IT and telecoms in South West
Ashfords LLP fields a multi-disciplinary team for technology matters, that includes commercial, IP and corporate lawyers who specialise in the technology sector. The group is particularly well-versed in advising emerging technology businesses, investment funds in the fintech and service-as-software (Saas) sectors. The arrival of Jocelyn Ormond from Simmons & Simmons in November 2019 kick-started the firm's digital health practice. Chris Dyson is department head, focusing on technology investment and acquisition work. Andy Braithwaite is an industry stalwart, handling supplier-side and customer-side deals. Suzie Miles is the practitioner to note for IT transformation, outsourcing and software licensing.
‘The Ashfords TMT team work tirelessly to achieve the desired outcome, they respond confidently and accurately to our needs. I would not hesitate in recommending them.’
‘I work with a number of lawyers at Ashfords – all are excellent. They quickly grasp the detail and provide thorough, clear, and prompt advice. They are very approachable and a pleasure to work with.’
Network Merchants (NMI)
- Continue to provide Form3 with support on their business operations and have advised them on various commercial contracts and strategically important projects, including a contract with Banking Competition Remedies Ltd (BCR) for a £5 million grant from the Capability and Innovation Fund.
- Act for leading Saas investor Notion Capital in respect of investment rounds totalling hundreds of millions of dollars per annum, including an $80 million investment in Currencycloud,
- Selected onto the Post Office’s panel, to provide it with ongoing support on commercial and technology matters.
Outsourcing work is central to Burges Salmon LLP 's practice, which is often instructed by UK and international industrial and service companies as purchasers on large IT transactions and projects. Supplier-side work is another area of expertise, and the group has developed a practice assisting local technology start-ups with corporate and commercial issues and venture capital funds with their investments. Outsourcing expert Andrew Dunlop, who has solid client roster of corporates, financial institutions and technology vendors, is head of the firm's cross-departmental TMT team and its outsourcing practice. Martin Cook, the former general counsel at payments business WorldRemit, joined as head of fintech in early 2021. Senior associate Lucy Pegler specialises in matters related to data protection and cybersecurity.
BMI Healthcare (UK’s largest provider of private hospitals)
The National Trust
St Modwen Properties PLC (LSE-listed house builder)
Dwyr Cymru Welsh Water
Exeter Friendly Society
AXA Insurance UK
- Advising Southern Water, on its strategic decision to transition from the current position of having two major IT outsourcing relationships (with CAPITA and Fujitsu) that together operate its outsourced IT department, to a more tailored model with some functions taken in-house and others outsourced to over 50 highly specialised suppliers.
- Acting for BMI on a tendering process for a transformative new enterprise resource planning organisation-wide technology platform.
- Advising The National Trust on the renegotiation of its IT outsourcing contract with CAPITA covering technology development, call centre management and various ancillary services, and in particular on the move to a transformed solution, incorporating AI and other technologies.
Foot Anstey's technology practice includes advising on technology projects and licensing work for fintech, clean tech and retail tech companies, as well as outsourcing projects for established corporates. The group is able to draw on expertise in data exploitation and GDPR compliance, as well as issues arising from the Internet of Things (IoT) and the cloud. Martin Cuell leads the department, specialising in transformational technology projects. Promoted to partner in May 2019, Alexandra Leonidou spearheads the firm's work in privacy and data protection, as well as advising on advertising, digital media, and commercial contracts.
The Royal Shakespeare Company
Mole Valley Farmers
South Staffordshire Water Plc
University of the West of England
- Supported Quilter Plc on negotiations with financial data platform provider Coupa and ongoing negotiations with international cloud provider Workday.
- Supported Audley Travel with regard to a major technology project to revolutionise their business critical bookings and customer relationship management functions. This has involved negotiating and developing contractual documentation with Salesforce and systems integrator Kaptio.
