Legal Directory & Hommes d'Affaires
Reputation & Privacy Lawyers
London, United Kingdom
Legal Advisory Services
Internet & Media
"‘When the phone rings, you literally do not know what the issue is going to be. Sometimes that makes it very challenging, but equally keeps it interesting,’ says David Engel, a partner at Addleshaw Goddard since 2001.
He says clients face reputational and privacy risks from a range of sources in addition to the mainstream media, citing competitors, pressure groups, employees or customers posting comments online, and issues with regulators. ‘They’re all reputational, but nothing to do with the media,’ Engel notes.
What does he enjoy about his work? ‘The adrenalin of the pressure,’ he says. ‘It’s often quite urgent, and ultimately [I enjoy] the job satisfaction of being able to achieve the objective that the client wants.’
"Engel and his team at Addleshaw Goddard use reputation, privacy and data laws to protect and defend the reputation and information of its clients.
Their involvement may be at a relatively high, strategic level when clients want to know their legal options and how to prepare for the worst, or it may be a matter of more urgent crisis management when there is an immediate threat. Engel and his colleagues therefore often work closely with their clients' communications team and with other trusted advisers.
In a three-decade career, Engel has acted in some landmark reputation and privacy cases, including the biggest ever defamation claim in the UK (worth more than $800 million), and acting for Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones in one of the first ever privacy and data protection claims. He also successfully represented almost 100 victims of phone hacking in privacy claims against News International and Mirror Group.
‘I represent individuals and businesses who want to assert their legal right to defend themselves from attacks on their good name, or invasions of their and their families’ privacy, whether by the media or anybody else,’ he says.
A new client's first question is usually, 'What can be done from a legal perspective?' Occasionally, says Engel, the answer is very little, but most people will find they have more legal leverage than they imagine. 'And of course, the media knows this. For them it is a numbers game. They know that for every 10 people whose privacy they threaten to shatter, or whose reputation they plan to trash, only one or two will have the cojones – as Hemingway put it – and the resources to defend themselves.'