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O’Neill & Borges Puerto Rico Overview 2021 for Chambers Global

O’Neill & Borges LLC asked to author an In-Depth Overview of Puerto Rico for 2021 featured in the prestigious Chambers Global 2021 Guide. The article provides an interesting fiscal, legal and economic outlook for Puerto Rico entering 2021.

 

O&B also authored the Chambers Puerto Rico Corporate Tax Guide (2019) for the Global Practice Guide published by Chambers & Partners.

Fasken Clients Shine at the Infrastructure Industry Awards

Toronto (Canada) – The successes of Fasken clients were highlighted at the 2020 P3 Bulletin Awards. The seventh annual awards ceremony took place virtually on March 4, 2021. The P3 Bulletin Awards recognize and reward outstanding achievements in public-private partnerships across the Americas. Winners were selected by a panel of industry experts.

The Fasken team advised on a number of client matters that received accolades, including:

  • Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority and the Gordie Howe International Bridge project – Gold, ESG Performance of the Year
  • Corner Brook Acute Care, Canada – Gold, Best Social Infrastructure Project
  • Regina Bypass, Canada – Highly Commended, Best Operational Transport Project
  • Belle Chasse Tunnel and Bridge Replacement Toll Concession, USA – Highly Commended, Best Road Project

The Gordie Howe International Bridge project has been the recipient of several other industry awards, including: IJGlobal’s Road Deal of the YearLexpert’s Canadian Deal of the YearPFI’s Transport Deal of the Year, the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships Outstanding Emerging Project Award, and CG/LA Infrastructure’s prestigious 2019 Oracle Project of the Year Award.

The Fasken Global Infrastructure and Projects Group works extensively with authorities, proponents, consortia, constructors, lenders and other private sector project participants in multiple jurisdictions at the federal, provincial, state and municipal government levels in the US and Canada. Fasken was recognized as North American Public Sector Legal Adviser of the Year (2018) for its expertise in Infrastructure and PPP Projects and is also a past recipient of the Gold Award – Top Legal PPP Advisor in North America (2015) and Silver Award – North American Legal Advisor of the Year (2019) from P3 Bulletin.

About Fasken

Fasken is a leading international law firm with more than 750 lawyers and 10 offices on four continents. Clients rely on us for practical, innovative and cost-effective legal services. We solve the most complex business and litigation challenges, providing exceptional value. For additional information, please visit the Firm’s website at fasken.com.

Labor Practices Antitrust Violations – Trends in Brazil and Worldwide

In article available on The Future of Antitrust e-book, published by IBRAC in August 2020, our partners Tatiana Lins Cruz and Patrícia Bandouk Carvalho, along with associate Natan Maximiano Munhoz, analyze labor practices as antitrust violations, a new target for antitrust investigations by Competition authorities.

The labor practices under analyzes include the so-called no-poaching agreements and wage-fixing agreements, as well as the exchange of competitively sensitive information about terms and conditions of employment.

» Clique aqui para fazer download do PDF

Squire Patton Boggs Builds Private Equity Growth in London

Squire Patton Boggs’ London Private Equity Practice has seen a significant increase in client transactional activity over the past 18 months, as the firm continues to invest heavily in its London team. The firm’s practice group has recently been recognised, for the first time, in the top 20 of legal advisors to companies by volume of deals globally in Refinitiv’s Global Private Equity Legal Advisor Review for the full year 2020.

Since the start of 2020, the UK Private Equity team, which is highly ranked for Private Equity Transactions – Mid-Market in The Legal 500 UK 2021, has acted on 106 private equity-related transactions, with a total deal value of £11 billion.

The firm has made five strategic Private Equity partner hires into its 32 lawyer-strong London Corporate team in the past 13 months: Ben Squires and Charles Leeming from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Stephen Ball from KPMG in February 2020, and Fergus Gallagher from McDermott Will & Emery and Julian Thatcher from MHMK Capital Group (and formerly Macfarlanes) in February 2021.

