I spent the bulk of my twenties on disparate university degrees. I tried management consultancy but didn’t enjoy it, so converted to law and came to the bar of England and Wales a decade ago.
What do you do?
A lot of what I do is help clients develop their business models to make the best commercial use of their data assets, while at the same time avoiding legal and regulatory entanglement and keeping individual customers happy. Another big strand is litigation: challenges to how controllers have used or misused personal information.
What drew you to your area of practice?
I started practice in the relatively early days of freedom of information litigation in the UK. This got me interested and experienced in the balance between transparency and competing interests like privacy. This was a natural fit with data protection, which was growing exponentially as I was building my practice. I like that this area evolves so quickly: it is not weighed down by endless precedents, and always has an eye on the future, on technology, changing business models and changing human attitudes to privacy. You feel like you can help shape principles and practice, rather than simply comply with what black-letter law dictates (because it often doesn’t tell you the answers!).
Influences and mentors?
My chambers has two of the best Queen’s Counsel in this area of law: Tim Pitt-Payne and Anya Proops. They have helped shape my career from the outset. I wouldn’t have managed to build a satisfying and specialist career like this without their support.
If you hadn’t been a lawyer...
I met a vicar once who told me I should be a vicar. Left to my own devices, and if money were no object, I would probably end up trying to write history books (something about Reformation or Victorian London, I suspect).
What’s everyone talking about?
Whether to base data processing models on consent or on legitimate interests, and how to be transparent with individuals – especially if you use their data, but they’ve never heard of you. Also: Brexit.
What do you do to relax?
Read, cycle, swim, barbecue, garden cricket with my children. I like country walks, sea swimming and finding old churches and good coffee (seldom in the same place). I shuck the odd oyster.