Most Highly Regarded Firms: Internet, e-Commerce and Data Protection 2012

Our research has identified 539 lawyers who are considered outstanding in the field of internet, e-commerce and data protection law, selected from 325 firms across the globe. Among the leading firms in the research are Bird & Bird, DLA Piper, Baker & McKenzie and Field Fisher Waterhouse, and while 180 of the top lawyers are based in the US, there is a very strong European showing in our list of the top 10 most highly regarded lawyers.

Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Peter Bräutigam Noerr LLP, Munich
Steven De Schrijver Astrea Advocaten, Brussels
Ursula Widmer Dr Widmer & Partners Attorneys-At-Law, Berne
Bradley Joslove Franklin, Paris
Sajai Singh J Sagar Associates, Bangalore
Ole Horsfeldt Gorrissen Federspiel LLP, Copenhagen
Robert Bond Speechly Bircham LLP, London
Alfred Meijboom Kennedy Van der Laan, Amsterdam
Enrique Batalla Batalla Abogados, Madrid
Richard Kemp Kemp Little LLP, London

Almost all law firms are now recognising the importance of e-commerce and online data protection to their business and corporate clients, and practitioners are continuing to expand their areas of expertise into developing areas such as social networking and cloud computing. Once again, Europe-based firms are strongly represented in this edition, with a large proportion of leading lawyers operating out of London. The leading firm in this year’s survey was Bird & Bird LLP, which has offices worldwide including London, Brussels and Hong Kong. With 16 lawyers chosen as outstanding across the firm’s thriving IT and communications practice, the strength of the firm’s European presence in particular is clear. Bird & Bird’s expert lawyers “regularly conduct global and pan-European compliance projects” and are lauded for their ability to combine theoretical legal excellence with the ability to come up with practical client solutions. The firm’s London office boasts an impressive six practitioners. “Internet and e-commerce guru” Graham Smith is trusted by clients to provide practical and market-informed advice; in particular, he is recognised for keeping clients up to date with the recent UsedSoft decision. Roger Bickerstaff is the “first-rate” joint head of the international IT sector group and is described by clients as displaying “particular expertise in IT projects”. Another key player in this field is Ruth Boardman, whose “encyclopaedic knowledge of data protection law” allows her to adopt a pragmatic approach when advising her clients. Peter Elliott and consultant Hilary Pearson are also “excellent”, along with Trevor Cook who is widely regarded as a “doyen” of this area of law.

Two “admired” high-flyers in the Helsinki office are Jesper Nevalainen, chairman of the board of the Finnish IT-law association, and Kari-Matti Lehti, both of whom are highly regarded for their work in commercial intellectual property law, outsourcing, privacy and online data protection. The latter is considered “one of the top lawyers in Finland in the IT and communications sectors”. Frankfurt also provides the “exceptionally skilled negotiator” Fabian Niemann, who advises on new technology and convergence topics and co-leads the firm’s international cloud computing initiative. Jörg-Alexander Paul is a “leading name” and focuses on outsourcing and arranging software distribution models.

In Stockholm, Jim Runsten provides excellent “sector-specific” advice, and Frédérique Dupuis-Toubol in Paris takes a “strategic and clear” approach to IT law. The “highly reputed” Alexander Duisberg, operating from the Munich office, offers an expert service in both contentious and non-contentious IT matters and outsourcing. In Brussels, Catherine Erkelens specialises in data protection issues in the field of e-commerce.

Bird & Bird is also solidly represented in Asia by two exceptional lawyers. Marcus Vass from the Hong Kong office delivers “highly specialised technical advice in a comprehensible manner”, whilst in Beijing Grace Chen offers a “successful” service to clients informed by her 10 years of experience in IT law.

