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Private Equity Roundtable

Private Equity Roundtable group shot

The Legal 500 and Debevoise & Plimpton LLP held a roundtable discussion in London with various figures from the private equity industry. The discussion centred on regulatory issues affecting the industry globally, including the SEC's examination process, the JOBS Act, the effect of the Alternative Investment Fund Management Directive on marketing across Europe, and asset stripping.

The full transcript is available HERE. If you have any comments on the topics discussed, please email alexander.boyes@legal500.com

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The Legal 500 United Kingdom Awards 2013
Now available: The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2014 in print and ebook formats (for iPad, iPhone and Kindle)

The full in-depth, comprehensive analysis of law firms across the Asia Pacific is available to view here - no registration or fee is required. The research can also be downloaded as a region-specific .epub or .mobi-formatted eBooks – ideal for use on Kindle, iPad, iPhone and Android/Blackberry readers.

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The Legal 500 Asia Pacific
Australia

AUSTRALIA

The continued volatility of the global financial climate and the changing dynamics of the mining and resources sector, as well as the continuing decline in the commodities prices, has had an impact on the Australian market. The latter is particularly significant for the country’s energy and resources driven economy.

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The Legal 500 Asia Pacific
China

CHINA

The past year saw a general reduction in China-related M&A activity, with the weak global economy, the sovereign debt crisis in Europe and China’s leadership change all being contributing factors. The private equity sector in Greater China has also struggled in recent times, and the continued uncertainty in the global economy and shifting investment strategies have led to an increase in divestments by multinational companies and other foreign investors.

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The Legal 500 Asia Pacific
Hong Kong

HONG KONG

After several years of fluidity, Hong Kong’s legal market remained fairly stable in 2012 and 2013. The preceding years involved a series of lateral partner moves, with Hong Kong qualified partners departing Magic Circle firms for US competitors. This was largely in the corporate and corporate finance sector, as US firms sought to exploit the buoyancy in the Hong Kong capital markets and an expectation that M&A, including People’s Republic of China (PRC) outbound acquisitions, would grow. However, since 2011, Hong Kong’s capital markets have been far from lively, particularly on the equity side. Even so, US firms such as Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP are clearly developing a greater market share and are eating into the traditional hegemony of Magic Circle practices such as Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters.

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The Legal 500 Asia Pacific
Singapore

SINGAPORE

Singapore continues to develop as a regional hub for international law firms conducting business in Southeast Asia and beyond. A further four international firms were granted Qualified Foreign Law Practice (QFLP) licences over the last 12 months: Jones Day, Linklaters Singapore Pte. Ltd, Sidley Austin LLP, and Gibson Dunn. The licence, now held by ten firms, allows foreign law firms to practise in Singaporean commercial law.

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The Legal 500 Asia Pacific
south-korea

SOUTH KOREA

South Korea’s domestic market remains sluggish, with lawyers reporting slim pickings on the M&A and capital markets fronts. In contrast, firms report an uptick in outbound transactions, and a marked increase in shipping finance. Also, more corporate private auctions are taking place as holding companies seek to sell off subsidiaries.

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The Legal 500 is at the ACC Conference this week.
Please see the feed below for regular updates.

ACC: Privacy panel

The irresistably titled 'data breaches that don't make the headlines' is about to begin. The panel includes ACE Group's executive VP and GC Christopher Kearns; Provide Commerce's SVP and GC Blake Bilstad; Facebook's former chief privacy officer Chris Kelly and Morrison & Foerster partner Andrew Serwin.

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ACC discussion: Inventory

In the final session of the day, the panel attempt to steer us through the minefield that is data control. Some interesting points being raised on privacy, which, for many businesses is a major concern that is second only to litigation. A show of hands suggests a majority use Dropbox at work. But do their companies actually allow it? It's pointed out that using these outside data programmes allows employees to get around in-house legal policy. Can your legal department realistically implement such a policy successfully?

