Data Protection: UK-wide
Bird & Bird has established a formidable reputation in this sphere, and its practice is distinguished by an ability to advise on data protection on an international scale. Recently the firm's litigation workload has included two victories in data protection cases in the ECJ. Sources say: "Their service is totally seamless," "their coverage of issues is excellent," and "their proactive and challenging approach to legal advice is impressive."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Consultant and former Deputy Information Commissioner Francis Aldhouse continues to be an asset to the Bird & Bird data protection practice.
Department head Ruth Boardman remains an active and visible presence in the field of data protection law. One source says: "I love working with her! She gives practical advice, is willing to engage in conversations with us, and understands the nature of our business."
This firm has a strong technology practice, which includes deep knowledge and experience of data protection matters. Its lawyers handle work across a broad range of industry sectors, including healthcare and the public sector, as well as advising on freedom of information matters. The team has also fostered close working relationships with EU data protection authorities. Sources say: "Their advice is proactive and high-quality."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Experienced practitioner Christopher Millard has recently advised a major international corporation on its worldwide data transfer operations and compliance.
Hazel Grant is well known as a leading expert in data protection matters. She has recently advised an international company on pan-European data privacy matters.
Mark Watts continues to attract praise for his top-quality advice. Sources say: "He is not only a subject matter expert, but pragmatic in his approach. His deep knowledge of how companies work makes him a business-oriented lawyer." He has recently advised Sony on its development of a binding corporate rules (BCR) strategy.
This firm has continued to grow an already sizeable data protection team, and it is noted in particular for its ability to handle international mandates. It has particular strengths in advising on BCR, but the practice also covers contentious data protection issues, compliance and data transfer issues. Sources say: "The FFW UK team is very strong in advising on the online area."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Stewart Room mainly handles contentious data protection matters, including advising on cases against the UK Information Commissioner. "He is the most impressive solicitor I've dealt with," states one source, while another says that he is "commercially savvy, with an excellent understanding of information law - he is an excellent, first-rate, tactical lawyer."
Eduardo Ustaran is head of the data protection team of this firm. Sources compliment his active participation in the data protection advisory community, and the high level of client service he provides.
This firm has benefited from the arrival of Rosemary Jay, a recognised expert in data protection law and a former Head of the Legal Office of the Data Protection Registrar. With Rosemary and a former Information Commissioner in its arsenal of advisers, it is no surprise that the firm remains at the forefront of thought leadership in the area. It is able to advise across the full range of data protection matters, including BCR, online privacy and data transfers, while its international capacity is bolstered by data protection specialists in its US, Brussels and Beijing offices.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Bridget Treacy "has a pragmatic approach. She makes an effort to understand the impact of her advice, from both a legal and commercial perspective, which is superb." She has recently led a team advising on a BCR project for multinational conglomerate GE.
Richard Thomas is a former Information Commissioner, having left that post in 2009. He has been working alongside Bridget Treacy in her advice to GE. He also has considerable expertise in information governance and data breaches.
Rosemary Jay has recently joined the firm from Pinsent Masons, where she was head of the information law practice. She is widely respected by peers within the data protection field. Perhaps due to her experience as a former Head of the Legal Office of the Data Protection Registrar, sources say she is "happy to challenge regulators."
The firm has one of the largest IT legal teams in the UK, which serves as a platform for the firm to advise numerous high-profile clients on data protection matters. Its clients span a wide range of industries, and many of them seek advice on data protection strategy at an international level.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Ilana Saltzman "is a noted figure in data protection advisory circles," and is an expert on EU privacy rules and e-commerce data privacy matters. Her clients include the likes of The Body Shop.
Covington & Burling has recently advised the Wikimedia Foundation on several information law and data access issues regarding its services, some of which involved cross-border issues. This sizeable data protection team has expertise across a wide range of industry sectors, including the IT, financial services and online services industries.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources say desk head Daniel Cooper "has great negotiation skills, especially with bureaucrats in Brussels." He has recently been advising Microsoft on privacy law relating to its purchase of Skype, one of the largest acquisitions in the history of the company.
Dentons is one of the more sizeable data protection practices in the UK, and the team here goes from strength to strength. The firm has recently advised Virgin Atlantic on several complex privacy matters. Other clients include Chubb Group, Homebase and First Data. Sources say: "The data protection team are all capable and competent. They have given us a huge amount of support and it was done in a very cost-effective manner."
Subsequent to publication, SNR Denton LLP, Salans LLP and Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP merged to form Dentons in April 2013.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients say that what sets Nick Graham apart from other lawyers advising on data protection "is his knowledge about privacy issues, and on a wider international level as well. He has great perspective on various aspects of the different laws." His clients include Yammer, Delta Air Lines and Argos.
