Tom is the head of the international information, communications and technology practice. He advises a wide range of clients within the TMT, FI and AM & IF sectors and has been the client partner for clients such as Activision Blizzard, China Telecom, Equinix, Perform Group, Riyad Bank, Liberty Global, Virgin Media and VEON (formerly VimpelCom), in many cases, for over a decade.
He specialises in the law, regulation and policy of telecommunications, satellite, media, technology, the Internet and e-commerce.
- Recent Work
- advising each of CITC, PAIX and African Mobile Networks on their respective international Joint Ventures and expansions across EMEA
- advising VEON on the renegotiation of its Supplier Contracts to apply new, higher standard, consistent arrangements across the whole of the Group and the creation of a new Contract Management System for contract creation, storage, management and analytics
- advising Liberty Global on its standard suite of contracts and the associated Contract Management System
- advising each of Truphone, Liberty Global and VEON on how to maximize the value of their respective IP portfolios
- advising Barclays on its engagement in the early stage financial technology field
- acting for Riyad Bank on various matters including its appointment as Western Union’s representative for money transfer services in Saudi Arabia
- advising various companies on the Ofcom investigations into customer complaints and mis-selling allegations establishing numerous MVNO and MVNE businesses including acting for Lebara, China Mobile, Telco Global, Unicom and Truphone.
- Focus areas
- advising on Transactions - international expansion and the need to share risk has increasingly led Tom in to advising on English Law based transactions between parties from different countries, cultures and languages, often involving joint venture agreements reflecting the need to have a structure for enabling the parties to build long term relationships
- advising on Supplier-side cost control & management - commoditisation and interchangeability of existing suppliers’ products, together with the rise of substitute suppliers from advances in technology (such as the Cloud), have led to many clients seeking to engage with suppliers (old and new) to renegotiate “the deal”. Tom has been advising an increasing number of clients on how to generate the best outcome as they engage with suppliers. Reflecting significant cost savings that can be derived from effective contract and claims management, advice has extended to cover the use of technology to create, store, analyse and manage contracts online
- advising on IP as it is increasingly seen as a “valuable asset” - banks are lending against IP as security, Litigation Funds are backing IP disputes, transactions are “ransomed” by change of control provisions in IP licences and IP is being used as a sword as well as a shield to keep competitors at bay. Tom is advising clients on how to identify, separate out and value their IP and then how to more effectively manage its creation, maintenance and exploitation with a view to maximising the value in their IP
- advising on new b2b and b2c technology solutions - popular access to and acceptance of technology has been rapid – Data Protection Law can’t keep up! Rather like in the late 90s “Dot Com” era so now Tom has been advising both the resulting wave of start-ups (particularly “Fintech” and “Big Data”) on the full range of issues from start-up to funding and expansion; and also existing businesses on how to respond by way of “Hackathon”, accelerator/incubator funding/investment, alongside carrying on “business as usual”
- advising on Business Transformation - innovation and technology are changing the way all businesses work. Tom has been advising clients, alongside the traditional consultancies, on not just the legal and regulatory issues to take account of, but also how to structure #1 International Legal Departments so as to be high quality, proactive/offensive, revenue generating and cost reducing, as well as delivering wider CR benefits to society
- advising on Multi-Country advice - Tom has become adept at delivering advice on key issues across multiple countries rapidly and efficiently. Examples include advising on multi-country: market entry, FS Regulation, DP Regulation and Marketing & Advertising Regulation.
Prior to joining Simmons & Simmons in 1996, Tom was an in-house lawyer with Videotron Holdings plc covering legal, regulatory and corporate affairs. He has been a partner since 1997.
Chambers Directory 2019 includes Client comments on Tom that:
- “He is fantastic at co-ordinating teams and lining up the right people for me to speak to, but is always available to speak and give help and support”
- “The work was always done well and on time, he was always quick at giving us extra information where needed”.
The Directory adds that the team as a whole “are very communicative, very proactive, and really responsive in adapting to what we needed”.
Legal 500 Directory 2019 comments says Tom attracts praise for that Tom “his tireless and selfless ability to be there whenever needed to provide measured legal advice”.
Other Directory quotes, including Chambers Global, include:
- “lateral thinking and pragmatic understanding of the market”
- “gives confidence to commercial executives in critical commercial relationships”
- “a marked strength in these ever-changing areas of business”.