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ACC discussion: we're not just legal, we mean business

Here are 8 tips for outside counsel from the panel:

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ACC round up: day 2

As the ACC conference in Los Angeles draws to a close the issue being singled out as one of the most valuable topics of discussion and one arising in a number of panel sessions over the past three days is the risk posed to companies by 'bring your own technology.' Steven Kroll, Vice President, general counsel (GC) and company secretary of Cancer Treatment Centers of America says 'we have a ton of employees with their own devices' and the panels have looked at how to reduce the risk posed now that smart devices have blurred the lines between work and home. Many GCs have come to the conference looking for solutions to this problem and James Brashear, Vice President, GC and company secretary of email data security company zixcorp says: 'Employees are constantly using their own devices and accessing company data, which may include the personal information of clients or patients and the loss of that device presents a risk. 'Everyone here is focussed on how too catch up with the technology.' On Monday (28 October), a cyber risk panel comprised of Risk Management Solutions' senior vice president and GC Eric Drattell, Stroz Friedberg's managing director David Garrett and Warner Bros Entertainment's senior counsel compliance and litigation Mark Krause looked at these issues and the additional risk posed if the employee's device is hacked, giving a hacker access to company information. The panel pointed out that simply blocking the use of outside devices is no longer viable if you are trying to attract young staff for whom the use of social media is second nature. While hard and fast solutions are hard to come by, the panel pointed out that in addition to the software available to tackle some of the risks, regular meetings and training of staff is a priority. Staff need to be aware of the risks and it may be sensible in some cases to try to limit the number of devices they use. However, Brashear adds: 'What the panel didn't look at is how the lawyers should support the insurance department in how to manage cyber risk.'

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ACC panel discussion: we're not just legal, we mean business

It's Wednesday morning at 9am, and the final day of the conference. Despite the numerous late night parties that took place last night, there's an impressive turnout for this session. The panel is being chaired by Sidley Austin's David Carpenter, and the speakers include Kirkland Hicks of Towers Watson, who features on the recently launched Corporate Counsel 100 list. Julie Jacobs of AOL, Dawn Crumel of Meritus Medical Center, and Robert Falk from the Human Rights Campaign complete the lineup. The topic of blending legal and business is sure to be of interest to the majority of in-housers, so stay tuned here for updates on the discussion.

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ACC discussion: are you ready for competitive collaboration

How many law firms would embrace the opportunity to work in tandem with their competitors when instructed to do so by their clients? It may not sound like an ideal scenario, but since the idea of convergence has proven so popular, is fighting against the grain going to prove counter-productive? The folks at Seyfarth Shaw certainly seem to think so. The firm has become somewhat synonymous with innovation, so it is not a surprise that it would be one of the first to embrace this thoroughly modern strategy of 'competitive collaboration,' and it sees no reason not to work with other firms, if that is what clients want. According to partner Lisa Damon, "for the traditional law firm, this idea is a nightmare, catastrophic even. But we couldn't be happier with it. When you focus on your clients and not on yourself, you get more opportunity to do things." Damon believes it is one of the many ways in which the legal world is changing, so rather than fight it, she wants to '"ring the bell, and make people see it as a viable idea."

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ACC discussion: a quick note on convergence

A quick show of hands at today's session revealed many in-house lawyers were not familiar with the concept of convergence.

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ACC discussion - is compensation linked to budgets?

There's often a perception that in-house counsel are incentivised to keep to budget through their bonus arrangements. So, the results of a survey at today's ACC session on litigation may come as a surprise to some.

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ACC: Strategic management for law depts

Michael Caplan COO of Marsh & McLennan opens the after lunch session on strategic management for law departments. He says managing the department is as important as anticipating changes in laws and regulation and the company has invested heavily in technology to ensure the legal team know exactly who is working on what and where. As a matter of policy he goes into strategy meetings with the following information about competitors and is clearly a huge advocate of benchmarking: Total number of attorneys; Total reported revenue; Number of attorneys per $1bn revenue; Total legal spend as a % of revenue; Internal v external spend; Percentage of attrorneys outside of the US;

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ACC: Doing business in Brazil

Interested in doing business in Brazil?