- Supported Spirent Communications Plc on an asset purchase of certain testing technologies from Integrated Navigation Systems (INS). The deal was contingent upon the technology passing a number of tests and gateways required of it by Spirent.
'The quality of the advice and work is excellent' at Osborne Clarke, which draws on IT specialists from its core commercial, corporate, employment, funds and disputes practices, enabling it to provide a rounded offering to technology companies and buyers of their services. The department is headed by commercial technology specialist Will Robertson, who takes the lead on procurement matters. Technology litigator Charlie Wedin is the name to note for technology disputes, often with cross-border elements. Tom Harding leads the interactive entertainment practice, specialising in commercial transactions related to the production and exploitation of digital media products and services.
‘A classic good-quality national law firm. The quality of the advice and work is excellent.’
‘This team gives clear, simple, pragmatic advice, always considering the business’ requirements. They have taken time to understand our risk appetite so that their advice is on point.’
‘We receive high quality advice and usually it is pragmatic and considering our specific business needs. Whenever we have had constructive feedback, they are keen to listen and to improve their way of working.’
‘We see Will Robertson and his team as an extension of the in-house legal team. I am always happy and comfortable for them to work directly with our commercial teams.’
London & Country Mortgages
Western Power Distribution
Ultra Electronic Holdings
Oath (Formerly Yahoo!)
- Advising on a business-critical digital transformation outsourcing for Hargreaves Lansdown worth around £5m over three years.
- Acting for Homebase on their new SAAS and Professional Services agreement with 2020 for customer self-serve online kitchen design and modelling services, as well as a significant connectivity deal with O2 for the full range of telephony (fixed voice, mobile) and connectivity (wifi, WAN, LAN etc) services.
- Assisting Western Power Distribution with a number of industry first projects, from developments in smart meter technology and data extrapolation to virtual monitoring of data networks and new systems implementation for job tracking.
TLT's team is instructed by UK and international corporates on the development and exploitation of technology. Sectors where the group stands out are retail, financial services, telecoms and government. The group is led by James Touzel, who has experience leading on strategic projects for major corporates and local government agencies, including in relation to procurement and outsourcing. Daniel Read is recommended for his knowledge in IT, telecoms and business process outsourcing projects in the public and private sectors, particularly in financial services. Associate Emma Erskine-Fox is developing a promising IT contracts and data protection practice.
‘Solutions tailored to customer needs, prompt responses.’
‘I appreciate Dan Read ‘s ability to promptly respond to my queries, as well as his business orientated approach and flexibility. He quickly understands my requests and answers to the point.’
South West Creative Technology Network
J Sainsbury’s plc
The Co-operative Group
C & J Clark
Imperial Brands plc
Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime
Elavon Financial Services DAC
Telegraph Media Group
Lucozade Ribena Suntory
Divido Financial Services
- Engaged to support a UK supermarket with a new business critical software contract for use in logistics planning across its warehouses.
- Supported a UK building society with procurement, licensing, implementation, and support and maintenance of new infrastructure and software for use in its financial reconciliations activity, and vital for compliance with Financial Conduct Authority regulatory requirements.
- Engaged by a new entrant business rolling out electric vehicle charging sites across the UK.
BPE Solicitors LLP
BPE Solicitors LLP's technology team is an integral part of the firm's commercial department. The group has vast experience advising IT companies and major suppliers on government and large corporate contracts. Promoted to partner in September 2019, Emma Hickson heads the group, and specialises in large government IT infrastructure and associated deals. Robert Bryan leads on commercial contracts and corporate governance in the context of science and technology. In January 2019, David Gray was hired in a consultant capacity, having previously held the position of global vice-president of the transactions team at DXC Technology.
‘We chose BPE as they are local to us and having that regular face to face contact is extremely important to us. They offer us excellent expertise in an area of our business that would otherwise require a costly full time employee that would not be needed all of the time, therefore they offer us exactly the coverage that we need.’
