Thorntons appoints its first non-legal director for fresh data protection focus

Morgan O’Neill and Lesley Larg
Morgan O’Neill and Lesley Larg

Law firm Thorntons has appointed Morgan O’Neill as its new Director of Data Protection Services – the first role of its kind at the firm.

Morgan will work within the Intellectual Property, Technology and Media team across Thorntons’ Edinburgh and Dundee offices, and will advise clients across all firm locations, based on her specialised expertise in this sector.

Throughout her career, Morgan has held senior compliance positions in the UK, US and New Zealand and has extensive experience of interacting with regulatory bodies across multiple jurisdictions. She joins Thorntons from her role as in-house Data Protection Officer and Head of Compliance within a large UK organisation.

As part of Morgan’s role with Thorntons, she will support clients in achieving and maintaining ongoing compliance with their GDPR obligations under the firm’s Data Protection Officer assist programme and comprehensive fully outsourced Data Protection Officer packages.  

With expertise in both legal and compliance, Thorntons provides a holistic, pragmatic and commercial approach to data protection compliance. Previously working with many organisations in the areas of data protection and data security, the experienced firm can adapt to different requirements and has also developed a toolkit of packaged services to meet the needs of clients.

Lesley Larg, partner at Thorntons, said: “The appointment of Morgan in this important, forward-thinking role represents a first for Thorntons and reflects the changing needs of our business in line with client demands.

“With the addition of Morgan to our team, we are able to provide a truly joined up legal and compliance offering – a unique service where we can deliver a pragmatic and risk-based approach to compliance.

“We are delighted to welcome Morgan to our team with her wealth of knowledge and extensive experience in the data protection sector. I believe she will be an invaluable asset to the firm for both our clients and colleagues.”

Morgan added: “Businesses operate in a digital economy fuelled by personal data. The spotlight has fallen on data protection recently with the introduction of new GDPR guidelines and high profile enforcement actions taken by the ICO, resulting in significant financial penalties and reputational damage for the parties involved. Individuals are increasingly aware of their rights under Data Protection Law and the requirements of data controllers and data processors to protect the data they share with them.

Managing data protection risks within organisations is now a priority for senior management and requires a multi-faceted approach. It is important that each organisation’s data protection compliance strategy is tailored to their processing activity and risk-profile.

“Businesses are increasingly recognising that they have a duty to protect the data they process and are seeking help from external sources.  At Thorntons, we offer business solutions including Data Protection Officer assistance packages, bespoke legal advice, or a completely outsourced Data Protection Officer, to ease the burden on businesses in complying with their legal and regulatory obligations.

“Furthermore, these services are available to clients across all Thorntons’ locations meaning that any clients can gain advice and services throughout any stage of dealing with GDPR concerns.”

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