PwC Legal adds two partners in Singapore

PwC Legal has hired two partners from Ashurst and Taylor Vinters to join its Singapore office.

Finance and restructuring partner Carl Dunton and technology partner Henry Goodwin have both joined PwC Legal International, which was launched in December 2016 as a foreign law practice in Singapore, has grown its partner number with two new lateral hires.

Dunton was previously a partner of Ashurst’s Singapore office and had also practised at White & Case and Linklaters as an associate prior to his nine-year career with Ashurst. His practice focuses on banking, finance and restructuring. Following the departure of a raft of Singapore partners in recent months, Ashurst completed its formal law alliance (FLA) with Singapore firm ADTLaw.

Goodwin was formerly the head of UK firm Taylor Vinters’ Singapore office. He is experienced in advising clients in the TMT sector on venture capital, M&A and commercial sourcing transactions. At the same time as his departure, Taylor Vinters acquired a stake in Singapore IP and TMT boutique firm Via Law Corporation as the new platform for its growth in Singapore.

The latest additions means PwC Legal International now has four partners in Singapore. In September 2016, the accountancy giant hired Ashurst corporate partner Keith McGuire and Norton Rose Fulbright real estate partner Natalie Breen in Singapore as its first step to launch its first base in the city-state.

In March 2017, PwC’s legal network expanded again with the hire of King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) partner David Tiang and O’Melveny & Myers partner Gigi Woo in Hong Kong. The two corporate partners have set up a local Hong Kong firm named Tiang & Co, which has entered into an association with PwC Legal International, the newly set up Singapore foreign law practice.

“The growth of our business is reflective of the rising market demand we are seeing in Asia and elsewhere for cross-territory integrated business solutions. I am confident that their extensive experience and expertise will further enhance the value we strive to bring to new and existing clients of the PwC network of firms,” said Tim Blue, PwC Legal’s Asia foreign legal practice leader based in Sydney. Blue was previously the managing partner of KWM.

PwC Legal also works with local firm Camford Law, which joined PwC’s global network in August 2014.



Clifford Chance names new Germany PE head

Clifford Chance has named co-head of corporate Anselm Raddatz as its new head of private equity in Germany.

It is understood that the appointment was made following the retirement of former PE head Christopher Kellett earlier this year.

Raddatz will continue as co-head of corporate with Thomas Krecek. Both will remain based at the firm’s Düsseldorf offices.

A Clifford Chance spokesperson said the appointment was a “natural move” after an impressive time with the firm since joining from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in October 2015.

Raddatz has advised clients including SCA and Fresenius Kabi on deals totalling more than €4bn.

His appointment bucked Clifford Chance Germany’s trend of losing high-profile partners to rivals Latham & Watkins, Pinsent Masons and White & Case.

At the time, Kellett said: “Anselm Raddatz is an outstanding addition to our German private equity practice. The private equity market and our client base are evolving rapidly, opening up new opportunities for us where Anselm will play an important role in helping strengthen and expand our leading position in the German market.”

DWF launches in Singapore

DWF is set to open its first Singapore office with hires from Eversheds Sutherland, including managing partner Oommen Mathew.

Mathew will take a three-strong team with him: Asia head of construction, infrastructure and energy Iain Black and associates Charis Tan and Kate Lan. Following these exits, Eversheds will be left with 18 partners in Singapore.

It is understood that Singapore partner Philip Fong will take over from Mathew as Singapore managing partner.

These exits come just a few months after Eversheds Sutherland officially launched in the region through a merger with Harry Elias Partnership. The Singapore merger was initiated by legacy Eversheds, which started discussions with Singaporean firm Harry Elias in early 2016. The Asia deal was delayed due to Eversheds’ recent merger with US firm Sutherland Asbill & Brennan, which took effect on 1 February 2017.

The new office will be DWF’s fourth Asian office and 23rd globally. The firm has not confirmed a launch date for its new office.

The announcement follows the firm’s steady trend of expansion since 2015 when it launched its first offices outside the UK and Ireland in Dubai.

Since then, its number of German offices has grown to three since the firm entered that market in 2015, an office in Paris after a merger with Heenan Paris and the association with Saudi Arabian firm Harasani & Alkhamees bringing the Riyadh and Jeddah bases.

Oomen Mathew said: “I am delighted to be able to work with such a dynamic and forward thinking partnership.  It is clear that DWF is focussed and driven to succeed in this region and I am excited to be leading them on this journey with such an excellent team.”

Since being named managing partner in 2006, Leaitherland has overseen all of DWF’s expansion plans overseas.



Ashurst real estate duo exits for Fried Frank

Ashurst has lost two partners to Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson, marking the US firm’s first foray into the London real estate market.

Partners Darren Rogers and Patrick Williams are joining Fried Frank’s City office, just a year after joining Ashurst.

