Firms To Watch: IT and telecoms

Luisa D’Alessandro joined Tyr in February 2021 from Schofield Sweeney to establish the firm’s IT practice, which handles non-contentious matters, including IT contracting and data protection work.

IT and telecoms in Yorkshire And The Humber

Addleshaw Goddard

Addleshaw Goddard offers 'extensive commercial knowledge of their practice areas' and advises national and international clients on high-end transactions and contentious mandates. Praised for his ‘keen eye for detail and ability to get a deal done’, Michael Lowry heads the Leeds-based practice and advises clients on IT projects, while Simon Lofthouse focuses on large-scale procurement, outsourcing and cloud arrangement matters. Bill Gilliam is a key contact for licensing disputes and associate James Mort is ‘relentless in his pursuit of a great outcome’ when handling outsourcing projects. Other key members of the team include associates Charlotte Marshall and Priscilla Hetherton.

Practice head(s):

Michael Lowry

Other key lawyers:

Simon Lofthouse; Bill Gilliam; James Mort; Charlotte Marshall; Priscilla Hetherton

Testimonials

‘James Mort stood out for me. He was calm, professional and very candid in approach. He was relentless in his pursuit of a great outcome for us.

‘The team is very responsible and provides commercial advice with a very good understanding of our needs as a client.’

‘Michael Lowry is an extremely talented lawyer with a keen eye for detail and ability to get a deal done. Charlotte Marshall has assisted me in countless challenging negotiations over the last few years and has never failed to get a good outcome for me as a client. She is my go to person for any IT or commercial contracts advice.’

‘The team clearly have extensive commercial knowledge of their practice areas which ensures that their legal advice is focussed and can address legal and commercial considerations. I believe this is a key competitive advantage for the team and provides a more comprehensive service for clients. Their approach to billing, collaboration, flexible methods of communication to their audience and taking time to build relationships with the clients is first class.’

‘Simon Lofthouse is a dynamic presence, who is always enthusiastic and engaged with numerous creative ideas about how to best work with clients particularly with respect to technology.’

‘We have worked with Addleshaw Goddard on a couple of large, complex IT matters recently and they have come across really well in all interactions. They are very knowledgeable and have demonstrated their experience and knowledge from day one. They have also been really easy to work with.’

Key clients

Skipton Building Society

Market Harborough Building Society

Yorkshire Building Society

Primark Limited

Vaillant Group

Jordan International Bank

M.K.M. Building Supplies (Group) Limited

ASDA Stores Limited

GlaxoSmithKline Inc.

Siemens

Work highlights

  • Advised Asda on its full technology re-platforming following its divestment from Walmart.
  • Advised over ten Building Societies on IT transformation and outsourcing projects.
  • Advised GSK on its IT templates modernisation and automation project.

DLA Piper

Operating from the firm’s offices in Leeds and Sheffield, the ‘exceptional’ technology practice team at DLA Piper has demonstrable experience in digital transformation projects, outsourcing matters, procurements and licensing agreements, in addition to IT-related disputes. Amanda Pilkington advises clients in the financial services and technology sectors on sourcing and IT transformation projects, while Mark Vipan is noted for his experience in IT contracts and commercial agreements. Simon Kenyon, who ‘combines an excellent understanding of the legal issues with a fine nose for the commercial realities of an underlying dispute’, and Richard Norman are key contacts for contentious matters. Legal director James Watson is also noted for his experience in handling IT disputes across both arbitration and court proceedings. Pilkington, Vipan, Kenyon and Norman collectively lead the practice.

Practice head(s):

Amanda Pilkington; Simon Kenyon; Richard Norman; Mark Vipan

Other key lawyers:

James Watson

Testimonials

‘Really outstanding, commercially savvy and great legal knowledgeable.’

‘Amanda Pilkington understands exactly what we are looking for in our deals and generates the confidence to negotiate and make judgment calls on risk allocation for our business, without close oversight. She has taken the time to understand our business, our risk appetite, our structure and so is able to provide relevant and effective support.’

‘The individual attorneys in the team are very professional and thorough in their advice.’

‘Simon Kenyon is outstanding in my view. Great with clients and combines an excellent understanding of the legal issues with a fine nose for the commercial realities of an underlying dispute. Really understands what his clients need.’

‘Hugely experienced in IT disputes and trusted advisors.’

‘The DLA Piper technology practice group is exceptional.’

‘Partner Mark Vipan has gone above and beyond to understand the key business needs. Primarily this involves providing excellent tailored legal advice whilst keeping a careful eye on the public sector.’

