Byron Romain Joins White & Case as a Partner in Houston

Global law firm White & Case LLP continues to expand its Houston office with the addition of new partner Byron Romain. Romain will be part of the Firm’s Global Project Development and Finance Practice and will work closely with its Global Oil & Gas Industry Group.

“Byron is a highly skilled and experienced lawyer who has an impressive track record working on significant projects across the oil & gas industry,” said Philip Stopford, Co-Head of White & Case’s Global Oil & Gas Industry Group. “His arrival coincides with the first anniversary of the Firm opening our Houston office, which signals our commitment to expanding the leading capability of our oil & gas expertise within the region.”

Romain’s practice includes representing major and independent oil & gas companies, sovereigns, quasi-governmental agencies, private equity sponsors and portfolio companies in the acquisition, disposition and development of oil & gas projects in the upstream and midstream sectors. He also advises on asset and equity deals, joint venture/development arrangements, equity investments and financing/lending arrangements.

Romain joins White & Case from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, where he was previously the head of its North American oil & gas A&D practice.

“Expanding our industry expertise across the oil & gas industry is a pillar of our 2020 strategy,” said Jason Webber, Co-Head of the Firm’s Global Oil & Gas Industry Group. “Byron’s arrival reinforces this goal, and his sophisticated technical skills and extensive knowledge of the oil & gas sector will play an integral role in further enhancing our client offering in Houston, and across the wider Americas region.”

Switzerland

PSP Swiss Property optimizes its real estate portfolio

Leading global law firm Baker McKenzie has advised PSP Swiss Property (PSP) on the acquisition of the so-called “Carba Portfolio” in Bern-Liebefeld, valued at CHF 180.5 million, which was purchased by a share deal.

The portfolio consists of several properties with approximately 36’000 m2 of usable floor space; it offers state-of-the-art and representative premises for offices and services as well as attractive commercial space. The “Carba portfolio” is practically fully let and generates a gross yield of 3.9%.

“We are very pleased to have supported PSP in their acquisition of their real estate portfolio with our legal and tax expertise,” commented Martin Furrer, partner in Zurich.

PSP Swiss Property owns a real estate portfolio worth CHF 7.4 billion in Switzerland’s main economic areas; its market capitalisation amounts to CHF 4.7 billion. The 92 employees are based in Geneva, Olten, Zug and Zurich. Since March 2000, PSP Swiss Property has been listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange

Baker McKenzie provided comprehensive advice to PSP with regard to all legal and tax aspects of the acquisition and during negotiations. The Baker McKenzie team comprised Martin Furrer (Partner Zurich), Samuel Marbacher (Partner, Zurich) as lead partners, Mario Kumschick, Selina Mani, Valeria Knöpfel, Michael Zeller, Cathrin Marxer, Basil Kirby, Philippe Monnier and Andrea Puricelli.

Ludovic Timbal Duclaux de Martin

Leader Announcement

Me Ludovic Timbal Duclaux de Martin is shortlisted by Global Law Experts for the following award:

Sports Law – Lawyer of the Year in France – 2019.

Dentons adds Malaysia’s Zain to its global network

Thirty-lawyer Malaysian firm Zain & Co. has become a member of Dentons. The firm joins existing Dentons member firms in Myanmar and Singapore to form the newly established Dentons ASEAN Region.

The 13-partner Zain was established in 1970. Led by managing partner Zain Azlan Zain Azahari, its key practice areas are banking and finance, corporate, dispute resolution, real estate, and intellectual property. It has also established a number of new practice areas, including cybersecurity, blockchain technology, IP litigation, high net worth Islamic estate planning, and film and media. Zain has been part of Dentons’ NextLaw referral network since last year. ”

The launch today of our expansion in Malaysia with one of the best firms there will help us build on our currently strong South East Asia presence,” said Philip Jeyaretnam SC, Dentons’ global vice-chair and ASEAN CEO, in a statement.

Dentons, which operates as a Swiss verein, now has a presence in 74 countries globally and it is currently finalising a combination with Indonesia’s Hanafiah Ponggawa & Partners.