This firm has a particularly strong practice in defending freedom of information requests, although it is also capable of advising clients on BCR, data transfer and privacy compliance. The team's contentious and non-contentious capability, international reach and technical expertise have led it to be instructed by the likes of Cathay Pacific Airways, Pfizer and HCL Technologies.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources say practice head Cameron Craig "is a very strong lawyer on data protection issues." He has recently advised a variety of companies on the new cookies legislation in the UK.
This firm continues to offer excellent advice and service to its clients in data protection matters. Sources identify the firm's international reach as an attractive feature of the practice.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice head Paula Barrett advises on all manner of data protection issues, including data breaches connected with international computer hacking.
Liz Fitzsimons also impresses with her grasp of the issues that face global businesses within a complex data protection framework.
This full-service firm offers international advisory capability to its clients, which include Fujitsu, IBM, Zurich and Petrofac. The group has recently been advising a client on the legal implications of cutting-edge data anonymisation software. The lawyers here also have considerable experience in supporting clients in cases before the Information Tribunal.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Kate Brimsted can readily advise on both contentious and advisory matters concerning information law, including giving feasibility analyses on proposed data-intensive business initiatives.
This firm's London data protection team has advised extensively on legal issues associated with data breaches. It has recently been advising on a pan-European data consolidation project for key client Aviva. Clients continue to praise the quality of the team's advice.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Quentin Archer is head of the data protection team at the firm. He is described as a patient, efficient lawyer on data protection matters. Recent work highlights include the aforementioned data consolidation project on behalf of Aviva.
Linklaters serves an illustrious client base on data protection matters, including recent instructions from AstraZeneca and News International. It can also draw upon an international network of data protection lawyers, in offices such as Munich and Brussels, in order to serve clients on multi-jurisdictional matters. Sources recommend the firm because of the commercial approach taken by its lawyers, as well as their technical capabilities.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Richard Cumbley has recently been involved in representing clients in the high-profile Leveson Inquiry regarding privacy laws and phone hacking. He is commended by clients for turning his knowledge of relevant law into practical solutions. His data protection clients include News International, Rolls-Royce and Hyatt Hotels.
This team has recent experience in a variety of data protection matters, including advising clients on freedom of information requests and BCR applications. It has an impressive portfolio of work, with strengths in advising both the private and public sectors. The firm has invested heavily in its data protection practice and this shows through in a number of impressive new client wins, including E.ON, Amazon.com and Centrica.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Marc Dautlich recently arrived from Olswang to become the new head of the information law team at this firm. He has continued to receive complex instructions from clients requiring international advice on data protection law.
This firm provides "a very comprehensive and professional service in the specific area of information law." The firm's expertise extends to knowledge of, and litigation experience in, the Freedom of Information Act and the Data Protection Act, while its impressive team includes both a qualified barrister and a tribunal judge in information rights. Clients have been impressed "with the way the team captured the issues, utilised their contacts and came back with a better solution than the challenge that was given to them."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Melanie Carter "has particular expertise on information law, and we have found her to be responsive and knowledgeable, while her advice is clear and pragmatic," says one client. Carter has recently advised national clients in relation to their exit from the public sector, and the impact of that move on their freedom of information responsibilities, liaising with the Ministry of Justice in creating a workable, minimal-impact rearrangement.
The data protection litigation arm at this firm has recently advised News Corporation on the resolution of several civil claims concerning alleged of breaches of the Data Protection Act. Sources have commented favourably on the depth of knowledge displayed by the data protection team at Olswang.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Ross McKean is an experienced adviser to clients with multi-jurisdictional network security issues. He has recently advised international corporation Sony on data privacy matters. Sources are impressed by his pragmatic approach to legal advice.
The firm draws upon its Silicon Valley office, in Palo Alto, to advise global giants of the technology world, including Facebook and Motorola. Sources recommend the firm for its international coverage and flexible approach to advising clients in data protection and freedom of information matters. One client states: "They are commercially minded and technically sound. They are my first port of call and handle matters very well."
KEY INDIVIDUALS James Mullock recently secured a favourable decision on behalf of UK water companies in the Information Tribunal, exempting them from Environmental Information Regulations. Other key clients include Carphone Warehouse, Dell and Everything Everywhere.
This firm is recommended for its "good expertise" in data privacy compliance issues in Europe, and it has both contentious and non-contentious advisory capabilities. Key clients include 3M, Pentair and Watson Pharmaceuticals.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Group head Robert Bond "is a true expert in data protection," says one source. He has recently advised a large international corporation on information law issues surrounding the implementation of a company whistle-blowing hotline.
