SingaporeArbitration

Global Arbitration body PCA to set up in Singapore

The Permanent Court of Arbitration is to open its first staffed office in Asia and only its second outside The Hague.

The Singapore office administer PCA hearings held in the city state and the wider Asia region, which has seen a rise in cases to at least 7 in 2017, more than double that of 2015.

“The setting up of the PCA office will further augment Singapore’s position as an international hub for dispute resolution, particularly in the new area of investment dispute resolution. The growing number of PCA cases heard in Singapore is testament to the expertise Singapore offers,” said Ms Indranee Rajah SC, Singapore’s Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law and Ministry of Finance.

Singapore’s Ministry of Law and the PCA signed a Host Country Agreement this week, which is a step-up from the current 10-year Facility Agreement where cases were administered from The Hague.

The new office will be based at the Maxwell Chambers within the next 6 months and will be housed in the new Maxwell Chambers Suites, due for completion in 2019.

“The new office will take the Singapore-PCA partnership to a new level and will create more opportunities for Singapore lawyers and law firms,” added Ms. Rajah.

 

BufeteDíazMirón

Mexican Employment Law

Social Security, Employee Benefits and the Risk of not Insuring Employees in Mexico.

The day to day operations of a labor and employment firm are filled with some very consistent and repetitive inquiries such as social security, worker’s compensation, general insurance, minimum mandated benefits and over all employee costs in Mexico. For employers and international investors, it is essential to point out that full compliance in all abovementioned areas, along with transparency in Mexico is obtainable and surprisingly viable if analyzed and implemented correctly.

In the US for example, when occupational injury or illness arises, employees may receive worker’s compensation benefits to replace lost wages and to help pay for medical expenses. This is just one of those “employee costs” that all employers entertain and that must be factored in to be able to analyze the viability and overall cost of business. Understanding the depth and cost of employer responsibility in terms of mandated benefits and social security is at large, one of the most important elements of hiring employees in Mexico.

Per Mexican law, everything that the employee is entitled too and everything that is binding for employers is centered, handled and paid unto one government institution which is the National Social Security Institute or “IMSS” (Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social).

It is mandated that all employers must register under the Mexican Social Security Institute which provides governmental full medical care, out-patient, maternity, disability and injury care to all workers registered therewith alongside retirement, pension plans and even day care centers for working mothers. Social Security services are paid for through fees or quotas funded both by employees and employers via withholding which is one of the primary obligations of all employers when disbursing salaries. Other than the obligation to register all workers under IMSS, these social security fees are essential to compliance and workplace stability because they replace workers comp, 401 K and retirement (all other insurance and benefits) whilst allowing employees to have all health, maternity, injury and disability benefits while IMSS pays for wages during medical care or approved absences.

It is important to consider this trade off (a single payment), seeing that there is only one legal social security administrative system, which maintains free of charge medical clinics, hospitals, childcare and eligible services to employees and their families. IMSS also pays for a percentage of an employee’s salary in the event of a job-related accident illness or temporary/permanent disability and grants assistance to beneficiaries in case of a work-related accidents or death.

Having a working knowledge of how much “overhead” this social security cost will bare in relation with the pay roll and how this can help a company is paramount for all investors and employers in Mexico. IMSS being a competent authority to audit and impose fines on employers for non-compliance is also very important to note, as a single levy for not observing employer social security obligations could mean millions in losses alongside compliance issues.

Over all, in time all corporations will appreciate and conclude that compliance with IMSS is less costly and with potential larger benefits for the employer than expected. Actually, expenses related to social security compliance in Mexico and even severance/termination fees will prove to be less costly than in the United States

For further information please reach

Juan Jose Diaz Miron at

jjdiazmiron@diazmiron.com

Hollywood

DLA Piper joins forces with Californian firm Liner

DLA Piper has acquired Los Angeles-based boutique firm Liner, which is focused on focused on litigation, real estate, business transactions, and restructuring.

DLA Piper’s announcement said about 60 lawyers will move in because of the merger. Liner has approximately 70 lawyers listed on its site. The deal could also add Liner’s three offices – two in LA and one in New York ­– to the DLA network when the merger goes live, which is expected to be in October.

Roger Meltzer, DLA Piper’s global co-chairman and co-chairman for the Americas, said that Liner team “will be an important strategic linchpin for us in the region and across our platform.” DLA Piper will help the Liner team expand their practices nationally and globally, he said.