Bangkok – A City Guide for Lawyers and Legal Professionals

Bangkok, the capital and commercial hub of Thailand is an enigmatic city. From ancient temples, palaces, a floating market, a unique cultural experience to huge shopping malls, skyscrapers and a bustling nightlife — this city of contrasts has something to offer everyone. It also is the world’s second most visited city, behind only Hong Kong.

While the people of Bangkok are extremely hospitable and helpful, the city for first time travellers can be a little overwhelming.  So we have created a quick guide here to help lawyers and legal professionals effectively navigate Bangkok during their visits.

Getting Around Bangkok

Bangkok is huge and can be pretty confusing for visitors.  It is also notorious for its gridlock traffic but thankfully it has an excellent public transportation system which makes getting around the city convenient and easy.

BRT and MRT: BRT, also known as the sky train — and MRT, the underground train network — are one of the quickest and most convenient ways of getting around Bangkok.

Taxis: Unless you are travelling during the peak traffic hours, taxis are the most convenient, inexpensive and fastest way of getting around the city. You may also download Grab app (formerly Uber) to book a car or taxi from the airport or to get around the city.

Motorcycle taxi: If you are travelling solo and need to get somewhere within a kilometer, a motorcycle taxi is a quick and easy option. You can easily spot motorcycle drivers in orange, green or purple vests around BRT/MRT stations, shopping malls and tourist attractions.

Boats and Ferries: Getting on a river boat or ferry is a fun way of avoiding the city’s gridlock traffic. Bangkok has an extensive canal network with different types of boats offering a variety of services.

Bus: While a bus may not be your favorite way of getting around a city, it is the cheapest and the best way of exploring the real Bangkok. Make sure you get a BMTA map from the bus terminal before you take the bus.

Tuk Tuk: Bangkok’s iconic three wheeled rickshaw continues to be a tourists favorite. It is not a very convenient mode of transportation but worth the experience for first timers.  It is ideal to settle the price before getting in.

Hotels, Restaurants, Shopping and Entertainment

Bangkok offers a wide range of accommodation options from luxury hotels to serviced apartments. You just have to know the neighborhood you prefer to stay in.

It also offers an unforgettable shopping experience ranging from world class shopping malls to traditional Thai Markets where you can find virtually everything. From vintage and designer clothes and accessories to antiques and much more, you name it and you’ll find it here.

While most tourists use Bangkok as a stopover before they move to the picturesque islands nearby, it is a city worth exploring. Here are some of the places you must visit before you decide to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew

Wat Arun

Floating Markets

Chatuchak Market

Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World: The Aquatic Wonderland

Thailand Legal Resources

Thailand’s legal system is based on a civil law system. It has its base in ancient Hindu Code of Manu but is largely influenced by the legal systems of European countries — mainly France and Germany. The Thai legal authorities also took input from Japanese, English and American legal scholars at the time of drafting the civil and commercial code.

The first Bar Association in Thailand was formed in 1914.

Foreign legal professionals are not allowed to practice law in Thailand but they can work as consultants.

Top Law Firms in Thailand

Listed below are few of the top law firms of Thailand.

Linklaters

Pisut and Partners Co., Ltd.

LawAlliance Limited

Dej-Udom & Associates Attorneys-At-Law

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Jaiyos Advisory Co., Ltd.

Legal Events in Bangkok

Follow Leaders in Law to get more news and updates on the latest and upcoming legal events in the Asia-Pacific legal markets.

Article by Mamta Rathore 

Ho Chi Minh City – A City Guide for Legal Professionals

Ho Chi Minh City, commonly known as Saigon, is a city with a rich culture and history. War relics from the devastating Vietnam War that lasted 20 years, and left a profound impact on the country’s economy, can still be found in the city.

From a war torn country to emerging as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, Vietnam has come a long way. The city whose fall marked the end of the devastating war is now a major commercial and financial hub of Vietnam.  Here is a quick guide to help lawyers and legal professionals effectively navigate this fascinating city during their visits.

Getting around Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City’s metro line is still under construction and there may be crazy traffic and congestion due to the undergoing metro construction at some places. However, you can still get around the city easily.

