With one of the biggest and most well-known teams in Europe, Bristows is the go-to firm for pragmatic, expert-informed data protection advice. Our clients rely on us for guidance on a huge range of data protection issues, with our recommendations always rooted in pragmatism and what will actually work for their business.

Our work is nearly always international, and we are constantly working with our network of overseas data protection counsel to provide a truly global perspective on the law.

We specialise in developing practical and proportionate compliance programmes for organisations, large and small. We have considerable expertise in building GDPR programmes, typically for global companies looking to apply GDPR as their standard internationally. 

We also help companies ensure that specific technology-based products and services meet legal requirements at all stages of development. We have an impressive understanding of how technology works at a data level and are regularly asked to advise on issues such as AI and machine learning, adtech, facial recognition, digital health, app development and cloud computing.

International data transfers are amongst our clients’ biggest concerns, and we are constantly advising organisations on how to ensure their internal and external data flows are lawful, in light of changing case law and guidance. We also have a specialty in developing Binding Corporate Rules for both controllers and processors, and have drafted and negotiated BCRs for some of the world’s largest most well-known companies, with the ‘lead authority’ in the UK, France, Germany or the Netherlands. 

Data subjects’ rights are now something that nearly every business needs to understand and comply with efficiently, and we are experienced at making this happen.  We frequently help our clients to respond to complex requests, whether this involves advising on the best approach or taking the drafting on ourselves.  Alongside this, we focus on developing strategies and training so that organisations can take as much ownership of the response process as they would like, and feel confident about complying with their legal obligations.

Key contacts

Mark Watts

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Marc Dautlich

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Publications

Technology & Data Protection

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Experience

We have developed and assisted to implement over two hundred GDPR compliance programmes to date. While most of these were global in scope or at least Europe-wide, some were domestic and for smaller UK organisations. Our work involves a full end-to-end service, including information gathering, programme development and deployment, including training and the creation of various governance structures.

We are advising several leading adtech providers and publishers in connection with achieving a good and pragmatic level of compliance with both GDPR and ePrivacy within the Adtech ecosystem. This involves understanding complex technology issues such as ‘real-time bidding’ and ‘header bidding’ at a data-level and determining both the parties’ respective roles – as controller or processor – but also identifying an appropriate lawful basis.

We have had numerous Binding Corporate Rules approved by EU data protection authorities, including for controllers and processors. We did so liaising with ‘lead authorities’ and ‘second reviewers’ across the EU, and for one global multinational have done this in a manner consistent with the APEC Cross Border Privacy Rules.

We advise several of the world’s leading developers of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies. This includes advising them on their responsibilities with respect to using personal data to train algorithms in a variety of different contexts, including health and medical image data, developing adtech solutions, natural language processing and real-time intrusion detection.

We have advised several manufacturers of Smart TVs and other ‘connected home’ IOT technologies in connection with the deployment of facial recognition, speech-to-text processing, ePrivacy considerations and cross-device advertising.

We are regularly asked to advise on whether and how GDPR applies to companies all over the world which are not established in the EU. This requires us to understand their international business and whether they can be considered as ‘targeting’ or selling goods and services to individuals in the EU. Where GDPR does apply, we have assisted companies in developing mitigation and compliance strategies.

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What others say

“They’re incredibly practical, contextually astute and do an excellent job educating and thinking about complicated legal situations in a way that allows for forward momentum.”

Chambers and Partners Europe 2022
“Response and turnaround times are impressively fast and we have felt well looked after since our first contact.”
Chambers and Partners Fintech UK 2022
“[Bristows fintech lawyers] have in-depth sector knowledge regarding technology and IP issues.”
Chambers and Partners Fintech UK 2022
“It is greatly reassuring to be in the hands of this professional, impressive, and yet approachable team.”
Chambers and Partners Fintech UK 2022
“Bristows is a highly reputable technology firm with notable IP and data protection practices.”
Chambers and Partners Fintech UK 2022

“They’re incredibly practical, contextually astute and do an excellent job educating and thinking about complicated legal situations in a way that allows for forward momentum.”

Chambers and Partners 2022

“While they are excellent attorneys, they are also able to provide very user-friendly documents.”

Chambers and Partners 2022

“The team has a unique offering in the media law field.”

Legal 500 2022

“They are specialists in defamation/privacy and data protection and also heavyweights in Intellectual Property. This is an especially attractive offer to clients in the internet age when claims arising from acts online can encompass several diverse causes of action.”

Legal 500 2022

“Strong scientific/technical knowledge base and experience.”

Legal 500 2022

“A stellar team of exceptionally strong lawyers.”

Legal 500 2022

“They are bright, practical and creative lawyers, who really understand the industry, in particular on the data protection side.”

Legal 500 2022

“The team are collaborative and a real pleasure to work with.”

Legal 500 2022

“No other firm in media/reputation management/data protection has such strength in depth.”

Legal 500 2022

“Others have claimed to have deep understanding in tech, but Bristows seem to walk the walk where others have not.”

Legal 500 2022

“Knowledgeable, pragmatic, provides sensible advice, and consequently value for money.”

Legal 500 2022

“They took the time to understand our business and risk appetite and this was factored in to the advice throughout.”

Legal 500 2022

“The [Fintech] team is ‘approachable, highly experienced and commercial in its advice’.”

Legal 500 2022

“Its exceptionally capable, almost exclusively dual-qualified (science/engineering and law) lawyers at both the partner and associate level are second to none in terms of capability and experience – leading to small but exceptionally well focused and engaged teams who deliver a top-rate service.”

Legal 500 2022

“Outstanding people and very efficient on costs.”

Legal 500 2022

“Excellent data protection and privacy knowledge, combined with a pragmatic and risk-based approach.”

Legal 500 2022

“They offer professionalism with a strong people-centric culture.”

Legal 500 2022

“The [Data Protection] team is approachable, responsive and provides advice of the highest quality.”

Legal 500 2022

“You are confident you will get really sound advice from them.”

Chambers and Partners Europe 2021

“It is a great comfort to us that the individuals we are in contact with work closely as a team and help us keep all legal matters joined up and addressed consistently.”

Chambers and Partners Global 2021

“I would not hesitate to recommend their services to others.”

Chambers and Partners Global 2021

“Every member of the team we have worked with has been knowledgeable, pragmatic and responsive.”

Chambers and Partners Global 2021

“There is a lot of expertise in the firm and the lawyers collaborate to provide the best service to their clients.”

Chambers and Partners Global 2021

Recent rankings and awards

Data Protection in Global: Multi-Jurisdictional - Band 3

Data Protection - Band 3

Information Technology - Band 1

Data Protection - Band 1

Data Protection, Privacy and Cybersecurity - Tier 1

IT and Telecoms - Tier 1

Outsourcing - Band 1

Data Protection - Band 3

Fintech - Tier 3

Reputation Management - Tier 3

Firm of the Year: Data - Security

Leading Firm

GDR 100

Data Protection & Cybersecurity

IT & Telecoms