Polish law firms best in personal data servicesRanking 2017-04-10
Regulatory law firms ranking - personal data services
Personal data lawyers advise on compliance. Major part of the law firms’ activities are related to adjusting corporate practices and policies to comply with legal requirements in the area and conducting general audits. Lawyers traditionally represent clients in front of data protection regulator (GIODO), including cases of database registration, throughout and following controls. They also aid with approval of standard contractual clauses by GIODO. Additionally, they represent clients before courts in cases related to data protection and so-called protected secrets, and prepare non-disclosure agreements.
Teams cooperate with telecom law departments. Sometimes the same persons are responsible for both branches of the law. Such is the case of Chajec, Don-Siemion & Żyto law firm. Tech companies providing so-called digital content (for example Samsung or Apple) operate with information on millions of users, so in case of a conflict prowess in both personal data and telecom laws is required. Often, for example at CMS or WKB, both data and telecom teams cooperate within a larger TMT (technology, media, telecommunication) or TMC (technology, media, communications) departments.
Polish law firms lead the pack. Personal data law was introduced to the ranking for the first time this year. Well-known and medium-sized Polish law firms turned out to be the best: Wierzbowski Eversheds Sutherland and Traple Konarski Podrecki. Kraków-based Barta Litwiński and CMS also scored high in the ranking (second tier). Despite many personnel changes Bird & Bird fared well (third tier) along with Maruta Wachta, which cooperates with the Ministry of Digitisation, DLA Piper, and PwC Legal. The latter is a law firm operating within PwC where a personal data team is led by Anna Kobylańska, formerly tied to CMS.
Significant personnel changes. In October 2016, Maciej Gawroński, a former managing partner at Bird & Bird, left for Maruta Wachta. Bird’s data team led by Izabela Kowalczuk-Pakuła was strengthened by Daria Mientkiewicz from Dentons, Agnieszka Sagan-Jeżowska from Uniqua, and Marian Giersz, who previously worked at Andrzej Krasuski’s Tel-Lex law firm, among others. Ewa Kurowska-Tober from Linklaters became a partner at DLA Piper and head of intellectual property and new technologies department. Piotr Zawadzki from Hogan Lovells moved to Linklaters to a position of a senior lawyer and patent spokesman. Meanwhile Joanna Matczuk moved to SMM Legal, where as a partner she will co-head an intellectual property team.
RODO-related consultancy overshadowed other issues. The EU regulation on personal data protection will come into force in 2018 setting unified standards across the European Union and regulating a right to be forgotten. Law firms dealing with the issue included CMS, DLA Piper, Traple Konarski Podrecki, and PwC Legal. Firms also advised parties on Allegro sale by Naspers to Permir, Cenven, and Mid-Europa partners funds. Allegro had a substantial subscriber base and ensuring the transfer complied with regulations was a task for Clifford Chance (buyers’ side) and Allen & Overy (seller’s side).
The EU regulation on data protection will generate workload for law firms for several years to come. Not only will they have to adjust corporate policies to the new legal requirements, but also continuously cooperate with enterprises on changing the way data is being handled. Lawyers are also helping the government to prepare a new law ensuring conformity of the Polish legal system with the new regulation. MinDig Anna Streżyńska has convinced Maciej Kawecki, who worked at Barta Litwiński between 2010 and 2014, to join the ministry. Legal team from Maruta Wachta supports the ministry in preparing a draft bill on personal data as external advisers.
Piotr Semeniuk contributed to this analysis.
*The ranking includes law firms active in the area of regulatory advisory, that is related to public corporate law that is being enforced by such institutions as UOKiK, URE, or KNF. An award ceremony took place on March 23, with winning firms receiving diplomas. It is the first ranking in Poland accounting for qualitative data. Results are based on survey data gathered by PI analysts among the biggest companies from regulated sectors and law firms themselves.