Recent highlights for the team include:

  • Advising Broadridge Financial Services on its acquisition of Itiviti Group, a leading provider of trading and connectivity technology to the capital markets industry, from Nordic Capital.
  • Advising the shareholders of Qmee Ltd, a data-driven rewards and loyalty company, on a majority stake investment in the company by Capital D.
  • Advising the management team of Ascential plc’s political intelligence, research and stakeholder engagement business, DeHavilland, on its MBO with Bridgepoint.
  • Advising ECI on its acquisition of CSL (Dualcom), the international critical communications service provider.
  • Advising Inflexion on its acquisition of Sparta Global, the technology and training services provider.
  • Advising Lloyd’s Register in connection with the carve-out and sale of its energy services business to Inspirit Capital.
  • Advising US corporate and PE-backed (Oak Hill Capital Partners), Safe Fleet, on its acquisition of Durite, the UK’s leading brand for electrical, lighting and vehicle safety aftermarket products for commercial vehicles.
  • Acting for the incoming management team of the Addison Lee Group, the private car hire operator, in connection with its acquisition by a consortium of investors.
  • Acting for the management team of a KKR-controlled portfolio company on its management equity plan.
  • Acting for a UK real estate-focused investor and investment manager on its logistics joint venture with a US-headquartered global institutional alternative asset management firm.
  • Advising the management team of LDC-backed ADEY Innovation, a manufacturer and supplier of products and services that improve the effectiveness of heating, cooling and water treatment systems, on the sale of the company to Polypipe Group plc.
  • Advising the shareholders of Helios Medical Communications, a global healthcare communications and strategic consultancy, on the investment by NorthEdge.
  • Advising Baird Capital and the management of Prescient Healthcare Group, a global pharma services firm specialising in dynamic decision support and product and portfolio strategy, on the investment in the group by Bridgepoint Development Capital.
  • Acting for Endless LLP on its acquisition of Amscan International, the world’s largest designer, manufacturer and distributor of wholesale party products and supplies, from Party City.
  • Advising Tenzing on its acquisition of Motion Picture Licensing Group, the world’s leading global public exhibitions umbrella licence provider.
  • Advising shareholders and management on the buyout backed by MML of Roboyo, the leading robotic process automation consultant and software provider.
  • Advising MML Capital on its investment in Waystone (formerly DMS Governance), a specialist service provider to the asset management industry, and several subsequent platform acquisitions by Waystone.
  • Advising the senior management team of ERS Insurance, the UK’s largest specialist motor insurer, on the terms of PE investment led by Aquiline and Abry.

“We are keenly focused on our London Private Equity Practice,” commented European managing partner, Jonathan Jones. “We are very pleased with how the team has developed over the past year or so, with our lateral partner hires bringing with them a wealth of experience in advising many of the most sophisticated private equity sponsors on a wide-range of high-profile transactions. They have been a perfect fit for the practice and further bolster the firm’s existing top-notch global private equity M&A capabilities, adding further depth to our highly-talented bench of lawyers in London.”

“Our London Private Equity Practice continues to go from strength-to-strength,” added Paul Mann, leader of the UK Private Equity Team. “We had an extremely busy 2H 2020, which has continued into Q1 2021, with sponsors increasingly looking at healthcare, life sciences and tech-focused investments; the deal pipeline continues to look strong in these and other sectors as our private equity clients seek to deploy their capital. Our private equity lawyers have strong sector experience which, combined with the firm’s global, multi-service platform, means that we are ideally placed to provide best-in-class advice to private equity sponsors and financial institutions on complex deals in the UK, continental Europe and globally.”

CMS European M&A Study 2021

Europe has returned to a ‘buyer-friendly’ environment, after the COVID-19 pandemic created more risk-averse attitudes. As a result, CMS’ latest annual M&A study identified significant increase in liability caps, longer limitation periods and fewer locked box deals.

The multi-year analysis of the key legal provisions within M&A agreements is the most comprehensive of its kind and is based on a proprietary database comprising more than 5,000 deals.

The study reveals that the primary deal driver for transactions continues to be buyers entering a new market (45%), a marginal decrease on 2019 (46%). Almost a third (31%) of all deals were either the acquisition of know-how or acqui-hire transactions, whilst 22% of deals were the acquisition of a competitor.

