Travers Smith LLP has bolstered its Technology Sector Group with the arrival of Baroness (Nicky) Morgan, who will work with the firm as a Consultant. This appointment marks a return for Nicky, who was a solicitor in the firm from 2002 to 2010.
Nicky Morgan was elected Conservative MP for Loughborough in 2010 and has served in a range of high-profile positions during her long-standing political career. Most recently, in January 2020, she was appointed to the House of Lords, as The Rt Hon Baroness Morgan of Cotes. Prior to that she served as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport from July 2019 to February 2020, and Education Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities from July 2014 to July 2016. She was also the first, and to date only, female chair of the Treasury Select Committee.
In her new role, Nicky will work with Travers Smith's team focused on the technology sector. She has a long-standing experience working with the sector, supporting tech companies and start-ups and promoting the UK as a global technology leader. More specifically, in her role as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport she led on the UK Government policy on internet regulation, and oversaw the creation and communication of the Department's digital and tech strategy providing a unified approach for tech companies, consumers and investors.
Comprising experts in fintech, data protection, tech M&A, private equity transactions involving tech companies, tech financing and tech-related contentious work, Travers Smith's cross-practice Technology Sector Group has an in-depth expertise and long-standing client relationships in the sector.
The firm's Fintech, Market Infrastructure and Payments Group is the go-to practice for financial market infrastructures and payment institutions which are seeking legal advice on wholesale and retail payment, settlement issues and fintech offerings. The team has advised operators of the UK retail payment systems on virtually every major technological change introduced by these system operators over the last decade. Most recently it has assisted Pay.UK, which operates the UK's retail payment systems, such as Bacs and Faster Payments, on the launch of the Request to Pay, a new and flexible way to manage and settle bills between businesses, organisations and friends. The firm also advises high-profile challenger banks, such as Monzo Bank.
The strength of the firm's data protection expertise is reflected in an enviable client list comprising household names for whom the processing of personal data is critical. Notable clients include online food delivery platform Deliveroo, iconic retailer Selfridges, high street barista chain Caffe Nero, leading insurer Prudential and the world's number one live theatre company, Ambassador Theatre Group. Key areas of expertise include data protection compliance work, as well as advising clients in relation to data generated, harvested or processed by their use of new technology, and acting as both counsel and "crisis management team" member for clients if and when they suffer data breaches.
The firm also has a strong track record acting on large and complex M&A transactions for technology clients including Micro Focus, Auto Trader, Zoopla and ebury. Its Dispute Resolution team is currently acting on what has been regarded as "tech trial of the century", representing HP in relation to fraud claims amounting to US$5 billion, with parallel criminal proceedings in the US, arising out of the US$11 billion acquisition of Autonomy Corporation plc in late 2011.
Travers Smith's Senior Partner Kathleen Russ commented: "I am delighted that Nicky has returned to our firm in this new role, working alongside our leading Technology Sector Group.
There is no doubt that now, more than ever, a continued investment in new technologies is critical to the future of business. This is a number one priority for business leaders around the world, as companies seek innovative tech solutions to run their operations and protect their business assets through the adoption of smart data management, artificial intelligence and cyber security technologies.
We are seeing an increasing demand from clients for our assistance on the key legal, risk and regulatory issues across a broad spectrum of technology trends, such as fintech, AI, data protection, data breaches and tech investments. Nicky's substantial legal expertise, coupled with her in-depth understanding of the technology sector and knowledge of the current policy and political landscape, will enable us to further enhance the support we provide to clients at a time of both increasing scrutiny and regulation, as well as new opportunities for business growth in the sector."
Nicky Morgan said: “It is a delight to be working with Travers Smith again where I spent 8 very enjoyable years until my election in 2010. The firm has a reputation in the market as a premium-quality top-tier law firm with deep expertise in the technology sector area. So, I am delighted to be working with their outstanding Digital, Data and Technology teams. These are key sectors for businesses and for the UK economy. Data is now a significant economic asset and the use of artificial intelligence and algorithms is becoming increasingly important and relevant to companies in all sectors.
Travers Smith also has a strong track record of staying ahead of the market in deeply technical areas of law such as payment processing/financial services regulation and operational resilience is something I focused on heavily as Chair of the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee.”