Most Highly Regarded Firms: Information Technology 2013

Bird & Bird leads our research with 23 representatives this year. The firm’s depth of expertise is evidenced with listings spanning the breadth of its international offices. The second-highest performing law firms in our research are Baker & McKenzie and Field Fisher Waterhouse which field 15 lawyers each to our research. DLA Piper is another major player and garners an outstanding 13 representatives this year, with several leading individuals based in Europe. Five further firms and 10 world-renowned individuals are singled out in this section.

Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Lawyer Firm
Steven De Schrijver Astrea Advocaten, Belgium
Peter Brautigam Noerr LLP, Germany
Ursula Widmer Dr Widmer & Partners, Attorneys-At-Law, Switzerland
Sajai Singh J Sagar Associates, India
Reinoud Westerdijk Kennedy Van der Laan, Netherlands
Robert Bond Speechly Bircham LLP, England
Bradley Joslove Franklin, France
Hester de Vries Kennedy Van der Laan, Netherlands
Christian Frank Taylor Wessing, Germany
Axel Funk CMS Hasche Sigle, Germany

Bird & Bird leads our research with 23 representatives this year. The firm’s depth of expertise is evidenced with listings spanning the breadth of its international offices. In London, Graham Smith is “superb” and advises a range of e-commerce clients on issues including liability, copyright and defamation. He also has extensive litigation experience in the IT sector. Joining him, Ruth Boardman is “well versed” in all aspects of data privacy and protection and heads the firm’s international group in this area. She comes highly recommended by peers as a “market leader”. Further praise also goes to IT sector group joint head, Roger Bickerstaff, who has established an “international reputation” for his knowledge of commercial and procurement law in the IT space. He advises on major projects and is renowned for his “understanding of complex matters”. Peter Elliott also merits mention from the firm’s London office as a “major talent” whose experience spans IT projects in both the public and private sector.

Three individuals represent the firm’s Helsinki office. Kari-Matti Lehti is a “star” lauded for his “in-depth knowledge” of outsourcing, data protection and privacy both domestically and internationally. Alongside him, Jesper Nevalainen is considered an “expert” known for his “adept handling” of complex transactions. Completing the firm’s Finnish listings is Kimmo Reina, an “assured presence” on outsourcing who represents IT and e-commerce clients.

In Germany, Frankfurt-based Fabian Niemann is “without question” one of the finest practitioners in data protection law and cloud computing. He is praised as a “joy to work with” by clients and peers alike. Also in Frankfurt, Jörg-Alexander Paul is noted as a “leading authority” on outsourcing and data protection. From the firm’s Munich office, Alexander Duisberg has a “stellar reputation” with experience that “spans the entire spectrum” of matters in IT law.

Elsewhere in Europe, Paris managing partner Frédérique Dupuis-Toubol possesses “considerable expertise” and is particularly noted for her work on IT contracts and antitrust disputes. Jim Runsten represents the Stockholm office and offers counsel “of the highest calibre” on local and cross-border transactions. In Brussels, Catherine Erkelens advises clients in the aviation sector on IT, e-commerce and data protection law and is regarded as “first-class”.

Bird & Bird also enjoys a strong showing in Asia. Marcus Vass is a “leading light” in Hong Kong praised for his “excellent communication skills”, whilst in Beijing, Grace Chen is a “go-to practitioner” on regulation and data protection.

The second-highest performing law firm in our research is Baker & McKenzie which fields 15 lawyers, with four individuals based at the firm’s US offices. In Chicago, Michael Mensik displays an “encyclopedic knowledge” of IT infrastructure and outsourcing as well as data privacy and protection. Also highly regarded for his outsourcing expertise is Samuel Kramer who is a “renowned specialist” in this area. Brian Hengesbaugh receives praise for his “impressive work” with clients on data privacy and security, particularly cross-border data flows, whilst Palo Alto-based Lothar Determann commands the “utmost respect” and advises multinationals and start-ups on range of issues including licensing, e-commerce and data protection. He also has significant international transactional expertise.

In London, Harry Small is regarded as a “major figure” and heads the firm’s global technology practice group. He is “held in high esteem” and is a fellow of the Society for Computers and Law. Robbie Downing is a “definite inclusion” and focuses his practice on e-commerce, privacy and competition. Further afield in Europe, Frankfurt-based Matthias Scholz is “highly experienced” and is seen as “source of expert knowledge”, particularly in the area of outsourcing. From the Stockholm office, Johan Nylén is “acclaimed” for his work on cross-border projects in the technology sector. Daniel Fesler is also “excellent” and advises on a broad range of issues in the field including data protection, copyright, database rights and e-commerce.

