Legal Business

Baker McKenzie: One eye open

‘What defines Baker McKenzie over the last few years is the sheer amount of work that has gone into financial integration. This is a massive achievement but it has come at a cost. Now, establishing the differentiator to attract the next generation is important. It isn’t going to turn into Kirkland & Ellis, but what is going to drive that entrepreneurial aspect now Bakers looks more like other firms?’ So speaks one commentator of the quandary facing Baker McKenzie, a sentiment reprising a prevailing theme of our 2017 deep dive into the firm, ‘Waking the Giant’, which found a firm struggling to maintain its unique international selling point amid escalating globalisation of Big Law.

Then, the firm had just embarked on a new and ambitious phase, with the respected veteran intellectual property (IP) partner Paul Rawlinson instated as its first British chair in October 2016. The mandate? To implement the firm’s 2020 strategy, which focused on integrating Bakers across three profit pools, increasing profitability and growing the firm’s transactional practices in London, New York and China.

Legal Business

Warning signs? Baker McKenzie records stagnant financials in year-end results

In what is perhaps an early bellwether of 2023 financial performance for the market at large, or a hangover from the second half of 2022, Baker McKenzie has released its financial results following its year end on 30 June, reporting a revenue of $3.3bn, the same as 2021/22, when turnover increased by 6%.

The firm’s net income has also stayed the same as the previous year at $1.2bn.

In a statement, the firm noted that the static revenue came ‘despite challenges including the financial impact of spinning off the firm’s former Russian operation, reduced deal flows across markets, and adverse currency and inflationary pressures’.

While its global revenue is unchanged, the firm claims that it has experienced significant growth in several key sectors, including: Industrials, manufacturing and transportation, which grew by 9%; healthcare and life sciences, which grew by 11%; as well as the energy and infrastructure sector, which the firm explained was driven by the ongoing global energy transition.

In terms of practice areas, the firm recorded an uptick in revenue in key areas, including a 6% rise in employment, a 4% rise in projects and M&A, and most notably, a 19% increase in antitrust.

Over the last 12 months, the firm’s transactional teams closed a number of substantial deals, including advising Swiss construction chemicals group Sika on its €5.3bn acquisition of the MBCC Group from private equity firm Lone Star; Gaw Capital Partners on its seventh Asia Pacific real estate fund, which raised $3bn in total equity; Emerson on its $14bn sale of its Climate Technologies business to Blackstone; Iberdrola in the $6bn sale of over 8400MW of combined cycle gas in Mexico; and Colt Technology Services on an agreement relating to the $1.8bn purchase of Lumen Technologies’ EMEA business.

Global chair Milton Cheng (pictured) said: ‘The world’s leading companies are today entrusting us with major transformations as they reshape their businesses and turn to our firm to make sense of an increasingly complex regulatory environment. We value the trust that our clients place in us, based on the years of experience working together on complex matters and business solutions.’

ayesha.ellis@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Dealwatch: Bakers and Weil cement €5.3bn MBCC deal as advisers see renewed energy in M&A

Amid a continued dearth of big-ticket deals, Sika’s €5.3bn acquisition of Master Builder Construction Chemicals (MBCC) Group has been the standout in recent weeks, landing lead mandates for Baker McKenzie and Weil.

The deal saw Swiss construction chemicals group Sika acquire MBCC from private equity firm Lone Star Funds, which acquired it in 2019 after BASF disposed of that part of its business.

Headquartered in Germany, MBCC (formerly BASF Construction Chemicals) supplies chemicals and solutions within the construction industry across the globe in over 60 countries, turning over a total of €2.7bn every year in sales.

Baker McKenzie advised Sika on the transaction, coordinating with six major regulators to align behind a global timeline to remove competition concerns and divest MBCC’s concrete admixtures business to Cinven. The team was led by Florian Kästle in Frankfurt and global M&A chair Jannan Crozier in London and also included partners Alan Zoccolillo in New York, James Heller in London and Christian Atzler in Frankfurt.

Weil acted for Lone Star with a team led by London managing partner Mike Francies and including corporate partner Max Oppenheimer in London, antitrust partners Niklas Maydell in Brussels/London, Brianne Kucerik in Washington DC and Adam Hemlock in New York. The team also included corporate partner Manuel-Peter Fringer in Frankfurt.