The pair joined Ashurst in April last year from King & Wood Mallesons (KWM). Rogers is the senior of the two, having been made a partner at KWM in 2010. Williams was one of KWM’s 36 partner promotions in 2015.

Fried Frank has been on the lookout for real estate capability, after adding a number of practice areas to its London office.

The firm last year launched a restructuring practice in the City, with Mayer Brown partner Ashley Katz responsible for the group.

Fried Frank saw a changing of the guard earlier this year when London head Graham White announced his retirement. Funds partner Mark Mifsud has now taken over and is helping to  develop the firm’s renewed London strategy.

Ashurst meanwhile has seen few departures in London this year – a marked change to last year when the firm saw a number of partner exits.

Hong Kong

Third party arbitration funding gets all clear in Hong Kong

Third party funders operating in Hong Kong are lining up to take on more cases after the government passed a bill that allows third party funding in arbitration.

The bill, passed by the legislative council and announced on 14 June, will come into effect later this year.

The law thus far has only permitted litigation funders to finance insolvency cases, but the recent news will bolster their cause and Hong Kong’s status as a centre for arbitration as the community is no longer held back by legal impediments.

Harbour director of litigation funding Ruth Stackpool-Moore said: “With legislation on third party funding in arbitration now fully approved in both Hong Kong and Singapore, this undoubtedly furthers the interests of arbitration users and contributes to the region’s competitive position as a hub for international arbitration.”

A source with knowledge of the matter said the Hong Kong government was aware that it risked losing its status within the top five for arbitration unless it acknowledged the very real presence of third party funding in the market.

“This bill was just a realisation that if they did nothing, it would be detrimental to Hong Kong.”

The source added that they expected there would be a flurry of work once the law comes into force.

It is likely that the new law will alarm some in Hong Kong”s legal profession, which is known for its conservatism.

Hong Kong inherited the ancient doctrines of maintenance and champerty as part of the legacy left by the British. It has taken until now for the government to decided that those common law doctrines should not apply to arbitration or associated mediation.

The government has been careful to ensure that the legislative change is accompanied by the relevant safeguards to protect the system from potential abuse.

Arbitration has been described as the perfect platform for Hong Kong and Singapore to “test the waters”.

In January, Singapore passed a bill to allow third party funding in arbitration, and  it is thought that both bills relating to arbitration could pave the way for the two jurisdictions to permit litigation funding, a phenomenon that is already threatening to shake up the legal order as we know it.

A spokesperson for Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) said: “The Hong Kong legal community will be delighted to see third party funding for HK arbitrations pass into law. It is a welcome development, which will help Hong Kpng maintain its status as one of the world’s leading dispute resolution centres. Arbitration attracts sophisticated parties, who seek sophisticated solutions to funding their claims without taking undue risks. Funding is one of those solutions. It is fantastic that there is no longer an obstacle to using it here.”



Norton Rose Fulbright votes through Australian merger

Norton Rose Fulbright’s merger with Australian firm Henry Davis York has been given the go-ahead by both partnerships.

In a joint statement, the firms confirmed the merger has been approved by both sides, with an overwhelming majority said to have voted for the union.

The details of the merger, such as an official launch date, are still being finalised but the combination is expected to complete within this year. Henry Davis York will lose its name following the deal, as the combined firm will be known as Norton Rose Fulbright.

The merger marks Norton Rose Fulbright’s third merger in nine months – it acquired 54-partner Canadian firm Bull Housser last September and is set to tie-up with New York-based Chadbourne & Parke this year.

It is also the most recent global merger in Australia, following Dentons’ launch in Australia last December when it acquired the Sydney and Perth offices of local firm Gadens.

“There is a sense of real momentum in our global business right now,” said Norton Rose Fulbright global chief executive Peter Martyr.

“The addition of Henry Davis York will give us the critical mass we need in Australia to take full advantage of the steps already underway, at a global level, to modernise our business through the implementation of our 2020 business transformation strategy. This combination will allow us to bring the benefits of this transformation to more clients,” he added.

The two firms initiated the merger talks in the second half of 2016. It was understood that the discussions came to a halt at the beginning of this year but resumed soon after.

Norton Rose Fulbright is thought to have been attracted by Henry Davis York’s banking and finance practice, particularly its restructuring and insolvency group. The Sydney-headquartered firm’s relationship with several key banking clients, such as Westpac Bank, is also said to have been desirable.

The deal will grant Henry Davis York access to Norton Rose Fulbright’s newly expanded global network and a strong base in Melbourne, where it currently doesn’t have an office.

