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Piers Strickland

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Piers Strickland


  • Joint Head of Intellectual Property and Dispute Resolution
  • Ex-Bristows, Charles Russell and Dewey & LeBoeuf
  • Solicitor-Advocate


Piers specialises in advising clients on disputes involving all forms of intellectual property law including trade marks, copyright, patents, passing off and designs.  Piers also has extensive experience in the areas of confidential information and data protection.  In addition, he regularly advises clients on more general IT disputes, often relating to computer software.

Piers services both international and UK-based clients with a broad ranging industry focus. 

He has substantial experience of litigating in the High Court and in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court.

He is now routinely recommended by the leading global directories, Legal 500 and Chambers:

  • as providing both “a pragmatic approach” and “valuable advice succinctly and efficiently” (Legal 500, 2012)
  • “tenacious yet pragmatic” (Legal 500, 2013)
  • “recommended” (Legal 500, 2014)
  • "unflappable" and has "excellent commercial judgement” (Chambers, 2014)
  • "first-class litigator" (Legal 500, 2015).


Network with Piers Strickland here

Why did you choose to specialise in IP law?

IP instantly appealed to me as being the most fascinating and varied areas of law.  As a businessman myself, I love to analyse how my clients can get an edge over their competitors by using IP law to their advantage.  In my day-to-day practice, this usually involves providing strategic business advice in a dispute / litigation context. 

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Dispute and litigation work is not for the faint-hearted and this maxim applies equally to lawyers and clients alike.  The most rewarding aspect of my job is guiding and supporting a client through a stressful dispute resolution process to a successful conclusion.  Stress is inevitable in high-stakes litigation, but I believe that it is a vital part of my role to provide digestible commercial advice throughout, so that my clients sufficiently understand the issues at stake and  make the correct decisions according to their business objectives.

What do you like about being part of a team?

As a keen sportsman, the feeling of all pulling in the same direction towards a shared objective resonates.  Oh, and the victory celebrations…

What would you say has been your career highlight to date?

The most important decision in my career to date was to leave” Big Law” and set up my own law firm specialising in IP.  I subsequently merged my practice with Waterfront in 2010. (This was the second best career decision to date!)  Being an entrepreneur is genuinely liberating and in many ways was the making of me as a lawyer.  An additional benefit of this experience was being able to identify more closely with my owner-manager clients.

What’s your favourite piece of tech?

I seem to have acquired virtually every piece of Apple hardware available, so I will have to say anything with an Apple operating system.  As far as I am concerned, they simply produce the most intuitive and effective devices around.

What do clients say about you?

Tenacious, but commercially pragmatic.

Matthew Harris

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Matthew Harris

  • Joint Head of Intellectual Property and Dispute Resolution
  • Ex-Herbert Smith and Norton Rose

Matthew trained at Herbert Smith and became a partner in its IP and IT department in 2000.  He joined Norton Rose in 2003 where he subsequently became the head of Intellectual Property and Information Technology dispute resolution.   He joined Waterfront Solicitors in December 2008.

Matthew undertakes a wide range of intellectual property and information technology work but specialises in IP and IT litigation, advising and acting for clients that range from SME’s, to large multi-national companies. 

He currently sits on the Law Society’s Intellectual Property Working Party.

For over 10 years Matthew was a visiting lecturer in Intellectual Property Law at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich.  Until recently he was a general editor of, the International Trademark Association's (INTA) Annual International Review of Trademark Jurisprudence and the chair of the INTA Amicus Sub-Committee.   He appeared for the association  before the European Court of Justice in the high profile Nokia counterfeit goods case.

Matthew is an internationally recognised expert in domain name law and practice.  He has been appointed by WIPO, Nominet and the Czech Arbitration Court to decide domain name disputes, having decided approximately 300 cases to date.  

Matthew was recognised as a “Leading Individual” in the field of Intellectual Property law in the 2014 edition of the Chambers Guide. In that guide he is described as an "accomplished lawyer" and one peer is recorded as saying "For domain names and counterfeiting, he's got the best working knowledge of any solicitor that I know."  A client added: "He exhibits a strong sense of business knowledge that complements his industry-leading experience."   

