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Herbert Smith has taken a massive cut in fees to advise on an epic three-year data privacy programme, which it considers a model for international data compliance projects.
Herbert Smith IT partner Christopher Rees has advised healthcare information market leader IMS Health for more than 10 years, but still reduced its fee rate by 40 per cent .
Despite the reduced rate, work on the project has brought in more than £2m in fees and the programme is continuing, moving on to reviews in yet more countries.
Following the demise of Enron and Arthur Andersen, the misuse of data is a big issue for all companies. Rees commented: “There’s a market for this kind of programme, which is very much in its infancy… It’s not just a programme for data privacy, it’s a model for all data compliance programmes.”
Herbert Smith supervised and coordinated the compliance programme across law firms in 11 countries. It also liaised with IMS’s in-house privacy team and auditor Deloitte & Touche.
The novel part of the project was that, following a report on IMS’s data handling and another report on its compliance with these recommendations, Herbert Smith delivered a legal opinion to the board of directors, which can be used by a third party to confirm the company’s compliance.
IMS chose its regular law firms in most jurisdictions but took recommendations from Herbert Smith in certain jurisdictions, where it required firms with more specific data privacy expertise. DLA’s US suitor Piper Rudnick was one of these, as was niche Belgian firm Dewallens & Partners.