As he does every year, Stewarts’ head of commercial litigation, Clive Zietman, prepares to address an assembly of disputes partners. It is a customary annual strategy meeting, where the firm attempts to make sense of the market. But he encounters a familiar problem.
‘I’ve become notorious for saying “I don’t have a crystal ball” when predicting market trends. My wife is into all that stuff, so one year I literally took in a crystal ball. It still didn’t work. All I can say is this: things often don’t pan out the way you think they will.’ Continue reading “What’s next?”
‘It’s been challenging for everyone. Whether you’re living alone, or with children who need homeschooling, with teenagers who need emotional support or you’re caring for elderly parents – no-one has been unaffected,’ says Slaughter and May real estate head Jane Edwarde on the impact the last year has had on the profession. ‘A year is a very long time for any human being.’
Like many aspects of all of our lives, the way law firms operate has been turned on its head over the last 12 turbulent months. Gone (for the time being at least) is any stigma that working from home is less productive than long hours in a busy office, but gone too are the career benefits of spontaneous social interaction with clients and colleagues, and any semblance of a divide between work and home life. Continue reading “‘Living at work’ – the lessons for law firms from a year at home”
In times of stress and unpredictability, it pays to be conservative. Most sensible investors will plump for safe havens during troubled times. So is Africa a senseless gamble?
Some 20 years after the term ‘Africa rising’ began to enter the world’s consciousness, the continent still delivers a plentiful supply of extreme volatility and complexity, intimidating factors that seep into deals, projects and other legal engagements. It is not a benign environment for law firms. Continue reading “Africa focus: Africa first”
Morais Leitão’s Claudia Santos Cruz on recent legal developments and the future of the Angolan oil industry in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic
For a brief period in 2009, Angola was Africa’s largest oil producer with production reaching two million barrels per day. Current production is around 1.37 million barrels per day. This reduction is generally attributed to a general reduction in production; low oil prices and more recently Covid-19 pandemic effects. Continue reading “Sponsored briefing: Angola – getting back in the game”
As Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc, many countries face both an economic and a health crisis. But for Turkey, the concept of crisis is nothing new: it has long been part of everyday life. The current malaise, which predates the pandemic, has its origins in the attempted coup of 2016 and the government’s authoritarian response: over 300 people were killed and 75,000 arrested, including 2,700 judges. Such coups d’état have punctuated Turkey’s historical narrative in every decade since the 1960s. More recently, there was the currency and debt crisis of 2018, which saw the credit rating agencies downgrade Turkey’s debt to junk status.
Notwithstanding these difficulties, President Erdoğan is still firmly in control. Added to the $120bn in infrastructure spending since 2003, new highways and rail links are planned. Turkey’s $730bn economy, the world’s 20th-largest, even managed to expand slightly last year. But problems persist: inflation at 15% and interest rates recently hiked to 19%, while the Turkish Lira’s precipitous decline against the US dollar has sparked an exodus of foreign capital. In an effort to boost tourism, one of the country’s strongest sectors, Turkey announced that it would be the first country to accept British holidaymakers without Covid checks. Despite Erdoğan’s promises to cut inflation in an attempt to restore confidence, sustained turbulence undermines the country’s economic credibility. Continue reading “Turkey focus: Crisis, what crisis?”
Covid-19 has disrupted almost every sector of the economy. Dr Peter Allinson, chief executive of Davitt Jones Bould, asks whether the pandemic has acted as an accelerant to fundamental shifts already at play in the legal profession, and offers his perception of a growing spirit of collaboration in the industry
While the last 12 months has seen as much disruption as any of us have witnessed in our careers, it remains true that the legal profession is used to weathering adverse business cycles. My observation, drawing on many years’ experience, is that the most resilient firms are those that have a strong sense of who they are, what they do best, and truly where their core business is. If that is the case, then they can ride out the worst of the ‘boom and bust’ and avoid the need to treat their people as a ‘disposable’ item. Continue reading “Sponsored briefing: Are we on the cusp of an evolution in the legal sector, when collaborative ways of working between firms will become the norm?”
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher has responded to the ever-increasing demand for environmental, social and governance (ESG) capabilities with the launch of a specialised practice fronted by a team of its lawyers out of the US and London.
The new offering – aimed at providing clients with holistic advice on corporate responsibility, risks and opportunities – will be led by London partners Susy Bullock and Selina Sagayam, Dallas senior of counsel Ronald Kirk, Los Angeles partner Perlette Jura, and Washington DC partners Elizabeth Ising and Michael Murphy. Continue reading “Gibson Dunn embraces zeitgeist with launch of transatlantic ESG practice”
‘Anyone who says they’re not struggling would be lying,’ says Tim Pearce, global managing partner of Bedell Cristin, referring to the Jersey market. ‘Every sector of the economy and every business has struggled or suffered as a result of Covid, though businesses have struggled in different ways. Some financially, others socially. Others are struggling in terms of pure management. But for us, and indeed for the offshore industry as a whole, we’ve weathered the storm OK so far.’
Pearce’s cautiously optimistic outlook reverberates throughout the discussions with partners across the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey in the Channel Islands archipelago and the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea to the north – the jurisdictions collectively known as the Crown Dependencies. Unlike the UK, domestic property is booming, buoyed by numerous factors. ‘In times of crisis, people invest in what they know,’ says Pearce. ‘People are looking for safe havens right now and property in all of our offshore jurisdictions is benefiting from that.’ Continue reading “UK offshore report: Staying afloat”
The Caribbean’s offshore financial centres have faced their fair share of challenges in recent years thanks to the increased international scrutiny of the tax haven environments, the impact of falling oil prices and the business interruption caused by the seemingly endless cycle of hurricanes, which sees the region bear the brunt of the ever-pervasive impact of climate change. Add to that a global pandemic, and there’s certainly the potential for a substantial economic disaster.
While the Covid-19 infection numbers for the Caribbean as a whole have remained low thanks to quick action by the local governments to close borders, enact temporary lockdowns and implement testing and contact tracing methods, the primary impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Caribbean is undoubtedly on tourism. For Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and the Cayman Islands (Cayman), the tourism industry contributes 28%, 52% and 70% of the average GDP respectively and figures suggest that, at worst, 2020 could see a 71% reduction in the number of international visitors. Continue reading “Caribbean offshore report: End of the storm?”
The back-to-school feel in the City is unmistakable, not least because the actual schools are back, as major law firms attempt to find something like normality in an environment that remains a few standard deviations from the norm.
In some ways it was ever thus come the end of August. As one law firm leader remarks: ‘I said to our FD: “September will be crucial,” and was swiftly was reminded I’ve said that for the last five years.’ This has always been the defining period for law firms’ financial year, just more so now. So, how’s it looking out there? Continue reading “‘The top firms can hardly believe it’ – City law firms are quietly gathering momentum amid the uncertainty”