FRA Founding Partner, Toby Duthie , took part in a Q&A with Who’s Who Legal who have recognized him, once again, as a Thought Leader.
Watch the full Q&A here or read the interview in full below.
Who’s Who Legal: Thought Leaders editions brings together the insight, expertise and wisdom of some of the world’s foremost lawyers and experts. Through interviews with the practitioners themselves, the Thought Leaders editions aim to shine a light on what makes these experts the apogee of the profession.
Who’s Who Legal comments: “The individuals are worthy of special mention owing not only to their vast expertise and experience advising on some of the world’s most significant and cutting-edge legal matters, but also their ability to innovate, inspire, and go above and beyond to deliver for their clients.”
In the interview, Toby highlights: the most memorable matter he has worked on; gives his opinion on the current uncertainty in the regulatory landscape, brought about by Brexit and the GDPR, impacting global investigations; outlines how the inevitable uncertainty will create more risk for companies; and suggests the questions companies need to consider to overcome this. Read a transcription of Toby’s Q&A below.
What has been the most memorable matter you have worked on?
I think it’s probably the first matter we ever worked on as a firm, which was the German slave labour holocaust restitution. Partly because, we met amazing people including the likes of Simon Wiesenthal, members of the Jewish community that were looking for reparations from the German government, Swiss banks, etc. We ended up working on that for five years and paid out over 10 billion dollars to various survivors. That really was our first exposure into cross-border data transfer litigation and government-backed restitution efforts, so it was a huge learning curve and massively interesting, and obviously emotionally and intellectually unbelievably interesting.
In your opinion, how is the current uncertainty in the regulatory landscape, brought about by Brexit and the GDPR, impacting global investigations?
I think it’s hard to say because we don’t really know what Brexit is going to look like. What I think we can say is that increasingly, both on a national and also a sort of transnational basis, there’s much more regulation and much more regulatory scrutiny. I think the uncertainty will create more risk for companies. They’ll have to be very careful about managing data transfers, how they interview people, how they gather evidence, and where they store that evidence. This is because I think, for instance, if you’re looking at GDPR, it will be really important for companies to think: Will the UK end up being GDPR compliant? Should they keep data within the UK? Are they safe to transfer it to other European jurisdictions? So I think there’ll be enormous complexity around data transfer. I think they’ll also be enormous complexity around how regulators themselves interact with each other. We’ve seen increased coordination between the Dutch, the Swedish, the French, the UK, the US and Brazilian authorities, but again with Brexit, that potentially throws some question marks over how things will work, for example, in a joint Dutch-UK or joint UK-French prosecution or investigation.
How do you see your practice developing over the next few years?
I think we will see an increased use of artificial intelligence and data analytics, no question and we will see global expansion. We just recently opened a New York office, a Helsinki Office and a Stockholm office, so we think that the size of the company will grow, the complexity of matters will grow, the data volumes will grow, and we’ll have to have more people with more language skills, who are also IT-literate and savvy, again, to manage the data volumes. So I think overall, the investigations market is going to grow and grow and grow, and as we all know, investigations often lead to civil litigation and individual prosecutions, so the life span of these cases, I think, is going to increase with that. So, overall, I see more work, more complex work, more interesting work, and that is a huge opportunity for us as a company.
Who’s Who Legal Thought Leaders 2019 comments: Toby Duthie is highly adulated for his “great client skills, and ability to communicate complex issues clearly”.