The second highest performing law firm is DLA Piper, with 12 lawyers featured. Although these are predominantly based in the firm’s European offices, our research also highlights a number of high flyers across the US and Asia. In the London office, Duncan Calow is highly regarded by clients and peers, and Mark O’Conor is consistently ranked as an “absolute expert” for his work in advising high-profile clients including Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays, RBS and Standard Bank on issues ranging from outsourcing to online banking data protection. In Paris, Stéphane Lemarchand is “widely reputed” as an international leader in IT and e-commerce, with “good business acumen and industry knowledge”. Italo de Feo from Rome and Alexander Cizek in Vienna are both “internationally respected” as specialists in all aspects of internet and data protection law. Nils Arne Grønlie heads the intellectual property and technology team in Norway and focuses on negotiating IT contracts relating to web developments and new media. In Cologne, Jan Pohle is “recommended” for his practical advice to clients, and the “respected” Patrick Van Eecke from the Brussels office brings his experience as founder and chair of the ADM ICT legal counsel working group to provide “consistently outstanding” counsel to clients, which range from telecommunications companies to national governments using IT facilities.

Stronger transatlantic links are developing between the EU and the US in the field of data protection, as global leaders attempt to balance trade freedoms with online privacy. This trend is highlighted by the inclusion of three practitioners from DLA Piper’s US offices in our review. In Chicago, Vincent Sanchez provides an “excellent” service focusing on transactions involving new technologies. His “spectacular, in-depth knowledge” has earned him a stellar reputation for his client-focused approach. Mark Radcliffe, a partner in the East Palo Alto office, is rated as “one of the top lawyers in his profession”. Having represented prestigious companies such as eBay, Sony and Siemens, he is an expert in software and Internet licensing and cloud computing. The Washington, DC, office boasts an “anchor of the practice”, James Halpert. His reputation for providing excellent advice to clients relating to privacy, cyber-security and government surveillance, as well as consulting on drafts of federal privacy and spyware laws, illustrates the DLA Piper’s US branch’s expertise and experience across a wide range of areas.

The head of the IPT practice in Singapore, Matthew Glynn, is also identified as an expert in his field, helping to strengthen the firm’s presence in Asia. A specialist in the commercial and regulatory aspects of IT, telecommunications and media transactions, he is regarded as an “absolute leader”.

Baker & McKenzie is another key player, also fielding 12 lawyers. The firm’s “instinctively global perspective” means that it stands out in Europe, Asia and the US, with three practitioners selected from the Chicago office. Michael Mensik and Samuel Kramer are both highly regarded for their experience in outsourcing. Brian Hengesbaugh is an expert on global privacy and has made some “outstanding accomplishments” in the field of electronic commerce, having previously contributed to the development and implementation of the US government’s domestic and international privacy policy. In Palo Alto, Lothar Determann is considered “one of the best” practitioners in California, having assisted clients from start-ups to multinational companies in technology transactions, software licencing and electronic commerce.

In London, Harry Small leads the firm’s global technology action group, and has been recognised for making “notable contributions to the field” as a fellow of the Society for Computers and Law. He is experienced in internet disputes including software copyright and electronic patents, as well as non-contentious matters. Robbie Downing is also “consistently recommended as a leading expert” in privacy, e-commerce and competition law.

Elsewhere in Europe, Johan Nylén, from the Stockholm office, comes “highly recommended” by clients. Expert advice is provided on e-commerce issues by Matthias Scholz in Frankfurt, who also chairs the German Association of Law and Informatics. In Brussels, Daniel Fesler provides “sound and seasoned advice” on multiple aspects of IT and intellectual property law.

The firm maintains its global presence with experts in Sydney and Singapore. Ken Chia in Singapore utilises more than 20 years’ experience in IT and communications to give his clients “sound advice” in procurement, outsourcing and transactions. The Sydney office provides two lawyers regarded as exceptional – Adrian Lawrence acts for many of Australia’s leading online networks, whilst Patrick Fair is mentioned for his “extensive experience”.

This year’s edition also recognises nine lawyers from Field Fisher Waterhouse. The firm has an excellent reputation for the “industry expertise” of its practitioners, with a diverse client base ranging from start-ups to global corporations. Practice is heavily based in Europe, and London is once again the centre of the firm’s IT and e-commerce activity, with over half of the lawyers chosen hailing from this office. Eduardo Ustaran is an “internationally recognised expert” in privacy and data protection law, and has advised several FTSE 100 companies on the impact of EU policies on their online operations. In the technology law group, Hamish Sandison has a “leading reputation”, and his commercial work for public sector clients has led to him being considered a “star”. Michael Chissick is also highly regarded for all aspects of outsourcing and e-commerce, and Paul Barton specialises in all areas of IT and data protection, whilst David Naylor is a “leading expert”.