Bakers’ Florian Kästle spoke to Legal Business about the significance of this transaction: ‘On a personal level, Sika was my first client at Baker McKenzie and this has been the biggest deal of my career. 20 years ago, Sika looked up to MBCC as the giant in the market and the idea of Sika actually buying MBCC was out of reach– no one would have thought that was possible. Now Sika is the undisputed number one.

‘This was also the first deal to be closed since Brexit that posed cross-UK/EU antitrust concerns which had to be resolved by the authorities in both jurisdictions in an aligned way. We found a timetable that both authorities were able to work alongside and found a remedy package that they accepted. This has never been done before in the post-Brexit era. I am glad it worked out as it was complex to get there.’

London-based Crozier told Legal Business about what this deal represents in the context of the current M&A market: ‘There is increased regulatory scrutiny regarding transactions and we had six regulators who would not approve of this one. We worked alongside Sika to get them to align on a regulatory global timeline for this deal and enable the deal to go forwards. What we were able to do in this transaction was not only overcome these regulatory hurdles, but we were able to find a buyer for the parts of the business we couldn’t own and implement a carve-out of several jurisdictions and implement them on the same day.

‘A key message in all of this to the market is that this period of increased scrutiny on deals does not have to represent an obstacle to M&A. A proper understanding of the market and the right advisers can get these deals done and provide an opportunity for clients.

‘We managed to agree with Lone Star who were the ultimate owners that it would commit a huge amount of work to carve out the business before Sika even owned it. If you look at the market several years ago, carve-outs were considered a trend but now they are a way of achieving deals that before now the market thought were not doable. These are not deals that are too complex to close – there is always a pathway through if you are willing to find it.’

When asked about predictions for the market and the pipeline of work, Crozier added: ‘We have seen a dip in the volume of deals lately which is a facet of inflation, of the banking crisis and geopolitical risk. I expect there will be an uptick in the market in the latter part of the year. One of the focuses will be on deals that were not considered possible to achieve.’

Kästle concluded: ‘I currently have a nice transaction in the healthcare space on my desk. The fears that carve-out and reorganisation is too complex are declining. There were two other major firms involved on the consulted by Sika for the antitrust analysis deal and all three said that it could not be done. Standing up and saying, “yes there are difficulties to overcome, it is not a piece of cake but in the end, we can do it” paid off.’

Meanwhile, American private equity firm TowerBrook Capital Partners acquired a majority stake in UK-based electric vehicle charging port manufacturer and installation provider Envevo.

This is the second deal struck via TowerBrook’s positive impact initiative which aims to invest in industries and businesses that are focused on improving the wider community, society and environment.

Goodwin’s London private equity team advised TowerBrook on its latest acquisition, having already provided counsel on its acquisition of telecom network hardware and asset management services company TXO in the same week (the first investment that was made in the name of its positive impact scheme).

Envevo was represented by Addleshaw Goddard partners Arran Mackenzie and Alan Shanks.

Goodwin’s Iwasko discussed TowerBrook’s acquisitions of Envevo and TXO with Legal Business: ‘These deals are significant because they are the first two investments by TowerBrook’s new impact fund, TowerBrook Delta. Delta invests in businesses that are making a positive impact around the world.

‘I have seen multiple electric vehicle charger businesses come across my desk in the past few months as private equity sponsors focus on renewable energy targets and impact investing more generally. It is notable that a private equity firm of TowerBrook’s size and stature has decided to devote time and capital to making these socially and environmentally meaningful investments. Other sponsors are showing interest as well. It is a positive story.’

When asked about market prospects, Iwasko said: ‘European private equity activity is picking up. People around the City were talking about writing off 2023 earlier in the year, but that is not the case. I am seeing increased activity in a number of sectors.’

Tong added: ‘In addition to the uptick in LBO activity, we are also seeing traditional private equity sponsors continue to be quite creative in how they are deploying capital, such as through minority investments and structured equity.’

Elsewhere in the sustainable energy market, subsidiary of the Ocean Winds collection of UK renewable energy developments, Moray West offshore wind farm, has secured £2bn in limited-recourse project financing for its 882MW project to reach financial close.

Moray West is the first project from the 2022 Allocation Round Four of the UK government’s initiative for assisting the generation of low-carbon energy, Contracts for Difference, to reach financial close, as well as the first wind farm in the UK to depend on mostly corporate power purchase agreements for the commercialisation of its production.