According to The Lawyer’s Asia Pacific 100 2017 report, Henry Davis York is the 19th largest firm in Australia with 180 lawyers, including 40 partners. The combined firm will have about 160 partners and nearly 600 lawyers in Australia.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s Australia arm has seen a stream of partner departures over the past year. Most recently, its Asia Pacific technology business group leader Michael Park left for Allens, Brisbane-based infrastructure and projects partner Joshua Paffey joined Corrs Chambers Westgarth, and M&A partner Michael Joyce moved to Singapore to join US firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.


Employment Law – Physcological Approach

The Psychological Approach to Employment Consulting and Business Success.

In most cases, workplace interactions resemble perfect laboratory type conditions to asses, determine or witness psychological experiments, or to see all kinds of behaviors occur right before our eyes. The physical conditions, stress, interactions, and over all ambiance of any company that is shared collectively by people that spend more time at the job than at home, create interesting trends and reactions that must be understood and appreciated by every human resource and legal specialist with substantial exposure to employment issues.

The breadth and depth of psychological and psychosocial behaviors and patterns in the workplace is as diverse and profound as the unique makeup and extent of each individual. Nevertheless, seldom have we psychologically seen and studied the workplace as a separate entity with identifiable existence, behaviors, patterns and thereafter foreseeable and predictable reactions.

As a brief introductory note, legally this separation between entity and individual has had a clear dichotomy since roman Law. Ultimately, the beholder of legal personality (needed to enter into agreements) is called a person, and there are two kinds of persons in the legal world which are studied and treated separately: 1) Natural which are individuals who acquire personhood upon birth and 2) judicial persons such as corporations which acquire personhood upon incorporation and which are referred too, studied, claimed against and seen as different from all of the individuals that conform it. This ancient and clear distinction allows everyone to understand and navigate the legal world whilst dealing with persons and entities separately (it’s a distinction that we are so accustomed too, that one might never even stop to think about).

Nonetheless, psychologically it might be overlooked with more regularity that all entities (apart from the individuals that create them) likewise have a psychological buildup and baggage that determine a lot in terms of success or failure in relation with business, productivity, managerial and human relations, accolades or over all social recognition. Similar to individuals, all entities are made up of cultural, behavioral and natural traits that create the end product that will allow a company to thrive or fail in an economic model and capitalistic environment that in most cases implies a never ending go go go devotion that could be considered maddening at best. Industrial or occupational psychology as an accepted field of practice has increasingly grown to accept and understand workplace issues not only from the level of the individual but more importantly from understanding the behavioral phenomena that derives from the organizations.

As labor and employment advisors and business consultants this multi-level approach to law and behavior in the workplace is the raw material with which we should operate.  Each organization functions, behaves and shows different patterns that if identified and analyzed will ultimately serve in legal preventive strategies, risk management and the avoidance of

costly litigation. What marks the difference between attorneys and business consultants is not only a concern for the behavioral patterns of any company, but moreover the capacity to discern and uncover them, accompanied by a talent to analyze, learn and use these patterns in favor of each client.

Unlike the U.S.A or the U.K., Mexican Labor law sets forth minimal rules of engagement that must be met in every employee-employer relationship and which can be expanded contingent upon employer policies and possibilities. This approach sets the tone for all labor relations nationwide in terms of minimum requirements and statutory benefits. As a consequence, Federal Labor Law creates a perfect scenario and level playing field for consultants to analyze each organization, for example: If 5 different companies in the same sector operate with the exact same labor benefit packages, same working hours and are located in a range of 20 kms all from each other… what makes one company stand apart in terms of productivity and success? Why is it that under the same circumstances one organization may thrive whilst the other disappear?

Labor and business consulting is not only about compliance, and lawfulness but more over about specific behavioral and operational knowledge of each client to be able to make the best of HR, to get more out of production and to avoid complications in a non-stop otherwise emotionless economy.  Legal knowledge is only the first requirement for a labor consultant due to the fact that success in Human Resource management and productivity is most of the time contingent upon certain psychological and cultural rules that constitute unwritten social and behavioral norms.

Every organization must always be viewed and identified thereafter as an entity with separate behavioral characteristics that should be clear to director’s owners and executives to be able to obtain success in a system where respect, fairness and management are as important to success as legality is to compliance. Legal consultants thereafter must realize the trust that each business places upon them and shall be conscientious and responsible as to guarantee that all legal, cultural, social and behavioral leads are in place as to guarantee as much success as possible… Conscious legal consulting.

Juan José Díaz Mirón

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Pinsent Masons hires three-partner team for Dublin launch

Pinsent Masons is opening in Dublin with a three-partner team, marking its fourth office launch in 18 months.

Investment funds partner Gayle Bowen is joining from Walkers, and will work alongside Andreas Carney and Dennis Agnew.

The pair join from Mathesons and ByrneWallace respectively, with the office focusing on financial services and technology.

Carney and Agnew join from Mathesons and ByrneWallace respectively.

The exact opening date is unconfirmed but it is expected to launch later this year.