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Latham & Watkins

Clifford Chance loses Korea head

Kim Hyun-suk, the head of Clifford Chance’s Korea office, will soon leave the firm, marking the latest in a series of exits from the UK firm’s Seoul operation. The Korea practice will now be led by Hong Kong-based partner Richard Lee and Seoul-based counsel Bong-Sang Cho, Clifford Chance confirmed to ALB. Kim has been based in Seoul since Clifford Chance established an office there in 2012, becoming one of the first international firms to do so.  He began his relationship with the firm in 2009 while based in Hong Kong, where he progressed to partner.

Since last year, Clifford Chance has lost four lawyers who focus on the Korea market, including Kwangwoo Kim, a former associate who is now an executive director at Goldman Sachs, and Angela Ryu who was based in Hong Kong, but is now with Allen & Overy in the UK. The firm, which assists international corporations, banks and financial institutions, and regulatory bodies in Korea, now has three counsels based in Seoul, according to its website. There has been a fair amount of movement with Seoul’s legal market recently.

Last year, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett closed its Seoul office, while US firms Shearman & Sterling and Arnold & Porter have also reportedly gained licenses to establish Korea offices this year. Korea opened up its legal market in 2012, following free trade agreements with the US and the European Union – agreements which are now under scrutiny as the possibility of no-deal Brexit approaches.  There are currently five UK-headquartered firms operating in Korea.

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).

 

Manila – A City Guide for Lawyers and Legal Professionals

Known as the “pearl of the orient” during Spanish rule, the City of Manila withstood many natural disasters, colonial occupations and war, is now a thriving metropolis.

While it may still be a stopover for most tourists before heading to the islands, Manila has become a destination of choice for expats. It is a center of economic growth with a steady and increasing influx of foreign investment.

It is also a densely populated city of contrasts. This huge city can be chaotic and confusing for first time visitors. Here is a quick guide to help lawyers and legal professionals effectively navigate Manila during their visits.

Getting Around Manila

Getting around Manila is easy. You have the option to rent a car, hire a taxi or take a bus, jeepney, LRT or MRT.  However, for a visitor who’s not acquainted with the city, a taxi is the most convenient way of getting around.

You can also book a cab through the Grab app. Grab booths are available at the airport as well. So if you don’t have access to Wifi or internet on arrival at the airport, you still can easily book a ride with Grab.

UBE Express Bus is another convenient way of getting to the hotel from the airport. It’s an air-conditioned bus service with designated stops along several routes. You can either buy tickets at the airport kiosks or through the UBE Express booking website.

Tip:

Rent a Pocket Wifi Device: You can rent a pocket wifi device for uninterrupted wifi access from Konbini Rentals or  GoLocal. They either deliver the wifi device to your hotel a day before you arrive or offer pickup and drop off at the airport.

Hotels, Restaurants, Shopping, and Entertainment

The City of Makati, which is the country’s financial as well as cultural and entertainment hub, is one of the best areas to stay in Manila. You’ll find here a wide range of accommodations to suit all budgets.

It also offers easy access to shopping malls and markets and plenty of restaurants — all at walking distance or within a short drive.

If you are going to have a short stay, here’s a quick list of places you may want to check out.

  • Intramuros
  • Fort Santiago
  • Casa Manila
  • Poblacion, Makati
  • Juan Luna’s Spoliarium at the National Museum
  • Manila Ocean Park
  • Greenhills Shopping Center

Philippines Legal Resources

Integrated Bar of the Philippines:  IBP is the official organization of lawyers in the Philippines. It was established as an official organization for the legal profession by Republic Act No. 6397. The law confirmed the constitutional power of the Philippine Supreme Court to adopt rules for the integration of the Philippine Bar. Consequently, Presidential Decree 181 constituted the IBP into a corporate body in 1973.

You can find regional & comparative resources, case law & legislation, books & Journals and more legal resources on the Southeast Asian Legal Research Guide.

Top Law Firms in the Philippines

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

  • Martinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano
  • PunoLaw
  • Fernando Lagman and Avenida Law
  • Agcaoili & Associates
  • Castillo Laman Tan Pantaleon & San Jose Law Firm

Legal Events in the Philippines

Asia Law Portal promotes legal events in the Asia-Pacific Region on our blog and widely followed social media channels. For more information please contact us.

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

Leader’s in Laws “Find a Lawyer”

Clients can find lawyers in the Philippines via Leaders in Law’s “Find a Lawyer” section, which contains listings of law firms practicing in the Asia-Pacific region, including the Philippines.

Controversial new antitrust law enacted in South Africa

President Cyril Ramaphosa will today sign into law the Competition Amendment Bill, which will strengthen regulations against anti-competitive behaviour in industrial markets.
The bill, which was approved by the National Assembly in October 2018 and endorsed by the National Council of Provinces in December 2018, is a step in the right direction for SMEs, economic inclusion and it opens up the economy to fresh investment and innovation.

It also provides a clear mandate to the competition authorities to address economic concentration in a balanced manner and to promote economic transformation, the Presidency said on Monday.

“The bill provides greater clarity to firms and investors on prohibited practices and what constitutes abuse of dominance.

“Another expected benefit is improved administrative efficiencies in the work of the competition authorities and facilitative powers to the executive,” the Presidency explained.

Additionally, the amended legislation seeks to combat concentration and economic exclusion as core challenges that contribute to slower and less dynamic growth, lower employment and greater inequalities, as well as socio-political conflict.

The Presidency said this will enable a more effective approach to concentration, with a focus on improving outcomes for small and black-owned business, and strengthen the institutions involved in managing competition policy and law.

“These changes are in the long-term interest of both business and organised labour and benefit small to medium-sized companies through a pro-growth, transformation model that can help lift investment and advance economic inclusion,” the Presidency said.

The signing ceremony will take place this afternoon at the Tuynhuys Chambers in Parliament. Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel, who campaigned fiercely for the bill’s codification, will join the ceremony along with a group of stakeholders.

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

handshake deal

U.S. legal/tech provider Elevate acquires NewLaw firm Cognatio in HK

Elevate, a U.S.-headquartered provider of legal and technology services has acquired Cognatio Law, a Hong Kong-based contract-lawyer firm.

Cognatio Law was founded in February last year by Lesley Hobbs, previously the head of client solutions in Hong Kong for Lawyers on Demand together with Tim Fawcett, formerly the interim COO of boutique family law firm CRB. Elevate provides consulting, technology, tech-enabled managed services and flexible lawyering support to the legal sector. ‘

It recently also acquired legal AI technology consultancy LexPredict, contract lifecycle management provider Sumati Group, UK NewLaw legal resourcing firm Halebury, and Yerra Solutions, company providing consulting, technology and managed services.

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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.”

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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.

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.