I’ve worked for A&O my whole career, since 2003. I’ve been lucky to work for extended periods in two of our international offices: Tokyo and Bratislava. The experience of working in Tokyo in particular was special – it was never ever dull, the food and people were fantastic, and I even got to hone my data law skills, working with the local bengoshi to advise overseas clients on Japan’s data protection laws.
What do you do?
A&O is a global firm with a strong transactional practice, and data is increasingly central to transactions, so as a data specialist I have an increasingly important role to play. Clients also turn to us when things go wrong – we help respond to incidents, such as data breaches, complaints and regulatory investigations. We also help them to avoid getting into bother in the first place, by helping define and implement strategies and controls around use of data. Data laws can be particularly hard (and frustrating) for businesses to navigate – as an area of law it is largely principles-based, so there is often a large bridge to cross between the law and practice.
Advice for young lawyers?
I’d recommend to get a good grounding in the technology. There is rarely a data protection problem that doesn’t require a good understanding of the tech. It’s also important to be opportunistic – it’s no good just focusing on what takes your interest, you have to follow your clients, to make sure you are relevant to whatever problems they are facing.
If you hadn’t been a lawyer...
I’d probably have liked to start my own business. The only other job I have had (besides paper boy and pot washer) was as a waiter, so I guess if I were to start a business it would have to be something in the hospitality industry. My clients include hotels and I really enjoy working in the sector.
What’s everyone talking about?
The World Cup? [UK reality TV show] Love Island? I’d personally rather talk about anything other than GDPR – I think we’ve all reached saturation point.
What do you do to relax?
I’ve installed a pizza oven in my garden, so currently spending a lot of time working on perfecting my pizza-making skills. My kids give me marks out of 10.