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New Perimeter Announces Maha Jweied as Advisory Board Co-chair

New Perimeter, DLA Piper’s nonprofit affiliate, is pleased to announce that Maha Jweied has assumed the role of co-chair of its Advisory Board, alongside Mark Ellis, executive director of the International Bar Association. New Perimeter provides long-term pro bono legal assistance in under-served regions around the world, and its Advisory Board is comprised of justice experts and thought leaders from the public and private sectors who provide guidance on New Perimeter’s initiatives.

 Jweied, who was previously a member of the Advisory Board, directs a consultancy working with a number of nonprofit and multilateral organizations. She leverages insight gained after nearly 12 years in the executive branch of the US government.

Previously, she served as acting director of the US Department of Justice’s Office for Access to Justice, the primary office in the executive branch supporting indigent defense and civil legal aid for low-income and underserved communities. In that role, she also served as the executive director of the White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable. While with the DOJ, Jweied represented the US government as its indigent defense and legal aid expert in bilateral settings and multilateral meetings and negotiations at the United Nations, the Organization of American States, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Open Government Partnership and the International Legal Aid Group.

“Maha’s deep experience in the area of access to justice has been an invaluable asset to New Perimeter since she joined the Advisory Board in 2019,” said Sara Andrews and Claire Donse, New Perimeter co-directors. “We are delighted that Maha’s significant contributions will be amplified in her new role as Advisory Board co-chair, and we look forward to working closely with her and to benefitting from her leadership.”

“I’m honored to serve in this role with Mark and join Sara, Claire and the dynamic group of board members to advance New Perimeter’s innovative model for tapping private sector talent and resources to support access to justice and the rule of law,” Jweied said. “It’s a special privilege for me personally to step into the co-chair position previously held by Mary McClymont – a true visionary and champion of the equal access to justice community in the United States and around the globe.”

DLA Piper Signs Power Purchase Agreement Initiating the Construction of UK Solar Farm

DLA Piper has signed a corporate power purchase agreement with NextEnergy Group relating to the energy generated from a new build solar farm in the UK, as part of DLA Piper’s drive to reach its decarbonatisation targets. It will be the first law firm anywhere in the world to undertake a Corporate Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

The solar farm, to be built in Somerset, covers 46 acres and will produce 13 megawatts of additional renewable power that will be supplied directly to the UK’s national grid and thereby to the interconnected power network supplying DLA Piper’s 15 European and UK offices that are taking part in the project. The power generated by the solar farm will at least be the equivalent to, but likely in excess of, the power used by these offices.

Environmental credits generated by the project, that exceed the direct power requirements of DLA Piper, will be applied to its value chain to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of its indirect emissions. This will include exploring innovative mechanisms to apply the surplus to support DLA Piper’s suppliers and business partners in their decarbonisation efforts, thereby further decarbonising DLA Piper’s supply chain.

The PPA is a major milestone in DLA Piper’s journey to decarbonise and follows the firm’s announcement committing to halve its greenhouse gas emissions in absolute terms by 2030. As part of DLA Piper’s science-based target (SBT), this covers reductions across the firm’s entire value chain, including indirect greenhouse gas emissions from the supply chain against a 2019/20 baseline.

Natasha Luther-Jones, DLA Piper’s International Head of Sustainability and ESG and Global Co-Chair Energy and Natural Resources, said: “The firm’s investment into this solar farm is yet another illustration of our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint through innovative solutions. We are the first law firm to enter into a corporate PPA so this project is a true statement of our ambition to be one of the most impactful business law firms for sustainability. The firm has advised on over 1,000 renewable energy deals and projects over the past decade and it has been a real pleasure to apply the deep expertise that we have gained over this period to our own need to decarbonize.”

Simon Levine, Global Co-CEO at DLA Piper, said: “Sustainability and innovation are both fundamental to how we operate within DLA Piper and this project is a perfect illustration of both of these at work. It is hugely rewarding to see the firm apply the same solutions within our own organization that we have been advising our clients on for many years, especially in the corporate PPA space where Natasha Luther-Jones and her team lead the global market.”