‘This team knows about software license agreements and has significant experience in this area (EULA, Support/Main. SaaS etc.)‘
‘Emma Hickson is a deeply engaged solicitor with great knowledge in her area and makes it as easy to understand as possible. She is always willing to help and regularly goes above and beyond for us as a business.’
‘Sarah Kenshall is very good at analysis, and my go-to person for all personal data matters.’
Agria Pet Insurance
Michelmores LLP handles contentious and non-contentious matters in relation to technology deals, including assisting public sector clients with complex technology transactions and fast-growing, disruptive start-ups and scale-ups with their operations and expansion. Practice head Tom Torkar has experience in IT projects, business transformation and outsourcing projects. Charles Courtenay joined in 2019, having served in the Los Angeles office of Latham & Watkins LLP, and is an expert in IT disputes, particularly from a cross-border perspective.
‘Great knowledge of our business, good communication and professional, accurate advice.’
‘Tom Torkar is a star partner – very helpful, understanding, patient and knowledgeable.’
Landmark Information Group
Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime
Devon and Cornwall Police
Gamesys Group plc
- Provided commercial contract advice to Landmark Information Group (part of the Daily Mail and General Trust) across a wide range of products, services and client agreements.
- Advised Limitless on the launch and multi-jurisdictional roll-out of its leading enterprise AI and crowd-sourced, customer service SaaS platform.
- Key member of Gamesys’ panel for commercial and technology legal advice, including negotiation of adtech agreements and data protection.
Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP's national technology head, Alastair Mitton, is based in the Bristol office. The group, which is able to work with the firm's practitioners nationally and in the US, has particular expertise in the financial services and insurance sectors, as well as advising public sector clients on procurement and outsourcing projects. Transport is another area of expertise, which sees the team working on IT and telecoms projects in relation to core systems and customer-facing technology. Gareth Jones is noted for customer-side projects involving IT services and outsourcing.
‘They’ve been great for us due to having UK and US partners. We are a US based business operating in the UK and that connection has been essential in our legal support.’
‘WBD has a tailored service package for start-ups like ours and this has enabled a refreshing commercial approach and practice by Alastair Mitton and his team.’
‘Alastair is very thorough and inspires confidence. We always feel well supported and that the advice is measured. Rapport is good and speed of communication.’
Post Office Limited
Quilter (previously Old Mutual Wealth)
Ministry of Justice
Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society
Kingfisher plc/Kingfisher Information Technology Services
- Acting for Post Office on its contractual arrangements with a Systems Integrator prime contractor with a banking sub-contractor for multiple services in relation to Post Office Card Accounts provided to benefit and pensions recipients.
- Continued to advise Network Rail on a new procurement exercise for the roll-out of free public Wi-Fi services at all of Network Rail’s managed stations in England and Wales, following a previous procurement exercise having been withdrawn.
DAC Beachcroft LLP
Alan Pratt leads the technology team at DAC Beachcroft LLP, which assists clients with all aspects of large technology projects, software development, e-commerce and licensing, particularly in relation to the financial services and healthcare sectors.
Roxburgh Milkins Limited
The technology department at Roxburgh Milkins Limited provides a full-service to technology companies, particularly scale-ups involved in deep tech. Led by Ian Grimley, who works with Charles Van Der Lande, the group specialises in acting as in-house advisers. Data protection is another area of expertise, where the practice includes implementation of compliance procedures and continued support services.
‘The team have a unique approach to clients which is about the long-term and the client’s journey. They are relationship-based in their approach and see their role as a “trusted adviser”. They take time to get to know you and your business.’
‘Boutique practice for entrepreneurs and tech companies. An agile, flexible practice. Much more entrepreneurial in its own right than other practices. Not corporate in its approach.’
‘Ian Grimley and Charles van der Lande are intensely practical and experienced. Focused on the big picture.’
‘I have worked mostly with Charles van de Lande for corporate support and have found him to be insightful and practical, able to get to the core of an issue and provide balanced advice. He is easy to work with, measured and client-centred, which sets him apart from many other lawyers.’