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Cyber risks panel (5)

Clearly one of the lawyers attending the session works for a government contractor and their employee has been sending information to Wikileaks. His somewhat niche question is, what do we do about it? Unsurprisingly, the panel have no suggestions for reversing what's been done. There certainly is a litigation case against the employee but once that information is 'out in the wild' it's gone.

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Cyber risks panel (4)

Another good question. If you have an incident what might your response plan and team look like?

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Cyber risks panel (3)

The questions are flowing, one audience member has concern over third party apps that employees may be using and collect company data that the company is unaware of.

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Cyber risks panel (2)

In the space of 20 years we have moved from annoying spam attacks through to viruses that were manageable, and then worsening with the advent of the hactivist and state sponsored hacking.

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Cyber risks panel

The global cyber risks session's panel comprises Risk Management Solutions' SVP and GC Eric Drattell; Stroz Friedberg's MD David Garrett; and Warner Bros Entertainment's senior counsel compliance and litigation Mark Krause.

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ACC discussion: cross-border M&A

It is no secret that cross-border M&A is on the rise. At an interactive ACC panel discussion yesterday, McDermott, Will & Emery's Byron Kalogerou was among the speakers handing out some tips on how to manage the process smoothly.

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ACC blog

A lively evening at the ACC generated some interested discussions on yesterday's sessions and what is surprising is the amount of creativity already seen in using alternative fee arrangements. As a result, the wider reaction to yesterday's panel session on AFAs erred towards 'we knew that already'.

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ACC discussion: 13 steps to successful law department management

This afternoon's panel discussion on law department management was a popular one; every seat was full, many more were sat on the floor, more still were tuning in via a webinar. Here are some of our top picks from the discussion:

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Environment and fracking panel

A promising disclaimer at the start of the session on fracking and the environment, the views expressed are those of the individuals not their companies.

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Protecting privilege panel (5)

Great question - 'this session was about when the government comes knocking, not if they send you a letter or politely request documents. What do you do if there's a raid?'

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Protecting privilege panel (4)

'The real reason behind the attorney-client privilege is to be a stabilising force not to create mischief. The government misses an opportunity when it assumes everybody is up to no good.' William Sailer, SVP and legal counsel of QUALCOMM

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Protecting privilege (3)

Andre Birotte DoJ maps the history of the government encouraging companies to waive privilege. 'The government's interest is in finding the truth.' The Philips memo sets out the prevailing understanding.

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Protecting privilege panel (2)

Andre Birotte US DoJ: we're constantly checking the wires and get information from a multitude of sources and we have to check them out.

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Protecting privilege panel

If the Wifi holds we'll be bringing you the highlights from the session 'protecting privilege when the goverment is at the door' hosted by US department of justice lawyer Andre Birotte; Kevin Mann VP and associate GC for The ServiceMaster Company; William Sailer SVP and legal counsel QUALCOMM and Evan Schultz senior counsel and director of advocacy at the Associate of Corporate Counsel.

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Corporate Counsel 100 - David Jaffe, Guardian Industries

Vice-president, general counsel and secretary

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ACC discussion: cyber snooping

At an ACC session today, a group of in-house lawyers discussed the issue of how far lawyers should go when it comes to cyber snooping:

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Alternative fees panel

Panel discussing how to create alternative fees includes Eric Cohen, senior Vice President (SVP) and GC of Terex Corporation; Domenick DiCicco, SVP and global head of claims legal at AIG; and Joan Humes, Vice President, government and internal investigations at Medtronic.

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Corporate Counsel 100 - Kent Walker, Google

Senior vice-president and general counsel

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Risk assessment panel (4)

It's important to put in place a risk scoring system and embed that in the culture of the company. When conducting interviews to assess risk, the panel recommends conducting interviews across different seniority levels - everybody has a different perspective and you need to cover all the ranges. Risk should be prioritised from high to low - start with red and work your way down until you get to green. A member of the audience asks the panel how to manage the different priorities of the board in agreeing a plan. According to Folsom, if the process has been managed well there will no doubt be lots of questions and healthy debate at board level, but it should be evident what needs to be done. 'I have not personally encountered people so opposed that we can't come to a resolution.'

