DLA grows Nordic footprint with local merger

DLA Piper has strengthened its footprint in the Nordics , taking over local Danish law firm LETT.

 

The merger, which will go live at the end of May, will give DLA a total of five offices in the Nordic region and a combined headcount of over 370 lawyers.

As part of the deal, the firm will begin to operate under the DLA brand.

LETT has strengths across a broad range of sectors including corporate M&A, insolvency and restructuring and has around 150 lawyers in its Copenhagen and Aarhus offices.

The news follows the merger with Finnish firm Peltonen LMR in February last year as part of DLA’s strategy to operate in all the major world economies.

Simon Levine, Global Co-CEO at DLA Piper, said: “Together, the Nordic countries rank as a G20 economic entity and the region is home to some major international corporates. Many of our existing clients do business in the Nordics and by extending our presence in Denmark, we will now be able to offer them an unparalleled capability in the region and access to legal services which can meet their needs domestically, regionally and globally.”

LETT managing partner Henrik Puggaard said: “At LETT we share the same ambition and vision as DLA Piper, to be the leading business law firm. In an increasingly competitive legal business, having a strong global vision and a commitment to innovation are essential to provide the high level of quality expected by the market.”

Elsewhere in Europe, DLA has been busy consolidating its presence with the firm making the decision to close in Berlin three days before closing Georgia, with its team and premises transferring over to DWF and Dentons respectively.

London lawyers plan for Brexit:

Following the official triggering of Article 50 this morning, law firms have begun to bulk up their Brexit taskforces and prepare for two years of unprecedented change.

So far, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and DLA Piper have made key hires into their Brexit taskforces. More firms are expected to follow suit.

Freshfields has hired former European Commissioner Jonathan Hill as a senior adviser, while DLA Piper has hired ex-EU legal adviser to the House of Lords Paul Hardy as a lead Brexit specialist and support the firm’s Brexit committee alongside its existing government affairs, trade and regulatory capabilities.

Reactions from UK and US firms have been mixed, with many more concerned about the UK’s chances of bartering a good deal rather than the UK’s status as an attraction for international investment.

London will prevail

The City will lose some financial services jobs to continental Europe, Dentons partner Andrew Cheung said, but some global players have also announced their commitment to London as there is no other equivalent in the continent.

“It is true that, absent certainty about passporting and equivalence, London-based financial institutions (and professional services firms) will need to have a material base in the EU,” explained Cheung. “But where?  No single other City has or could within the foreseeable future replicate London’s vast business infrastructure – everything from the size of its huge professional services infrastructure and pool of labour (London is far bigger than other European cities, so more IT workers, office cleaners, lunch stops etc) to the availability of office space, people to fit out office space with technology etc.

“Take US investors. TTIP seems to be dead in the water, at least for the duration of a Trump administration; so US:EU investment terms will likely remain static for at least four years (plus however long it takes to resuscitate TTIP). The potential for an early trade deal with the US, on the other hand, coupled with a devalued pound, mean a soon-to-be post Brexit Britain presents some real growth opportunities for US businesses and the prospect of political needs on the UK side of the pond delivering investor-friendly terms.

“Two years is not a long time. The EU negotiating team will need to throw out its playbook if it has any hope of agreeing a workable interim arrangement and framework for a free trade agreement within that time. Blink and it will be 2018.  So now is the time to start your Brexit risk planning in earnest if you have not already done so. And for non-EU investors looking for a home for capital, buy now before others get the best deals!”

Data issues await

“The Article 50 notice has fired the starting gun,” Bird & Bird partner Graham Smith said. “Will the finishing line be a cliff edge or a smooth transition? For flows of data from the EU to the UK the answer will depend in part on whether the UK’s controversial bulk surveillance and communications data retention laws are deemed to give adequate protection to EU citizens’ personal data. The closer we move towards Brexit Day the larger this issue is likely to loom.”

London may be overtaken at some point by another European city as a Fintech hub, but not any time soon.

Bird & Bird partner Jonathan Emmanuel said: “For now, what is clear is London won’t give up its crown without a fight: it is already building FinTech “bridges” to other regions such as Singapore and South Korea to maintain its position and the FCA’s regulatory sandbox initiative is lauded worldwide which makes it a natural magnet for many FinTech start-ups.”

