Francesca Blythe advises international clients on a wide range of data protection, privacy, and cybersecurity issues, with a particular focus on the life sciences industry. Her in-depth experience spans a number of industries, including: asset management and private equity, payments, technology, e-commerce, and manufacturing. She was recently named an “Up and Coming” by Chambers UK 2023 for driving Sidley’s growth in the Data Protection and Information Law sector.
“Without a doubt making partner (whilst on maternity leave) is the achievement I am most proud of.”
What attracted you to the practice of law and what aspect of your practice do you enjoy the most?
The idea of becoming a solicitor was initially influenced by the fact my father was a solicitor. It was only through experiencing the actual work (i.e., during my training contract) that I discovered my genuine passion for the profession. I find the work both intellectually stimulating and rewarding — in particular, the ability to help clients navigate complex legal situations, as well as giving myself the opportunity to continue to learn and develop requisite skills in a rapidly evolving area.
Tell us about a professional goal you are proud of achieving, and what (or who) inspired you to go for it.
Without a doubt making partner (whilst on maternity leave) is the achievement I am most proud of. Even though I knew my technical skills were sound, I often lack self-confidence and doubted myself when it came to everything else the role involves. Fortunately, I had a great mentor and some fantastic sponsors! It was definitely a testament to my hard work, along with reinforcing the importance of building and maintaining good professional relationships.
What is the most memorable project you worked on and what made it so memorable?
I started my career in-house and almost immediately was tasked with carrying out a company-wide data privacy project. I had the opportunity to work alongside someone who had an incredible depth of knowledge and experience in the field, which allowed me to gain valuable insights into the commercial aspects of data privacy and how it can impact a business. It was both exciting and challenging. What sets it apart is the fact it was my first exposure to data privacy, and this project was what convinced me this was the specialism I wanted to pursue.
On a personal note, what is your go-to self-care activity?
I used to live in Spain when I was younger and going back there now to see friends is like pressing a reset button. I am never happier than when I am there. However, I also have a very excitable dog and enjoy spending a lot of time on dog walks.
Can you share with us a saying or quote that gives you inspiration or helps you stay centered?
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” -Oscar Wilde