Ashurst advised Moray West’s lenders in the securing of the project financing, with partners David Wadham and Nick Hilder leading on the deal, while Norton Rose Fulbright’s Rob Marsh acted as lead counsel on behalf of the project’s sponsors.

In the same line of work, last month also saw Burges Salmon advise German corporation BayWa on the sale of the sixth wind farm, Dalquhandy, to Greencoat UK Wind (represented by Natasha Luther-Jones and Stephen Atkinson from DLA Piper). Based in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, Dalquhandy is a 42MW wind farm that will produce enough electricity to provide 31,000 homes with power in the UK.

Having advised before on BayWa’s initial purchase of Dalquhandy, Burges Salmon also negotiated a ten-year fixed price power purchase agreement with the BT Group for 80% of its output.

Partner Danny Lee in Burges Salmon’s corporate team who led on the deal, gave his insights on the renewable energy market for Legal Business: ‘The market is reasonably buoyant, but energy prices have led to uncertainty, particularly with the levy the government was proposing to introduce. Project connection times are putting certain investors off but there are also new technologies coming on the scene, hydrogen being an obvious example but also battery energy storage systems which are galvanizing the sector. These are forces that are driving a lot of the deal activity we are involved in.’

Focusing on the sale of Dalquhandy wind farm, Lee explained: ‘This deal clearly demonstrates that there is still an appetite for good quality projects in the offshore wind space. In terms of BayWa, we acted for them to acquire the assets when it was a consented project and they built it out and constructed it and ultimately sold it.’

He concluded: ‘One of the interesting things is that the arrangements surrounding the stakeholders who purchase the outputs of windfarms are becoming particularly innovative. We are going to see corporations like BT enter into purchase agreements with windfarms because of ESG obligations. Companies must demonstrate that they are doing the right thing to reach net zero. The best way to do that is to enter into purchase agreements with windfarms.’

ayesha.ellis@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Baker McKenzie breaks up UAE alliance following homophobic tweets

Baker McKenzie in September announced that it is ‘parting ways’ with Dr Habib Al Mulla, name partner of member firm Habib Al Mulla & Partners, following a series of anti-gay Twitter comments.

Confirming that the ‘separation process is underway’, the firm said in a statement that it ‘strongly believes that however much we may disagree with the beliefs and personal views of others, we must find ways to disagree respectfully, encourage inclusive dialogue and to ensure an inclusive work environment for all.’

Legal Business

Life During Law: Samantha Mobley

My family story is not one of generations of lawyers. My great grandfather was a coal miner in Wales.

I went to school in South Africa and grew up in the apartheid era. My parents moved there when I was a small child and I had always wanted to move back to the UK. I applied to read law at Bristol University and I’ve never regretted it. I worked at the Albion pub in Clifton to pay some of my way through university.

Legal Business

Legal Business Awards 2020 – Finance Team of the Year

After much back-and-forth between the judges in this keenly contested category, we are now delighted to reveal the winner of Finance Team of the Year for the 2020 Legal Business Awards.

The winner of this award operates at the cutting edge of the finance industry and has provided one standout example of work taken from a wide range of disciplines, including bank lending, acquisition finance, structured finance, project finance and debt capital markets.


 

 


Sponsored by

Cantab Asset Management

Winner – Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance (CC)’s advice to NatWest Markets on the first bond switch from Libor to Sonia turned the heads of judges, not least as it saw Associated British Ports (ABP) become the first sterling borrower to switch its floating rate bonds over to the new rate.

CC laid claim to being ‘uniquely placed’ to advise the solicitation agent on this novel deal due to its membership of the Bank of England’s working group on risk-free rates, not to mention its work in the Euro legal working group on Libor reform. From such a favourable position in the market, CC has subsequently advised a number of oher issuers and agents on the restructuring of Libor-linked bonds to reference Sonia.

The transaction saw CC’s winning team, led by Paul Deakins, advise the solicitation agent, NatWest Markets, as the UK’s biggest port operator successfully delivered a consent solicitation process on £65m floating-rate notes due 2022 – flipping to Sonia – the rate chosen by regulators to replace Libor – by the end of 2021.

ABP was the first company to amend legacy debt accordingly and establish a model for other issuers to follow. The change in interest basis was intended to minimise risks of value transfer for both the borrower and investors, and no consent solicitation fee was paid to investors.