Insurance

Last year, the uncertainty surrounding Brexit led to some insurers seriously considering a move from London to Dublin. At the time, The Lawyer reported that insurers including QBE, Admiral and Beazley were all considering Dublin as a potential hub for their European businesses.

Clyde & Co European corporate insurance group head Ivor Edwards said: “Insurers haven’t been sat waiting for Article 50 to be triggered since the referendum. Planning for Britain’s exit from the EU is well underway, as insurance carriers believe they need to take concrete steps for all eventualities by setting up carrier companies in the EU’s 27 countries.

“Carrier companies are by far the most popular and realistic solution to allow insurers to carry on writing business in the EU post Brexit. But they require time, money and commitment to set up.  Fronting arrangements can work but are complicated and not a solution for carriers who want to write significant amounts of business.”

Edwards added that UK companies are not the only ones making plans. “There are over 500 general insurance companies headquartered in continental Europe who passport into the UK that are taking steps too,” he said.

The insurance industry will be hoping that the government achieves the freest possible trade in financial services between the UK and EU Member States, Edwards said.

“However, at this point, no-one knows when an agreement might be reached, if at all, nor what provisions in might contain,” he commented. “The industry is watching on with interest, but it’s not waiting with baited breath. It’s acting already.”

BufeteDíazMirón

More Business, Less Politics.

More Business, Less Politics. The Entrepreneurial Responsibility of 2017

One of the main endeavors of a counselor is to preserve consistency whilst securing composure, peace and lawfulness even in the most wavering or uncertain of external or internal conditions for our clients. As analyst and writer, I tend to stray from political views and opinions, trying to remain objective in regards to workplace events and client concerns. 2017 nonetheless, has been plagued with political anxieties and questions from uncertain business leaders that appear hesitant or cautious as to see how the new geo political circumstances will change or affect the commercial world that we live in. As I do in private, I do not and will not go into detail in regards with new presidencies and political undertakings simply because I do not think that the circumstances that will shape our world will come out of a bill or political system, but moreover from commercial contexts. The true peacekeeping or peace breaking agreements and policies will be made in boardrooms and private trade agreements that will escape political misfortune and that factually do escape news, media and political agendas.

As business leaders and entrepreneurs face the rest of 2017 and the next decade, none must lose sight of the responsibility that their position entails. More than ever, true connectivity, open ended trade deals and bridging differences through mutual benefit transactions will be the cornerstone of peace in the world. It must be understood that the next wars might not be made through military and armed combat but through and from commercial and business frivolity.  It is not politics that will shape and change the world but moreover, the ability that we may have as a private sector to move forward guaranteeing peace in foreign trade, reliability in our agreements and consistency in our obligation to add value. This in itself demands great responsibility internationally but also means locally, that all businesses and leaders must fathom just how big their impact is. Being socially responsible in any feasible way is the most tangible and direct way to alleviate social issues of all kinds, and thereafter to influence social harmony.

As a consequence, this is not an analysis about how internal or external government policies may shape business decisions and how all our clients must remain cautious as we stand by. It is a mistake to postpone business and national/international supported growth or wait in anticipation as it is irresponsible to not take into consideration the depth of the responsibility that being a business leader or an entrepreneur entails.

Companies big and small must choose leaders wisely and those leaders must address their employees, their given sectors, nations and competitors astutely as there must be more positive viral tweets and messages from business leaders than from presidents. Society must start to value deal closers not policy makers, and must see our commercial responsibility reflected on all outlets as to oppose all unrest. Corporations and business leaders where not voted in, and our world must not be shaped by temporary candidates but from all of those leaders that created goods and/or services of value that remain due to three particular traits: merit, consistency and value.

In our era, the unprecedented connectivity and rate of change entails that the future does not necessarily lie in our sons or descendants. The future lies in our ability to face 2017 with responsibility, not with anxiety and to promote business leaders and commercial values whilst guaranteeing modern commercial peace so that our sons and descendants actually have a future to hope for.  In closing, all corporations should be better than ever in social media, in mass media and all leaders must promote one thing in the midst of all unrest: more business, less politics, international peace, local goodwill and corporate responsibility.