Ross Grier, UK Managing Director of NextEnergy Capital, added: “The corporate PPA market continues to strengthen. Corporate PPAs will form an important component of the way companies seek to decarbonise over the next decade and it’s a pleasure being at the forefront of this with DLA Piper in the legal sector. NextEnergy is a leading developer and asset owner in the UK solar sector and it’s great to supplement our portfolio with this relationship with DLA Piper.”

DLA Piper Advises DJE Holdings, Inc. in its Acquisition of Mustache from Cognizant Technology Solutions

DLA Piper represented DJE Holdings, Inc., a portfolio of interdependent companies and divisions that provide brands and businesses with a full suite of communications solutions, in its acquisition of Mustache LLC, an integrated content agency based in Brooklyn, New York.

Upon closing of the transaction, Mustache will join the DJE Holdings portfolio and will serve as the content, creative and digital hub for the firm’s Strategic Sector Agencies (SSAs), which include Revere, Salutem and Edible. Mustache, previously part of Cognizant Technology Solutions (Nasdaq: CTSH), will maintain its branding as a boutique creative and content entity.

“We were pleased to bring to bear our market-leading M&A capabilities to advise DJE Holdings on its acquisition of Mustache, which will add important depth to our client’s portfolio and enable it to continue delivering creative content solutions to new and existing customers,” said Andrew Weil, the DLA Piper partner who led the firm’s deal team.

In addition to Weil (Chicago), the DLA Piper team representing DJE Holdings included Scott LayfieldBunnie Poullard (both of Los Angeles), Christine Korper (Chicago), Drew YoungJoy Cheng (both of New York), David Pryor (Chicago), James RusertJulie Franki (both of Atlanta), Jason Veit (Chicago), Andrew Sacks (Seattle), James StewartJennifer Kashatus and James Duchesne (all of Washington, DC).

With more than 1,000 corporate lawyers globally, DLA Piper helps clients execute complex cross-border transactions seamlessly while supporting clients across all stages of development. The firm has been rated number one in global M&A volume for 12 consecutive years, according to Mergermarket.

DLA Piper Launches Global, Dedicated End-to-End Investment Management and Funds Practice

DLA Piper today announces the launch of a global, dedicated end-to-end Investment Management and Funds practice offering to support the entire investment management and investment funds value chain.

Co-led by International partners Catherine Pogorzelski and James O’Donnell and US partners Jesse Criz and David Parrish, the global dedicated practice builds upon the firm’s already well-established investment fund and investment management capabilities in the US, Europe and Asia by offering a global “one-stop shop” to serve the legal needs of asset managers, investment fund sponsors and investors across all industry sectors, geographies, asset classes and investment strategies covering:

  • The full investment fund lifecycle: from strategic planning and launch to liquidation;
  • The entire investment fund value chain: from investor to investment level;
  • All relevant areas of experience: tax, securities, regulatory, corporate governance, M&A, private equity investments, project finance, employment, restructuring, trademarks, data protection, and disputes;
  • Implementation of environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies for investment management players: from their design and implementation goals in sponsors’ investment processes, due diligence, reporting, disclosure and regulatory compliance.

DLA Piper has one of the largest investment management and investment funds practices in the world, with more than 250 lawyers with relevant experience and offices in all key global jurisdictions. This global network enables the firm to serve investors and investment fund managers worldwide, with a client roster that includes alternative asset groups of international financial institutions, advisors with billions of dollars under management and smaller firms and emerging managers forming investment funds of all types, including private equity, real estate, infrastructure, energy, funds of funds, secondary, venture capital, hedge and debt funds. DLA Piper’s investment fund lawyers also represent many of the world’s leading institutional investors in thousands of domestic and foreign fund investments annually.

Partner and co-Head, Investment Management and Funds, Catherine Pogorzelski, said: “We have a long history of advising on investment management and fund matters and we are one of a handful of firms to offer clients a dedicated global practice that can address all investment management and funds needs as a one-stop shop. The needs of this industry are unique and by providing an integrated offering tailored to their nuanced requirements, we make life simpler and more efficient, while enhancing the specialist experience across practices, jurisdictions and sectors.”

