Tøndel’s area of expertise is the intersection of technology and law. This includes IT contracts (cloud services, data centres network infrastructure), telecoms, fintech, IoT, autonomous vessels, biometry and IP related thereto. His experience includes heading procurements and negotiating commercial contracts. Tøndel has broad international experience and is a top-ranked TMT lawyer (Chambers, The Legal 500, WWL), and is ranked in the top tier of Chambers’ fintech chapter. Clients say: “Espen Tøndel has an excellent commercial nose, is solution-oriented and has good legal skills.”
Why did you decide to pursue a legal career?
Basically because it would give me several choices of occupation.
What do you enjoy most about working in data law?
The continuous changes going on, with new tech projects and solutions coming up all the time.
What are the key challenges younger data lawyers may face in their practice and how can they overcome them?
Commercial understanding and risk assessment in a contract. For this reason we always have a “four eyes” review and discussions of contractual work, where possible.
What makes your firm stand out from competitors in the market?
We, as opposed to many of the other firms, work within the whole range of telecoms, media, IT/ digitalisation, cybersecurity and data protection law, so we encompass all the important parts of today’s technology-driven ventures. In addition, we have a high number of lawyers in our team (it is the largest team in Norway), so we are able to include younger lawyers, along with more experienced ones, in all projects.
How are continuing calls for increased data privacy affecting the type of work you are receiving?
As opposed to the previous era, today’s work always includes a data protection assessment. It’s become part of the legal profession’s DNA.
How has electric mobility in Norway been developing in recent years? What has your role in this development been?
This has had a great impact on our country and our firm. Norway has the highest market penetration per capita on the sale of electric cars. We work closely with clients in that industry. In addition, we worked with a client on the procurement of the first autonomous battery-driven ship in the world, built for sailing in Norwegian waters. That was an interesting meeting of an industry with a really long history and the new tech industry with a much shorter tradition, which again had an impact on the way we approached the contractual work.
What changes do you think increasing digitalisation in the finance sector will have on your practice?
We have already seen that the introduction of liberalised laws (PSD II) within the financial sector is giving us significantly more work, from both established players and an array of newcomers. On these cases, we work closely with our finance regulatory working group to ensure regulatory compliance. Data protection is also an important part of these assignments.
Looking back over your career, what has been your proudest achievement to date?
Having built up the strongest TMT/data protection team in Norway.