BufeteDíazMirón

For more information:

Bufete Diaz Miron y Asociados

Juan José Díaz Mirón

jjdiazmiron@diazmiron.com

DLA to close Berlin office as lawyers exit to launch DWF office

DLA Piper has confirmed plans to close its Berlin office, as its two lawyers have exited to launch DWF’s third office in Germany.

DWF’s Berlin practice will launch in April with eight lawyers, including DLA financial services partner Nina Siedler and real estate of counsel Irene Schmid, who will move to the new office following the closure. Both will be partners at DWF.

As part of a deal between DLA and DWF, the latter will also take on the firm’s premises in Berlin.

Former DLA partner Wolfgang Richter, who first joined DWF Germany following the firm’s merger in 2016 with BridgehouseLaw, will head the firm’s new Berlin office in the role of executive partner. 

A DLA spokesperson said that the firm will continue to service clients across its other four offices.

“The firm’s German practice continues to strengthen and grow, however, it has become clear that there is no longer the client demand, and therefore the need, for us to have an office in Berlin,” the spokesperson commented.

“As a result, with effect from 1 April 2017, we have come to an agreement that our office with one partner and one of counsel will transfer to DWF. We wish them every success for the future.”

Managing partner and CEO of DWF Andrew Leaitherland said: “Opening in Berlin presents a strategic opportunity in its own right, offering significant opportunities in the financial services and real estate markets, along with being a key piece of our wider international growth plans.

“Building our German presence, combined with our recent opening in Paris, allows us to really bed in our European offering and continuing extending our international links into key geographic markets globally, including the Middle East and Africa.”

Earlier this year, DWF launched its first office in France through a merger with four-partner Paris firm Heenan Paris.

The boutique spun out of collapsed Canadian firm Heenan Blaikie in 2014 and is run by managing partner Jean-François Mercadier, who is among those joining DWF.

Similarly DWF also recently launched an association with Saudi Arabian firm Harasani & Alkhamees, giving the firm offices in Riyadh and Jeddah announced nearly two years after the firm launched its first Middle East office in Dubai.

The news of DLA’s Berlin office closure marks yet another loss for DLA Piper after the departure of Leeds duo Kate Payne and Vikki Massarano, who moved to ARC Pensions Law last month to head its new office in the city.

Quinn Emanuel to open Perth office with former Freehills partner

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan is launching an office in Perth at the end of March with the hire of former Freehills litigation partner Paul Evans.

Evans, now state solicitor for Western Australia, spent 24 years at the legacy Freehills, leaving in 2011 prior to its merger with Herbert Smith.

Dentons-Sign

Dentons takes Olswang team to launch UK patents practice

Firm takes on eight-strong Olswang team following hire of patent prosecution group co-chair.

Dentons-Sign

Dentons is set to launch a UK patent prosecution and opposition practice with the hire of a team leaving Olswang ahead of its merger with CMS and Nabarro.

The eight-strong team will be reunited at Dentons with former Olswang patent prosecution group co-chair Justin Hill, whose move to Dentons was sealed last November, one month after Olswang’s partners voted in favour of the three-way merger.

McDermott to close Rome office in “strategic review”

McDermott Will & Emery has announced plans to close its Rome office as part of a “strategic review” from its executive committee.

Gowling WLG grows Germany presence with Stuttgart launch

New corporate-focused base will operate alongside firm’s IP specialist Munich office.

Gowling WLG has expanded in Germany with the launch of an office in Stuttgart, the firm’s second base in the country.

The new office will focus on corporate, M&A, capital markets and commercial work, and will operate in tandem with the firm’s other Germany base, in Munich, which specialises in intellectual property and IT.

HongKong1

PwC launches Hong Kong legal practice

PwC has launched a Hong Kong legal practice with hires from King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) and O’Melveny & Myers.

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The move has involved the establishment of a new independent Hong Kong firm, Tiang & Co, which has entered into an association with PwC’s Singapore licensed foreign law practice, PwC Legal International.

Philippine boutique firm launches NYC office

Manila-based boutique Gulapa Law Office (G-Law) has opened a satellite office in Manhattan, New York City, through its affiliate Gulapa & Baclay.G-Law is the first Philippine-based firm to open an office in New York.

It advises on general corporate, infrastructure, government contracts, dispute resolution, tax and IP, among others.

Managing owner Aris Gulapa, resident partner Oliver Baclay, Jr., and of counsel Licelle Conrador are part of the new office’s legal team.