Louise Wallace, Head of the CMS Corporate/M&A Group, said:

It comes as no surprise that the first half of last year was difficult for dealmakers, with more delays and renegotiation of terms. But it was perhaps not as gloomy as many feared – we saw a strong recovery towards the end of 2020 and many corporates have confidently adapted their processes to the continued uncertainty and early shoots of ‘new normal’. The strength of equity capital markets and the resilience of private equity, with trillions of dry powder, indicates there should be an increase in transaction volumes – all of which makes us hopeful about the future of deal activity in Europe.
Louise Wallace

Stefan Brunnschweiler, Head of the CMS Corporate/M&A Group, said:

Deal volumes aside, the dynamics of deal terms playing out should be watched closely. Up until 2020, Europe has been regarded as favouring the seller. This year, we are seeing far more ‘buyer-friendly’ positions – a similar risk allocation to across the pond in the US.
Stefan Brunnschweiler

Signals of more ‘buyer-friendly’ trends include:

  • Longer limitation periods – there was an increase in limitation periods of 24 months or more (23% of deals – up 4% from 2019)
  • Increase in liability caps – the level of liability caps applying to transactions increased significantly in 2020. There were fewer deals where the cap was less than 50% of the purchase price – down to 49% from highs of 60% in 2017 – and we saw more deals where the liability cap was equal to the purchase price
  • Use of locked box transactions – slight decrease in non-PPA deals (51% in 2020 vs 56% in 2019, although the overall upward trend remains
  • De minimis and basket provisions are the market norm – applying in majority of transactions (74% and 68% respectively vs 73% and 66% in 2019)

Other key findings include:

  • Steady use of Warranty & Indemnity (W&I) insurance – popularity of W&I insurance dropped off in 2020 by 2% (down to 17%), though it was still used in almost half of transactions over EUR 100m
  • Gradual decline of purchase price adjustments (PPAs) – a small decrease in the use of PPAs in M&A agreements (44% compared with 45% for 2019), suggesting parties are seeking more certainty as to the amount of the purchase price when signing transaction documentation
  • Earn-outs remain consistent – Despite the anticipaton of more earn-outs due to COVID-19, there was little change albeit at 21% of deals. This is above the average level of the last decade, though still less popular than use in the US

Regional differences

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a shift in favour of the buyer in Europe, similar to the US where more ‘buyer-friendly’ positions are common. However, market practice in Europe relating to PPA has remained consistent in the 44-45% range for the past three years. This is a noticeable difference to the US where a PPA features in almost all deals (95%).

The analysis also revealed marked differences in market practice between the European regions:

  • The UK used PPAs in 54% of transactions, well ahead of France (36%) and Benelux countries (34%).
  • CEE and the Southern European countries have significantly higher liability caps (67% and 76% of transactions respectively had a liability cap of more than 50% of the purchase price), compared to the European average of 43%.
  • The take up of W&I insurance cover remains low in France, Benelux, and the Southern European countries – ranging from 5% to 20% – and has dropped off significantly in the UK (from 37% in 2019 to 27% in 2020).
  • Locked boxes dropped off significantly in the UK (30% vs 61% in 2019) but not in other European countries.
  • There was a large increase in the use of earn-outs in CEE with 20% of transactions compared to 8% in 2019 – more in line with the European average of 21%.
  • Limitation periods for warranty claims are much longer in CEE, France and the Southern European countries.
  • Arbitration was used as the dispute resolution mechanism in a third (32%) of deals. It was less popular in certain regions (UK, France and Benelux) than others (CEE, German-speaking and Southern European countries).

Download the report here: cms.law/int/publication/cms-european-m-a-study

Koen De Puydt

News Article by Leaders in Law Member – Koen De Puydt

Professional Liability of Intellectual professions in the Construction Sector 

Following the ten-year liability insurance for real estate projects for architects, engineering firms and contractors, which was made mandatory by the “Peeters-Borsus Law” since 1 July 2018, another insurance obligation has been introduced within the construction sector by the “Peeters-Ducarme Law” effective 1 July 2019. 

The title of this law is self-explanatory. It introduces “a professional liability insurance for architects, surveyor experts, safety and health coordinators and other service providers in the construction sector relating to construction works and amends various legal provisions regarding civil liability insurance in the construction sector”, as mentioned earlier also called the Peeters-Ducarme Law. 

peeters-law_buildings_2.jpg

This title shows that this law has in principle a larger scope than the Peeters-Borsus Law. Where the latter applies primarily to contractors and architects in the context of housing projects and for works that require the intervention of an architect, the Peeters-Ducarme Law introduces a professional liability insurance for all intellectual professions within the construction sector, with regard to all construction work. 

Consequently, the Peeters-Ducarme Law does not apply to contractors, but it applies to all kind of real estate work (and therefore not only with regard to housing projects). Thus, as a result of the execution of all real estate works, the principal will enjoy this protection regardless of the final destination of the property or the possible intervention of an architect. 

