What led you to specialise in data protection and privacy law?

I’ve been working in this field for 18 years now and I live and breathe this stuff: advising clients, writing articles and presenting training courses.

The arrival of the General Data Protection Regulation ( GDPR ), together with fast-moving technological innovation, means that data protection is an increasingly exciting area of law to work in.

I enjoy advising on all the regulatory changes taking place, while helping client organisations to grow, 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 people across the whole data protection spectrum: from those who are getting to grips with the basics to highly experienced data protection experts who occasionally need an extra pair of hands.

Tell us about some of your career achievements.

Within 10 years of walking through the doors of Burges Salmon, a Top 50 UK law firm, as a trainee solicitor, I had specialised into information law and was heading up its data protection practice . I left in 2009 to set up my own specialist firm . As a founding partner, I’m immensely proud of the reputation we’ve gained in this specialist area and of how our firm has flourished and expanded into Pritchetts Law LLP. We have an amazing team.

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 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 further 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 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, appearing on 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 young children, and their various pursuits keep me a pretty busy mum, taxi-driver and event-planner. Add in my passion for travel, skiing, sailing and commitment to volunteer work, and I’m on the go from dawn to dusk!

For over a decade, my volunteering has centred on my role as a charity director/trustee of a local Sure Start Children’s Centre. In these times of austerity and ‘more for less’, the staff are tireless in assisting families with all sorts of challenges such as addiction, debt and depression. It’s really rewarding to support them in the amazing work they undertake.

As the children get older, I’m looking forward to having more time for my 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!

Expertise and accreditations

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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