William Fry received a Standout ranking in the highly coveted ‘Innovation in Legal Expertise’ category of the Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Report 2016. The ranking was conferred in acknowledgement of the Firm’s key role in advising on the landmark Microsoft Irish Warrant Case. William Fry was one of only two Irish Law firms to receive a ranking for innovation in legal expertise in the Report, along with A&L Goodbody.
William Fry provided strategic advice on the fundamental Irish dimensions of this groundbreaking case concerning data access, sovereignty and extraterritorial application of U.S. laws. The case has attracted widespread attention due to the potential consequences it posed for cloud computing, location of technology resources including data storage. In July this year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled in Microsoft’s favour, reversing a lower court’s ruling.
The ranking sees William Fry included in the Report for the second year running, recognising the Firm’s continued commitment to innovation in matters such as the IAG acquisition of Aer Lingus and the ground breaking Microsoft Irish warrant case.
David Cullen, Partner and Head of William Fry’s Technology Department, stated, “We understood that a negative ruling in this case would have far-reaching global implications for technology and other businesses operating in Europe. To support Microsoft’s chances of successfully appealing the initial ruling, we knew that we needed to be innovative and develop a non-traditional legal response. We’re delighted that we were able to play our part in Microsoft’s success."
The background to the case started in December 2013 when a U.S. court in New York ordered Microsoft to disclose to U.S. authorities a customer’s data being held in a Dublin datacenter. While Microsoft is committed to cooperating with law enforcement, it questioned whether federal prosecutors had authority to require it to hand over data located outside the United States. In addition to the Irish Government, Microsoft’s challenge was supported by dozens of organisations including Apple, Amazon, Fox News, The Washington Post, CNN, a number of privacy advocacy groups and almost two dozen other technology and media companies.
Commenting on the ranking, Bryan Bourke, Managing Partner at William Fry said, "I am delighted that David Cullen and his team have been recognised for their role in this groundbreaking case by the Financial Times Innovative Lawyer Report. At William Fry, we work constantly to be innovative and solutions focused in our approach and we are delighted that this is being acknowledged. It is also testament to the depth of experience at the firm and our investment in hiring and retaining the very best people."