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

Data Protection publication

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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

“Their advice is always practical, realistic and adaptable.”

Chambers and Partners 2023

“Bristows have an incredible depth and breadth of experience.”

Chambers and Partners 2023

“Bristows has a comprehensive IT practice with powerful resources for major commercial transactions and complex litigation. It advises many of the world’s leading technology companies, and also sophisticated blue-chip buyers of IT services. It is especially adept at providing counsel on the most current and cutting-edge issues in the technology space.”

Chambers and Partners 2023

“They are extremely responsive both to acknowledge a query and then to respond to it and are always mindful of the time frames given.”

Chambers and Partners 2023

“Clients use them because of their sector expertise and their understanding of commercial organisations needing to deliver pragmatic privacy guidance with a commercial steerage.”

Chambers and Partners 2023

“They are technically very strong, giving us great confidence in their advice.”

Chambers and Partners 2023

“The Bristows reputation management team is small but experienced and has the advantage of being able to offer cross-expertise to other Bristows specialist departments such as data protection, copyright and IT generally. In the internet age that is very valuable.”

 

Legal 500 2023

“Excellent depth of technical and market knowledge in relation to new media e.g. online platforms, search engines etc. make Bristows an obvious choice for online reputation management issues.”

Legal 500 2023

“Definitely one of the go to firms for organisations in the media and tech field facing complex and challenging litigation in the reputation management area.”

Legal 500 2023

“Outstanding technical ability coupled with first rate people skills and exceptional practical outcomes. This is a rare team with quality from top to bottom. The associates and trainees are as outstanding as the partners at the very top. This means cases can be run practically and sensibly leading to excellent results.”

Legal 500 2023

“One of the very few firms able to offer legal advice across the entire reputation management spectrum, from defamation to data privacy.”

Legal 500 2023

“The ‘outstanding’ team at Bristows LLP is notable for providing extensive reputation advisory services to high-profile tech and media clients.”

Legal 500 2023

“Exceptional practice, well motivated, and proactive.”

Legal 500 2023

“The team is the complete package – they are technically excellent, but also very engaging and really make the effort to get to know the business and tailor advice accordingly.”

Legal 500 2023

“Bristows’ willingness to engage and work with us to understand our organisation’s aims and objectives makes it a fantastic partner to work with. Its pragmatic and commercially-focused advice provides confidence that we can make the best commercial decisions.”

Legal 500 2023

“‘I use Bristows for its expertise in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors and for its unrivalled knowledge of topics, responsiveness and timeliness of its pragmatic and client-focused advice. Its lawyers take the time to get to know and understand the client’s business so they can tailor their advice to the client’s particular circumstances. They think long term and not simply about the immediate challenges.”

 

Legal 500 2023

“The ‘technically excellent and very engaging’ team at Bristows LLP provides ‘pragmatic and commercially-focused advice’ to a range of well-known names, including Facebook, Google and WarnerMedia, on data protection matters, including litigation, data breaches and global compliance projects.”

 

Legal 500 2023

“Great expertise, very approachable.”

Legal 500 2023

“The team at Bristows is second to none in the UK technology law space. They are accessible, responsive, highly knowledgeable and experienced and are our go-to team for any complex, high-value or innovative IT deals.”

Legal 500 2023

“On the non-contentious side, strengths include corporate M&A and venture capital matters, commercial IP work, and strategic and project advice for clients across the technology, media, and telecoms sectors.”

Legal 500 2023

“Contentious work is a core strength for the broad technology sector practice at Bristows LLP, with experience in disputes ranging from major FRAND cases to competition issues to media and data protection compliance work, which the firm handles for an impressive base of high-profile household names and multinational corporates.”

Legal 500 2023

“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

Recent rankings and awards

Data Protection - Band 3

Data Protection in Global: Multi-Jurisdictional - Band 3

Commended for Technology, Media & Telecoms

Information Technology and Outsourcing - Band 1

Data Protection - Band 1

Data Protection, Privacy and Cybersecurity - Tier 1

Technology, Media and Telecoms - Tier 2

Reputation Management - Tier 3

Fintech - Tier 3

IT and Telecoms - Tier 1

Data Protection - Band 3

Data Protection in Global: Multi-Jurisdictional - Band 3

Information Technology - Band 1

Outsourcing - Band 1

Data Protection - Band 3

Firm of the Year: Data - Security

Leading Firm

GDR 100

Data Protection & Cybersecurity

IT & Telecoms