Field Fisher Waterhouse hires ex-ICO man for data protection push

City firm Field Fisher Waterhouse has boosted its data protection practice with the appointment of Mick Gorrill, former head of enforcement at the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

City firm Field Fisher Waterhouse has boosted its data protection practice with the appointment of Mick Gorrill, former head of enforcement at the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Gorrill will join as a consultant in the firm’s 17-lawyer privacy and information law group.

He will work closely with partner Stewart Room to advise clients on data security breaches, direct marketing breaches, cases of unlawfully obtaining personal data and data subject access requests.

He will also advise clients on the increased enforcement expected to come out of the European Commission’s forthcoming new directive on data protection, a first draft of which is expected by June.

Eduardo Ustaran, head of Field Fisher’s privacy and information law group, said: “Mick has been instrumental in implementing the ICO’s regulatory strategy and has helped to move data security compliance up the agenda of UK organisations.

“His appointment comes at a time when we expect to see tighter legislative proposals from the ICO. His expertise will enhance our position as top advisers in the field of data security, regulation and enforcement and working alongside Stewart will be a compelling proposition for our clients.

“He is an addition to our expertise, and it means we have someone on the team who knows the issues from the inside.”

Gorrill is Field Fisher’s second hire from the ICO, following the appointment of Sian Rudgard in 2007 who advises on binding corporate rules, international data transfer and regulatory clearances.

Ustaran added: “The two appointments have been quite strategic, and they bring that additional 360-degree knowledge in the area – that extra vision.”

Gorrill joined the ICO in 2004 and has been instrumental in shaping and executing its regulatory strategy. In April 2010 he oversaw the introduction of financial penalties of up to £500,000 for data security breaches, ensuring data protection compliance becomes a top priority for UK businesses.

In a statement, Gorrill said: “I have known Field Fisher Waterhouse’s data protection team for a number of years and whilst at the ICO have been on the opposite side of many of the high profile cases that they have defended.

“I have always been impressed by their expertise and we have had a strong working relationship despite being on opposite sides of the fence. I’m delighted to be joining the practice and to be advising businesses on this rapidly developing and increasingly critical area of regulation.”