Fund Management and Par Equity

YFM Private Equity

CBS Business Consulting

Trojan Energy Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised FNZ (UK) Ltd on the negotiation of a new master services agreement between FNZ and a new customer (James Hay) for the provision of investment transaction and administration services through its technology platform.
  • Advised Capita on its strategic partnership with learning technology innovators Filtered Technologies Ltd.
  • Supported Tumelo on all aspects of its ESG technology proposition as it starts to integrate its software with investment and pension providers to help them win new clients and increase assets under management by engaging underlying investors with transparency and shareholder voting.

Dentons

Leveraging its robust international network of offices and sector specialists, Dentons is rated by clients for its ‘excellent‘ approach across the full gamut of IT contracts and projects. Practice head Alison Bryce is well regarded for her capabilities in IT procurement and outsourcing arrangements, routinely working with leading international banks and retail chains on new payment systems and fraud screening mechanisms. Ross Nicol ’s wide-ranging commercial focus sees him working with clients from the worlds of retail, life sciences and financial services on licensing, distribution, and contract matters. Senior associate John McGonagle works on large-scale procurement and outsourcing projects for both domestic and foreign heavyweights. All named lawyers are based in Glasgow.

Practice head(s):

Alison Bryce

Other key lawyers:

Ross Nicol; John McGonagle

Testimonials

‘Excellent knowledge in partner Ross Nicol. A safe pair of hands.’

‘Dentons work closely with us as though they’re an extension of our own team. They have the ability to step in when required to support and be a credible part of our team in the eyes of our clients. The quality of advice is excellent. They’ve offered a bespoke support model, following our request, which was tailored to our needs and fully flexible.’

‘Ross Nicol is excellent. He takes time to understand our needs and the situation, before offering advice and solutions which not only solve problems, but offer ways forward.’

Work highlights

  • Continued to advise MUFG Securities and Bank of Tokyo, a leading Japanese financial services institution, in the negotiation and drafting of a its agreements with major financial data providers and cloud service providers. In addition we have provided advice and assistance on ensuring compliance with EBA Outsourcing Guidelines.
  • Advising Emtelle UK Limited the review and negotiation of agreements with IBM for the procurement of licenses to a new enterprise resource planning software platform and accompanying implementation consultancy services to transition Emtelle’s entire operations to the new platform
  • Advising M&S extensively on business critical IT projects. This innovative solution has helped to transform M&S legal delivery.

MacRoberts LLP

MacRoberts LLP is frequently engaged by a diverse lineup of Scottish public sector organisations and tech SMEs for support regarding high-value IT projects, ranging from contract negotiations to full-scale regulatory reviews. Edinburgh-based practice chair David Gourlay is a highly experienced advisor on procurement and outsourcing matters, working with various government authorities and financial services clients. Valerie Armstrong-Surgenor is noted for her expertise in software licensing, cybersecurity, and data protection, while Euan Duncan’s recent engagements include post-acquisition contract overhauls for energy providers. Melissa Hall is also recommended for data protection, privacy, and commercial contract work. All named lawyers are based in Glasgow unless stated otherwise.

Practice head(s):

David Gourlay

Other key lawyers:

Valerie-Armstrong Surgenor; Euan Duncan; Melissa Hall

Testimonials

‘The team at MacRoberts have a very strong understanding of the IT industry, including ecommerce, ecommerce suppliers and services. They approached the contract review fully understanding the context in which the contract was to be implemented, and were able to give us advise that was not only to protect our interests but also practical. The team were flexible and able to work with us remotely.’

‘All members of the team that supported us were friendly, approachable and well versed in the technology industry. They were extremely calm and patient under pressure, and were able to meet any deadlines we were working towards. Valerie Armstrong-Surgenor was particularly knowledgeable and supportive in the engagement.’

Key clients

Scottish Building Society

Scottish Police Authority/Police Scotland

Scottish Government

Together Energy

Vascutek Limited (trading as Terumo Aortic)

Aperta Limite

AutoRek (API Software) Limited

Chisholm Hunter

Fraser Hart Limited

Christopher Alexander

Work highlights

  • Advised Scottish Building Society  on material outsourcings and associated regulatory aspects.
  • Advised Aperta Limited in the review and negotiation of its framework software licence agreement and maintenance and support agreement with a major global bank and Reseller Software License Agreement for third party software.
  • Advised Autorek (API Software Limited) on review of its contracts, including a reviewing of its general SaaS templates to ensure fitness for purpose.

Harper Macleod LLP

Harper Macleod LLP‘s technology practice handles a broad cross-section of work, ranging from public sector and third sector-procured IT contracts and outsourcing agreements, to broadcasting rights and licensing negotiations. Glasgow-based department head Tom Thomas is a regular port of call for a number of civic authorities, software developers, and sports governing bodies, who turn to him for assistance regarding high-value commercial contract matters. IP specialist Scott Kerr handles outsourcing and regulatory issues for a diverse array of clients from the worlds of consumer goods, life sciences, and energy, while Jamie Watt is noted for his capabilities in tech-sector patent disputes. Inverness-based Jill Fryer focuses on public procurement and IT-sector competition work. Glasgow-based E-Ming Fong is recommended for tech disputes, including contentious database rights and passing off proceedings.  All named lawyers are based in Edinburgh unless stated otherwise.

Practice head(s):

Tom Thomas

Other key lawyers:

Scott Kerr; Jamie Watt; Jill Fryer; E-Ming Fong

Key clients

The Langholm Initiative

Historic Environment Scotland

Registers of Scotland

Webhelp

Community Energy Scotland

Oh Polly Ltd

Enduro Sports Organisation Limited

Blackwood Homes and Care

Glasgow City Council

Celtic FC

Work highlights

  • Advising CCP on a number of projects associated with this mission, including the procurement of an Integrated Management System partner; a provider of a community benefits website portal; and a multi-lot framework agreement for training services providers.
  • Advised Yoello Limited on a number of commercial contracts as well as a substantial investment to enable it to expand and develop further.

Thorntons Law LLP

Thorntons Law LLP‘s cross-disciplinary IP, media, and tech team works with a strong mix of corporate clients and not-for-profit institutions on various IT contracts and other project – both supplier and buyer-side.  Practice chair Liam McMonagle, who splits his time between Edinburgh and Glasgow, regularly works with universities and software companies on the full gamut of technology procurements and services agreements. In Dundee, managing partner Lesley Larg focuses on the online publishing, gaming, and digital innovation sectors, while dual-qualified (Scots and English law) Loretta Maxfield is noted for her expertise in data protection and IT regulatory frameworks. The Edinburgh-based Neil Falconer is recommended for cybersecurity and IT consultancy work.

Practice head(s):

Liam McMonagle

Other key lawyers:

Lesley Larg; Loretta Maxfield; Neil Falconer

Testimonials

‘Each individual went above and beyond to ensure their knowledge on what was important to us was relayed to external organisations and nothing was compromised.’

Key clients

ThinkAnalytics Limited

ECS Europe Limited

Postcode Lottery Limited

Abertay University

brightsolid Online Technology Limited

Cyborn Limited

Ionburst Limited

ECS Digital Limited

Kumulos Limited

James Hutton Institute

Work highlights

  • Advised ThinkAnalytics on key collaborations and partnerships with global content providers including the BBC, Tata Sky, Liberty Global and others.
  • Advised Kumulos throughout a software integration project for the marketing platform, Unica which was developed by the multinational software development company
  • Advised the University of Abertay on their procurement of an online programme management solution to allow delivery of its educational programmes in an online environment in the UK and internationally.