Global Law Firm Dentons Collaborates with UN Women on Survey of International Policy Measures

Dubai—Dentons offices supported UN Women by conducting research in 30 jurisdictions across the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia on gender-responsive procurement (GRP) as a tool to meet UN Sustainable Development Goals. The findings form part of an overall report providing a comparative snapshot of regulatory and policy measures, and international and national legal norms.

At a special event organised by UN Women and NAMA Women Advancement at Dubai Expo 2020 on Tuesday, 18 January 2022, the report findings were discussed alongside a panel session titled “Emerging trends in GRP in the public and private sectors” with participation from Mhairi Main Garcia, Head of Dentons’ Middle East Energy, Transport and Infrastructure Group; John Balouziyeh, Dentons Senior Legal Consultant; Raghad Aljughaiman, Project Expert in the Office of Entrepreneurship at the UAE Ministry of Economy; and Nihal Hashish, Senior Purchasing Manager at P&G. The panel was moderated by Jennifer Bland, UN Women Entrepreneurship Expert.

In her comments, Mhairi Main Garcia highlighted “the significance of GRP to the Middle East region, considering the massive energy and infrastructure projects being procured by government sectors which are traditionally male-dominated in terms of workforce and business ownership”. John Balouziyeh provided the international human rights law framework for women’s advancement and GRP, and highlighted best practices found in Dentons’ research across 30 jurisdictions.

Dr Mouza Al Shehhi, Director of the UN Women UAE Liaison Office for the Gulf Cooperation Council, commented that GRP has “emerged as a concrete strategy to achieve women’s economic empowerment and advance the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 5 which pinpoints gender equality”. In her comments, Dr Al Shehhi emphasised that gender-responsive procurement is not only about driving social outcomes through sourcing practices that focus on gender equality, women’s empowerment and sustainability, but also about optimising entire national economies.

“As a signatory to the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles, Dentons is committed to advancing gender parity and women’s empowerment in the workplace and community. We stand in solidarity with UN Women in achieving gender equality, which requires an unwavering commitment to amplifying women’s voices,” said Elliott Portnoy, Dentons’ Global CEO.

Dentons is committed to a strategic approach to Inclusion and Diversity, to better serve our clients. A long-standing pro bono partner with UN Women, Dentons currently has several other major projects under way, with teams continuing to work to promote justice for women and girls in the 189 communities Dentons serves around the world.

“We are delighted to partner with UN Women in this important initiative to further advocate women’s positioning in industry,” said Alastair Young, Managing Partner – Dentons Middle East. “Our multi-year research across 30 jurisdictions around the world makes clear key global challenges will not be overcome if women – representing half of the population – are excluded from historically male-dominated social and business communities.”

Dentons and UN Women plan to launch the multi-jurisdictional GRP report on International Women’s Day on 8 March 2022.

Shareholder Stan Thompson Appointed Executive Director of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission

Litigation shareholder Stan Thompson was recently appointed Executive Director of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission by Governor Kim Reynolds.

“Protecting the civil rights of Iowans is one of the most important functions of state government,” said Gov. Reynolds in a recent press release. “Stan’s extensive experience in business litigation, practicing for the past 36 years, coupled with his knowledge in ethics and professional conduct will make him a valued leader for the commission.”

Over the last 36 years, Stan was a preeminent Iowa commercial litigator tackling complex issues. He tried approximately 40 cases to juries across Iowa. Stan’s clients – Iowa banks, businesses, medical practices, and construction companies – depended on his ability to efficiently process often complicated information as he worked toward a solution in their case.

During his time at Dentons Davis Brown, Stan served in several roles, including the Board of Directors, Litigation Division Chair and as a mentor to countless litigators over his three decades of service.

“Stan’s impact on our firm has been immeasurable. We appreciate his contributions as an advocate, colleague, and leader in the legal profession, in Iowa and nationally. We wish him the best and take great pride in his service to the State,” said Dentons Davis Brown President John Pietila.

In addition to his law practice, in 2002 and 2004 Stan competed in two highly competitive US House of Representatives campaigns that gained national recognition.

We appreciate Stan’s great service he provided clients and wish him the best as he moves into his role.

Freshfield – Latest Law Firm to allow 50% home working

The UK firm has joined a growing list of organisations allowing staff to divide their time between home and the office.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has become the latest magic circle firm to allow lawyers and staff to work remotely for up to half of their time on the clock.

Announced on Monday, the firm’s new agile working policy will allow Freshfields lawyers – including trainees – and business professionals to spend up to 50% of their hours working from home on the condition that their arrangements take account of client and business commitments.

Freshfields said the policy is an “interim approach” and that staff preferences may change once offices reopen.

Claire Wills, Freshfields’ London office managing partner, said: “Our guidance follows feedback from colleagues who signalled a clear preference for more flexibility but also recognises the importance of in-person interaction to our culture, personal development and client engagement.”

Olivia Balson, director of Freshfields’ Global Centre in Manchester, stressed the Centre’s importance to the connection and development of staff at the firm. “At the same time, we strongly believe in the value of a balance between remote and office-based working,” she said.

Freshfields is the latest in a swathe of law firms granting staff the ability to work from home as they feel appropriate. Taylor Wessing moved to adopt a “hybrid” work model in November, while Dentons, Slater & Gordon and other firms closed several offices in a shift towards remote working.

Staff at Linklaters and Norton Rose Fulbright have also been allowed to conduct 50% of their work from home under new rules. Other firms, like Cushman & Wakefield, have not been so quick to shift away from the office environment.

“One of the huge problems in the real estate industry is that people will over-simplify how they use their real estate going forward,” said C&W partner James Campbell at a Professional Practices Alliance webinar. “The reality is in 12 or 24 months’ time, when we get to the new normal, they will say ‘actually we probably needed more space.”


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