Taxi: Taxis are one of the easiest and most convenient ways of getting around Ho Chi Minh City. They are easy to hail and inexpensive. You can also book a cab or a motorcycle taxi through the Grab app.

Motorcycle Taxi (Xe Om): Motorcycles dominate the roads of the city and motorcycle taxis are another convenient way of getting around.

Cyclo: The three-wheeled cyclo can be mostly found at popular landmarks, temples, and restaurants. Once a popular mode of transportation, it is not so common anymore and limited to short trips.

Bus: There are more than 100 bus lines and routes around Ho Chi Minh City and these are a great way of exploring the city on budget. If you chose to travel by bus, you may download the Bus Map App to find all the routes and schedules.

Hotels, Restaurants, Shopping and Entertainment

Most of the City’s luxury hotels are located in District 1. Here you’ll also find some stunning boutique hotels reflecting a unique blend of French colonial and contemporary Vietnamese architecture.

The district is also home to some of the best restaurants and shopping centers and malls of the city. Some of the major landmarks of the city are also located in this area. It is a compact district that can be easily explored on foot.

District 1 is vibrant, touristy and bustling with travelers. However if you prefer a quiet and relaxing place, District 2 is the best area to stay for you. It is an upscale neighborhood by the Saigon River, home to a majority of the expats in the city.

It is far from the city centre and tourist attractions but there are hotels that offer complimentary boat shuttle that will take you to the centre of the city in 15 minutes.

Here are a  few places that are worth visiting on a short trip in Saigon.

  • War Remnants Museum
  • Cu Chi Tunnels
  • Reunification Palace
  • Jade Emperor Pagoda
  • Cao Dai Temple
  • Riverboat tour

Ho Chi Minh City Legal Resources

History of the Vietnam legal profession

In 1946 the Vietnamese legal organization was set up under which the lawyers who had a license to practice before 1945 were required to undertake legal education.

In 1986, Vietnam began to open the doors to introduce reform policies, and set up a private legal practice association.  In 1987, the government issued the ordinance on lawyers.

In 2001, the government again revised the ordinance of 1987. Under the new ordinance, Vietnam tried to open up more to the international community, and they began to negotiate and then sign a US bilateral trade agreement.

In 2007, Vietnam joined the World Trade Organization (WTO).

As a result of increased training opportunities, lawyers in Vietnam enjoy a much more advanced access to education and opportunities.  While 99% of Vietnamese lawyers have been trained at the judicial academy, there is an increasing number of Vietnamese lawyers who have trained abroad or are practicing law with international firms in Vietnam.

Foreign Law Firms & Lawyers in Vietnam

Foreign lawyers have been present in Vietnam since early 1990.  At that time, foreign law firms in Vietnam could only open representative offices, but could not practice law.

In 1998, the government issued Decree 92 which allowed a foreign law firms to  practice law in Vietnam.

The year 2006 saw a new law on lawyers allowing foreign law firms to represent their clients in litigation cases, provided the lawyer who attends the trial is a Vietnamese lawyer.

According to the Ministry of Justice, by the end of 2010, Vietnam had 51 branches of foreign law firms.

Vietnam Law & Legal Forum

Published monthly in English by Vietnam News Agency, since September 1994, Vietnam Law & Legal Forum magazine is a reliable resource for those who wish to inquire into Vietnamese laws and policies.

The OFFICIAL GAZETTE  is the English translation of new legal documents printed in the Government Office’s Công Báo. Since September 1994 more than 7,000 legal documents on different domains have been translated into English and published in the Official Gazette.

Vietnam Bar Associations

Following are the two bar associations of Vietnam:

  • Bar Association of Hanoi
  • Vietnam Bar Federation

Top Law Firms in Ho Chi Minh City

Listed below are a few of the top law firms in the Ho Chi Minh City Area:

  • Allens
  • Baker & McKenzie
  • AV Law LLC
  • D.S. Avocats
  • Kevin Chia Partnership
  • Tilleke & Gibbins International, Ltd.

Law Firms in Vietnam

Following are a few of the top law firms in Vietnam:

  • EPLegal
  • LNT & Partners
  • DFDL, Ho Chi Minh City
  • DFDL, Hanoi

Russia court upholds restriction of foreign ownership of media

The Russian Constitutional Court ruled Thursday that the restriction of foreign ownership of media is legal.