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Risk assessment panel (3)

In addition to black and white regulations and law, when conducting a risk assessment it's important to consider factors including industry benchmarks, previous enforcements, the risks and issues faced by your competitors and past problems your own company has addressed.

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ACC: Risk assessment panel (2)

Lee Braem is in the chemical industry where the chemical risks are heavily controlled. 'What keeps me up at night is some other risk we don't have controlled and marshalling resources to ensure it doesn't happen down the line.'

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ACC: Risk assessment panel

Lee Braem, senior corporate counsel and chief compliance officer for Evonik Corporation is discussing conducting a risk assessment on a panel that also includes Suzanne Folsom, executive vice-president, chief compliance office and general counsel of ACADEMI and Brian Sumner, counsel at Alcoa.

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Corporate Counsel 100: Steven Greenspan

Associate general counsel, litigation – United Technologies Corporation

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Corporate Counsel 100

For over 25 years, The Legal 500 has been analysing the capabilities of law firms across the world. In a new series, The Legal 500 is turning its attention to the in-house function, and recognizing those corporate counsel who are driving the legal business forward. Up first is the Corporate Counsel 100: United States, which identifies the most powerful corporate legal advisers in the United States.

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The Legal 500 corporate counsel

For over 25 years, The Legal 500 has been analysing the capabilities of law firms across the world. In a new series, The Legal 500 is turning its attention to the in-house function, and recognizing those corporate counsel who are driving the legal business forward. Up first is the Corporate Counsel 100: United States, which identifies the most powerful corporate legal advisers in the United States.

We have canvassed opinion from our 2.5 million in-house readers and partners at law firms across the US, to bring you the 100 in-house stars that are driving the profession. The selection criteria is based on those corporate counsel who are changing or forming opinions within their company or industry; have developed brilliant technical solutions to complex issues; created innovative structures to ensure that the in-house function is driving the business forward; provided a diversity or business working model that other corporate counsel should follow. Click here to read more...

The Legal 500 United Kingdom
Corporate

LONDON - Corporate and commercial

UK M&A continued to feel the effects of global volatility and the eurozone’s sovereign debt crisis, with reported deal values in 2012 down 66% on the heady days of 2007. Year on year, UK M&A activity saw a 5.1% increase compared to 2011, with the energy, mining and utilities sectors proving to be the most active. Inward foreign investment accounted for the lion’s share of UK M&A in 2012, and the BRIC nations are still outperforming the eurozone economies in terms of M&A activity, with law firms with strong global platforms continuing to leverage that capability to chase down deals. London remains strategically important to US law firms doing deals in Europe and beyond, as evidenced by the recent spate of lateral hires from the Magic Circle. The picture for 2013 remains uncertain; although the first quarter saw an increase in value compared to Q1 2012, deal count was down.

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The Legal 500 United Kingdom
Scotland

SCOTLAND

While almost every legal market in the UK has experienced a degree of turbulence, Scotland saw an arguably unprecedented rate of change in 2012 and into 2013. The news in March 2013 that Semple Fraser LLP was calling in the administrators was indicative of the challenges faced by mid-tier firms in particular.

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The Legal 500 United Kingdom
Finance

LONDON - Finance

Liquidity levels remained patchy for 2012, not least because of the increasing regulatory demands on banks to shore up their capital reserves to comply with heightened capital adequacy requirements. For the right assets, banks were very willing participants and provided debt on relatively favourable terms; however for most leveraged deals, borrowers had to rely on other methods to shore up the shortfall in financing. Alternative debt providers, such as hedge and mezzanine funds, are increasingly popular, but it was the high yield market which provided the biggest impetus and established itself as the most prevalent structure on European new-money leveraged finance deals and also on the refinancing of existing debt.