Elsewhere in Sydney, Patrick Fair is “one of the best”, particularly on privacy and online content regulation. He is joined by fellow Sydney-based partners Anne-Marie Allgrove and Adrian Lawrence who are both noted as “top tier”. In Singapore, Ken Chia is a “sound and trusted adviser”, particularly on matters related to procurement and outsourcing.

Field Fisher Waterhouse is a major force and achieves 15 listings. From London, Paul Barton is praised by clients as a “joy to work with” and is “second to none” on IT law, data protection and e-commerce. Equally impressive is Eduardo Ustaran who heads the firm’s privacy and information law group and is “internationally renowned” for his work in data protection and privacy. Managing partner Michael Chissick also merits praise as a “pre-eminent authority” on procurement, licensing and e-commerce. Joining him, Hamish Sandison is “exceptional” and lauded for his work with clients in the public sector. Completing the firm’s UK listings is Victoria Hordern who is consistently recommended as a “leading expert” on compliance in data protection and privacy.

Two excellent lawyers feature from the firm’s Paris office. Bruno Ducoulombier is a “premier legal adviser” on IT matters and is a member of the International Technology Law Association. Christopher Mesnooh also receives many nominations in our research for his “meticulous approach” to cases. In Hamburg, Felix Wittern is “first rate” and advises domestic and international clients on IT products and projects on issues such as development, licensing and distribution. Also in Hamburg, Philipp Plog possesses a “depth of knowledge” that places him among the leaders in this field.

Brussels-based Emmanuel Roger France is an “outstanding negotiator” with extensive experience in litigation within the sector. Alongside him, Tim Van Canneyt and Jean-François Germain are “rated highly” and considered “standard-bearers” of the firm’s IT practice. Further afield in the US, Phil Lee in the Palo Alto office “ranks among the finest practitioners” on data privacy and online regulation, with a particular specialism in behavioural profiling, cookies, data transfers and binding corporate rules.

DLA Piper is another major player and garners an outstanding 13 representatives this year, with several leading individuals based in Europe. In Brussels, Patrick Van Eecke is “brilliant” and “highly reputed” for his work with internet service providers and software developers. Stéphane Lemarchand from the Paris office is a “superstar” whose experience spans litigation through to outsourcing. In Munich, managing partner Jan Geert Meents is a practitioner of “considerable intellect” who is lauded for his work on complex transactions. Also in Germany, Cologne-based Jan Pohle receives high praise and is “very experienced” in BPO and IT outsourcing. The London office adds to the firm’s strong showing in Europe and provides two highly regarded lawyers. Mark O’Conor is commended for his “all-round excellence” and advises on a wide range of issues whilst Duncan Calow “consistently exceeds client expectations”.

In the US, Chicago-based Vincent Sanchez is noted for his “significant transactional expertise” and “high standards of client care”. Mark Radcliffe from the East Palo Alto office is “highly respected” with a particular specialism in software licensing and cloud computing. Joining him, James Halpert in Washington, DC, is a “recognised leader” on e-commerce and privacy with a clientele including Fortune 500 companies.

Further overseas in Sydney, Alec Christie is a “distinguished practitioner” with many years experience. He is lauded by clients for his “excellent advisory work” in reviewing and negotiating IT licence agreements as well as privacy. In Singapore, Matthew Glynn is a “prominent figure” who is acclaimed for his regulatory knowledge.

Kennedy Van der Laan is well represented with 11 listings in this year’s edition. Several individuals merit special mention from the firm’s office in Amsterdam and feature in the top 50 practitioners in our research. Reinoud Westerdijk is “phenomenal” and known for his “breadth of knowledge” in IT contracts and e-commerce. Hester de Vries is “a data protection and privacy specialist” who is regarded as a “world leader” in her field by clients and peers. Joining her, Otto Volgenant is described as “hugely talented” and advises clients on wide range of issues including database law. Alfred Meijboom is “respected by all” and is a qualified arbitrator for the Netherlands Foundation for the Resolution of Computer-Related Disputes. Also noted is Patrick Wit who combines a background in software design with a “fantastic” understanding of IT law to offer “first-class” legal counsel on commercial and regulatory matters. Alongside him, Joost Linnemann is “tier-one” in all aspects and is a former chair of the Dutch Association of IT attorneys.

