What led you to a career in law?

I’ve been advising on data protection, technology and commercial contracts for several decades. I live and breathe this stuff: advising clients, writing articles, presenting training courses, speaking in the media and contributing to consultations by the UK government and regulators.

The arrival of the General Data Protection Regulation ( GDPR ) and global artificial intelligence ( AI ) regulation, together with fast-moving technological innovation, mean that data protection and AI are increasingly exciting areas of law to specialise in, alongside our firm’s wider general commercial and technology work.

I enjoy advising on all the regulatory changes taking place, while helping client organisations to develop and carry on innovating.

I would, of course, prefer that our clients don’t end up in trouble, but I get a real buzz from giving quick and practical advice to help them to minimise the damage of data breaches. These can be fast-paced situations with tensions running high, and it’s a pleasure to help.

I love working with clients across a wide spectrum: from those who are getting to grips with the basics to highly experienced experts who occasionally need an extra pair of hands.

Tell us about some of your career highlights.

Within 10 years of walking through the doors as a trainee solicitor at Burges Salmon, a Top 50 UK law firm, I had specialised into information law and was heading up its data protection practice .

I left there in 2009 to set up my own specialist firm . As a founding partner, I’m immensely proud of the reputation we’ve gained, particularly in our specialist areas of data protection and AI, and of how our firm has flourished and expanded into Pritchetts Law LLP. We have an amazing team, and it’s great that so many of our clients, as well as the independent legal directories, recognise that we offer a truly comparable service to big-brand law firms, but at a fraction of the price.

You might have noticed a slight nautical theme to our website? Before joining Burges Salmon, I spent 18 months as principal in-house legal advisor to the Seattle Challenge for the America’s Cup (in the USA and New Zealand) and then with the British America’s Cup team . That was a fabulous time in my career – combining the sport I adore with my legal skills. A particular highlight from that time was getting to helm some America’s Cup boats ‘to help us remember why we were working so hard at the core operations’.

I honed my commercial expertise with a six-month secondment as acting Head of Legal at the truly inspiring Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and also as part of the legal team in the fast-paced environment of Virgin Mobile.

Any other strings to your bow?

My parents both worked in education, so perhaps it wasn’t a great surprise that there was a part of me keen to teach others. I like to combine my detailed knowledge of my field with my teaching abilities to deliver training that focuses on practical matters, giving business-minded feedback to participants’ queries. Clients often ask me to design and deliver bespoke data protection training and workshop sessions , but I also provide consultancy and training services to market-leading privacy company, PDP Companies Limited, presenting several courses that form part of the well-regarded PC.dp Practitioner Certificate in Data Protection qualification.

Of course, another way to share knowledge is to write, and I’ve been a regular contributor to PDP’s Privacy & Data Protection Journal and Data Protection Ireland , as well as writing articles for many other independent magazines and journals.

Through my work as a lawyer, trainer and writer, I’ve been invited to appear as a public speaker at various conferences and events. As an industry expert, I’ve also been approached for thought-leader commentary by the BBC and ITV, appearing on ITV News, BBC Radio, BBC News and BBC One’s Sunday Politics to discuss topical data protection, data security and big data issues.

Is it all work, work, work?

No, but it is definitely busy, busy, busy! I have three children whose various pursuits keep me a pretty busy mum, taxi-driver and event-planner. Add in my passion for travel, skiing, sailing and commitment to corporate social responsibility and volunteer work, and I’m on the go from dawn to dusk!

For over 13 years, my volunteering centred on my role as a charity director/trustee of a local Sure Start Children’s Centre. In times of austerity and ‘more for less’, the staff tirelessly assisted families with all sorts of challenges – from addiction issues and debt to helping the families of parental offenders. It was really rewarding to support them in the amazing work they undertake. More recently, I have been Chair of a local primary school’s governing body. There is never a quiet day.

As the children get older, I’m looking forward to having more time for my own sailing . A long time ago, I was selected to represent my country in sailing and won my university’s sportsperson of the year award. After many years as more of a landlubber, I’ve now bought a laser dinghy, so I’m determined to get fit enough to sail competitively again, although maybe just at club level these days! Meanwhile, I help run the youth sailing programme at our local club.

Expertise and accreditations

LOCS:23 Approved Implementor

LLB (Hons) University of Exeter

LPC, University of Exeter

“Singled out for her ‘phenomenal reputation’, Stephanie Pritchett is ‘hugely experienced, commercial in her thinking’, and ‘takes a thorough and detailed approach to finding practical solutions’. [She is also] ‘immensely experienced and very friendly’.”

The Legal 500 UK

CONTACT STEPHANIE
The Legal 500 – The Clients Guide to Law Firms

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Hillside
35 Westbury Hill
Bristol
BS9 3AG
United Kingdom

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