This information law team focuses on data protection matters, including BCR and data privacy matters. The practice has also recently expanded to cover data protection disputes. This year the team is joined by John Benjamin, former in-house counsel of Samsung Electronics, who has considerable experience in advising on the concerns of multinationals.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Key partner Ashley Winton has recently advised on BCR applications for a major international corporation. He is said to be "the combination of a brilliant legal mind in a very techy person."
This firm has the talent and resources to handle large, multinational data protection advisory projects. Its broad practice in information law includes providing training, transactional support and legal compliance guidance. Sources comment: "The firm has some very talented attorneys, and its UK operation in data protection is world-class - as good as any we have encountered."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Jane Finlayson-Brown has recently advised a global financial institution on data transfers between 57 different jurisdictions. She is expert in the field of compliance.
Senior associate Nigel Parker gave advice to News International on a range of different matters, including subject access requests and internal training programmes.
The data protection team at Brodies advises on the full spectrum of information law-related matters, including information recovery via litigation and data breach management. Sources say: "It is an invaluable team that is effective at having all the angles covered." Key clients include RBS, Shetland Island Council and American Express.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources praise the expertise and knowledge which Grant Campbell brings to data protection work. He has recently advised Scotland's Colleges on a data sharing arrangement.
Associate Martin Sloan "has a brilliant mind, and is an invaluable guy to have on your team," says one source. He is an experienced adviser to financial institutions on data transfer issues.
The data protection team at this firm straddles several practice area groups. Key areas of expertise which the team advises on include bank secrecy, data processing restrictions and record keeping requirements. The London office also co-ordinates data protection projects across multiple jurisdictions.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Richard Jones is director of the data privacy practice at the firm. He is expert on European data protection regulation and can also advise on wider e-commerce issues.
This firm's data protection practice has broad industry sector expertise, with experience in advising clients in the financial services, energy and utilities, consumer products and life sciences sectors. Key clients include the Reed Elsevier Group and Universal Music Group International.
KEY INDIVIDUALS John Armstrong is the key contact for data protection matters at this firm.
This firm has recently advised Chiquita Brands International on global information law matters. Sources say: "The team is very professional - they are proactive and keep us updated on new legal developments in the field."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Rohan Massey is the key contact for privacy and data protection matters in Europe.
This firm's data protection experts have core industry expertise in the technology, public and healthcare sectors. The team is highly praised for its stellar client service levels and skilful legal guidance on complex information law matters. One client comments: "They have really taken the effort to build trust in their relationship with us, and have assisted us with advice at the strategic level on a wide range of activities."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Gary Attle heads the department from the firm's Cambridge office.
This London-based data protection team is an international hub for clients seeking cross-jurisdictional advice in Europe, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and Latin America. The firm houses Nick Tyler, who is former chief legal adviser to the Information Commissioner.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Team head Cynthia O'Donoghue is dual-qualified in the USA and in England and Wales, and she frequently advises clients on information law across both jurisdictions. Sources praise her knowledge and professionalism in this practice area.
This firm has recently advised one of the world's leading insurance providers on a UK privacy audit and compliance project. Sources say: "The team is a pleasure to work with. They provide clear, pragmatic advice and are quick to understand the nature of the work requested." Key clients include KBACE Technologies, Jaguar Land Rover and BrightTag.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Key contacts Ann LaFrance and Philip Zender are co-heads of the data protection and privacy group.
of SGH Martineau LLP advises a number of higher education providers on data protection issues. One client says: "Her knowledge of both the relevant legislation and similar cases within the higher education sector ensures that I am confident of obtaining helpful advice
of Ward Hadaway has an MSc in computing science and had a career in IT before qualifying as a solicitor. She advises clients on a broad range of information law issues. Sources say: "She has a very detailed knowledge of the Freedom of Information Act and the Data Protection Act.
heads the data protection and freedom of information team at Bond Pearce LLP. He advises on a wide spectrum of information law issues, including international data transfer arrangements.
recently joined Taylor Wessing LLP from Herbert Smith. He is an expert on database law, amongst other areas.
16th May 2013: GC Seminar, London Sponsor-backed IPOs: IPO Exits of Portfolio Companies
21st May 2013: GC Seminar, New York Hackers Are After Your Data!: Practical Ways To Reduce Data Security Breach Exposure
23 May 2013: Chambers USA Awards for Excellence 2013, New York
24 May 2013: Launch of Chambers USA 2013, New York and online
29th May 2013: GC Seminar, New York Going Mobile: IP and Privacy Considerations
4th June 2013: GC Seminar, Houston Challenges in Creating An Effective and Coordinated Global Compliance Program
9 September 2013: Chambers Latin America Awards 2013, Miami
10 September 2013: Launch of Chambers Latin America 2014, online
3rd October 2013: Chambers Bar Awards 2013, London
10 May 2012: Chambers Europe Awards for Excellence, Amsterdam