GL Education Group
KETS Quantum Security
- Advised long-standing client GL Assessment on numerous matters, including new data protection communications, publishing agreements, customer contracts and IP infringement or data protection issues.
- Regularly assist P-R (and subsidiary M-Netics) with negotiating contracts with large corporate clients, with numerous instructions.
- Advising Blu Wireless on a retained basis on all their new customer agreements and IP licensing. As well as licensing their technology to other companies, they have moved into developing and selling the products required to deliver 5G.
Royds Withy King
At Royds Withy King, the team is composed of commercial and technology lawyers, specialising in providing commercial, data privacy and IP services to technology SMEs, and advising on technology issues for non-tech businesses. Joining the firm from an in-house position at TSB Bank in 2019, Dan Meadon-Bower leads the team, taking over from Philip Banks-Welsh, who now leads the drone law offering.
Cellmark Forensic Services
Sharp Laboratories of Europe
Against Breast Cancer
- Advised FleetCheck on its partnership with the FTA for the licensing of fleet management technology.
- Advising on a co-location services agreement for a leading data centre provider in support of a multinational insurance firm end client
- Negotiating a £1.2m research sponsorship and technology transfer agreement between the Against Breast Cancer charity and Southampton university
Thrings LLP has developed a reputation for acting as 'an extension of the in-house team' for mid-seized technology companies, handling contracts, negotiations and disputes. The group, led by Kate Westbrook is also instructed on the user-side, advising on IT procurement and technology development projects. Associate Will Foulkes, who joined from Foot Anstey in 2019, has developed a solid blockchain practice.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team were able to offer practical and pragmatic advice. This enabled us to agree a stronger contract with a key supplier of IT services.’
‘Very much an extension of the in-house team; trusted to deal direct with the business in a manner/tone consistent with the in-house team.’
‘Depth of business, commercial and industry sector knowledge is good.’
‘Kate Westbrook knows our business and priorities backwards – all of her advice is contextualised and I trust her to represent the in-house team in the business.’
Optimal Industrial Technologies
Martin Lock Associates
People Risk Solutions
Anthony Best Dynamics
Folli Follie and Links of London
National Deposit Friendly Society (National Friendly)
Proctor & Stevenson
Targett Business Technology
European Technology Risks
Bolt – Pima Ventures UK
- Represented Optimal Industrial Technologies in the agreement to supply its SynTQ software and related services to a major multinational pharmaceutical company.
- Developed a complex master services agreement for IT and telecoms outsourcing for use with multiple Cybrid customers, including a major manufacturer.
- Regularly work with and support the Bonsai Tiger founder directors with various commercial agreements.
‘They bring real practical experience of this specialist area to a very wide range of clients across the whole country.’
‘Professionalism, attention to detail and an ability to present solutions when faced with challenges.‘
‘Kary Withers is very experienced and absolutely unflappable. She has a very broad experience of property litigation that she deploys really well.’
‘Aimee Davies, like Kary, is a true telecoms specialist, and she’s really tough with it. Telecoms work often calls for tough negotiation skills, particularly in the new climate following the new Code. Aimee always seems to know how to get things done, and which fights to pick. She has amazing technical knowledge.’
- The Methodist Church in Great Britain
- The PG Group
- London and Quadrant
- Lidl UK
- Southern Housing
- Pinnacle Towers
- The Guinness Partnership
- Sovereign Housing Association
- Three Rivers District Council
- The Beacon Educational Trust
- The Berkeley Group plc
- Revive a Phone
- Eris Media Solutions
- Lewisham Homes
- Acted for London and Quadrant Housing Trust in the matter of EE and Hutchison 3G UK v London and Quadrant Housing Trust (2019) [Upper Tribunal], successfully defending an application for the imposition of interim Code rights.