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The Legal 500 United Kingdom
West Midlands

WEST MIDLANDS

2012 was another challenging year for law firms in the region; deal flow for larger and more complex transactions remained patchy, against the background of continuing low liquidity and confidence in the market. Firms with an international platform tended to fare better than firms which are reliant on regional or national work.

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NEW Download The Legal 500 eBook: UK Regions

The Legal 500 and Venable LLP held a roundtable discussion with six GCs from a variety of industry sectors in Washington DC. Topics that were discussed included alternative fee arrangements, retention of in-house staff, budgetary pressures and relationships with law firms. The full transcript of the roundtable discussion is available to download here. If you have any comments on the topics discussed, please email david.burgess@legal500.com

The Legal 500 readership survey

The Legal 500 is conducting its first global survey of how corporate counsel and law firms use The Legal 500. We would be grateful if you could spend 10 minutes answering the survey questions to aid us in improving our research and how we deliver it. Click here to give us your feedback.

The Legal 500 Historical Data: historical rankings and analysis

Now available: The Legal 500 Historical Data – a new interactive service available exclusively to commercial partners. The site contains historical rankings from 2008-2013 from The Legal 500 United Kingdom, United States, Europe, Middle East & Africa, and Asia Pacific. Users are able to manipulate the raw data to produce and download reports including comparing and contrasting your firm with your peers and competitors, and customising data which can be used in pitch documents and RFPs. Visit www.legal500.com/historicaldata for more information.

The Legal 500 United Kingdom
Dispute Resolution

LONDON - DISPUTE RESOLUTION

London remains a strong international hub for dispute resolution, and has seen an overall increase in the number of large cases reaching court. The London courts are particularly popular with foreign parties, especially from Russia and the CIS region. The Middle East and Africa are also increasingly generating work for London’s dispute resolution lawyers.

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The Legal 500 United Kingdom
South East

SOUTH EAST

Law firms continue to face a multitude of challenges from alternative business structures (ABSs) and legislative reforms, as well as seeing a squeeze on fees from both commercial and private clients. The changes in the market are being felt particularly among the smaller regional firms and boutiques, some of which are not only reassessing the practice areas in which to specialise, but also considering the provision of non-traditional/non-legal services such as consultancy and project management.

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The Legal 500 Latin America
Brazil

BRAZIL

It is certainly clear that, while Brazil remains an attractive investment option at a global scale, it has lost a little of the allure acquired when the country was initially identified as one of the BRIC group of key emerging economies, and subsequently went on to be awarded the FIFA World Cup and the Summer Olympics. While the Brazilian economy continued to grow during 2012, its slowing from 2010’s heady 7.5% to less than half that last year did not promote a perception of economic well-being; the first quarter of 2013 saw continued poor performance with growth of just 0.6%, although annual forecasts project a better year than 2012.

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The Legal 500 Latin America
Chile

CHILE

Chile’s sustained growth, minimal unemployment rates and economic optimism ensured a healthy flow of big-ticket investment transactions, mergers and IPOs during the course of 2012. The propitious business environment fuelled a thriving legal market which was also accompanied by a number of significant legal developments.

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The Legal 500 Latin America
Mexico

MEXICO

The ‘Mexican moment’ shows no sign of passing: proximity to the US and rising labour costs in China have seen Mexico regain viability as a manufacturing base, foreign investment continues to grow and the country has a significant role in international trade, with exports matching the whole of the rest of Latin American put together. Capital markets activity has seen a significant boost, with the rise of FIBRAs (the Mexican equivalent of a Real Estate Investment Trust), AFORES (pension funds) and CKD issuances (a structured equity security instrument).

