A solicitor has created what he claims is the UK’s first firm dedicated to digital law.
Peter Wright founded DigitalLawUK, based in south Yorkshire, after dealing with millions of online documents for a miners’ case he was involved with at a previous firm.
The increasing need for advice on online security inspired him to create the firm with his wife Heather Anson, a US attorney. The firm advises on data protection, copyright, social media policies and freedom of information.
‘A lot of companies know they have to be careful with data, but don’t really understand all the complexities of the law,’ said Wright. ‘You can have the IT department saying one thing, HR another, marketing something else and the legal team caught in the middle, and the risks are not taken seriously.
‘We can come in and look at it all as a whole and work out exactly what is going on and make sure everything is legally compliant. The alternative can be fines and damage to reputation.’
Wright said companies are having to find ways of staying compliant in the midst of rapid technological change. Other aspects, such as social media policies included in employment contracts, are prone to change and are still to be truly tested in case law.
‘It is very different from many other areas of law. You can train someone in buying and selling houses and not much changes in 40 years, but we have to keep up with changes all the time.’
The former Nabarro solicitor has helped to set up the firm through support from business programme Enterprising Barnsley, which offered marketing, branding and advice on HR matters.
The practice, which charges on a fixed-fee basis, does not use paper unless clients request it and conducts meetings through Skype if possible.
Wright has also appeared recently at conferences talking about topics such as cloud computing and the right to be forgotten. He is chair of the Law Society’s technology and law reference group.