I have been a data lawyer for over a decade, having joined (what was then) Denton Wilde Sapte in 2005. I joined the firm because of the strength and reputation of its technology practice, and was quickly drawn into advising on data-focused matters and data protection compliance. It was an area that, at the time, many other lawyers were keen to avoid – probably because of the jargon! – but I enjoyed the technical and intellectual challenge of the field, and still do.
What do you do?
Help clients navigate thorny data privacy compliance issues and develop enterprise-wide data privacy compliance frameworks. Most recently, this has focused on assisting clients with their preparations for the introduction of the GDPR – from fact-find and gap assessment to policy production and operationalisation. And I have assisted with multiple data transfer projects – ranging from dual application Binding Corporate Rules to standard contractual clause implementation in 50+ countries.
Being at the forefront of the work for clients on assessing and designing GDPR-compliant approaches in a market with limited precedents and firm regulatory guidance has certainly been a highlight.
Who are your influences and/or mentors, and why?
Undoubtedly my fellow partners Martin Fanning, Nick Graham and Scott Singer in the data protection team at Dentons in London. Over many years they have been great teachers and supporters and incredibly generous with their time, knowledge and wisdom. And most importantly, being able to do the job with a smile on their faces.
Advice for young lawyers?
Immerse yourself in the detail of the latest data tech trends and regulatory hot topics. There are plenty of great resources to keep up to date with developments. It’s the sexy area of law!
What career would you like to have had, if you weren’t a lawyer?
Oddly enough, probably in the police. It’s the family business.
What’s everyone talking about?
Data ethics. Designing a compliance model for an organisation is one thing, but what does an organisation think is “the right thing” to be doing with that data?
Most significant current trend in your jurisdiction?
Four little letters: GDPR.