Meet Katie O'Leary, Assistant Commissioner in the Data Protection Commission

A collage of pictures depicting technology and data uses, with a woman in the centre image. She is wearing a black suit and has long brown hair..

The Role

A Legal Analyst has a key role in what is one of Europe’s most prominent and active data protection regulators, with opportunities to contribute to the DPC’s extensive work at national level, as well as the high-profile and unique role it holds in the supervision of large international organisations based in Ireland. The role, equivalent to that of a legal researcher, involves legal research and analysis and the provision of legal support across a broad range of the DPC’s activities. As a result, Legal Analysts are involved in a diverse array of substantive data protection issues as well as novel legal and regulatory matters.


Katie O'Leary

I joined the DPC nearly two years ago as a Legal Analyst, and I am now an Assistant Commissioner in the organisation. I was drawn to joining the DPC as it has a significant international role, acting as the lead regulator (or “lead supervisory authority”) for a number of multi-national companies based in the EU. Prior to joining the DPC I worked as a solicitor at a top Irish law firm, advising on privacy and data protection law. I have maintained my professional qualification during my time at the DPC. 

As a Legal Analyst in the DPC, I worked on large scale domestic and cross-border inquiries into multi-national technology companies and public sector organisations. I also assisted the Commissioner’s decision-making function by researching and drafting decisions about whether there had been an infringement of data protection law. The role gave me the opportunity to use a variety of legal skills, from drafting decisions to representing the DPC at conferences and events and working cooperatively with other regulatory authorities across the EU.

In addition to the interesting legal work, the role brings a number of other benefits. The DPC has incredibly helpful and friendly staff who create a wonderful workplace atmosphere. There are various supports for staff, including the People and Learning unit who take care of human resources and training in the DPC. I am a member of the Employee Engagement Forum, which seeks to contribute to staff engagement across the DPC. Senior management in the DPC are very approachable and helpful with any queries. As civil servants, staff can seek assistance from the Employee Assistance Service, and avail of good pension and annual leave benefits.

If you are looking for a uniquely interesting application for your legal skills and the opportunity to contribute to a quickly developing area of law, then I would highly recommend the role of Legal Analyst with the DPC.