Name partner Stuart Liner has overseen the firm since it was established in 1996. He has won several eight-figure settlements in contingent fee cases, his profile on the firm’s website says.

Liner said his team were excited to build a stronger presence in Southern California, Silicon Beach and beyond under the DLA Piper umbrella. The deal will enable them to utilise expertise and services offered by DLA Piper in key markets around the US, like New York, to expand their services to existing clients, he said. Liner particularly identified DLA Piper’s mergers and acquisitions, private equity, finance, infrastructure, and sports practices as major areas of collaboration.

The acquisition comes after DLA Piper Africa’s latest acquisition of two law firms, expanding the firm’s reach to all 19 African countries.

Dentons merges with Maclay Murray & Spens

Dentons is set to merge with Maclay Murray & Spens from Scotland, adding 258 lawyers to its UKMEA base and bringing the firm’s global headcount up to 8,695 lawyers.

Through this merger, which will complete later this year, Dentons will gain a presence in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and will add headcount to its London base.

According to the UK 200 2016, Maclays had 56.71 full time equivalent fee earners in London, of which 14.5 were partners and 7.8 were full-equity partners during the 2015/16 financial year. The entire team is expected to move to Dentons’ London office by the end of this calendar year.

As part of the deal, four of Maclays’ management team will join the Dentons UKMEA board, including Maclays chief executive Kenneth Shand and chairman Michael Livingston. Shand will also join the regional management committee, which currently has five divisions.

Maclays had previously been in merger talks with Bond Pierce (now Bond Dickinson since its merger in 2013), and was rumoured to have engaged in talks with Addleshaw Goddard and US firm Locke Lord.

Talking to The Lawyer, Shand admitted that the firm “had been interested in expanding its proposition for some time”.

“We are quite a cautious bunch in some ways but ambitious, and we believe we have found a genuinely fascinating opportunity here.

“It will bring us the much greater reach and scale both nationally and internationally that we feel we need to expand our client offering and grow new clients. It will also bring us the firepower to bring tech efficiencies to the business to develop the service we can offer. It expands the career opportunity for our people and people we want to recruit going forward.”

Dentons UKMEA CEO Jeremy Cohen said that his firm had “toyed” for a while to be in Aberdeen to support its oil and gas practice, and said that both firms had a good practice fit, with banking, financial services, energy and infrastructure capabilities.

“For some time we have wanted to grow in the UK,” he said. “Maclays is a great quality firm both in the talent of the lawyers and client base that we can take the Dentons message to.”

Shand said that this merger will allow the firm to be “the only significant player in Scotland” with a presence across all continents. “We will have a real advantage on Scottish national firms,” he said. “It will add global capability to a high quality-combined London and regional model.”

Both Shand and Cohen confirmed that “some partners” would be locked in as part of the merger deal, but would not confirm how many or for how long.

Maclays has yet to provide financial figures for the 2016/17 year, but in the previous round the firm suffered one of the biggest drops in revenue per lawyer, 10 per cent, while revenue per partner dropped by 4 per cent.

The firm’s net profit dropped by 20 per cent last year to £10m, putting it 31.5 per cent lower than it was in 2011/12 and 37.54 per cent lower than in 2007/8.

The firm dropped in equity partner numbers by 13 per cent from 46.6 to 40 during the year and profit per equity partner dropped by 12.4 per cent to £248,000.

Turnover rose by 3 per cent to £44.8m, leaving the firm still 4 per cent below its most recent high of £46.9m in 2011/12 and 27 per cent below the £61.1m posted in its best-ever year, 2007/08.

 

Indonesia

PwC legal enters Indonesia

PwC has entered Indonesia adding local law firm Melli Darsa & Co (MDC) to its network, through which the accountancy giant can offer legal services in South East Asia’s largest economy.

The Indonesia move is PwC’s latest expansion in to its legal services business in the South East Asia region.

MDC is established in 2002 by corporate lawyer Melli Darsa, who is the firm’s senior partner. It currently has six partners. The firm entered into an association with legacy Squire Sanders in 2013, but the relationship ended in 2015 following a team exit from the local firm.

As a member of PwC’s global network, the MDC remains an independent local firm and works closely with other Indonesian member firms of PwC that offer services in assurance, tax, financial advisory and business consulting.

“Business and legal issues today are more intertwined than ever before. Multinational corporations operating in Indonesia and the region see the value in working with a global professional services leader,” said Irhoan Tanudiredja, senior partner of PwC Indonesia.

