How to start a legal career in Privacy and AI (Artificial Intelligence)

As the world of emerging technologies such as big data, robotics, disruptive tech and Internet of Things is quickly becoming part of our everyday lives, Artificial intelligence will continue to play a fundamental contributor to the future of these innovative technologies. With this in mind, AI is already impacting the long term future of virtually every industry and this will certainly have an impact on the legal profession however, it will also create opportunity too. With all Technologies regardless of its purpose, human brainpower will play a fundamental part in its creation from R&D to deploying artificial intelligence. Over the past 5yrs, I’ve constantly advised my junior lawyers to focus on in-house roles with a focus on software, algorithms, Data Cloud (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS) and FinTech as it’s the future and we’re certainly very dependent on it even more than ever during this pandemic. Regardless of our current dependency, once we all return to normality, we have now become accustomed to using and embracing technology so that won’t change.

Just recently, The EU parliament opened talks on how to create a regulatory framework for the future of AI in order to boost its capacity to produce innovative products and develop a trust in the technology sector. This new regulation will outline the framework of ethical and legal duties to be adhered to for R&D, deploying and the use of AI, robotics and other similar technologies within the EU.  With this in mind, Privacy Law will become an integral part in the creation of AI products and IP/Commercial contracts will be drafted to ensure either the owner or creator of an AI product is willing to take responsibility for when it goes wrong or becomes somewhat dangerous.

In most cases, IP/Commercial lawyers were gradually engrossed in data privacy work which overtime resulted with Privacy been their key focus, so making a transition into Privacy Law was a natural progression. As the demand grows for in-house Privacy Lawyers so does the demand for specific experience i.e. handling the transfer of Data once Schrems II is implemented, CIPP/CIPM or similar privacy qualifications including strong knowledge of GDPR and EMEA privacy laws/regulations. In some cases, candidates with knowledge of APAC (California’s version of GDPR) and/or LATAM privacy legal knowledge is advantageous for In-House.

To make a career transition into Privacy Law, it’s advisable for lawyers and legal counsels to focus not only on courses specifically created for privacy and cybersecurity but courses which are closely related to IP and Commercial Law. From reviewing 100’s of privacy lawyer CV’s, I’ve noticed many candidates have gone further afield by completing non-legal courses in AI and computer science or business/e-commerce. The vast majority of Privacy Legal Counsel roles require candidates to have evidence of practical work experience gained within Data protection/GDPR along with the CIPP (Certified Information Privacy Professional) certification been key candidate requirements. If you’re currently in Law School studying your LLB or LPC it’s feasible to sit the IAPP (International Association of Privacy Professionals) and this course is considered as an industry leader by the privacy profession, which will certainly enable you to stand out from the crowd of other competing legal graduates seeking a training contract.

In reality, the best experience is always gained from working on the ground, while Privacy Teams are expanding and the demand for Privacy Lawyers continues, you’re in a very prime position to create enough gravitas by completing the CIPP/E and/or IAPP certifications to warrant a transition into Privacy Law. The majority of recognised Privacy Lawyers increased their presence in the profession by speaking at Privacy industry conferences, submitting Privacy articles, blogging and vlogging with a regular contribution on their social media platforms. In order to achieve this career transition into Privacy, it will require a combination of academic achievements in Privacy (CIPP & IAPP), practical Data Protection and GDPR experience with a credible understanding of Privacy law and regulation framework.

For a confidential discussion on current Privacy Counsel opportunities in the UK and across EMEA, please contact Liam at EMEA Legal via

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