Compulsory insurance coverage cannot be lower, per claim, than:

  • € 1,500,000 for damage resulting from physical injuries;
  • € 500,000 for the total material and immaterial damage;
  • € 10,000 for the objects entrusted to the insured by the principal.

The law also provides for a posterior coverage on the basis of which the liability for claims must be covered if the claim is filed within three years after the cessation of the activities of the insured service provider . 

Although it could be expected that the Peeters-Ducarme Law has a larger scope than the Peeters-Borsus Law, we must conclude that it is largely eroded by the exceptions that are provided for in respect of the damage that the insurance must cover. 

For example, Article 5 of the Peeters-Ducarme Law states that damages are not covered if it is the consequence of a failure to comply with one or more contractual obligations or if damages resulting from environmental degradation, claims relating to an inadequate budget, or disputes in relation to fees and expenses.

These exceptions erode the potentially extensive coverage provided by the Peeters-Ducarme Law significantly and therefore the latter offers less protection than might be expected at first sight. 

The Peeters-Ducarme law has been published yesterday (26 June 2019) in the Belgian Official Gazette and will enter into force on 1 July 2019. 

Peeters Law (to be soon Seeds of Law) will be happy to provide you with the necessary advice or assistance in this matter. Please contact us via info@seeds.law or by telephone on +32 (0)2 747 40 07.

Koen De Puydt – Toon Delie

Real Estate and Construction Law    Professional Liability     Professional Liability insurance     Intellectual professions     construction sector     architect surveyor expert    safety and health coordinator

What’s A Lawyer Now? Law’s Shift From Practice To Skill

During a recent visit to the National University of Singapore Law School (NUS), I asked a first-year student what being a lawyer meant to him. His response was thoughtful and prescient: “I regard law as a skill. I plan to leverage my legal training and meld it with my passion for business, technology, and policy. For me, law is not about practice.” Out of the mouths of babes!

Why The Practice/Skill Distinction Matters

The distinction between practicing law and engaging in the delivery of legal services—the business of law–is critically important to a wide range of existing and prospective legal industry stakeholders. That list includes: those contemplating a legal career (not necessarily licensure); law students; the legal Academy; allied professional programs (e.g. business, engineering, computer science); practicing lawyers; legal providers; legal consumers; and the broader society.

Why does this distinction matter? Because law—like so many industries—is undergoing a tectonic shift. It is morphing from a lawyer dominated, practice-centric, labor-intensive guild to a tech-enabled, process and data-driven, multi-disciplinary global industry. The career paths, skills, and expectations of lawyers are changing. So too are how, when, and on what financial terms they are engaged; with whom and from what delivery models they work; their performance metrics, and the resources—human and machine—they collaborate with.  Legal practice is shrinking and the business of delivering legal services is expanding rapidly.

Law is no longer the exclusive province of lawyers. Legal knowledge is not the sole element of legal delivery—business and technological competencies are equally important. It’s a new ballgame—one that most lawyers are unprepared for. Law schools continue to focus on doctrinal law even as traditional practice positions are harder to come by—especially for newly-minted grads.

Law firms have yet to materially change  hiring criteria or to accord equal status and compensation to allied legal professionals. Several large firms have recently announced the launch of ancillary business of law offerings. That requires different workforces, processes, technology platforms, reward systems, organizational structures, capital and capabilities from traditional law firms. It also requires client-centricity and an alignment with business that is generally lacking among law firms.  Translation: it’s easier announced than delivered, especially when the law companies are led by law firm partners whose careers have been forged in different structural and economic models.

Lawyers in the early and middle-stages of their careers are caught in the shifting currents of law’s transformation. Legal knowledge is becoming a skill to be leveraged with new competencies. It is no longer, by itself, sufficient to forge a successful legal career. Most mid-career lawyers  tend to be resistant to change even as the necessity to do so becomes more acute by the day. Older lawyers are riding out the change storm and banking they will make it until retirement.

How did we get here and are legal careers  for most a dead end? Spoiler alert: there’s tremendous opportunity in the legal industry. The caveat: all lawyers must have basic business and technological competency whether they pursue practice careers or leverage their legal knowledge as a skill in legal delivery and/or allied professional careers.

Legal Practice: Back To Basics

What is legal practice? It is rendering service to clients competently,  zealously and within legal and ethical boundaries. Lawyers make this compact not only with clients that retain them but also with society for whom they serve as the ultimate defenders of the rule of law. There are three main elements of practice; legal expertise, judgment, and persuasion. Practicing attorneys are in the persuasion business whether they engage in trials or transactions. Persuasion has several elements: emotional intelligence, credibility, command of the legal craft, and earning trust—of  the client, opposing counsel, and the trier of fact in contested matters.

