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The Privacy Advisor | Rosa Barcelo moves from civil servant to private practice in latest career move Related reading: Austrian DPA’s Google Analytics decision could have 'far-reaching implications'



Rosa Barcelo recently joined Squire Patton Boggs as deputy co-chair of its Data Privacy & Cybersecurity Practice Group in the Brussels office. As partner, Barcelo will advise clients on data protection and privacy, including compliance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation and the ePrivacy Directive, the very focus of her tenure while working in the public sector as a legal adviser with the European Data Protection Supervisor and deputy head of unit with the European Commission’s Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology.  Speaking to Barcelo weeks after the move, it was clear she was excited to get back in private practice to grapple with the law from the other side of the table. 

After nearly 15 years working in the public sector, Barcelo said what motivated her to make the transition into private practice came down to timing and a combination of reasons. Barcelo said she thought it would be exciting to advise on the EU General Data Protection Regulation. 

"Squire was looking to expand their practice, and I thought it would be kind of fun to get hands on experience practicing the law and see how it works in practice. The timing was just right,” she said.

As a civil servant during her time at the European Commission, she said, it was essential to remain flexible. “In the commission, you are expected to change subjects. I have been working on privacy for 15 years. I felt a little sad to leave data protection, but I was coming close to working in the same topic for quite a long time.”

Barcelo will use her experience, including her work alongside data protection authorities, to now guide companies towards compliance. “I think if you have been in all the sides of the law, from public to private, it gives you a comprehensive overview that can be helpful.”

While she noted that working for the EDPS and the Commission undoubtedly helped shaped her approach to privacy, she added that her real start, and formative years, were spent in private practice.  

“I was coming from private practice, when I started in the European data protection supervisor. I can remember a dear friend from a supervisory authority, who is no longer with us, saying that I had joined ‘the bright side (of privacy) .’ I think it’s great to have a well-rounded perspective. It allows you to see things from all possible angles. The reality is that very often, a solution lies somewhere in the middle. What is good, and what works, often entails a compromise that puts together different perspectives.” 

Barcelo's return to private practice presents a new chapter and a chance to test the very law she has devoted time to establishing, allowing her to utilize her well-honed privacy perspectives to find sustainable solutions as clients navigate the uncharted territory of the new privacy regulations. 

photo credit: byronv2 Fringe on the Mile 2018 0117 via photopin (license)


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