Different strokes – Three perspectives in championing diversity in corporate America

Different strokes – Three perspectives in championing diversity in corporate America

Rachel Gonzalez, general counsel, Starbucks

Starbucks has a fundamental business tenet that we are creating a welcoming place for all people, and that means inclusion and diversity is critical to our success. We provide inclusion training and tools to managers to ensure we are preparing all leaders to foster a diverse culture based on merit. Continue reading “Different strokes – Three perspectives in championing diversity in corporate America”

The Client Profile: Heather Mitchell, The Carlyle Group

The Client Profile: Heather Mitchell, The Carlyle Group

‘One reason I’m doing this interview is so I can send it to my parents. They’re really important to me. Ah, suddenly, the hard-woman persona crumbles,’ jokes Heather Mitchell, global general counsel (GC) for investments and head of EMEA at The Carlyle Group.

Mitchell’s 17-year career at the US private equity giant has seen her consistently ranked among the most influential in-house lawyers. However, she says what makes her father the most proud is her sitting on the advisory board of Cornell Law School, where she studied, because ‘as a teacher, he can relate most to that’. Continue reading “The Client Profile: Heather Mitchell, The Carlyle Group”

In-house: SSE launches first panel review as Balfour Beatty GC departs after just six months

In-house: SSE launches first panel review as Balfour Beatty GC departs after just six months

Big Six energy company SSE is reviewing its legal panel for the first time since setting up its debut roster in 2014, while the general counsel (GC) of construction company Balfour Beatty has left after just six months.

SSE appointed Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Addleshaw Goddard, CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswan, Osborne Clarke, Gillespie Macandrew, Thorntons and Kennedys to its inaugural panel five years ago, under the directorship of legal head Liz Tanner (pictured), who featured in this year’s GC Powerlist. Continue reading “In-house: SSE launches first panel review as Balfour Beatty GC departs after just six months”

Clapping with one hand: clients continue to lag as another 12 law firms join Mindful Business Charter

Clapping with one hand: clients continue to lag as another 12 law firms join Mindful Business Charter

The Mindful Business Charter is ‘clapping with one hand’ until more businesses adopt the mental health initiative, with in-house legal departments making up less than a quarter of the 38 signatories.

The charter, devised by banking giant Barclays alongside law firms Pinsent Masons and Addleshaw Goddard, added another 17 organisations today (10 October). It aims to cut down on workplace practices that contribute to stress and poor mental health among lawyers, such as encouraging people to be clear in emails when they need a response if sent outside business hours and not expecting people on annual leave to be on call. Continue reading “Clapping with one hand: clients continue to lag as another 12 law firms join Mindful Business Charter”

In-house: CMS bumped as core adviser following Lloyds panel review

In-house: CMS bumped as core adviser following Lloyds panel review

CMS has dropped off Lloyds Banking Group’s core panel of advisers after a review which reshaped the roster into two lots.

A total of 25 firms are understood to have been appointed, split between a smaller number of core firms and a group of general firms. It was the bank’s first panel review since 2016, when DLA Piper and Norton Rose Fulbright lost their spots as the core panel shrunk from ten to eight firms. Continue reading “In-house: CMS bumped as core adviser following Lloyds panel review”

Pay to play – Bluechip clients force law firms to pay to pitch as GCs flex buying power

Pay to play – Bluechip clients force law firms to pay to pitch as GCs flex buying power

Major companies are pressing external counsel to pay to compete for adviser spots in a move set to be resisted by some major law firms. The practice sees law firms paying to be ‘validated’ by a procurement company, effectively pushing the cost of the agency onto the pitching law firms. One prominent case has been National Grid’s ongoing panel review. Santander has also used a comparable model on a recent pitch.

The National Grid panel review, covering a range of work understood to be worth about £12m a year in the UK alone, began six months ago and is due to be finalised at the end of November. Six to ten spots are available on its roster, which is being reduced from 12 advisers. Continue reading “Pay to play – Bluechip clients force law firms to pay to pitch as GCs flex buying power”

Under pressure – Retail GCs fight to adapt to a brutal High Street

Under pressure – Retail GCs fight to adapt to a brutal High Street

The crisis engulfing high-street retailers is showing few signs of abating. May saw the public collapse of almost the entirety of Jamie Oliver’s restaurant eateries, and in June, retail tycoon Philip Green’s Arcadia empire narrowly avoided bankruptcy with a rescue deal severing some 50 clothing stores.

According to data from Deloitte, 125 retailers went into administration last year compared to 118 in 2017, including 26 large companies. Continue reading “Under pressure – Retail GCs fight to adapt to a brutal High Street”

Start-ups in India – Reaping what you sow

Start-ups in India – Reaping what you sow

2018 was a good year for Indian entrepreneurs. The world’s third-largest start-up ecosystem saw its base expand by 12-15% and investor funding grow by 108% year-on-year, as well as a rise in late-stage funding, according to a 2018 report by industry association NASSCOM and consultants Zinnov. This boom was last year enough to hand unicorn status – valuations on young tech companies of more than $1bn – to more than eight Indian companies.

But just a few years ago, things were not quite so rosy. Despite the success of e-commerce wunderkind Flipkart (sold last year to Walmart for $16bn) and its ilk, investment plummeted from $1.42bn to $583m between Q1 and Q2 2016 (according to CB Insights, October 2016) and businesses started to go under. Continue reading “Start-ups in India – Reaping what you sow”

The in-house debate: Run the risk

The in-house debate: Run the risk

Is the job of the legal function to be the ringmaster and cheerleader, managing risk and compliance effectively within an organisation? Should it have to win over the hearts and minds of the board just as much as those on the front line? These were the main discussion points of a recent panel debate between nearly 20 in-house lawyers and private practice risk management specialists gathered at Mayer Brown’s London offices this summer.

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David Harrison, Mayer Brown: A common challenge across practice areas is how to move away from historical perceptions of compliance and risk – that this is for the lawyers and could get in the way of the business, with the result that it’s underfunded. It often takes a crisis, typically an investigation or a major breach, for significant resources to be deployed. Continue reading “The in-house debate: Run the risk”