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati enjoys a strong presence in this year’s research with nine practitioners selected for inclusion. In the firm’s Palo Alto office, Larry Sonsini is of “international repute” and “top notch” on IT transactions including M&A. Kenneth Clark is a “stand-out” practitioner famed for his “professionalism” and “commitment”. David Kramer is also consistently recommended as an “outstanding litigator” with notable clients including Google. In Washington, DC, Gerard Stegmaier focuses his practice on privacy and data protection compliance and is “a well-respected leader in this field”. Also regarded as a “privacy expert” is Lydia Parnes who is “highly thought of” by both clients and peers.

Elsewhere in Europe, two individuals feature from the firm’s Brussels office. Christopher Kuner is “high profile” and a “guru” on data protection and privacy.  Also excellent in this area is Cédric Burton, a “leading talent” who advises clients in all aspects of European, Belgian and global data privacy and protection law.

Concluding our list of most highly regarded firms are Hogan Lovells, Morrison & Foerster and Taylor Wessing  who each field a superb eight lawyers apiece.

Hogan Lovells is major force with representatives spanning its global offices. In Washington, DC, Christopher Wolf is the director of the firm’s privacy and information management practice group and is noted for being both “innovative” and a “pioneer who has helped shape developments in the field”. Alongside him, Steven Hollman is a “world-class” litigator in the IT sector. From the firm’s Rome office, Marco Berliri is lauded by peers as a “lawyer’s lawyer” and “leading figure” in IT law, e-commerce and data protection. Conor Ward also receives praise for his work on data protection and is described as a “highly intelligent and “vastly experienced” practitioner. In Munich, Stefan Schuppert is regarded as “one of the foremost” IT lawyers in the world and is particularly noted for his expertise in outsourcing agreements. Further afield in Hong Kong, Gabriela Kennedy is a “doyen” and has acted for high-profile clients including Microsoft.

At Morrison & Foerster, New York-based Miriam Wugmeister is “one of the most experienced lawyers in this field” and possesses a “deep understanding” of data privacy and security. Peter McLaughlin is also lauded as a “data privacy specialist”, particularly in relation to the health-care sector in which he focuses his practice. Joining him, John Delaney is a “formidable practitioner” on licensing, liability issues and outsourcing agreements and represents a host of clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups. In the firm’s Californian office, William Schwartz is “astute” on a board range of IT transactions and is noted for his “client-orientated approach”. Elsewhere in Hong Kong, Gordon Milner is “highly rated” on account of his “extensive transactional experience” which spans a range of industry sectors including energy, life sciences and chemicals. In Brussels, Karin Retzer is lauded by clients for her “assured approach” and is “top class” on compliance and risk management in relation to data privacy and security.

From Taylor Wessing, Munich-based Christian Frank is among “the best of the best” and is one of our most highly regarded individuals in this year’s edition. He focuses his “excellent practice” on complex technology transactions and represents national and international clients. Kai Westerwelle in Frankfurt is highlighted for his “great reputation” and is a certified specialist lawyer in the field of information technology. Jörg Wimmers and Axel Freiherr von dem Bussche also feature from the firm’s Hamburg office. Wimmers is regarded by peers as “one of the finest” practitioners in licensing whilst von dem Bussche “exemplifies quality” according to clients. In London, Christopher Rees is recognised for his “superlative knowledge” and “many years of experience” advising on all aspects of IT law. Also in London, Mark Owen is an “accomplished practitioner” who is “very active” in litigation in this field.

A number of practitioners merit special mention as our most highly regarded individuals of 2013. Steven De Schrijver at Astrea Advocaten receives many nominations in our research and is the most recommended individual in this year’s edition. He “sets the standard” according to one source, and is “excellent” on a wide range of issues including data protection, e-commerce, licensing and outsourcing.

Peter Bräutigam of Noerr LLP is recognised for his “consistently brilliant” work in the field and is regarded as an “outsourcing expert”. He is commended for a “gold-standard” practice and is a certified specialist in information technology law.

Ursula Widmer represents her own firm which specialises in IT law.  As a former member of the Swiss Federal Data Protection Commission, she possesses “remarkable expertise” and is “one of the top lawyers in her profession”.

At J Sagar Associates, Sajai Singh is “internationally recognised” for his transactional work with clients in the IT space. Lauded as “outstanding” he is the vice president of ITech Law, the International Technology Lawyers Association.

Robert Bond at Speechly Bircham is a “seasoned hand” and “one of the world’s leading lawyers” on data protection and security and head’s the firm practice in these areas.

From Franklin, Bradley Joslove is a “leading name” with “considerable experience” in IT, outsourcing, e-commerce and data protection.

Axel Funk of CMS Hasche Sigle is lauded by clients as an “excellent negotiator” who provides “sound advice” on contracts, projects and outsourcing transactions.

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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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