Matthew’s patent expertise was recognised in the Legal 500 as long ago as 2006.  In the 2012 edition he is described as “Friendly, brilliant, direct, and able to think outside the box" and as someone who “provides the right advice on every occasion”. In 2013 the Legal 500 added that Matthew is “very bright, and exhibits a strong sense of business knowledge”. While in 2015 he is noted for being "extremely personable and engaging".

Network with Matthew Harris here

Matt Cunningham

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Matt Cunningham

  • Head of Corporate 
  • Ex-Hextalls and Telehouse Europe

Matt joined Waterfront’s IT team in 2007. In 2009 he established the corporate team and, following the success of that team in 2010 and 2011, was promoted to partner in early 2012.

Matt advises clients on a wide range of corporate matters, including setting up businesses, venture capital, joint ventures, and mergers and acquisitions. He has particular expertise in advising entrepreneurs and investors in the IT, technology and digital media sectors. His experience working in-house at Telehouse Europe, a leading provider of co-location services to the IT and telecoms industries, and as part of the IT team at Waterfront (2007- 2009), has given him a good understanding of the legal issues facing technology businesses.

Matt has advised in relation to numerous venture capital investments in tech start-ups and early stage businesses. He is equally able to advise entrepreneurs and investors on the challenges they face and he is valued by his clients for his practical, commercial approach.

Network with Matt Cunningham here

Why did you decide to join Waterfront?

I joined Waterfront in 2007 because I wanted to be part of something new: to help build a different kind of law firm. Waterfront was only five years old at the time and the prospect of joining a start-up tech law firm was exciting. All the law firms I had previously worked at had been very traditional (read: stuffy). Waterfront was different. It was young, it was friendly, it was vibrant and perhaps most importantly everyone I spoke to was enthusiastic about the firm (clients and employees alike). [The firm has grown and matured considerably since I joined, but it has managed to retain many of the aspects that attracted me to it in the first place.] In recent years there has been a proliferation of tech-focussed start-up law firms, but Waterfront is still the original and the best.

Why did you choose to specialise in corporate?

I had spent some time doing corporate work while I was training. I had also drafted a number of shareholders agreements and advised on a couple of small company sales while working in the IT/commercial contracts team at Waterfront, but my first real taste of corporate work was advising the founders of Globrix, a property search website, on their management buyout from News International in 2009 and subsequent sale of the company to DMGT. Although it was exhausting (by the end of the deal we were working flat out day and night) I thoroughly enjoy the experience and it prompted me to set up Waterfront’s corporate team at the end of 2009, the success of which resulted my promotion to partner in 2011. I haven’t looked back since.

What’s the most common misapprehension about the legal profession?

That all lawyers are the same: expensive,  dogmatic and aloof. At Waterfront we pride ourselves on being affordable, pragmatic and approachable.

What piece of tech could you not live without?

My iPhone, but I guess I’m not the first person to say that!

Alison Berryman

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Alison Berryman

  • Head of Technology and Commercial Law
  • Specialises in Commercial Contracts and IT/Technology
  • Ex-Universal Music Publishing and Macrovision

Prior to joining Waterfront Solicitors as a trainee, Alison had accumulated nearly 4 years of contracts experience, first at Universal Music Publishing and later at Macrovision (a NASDAQ listed, silicon valley technology company).  Since qualification she has worked with clients of all sizes - from individual iPhone App developers, to medium sized businesses requiring software licences, to overseas national governments requiring advice on European Data Protection Legislation.  Alison was promoted to partner in December 2008.

Alison is Waterfront’s resident Data Protection and Privacy expert, advising clients on all aspects of data protection and privacy law as well as carrying out data protection audits and providing staff training on this complex area.

Alison also specialises in drafting and negotiating a very broad variety of commercial contracts, particularly for clients in the digital media, technology, software and e-commerce and entertainment sectors. 

Alison has undertaken two secondments as part of Waterfront’s "Virtual In-House Lawyer" scheme.  The experience gained during these secondments, together with her work in-house prior to Waterfront, has led Alison to take a very pragmatic and commercial approach to most legal problems.  Many clients have commented on how useful this approach is in enabling them to make informed decisions quickly, so they can get back to the ‘real work’.