ABP has exposure to Libor across a range of financial instruments including revolving credit facilities, term loans, US private placements, interest rate swaps, cross-currency swaps and listed bonds. In September 2018 the company started exploring a possible restructuring of its Libor-linked floating rate notes and held discussions with interested investors on the proposed methodology prior to the public launch of the consent solicitation.

As the transaction was the first of its kind, ABP made the legal documentation freely available to the market so that others could follow suit, and the fact that the pricing approach has been used in a number of sterling deals since is testament to its quality.

Highly Commended – Baker McKenzie

A pioneering attitude was the order of the day for the Bakers team as it advised Saudi shopping mall giant Arabian Centres Company on its $748m IPO, the first-of-its-kind in Saudi Arabia with a full international offering, including an offering into the US under Rule 144A.

The team, jointly led by Robert Eastwood and Karim Nassar of the equity capital markets group of legal advisers in Riyadh and EMEA head of capital markets Adam Farlow in London, had to draw on all its resources to tackle regulatory challenges with novel legal solutions and innovative problem-solving.

With an implied market capitalisation of $3.3bn, not only was this Saudi Arabia’s biggest IPO since 2015, it claims to have included the largest-ever syndicate of banks of any Saudi IPO, including several international banks that had never before had a role in that market.

The independent financial adviser described Bakers as ‘absolutely instrumental’ in obtaining Capital Market Authority approval and making the deal happen.

Other nominations

Dechert

Representing Kazakhstan’s national rail company on a bond issue that was groundbreaking on several levels, including being the first corporate bond listed on the Astana International Exchange and the first combined offering document for dual-listed securities under its rules.

Hogan Lovells

Advising the International Finance Corporation and the City of Belgrade on a landmark PPP project to redevelop the city’s existing waste management infrastructure, the first project of its kind in Serbia.

Shearman & Sterling

Acting for the joint venture company Trivium Packaging on a $2.85bn bond offering, the proceeds of which would be used to finance the creation of the JV out of a combination of Exal Corporation and Ardagh Group’s Metal Food & Specialty Packaging businesses.

Simmons & Simmons

Advising Mantos Copper on a comprehensive $250m financing package to expand production at its Mantos Blancos copper mine in Chile. The deal featured three facilities that were based on offtake contracts, the largest of which was a $150m senior secured facility from the Glencore subsidiary, Complejo Metalurgico Altonorte.

White & Case

Advising The Co-operative Bank Finance on a £200m bond issue to help support the Co-op Bank, the first time a high-street lender successfully issued MREL-eligible debt under new bank capital adequacy requirements.

Legal Business

Legal Business Awards 2020 – Private Client Team of the Year

We are delighted to announce the winner of Private Client Team of the Year for the 2020 Legal Business Awards.

This award recognises the top private client teams in the country, either offshore or onshore, handling high-value work in the areas of estates, charities, family, contentious and non-contentious trusts and probate, as well as personal tax, particularly to high-net-worth individuals and families.

 


 

 


Sponsored by

Winner – Baker McKenzie

Bakers claims that it is ’unmatched in the market in terms of our international coverage and ability to serve the world’s wealthiest families’ and, on the evidence, such claims are justified, according to our judges. The global firm’s offering comprises lawyers (litigators and tax experts), accountants, transfer pricing specialists, economists and VAT/customs experts, to provide a one-stop shop for clients with complex structuring needs.

Recent work includes acting for a well-known and successful ultra high-net-worth individual in global litigation that has been running since 2010. The client is seeking to recover more than $15bn in assets that belonged to his father, the deceased founder of an Asian conglomerate, and are now held by various trustees, individuals and companies. Two separate claims are underway in Bermuda (and are believed to be the largest trust dispute ever in that jurisdiction) in addition to similar US proceedings. The firm successfully obtained summary judgment in 2019 (Wong v Grand View Private Trust Company Limited), which is currently being appealed. The Bermuda claims raise novel, Privy-Council-worthy questions of trust law, particularly involving non-purpose trust structures.

The team also advises a selection of the wealthiest clients in the Middle East including advice on fund and other structures for very high value commercial and private projects and continued advice on disclosure, including under the common reporting standard, beneficial ownership registers and the new European Directive on Administrative Cooperation (DAC 6) now needing consideration in relation to any structure put in place. The firm is coordinating all transactions, including a particular project representing the highest value transaction in the careers of the team, for these clients globally. A worthy winner.