‘The team at DLA that I use for IT contracts is one that I’ve used for more than a decade. They are extremely knowledgeable on the risks for certain types of projects, have a very good idea of how far a particular supplier is likely to go, are experts on ensuring their contracts comply with FS regulations and are able to handle board level conversations with ease.’

Key clients

Atos

CBRE

Tata Communications

HCL

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

Placing Platform Limited

Provenir Inc

WNS Global Services

Manx Telecom Limited

Government of Jersey

Work highlights

  • Advising on several proof of concepts agreement with providers of software for the digital reading of lateral flow device test results.
  • Advising NHS Digital on its contract for the provision of digital solution design, build and live service of a digital platform, ordering portals and mobile applications to support the digital and data journey for COVID-19 testing.
  • Advising the Government of Jersey on its largest IT procurement, a major technology and business transformation project to establish modern and effective enabling functions.

Clarion

Fielding specialists in both contentious and non-contentious IT work, Clarion is a go-to name in the market for a mixture of global, national and regional clients including Nichols, Card Factory, InterSystems and Vocalink. Led by commercial group head Matthew Hattersley, the group also fields technology specialist David Cunningham and litigator Dominic Higham.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Hattersley

Other key lawyers:

David Cunningham; Dominic Higham

Key clients

InterSystems Corporation

Vocalink Limited (Mastercard)

Redcentric plc

Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies UK Limited

ASICS

Card Factory plc

Hemingways Marketing Services Limited

Nichols plc

Ligentia plc

Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance Limited

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Based in Leeds, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s technology team works in collaboration with the firm’s national practice to advise clients across the TMT, retail, utilities and financial services sectors on outsourcing contracts, telecoms arrangements and services agreements. James Hyde has considerable experience in contentious mandates, ranging from IT outsourcing and software licensing to cyber claims and breach of contract issues. Hyde jointly leads the team alongside Nick Stubbs, who advises on IT procurement matters and contractual agreements, while director Edward Williams focuses on IT disputes and associate James Ruane handles data protection work.

Practice head(s):

Nick Stubbs; James Hyde

Other key lawyers:

Edward Williams; James Ruane; Matt Chapman

Testimonials

‘The Eversheds team are exceptionally strong in putting forward a strong case for their client, coupled with responsiveness and pragmatism.’

Key clients

DXC

Leeds Building Society

HSBC

Work highlights

    Walker Morris LLP

    Walker Morris LLP showcases ‘valuable and insightful knowledge’ when advising clients on a broad range of technology matters, including contractual work and licensing agreements, transformational projects and IT procurements, as well as contentious cases. ‘Class-actSally Mewies leads the team and acts for clients across the retail and telecoms sectors on cloud and SaaS style contracts, while James Crayton advises on IT outsourcing mandates and platform agreements. ‘Talented’ senior associate Luke Jackson is another key member of the team, who focuses on IT contracting matters.

    Practice head(s):

    Sally Mewies

    Other key lawyers:

    James Crayton; Luke Jackson

    Testimonials

    ‘They have a great understanding of our business and the ability to advise in a commercial and pragmatic way whilst remaining professional at all times.’

    ‘Sally Mewies is a class act. Hugely talented, tech savvy and gets things done.’

    ‘Walker Morris have made a huge investment in this space and have recruited the very best talent in the shape of Sally Mewies to lead it. As well as having phenomenal experience and skills, Sally and the team really look to leverage tech to drive how they deliver new products.’

    ‘Sally Mewies and Luke Jackson have a great communication style, which makes you feel valued and not just another client.’

    ‘Luke Jackson is a talented tech/digital lawyer, who is a great listener and delivers high quality work on time. He has an easy and relaxed communication style, collaborative approach and is a joy to work with.’

    ‘The team is very responsive, pragmatic, and has valuable and insightful knowledge of our sector, developments in the market, our organisation and stakeholders.’

    Key clients

    Starbucks

    Mobile Broadband Network Limited

    Center Parcs

    BMB Clothing Limited

    Chipotle

    Vet-Ai

    Hermes

    University of Leeds

    Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club

    Crystal Palace Football Club

    Work highlights

    • Advised BMB Clothing in relation to a sales platform agreement with Boohoo.
    • Advised Definition Group in relation to the procurement of a video-conferencing platform.
    • Advised Appfire Technologies on the acquisition of certain assets in the Atlassian marketplace.

    Pinsent Masons LLP

    The TMT and commercial practice at Pinsent Masons LLP acts for clients across the technology and higher education sectors on procurement projects, SaaS, PaaS and software development contracts, as well as licensing agreements. The Leeds-based team frequently collaborates with the firm’s national offices to handle large-scale matters. Director Lisa Harley, who advises both public and private-sector clients on IT outsourcing projects, jointly leads the practice alongside James McBurney, who is a key contact for IT disputes.

