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Portrait ofDr Sam De Silva

Dr Sam De Silva

Global Co-Head of the Commercial Practice Group

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP
Cannon Place
78 Cannon Place - Cannon Street
United Kingdom
Languages English, Singhalese

Dr Sam De Silva is an international award winning Partner in the Technology and Outsourcing practice and is the Global Co-Head of the Commercial Practice Group. Sam specialises in complex and strategic technology and outsourcing projects including all forms of cloud computing (SaaS, PaaS and IaaS), outsourcing (IT, BPO and off-shoring), system development and supply, system integration, software licensing, support and service agreements. Sam also regularly advises on data protection, privacy, cyber-security and PCI DSS issues.

Sam is an expert in legal risk management and was the Co-convenor of an ISO Working Group which led the development of the first ever international standard on the Management of Legal Risk (ISO 31022). 

Sam is deeply immersed in the technology sector and at the forefront of related policy issues, representing the UK on a number of international committees. This market intelligence supports clients in their strategic planning and future proofing of projects. Sam is also heavily involved with procurement best practice, having just completed a 4 year term on the Global Board of Trustees at the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS).

Sam has written and spoken extensively on IT, outsourcing and data and is regularly called upon by the industry as a thought leader in these areas. He has been interviewed in the press, on the radio, webinars and on television (including BBC Click and Channel 4 Dispatches). Sam is one of very few solicitors to be a Fellow of CIPS (FCIPS), Fellow of the British Computer Society (FBCS) and a Chartered IT Professional (CITP). Sam has post-graduate degrees in information technology and business administration, so he is well aware of the commercial, business and technical issues facing both users and suppliers of technology. Sam has had in-house industry legal experience, having been seconded to Accenture UK for 9 months as a Senior Legal Counsel.

Sam is proud to be one of the embRACE Partner Champions at CMS and was a finalist in the 2022 Chambers & Partners European Lawyer Awards for his outstanding contribution to diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. 

As well as being an English qualified solicitor, Sam is also a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand and a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Australia, and has been involved in some of the most cutting-edge digital and outsourcing projects in those jurisdictions.

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"Sam is technically brilliant, future-focused, pragmatic and engaging."

Chambers, 2023

"Sam De Silva takes the time to understand the client's business, and he is commercially astute, brilliant technically, dynamic, forthright and friendly, which is an unbeatable winning combination. He is able to find an answer for a complex issue and break it down quickly."

Chambers & Partners, 2022

"Sam De Silva is an impressive individual whom peers highlight as ‘excellent in business law and IT’. He is applauded for his excellent work on cross-border start-ups, scale-ups, licensing and strategic sourcing."

Who’s Who of Information Technology, 2022

"Sam De Silva receives widespread praise for his impressive practice and is highlighted for his ‘truly outstanding breadth of knowledge’ in the area."

Who’s Who of Information Technology, 2021

"Sam De Silva takes the time to understand our business, is commercially astute, technically brilliant, dynamic, forthright and friendly."

Legal 500 – Technology, 2021

"Sam De Silva provides a vast wealth of knowledge and experience and brings this to the fore in timely and commercial advice. He has taken the time to get to know and understand our business and can get straight to the heart of the issue."

Legal 500 – Technology, 2020

"Sam De Silva attracts plaudits from respondents who note that he is ‘an excellent negotiator’, while others affirm that he is ‘knowledgeable, practical and always a pleasure to work with’."

Who’s Who of Information Technology, 2020

"Sam De Silva is a standout practitioner who draws praise for his highly technical and impressive work in cybersecurity and data protection concerns. Sources comment on his ‘attention to detail and prompt, pragmatic and focused expert responses’."

Whos’ Who of Data Privacy & Protection and Data Security, 2019

"I have always found him to be technically brilliant, very commercial and pragmatic, and extremely responsive. He is a pleasure to work with."

Chambers & Partners, 2019

“Sam De Silva enjoys a fantastic reputation in the market and is one of the leading names when it comes to cloud computing and cybersecurity.”

Who’s Who of Data Security, 2018

"Sam De Silva is a leading figure in IT outsourcing and cloud computing. Sources praise him for his ‘professionalism, accuracy and timeliness’ and describe him as ‘commercially astute, technically brilliant, dynamic, forthright and friendly’."

Who’s Who of Information Technology, 2018

"is highly recommended for his knowledge of cloud computing, SaaS, addressing data breaches and complex IT contracts of all kinds. One client says: "He has gone above and beyond to promptly address our sometimes very complex and urgent legal and commercial issues."

Chambers & Partners, 2017

"If we were talking about IT Top Trumps, he would be the best card to have in your pack," says one source of Sam De Silva. He is admired for his expansive knowledge across the board, and is a noted cloud computing expert."

Chambers & Partners, 2016

"The 'very experienced and knowledgeable' Sam De Silva is an expert on non-contentious IT matters and is particularly noted for his 'expert knowledge in IT procurement.' Clients appreciate that he 'pays attention to the detail and is robust in his advice and in discussions,' as well as praising his 'understanding of the industry and its players.'"