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The Legal 500 Latin America
Colombia

COLOMBIA

Colombia has undergone far-reaching social, economic and political transformations over the course of the last decade and these processes continue. While foreign business interest in Colombia remains very healthy, the strength of economic activity forecast has not fully materialised due to a number of factors. Perhaps foremost is the limited number of new infrastructure projects actually initiated, robbing the economy of a motor that would have driven both economic and legal activity in multiple sectors. It remains to be seen if these will begin before elections scheduled for mid-2014. Mining sector activity, too, has remained limited, awaiting the establishment of an effective new regulatory and administrative body. The government has been far from idle (see the reforms, below), but has also had the extraordinary distraction of peace talks, upon the success of which, the country’s medium-to-long term growth and security depend. Despite these difficulties, the business market –and with it, legal activity– has remained relatively dynamic, with considerable transactional activity, such as Carrefour’s $2.6bn sale of its Colombian holdings to Cencosud, holding centre stage.

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The Legal 500 United States
Finance

FINANCE

The market for asset finance continues to improve, particularly for the aviation side. The market is finding room for increasingly innovative products, including the use of Enhanced Equipment Trust Certificate (EETC) structures, as well as a greater number of asset-backed securitizations. The need for innovation has ensured a continued flight to quality when it comes to which law firms get instructed. Those with strong client bases among export credit agencies and aircraft lessors report robust activity. The picture is more bleak for the ship finance side, which remains in the doldrums. Nevetheless, the distressed nature of the industry has attracted work from clients in the private equity and hedge fund industry.

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The Legal 500 United States
Litigation

LITIGATION

If international arbitration is ‘the dispute resolution method of choice in a globalising world’, then the burgeoning workload is the subject of ever increasing competition. More and more firms are focusing on the sector, increasing the competition for talented and experienced practitioners, even as novel funding models, such as third party financing, continue to drive overall volume. In the US, the imminent retirement of many key players of the generation that saw the practice comes to prominence is likely to cause shifts in the market.

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The Legal 500 United States
Industry focus

INDUSTRY FOCUS

Baker Botts L.L.P. is ‘one of the premier firms’ and has a large and experienced energy litigation team, split across Houston and Washington DC as well as Moscow. The group ‘gets the job done’ and is complemented by a strong regulatory practice. The firm is best known for its comprehensive oil and gas expertise at state and federal level, and is handling an increasing number of high-profile disputes in the shale sector. William Kroger, who was appointed department co-chair in 2012, is advising Murphy Oil Exploration & Production and Marathon Oil in two discrete, wide-reaching disputes concerning their investments in America’s largest crude oil shale play at Eagle Ford, Texas. Kroger and Travis Sales are representing Shell and BASF Corporation in disputes with PEMEX, Mexico’s national oil company, which alleges that these and other US companies purchased hydrocarbons stolen from Mexico and smuggled over the border. The firm’s presence is growing in the electricity market and Brooksany Barrowes is representing the Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO) transmission owners in opposing controversial utilities’ proposals pertaining to the issue of power portability. Fellow department co-chair Mark Robeck and Greg Copeland, who is ‘one of the best energy litigation lawyers’, continue to defend Reliant Energy against allegations of price manipulation during the 2000-01 California energy crisis. Macey Reasoner Stokes is leading a team representing CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric in its appeal regarding rate changes. The practice is also increasingly active in mining, technological and environmental disputes: it represented BP Alternative Energy in a nuisance claim relating to the construction and operation of a wind farm, and the possibility of a larger wind farm being built nearby in northern Texas. Other clients include Ameren Corporation, ExxonMobil, Enbridge, GenOnEnergy, Repsol Energy, Jones Energy, and Hydro-Québec. John Anaipakos and senior associate Jason Newman are recommended. Elaine Walsh joined the practice from Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Russell Lewis was promoted to the partnership.

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The Legal 500: Europe, Middle East & Africa
Germany

GERMANY

In 2012 the effects of the financial crisis were still keenly felt by the legal profession, and exacerbated by ongoing problems in the Eurozone. Competition remains tough, particularly among the leading firms, and after the demise of Howrey LLP the market lost another major international law firm when Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP ceased to exist. Meanwhile, clients who are exposed to growing requirements in the fields of compliance, risk management and corporate governance are, in turn, becoming ever more demanding with a consequent pressure on fees.