    Practice head(s):

    James McBurney; Lisa Harley

    Key clients

    The National Employment Savings Trust (NEST)

    Montagu Evans LLP

    Work highlights

    • Engaged by The National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) to advise on all stages and aspects of the procurement process from the setting of the procurement strategy, the development of the procurement documents and draft contract, and the competitive dialogue through to contract award.
    • Instructed by the newly appointed head of technology and innovation at Montagu Evans to support the company on the start of its journey to digitise its business.

    Shoosmiths LLP

    Based in Leeds, Shoosmiths LLP counts regional, national and international corporates and public sector bodies, as well as growing technology businesses, among its key roster of clients, and advises on IT outsourcing projects, public procurements, contractual agreements and data privacy matters. Practice leader and commercial partner Alex Kirkhope acts for clients across the retail, financial services, automotive and healthcare sectors on technology and outsourcing projects. Other key members of the team include senior associate Lauren Midgley, who is noted for her expertise in data protection, and associate Heather Stark.

    Practice head(s):

    Alex Kirkhope

    Other key lawyers:

    Lauren Midgley; Heather Stark; Jennifer Clarke

    Testimonials

    ‘The team at Shoosmiths are extremely personable and take a very proactive and supportive approach to the service they provide. The teams ability to utilise their knowledge and apply it in a different context is invaluable.’

    ‘Alex Kirkhope is patient, thoughtful and worked through situations with care and attention. Even on complicated legal matters, he would take it away and come back with effective solutions.’

    ‘Shoosmiths LLP were professional and organised, and met our legal requirements with ease. The team we worked  with were all very pleasant in nature and punctual for any meetings we had arranged.’

    ‘Alex Kirkhope is personable and knowledgeable with good commercial practical advice.’

    Key clients

    Moorfield Group

    Portakabin Limited

    Twenty7Tec Group Limited

    The Civil Nuclear Constabulary

    Honda Motor Europe

    Skylark Control Ltd

    Manchester Digital

    Rightlander Limited

    Zatori Limited

    Work highlights

    • Advised Moorfield Group on its £600m JV partnership with Bricklane.
    • Advised a logistics companies on its negotiations with IBM for IT services underpinning the rollout of an ERP solution.
    • Advised Twenty7Tec on numerous software integration projects for its SaaS-based mortgage application platform with financial institutions and service providers, including Lloyds Banking Group, Accord Mortgages and Pepper Money.

    Ward Hadaway LLP

    Ward Hadaway LLP has demonstrable experience in contentious and non-contentious IT matters, from large-scale projects to negotiating services contracts and licensing work, and acts for a range of clients across the private and public sectors, particularly suppliers of IT services. Based in Leeds, Bill Goodwin heads the practice and advises on the development and exploitation of new technologies, while managing associate Nathan Bilton provides ‘clear and concise advice’ on issues pertaining to software licensing and data protection.

    Practice head(s):

    Bill Goodwin

    Other key lawyers:

    Nathan Bilton

    Testimonials

    ‘Nathan Bilton provided us with clear and concise advice across a range of complex issues. Nathan helped us to make informed decisions.’

    Key clients

    BTL Group Limited

    MI Telecom Limited

    Rinedata Limited, trading as ‘Clarivos’

    Pioneer Wound Telehealth Ltd.

    Bidpath Limited

    Citi Logik Limited

    Vodat Communications Group Ltd.

    Hisense

    Netpremacy

    Sterling Technology Ltd

    Work highlights

      3volution Limited

      Based in Leeds, commercial boutique firm 3volution Limited acts for numerous IT suppliers and counts IT agreements, software licensing issues, SaaS and cloud-based outsourcing matters in its workload. Firm co-founder Louise Handley ‘leads by example’ and acts for a range of clients, from SMEs to national companies, on e-commerce, social media and software licensing matters. Other key members of the team include Sara Ludlam and associate Heather Simpson.

      Practice head(s):

      Louise Handley

      Other key lawyers:

      Sara Ludlam; Heather Simpson

      Testimonials

      ‘We worked closely with Louise Handley and Heather Simpson. Louise’s grasp of issues and ability to relate to the needs of the client are first rate, she inspires confidence. Heather’s intelligent input in a very timely manner was also extremely valuable.’

      ‘The team are always available, friendly and accessible. They understand our needs and provide exceptional professional support.’

      ‘Louise Handley is a fantastic partner and leads by example. She ensures her team follow her lead and work with us in the same way.’

      ‘By far, the most pragmatic technology lawyers I have worked with. They grasp the intentions of the client and know when and where to raise issues (and how to solve them).’