“As a member firm of the PwC network, Melli Darsa & Co will provide a competitive edge for clients who appreciate the benefits of working with a global brand. It also gives Indonesian businesses, and those seeking to enter the Indonesian market, a wider choice and the ability to access the reach of a global professional services network,” he added.

For MDC, the ability to provide multidisciplinary solutions to clients is a driver behind its decision to join PwC.

“We are seeing more and more companies looking for forward-looking practical and efficient multidisciplinary solutions, often with a single point of contact,” said Darsa.

“In this respect, MDC joining the PwC network sets a new bar in corporate legal and financial/business advisory service in Indonesia that allows us to better support clients in achieving their competitive advantage through a broader multidisciplinary and more integrated approach.”

 

San Fran

Matheson opens San Francisco office

Irish law firm, Matheson, has today announced the opening of an office in San Francisco. With over 650 staff headquartered in Dublin, this expansion represents the firm’s third US office – and its fifth office globally.
The opening is in response to the continually increasing client demand on the West Coast for Irish legal services and it builds upon the firm’s presence in the region through its existing West Coast office in Silicon Valley.

The new office will be led by Matheson West Coast Head Partner, Mark O’Sullivan, together with technology and privacy partner, Chris Bollard, who joins the firm on 1 August.

Commenting on the opening, Matheson Managing Partner, Michael Jackson said, “The global technology industry is booming, fuelled by advancements in emerging areas such as AI and data analytics. Post-Brexit, Ireland, with an already large presence of technology multinationals, has the capacity to benefit from additional US investment into Europe.”
He added, “The opening of our San Francisco office will support our continued collaboration with our clients and help them to remain competitive as they deal with the complexity of the current market conditions.”

 

BufeteDíazMirón

Being more Human, and Work.

Labor and the worth thereof has been historically tied with the intrinsic value of man and the social, moral, philosophical and economic evolution of society itself.

When debating about the betterment of man, political and economic systems, psychology or social behavior, all through the eyes of labor and its meaning to humanity, we come across deep and rooted implications that shed light on the importance of employment law, prevention and labor legislation around the world.

Theodore Roosevelt believed that no man needed sympathy because he had to work. In fact, he stated that the best price life had to offer was a chance to work hard at something worth doing.  Roosevelt also believed that it was only through labor and effort that man may move on to better things.

In the XXIst Century much has been said, written and speculated about workaholics, overachievers and an unhealthy attachment to the workplace. Many are concerned about work becoming an addiction, though these believers would have to argue with the great Voltaire who coined the phrase “Our labor preserves us from the three great evils: weariness, vice and want.”

On the political aspect, the arguments and conflicts around labor have had a long and challenging history regarding wealth and work; William Howard Taft argued that socialism proposed no adequate substitute for the enlightened feeling of enterprise and creation for all mankind. Another great capitalist, John D. Rockefeller was known for saying “I believe in the dignity of labor, whether with head or hand; that the world owes no man a living but that it owes every man an opportunity to make a living.”

These great men have been historically rivaled by other great men and minds like Karl Marx who believed that the production of too many useful things could result in too many useless people, and who in many ways spoke against private property.

As specialized labor and employment attorneys, the importance of labor, productivity and healthy labor and employment relations is the key to our existence and the cornerstone of our efforts. In many ways, literally and not theoretically we get a front row seat to personally attest to what and how important a healthy labor environment can be for an individual, for a family, a company and for society. Finding meaning and reciprocity in labor and employment relations is in many ways a foundation for all people and thereafter businesses and civilizations. In the era of information, technology, and advancement, robots have not taken over the workforce, in fact some may argue that they have given more meaning and value to the human aspect of work and production. Now more than ever, with employees having the ability to be informed in real time, the value of human ability and anthropological interaction is key to success. More than a political, historical or social discourse, now, in the era of technology is the time to be more human at work and to call for more interaction, more meaning and better and more stable labor relations.

Juan José Díaz Mirón

For more information:

jjdiazmiron@diazmiron.com

www.diazmiron.com.mx

 

Gordon Dadds to go public following reverse takeover

London’s Gordon Dadds is set to become the UK’s newest listed law firm following a share offer by Work Group.

The offer, which constitutes a reverse takeover, values Gordon Dadds at £18.75m. Work Group also intends to raise up to £20m via a placing, with the proceeds used to repay borrowings (which currently stand at around £3.5m), fund acquisitions and provide working capital. Gordon Dadds is expected to list on AIM in August.

