Bristows is the ‘go-to’ firm for IT & Digital for clients who want responsive, thoughtful and pragmatic legal advice. We cover everything from apps to digital transformation, system development to outsourcing, and block chain to artificial intelligence. Our tech-savvy team is as comfortable handling the roll-out of a huge government IT project as it is advising on the compliance of a new global service for one of the tech giants. Whatever it is, we have the lawyers who can assist.

Our focus on the technology sector makes us the lawyers of choice for many of the world’s largest technology companies. However, our clients for IT & Digital legal advice include sophisticated buyers of technology too, and we are regularly asked to advise on business-critical projects, such as digital transformations and strategic outsourcing. We can advise on regulatory compliance, draft and negotiate whatever contracts are required and even help clients get ‘troubled projects’ back on track if things go wrong, as they sometimes do.

Many of the IT & Digital projects we get involved in require us to have a deep understanding of the technology involved. Whatever it is – cloud computing, Adtech, the internet of things, robotics – we have lawyers who are interested and knowledgeable in how it all works. And if we do come across a technology we haven’t had to think about before, we have enough lawyers with science and engineering backgrounds (many at doctorate level), to figure it out. As the world becomes more connected and technology even more pervasive, our understanding of how technology works gives us an edge.

While we have one of the largest teams of IT & Digital specialists around, Bristows is still of a size and managed in a way that encourages cooperation and interdisciplinary working. For our clients, this means not only is the best expertise always brought to bear on a particular matter, but we can quickly pull together diverse teams with the necessary mix of expertise from across the firm, be that tax, employment, regulatory or another discipline a particular project raises.

Much of our work is international, either because our client is overseas, or because the project itself involves the laws of many countries, such as where a client is rolling out a new global IT system or releasing a new feature to an online service. We handle these projects using a network of the best IT & Digital lawyers around. We are not constrained in who we can work with and have spent years identifying lawyers around the world who work like we do – knowledgeably, pragmatically and cost-effectively. But we also know it’s not enough to work with the best lawyers, and we also offer our clients the convenience of ‘one firm’ – one set of instructions, one conflict check and one invoice.

Key contacts

Adrian Sim

Contact

Toby Crick

Contact

Chris Holder

Contact

Mark Watts

Contact

Experience

We advised a Premier League football club on a deal with one of the world’s largest technology companies to enable a next-generation contactless mobile ticketing solution.  We drafted and negotiated the software licensing and support to implement  a solution designed to improve fan engagement and speed of entry, while enhancing physical and data security.

Our client, a global medical devices company, has entered into a partnership with a healthcare technology provider to enable a cloud-based digital health solution that has transformed the way patients, clinicians and medical device suppliers work together to deliver improved patient outcomes.  We guided our client through the underlying technology arrangements from the app development and software licensing, through to the IP and data use issues which were at play in this global roll out.

We advised our client, a spin out entity from the UK Department of Health, on all aspects of the global launch of one of the world’s largest data sets of human genomic information.   We provided strategic advice relating to the underlying software platform (including the inclusion of open source software), and also the licensing arrangements for third party components, content and data.  Given the nature of the platform, we assisted with the creation of the end user licence agreement taking into account not only the various technology components in the platform, but also the intellectual property issues surrounding the incorporation of user generated content.

We advised a global IT, consulting and outsourcing company in structuring and developing its go-to-market strategy for its proprietary platform-as-a-service product which accelerates software development projects.  Working with the development team to understand the mix of proprietary, third party, public cloud and open source components, we advised on the key IT, IP and data protection risks and market positions and produced a suite of standard terms for their new platform offering.

Latest articles

What others say

“‘One of the best firms in the area’, Bristows LLP has an ‘excellent’ department, which is ‘technically strong, extremely responsive and highly considerate of the client’s needs’. The firm’s contentious strength (in areas including data breaches) sits alongside substantial expertise in global compliance programmes and privacy issues. It advised Google in the EU and US on the development and implementation of a GDPR strategy, and is assisting Samsung Electronics in relation to the data protection elements of its digital marketing operations.”

Legal 500 2017

“Bristows LLP attracts praise for its ‘very strong industry knowledge and commercial acumen’. The practice is headed by ‘effective negotiator’ Mark Watts, who acts for Amazon Web Services and is known for his data protection expertise, and includes Toby Crick, who acts for Ofcom and handles major outsourcing projects; litigation specialist Myles Jelf, who acts for Google and Samsung; and Adrian Sim, who is ‘a pleasure to work with’ and whose clients include Genomics and Capgemini.”

Legal 500 2016

“Bristows LLP typically advises buyers on significant outsourcing transactions. Clients are drawn from a broad range of sectors, but include a number of financial services and technology companies. The firm was selected by Genomics England to act as lead adviser in the procurement of sequencing services from Illumina. Other clients include Capgemini, MasterCard and Guardian News and Media. Mark Watts is the head of the department, which includes Toby Crick, Adrian Sim and Chris Holder, a partner who arrived from Bird & Bird in September 2014.”