Two excellent IT lawyers can also be found in the Hamburg office. Felix Wittern is experienced in the development, licensing and distribution of software, and also provides “trusted” advice on business outsourcing and the regulatory issues of telecommunications law. Philipp Plog is also “highly recommended” both for his advice to clients and his commentaries on developments in IT law. Elsewhere in Europe, Bruno Ducoulombier has an excellent reputation for his work in the Paris office. Emmanuel Roger France from the Brussels office is recognised as “one of the world’s leading practitioners” and frequently works on outsourcing agreements as well as software development and licensing.

The “premier legal adviser” Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, consistently ranked as one of America’s best corporate law firms, also performs well, with eight lawyers identified as excellent. The firm’s practice is predominantly based in the US; however, the Brussels office fields the “leading” senior of counsel Christopher Kuner, who is widely regarded as the “go-to person for EU privacy.”

Business is centred around Palo Alto, where the firm was founded. Chairman Larry Sonsini is “internationally recognised” for his expertise, having supervised high-profile cases including Hewlett-Packard’s merger with Compaq. Donna Petkanics is frequently rated highly by clients and peers. David Kramer, who has acted as litigation counsel for Google, is considered a “cutting-edge” practitioner in copyright law and online defamation, having obtained several “precedent-setting” judgments. Specialising in technology and intellectual property transactions is Suzanne Bell, regarded as a “prominent leader” in the field, whilst “super” Kenneth Clark is consistently ranked as a top lawyer.

Two more attorneys are considered exceptional in the firm’s Washington, DC, office. Gerard Stegmaier advises on issues relating to privacy, online security and consumer protection, focusing on the automotive and health industries. The “leading” Lydia Parnes is considered a top lawyer due to her extensive experience in the field.

Amsterdam-based firm Kennedy Van der Laan also performs exceptionally well in our research, with seven lawyers included in this edition. Keeping up the firm’s dedication to “excellent client commitment” is Reinoud Westerdijk, who is a “rated specialist” in international IT and e-commerce contracts. Patrick Wit brings his experience of working as a software designer and consultant to provide specialist advice in the commercial and regulatory aspects of IT projects, and does a “great job” in all areas relating to data protection law. Meanwhile, Alfred Meijboom, one of the firm’s founders, is described as a “specialised” and “highly recommended” attorney, having represented a number of high-profile clients including Nike and C&A. Otto Volgenant is praised by clients for his “practical, innovative” approach to copyright and database law, whilst Martine de Koning is described as “excellent”. Joost Linnemann is “especially recommended” for his e-commerce work, and Hester de Vries is “one of the most highly regarded specialists”, having advised the top five banks in the Netherlands on their data protection policies.

Several of Taylor Wessing’s lawyers within its “top-tier” technology and IP team are featured as “exceptional”. The firm has a good presence in London and Germany, entrenching its reputation as a strong European law firm. In London, Christopher Rees is considered the “best of the best” in technology law, and Graham Hann brings his experience as a computer programmer for Siemens to provide outstanding practical advice with a solid client focus. The Hamburg, Frankfurt and Munich offices field four further talented practitioners. Kai Westerwelle, operating from the Frankfurt office, stands out as “one of the world’s leading” patent and technology lawyers. Christian Frank from Munich is also “well known” for his “extensive experience” in all technology matters, particularly software and technology transactions and licensing.

With a strong presence throughout the world, Hogan Lovells provides six lawyers selected for this edition due to their expertise and “intellectual global outlook”. With a wide range of specialisms, the firm has offices in Europe, the US and Asia. London is a particularly strong centre for technology issues; Conor Ward has practised extensively in both contentious and non-contentious aspects of technology and internet law and is widely regarded as “outstanding”. Quentin Archer specialises in all areas of outsourcing and data protection. In other areas of Europe, Rome-based Marco Berliri is “absolutely top-tier”, and Stefan Schuppert of Munich is “one of the leading practitioners in his field”, focusing on licensing agreements.