Jesse Criz, partner and co-Head, Investment Management and Funds, added: “The investment funds industry faces unprecedented change and growth on a global basis. Our proven track record advising clients in this space, as well as our unique combination of global reach, local market knowledge and thorough understanding of the numerous industry sectors in which our clients operate, puts us ahead of the curve in addressing these challenges. This service allows us to provide holistic and seamless support that meets the full range of our clients’ legal needs in important and growing markets in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas, while providing the focus to deepen our already significant capabilities in the geographies in which we have long been established.”

DLA fails in effort to stay €12m negligence claim

A High Court judge has refused international firm DLA Piper’s request to stay a €12m professional negligence claim brought against it by a Russian cruise ship company.

Applying principles of Russian law, David Edwards QC, sitting as a High Court judge, said that an arbitration agreement between Premier Cruises Ltd (PCL) and DLA Piper Russia did not apply retrospectively to the subject of the negligence action.

PCL entered into a contract with a Croatian shipyard, Brodosplit, in June 2013 for the construction and purchase of a cruise liner to be called Volga Dream II. The delivery date was March 2015 and the purchase price was €20m.

The judge said the relationship between the shipyard and PCL deteriorated when, towards the end of 2014, the shipyard sought to postpone the delivery date.

With advice from DLA Russia, under what PCL says was an implied retainer, PCL sent a notice of rescission to the shipyard in April 2015.

The shipyard responded by alleging that PCL did not have a contractual right to terminate the shipbuilding contract and PCL had failed to pay the fifth instalment of the purchase price.

The shipyard said it was rescinding the contract or treating PCL’s notice of rescission as a repudiatory breach, which it accepted, bringing the contract to an end.

DLA Russia then contacted the law firm’s London office and a formal engagement letter was sent to PCL, including an arbitration clause for all disputes and disagreements arising under it.

Hill Dickinson, the shipyard’s solicitors, commenced arbitration proceedings later in 2015 and, following a hearing in London in May 2016, the tribunal ruled that PCL must pay the fifth instalment and compensation. PCL paid the shipyard €4.4m in July 2019.

PCL launched proceedings against DLA Piper for professional negligence in January last year, with separate claims against DLA Russia and DLA UK.

Delivering judgment in Premier Cruises Limited v DLA Piper Rus Limited and another [2021] EWHC 151 (Comm), Mr Edwards said PCL claimed it had been given negligent advice by DLA Russia between December 2014 and April 2015 in relation to the termination provisions of the shipbuilding contract and in drafting the notice of rescission.

PCL’s claim against DLA UK was for negligence from May 2015 in failing to advise PCL of the risks in defending the shipyard’s claims. The damages claimed was “in excess of €12m”.

Mr Edwards said DLA Russia applied for a stay of the claim under section 9 of the Arbitration Act 1996, relying on the dispute resolution section of its engagement letter.

Meanwhile DLA UK, which was not a party to the arbitration agreement, applied for a case management stay.

The judge said that, under section 9(1), a party could apply for a stay “in respect of a matter which under the agreement is to be referred to arbitration”.

He said “matter” had been defined as “any issue which is capable of constituting a dispute or difference which may fall within the scope of an arbitration agreement”.

The question was whether the agreement extended to “advice allegedly given and the work allegedly carried out” by the law firm before the engagement letter and arbitration clause, which was governed by Russian law, came into effect.

The High Court heard expert evidence from two Moscow lawyers on the principles of construction applicable to the arbitration agreement – both managing partners of Russian law firms.

Mr Edwards concluded that “the matter which is the subject of the present proceedings against DLA Russia” was not within the scope of the arbitration agreement. He dismissed DLA Russia’s application for a stay.

The judge also dismissed DLA UK’s application for a case management stay.

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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.

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DLA Piper’s 2018 Global Technology Summit

On Day 1 of DLA Piper’s 2018 Global Technology Summit, Louis Lehot, co-managing partner of DLA Piper’s Silicon Valley office and co-chair of the firm’s Emerging Growth and Venture Capital practice, gave a shout-out to the “super heroes of tech” while leading a discussion on the “Rule of 40,” what to anticipate in an exit and the role of talent in an acquisition, among other hot topics. #DLAPiperTech18