What do you do?
I help technology-driven companies navigate privacy and cybersecurity compliance. This includes advising them on transactions or ventures where data has a strategic focus, as well as on regulatory investigations and cybersecurity incidents.
At law school, data protection was not part of the standard curriculum. It was only during my LLM at King’s College London that I had the option to attend courses on privacy and tech regulation. It made me realise that this was an area of law I could specialise in. I started writing code and designing websites from the age of 13, so it seemed a natural next step to apply for roles in technology law when starting out. During the financial crisis, I was lucky to find a role as a junior associate at the Belgian firm Stibbe where privacy was very much a part of the work we did.
What’s keeping you busy?
What mentors or other influential figures have helped you get where you are today?
Cédric Burton, who co-leads Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati’s global privacy team, stands out. He makes sure our team’s advice is pragmatic and tailored to a client base that ranges from start-ups to established tech companies. Daniel Glazer is another key influence. As the founding partner of Wilson Sonsini’s London office, he showed me that perseverance and resilience pay off. In addition, Lydia Parnes, a highly regarded privacy expert who steers our team from the US, is a strong female role model.
I also do not want to leave out other important influences on my career: Frederic Debusseré at Timelex, Kathryn Wynn at Pinsent Masons, and Basil Zotiades, and Ulrich Wuermeling at Latham & Watkins.
If you could change one data-related law, how and why would you change it?
Many companies struggle with the growing complexity of global privacy laws. The introduction of a US federal privacy framework would go a long way in enhancing legal certainty for both consumers and businesses, and act as an example for the rest of the world.
How has covid-19 affected what you do?
Wilson Sonsini is a leading provider of legal services to disruptive technology and life sciences companies. Covid-19 and global lockdowns have fast-tracked growth in exactly these areas. Indeed, during the pandemic our global privacy practice’s workload has more than doubled.
What’s the next big thing – what data opportunities are companies now looking at?
More of the same: companies continue to invest in machine learning and smart algorithms. Due to covid-19, I see these new technologies increasingly being used in the pharma and health industry. Virtual and augmented reality is also an area that just continues to attract funding and holds promise for the future.
What’s keeping companies worried at the moment – what are some key data risks?
Adequate cybersecurity and protecting a company’s key assets in the new digital world remains a key concern for most of my clients. Data transfers between the EU/UK and the US are still very much on the agenda.
What do you do to relax?
Photography – specifically, analogue photography. It’s a way to slow down because you have to take time to adapt your settings to the light and environment, and wait for the film to be developed.