Christopher Wolf, from Hogan Lovells’ Washington, DC, office, is a “thoughtful leader and compelling communicator”, skills which he uses as director of the firm’s privacy and information management practice group. He is widely considered an “outstanding” attorney, and is particularly interested in the role of data protection and internet privacy in upholding the rule of law. Gabriela Kennedy, partner in the IP, media and technology group in Hong Kong, is “widely recognised as an outstanding practitioner”.

Five lawyers have been selected for inclusion from Morrison & Foerster LLP, a firm which is noted for its “business-minded solutions”. Its US presence is strong; in Washington, DC, Richard Fischer is considered a “recognised expert” with a special emphasis on privacy and data security, as well as financial services joint ventures. New York’s Miriam Wugmeister is “phenomenally well respected” and is “one of the best” in her specialist area of protection of personal information and data, and in San Francisco William Schwartz specialises in internet and communications transactions.

Elsewhere in the world, Gordon Milner, from the Hong Kong office, advises on licensing, outsourcing and technology transactions. He brings “substantial experience” to his practice and is consistently ranked as a leading individual. In Brussels, Karin Retzer is recognised as a specialist in data protection and online security.

The “cross-disciplinary” and “client-focused” Hunton & Williams LLP performs well, with a total of five lawyers selected from its “sophisticated” IT and data protection practice. The firm establishes a strong global presence, with outstanding practitioners identified in both Europe and the US.

Two leading lawyers are chosen from the London office. Bridget Treacy leads the firm’s UK privacy and information management practice, and is described as a “stellar” practitioner with extensive experience in complex technology transactions. Senior attorney Rosemary Jay provides “high-level” advice to clients which range from private organisations to non-EU states, which she advises on adopting and drafting internet privacy laws.

Brussels is the home to a further two “top-tier” practitioners. Wim Nauwelaerts is “widely experienced” in the field, and provides up-to-the-minute advice to her clients, which include social networking providers and international charities. Jörg Hladjk is a specialist in the field of data transfer, having worked on numerous pan-European and German data protection compliance projects.

Lisa Sotto is the managing partner of the New York office, and is considered a “privacy expert”. Her work on data security and records management has led clients and peers to rate her as “excellent”.

In Munich, Peter Bräutigam of Noerr LLP once again scores exceptionally highly and is the most highly recommended individual in our worldwide research in this edition. Recommended for the quality of his IT and outsourcing practice, he has an “exceptional reputation that is well deserved”.

Steven De Schrijver of Astrea Advocaten in Brussels is “one of the pre-eminent authorities in this field”, and was picked out for his expertise across a full range of technology related issues – “he is a real pleasure to work with” according to our sources.

In Berne, Ursula Widmer at Dr Widmer & Partners, Attorneys-At-Law, is a “superstar” and a former member of the Swiss Federal Data Protection Commission. She also lectures in IT and Internet law at the University of Berne and is lecturer in information security law at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich.

Bradley Joslove heads the new technologies department at Franklin in Paris and is held in extremely high esteem by clients and peers: “he is tremendously knowledgeable and terrific to work with”.

At Gorrissen Federspiel LLP in Copenhagen, Ole Horsfeldt has a “pre-eminent reputation for outsourcing and IT work”, and is once again selected as one of the most highly nominated practitioners in the field.

In Spain, Enrique Batalla of Batalla Abogados is once again one of the most highly rated lawyers in the field, and commended to researchers for his “all round excellence”.

London is home to several market-leading experts. Robert Bond at Speechly Bircham LLP is a “real expert”, picked out for his data, technology and information law knowledge, particularly in relation to computer games and digital media. Richard Kemp at Kemp Little LLP is “one of the pioneers in this field”, and is very well regarded in this sector.

Sajai Singh of J Sagar Associates “leads the field in India” and received recommendations from clients and peers around the globe.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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