The 2013 Legal 500 observed that Alison and founding partner, Carole Hailey, “always understand that clients are a business first and foremost, in order to give relevant weighting to the commercial needs versus the legal obligations”.

In 2015 Alison was promoted to Head of Technology and Commercial Law.

Network with Alison Berryman here

Why did you decide to join Waterfront?

The moment I met Carole and Rachel (the two partners at that time) I knew that I wanted to work for the firm.  Back in 2004, the business was still in its infancy and I felt as if, in addition to training as a solicitor, I could really make a difference in helping to shape the way the business grew and developed. 

What do you like about working for Waterfront?

The number one reason has to be the people…  the team at Waterfront includes some of the brightest, best natured and most down-to-earth people I’ve come across and my clients, whilst often (quite rightly) demanding, are much the same. 

Close second is the work.  I’m lucky enough to work with many business owners, which means that my clients are passionate about the products and services they provide and I feel a huge sense of personal achievement when I help them reach their goals.

What piece of tech could you not live without?

My smartphone, obviously…  Currently it’s a Nexus 5.

If you hadn’t become a solicitor what career would you have liked to pursue?

When I chose my first degree it was a toss up between Law and Mathematics.  Had I gone down the maths route I reckon I’d have become a software developer - I’d like to think I’d be developing something super-cool like an augmented reality app, but I’d probably have ended up doing something totally unsexy!!

What do clients say about you?

That I’m very quick to understand their problem and my solutions are sensible and pragmatic, always with an eye on the big picture as well as focusing on the detail.

Jean-Marc Pettigrew

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Jean-Marc Pettigrew

  • Specialises in Commercial Contracts and IT Law
  • Ex-Peacock & Co, Cannings Connolly and Colemans ctts Solicitors

Jean-Marc qualified as a solicitor in May 2008, after a very varied training split between city firm Cannings Connolly  and regional firm Peacock & Co.  Prior to joining Waterfront he had also acted as a consultant for Colemans ctts Solicitors.

Jean-Marc has acted for a broad range of clients on an even broader variety of commercial contracts, particularly in the IT and E-commerce sectors. He was promoted to partner in 2015.

 Jean-Marc is fluent in French.

Network with Jean-Marc Pettigrew here

Why did you decide to join Waterfront?

I love technology and gadgets and it’s great when you get to meet the people behind the tech. Learning about how the idea came about and the process of developing can be fascinating; it doesn’t even have to be about technology I will necessarily use myself. The opportunity to combine my enthusiasm for tech with the law was (and is) for me, the perfect job. Even when I joined back in August 2010, Waterfront was still one the few genuinely tech focused law firms around, and technology law continues to be a main focal point for the firm.

And we get to wear jeans to work.

Why do you like about working for Waterfront?

Someone once told me that in any workplace, you either have to like the people you work with or like the work you do. If you don’t have either, you won’t last long. Thankfully, Waterfront provides both.

Oh, and the jeans thing.

What inspired you to become a solicitor?

“A Few Good Men”. Tom Cruise, “So please, don't tell me what I know, or don't know; [shouting for emphasis] Iknow the LAW !”.

I still haven’t managed to work that into any contract negotiations though.

Why did you choose to specialise in commercial contracts?

I think we’re all aspiring authors at heart. You can’t not enjoy writing when you spend 70% of your day drafting or reading contracts. I’m convinced everyone in the team has one great novel in them, the only problem being we’d spend too much time making sure all definitions are properly defined and not enough time on creating a compelling narrative.

What’s the most common legal mistake businesses make?

Contacting us after the contract has been signed!

What piece of tech could you not live without?

I found an A-Z in the back of my car the other day. Remember those?

Thank you smartphones.

If you hadn’t become a solicitor what career would you have liked to pursue?

All I can say is that Roger Federer definitely wouldn’t have 17 grand slam titles to his name if I’d pursued my alternative career.

Whom do you most admire in the world(s) of tech / legal / business?

Gabe Newell co-founded and heads up “Valve”, which is not only one of the most successful and celebrated game developer/publishers in the world, but also revolutionised the flagging PC gaming market through the launch of the “Steam” platform.