      ‘Heather Simpson was able to pitch her advice at the exact level of detail we needed. She was responsive and easy to work with.’

      ‘The team is very knowledgeable in what is quite a technical sector, and they combine this knowledge with a practical, commercial approach.’

      Key clients

      Contact Centre Panel Limited

      Recova-19 Limited

      RapidSpike Limited

      Blacklight Software Limited

      Cim Logic Limited

      Netprotocol Limited

      Designer Software Limited

      Dietary Assessment Limited

      Microform Imaging Limited

      Astrofish Games Limited

      Work highlights

        Berwins

        Praised for ‘the quality of advice given and knowledge of the regional technology sector’, the team at Berwins is led by Paul Berwin, who is noted for his expertise in digital contracts and acts for software companies and digital marketing agencies. Senior associate Sam Crich, who advises on commercial contract work arising out of the IT and software sector, is another key member of the Leeds-based team.

        Practice head(s):

        Paul Berwin

        Other key lawyers:

        Sam Crich

        Testimonials

        ‘Paul Berwin is one of the best-connected people in tech and is generous with his time and advice for start-ups.’

        ‘The quality of advice given and knowledge of the regional technology sector make Berwins the best-placed law firm in Leeds.’

        ‘Paul Berwin is an excellent lawyer and always my first choice when recommending him in the Leeds digital sector.’

        Key clients

        Eden Agency Limited

        IData Technology Limited

        Ascensor Limited

        FluidIT Consulting Group Limited

        Smartway2 Limited

        Max Logic LLP

        Intuitive Business Intelligence Limited

        Data OD Limited

        Askew Brook Limited

        Anota Limited

        Work highlights

          Percy Crow Davis & Co

          Percy Crow Davis & Co’s sole practitioner Dai Davis is widely recognised on a national and international basis for his experience in the IT space, and acts for technology suppliers and purchasers on non-contentious mandates. Based in Leeds, Davis advises on IT security and safety-related software issues and is noted for his expertise in the engineering sector.

          Practice head(s):

          Dai Davis

          Key clients

          Discount-Licensing Limited

          Lead Advisory Company

          MVine Limited

          Inbox Insight Limited

          Operabit SRL / Palma Holdings

          Retail Express Limited

          Cadaptor Solutions Limited

          E-Learning Developments Limited

          Fulcrum IT Limited

          Sarova Hotels

          Work highlights

          • Advising Discount-Licensing Limited on the legality of the purchase and sale of previously licensed software in numerous transactions.
          • Advising The Lead Advisory Company Limited on and updating various trading terms.
          • Drafting and negotiating several IT procurement contracts for a company.

          Rollits LLP

          Rollits LLP’s Hull-based team acts for clients across the cloud services, healthcare, education and charity sectors, as well as IT and telecoms suppliers, on non-contentious matters ranging from software licenses and procurement contracts to ecommerce and date protection issues. Practice leader Keith Benton acts for clients who are looking to move to cloud-based solutions, while James Peel advises on IT agreements.

          Practice head(s):

          Keith Benton

          Other key lawyers:

          James Peel

          Key clients

          J.R. Rix & Sons

          The Retreat, York

          Hallite Seals International Limited

          Family Fund Trust

          Family Fund Business Services

          The Consortium Academy Trust

          Giacom World Networks

          Hull City Tigers

          Leeds City College

          Work highlights

          • Advised Giacom World Networks in respect of its agreement with Sophos to act as an authorised distributor of Sophos’ suite of cloud IT services.
          • Advised Colten Care on an agreement for its residential care homes to be advertised on a new online care home search platform.
          • Advised Family Fund Trust on a software development contract using the Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM platform.

          Schofield Sweeney

          Based in Leeds, Schofield Sweeney acts for both suppliers and providers on software licensing matters and contractual arrangements, and is noted for its expertise in e-commerce and data protection mandates. Karen Crutchley leads the practice and advises on a range of IT contracts; former director David Hunter has now left the firm.

          Practice head(s):

          Karen Crutchley

          Key clients

          Claritas Solutions Limited

          Greenhous Group Limited

          C4X Discovery Holdings plc

          EMIS Group plc

          NDL Software Limited

          Copenhagen Infrastructure Service Company Limited

          Cubico Group Limited

          Campuslife Limited

          DFDS Seaways

          Advanced Digital Innovation (UK) Limited

          Work highlights

          • Advised Planet Sport on a new joint venture to create an online betting platform.
          • Advised an educational resource provider on the development and launch of an app for children.
          • Advised an educational resource provider on the development of a new website including e-commerce aspects.