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The Legal 500: Europe, Middle East & Africa
France

FRANCE

As clients’ needs change and become more sophisticated and more demanding of added value, many leading law firms in France are abandoning the full-service and departmental business model to focus on core practices. This has benefited local medium-sized and niche firms with dedicated expertise. Real estate is the latest example of this market trend, with high-profile teams leaving Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, Clifford Chance and Salans in 2012.

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The Legal 500: Europe, Middle East & Africa
The Netherlands

THE NETHERLANDS

The Netherlands is in a relatively stable position compared to other advanced economies, with a strong export position and friendly tax regime. The eurozone crisis and the EU were issues dominating the 2012 national elections, the results of which reflected a need for a stable, moderate government.

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The Legal 500: Europe, Middle East & Africa
Spain

SPAIN

Spain’s ongoing economic difficulties affected law firms with continued downward pressure on fees. Market conditions dictated fewer transactions, but this was counteracted by a boom in areas such as litigation, arbitration and restructuring. Big-ticket private equity deals and IPOs virtually vanished. Government tax reforms led to increasing demand for tax-related advice, and employment law and insurance continued to be hugely active areas.

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The Legal 500: Europe, Middle East & Africa
Portugal

PORTUGAL

Portugal remains in the throes of a deep financial crisis. Despite the €78bn bailout that the country received in 2011 from the troika group (comprising the IMF, the EC and the ECB), times remain very difficult for the country. As decreed by the Memorandum of Understanding, Portugal began a series of privatisation procedures, and this has generated a substantial flow of work for law firms, advising interested bidders. Firms involved included Linklaters LLP, Morais Leitão, Galvão Teles, Soares da Silva & Associados, PLMJ Law Firm, Serra Lopes, Cortes Martins & Associados and Vieira de Almeida & Associados, as well as the key Iberian firms. The long-term effect of these privatisations and the presence of new investors, particularly from China, remains to be seen, but Portugal’s economic identity has changed significantly. Forthcoming privatisations include those of the airline TAP, and airport management company ANA – Aeroportos de Portugal.

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The Legal 500: Europe, Middle East & Africa
Switzerland

SWITZERLAND

Switzerland’s legal hubs are Geneva and Zurich, with Zurich housing the largest number of law firms. Basel, Bern, Lugano and Lausanne are also key legal centres, albeit smaller.

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The Legal 500: Europe, Middle East & Africa
South Africa

SOUTH AFRICA

In South Africa’s highly fluid legal market, lateral hires are commonplace. The market was further altered by a number of law firm changes, notably with Baker & McKenzie entering the South African market in 2012, taking over a team from the defunct Dewey & LeBoeuf (PTY) Ltd’s Johannesburg office. It followed this by acquiring Johannesburg litigation boutique Rudolph Bernstein & Associates. A number of mergers completed in early 2013: these included ENS (Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs) joining with Brink Cohen Le Roux, and Canadian firm Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP merging with leading mining and project finance firm Bell Dewar.

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About the Legal 500 series

Published for over twenty years, the Legal 500 Series provides the most comprehensive worldwide coverage currently available on legal services providers, in over 100 countries.

Used by commercial and private clients, corporate counsel, CEOs, CFOs and professional advisers - as well as by other referrers of work both nationally and internationally - the series is widely chosen for its definitive judgement of law firm capabilities over publications such as those compiled by Chambers and Partners or Martindale-Hubbell.

