Julia Kaufmann
  • Partner
  • Osborne Clarke
Germany
Julia Kaufmann

Julia Kaufmann

  • Partner
  • Osborne Clarke
Germany

I came to the data field after having studied law in Munich and Texas, and realising that I wanted to work internationally. I started my career as an associate in IT law at an international law firm. Even though I had no prior experience with IT law (let alone privacy law) I was eager to focus on this area as I would be working with cutting-edge technology, digitalisation, and multi-national clients on global projects. I was convinced that I would have the necessary technical understanding to advise on IT and privacy law, not least because my parents had both studied information technology. In the early days of my career, my work was divided 50 /50 between typical IT law and privacy law. Over the years, influenced by the increasing importance of privacy and data protection for my clients, and in the development of the regulatory frameworks, privacy and data protection became my main area of expertise. I cannot now imagine practicing in any other legal area. I love working with the various stakeholders in my client organisations, be they in HR, marketing, IT security, D&T, legal, compliance or the main business owners and other C-suite executives, to develop practical solutions for global privacy law requirements.     

Highlights from my career thus far include  seeing my public profile rise over the years and being recognized as an international privacy lawyer among my esteemed peers in legal rankings.  Having trusted relationships with my clients globally who have remained with me following my move to Osborne Clarke.  Establishing a good work/life balance at Osborne Clarke that allows me to work full-time, but still have dinner with my family almost every night.

Currently, the biggest challenge in data law is trying to remain ahead of the fast-moving developments in the legal landscape both in the EU and globally.  And not only in the core areas of privacy law but also in how that intersects with related legal areas such as AI, consumer protection law, and digitalisation.

To adapt to these challenges, I advise  everyone in the team to follow legal developments, how these may affect our clients and how best to advise them to mitigate risks and take advantage of commercial opportunities. It's important that even junior associates are encouraged to share knowledge internally and externally and to understand that being a privacy lawyer means understanding the interplay between privacy laws and related regulatory frameworks. Privacy law never stands alone.

The world of data has become much more diverse and yet there are still conferences with barely any female speakers.  It is changing for the better, but it would be good if it changed faster.

A piece of advice I would give aspiring data lawyers and professionals: Don’t think this is a male playing field. It is not!  I have spoken to female graduates who decided against IT and privacy law because they believe only a techie can understand the privacy law issues of our clients and advise in privacy law. This is not true. Build up your network, show your willingness to absorb and share your knowledge, and make sure you are visible internally and externally.  

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