Legal practice was the presumptive career path of most lawyers for generations.  As law firms grew—especially from the 1970’s-the global financial crisis of 2007–fewer lawyers had direct client interaction. Client skills eroded, and the legal zeitgeist turned inward. The attorney’s supervisor(s) became the client proxy. Most lawyers were unaware of the clients’ objectives, risk tolerance, and business challenges. Legal practice, especially for younger lawyers, often involved tedious, repetitious, high-volume/low-value work. Many lawyers became bored, disillusioned, and unaware of what legal practice means from the client perspective.

Generations of lawyers—especially those in large law firms—were high-priced, well-paid cogs in the law firm wheel. Their principal mission was to satisfy billing and realization goals in pursuit of the partnership gold ring. It was not for them to question the materiality of their work or to assess its value relative to cost or outcome. High salaries created a false positive measure of their client value. They were far removed from the client and worked on discrete slivers of matters. This was their “practice.” The firm—not the client—was the entity to serve and to satisfy. Firms focused on profit-per-partner (PPP), not net-promoter score (NPS).

Legal practice for many lawyers has been diluted. That’s not an indictment of attorneys or a slight to their intelligence, diligence, and ability to make better use of their licenses. Susan Hackett and Karl Chapman describe this underutilization as working “at the bottom of the license.” Too many lawyers are doing just that, and that’s one reason why legal buyers are migrating work once performed by law firms to new provider sources. Optimization of value—deploying the right resource to the appropriate task—is a foundational element of business in the digital age. The legal industry is lagging.

Clients continue to pay a premium for those lawyers—and a handful of firms– with differentiated practice skills. This is a narrow band of practitioners that work “at the top of their license” on the highest-value client matters. Legal buyers are increasingly balking at paying such a premium to others. The universe of high-value, “bet the company” work is a small fraction of legal work. This diverges from law’s go-go decades when lawyers and firms perpetuated the myth that all work they performed was “bespoke.”

Regulators in the UK and a handful of other jurisdictions have opened the door to other professionals (“non-lawyers” in legal parlance) handling many tasks once performed exclusively by lawyers. The Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) has  winnowed down the list of “regulated activities” –those requiring licensed attorneys– from a far broader range of lawyer/law firm activities. In the U.S., corporate clients are narrowing that list on their own. The myth of legal exceptionalism has been debunked.

The Business of Law Is a Response to Practice Inflation and The Need For New Skills

Corporate clients, not lawyers, now determine what’s “legal” and when licensed attorneys are required (it’s a different but changing story in the retail legal segment). That’s why legal practice is compressing and the business of delivering legal services—the business of law—is expanding. It’s also why so much capital is being pumped into “alternative legal service providers” and why their market share is increasingly briskly. The 2019 Georgetown/Thomson Reuters Report on the State of the Legal Market (The Georgetown Report) chronicles the migration of work from firms and highlights several of its causes. The Report calls for “rebuilding the law firm model.”  Law firms continue to be practice-centric and inward-focused (to maximize PPP) in a marketplace that is becoming customer-centric, digital, data-based, tech-enabled, diverse, agile, multidisciplinary, and cost-effective.

Where does this leave lawyers? We are, paradoxically, returning to what it meant to be a lawyer before the ranks of the profession swelled and law firms became highly profitable, undifferentiated big box stores. Practice is once again becoming the province of those lawyers best equipped to engage in it. For the larger universe of the profession, their careers will take a different turn. Most practice careers will morph into delivering legal services—the business of law– and/or to allied professions and businesses. For most lawyers, legal expertise will become a skill, not a practice.

The new legal career paths—and there are many– require new skillsets, mindsets, and a focus on serving clients/customers. Upskilling the legal profession is already a key issue, a requisite for career success. Lawyers must learn new skills like project management, data analytics, deployment of technology, and process design to leverage their legal knowledge. Simply knowing the law will not cut it anymore. The good news is that many lawyers will be liberated from the drudgery of faux practice careers. Armed with new skills, they will be have a plethora of career paths.