- Representing The Guinness Partnership in proceedings brought against it by Cornerstone Telecommunications and Telefonica UK in both the County Court (1954 Act lease renewal proceedings) and the Upper Tribunal in respect of the same property.
- Acted for a regional residential developer to successfully remove telecommunications cabling unlawfully installed which was significantly impeding development.
Stephens Scown LLP
Led by Ben Travers, lawyers at Stephens Scown LLP focus on commercial IT work, assisting technology companies with development and licensing processes. The group is noted for substantial experience in IT contracts.
Nexus Open Systems
Source Code Control
- Assisted Nexus Open Systems with advanced IT framework creation.
- IT and data protection advice to IMP Software
- Advised Source Code Control on drafting terms and conditions for the supply of open source software management services for an established software licensing and asset management business.
The Bournemouth-based team at Laceys is often instructed by software and app developers on commercial matters, as well as assisting digital marketing agencies with contracts and agreements. Head of the corporate and commercial department at the firm, Sam Freeman , leads the group, which includes associate Charlotte Mitchell, who arrived from an in-house position with Robert Bird Engineering Group in November 2018.
Other key lawyers:
Pritchetts Law focuses on data protection, advising public, private and charity sector clients on compliance with GDPR and UK legislation and data retention issues. Founding partner Stephanie Pritchett leads the team.
‘Stephanie Pritchett and Ben Wootton, supported by Al Goodwin and Hilary Homer are a tightly knit team of experts, with multiple skills and pre-eminent experience.’
‘Stephanie and Ben are such extremely experienced exponents of this area of law that they are our go-to advisers. They both offer sensible, pragmatic, realistic and solution-based advice.‘
‘Stephanie really thinks legal and practical issues through, and takes an honest view of her client’s situation, but stays focused on achieving a sensible solution.’
The UPP group of companies
Unison (trade union)
The Ceuta group of companies
RAC Motoring Services
Link Maker Systems
The National Foundation for Educational Research
Newcastle Building Society
- Advising UPP on a GDPR compliance programme. Also advise regularly on its contractual arrangements with its many University business partners and on data protection impact assessments across the group.
- Advise and provide training to one of the UK’s largest trade unions on ensuring GDPR compliance across the organisation.
- Advising The Ceuta Group consumer brand services business on its contractual arrangements with business partners, as well as in relation to data protection compliance across its entire group of companies.
Steer & Co draws on vast experience advising clients in emerging technologies on all aspects of their operation, including collaboration agreements with multinational technology companies. The team is led by founding partner Rebecca Steer, whose sector expertise spans AI, voice recognition, digital technology and semiconductors. Nic Ruesink-Brown is an expert in intellectual property and cyber risk management.
Other key lawyers:
‘A great, friendly and responsive team who have a knack of explaining things in an easy to understand way.‘
- Negotiating a collaboration agreement for Graphcore with Microsoft to collaborate on the use of Graphcore Intelligence Processing Units (IPUs) on Microsoft Azure (Microsoft’s cloud platform).
- Provided advice, drafted and negotiated 5 silicon IP agreements with major suppliers for XMOS. These relate to the licence of hardware for use in the new XMOS silicon chip design for its next generation voice processors.
- Provided advice and negotiation on a licence agreement for the use of Moortec hardware by a US automotive customer in its chip design.
Stephenson Law is a technology boutique that handles commercial and corporate, data protection, data protection and technology law issues for an array of SMEs in the sector. Jointly led by Michelle Correia and founding partner Alice Stephenson, the group is well placed to offer 'external in-house' support.
Blue Yonder (formerly JDA Software)
Global Web Index
- Through a general counsel retainer, the firm provided fast-growing market research firm GlobalWebIndex with commercial legal support and business-level legal strategy ahead of anticipated investment rounds.
- Through a legal counsel retainer, provided confused.com with timely legal advice and direction through a combination of on-site and remote support while their General Counsel was on maternity leave.
- Advised subsea technology company Rovco on £5m Series A investment round led by Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund.