Sydney

K&L Gates Hires Sydney Finance Partner From Hogan Lovells

Global law firm K&L Gates continues to expand its finance practice with the appointment of Richard Hayes as a partner in the Sydney office. Hayes, who brings a dedicated focus on acquisition and funds financings and general corporate finance, joins K&L Gates from Hogan Lovells.

With admissions and extensive experience in Australia, England, and New York, Hayes represents many international organizations with their multi-jurisdictional financing arrangements. His lender clients include global investment banks, commercial banks, and debt funds while, on the borrower side, he supports private equity and other investment firms and corporations.

For over 25 years, Hayes has advised clients in relation to the financing of acquisitions, refinancings, restructurings, recapitalizations, and work-outs. With current market conditions having forced these latter practices to the fore, the ability to work with the practitioners at K&L Gates was pivotal in Hayes’ decision to join the firm.

“My practice is truly international and I look forward to leveraging the strength of K&L Gates’ global platform, including collaborating with the firm’s highly regarded restructuring and insolvency, tax, and corporate teams, to the benefit of my clients,” said Hayes.

Nick Nichola, K&L Gates’ Managing Partner, Australia, stated: “Richard’s appointment provides our finance practice with a broader service offering and significantly deeper coverage in relation to the financing of acquisitions and debt capital markets generally. Richard has a reputation for taking on tough and complex work. As our clients respond to the challenges of 2020, he is the ideal lawyer to assist them in achieving the best possible risk mitigation and in seizing the opportunities that are available in today’s market.”

The arrival of Hayes builds on other recent appointments in Australia since late 2019, including Melbourne corporate partner Harry Kingsley, Perth corporate partner James Clyne, and financial services partners Kane Barnett and Paul Faure in Sydney and Melbourne, respectively. K&L Gates’ corporate practice also has continued to expand across the firm’s global platform in recent months through the appointments of new partners in BostonFrankfurtHong Kong, and Paris, with the firm having welcomed a total of more than 25 new partners and of counsel during 2020.

Recent Interview with BW Legal World

Ms. Seema Jhingan, Partner of the Firm recently spoke with Ashima Ohri of BW Legal World in an exclusive interview to shed light on the New Education Policy 2020 announced by the Government of India to initiate the long overdue reforms in the Indian school and higher education sector; franchise-model businesses in India; the advent of legal technology and its impact; challenging matters including helping her client bring the very first resort time-sharing concept of holidaying to India; her journey in law and much more.

Read more here: https://bit.ly/2YEDbqQ

Recent Changes to the Romanian Company Law

Since the Romanian Companies Law (Law 31/1990) was passed in 1990 there have been amendments to it to make it more up to date rather than continue it in its original format.

The original law was based on the French company law, and in 1990 there were very few advisors to the Romanian Government who understood corporate law or indeed commercial law.  This law was therefore a first attempt based on limited knowledge and experience of modern corporate law.  Over the next thirty years there have been changes to improve the law and the recent Law signed into effect on the 2nd July 2020 is another example of this.

Law no. 102/2020 brings major benefits and simplifies some of the registration process of companies in Romania, and the shareholders therefore benefiting from a more flexible legal framework regarding the establishment of companies.

The following are changes of which one needs to be aware in respect of formation of companies and the on-going reporting requirements.

Perhaps most important has been the removal of the prohibition and the requirement that a sole shareholder cannot hold the position of sole shareholder in more than one company.  This means that a sole shareholder can now hold the position of sole shareholder in more than one company.  This is very important to companies where they wish to have a number of subsidiaries in Romania.  Often foreign investor companies are themselves single shareholder companies and issues in the past have arisen concerning this when a Romanian company is incorporated.

Art.17.4 of the Law states that on the same premises in a building no more than one company can register their office unless the building or premises are designed in such a way to allow this.  This provision has been abolished.  This has meant that in the past there had to be compartmentation and a different room for each company.  In the previous form of the law the representatives of the company had to give a statement on their own responsibility stating that the building had separate rooms allowing for different companies to be registered.  In the new amended Companies Law such statement is no longer required.

The accommodation contracts allowing for the quick formation of companies (including the contracts using a lawyer’s office) now have to be registered with ANAF before incorporation and proof of such registration lodged with the file at the Trade Registry.  This has in our experience already caused some delay in registration, although other factors have also contributed to the delay.

In the past residential premises in block of flats have been used as office addresses.  This is now relaxed, and it is not now necessary to obtain the consent of adjoining owners of the premises if no activity is carried out at the office.

Finally, companies incorporated where the shareholders are all individuals and who are the ultimate beneficial owners of the company are no longer required to give a statement at the time of incorporation, or annually as previously if there is no change in the shareholding structure.  Companies with corporate shareholders will still be required to give such a declaration.

All these changes will allow the formation and then the on-going operation in relation to company in a more friendly and transparent manner and are changes that will be welcomed by all practitioners.

DLA Piper Boosts Australian Restructuring Practice

DLA Piper has hired restructuring partner Lionel Meehan for its Melbourne office ahead of an expected spike in pandemic-related restructures.

Meeham, who starts on August 1, joins from his own boutique insolvency and restructuring firm Edwin Legal. He has experience in financial restructuring, large-scale insolvency and commercial law, and knowledge across the resources, construction, financial services and fintech sectors, DLA Piper said.

Before founding Edwin Legal in October last year, Meehan was a partner at Ashurst in Australia for a decade and a senior associate at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in London for five years.

“Given the current global economic conditions and the recently announced temporary changes to Australian insolvency laws in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we expect to see an increase in global restructuring activity,” said DLA Piper’s managing partner in Australia, Amber Matthews.

“Lionel will form a key part of our international restructuring practice, supporting clients across the Asia Pacific region.”

Meehan’s experience in front-end restructuring and special situations, as well as transactional banking and back-end insolvency, will be a valuable addition to DLA Piper’s Australian and global Restructuring practice, said firm’s Australia head of finance, projects and restructuring in Onno Bakker.

Legal Do’s And Don’ts After A Car Accident

We all hope that we’ll never end up in a car accident, but the sad fact is that there are approximately six million car accidents in the US each year. So, there’s always a probability of you or someone you know being involved.

Careful driving can massively reduce the risk of ending up in an accident, but expecting the worst and preparing for every eventuality can also be a wise move.

Depending on the situation, you might have to seek out the services of a car accident lawyer, and the moves you make right after the accident could have a massive influence on how your case pans out.

Naturally, when you find yourself in an accident, you tend to panic, and it can be hard to keep your head and think clearly, especially if you or someone you know has suffered an injury. Still, to give yourself the best chance of a positive outcome, be sure to follow these simple Dos and Don’ts.

Do: Seek Medical Attention Immediately

When the accident occurs, any injuries should be treated as quickly as possible, and this is both for your own physical benefit, as well as to help support any potential legal cases that might arise if you contact a lawyer later on.

You can develop a wide range of injuries in the wake of an accident, ranging in seriousness and risk. Recovering from a neck injury could take years for example, while other issues might not be quite as serious but still demand prompt treatment.

If you plan to use a lawyer for a claim, medical reports and records will be vital in the case, so this really is essential. It’s also wise to photograph injuries and document exactly what happened too.

Don’t: Ignore Medical Advice

After seeking medical help for any injuries sustained during an accident, you might find that your doctor recommends strict bed rest or instructs you to follow certain safety protocols to minimize the risk of any further issues or injury.

Even if you feel these instructions are exaggerated or feel like your injury isn’t as bad as it seems, it’s vital to follow this advice.

If you try to make an insurance claim later on and evidence arises to show that you were still going out, attending sporting events, playing with your kids and taking on other risks against medical instructions, your chances of success could take a big hit.

Do: Seek Legal Aid Promptly

As well as looking for medical care in a timely fashion, it’s also wise to contact a lawyer as quickly as possible too. A lot of people take too long to contact a car accident lawyer. They might, instead, spend time contacting their insurance company first or posting details about the accident online with their friends and families.

All of these actions could harm your case in the long run, as any statements you provide might be used against you, and you could accidentally or inadvertently say things that will reduce your chances of a positive settlement with your insurance company.

Before you say anything or speak with any insurance agents, get in touch with a lawyer. They’ll be able to advise you through the whole process, providing some much-needed peace of mind and helping you negotiate towards a positive outcome.

Don’t: Hide Past Injuries Or Accidents

If you’ve had any past accidents or injuries, you need to let the lawyer know about them. Opposition lawyers and insurance agents could use these accidents against you, suggesting that your current injury is simply due to a prior accident, thus negating your claim.

They might even be able to view your entire medical history upon demand in order to build a case against you, so it’s important that you let your lawyer know all they need to know in order to build a solid case, without any holes that might be exploited.

A lot of people might feel that they need to hide this kind of information, and some may try to exaggerate their injuries or lie about what they can or cannot do in order to try and strengthen their case. In reality, lying will only weaken your chances of success.

Conclusion

Car accidents are always scary situations, and it’s normal to panic at first, but if you take your time, think clearly, and try to make rational, responsible decisions, you’ll have a much stronger chance of getting a settlement from your insurance company, rather than having to deal with more stress and problems.

ARTICLE BY:

Susan Melony
susan.melony@gmail.com

Japan’s Law Firms Benefit as Companies Move From China to SE Asia

As an increasing number of Japanese companies move production out of China in order to protect their supply chains, hefty investments made by Japan’s Big 4 law firms into Southeast Asia are paying off.

All four of the firms—Mori, Hamada & Matsumoto; Nishimura & Asahi; Anderson Mori & Tomotsune; and Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu—have established offices in Southeast Asia and are well-positioned in the region, where their clients, assisted by the Japanese government, are now actively relocating factories from China. In July, the Japanese government announced subsidies of up to US$114 million for 30 companies that were transferring their factories from China to Southeast Asia.

The moves have accelerated as Japanese companies seek to avoid getting caught up in increased U.S.-China trade tensions, political turmoil in Hong Kong and country lockdowns prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. But for the Japanese firms, moving into Southeast Asia is not new. Mori Hamada was one of the first Japanese firms to make its foray into the region, opening an office in Singapore back in 2012. Since then, it has established offices in Yangon, Ho Chi Minch City and Bangkok.*

In a sense, Southeast Asia was a fallback for the firms. Before 2012, they had assessed global markets for expansion opportunities but decided against Hong Kong because there was too much foreign firm competition there, all chasing after major Chinese state-owned enterprise M&As. They also concluded it would be too costly to set up offices in the U.S. and the U.K., where there was already a deep pool of well-entrenched competitors, lawyers say.

So all four firms followed their clients, which included major trading houses such as Mitsubishi Corp., Mitsui & Co., Sumitomo Corp., Itochu and Marubeni, into the greenfield that was Southeast Asia.

Now, their investments are reaping rewards. Over the past decade, Japanese companies have invested US$139 billion into Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines. The pace of total investment over 10 years is double that of Japanese investment into China.

Nishimura & Asahi partner Masato Yamanaka, the Singapore office co-representative, said Japanese clients are investing in a much broader range of sectors in Southeast Asia. Traditional sectors included infrastructure projects and manufacturing, but technology and real estate have taken over in a big way. While the bulk of the firm’s work was traditionally dominated by banks and construction companies, it is increasingly adding tech companies to its list.

“We are also starting to see more funds, startups and financial services companies moving their operations to Singapore as a result of Hong Kong’s political challenges,” Yamanaka said.

But law firms and their clients are not just benefiting from their presence in Singapore. Indonesia, for example, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, has seen a surge in Japanese investment as companies look to protect supply chains and avoid repercussions of the U.S.-China conflict and Hong Kong political turmoil. In June, the Indonesian government announced that three Japanese companies, including Denso Corp. and Panasonic Corp., have relocated their plants from China to Indonesia.

And the work in Southeast Asia is not limited to Japanese law firms. Earlier this year, U.S.-based Morrison & Foerster, one of the largest international law firms in Japan, advised three entities within the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group—MUFG Bank, MUFG Innovation Partners and Krungsri Finnovate—on a US$706 million investment into Grab Holdings, Southeast Asia’s biggest ride-hailing company. Grab had separately received a US$3 billion investment from the Japanese conglomerate Softbank in 2019.

Law firms are also benefiting as Japanese industry makes moves into Vietnam, Myanmar and the Philippines. Last year, Sumitomo bought a 19 percent stake in the Light Rail Manila Corp., the operator of the Manila Light Rail Transit System Line 1—the only privately-operated rail system in the Philippines, for US$60 million. Morrison Foerster advised on the deal.

