Hard graft – The pan-Europe bribery crackdown


As European agencies turn up the heat on bribery and corruption, we team up with Simmons & Simmons to assess how clients are responding.

Until 1999 German laws allowed for some bribes to be tax deductible. Bribes or grease payments enabled German companies to get ahead overseas, or so many claimed. These payments were viewed as good for business and good for the German economy. At worst, they were a necessary evil.

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Clause and effect – The arbitration backing Africa’s investment boom


As foreign investment into Africa grows, so does the demand for dispute resolution. We team up with Simmons & Simmons to assess how clients can get the best out of that crunch arbitration clause.

The attraction of Africa, and its abundance of natural resources, is undeniable. In 20 years, foreign direct investment (FDI) rose by 853% from just over $6bn in 1994 to $57.2bn in 2013, compared to a global average of 466% growth. It is unsurprising then that the increase in African-related arbitration has been robust. Where international investment goes, disputes invariably follow.

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Gateways – the lawyer’s view on gaining access to North Africa


While Morocco stands apart as a portal into Africa for foreign investors, neighbour Algeria starts to open up. We ask international law firms to share their experiences of working in the region.

In the globalisation race, Casablanca has established an early lead as one of the primary entry points into Africa, along with Johannesburg. It is akin to the emergence in the last decade of Hong Kong and Singapore as the key finance centres for Asia. But can Morocco and neighbouring Algeria achieve a position of genuine global influence, when Paris, London and also Dubai remain places where many African transactions are executed?

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Hunting Dragons – Anti-corruption in Asia


Once a byword for bribery, the Asia region has toughened anti-corruption measures in recent years, but enforcement remains hard to predict. We team up with Simmons & Simmons to assess the client response.

Any multinational worthy of the label has to be in east and south-east Asia. The scale of the market, its manufacturing base, and its growing consumer population make it impossible to ignore.

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Insight report on cyber security – Anatomy of a breach


With breaches impossible to stop, companies are focusing on managing the huge risks of a major cyber incident. We teamed up with PwC to gauge the client response.

In cyber security circles, it has already become a hoary cliché to claim that there are two types of companies: those that have been breached and those that have yet to discover they have been breached. This rang particularly true this year when JPMorgan revealed that 76 million households and eight million small businesses were exposed to its data breach over the summer.

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Banking Litigation Insight: ‘The worst case scenario is £200m – litigation is containable’


An unprecedented wave of global enforcement has pushed risks facing banks to once unthinkable proportions. In the follow-up to our banking litigation Insight with Stephenson Harwood, bank counsel discuss managing the biggest risks in global business. Alex Novarese reports.

‘A head of litigation at a bank was saying to me the other day: “I don’t really care about [civil litigation]. If a counterparty has a claim, even a big claim, you instruct your litigators – it’s expensive and you try to control the cost but it’s just a bit of litigation. Worst-case scenario is we may have to write a cheque for £200m but we know the limits of the problem. We don’t really care. It’s containable. It’s predictable.” You would have never heard someone saying something like that ten years ago. But all these issues about reputation, regulation and unquantifiable fines – it’s such a mess. You know you have got to do something about it but you don’t know where it will go.’

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Where the bodies lie – the risk report 2014



While the regulatory upheaval of recent years has calmed down, our annual risk report finds law firms facing many threats lurking around the corner

In our seventh annual risk management and professional indemnity survey with broker Marsh, we asked law firms if they felt they had got to grips yet internally with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)’s outcomes-focused regulation (OFR) regime. One firm said: ‘Yes but it is continuous improvement so it can never be “completed”.’

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Here be monsters – will LPOs help clients find the threats in the data jungle?


From disclosure to global investigations, companies are being forced to search an expanding jungle of data for threats. Legal Business teamed up with Clutch Group to find out if clients believe LPOs will aid the hunt

Disaggregation. If someone wanted to identify a keyword to describe what legal process outsourcers (LPOs) do (and identifying keywords and clauses is part of what they do), this word would have to be top of the list. It’s a buzzword that forms a big part of the dialogue used by proponents of legal process outsourcing, be they industry insiders or the clients themselves, and its meaning applies not only to the work they do, but to the effect that LPOs, and other alternative sources of legal work, could have on the legal sector as a whole.

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