Learn about our Team
We are dedicated professionals, based in London, Brussels and the Netherlands, with freelance staff in all of the EU and EFTA countries.
Patricia Ypma (London office)
Patricia set up Spark Legal Network in 2011 to respond to the need for a European legal network offering solutions on cross-border legal issues. Patricia has an LLB (2000) and an LLM (2001) in Law at the University of Amsterdam, complemented by studies (French law and International law) at the Université de Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne in Paris. She has worked in various legal research and advising roles specialising in European law and headed the European team of legal editors at Caselex, the online legal publisher for national case law interpreting EU law. At Spark Patricia has led studies in the area of European public procurement, key enabling technologies, cloud computing and energy efficiency and she is currently managing a study on data locations restrictions in Europe. She speaks Dutch, English, French and Italian.
Marc de Vries (Oosterbeek office)
Marc is in the process of relaunching Caselex, an innovative service for legal professionals, opening national case law with a European connotation. He has professional degrees in both law and economics. He has been active on the cross roads of regulation and economic impact for more than 15 years, at both national and European level, serving clients in the public and private sector in the Netherlands and beyond (EU institutions in particular). He has published various articles and books, in particular in the field of re-use of public sector information. At Spark Marc has recently led a project on the ePrivacy Directive. Marc speaks fluent Dutch and English.
Peter McNally (Brussels office)
Peter received a BCL from University College Cork in 2007, and an LL.M from Dublin University (Trinity College) in 2008. He was a Blue Book Stagiaire with the European Commission’s Directorate General for Internal Market and Services in 2010, and thereafter trained with a top tier Irish law firm, and is qualified to practice law in Ireland, England and Wales. In 2014 he completed his Postgraduate Diploma in Economics for Competition Law at Kings College London. At Spark Peter focuses on data protection, intellectual property and new technologies, and is currently leading the EU project “Legal review of industrial design protection". Peter speaks fluent English and French.
Alessandra Innesti (London office)
Alessandra received her PhD in Employment law at the University of Bergamo in 2015. She was a visiting researcher at the University of Middlesex in London where she worked on Employment and Discrimination law. She worked as a researcher and legal advisor on multiple projects and research in Italy. Previously she received a BA in Law and a Masters in International and EU Law both at the University of Pisa. At Spark Alessandra currently works on projects on operational restrictions in the retail sector, cross border data flow, collaborative economy in the tourism accommodation sector and she has collaborated on studies on risk preparedness electricity supply and merger regulation. Her mother tongue is Italian and she speaks fluent English.
Esther Tenge (Brussels office)
Esther graduated from the University of Groningen with a Master’s Degree in International Political Economy (2013) and also obtained an LL.M in European Law from the University of Edinburgh (2015), with a focus on EU Competition Law. As a consultant in Brussels, Esther has worked closely with numerous European institutions and stakeholders on several research projects. She has been the Dutch legal editor for Caselex, an EU legal information service, since 2015. Currently at Spark, Esther is working on studies on retail and the collaborative economy. She speaks fluent Dutch and English.
Kaja Kazmierska (London office)
Kaja is a junior legal consultant at Spark Legal Network. She obtained her LL.B in English and German law at King’s College London, followed by LL.M in German and European Law and Legal Practice at Humboldt University in Berlin and MA in EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies at College of Europe in Bruges. She underwent numerous internships including in the Council of Europe and in the Polish Embassies and Representations across Europe, during which she conducted various research projects. In 2015/2016, she completed a Blue Book traineeship in the European Commission, DG HOME, where she worked on the Passenger name Record Directive and PNR negotiations with third countries. She also worked as a paralegal – document reviewer in London. Kaja’s mother tongue is Polish, she speaks fluent English and German, has a very good command of French and a basic understanding of Dutch and Turkish.
María Domínguez Gaitán (Brussels office)
Maria received an MA in European Interdisciplinary Studies from the College of Europe (Natolin) and a four years Degree in Law from the University of Málaga, complemented by studies (Belgian and European law) at the Haute Ecole Libre Monsane in Liège. She has participated in several Youth in Action Programmes organised by the European Commission and has worked with the Council of Europe as organizer for an International Conference on Terrorism and Organised Crime. She has also completed an internship at the Court of Justice of the European Union, where she was contracted as a temporary agent. At Spark María currently focuses on the regulatory aspects affecting the Collaborative Economy in the Tourism Accommodation sector. Her mother tongue is Spanish and she speaks English, French and Italian.
Inês de Matos Pinto (Brussels office)
Inês has a Law Degree from NOVA University of Lisbon (2014) and holds a Master’s Degree in European Union Law from Leiden University (2016). She has previously worked as a legal trainee in a law firm in Portugal, as an intern in the legal services of Eurojust and the European Patent Office (EPO) and as a trainee in the European Parliament (where she focused on the JURI Committee). She speaks Portuguese, English, French and Spanish.
Mariana Chaves (Associate)
Mariana is an experienced professional with specialist knowledge in EU Law. Her current consultancy work focuses primarily on the GDPR and related information security legal issues. Mariana collaborates with Spark on an associate basis and has previously worked with Spark in multiple projects, tenders and studies in a wide range of topics (e.g. data protection, collaborative economy regulatory framework, data flows, energy law) and for various DGs at the European Commission (e.g. DG GROW, DG CONNECT, DG HOME, DG ENER). Mariana holds a PhD in EU Criminal Law and an MSc in European Studies (Research) both from the London School of Economics. She lectured EU Law at the University of Durham, directed the Durham European Law Institute, held teaching fellowships at the University of Reading and at UCL, collaborated with the LSE in several EU Law research projects and has published is several EU Law related topics. She is also a qualified lawyer in Portugal (non-practising) and worked as a trainee at the CJEU and at the EIB. She speaks English, French and Portuguese.
Ioanna Mersinia (Associate)
Ioanna Mersinia is an Attorney at Law, based in Athens, specializing in Energy Law. She has a Law Degree from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (2009) and also holds a MSc of European Regulation of Network Industries (LL.M), Competition Law and Economics (2011), awarded from the University of Bonn and the Center for European Integration Studies (ZEI). Through her interdisciplinary Master‘s studies she specialized in EU energy regulation and economics and in particular in the electricity and natural gas industry. Furthermore, she is a PhD candidate of the University of Eastern Finland majoring European Energy Law with a special focus on the applicable EU framework for natural gas infrastructures. Ioanna Mersinia is a member of the Lawyers’ Bar Association of Athens since 2011. Having completed two years as a Legal Officer at the Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) within the International Affairs and Energy Planning Unit, Ioanna is currently working as a freelancer, participating in EU energy law and policy projects. Her mother tongue is Greek, she speaks and writes English and German fluently and is an independent user of Italian as well.
Valerie Albus (Freelance based in France)
Valerie is enrolled in a trilingual European Bachelor of Law programme at the Lille Catholic University, which includes French Law, International and European Law as well as German Law. She intends to pursue a career in legal and political consultancy with a focus on international security issues. At Spark Valerie has completed a three-month traineeship, and currently works part-time for Spark alongside her legal studies. Her native languages are German and Dutch and she also speaks English and French.