Gordon Dadds has carved out a reputation as one of the UK’s most acquisitive law firms in recent years. As last year’s UK 200 report highlighted, the firm’s growth has been underpinned by a string of acquisitions including that of Jeffrey Green Russell following a pre-pack administration in October 2015 as well as those of Davenport Lyons and litigation and corporate firm Harris Cartier.

The firm has also branched out into other advisory services. In June 2016 Gordon Dadds launched GD Financial Markets, a management consultancy providing a range of services such as advisory, business consulting, solution integration and managed services to capital markets clients.

In 2015/16 Gordon Dadds, which brands itself as a legal and professional services firm, posted a revenue of £20.2m and an average revenue per lawyer of £238,000. Gordon Dadds’s turnover for 2016/17 stood at £23.16m, with a net profit of £2.2m and average profit per equity partner of £748,000. Top of equity was £1.7m.

 

Eversheds and Quinn lead roles in OnTheMarket case

The owner of the property website OnTheMarket has secured a victory in the Competition Appeal Tribunal after it ruled that a Cheshire-based estate agent breached its contract when it advertised its properties on rival websites Zoopla and Rightmove.

Agents’ Mutual, which is owned by a number of estate agents including Savills and Knight Frank, claimed that estate agency Gascoigne Halman broke a condition of its membership when it listed its properties on Zoopla and Rightmove. The agreement stated that in order to use its website, all estate agents were allowed only to list properties on their site and one other competing portal.

Gascoigne Halman argued that the “one other portal” rule was anti-competitive and that it amounted to a collective boycott of rivals.

Eversheds Sutherland partner Lesley Farrell acted for the claimants, instructing Blackstone Chambers’ Alan Maclean QC and Monckton Chambers’ Josh Holmes QC; while Quinn Emanuel Urqhuart & Sullivan partners Boris Bronfentrinker and Kate Vernon acted for the defendants, instructing Paul Harris QC and Philip Woolfe QC at Monckton Chambers.

Mr Justice Marcus Smith ruled that Gascoigne Halman’s case was “untenable” and rejected it. He said: “For the reasons we have given, in some circumstances horizontal co-operation even between competitors can be perfectly acceptable in competition terms; and the use of exclusivity requirements – like the One Other Portal Rule – can, as we have found, be similarly acceptable, either because competition law is not infringed at all (as here) or because an anti-competitive restriction is objectively necessary (as we would have found, had our conclusions on “by object” and “by effect” infringements been different).”

Smith J continued: “It would appear inherently plausible that, all else equal, the entry of a new portal would be pro-competitive in that estate agents would have an additional or alternative portal on which to advertise their properties; and the property buying public would have an additional or alternative portal through which to view such properties.”

Farell said: “Gascoigne Halman had claimed that a number of the terms within OnTheMarket’s agreements with agents listing on the portal were anti-competitive. We are very pleased that the Competition Appeal Tribunal has determined, unanimously, that there is no basis for those claims and that the agreements are in fact ‘pro-competitive’.

Agents’ Mutual CEO, Ian Springett, added: “The aim of our portal has been to increase competition and choice for estate agents and property seekers. I am delighted that the Competition Appeal Tribunal has recognised that OnTheMarket’s entry into the online property portal market is pro-competitive and that, in accordance with the advice we had been given, the terms it has with its agents are compatible with competition law. ”

 

WFW hires partner duo from Orrick and White & Case

Watson Farley & Williams (WFW) has taken two partners from Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe and White & Case.

White & Case partner Louise Mor is joining the firm after six years as a partner at the firm.

She was a member of the US firm’s asset finance practice and joins WFW as a partner in its transport sector group.

Orrick partner Colin Graham is also joining WFW and will be a partner in the firm’s oil and gas sector group, specialising in corporate law.

Graham was a partner at Orrick for nearly three years, having joined from Hogan Lovells where he was of counsel.

Last month WFW announced its global turnover had risen to just shy of the £160m mark in another year of growth at the firm.

The firm’s turnover has been growing steadily over the years, rising 5 per cent in 2015/16.

Mor’s departure from White & Case leaves the firm with three asset finance partners based in London – Adrian Beasley, Justin Benson and Alison Weal.

Orrick meanwhile added to its London energy and corporate capability in 2016, hiring Andrew Kurth partner Peter Roberts in 2016.