In 2019, Japan became the second-largest foreign investor in Vietnam, with over 4,300 projects totaling more than US$59 billion. Japanese investors see great opportunity in the country’s infrastructure sector, with pending projects worth over US$200 billion.

With such a positive outlook, lawyers predict more competitors will scurry into the region.

“I don’t think the traditional, smaller but long-standing Japanese firms will expand much internationally, but there is a new group of young lawyers that have trained in big local and international firms that are setting up their own firms,” said Nishimura & Asahi’s Yamanaka. “These lawyers will see and understand the opportunities outside of Japan; they have experience in advising startups. So we should see more of those [coming in].”

In June, Nishimura & Asahi became the first Japanese legal practice to establish a Formal Law Alliance (FLA) with a local Singapore firm. Nishimura & Asahi-Bayfront Law Alliance focuses on corporate M&A and arbitration matters. “The alliance is still new but we believe there will be an increase in ASEAN clients wanting to invest in real estate in Japan as a result of our alliance.”

Just weeks after Nishimura & Asahi’s formal law alliance announcement, Anderson Mori & Tomotsune announced it had formed an alliance with seven-lawyer DOP Law Corp.

However, Mori Hamada has not announced plans for a tie-up, despite it being among the first Japanese firms to break into the region. Nor has Nagashima Ohno.*

“It is not easy. We have spent years trying to look for the right partner,” said one Big 4 Japanese law firm partner who did not wish to be named. “Bigger firms don’t want to link up and smaller firms have not been the right fit.”

Curtis Mallet Swipes Africa Specialist From Simmons Dubai

U.S. law firm Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle has hired an Africa specialist from Simmons & Simmons in Dubai, signalling the growing importance of the city as a hub for Africa work.

New partner Paul Bugingo joins the firm having spent over 20 years advising governments, state-owned corporations and investors on large-scale energy and infrastructure projects across Africa, including in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somaliland, Djibouti, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland and Lesotho, the firm said in a statement.

“In the span of his career, he is also credited with spearheading the Africa practice at Dentons,” the firm said. “Qualified to practice as a solicitor in England & Wales, Mr Bugingo brings with him a wealth of experience in the energy and infrastructure sector and a particular focus on Africa.”

Bugingo joined Simmons & Simmons as partner in Dubai in 2015, after a 17-year stint at Dentons as partner in London and Dubai.

“We are very pleased to have Paul join us. His broad experience in advising on Africa-related projects and his overall projects background will be a tremendous asset. He adds a new dimension to our Dubai-based offerings,” said Jeremy Miocevic, managing partner of Curtis Dubai.

Curtis Mallet has been expanding its international presence this year, in July making a rare partner hire to its London office from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.

London Remains No.1 for Resolving INTL Commercial Disputes

Reports on London’s Commercial Court and from major arbitration institutions have confirmed London as the most popular forum for international dispute resolution, with English law remaining the top choice for the resolution of international disputes.

English law is commonly preferred for governing law clauses in international contracts because it is based on well-founded principles, transparent and provides predictability of outcome, legal certainty and fairness. English law respects parties’ freedom to contract and is supportive of commerce, which is reflected in its popularity.

The Commercial Court in London deals with complex cases arising out of national and international business disputes commonly relating to insurance and reinsurance, banking and financial markets, commodities, shipping and arbitration. The court’s international appeal was confirmed in the 2020 Portland Report. In the year to March 2020, the Commercial Court heard cases involving parties from 72 countries with the top nationalities being Kazakhstan, Russia, United States, Cyprus and Singapore.

London is also home to well-established arbitral institutions and organizations such as the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) and continues to be the most selected seat for International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) arbitrations.

The LCIA is one of the oldest and leading arbitral institutions in the world. A record 406 cases were referred to the LCIA in 2019, by parties from 138 different countries and addressing disputes covering all aspects of international commerce, with the banking and finance, energy and resources, and transport and commodities sectors accounting for almost 70% of cases according to their Annual Casework Report 2019. Over 80% of these new cases had a governing law clause providing for English law and/or England as the arbitral seat, reflecting the predominance of London and the importance of English law in international trade.

Despite being located in Paris, ICC arbitration is commonly conducted in London. The ICC 2019 Statistics Report shows that the disputes are from a wide range of sectors although 40% of disputes come from the construction, engineering and energy sectors. They also record that the parties to ICC arbitrations in 2019 were located in 147 countries, a growing number, but nearly 80% of awards were given in English and as well as London being the preferred seat, English law was the most popular choice of law.

