GDR 100 2022

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance

Professional notice

Partners12
Other lawyers10
Who’s Who Legal: Data nominees1

Practice profile

Clifford Chance is best-known for its banking and finance abilities. But there’s more to the firm than that: in the past few years, tech and data have become increasingly important – perhaps inspired by the work undertaken by its competition practice, which has conducted large amounts of work for digital markets such as Spotify and advocated against Google in multiple European Commission complaints. Nowadays, the firm has a leading AI and ethics advisory practice, and parlays its strengths in all matters corporate and financial into advising investors on portfolio company data risks and opportunities. As at late 2021, 18 partners in multiple practice areas across Europe, Asia and the US dedicate a significant amount of their practices to data and technology. Three of those partners were hired after July 2020; the firm also picked up counsel Jamal El-Hindi, who was formerly the chief data officer at the US Department of the Treasury.

The firm boasts the kind of client roster you would expect from such a global giant: to name but a few, there are global banks such as ING, Santander, HSBC and Citi, and TMT and social media players such as Groupe Canal Plus, Tencent, Viasat and News Group.

Leading individuals

Partners Jonathan Kewley, Kate Scott and Samantha Ward are key contacts in London: Kewley is a private equity specialist by training, while Ward and Scott bring significant disputes experience to the table. Dessislava Savova is a leader in Paris, and Celeste Koeleveld in New York has a background as a prosecutor and regulator. Of note is rising star Arnav Joshi, who started his career in India before relocating to the UK.

Work highlights

The firm’s historic work has included advising an airline on shutting down unauthorised data scraping of its website by online travel agents, which involved questions of contract, tort, copyright and database right claims, and assisting a FTSE 100 retail-facing company implementing a global data protection compliance programme.

More recently, Amsterdam partner Titus de Vries and Paris partner Savova have conducted a transfer assessment survey for ING, which has involved mapping the bank’s data flows across multiple jurisdictions and advising on post-Schrems II compliance. Another interesting banking matter for a confidential client has seen London partner Simon Persoff creating a framework for addressing risks linked to over- and under-retention of data. Kewley has worked on an impressive list of privacy and non-privacy data matters for several private equity houses.

There is – predictably – plenty more financial services work on the deals side. Clifford Chance has provided Italian and Spanish advice to Santander as it launches a data-driven joint venture with Telecom Italy. A major bank is also receiving advice on the data aspects of its disposal of European operations. Outside of banking and finance, a team in Australia, UK, the US and Singapore acts for digital fitness app Sweat on its sale to iFIT Health & Fitness. German lawyers are advising on a cooperation with medical data providers and hospital chains to build a data platform to standardise global healthcare sales. One pro bono engagement has involved the team working with the UK data regulator and Advocates for International Development to create a Brexit playbook for charities.

On the contentious side, lawyers including Ward, Scott, Persoff and New York partner Daniel Silver assisted a client in responding to a ransomware attack that involved liaising with regulators in 20 jurisdictions. Italian partners Antonio Golino and Fabio Guastadisegni represent Sigue in an appeal against a pre-GDPR Garante decision to fine the company and four of its agents €11 million for consent failures. A London disputes team is defending News Group in a high-profile High Court phone hacking litigation. Luxembourg partner Albert Moro acted for a global payments platform in its interaction with the National Data Protection Commission; the matter concluded in late 2020. A Spanish and Italian team acts for a client in multiple data protection investigations linked to international transfers, processing client data for marketing purposes and an alleged failure to prevent SIM swap fraud.

Outside of privacy, Paolo Sersale in Milan has advised BaoSteel on the migration of proprietary information of a subsidiary to its holding company’s databases – triggering complex IP issues relating to rights in data, confidentiality and trade secrets alongside data protection questions.

Client feedback

The general counsel of a company in the aviation industry says partner Luke Tolaini and senior associate Ellen Lake provided “excellent” representation on an ongoing matter: “They were completely knowledgeable regarding the matter and advised [the company] both as to the laws and regulations in the area, our choices for actions to comply with laws and regulations and our commercial choices in dealing with affected counterparties.”

At Clifford Chance, we believe that data management should be a top priority for all businesses.

In today's information economy, data is the new oil. A business' ability to transfer and use customer data and other information is both integral to the day-to-day running of a company and key to profitability and success. With the introduction of new and more stringent data privacy laws, it is important now more than ever that businesses are fully informed and fully compliant.

We have been advising on data law since the 1990s, and continue in that spirit today, working with the world's leading organisations – from FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 corporations to global banks and major investors.

Our global cross-practice group of lawyers specialises in data law, including data protection, privacy, data management, cyber security and information security issues. We are set apart by our experience in litigation, enforcement and regulatory investigation, as well as and relationships with data protection authorities.

This is supplemented with a keen view on novel and cutting-edge data issues, including data ethics, deployment of AI, data science, data analytics, biometric data and data scraping. We stay at the top of our game in this area, through work with prestigious industry bodies, trade organisations and academics includes the Alan Turing Institute, the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, the Oxford Internet Institute, ASIFMA and the Investment Association – to name a few. In our commitment to furthering the world of data and technology ethics, we also collaborate with Hertford College, University of Oxford (a leading centre on Tech Ethics) on a bursary scheme to encourage greater diversity in Computer Science.

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