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We are different from other law firms in the way we think, work and behave. Global in our outlook from the beginning, for six consecutive years we have been named as the world’s strongest law firm brand by Acritas, underlining our dedication to being the best. We know the value of our talent in sustaining this success and so we’re committed to offering the platform to nurture this talent.

KPMG legal consultancy arm coming to UK

PMG is to set up a legal consultancy arm in the UK, the ‘Big Four’ professional services firm revealed, as it reported strong growth in its global legal services business.

The legal consultancy is expected to launch in the next few months, though the firm has not yet disclosed further details.

This is but the latest signal of intent from the ‘Big Four’ and follows last month’s news that rival firm Deloitte has hired a former magic circle partner to lead its UK legal arm.

KPMG’s UK consulting arm will be part of the Legal Operations & Transformation Services (LOTS) offering, which KPMG says helps in-house counsel identify ‘technologies, flexible resources and managed services that can support delivery of legal services’.

In a separate announcement this morningm, KPMG said ‘rising demands’ for legal services had resulted in revenue growth for its global legal services arm of more than 30%. The practice now has more than 2,300 legal professionals worldwide, including more than 20 new partners added during 2018, it added.

Jürg Birri, KPMG’s global head of legal services, said: ‘Our approach is different. We’re not a traditional law firm, and we’re not copying the approach of a traditional law firm. We focus on offering our clients integrated legal advice and technology-led solutions and methodologies, in combination with a range of alternative legal managed services.’

He added: ‘We expect continued growth in 2019 as we eagerly meet the evolving needs of clients across the globe. Increasingly, our clients are being asked to implement business transformation programmes that need an integrated approach that combines business and legal methodologies, not just pure legal advice. We understand this and are able to deliver.’

In January, the Gazette reported on the opening of a KPMG affiliated legal practice in Hong Kong. An associated Shanghai office is expected to follow later this year.

White & Case Advises Naspers on US$1.16 Billion Acquisition

Global law firm White & Case LLP has advised Naspers, a global internet and entertainment group and one of the world’s largest technology investors, on its US$1.16 billion acquisition of an additional 29.1 percent shareholding in Avito, the leading Russian online classifieds site.

The transaction values Avito at an implied enterprise value of US$3.85 billion. Following the acquisition Naspers stake in Avito will increase from 70.4 percent to 99.6 percent (on a fully diluted basis). The remaining shares are held by existing management.

White & Case also advised Naspers on its minority investment in Avito in 2013 and on Naspers’ subsequent US$1.2 billion investment in 2015, when Naspers became the majority owner of Avito.

Avito was established in 2007 by Filip Engelbert and Jonas Nordlander together with founding investors Vostok New Ventures and Kinnevik. It achieved revenue of US$286.5 million and EBITDA of US$127.6 million for its last full financial year to March 2018 and Avito currently has 10.3million unique visitors per day.

The White & Case team which advised on the transaction was led by partners Eric Michailov (London / Moscow) and Johan Steen (Stockholm) with support from counsel Sophie Sahlin (London) and associates Hanna Wingren (London / Stockholm) and Ksenia Tyunik (Moscow).

 

INNOVATION

Eversheds takes innovation steps

Eversheds Sutherland is pleased to announce the formation of a global innovation team dedicated to working with clients to address their most pressing priorities through creative and innovative solutions.

The Global Co-Heads of Innovation are UK-based Andrew McManus and US-based Anusia E. Gillespie. Mr. McManus brings to the role his deep experience in technology and years of experience at Eversheds Sutherland, while Ms. Gillespie offers her experience in the practice and business of law and a fresh and unique perspective from her recent work at Harvard Law School Executive Education.

Together, Mr. McManus and Ms. Gillespie will take a comprehensive, analytic and disciplined approach to innovation to better serve clients globally.

“We define innovation as focused and creative change in service to our clients,” said Eversheds Sutherland Co-CEO Mark D. Wasserman. “Our clients’ needs are ever-changing; the dedicated innovation team allows us to work together with our clients to focus on developing new ways to assist them in reaching their business goals.”

In the last year, Eversheds Sutherland has demonstrated its commitment to creating a robust innovation pipeline with the launch of Idea Drop, an internal crowdsourcing platform to curate innovative ideas; the global implementation of legal technology solutions including CaseReady, Client Portals and ESLocate; and the launch of Client Conversations, a custom app that provides key information about Eversheds Sutherland.