Response to the Global Pandemic

The approach of the English courts to the pandemic, wherever possible, has been “business as usual.” For commercial disputes, this was possible because the English Commercial Court has long had the power to hold hearings remotely, although previously this was generally limited to some witnesses who were abroad, giving video evidence, use of electronic bundles, and for some interlocutory matters. The logistical impact of the pandemic on parties worldwide quickly led to the transition to remote hearings, which has generally been smooth. Almost all of the Commercial Court’s work is said by them to have been conducted on time, with only limited significant adjournments. The first virtual hearing took place in the Commercial Court the same week as the lockdown started in the U.K., illustrating the quick response.

The use of videoconferencing was also not new in international arbitration proceedings, but again arbitral proceedings were not typically conducted with each participant in a separate location. The ICC and LMAA have both now issued guidance to address some of the unique challenges of virtual hearings including their own checklists and guidelines for such hearings. It has been suggested that more arbitrations were postponed than court hearings in response to the restrictions on travel nationally and internationally. This may, however, partly be due to the consensual nature of arbitration, although some adjourned arbitrations are now proceeding virtually due to the ongoing restrictions and the success of remote hearings.

It is also noteworthy that many arbitrations are determined on the documents only (i.e., without a hearing), and so will have been largely unaffected by the pandemic. This approach is particularly popular for London Maritime Arbitration Association (LMAA) arbitrations, which are commonly used by international parties to resolve commercial shipping and shipbuilding disputes as well as disputes related to the offshore oil and gas sector. According to its former president, Ian Gaunt, 80% of LMAA arbitrations are normally dealt with in this manner. 

Future

The Commercial Court and LMAA have both indicated that they expect that, given how well users have adapted to virtual hearings, there will not be a complete return to conventional style hearings in the future. There is no doubt that some aspects of virtual hearings will be considered going forward, and it may be beneficial to have hybrid hearings which could make hearings more streamlined, efficient and cost-effective, although at the expense of not seeing all witnesses in person. While the future remains uncertain in these unprecedented times, parties will hopefully benefit from the lessons learned and will continue to keep London and English law their top choice for arbitration and litigation.

Fiona Cain is counsel in the dispute resolution team of Haynes and Boone in London.

Chinese Investment in US Plummets Under Increased Scrutiny

New U.S. government data shows a massive drop in acquisitions of U.S. businesses by Chinese investors, particularly in critical technologies, evidence of the chilling effect of the Trump administration’s heightened scrutiny of Chinese investments.

The data, released by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, provides evidence of the impact of strained U.S.-China relations on U.S. inbound Chinese investment. It also sheds light on the practical impact of recent reforms bolstering CFIUS’s powers.

In 2019, China was not the biggest source of transaction notices filed to CFIUS, a position it had held since 2011. Instead, that distinction fell to Japan, which filed 46 notices to CFIUS. This indicates that inbound Chinese investment to the U.S. for the year was lower than previous years, as CFIUS had fewer Chinese transactions to review, according to Darshak Dholakia, a partner at Dechert in Washington, D.C.

According to its annual report to Congress for 2019, published on July 31, CFIUS reviewed 25 Chinese transactions last year, a more than 50% drop from 55 the previous year and 60 in 2017. There was also a corresponding drop in Chinese investment in critical technologies, from eight acquisitions in 2018 to just three last year.

“Most of these publicly notified transactions that have received CFIUS scrutiny and CFIUS has either killed the deal through onerous mitigation measures or President Trump has recommended blocking the deal—those overwhelmingly have involved critical technologies,” Dholakia said.

In March, President Donald Trump blocked the acquisition of U.S. hotel management software company StayNTouch Inc. by Chinese company Beijing Shiji Information Technology Co. through a presidential order. Although there were no such orders issued in 2019, according to the CFIUS report, five of the six presidential orders issued over CFIUS’s 40-year history were issued in the last eight years. Moreover, five of the six orders related to Chinese investments.

According to a Rhodium Group report published in May, Chinese investment in the U.S. in 2019 fell to $5 billion, its lowest level in more than a decade. In addition to growing CFIUS scrutiny, the report also cited China’s restrictions on outbound investment and worsening U.S.-China relations as significant headwinds for Chinese investors.