Practice in the Age of End-to-End Solutions

The distinction clients draw between high-value legal expertise and everything else in their portfolios explains the marked divide between approximately twenty elite firms and the pack. This small cadre of firms handle a disproportionate percentage of premium “bet-the-company” work and are paid commensurately. It also explains the ascendency of the alternative legal service providers that now handle more and increasingly complex work once sourced solely to law firms. These providers are not yet vying for premium legal work, but they are in the hunt for everything else. They hold a distinct edge over law firms because of their customer-centricity, alignment with business, DNA,  structural organization, economic model, technology platforms, capital, multidisciplinary, agile, diverse workforces, delivery capability, scalability, and cost-predictability and efficiency.

Companies like the Big Four, UnitedLex, Axiom, and Burford Capital  are already home to thousands of attorneys– as well as engineers, data analysts, consultants, technologists, and other allied legal professionals. Their attorney headcount will increase  in the coming years due to client demand and heightening pressure on the non-elite partnership model law firms. For most attorneys that work in these companies, law will be a is skill, not practice. That’s why legal knowledge must be augmented by other competencies to enable lawyers to make the transition from firms. There is also a cultural component to the transformation: success is measured by results and client satisfaction, not by hours billed.

Conclusion

The new legal career is about melding legal knowledge with other competencies to better serve clients and to solve problems. Whether that’s termed practice or delivery, the client is once again the focus. Law is returning to its service roots and that’s a good thing.

What does this mean  to those contemplating becoming a lawyer?  The decision to attend three years of law school, incur six-figure debt (it’s different outside the U.S.), and secure licensure is a personal one that involves many variables. Other paths to a meaningful legal career exist and more will be available in the near future.

London-based law firm Herbert Smith Freehills in China tie-up

London practice is sixth international group to be licensed in Shanghai initiative

London-based law firm Herbert Smith Freehills will affiliate its Chinese business with a local company in a new test for integrating foreign legal services with domestic law practice in China. The tie-up comes after nearly a decade of experimentation by foreign groups seeking to boost their presence in China by partnering local companies. Several affiliations, such as that of China’s King & Wood and Australia’s Mallesons, or global firm Dentons and China’s Dacheng, have formed some of the world’s largest practices but have yielded mixed results. Chinese regulation does not allow full integration of foreign and domestic legal teams. Foreigners are barred from practising Chinese law, as are Chinese nationals who work for foreign law firms.  Instead, some foreign companies, such as King & Wood Mallesons, have established so-called Swiss verein structures, where firms combine under a single brand but maintain separate finances. Others, such as HSF and Ashurst, have received formal licences to set up joint operations under a pilot programme in Shanghai. HSF will become the sixth global law firm to gain approval from Shanghai’s Bureau of Justice to integrate with a Chinese practice, allowing it and its Chinese partner, Kewei, to rebrand the China business as Herbert Smith Freehills Kewei.

The two firms will be able to work closely on individual deals and share the fees from such projects. HSF said the integration with Kewei would focus on cross-border mergers and acquisitions, banking and finance and financial services regulation. Kewei, which has 20 partners and lawyers, was launched in 1995 in Shanghai. HSF, which posted profits of £306m for the year ending in April, has more than 300 lawyers in the region. “When clients come to see us, we [HSF and Kewei] are now under one umbrella and we are both responsible for them,” said May Tai, HSF’s Greater China managing partner, noting that both firms’ reputations will now be formally linked. Such joint operations are still in a pilot phase and do not have full recognition as legal entities. HSF follows firms such as Baker McKenzie, Linklaters and Hogan Lovells to link up with Chinese practices under the Shanghai initiative. King & Wood and Mallesons in 2011 became the first test in which a Chinese firm merged with a large western one. In 2015, Dentons merged with Dacheng, one of China’s biggest practices, to form what was then the largest global law firm by attorney headcount.

Firms are fighting for a share of China’s cross-border legal work, which has grown rapidly over the past decade as Chinese companies invest more overseas. But integration has had a mixed record as global groups, often drawing on more than a century of history, mix with Chinese practices with just a few decades of experience, according to several lawyers with experience in such tie-ups. People close to the partnerships said that integration in overlapping jurisdictions often led to clashes, with firms continuing to compete internally despite attempts to integrate practice. “In some cases, the foreign firm ends up attracting lots of business for the Chinese firm but not the other way around,” said one Beijing-based lawyer familiar with the partnerships.

London City

Another $10m scalp for Kirkland as Freshfields star Maguire quits

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s Adrian Maguire is understood to be joining his former boss David Higgins at Kirkland & Ellis, over a year after the US firm made a concerted push to expand its corporate credentials in the City.