With their complementary backgrounds, Mr. McManus and Ms. Gillespie will lead the strategic planning for innovation and will coordinate on research and development, client partnerships, and best practices. They will engage with clients, lawyers and professionals from across the global legal practice to develop new resources and enhance existing processes, and will highlight areas for change and growth within Eversheds Sutherland.

“We have always seen innovation as central to our strategy to be a leading law firm by 2020,” said Eversheds Sutherland Co-CEO Lee Ranson, “Developing an innovation team was a natural next step to further our innovation goals. Andrew and Anusia are ideally placed to support our existing innovation projects. They will also propel the pace of our development more quickly into new areas that are ripe for change.”

Mr. McManus has been with Eversheds Sutherland for over four years. In his previous position he led the technology function as IT Director leading the development of the core platform. He is now solely focused on the technology and innovation needs of clients and in developing Eversheds Sutherland’s overall Digital Strategy and growing adoption of solutions to support lawyers and clients.

Mr. McManus said, “Our clients and our legal teams have the dual challenge of needing a stable and resilient platform on which to operate as well as needing to constantly innovate and change to keep up with the opportunities that disruptive technology provides. In order to truly adapt to the fast-growing needs of our clients, we need to ensure we are able to adopt new ways of working, whether this is based on new technologies or through the fostering of an innovative culture. We also need to provide our teams with the knowledge and the training to get the best from new ways of working themselves.”

Ms. Gillespie recently joined Eversheds Sutherland from Harvard Law School Executive Education, where she worked with industry leaders and Harvard faculty to research, design and launch business of law programs for practicing lawyers from around the world. Previously, she practiced law, founded and developed a business, and co-authored a book with Dr. Heidi K. Gardner, a Distinguished Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Center on the Legal Profession.

“Staying ahead of the curve is vital, and the firms that can figure out how to do so will rise above the rest,” said Ms. Gillespie. “While at Harvard, I had the opportunity to study the challenges facing the legal profession and identify strategies that were and were not working. Eversheds Sutherland is forward-thinking in creating these positions, and I know we will develop innovative and competitive solutions to the benefit of our clients.”

Multiple wins for A&O at Global Transport Finance Awards

Allen & Overy took home the headline award, Transportation Law Firm of the Year at the recent Global Transport Finance awards which recognises the leaders in aviation, shipping and rail finance and the most innovative and complex deals in the market.

Global Head of Structured & Asset Finance, Mario Jacovides comments: “We are very proud to be the winner of this year’s Transportation Law Firm of the Year award which recognises the market leading, complex and innovative deals that we have worked on throughout the year across the whole of the transportation sector. This accolade is a further testament to the global expertise we have in aviation, shipping and rail, which allows us to meet our clients’ needs.”

The team also picked up six individual deal awards. They included:

Aviation Portfolio Deal of the Year – advising the secured parties on a USD700m facility relating to the financing and refinancing of a portfolio of 19 aircraft for CDB Aviation;

JOLCO Financing Deal of the Year, Latin America – advising UKEF and ING on the JOLCO financing of a Boeing 787 aircraft which was the first UKEF-supported JOLCO financing to a Latin American carrier;

Cruise Ship Deal of the Year – advising SACE and a syndicate of lenders (BNP, Unicredit) on the pre- and post-delivery financing of two new Fincantieri-built LNG powered cruise ships for TUI Cruises GmbH which are the largest ships ever to have been built in Italy;

Shipping Portfolio Sale of the Year – advising Oak Hill and Värde on the acquisition and USD1bn financing of the Project Lioness portfolio of shipping loans from Deutsche Bank;

JOLCO Deal of the Year, Middle East – advising Investec Bank as junior lender and BNP Paribas and DekaBank as senior lenders on the JOLCO financing of one new Boeing 787-9 aircraft for El Al Israel Airlines which was the first JOLCO financing in Israel and for El Al Israel Airlines;

Tax Lease Deal of the Year – advising the AFIC insurer group on the French Tax Lease financing of a Boeing 787-9 and Boeing 737 aircraft for Royal Air Maroc.