CFIUS reviews foreign investment for national security risks. According to Cooley, examples of transactions that CFIUS typically scrutinizes include those involving U.S. businesses that have contracts with the U.S. government, as well as transactions that would result in foreign control over critical infrastructure.

Comprising nine government agencies, including the Department of Justice and the Department of the Treasury, CFIUS has the power to recommend the president block or unwind transactions as well as modify transactions by imposing mitigation measures.

In recent years, CFIUS has seen its review powers bolstered, most notably in 2018 with the passage of the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act. Some of the main changes include a greater focus on foreign investment in U.S. critical technologies, as well as the introduction of mandatory filing requirements for certain transactions, including those involving critical technologies.

“This discussion about how to properly frame CFIUS’s jurisdiction has been caught up in a larger discussion about cybersecurity, IP theft, resilience of American critical infrastructure, and sufficiency of its national industrial base,” said Jeremy Zucker, co-chair of Dechert’s international trade and government regulation practice based in Washington. D.C.

Chinese investors should pay close attention to CFIUS’s tightened filing requirements as a result of FIRRMA, Zucker said. He pointed out that CFIUS has seen its budget significantly expanded, which has led to the establishment of a new office dedicated to reviewing transactions that are not voluntarily submitted to CFIUS for review.

“There is more monitoring of the investment universe than ever, so a decision not to file is a riskier decision than it used to be. If the goal is to be able to close the deal with confidence that the U.S. government won’t interfere, then it’s certainly wiser to seek that clearance on a preclose basis than to close and then hide and hope that the government won’t come looking for you later,” Zucker said.

In recent years, CFIUS has unwound Chinese acquisitions of U.S. businesses several years following their completion. In March, Chinese company Kunlun was forced to divest from its acquisition of gay dating app Grindr in 2016 following a CFIUS review. Earlier this month, Trump issued an executive order banning TikTok from the U.S. market following a CFIUS review of the Chinese video-sharing platform’s acquisition of U.S. social media app Musical.ly in 2017.

Zucker believes Chinese investment in the U.S. is still possible, as long as Chinese investors are proactive in addressing known concerns of the U.S. government. These include whether the Chinese investor is an operating entity in the same industry as the investment target; the commercial merits of the investment; and the ultimate ownership of the investor itself.

“The most important thing for Chinese investors to do [moving forward] is to try put themselves in the shoes of U.S. government officials reviewing their investments,” Zucker said. “We’re representing Chinese investors in front of CFIUS right now, and we certainly are not under the impression that those investments are doomed.”

Reed Smith Launches Global Racial Equality Task Force

Reed Smith has become the latest major law firm to launch a global racial equality task force, the firm announced in a statement.

Comprising a 36-member committee, the new racial equality task force comes in response to “recent global events that have brought to the fore generations of systemic racial injustice against Black people and other ethnic minorities,” the firm said.

As part of the move, the firm intends to set improvement measures in the hiring, retention and promotion of Black and other ethnic minority lawyers and staff working at the firm.

Global managing partner Sandy Thomas will chair the task force, which also comprises the firm’s seven-member senior management team, as well as other lawyers and professional staff, according to the statement.

The task force will carry out the firm’s newly-instated racial equality action plan (REAP) which aims to “re-imagine organisational business practices and habits to promote racial equity.”

The REAP is designed also to help the firm improve fairness and well-being for Black people and other ethnic minorities working at the firm, and to solicit ideas on how to uphold racial equity; pursue pro bono engagements “with the specific goal of advancing a more equitable society”, and to carry out work in criminal justice reform and voting rights.

Thomas said in a statement: “Striving toward racial equity is critically important as we move our communities forward. As stewards of the law, it is our responsibility to ensure that the credo of ‘equal justice for all’ is pursued and applied every day, to help provide a voice to all people.

“Our commitment is inspired by people from across the firm and is led from the top. We are proud to declare who we are and what we stand for – and on an issue of such importance, we do so unequivocally. While we appreciate that there are limits to the contribution one law firm can make, we are determined to realize change wherever possible.”

The move follows that of Baker McKenzie, which established a global race and ethnicity task force in July. Allen & Overy also implemented new ethnicity targets and a race ‘stay gap’ that same month.