Chambers & Partners, 2014

Relevant experience

  • New Balance on various strategic technology, outsourcing and digital/data projects.
  • Global pharmaceutical company on a pan-European framework agreement for the procurement of IT products and services.
  • Fujifilm in the technology supply arrangement for a major UK retailer's digital photography refresh and change programme.
  • Embraer on various digital and data projects.
  • MossBros Plc on the procurement of point-of-sale and back office technologies with Argility.
  • International Financial Data Services in its outsourcing arrangements where it will provide global transfer agency and client administration services to a global fund manager.
  • Mastek in its development contract for a conveyancing portal with the Law Society. 
  • DX Group in its procurement of an ERP system for its business carrier operations from multiple vendors.
  • HSA Global UK in its bid to a NHS Clinical Commissioning Group for the provision of a Care Plan Management System.
  • Major German Bank in its procurement of a cloud banking and payments system with Temenos.
  • Eckoh Plc on its IVR services contract with Vue Cinemas.
  • Formula 1 racing team in its procurement of an ERP system.
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Memberships & Roles

  • Former UK representative on the EU Commission’s Expert Group on Cloud Computing Contracts.
  • UK representative on the IT Law Committee of the Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE).
  • Past Chair on the Law Society's Technology and Law Committee (but still a committee member).
  • Committee member of the EU Law Committee of the Law Society.
  • Committee member of the Data Law Committee of the City of London Law Society.
  • Member of the Technical Strategy Board of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW).
  • Elected Trustee of The Chartered Institute for IT (BCS), Council Member of the BCS and the Chair of the Legal Specialist Group of the BCS.
  • Chair of Legal Special Interest Group at the Institute of Risk Management (IRM).
  • Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Group of the Society for Computers & Law.
  • Chair of the Ethnic Solicitors Network of the Law Society.
  • Immediate past Chair of the Tech & Sourcing Committee of iTechLaw.
  • Consulting Editorial Board for LexisNexis TMT
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Awards & Rankings

  • Who’s Who of Information Technology, 2023.
  • Who’s Who of Data Privacy and Protection, 2023.
  • Who’s Who of Data Security, 2023.
  • Ranked lawyer for IT & Telecoms, Legal 500, 2022.
  • Ranked lawyer for Technology, Legal 500, 2022.
  • Ranked lawyer for Information Technology and Outsourcing, Chambers, 2023.
  • Winner of the Lexology’s Client Choice Awards for Data Privacy & Protection in the UK, 2021.
  • BSI Standards Makers Award for “Representing the UK”, 2019.
  • Winner of the Risk Management Champion Award at the 11th annual CIR Risk Management Awards, 2020.
  • Winner of the “Social Programme of the Year” at the Global Sourcing Association UK Awards for Best Practice in Strategic Sourcing, 2020.
  • Finalist for the Solicitor (Private Practice) of the Year at the Law Society Excellence Awards, 2020.
  • Winner of the Governance Champion of the Year at The Chartered Governance Institute Awards, 2021.
  • Finalist for the Personal Initiative Award at the EMEA World Commerce and Contracting Innovation & Excellence Awards, 2021.
  • Highly Commended in the category of International Risk Initiative of the Year at the International Institute of Risk & Safety Management Risk Awards, 2021.
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  • Artificial Intelligence Guidance on Risk Management – ISO 23894 Coming Soon, Risk and Compliance, (October-December 2022).
  • How to ensure governance of artificial intelligence, Board Agenda (August 2022).
  • Managing contractual risk in the supply chain, Risk and Compliance, (July-September 2022).
  • New Zealand Data Protection Overview , OneTrust Data Guidance (September 2021).
  • ISO standard for managing legal risk: Implications for compliance teams, Lexology Pro (May 2020).
  • Lessons learned - contract renewals and exit management, Financier Worldwide (August 2018).
  • What drone regulations apply now? Supply Management (May 2018).
  • IT-Procurement and the Risk of Unintended Fees for Indirect Software Usage, Computer Law Review International (CRi), (April 2017).
  • The Internet of Things: The key liability issues to consider, Digital Business Lawyer (March 2017).
  • Cloud provider commitments to the CMA over customer T&Cs, E-Commerce Law and Policy (February 2017).
  • Europe’s tough new law on biometrics, Biometrics Technology Today (February 2017).
  • Try before you buy - the merits and operation of acceptance testing, Procurement & Outsourcing Journal (January/February 2017).
  • Cyber Crime and the Law, ITNow (December 2016).
  • Head in the Cloud and Feet on the Ground – FCA Guidance on Cloud Computing, Procurement & Outsourcing Journal (November/December 2016).
  • The Root of all Evil – Pricing Models, Procurement & Outsourcing Journal (September/October 2016).
  • The FCA focusses on the cloud with finalised guidance, E-Finance & Payments Law & Policy (September 2016).
  • Pharmacies – get ready to move to the cloud, Pharmacy Management (2016).
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Lectures list

  • Speaker, IT Law Summer School, Downing College, Cambridge University, 2023.
  • Speaker, eWorld Purchasing & Supply, 2012 - 2023.
  • Speaker, iTechLaw, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2022.
  • Speaker, Annual Canadian IT Law Association Conference, 2014 – 2016, 2022.
  • Speaker, Practising Law Institute (USA), 2020 and 2021.
  • Speaker, Westminister eForum policy conference, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2021 and 2022.
  • Speaker, British Standards Institute, 2021 and 2022.
  • Panellist at Sandpiper’s 13th Annual Global Law Leaders Conference, 2020.
  • Speaker, UCL IP Transactions Course, 2012 - 2022.
  • Speaker, CLT IT and Outsourcing Course, 2012 - 2020.
  • Speaker, British Computer Society Legal Day, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2017 and 2018.
  • Speaker, CIPS Annual Conference, 2011 - 2015.
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  • 2004 – D.B.A., CCU, USA.
  • 2000 – M.B.S (Distinction), Massey University, New Zealand.
  • 1997 – LL.B., The University of Waikato, New Zealand.
  • 1997 – B.M.S., (1st class Hons), The University of Waikato, New Zealand.
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