Outline of the practice area
IP and Technology (IPT) is a broad practice area that encompasses technology outsourcing, commercial agreements, intellectual property law, data protection, competition law, public procurement and telecommunications. This broad range of work allows trainees to be involved in both contentious and non-contentious work. The contentious work can involve intellectual property disputes such as copyright infringement or advising a client on their termination rights within a contract. Whereas the non-contentious work can include drafting supply agreements and advising clients on data protection compliance. In addition, DLA Piper’s IPT practice benefits from its global presence with nearly 500 lawyers in more than 24 countries. Therefore, as a trainee you are able to assist on and manage global matters spanning across numerous jurisdictions. International work is an enjoyable experience as you engage with your colleagues across the world. Additionally, it serves as a reminder of the magnitude and far-reaching nature of your work as an IPT solicitor at DLA Piper.
Furthermore, the importance of the IPT practice area is at the forefront of our clients’ minds. Hence, many of the trainee client secondments at DLA Piper are IPT focused. Though previous IPT experience is not a necessary prerequisite to apply for these secondment opportunities, it provides you with an invaluable insight and understanding of the work prior to secondment beginning.
Example of the type of work completed / of a deal
I have been very fortunate to be involved in a diverse range of work at DLA Piper. Specifically, I have assisted in the negotiation and drafting of master services agreements (an MSA) for a major bank outsourcing its IT services. An MSA is a large documents that governs the relationship between a customer and supplier. Initially they can appear quite daunting; however, once you become familiar with the structure and components of the agreement you develop an understanding as to where the significant negotiation points often arise. For instance, acting for the customer in these transactions has allowed me to appreciate the methods by which the supplier’s performance should be measured over the term of the agreement, and the rights and remedies that the customer will need in the event the supplier fails to meet expectations.
I have also supported our corporate team in the form of large due diligence tasks relating to high-value acquisition deals. Though this work may be viewed as repetitive or boring, I find it to be incredibly useful for a young commercial lawyer as you develop an understanding of the core aspects of a commercial agreement. Moreover, due diligence tasks can assist your understanding of what matters most to a buyer and is a dealbreaker as opposed to an issue which the buyer considers to be within its risk appetite. This ability to evaluate a legal issue within a wider commercial context is an invaluable skill which can be applied to most forms of legal advice.
Why is the practice group an exciting place to work/ innovations & exciting things happening in that area
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in IPT for numerous reasons. Primarily, it is because the work within the group is cutting-edge and constantly evolving with real-world developments, especially in regard to technology. For example, the EU has produced a new AI regulation proposal which a fellow trainee and I reviewed for the firm’s dedicated team of AI lawyers. The review was particularly exciting for me as it provided an insight into how governments across the world will look to govern this uncharted territory and contend with difficult questions, such as the onus of responsibility when an artificially intelligent system is the decisionmaker. The law is going to continue to have to tackle these difficult scenarios as we become more technologically advanced and dependent. Subsequently, IPT as a practice area will continue to grow as it deals with the outcomes of these decisions and the impact it has on clients.