Highly commended – McDermott Will & Emery

McDermott acted for the beneficiary of a Bahamian trustee and her adult children in the landmark UK Court of Appeal case of Dawson-Damer v Taylor Wessing. This case, which has garnered ongoing media attention, transformed the right of trust beneficiaries to documents and personal data held by trustees and their lawyers.

Led by London co-head of private client Ziva Robertson, the McDermott team secured a momentous victory for Dawson-Damer, seeking the release of personal data held by their trustee’s law firm, Taylor Wessing.

Other nominations

Forsters

A major highlight for this private wealth-focused firm was its coordination of a global succession plan for the second generation of an Asian family, which involved the development of a family constitution and a structuring exercise involving the reorganisation of 100 companies worldwide.

Gherson Solicitors

Throughout 2019 this firm represented Zamira Hajiyeva, the woman at the centre of the so-called McMafia ‘dirty money’ investigation, including successfully defending an extradition request from the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Macfarlanes

This respected team acts in a general legal capacity to a major family office as an outsourced legal adviser on a range of issues, including the restructuring of a series of trusts holding a majority stake in a major non-UK listed business.

Taylor Wessing

Representing Equity Trust (Jersey), the appellant, in the Z Trust litigation, running proceedings in the Jersey and English courts in which it successfully argued and established new principles of trust law.

Legal Business

Guest post: Coronavirus tears up competition regimes for foreign investments as Europe struggles to shield reeling economies

COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc with the global economy, disrupting all manner of business throughout the world. Stock markets have plummeted and many companies are having to grapple with economic damage that seemed unimaginable at the start of the year.

This unprecedented environment could afford opportunistic buyers the chance to acquire or invest in companies that have been weakened by the crisis. In addition, creditors may unintentionally find themselves in a position where they acquire control over a business.

Before the crisis, the world was already de-globalising with rising national protectionism driving calls for stronger screening of foreign investment across the globe. Now, COVID-19 has prompted some countries to take an even more drastic approach. Some national governments, notably in Europe, are now taking steps to protect companies that have become vulnerable as their economies are struggling from being taken over by foreign investors.

The Spanish government has just introduced a new temporary requirement that ex-ante approval will be required for foreign (non-EU) direct investments in strategic sectors in Spain.

This affects investments in Spanish companies by non-EU/EFTA entities where the foreign investor would (i) hold a stake of 10% or more in the share capital of (ii) acquire the right to participate in the management of or (iii) acquire control of a Spanish company, and applies to a broad range of sectors, namely:

• energy, transport, water, health, communications, media, data processing or storage, aerospace, defence, electoral or financial infrastructure and sensitive facilities;

• critical technologies and dual-use items, including artificial intelligence, robotics, semiconductors, cyber-security, aerospace, defence, energy storage, quantum and nuclear technologies, as well as nanotechnologies and biotechnologies;

• supply of key inputs, in particular energy, raw materials and food security; and,

• sectors with access to sensitive information, in particular personal data, or with the ability to control such information.

The French Minister of Economy has stated that the government is ready to protect important French companies by recapitalising them, buying shares or even taking them over. The government has also stated that nationalisation of strategic companies will not be ruled out.

The Italian government, meanwhile, is considering qualifying all Italian companies listed on the Milan Stock Exchange as ‘strategic’ for the purposes of applying the existing Special Powers rules under the foreign investment review regime. This would mean that the Special Powers, which allow the Prime Minister to veto or impose conditions on certain transactions in the defence/homeland security, telecoms, energy, and transportation sectors, could be extended to foreign investment in all Italian-listed entities.

The Hungarian government is able to prevent acquisitions by non-EEA entities in certain strategic industries (eg, finance, telecommunications, energy, defence) for public reasons, including national safety, energy supply, and financial stability. COVID-19 has prompted the government to take control of 140 strategically-important companies in various sectors.

In summary, some countries are using foreign investment screening to protect wider economic and social concerns triggered by COVID-19. At present, this approach seems to be limited to Europe, which makes sense as this region has been declared, for now, as the ‘epicentre’ of the global pandemic. However, as the virus continues to spread, it is possible other countries could take a similar stance to protect their national interests and economies.

These developments highlight the need for investors to carefully consider foreign investment review risks at this highly-sensitive and volatile time both for deals currently underway and transactions being contemplated. Cross-border transactions in strategic sectors will likely encounter tougher scrutiny and face a prolonged approval process. Taking time to understand the rules and identify a regulatory strategy – including calibrated communication with the relevant governmental authorities and thinking about the impact on deal documentation – early in the bid process will minimize the risk of delays, last-minute changes to the deal structure, or failed transactions.