Legal 500 2015

“In addition to assisting high-profile clients with issues arising from data breaches, Bristows LLP also handles compliance issues relating to new technologies for LG Electronics, and is advising Google on its response to the European Court’s invalidation of the Safe Harbor privacy principles. ‘Superstar’ Mark Watts heads the team, which includes senior counsel Christopher Millard and associate Hannah Crowther.”

Legal 500 2016

Mark Watts, who has ‘incredible knowledge which he applies in a highly commercial way’, leads the team, which was recently bolstered by the arrival of Robert Bond and his team from Charles Russell Speechlys LLP. Of counsel Christopher Millard and Hannah Crowther are also recommended.”

Legal 500 2017

“Bristows LLP has a ‘top-drawer’ practice that acts for Google in ‘right to be forgotten’ cases and assists Dropbox with various issues on a Europe-wide basis. It also advises Sony on product launches and cyber-security issues and acts for mining company BHP Billiton on compliance. Mark Watts is ‘whip-smart, experienced, practical and ethical’. “

Legal 500 2015

“Full-service provision including coverage of cloud computing, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) matters, healthcare and public sector data management. Particularly strong in litigation. Offers specific expertise in data protection concerning technology innovations.”

Chambers and Partners 2015

“’Very knowledgeable, practical and helpful, with great experience. They’re responsive, and they do whatever they can to accommodate us’…’Good operators who have had strength and depth in technology for many years and have kept their focus’.”

Chambers and Partners 2015

“They have a good balance of technical versus legal knowledge. They understand our area better than almost anyone else – they understand the technologies that we have and produce, and understand how we need to work.”

Chambers and Partners 2016

“The team offers broad sector expertise with a focus on emerging, innovative technology. Known for its close working relationships with in-house counsel, strong client list, and ability to handle complex technical matters.”

Chambers and Partners 2015

“Especially adept at providing counsel on the most current and cutting-edge issues in the technology space. Experienced advisers on digital advertising and cloud computing matters.”

Chambers and Partners 2019

“Especially adept at providing counsel on the most current and cutting-edge issues in the technology space. Experienced advisers on digital advertising and cloud computing matters.”

Chambers and Partners 2019

“They are incredibly reliable and responsive, and are really detail-oriented lawyers who not only get the space, but who understand technology and the commercial aspects as well.”

Chambers and Partners 2017

“They offer the best practical advice on how to get something done. They offer guidance that helps us understand the risks and the best way of approaching an issue.”

Chambers and Partners 2016

“Bristows is undoubtedly a market leader in data privacy, with a long pedigree in this area of work, a strong roster of clients and excellent lawyers in the field.”

Chambers and Partners 2015

“They give practical, concise and direct advice, and they understand the technology sector very well. They are extremely responsive and quick to communicate.”

Chambers and Partners 2016

“I think they’re top-notch. They have an ability to get what the client’s business interest is, and focus on the issues clearly and keenly.”

Chambers and Partners 2015

“They’re smart, pragmatic and have a spectrum of clients, so they give very thoughtful, useful advice with an eye across many industries”

Chambers and Partners 2019

“An effective unit using their respective knowledge and skills sensibly. They’re aware of what the client needs and they deliver.”

Chambers and Partners 2017

“Bristows LLP ‘stands out as a client-focused firm that goes the extra mile to understand its clients’ commercial needs'”

Legal 500 2019/2018

“Bristows LLP handles a range of matters in the IT and telecoms space, and acts for clients including IBM, Capgemini and Sony.”

Legal 500 2017

“They are particularly distinctive in their market and technology knowledge, as well as their creative and practical approach.”

Chambers and Partners 2019

“Bristows are recognised not only for having a strong advisory team, but also great litigation experience in data protection.”

Chambers and Partners 2017

“We have particular confidence in their grasp of technical matters, in addition to the high standard of legal advice.”

Chambers and Partners 2016

“They give a high-quality legal analysis coupled with a fruitful, thoughtful understanding of the way the law works.”

Chambers and Partners 2016

They are particularly distinctive in their market and technology knowledge, as well as their creative and practical approach.

Chambers and Partners 2019

“They are strong on both the technology and commercial sides owing to their powerful IP and data capabilities.”

Chambers and Partners 2019

“Experienced in acting on deals involving automation and artificial intelligence technology.”

Chambers and Partners 2019

“Experienced in acting on deals involving automation and artificial intelligence technology.”

Chambers and Partners 2019

“Their technical expertise is fantastic – they really know their stuff.”

Chambers and Partners 2015

Recent rankings and awards

IT and Telecoms - Top tier
Legal 500 UK 2020/2019/2018/2017

Data Protection, privacy and cybersecurity - Top tier
Legal 500 UK 2019

Data protection - Band 1
Chambers and Partners UK 2019

IT - Band 1
Chambers and Partners UK 2019

Outsourcing - Band 2 
Chambers and Partners UK 2019

Data Protection - Band 3 
Chambers and Partners Europe 2019