The court upheld a law restricting foreign ownership of media to twenty percent.

The case came to the court “after arbitration courts declared a dual Russian-Dutch citizen’s 49-percent stake in a radio station illegal.” The court stated that the reason for this ownership limit is “to prevent the strategic influence and control of the media” because this influence “may threaten the state’s information security.”

The court also ordered lawmakers to make certain portions of the bill clearer.

HONG KONG HK

KMW expands in HK with partner duo from Mayer Brown

King & Wood Mallesons has hired two partners in Hong Kong: Ashley Wong joins the firm as its local aviation head from Mayer Brown, while Wang Yu joins as a partner from Morrison & Foerster, where he was of counsel.

Wong, has over 15 years of experience in aviation matters, advising airlines, leasing companies, maintenance and repair organisations and other market players on aircraft portfolio acquisitions and disposals, pre-delivery payments financing, sale and lease-back arrangements, acquisitions and disposals of new and used aircraft and engines, dry leasing and wet leasing of aircraft, long-term airframe and engine maintenance arrangements and other commercial arrangements.

Wang has more than 10 years of experience advising on securities offerings, private equity and other corporate transactions. He represents corporate clients, investment banks and private equity funds on transactional matters including capital markets, private equity and financial derivative products.  Wong and Wang join KWM a couple of months after the firm hired Ling Huang as a partner in its Beijing office.

London City

Crowell & Moring plans London training contract after Squires hire

Crowell & Moring’s new London managing partner Robert Weekes has set out plans to launch a training contract in the City office, having joined the US firm today from Squire Patton Boggs.

Weekes’ move was revealed by Leaders in Law last November, months after it was revealed that Squires’ global head Stephen Mahon would be relocating from the US to lead operations in London.

As head of Crowell’s London office, Weekes will be filling a similar position as before, having been a former City managing partner of Squires.

Now in his new role, Weekes said he plans to bring in a training contract to the London office from September 2021. His plans for the London office also include a pledge to triple its headcount by the end of 2022; Crowell currently has nine partners in London and six fee-earners.

To grow, Weekes has highlighted expansion in litigation, followed by the corporate group and regulation practices. Banking, insurance and financial regulation will be part and parcel of this growth plan. Weekes himself is a litigator, specialising in the financial disputes and investigatory work.

Litigator Weekes will take over from partner Jim Regan, who shares his time between the London and Washington offices. Regan had served as the point of contact between the firm’s head quarters and the London office.

Founded in 1979 by a group of 53 breakaway lawyers from Jones Day, Crowell totals more than 500 lawyers around the world.

Weekes said: “The firm wouldn’t have hired me if it didn’t want to grow. I have a reputation for expansion. I see myself as a person who knows how to grow teams that work well together across practice groups to find innovative and commercial solutions for clients.”

Crowell currently counts Microsoft, BMW, Siemens and BlueCross BlueShield among its clients.

Increase in share capital (football club – by extension)

The French Supreme Court related to private matters (Cour de cassation) ruled as a ratio decidendi on 28 November 2018 that the single vote on the resolution related to an increase in share capital reserved to employees is considered satisfactory to regularize an increase in share capital not subject to a vote on a preceding general meeting. This allows the possibility for a general meeting to ratify an increase in share capital reserved to employees (due to the relativity of the nullity – nullité relative). The legal concept that may be considered as underpinning the ratio decidendi is the French appearance theory: the ratification is being made possible by the subscribers (employees) having legitimately believed that the increase in share capital was regularly made.

This is in line with the spirit of company law to allow ratification as much as possible to ensure legal safety. In light of this, it is reasonable to think that this ratio decidendi can therefore be extended to other types of increase in share capital (not only reserved to employees). In particular, this ratio decidendi would be used (with an analogical reasoning) for an increase in share capital in the field of sports law (or IPOs), such as in football. In this respect, an increase in share capital of a football club would be subject to a ratification in the same manner.

Author: Ludovic Timbal Duclaux de Martin