For potential bidders the basic message is that the environment for corporate transactions has already been transformed in Europe by this crisis, and perhaps soon the world. Never has it been more relevant for companies to keep in mind the age-old advice for acquirers: buyer beware.

Samantha Mobley is a partner in Baker McKenzie’s competition and trade practice in London

Legal Business

Coronavirus fallout continues as Latham suspends NY partner conference while Bakers re-opens London branch

Fears around the spreading coronavirus have yet again affected the business of law, as the world’s second-highest grossing firm Latham & Watkins called off its annual global partnership meeting in New York citing safety concerns.

Meanwhile Baker McKenzie has re-opened its London office today (2 March) after an employee taken ill with suspected symptoms last week tested negative to the COVID-19.

Latham chair Rich Trobman said in a statement on Friday (28 February) that the firm had taken the ‘difficult decision’ to cancel its annual partner meeting ‘with the health and wellbeing of our colleagues and clients foremost in mind’. He added: ‘While we perceive the risks to be small, safety is our first priority, and we thought this decision was in the best interests of all concerned given the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19.’

The conference was due to take place this week, bringing together partners from its 30 offices across the world in Manhattan. Latham has 514 equity partners and 276 income partners.

Elsewhere, Bakers’ London operations were back to business as usual today after the firm shut its 1,000-employee office on Friday citing concerns over a staff member showing suspected symptoms after travelling to northern Italy, Europe’s worst-affected area. The employee underwent tests for the virus and on Sunday the firm received news they were negative, so notified staff that they could return to work as normal today.

A spokesperson for the firm said: ‘Our priority is the health and wellbeing of our people and our clients, and we took these pre-emptive measures out of an abundance of caution.’

Fears around the impact of coronavirus on businesses have been mounting in recent weeks, with many concerned it could have financial crisis-level effect on the global economy. Last Friday news came that US stock markets had suffered their worst week since the 2008 financial crisis, with the three main indexes falling by 10% or more.

Shearman & Sterling has imposed a travel ban for China and Hong Kong, limiting non-essential travel to contaminated jurisdictions and putting in place remote working measures. Dentons has temporarily closed its office in Wuhan, where the virus originated.

Outside law, oil major Chevron last week sent its 300 staff home from Canary Wharf as a precaution, along with Crossrail, which shares the same building.

Marco.cillario@legalbusineess.co.uk

Legal Business

Baker McKenzie shuts London office amid Coronavirus fears

Baker McKenzie has shut its London office as a precaution after a member of staff was taken ill with suspected coronavirus.

First reported in RollonFriday, the firm shut its 100 New Bridge Street office on Thursday afternoon, with the 1,000-strong workforce, including 119 partners, sent home.

It is understood that a Bakers employee returning from northern Italy had been taken ill and is undergoing tests for the virus, also known as COVID-19.

Members of staff will be notified on Sunday whether it is safe to return to work on Monday morning.

A spokesperson for Baker McKenzie said: ‘Our priority is the health and wellbeing of our people and our clients and we have asked our London office employees to work from home for the time being while we are taking precautionary measures in response to a potential case of the COVID-19. We have a well-established agile working programme – including technology and IT systems for home working – which allows us to take these precautionary measures without impacting our client service delivery. We continue to closely monitor the situation and are following the advice and guidance issued by the Government and Public Health England.’

Italy now has more than 500 cases of the virus, of which 17 have proved fatal.

Fears around the impact of coronavirus on businesses have been mounting in recent weeks, with many concerned it could have financial crisis-level effect on the global economy.

Shearman & Sterling is among the firms to have implemented measures to mitigate the threat of the virus, imposing a travel ban for China and Hong Kong, limiting non-essential travel to contaminated jurisdictions, as well as putting in place remote working measures.

Law firm offices in Milan are on shut down after the outbreak, while Dentons temporarily closed its office in Wuhan, where the virus originated.

Meanwhile in the UK, three more cases of the disease have today (28 February) been confirmed, bringing the total to 19.

Outside law, Oil giant Chevron this week sent its 300 staff home from Canary Wharf as a precaution, along with Crossrail, which shares the same building. The real estate company that manages Canary Wharf suggested the firms reacted with an abundance of caution.

nathalie.tidman@legalease.co.uk