Vanessa is a commercial lawyer who helps clients who are using technology to innovate or disrupt established ways of doing things. She has supported clients from household-name global brands to nimble start-ups for over 15 years, across goods, services and digital.
Vanessa is frequently singled out by clients in both Chambers UK and Legal 500 for her client service and practical approach, using a bespoke mix of the lawyers’ toolbox to support the business objective, which could include structuring and documenting commercial relationships, protecting revenue and ideas, making sure the data can be gathered and exploited, and ticking off any consumer or industry-specific regulations.
Vanessa has advised established businesses like Amlin, Apple, Balfour Beatty, Barclays, Google, Tesco, Tesco Mobile, SBOBet, SuperGroup, and Westfield. She has also advised successful high-growth companies such as autograph.me, Canonical, HQhair and Loans.co.uk. Her experience spans all sectors, but most recently in retail, financial services, sport, and TMT.
Vanessa believes in open legal knowledge and was the founding author of the Internet section of Practical Commercial Precedents. She has also been a regular Internet industry commentator and speaker.
I have engaged Vanessa on a number of E-Commerce/Tech projects at all stages of my career at Tesco.com and Wiggle. Vanessa is an unusual character as lawyers, go being both pragmatic and highly commercial. The quality of her output is always excellent, on time, and on budget. She is also great fun to work with and I will engage her services again and again.
E-Commerce Consultant specialising in Cross Border Trading, Localisation and International Strategy
Vanessa is smart, strategic, focused – you want her on your side if it matters. What makes Vanessa stand out is her way of working: she goes the extra mile to understand the business, the people and the commercial motivations. She combines her knowledge of the law, negotiation tactics and the context to help us deliver. No matter how urgent or pressured the situation, Vanessa is cool, calm and friendly. We know she’s got our back!
Global Head of Procurement
UK Mobile Operator
I have worked with Vanessa for a number of years and found her to be not only technically excellent but also incredibly commercial. She provides solutions to problems and understands the pressures on legal teams to provide innovative solutions. She works in partnership with the business as a trusted advisor.
Group General, Counsel SuperGroup
- Planning and stress testing: advising at the start of a business or product launch on what needs covering from a legal point of view: structure, relationships, IP, data, consumer, and regulatory
- Documenting IP-based relationships: advising and negotiating contracts for the development, licensing and sale of IP and IP heavy services (software, apps, websites, content, media, games)
- Documenting goods and services-based relationships: advising and negotiating contracts for buying and selling goods and services (NDA, consultancy, joint venture, partnering, reselling, outsourcing, white labelling, affiliate)
- Terms of business: B2B and B2C terms of business (offline, online and apps)
- E-commerce advice: advising on specific laws which are applicable only to e-commerce and e-commerce audits (including mystery purchasing)
- Privacy, data protection: advising on privacy and data-use aspects of consumer-facing businesses (structure, policies, international transfer, crisis management)
- Advertising, marketing and sponsorship: advising on IP and compliance aspects of advertising and marketing; advising on and negotiating sponsorship contracts; social media advice
- Boilerplate and template documents: developing brand and market-appropriate boilerplate and template documents for in-house legal teams
- Legal audits: looking at an established business and auditing whether it is legally compliant across a number of areas (data protection, IP, consumer, regulatory, key relationships)
- Supporting procurement teams: pre-tender analysis and tender support; advice on exiting from pre-existing supplier relationships
- Supporting transactions: due diligence, warranties and indemnities, transitional services
- Advising iPSL on all aspects of its technology and services outsourcing with Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC, and Unisys.
- Advising Barclays on a number of its key sponsorships, including Barclays Cycle Hire and several Barclaycard Arenas.
- Advising high-growth app business autograph.me on creation of its business contracts and data protection.
- Advising Tesco Mobile on hundreds of its commercial and technology contracts as well as new business launches such as Anytime Upgrade.
- Advising high-growth software business Canonical on all aspects of its early stage legal needs which involved placing secondees into the business, developing its first round of template contracts, working with other specialists on developing its IP strategy, which differed because it develops open-source software and distributes, and globally helping Canonical recruit in-house lawyers
- Advising SuperGroup on e-commerce compliance and data protection compliance, including audits and development of a suite of in-house templates.
- Advising Arcadia on e-commerce compliance and data-protection compliance for the global Top Shop online business which involved full audit of e-commerce technology and all ‘real world’ systems and processes across each active country.
- Advising Tesco.com on all aspects of its Tesco Digital branded digital media store which involved planning and stress testing, negotiating contracts for all commercial relationships (including technology platform development and taking a diverse set of standard-form label and studio agreements and developing one which was acceptable to the industry).
- Advising Tesco on hundreds of technology and digital-rich contracts, ranging from routine technology services agreements to business-critical technology development and outsourcing projects.
- Advising Westfield marketing team on their strategic partner/supplier relationships as well as day-to-day campaign/events sign-off.
- Advising SBOBet on its partnership with West Ham for shirt sponsorship and betting services.
- Advising Tesco.com on all aspects of its Tesco Property Market business, which sought to disintermediate estate agents from the English property market, which involved providing strategic advice on structure, risk analysis and relevance of pre-Internet estate-agent law in the UK and negotiating all contracts.
- Advising online legal compliance service beprofessional.com on all aspects of its business, including undertaking a year’s secondment with a mixed legal and commercial role and developing online legal precedents and working with the technology developers team to enable them to be automated for subscriber use.
Please note: The experience list above may include examples of work completed prior to joining Keystone Law.
Recognised in the Legal 500 2018 for Commercial Contracts, Brand Management and Media and Entertainment
Vanessa Barnett of Keystone Law is a “very sensible, very good lawyer” according to market sources. She advises on commercial and regulatory issues relating to advertising, marketing and sponsorship and has a background in IP law. Chambers UK 2018
Vanessa Barnett is recognised by the Legal 500 2017.
“Vanessa Barnett ‘knows the law and is very commercial,’ sources say.” Chambers UK, 2016
“Vanessa Barnett is ‘an excellent facilitator’ and a ‘clear and pragmatic lawyer’.” Legal 500, 2013
“Vanessa Barnett recommended for ‘great technical skills without being overly legalistic‘” Legal 500, 2012
“Interviewees recognise her for her extensive market knowledge, commenting that ‘there is nothing that she hasn’t seen and dealt with before.’ Clients also appreciate her ‘ability to condense complex matters into plain English'” Chambers UK, 2011
“Vanessa Barnett is admired for her ‘broad industry knowledge, commercial approach and exceptional work ethic‘” Chambers UK, 2010
“Has impressed clients with her ‘clear-cut communication style and tenacious work ethic‘” Chambers UK, 2009
Vanessa qualified as a solicitor in 2001. Prior to joining Keystone Law in 2016, she worked at the following firms:
- Charles Russell Speechlys
- Berwin Leighton Paisner