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Legal Developments worldwide

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • AMENDMENTS ARE BEING PREPARED TO LEGISLATION REGARDING FOREIGN INVESTMENTS IN STRATEGIC COMPANIES

    Elena Sokolovskaya, Head of Antimonopoly Regulation; Sergey Spasennov, Partner, Head of St. Petersburg office; Egor Lysenko, Head of Krasnoyarsk office, Pepeliaev Group The State Duma is preparing to consider in the second reading a draft law  that will significantly amend Federal Law No. 57-FZ ‘On the procedure for making foreign investments in business entities of strategic importance to ensure national defence and state security'. The draft law was passed in the first reading in May 2013 and is scheduled to be considered further in April 2014. The goal of new amendments is to simplify even more the control mechanism, eliminate extra administrative barriers for foreign investors and to create favourabe investment climate. For the second reading of the draft law, the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (the ‘FAS') prepared a number of amendments that have not been approved yet by the Russian Government (these amendments are posted on the FAS's official web site ). Below are the main provisions of the draft law and amendments to it.
  • 2019 UNIVERSIADE IN KRASNOYARSK: WHAT IT MEANS FOR BUSINESS

    Andrey Tereschenko, Partner (Tax); Alexey Konevsky, Partner (Real Estate and Construction); Egor Lysenko, Head of Siberian office in Krasnoyarsk; Sergey Spasennov, Partner and Head of Saint Petersburg office Preparations have started for staging the World Winter Universiade 2019 in Krasnoyarsk. There are several issues that companies face when major international sport events are staged in Russia. On 14 January 2014, the Russian President signed Decree No. 16 ‘On preparing for the XXIX World Winter Universiade 2019 to be staged in Krasnoyarsk' (‘Universiade 2019'). This decree is a framework document addressed, first of all, to the Russian Government, which is charged with carrying out a set of organisational actions to prepare for Universiade 2019, as well as to executive authorities of constituent entities of the Russian Federation, which are recommended to participate in carrying them out. In particular, the Russian Government needs to: establish an organising committee; develop and carry out, in cooperation with the government of the Krasnoyarsk Region, measures aimed at preparing and staging Universiade 2019; determine the list of capital construction facilities belonging to the Russian state, which are required to prepare and stage Universiade 2019 with financial support from the federal budget; assist with covering in the state mass media how Universiade 2019 is being prepared and staged.
  • Why Greece? And Why Now? Where and How? A safe road map to the new locomotives of the Greek restart

    Since the beginning of the crisis, a heated debate is going on among politicians and scholars, inside and outside the country, on who's responsible and whether the austerity measures, adopted as a condition for the financial assistance by international lenders, has been successful, proportionate and fair.
  • Modernization of temporary work - CBA no. 108 declared generally binding

    Due to the Royal Decree of 26 January 2014 CBA no. 108 concerning temporary employment and temporary work is now generally binding.
  • Different treatment of blue-collar and white-collar employees in the field of occupational pensions

    On 12 February 2014 the National Labour Council has given its unanimous advice on the harmonization of blue-collar and white-collar employees in the field of occupational pensions.  Any distinction regarding future periods of employment should be eliminated by 1 January 2025 at the latest.
  • As from 1 April 2014 dismissals need to be motivated by the employer

  • Update: Tchenguiz-Immerman -v- Immerman [2013] EWHC 3627 (Fam)

    The English Family Division orders disclosure by beneficiaries of documents relating to private trustee proceedings to which they were convened.  Read more...
  • Calling time: Jersey Royal Court clarifies limits of customary law exception

    The Jersey Royal Court has ruled that, where a newly incorporated private trust company (PTC) recently appointed as successor trustee seeks to bring claims for breach of trust against predecessors, it will not be able to benefit from the Jersey law doctrine of empêchement d'agir (which can stop the limitation clock from running in situations of practical impossibility) where it was not in existence at the time that the deadline for bringing claims had expired.  Read more...
  • Judicial Committe to Liquidate cancelled Projects in Dubai

     
  • EU/CEE: Perceptions and Experiences of Corruption in EU Member States

    On 3 Feb 2014, the European Commission released its Anti-Corruption Report (COM 2014/38 final)[1], which provides comprehensive analyses of corruption within the EU member states, national preventive measures in force, and suggestions for legislative improvements. With this report, the Commission is striving to provide momentum to a pan-European debate on anti-corruption issues and to assist Member States in identifying ways to improve anti-corruption work at the national level. read more...

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