I moved to the UK as a teenager. When I left school I had to work for two years before I could go to university as a local student. I went on to study law at university and secured a training contract at Linklaters. Upon qualification I moved to what was, at that time, an exciting US firm looking to grow in London – unfortunately, that was Dewey & LeBoeuf. Following the collapse of that firm, I moved to Hunton & Williams. I then joined White & Case.
What do you do?
I advise companies on how to make better decisions about the data they handle.
What drew you to your area of practice?
I don’t think I know anyone who consciously planned to become a data protection lawyer. Like many data protection specialists, I started out as an IP lawyer, but received more and more data protection questions over time, largely because nobody knew where else to send those questions.
One of the most interesting aspects of data protection law is that there is a lot of uncharted territory. This has afforded me the opportunity to work with some of the world’s largest companies on genuinely cutting-edge data protection problems that have never previously been considered.
Advice for young lawyers?
Never give anyone your only copy of anything. Under-promise and over-deliver – especially in relation to deadlines. Be proactive. In particular, when you are given a task, try to anticipate what will come next, and see whether there is anything you can do at this stage to make that next step smoother. Manage expectations. If you realise that you are not going to meet a deadline, let the person in charge know as early as possible, because that will enable them to plan accordingly. Leaving it until the last minute will make it worse.
If you hadn’t been a lawyer...
I would probably have been an illustrator.
What’s everyone talking about?
The GDPR. Specifically, who is going to get the first multimillion-euro fine, and when will it happen.
What will data lawyers be advising on in 10 years?
Artificial intelligence. Or, possibly, the artificial intelligence will be providing all the advice, and we will all be retired.