For further information, please contact Susanna Robinson, susanna.robinson@allenovery.com​, on +44 (0)20 3088 3918

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Linklaters launches employment platform for tech start-ups

Linklaters has launched an innovative platform aimed at helping tech entrepreneurs turn their small business into a company with the potential to grow. TechLinks, a new online resource, will offer a select number of small and start-up technology businesses access to key employment documents and resources from one of the leading magic circle firms, providing them with vital company guidance on how to legally protect and enhance their business when building a workforce.

TechLinks offers an interactive site where tech businesses can download employment contracts and other resources which are the essential building blocks of a secure and stable company. It will also provide insights and trends on the current market and a glossary of terms to make it accessible to those without a legal background.

David Speakman, Counsel at Linklaters commented:

“We have found that start-ups and small technology businesses have a need to protect the value in their business. Key questions need to be addressed at an early stage of their development, such as what happens if their key employees (often the founders) leave before the business gets to a sale or how to properly protect the business’ unique IP. This is also important when the business seeks investment, as investors will look to see if these protections are in place. We hope that TechLinks will help companies get the basics right from the start.”

Laurie Ollivent, Practice Development Lawyer at Linklaters, has been working alongside small and start-up technology businesses at WeWork. She said:

“By working alongside small tech businesses we have gained a real understanding of the issues these businesses face during the early stages of their development. We are able to bring together this insight with our longstanding experience of working with large, multinational tech companies to provide small and start up tech businesses with the guidance they need in the early stages to enable them to build their teams the right way from the start, attract and retain talent, avoid future disputes and appeal to investors.”

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.

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Irwin Mitchell – Personal Injury TV advert

Our solicitors can help you with a personal injury claim that focuses not just on compensation, but also on helping you with rehabilitation and support. We offer the expert hand with the human touch.

Ashurst celebrates the ‘First 100 Years of Women in Law’

International law firm Ashurst marks the centenary of women in law, in support of the First 100 Years initiative, with a photomosaic portrait of Ada Evans, the first Australian woman to graduate with a Bachelor of Laws.

The First 100 Years is an inspirational history project, supported by the Law Society of NSW and Women Lawyers Association of NSW, charting the journey of women in law since enactment of enabling legislation throughout Australia in the early 1900s.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Women’s Legal Status Act 1918 (NSW) which allowed women to practise as lawyers and to stand for parliament for the first time in NSW. Laws were changing throughout Australia from the early 1900s onwards. Victoria was the first state to allow women to practice law in 1903, with other states following soon after.

Commenting on the project and the launch of the photomosaic, Ashurst partner Sarah Dulhunty said:

“We are delighted to have partnered with the First 100 Years project team on this initiative to recognise and celebrate the contribution women have made to the legal profession. The photomosaic initiative has been a great way to mark this significant centenary and reflects our continued support for progressing gender equality within the profession. Thank you to all our staff, clients and affiliates who participated in this fantastic initiative.”

White Case advises JBIC on loan for acquisition of Shire plc

Global law firm White & Case LLP has advised the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) in relation to its loan agreement with Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (Takeda), amounting up to US$3.7 billion (JBIC’s portion), to finance part of the funds required for acquiring Shire plc (Shire) in Ireland.

The total amount required for acquisition is approximately £46 billion. The loan is co-financed by private financial institutions, bringing the total co-financing amount to US$15.7 billion equivalent. The loan supports the overseas business deployment of Takeda by providing necessary long-term foreign currency funds for M&A by the Japanese company, assisting its overseas expansion of existing business, as well as new business deployment, and contributing to maintaining and strengthening the international competitiveness of Japanese industries.

Through the acquisition of Shire, Takeda aims to strengthen two focus areas – gastroenterology and neuroscience – as well as establishing a leading position in pharmaceuticals for rare diseases and plasma-derived therapies, which can accelerate transformation to a global R&D-driven pharmaceutical company headquartered in Japan. In addition, Shire has a large sales proportion in the US market, which is the largest market in the world and projected to continue to grow at a high rate. The acquisition will therefore drive further growth overseas and is expected to make Takeda one of the top ten pharmaceutical companies in the world based on sales.

The White & Case team which advised on the transaction was led by partners Toshio Dokei and Simon Collins (both Tokyo), and included partners Philip Broke and Jacqueline Evans (both London), supported by associates Keisuke Nishimura (Tokyo) and Christopher Beardmore (London).