‘A dense population in extreme distress inhabits an island’ – that is how Disraeli began to define the Irish Question in the Commons in 1844. Without much hyperbole, it also defines the current state of the UK. Over halfway through the two-year time limit prescribed by article 50, but with no Brexit deal in sight, the Irish Question still resonates: now less about a united independent Ireland, rather more about an independent but divided Britain.
The Irish Republic, whose economy and culture are closer to the UK than any other, is the only EU member state that also shares a land border. Resolving this 310-mile conundrum – maintaining the open border guaranteed by the Good Friday Agreement while finessing its position in the EU single market and customs union – has become a fault line between the government in London and EU leaders. The Irish taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, has ruled out tripartite talks on the issue and rejected Theresa May’s suggestion that customs arrangements on the US-Canada border could provide a post-Brexit model. Continue reading “The Brexit countdown – The Irish question”
Disruption looms as James Wood reports on first European conference for CLOC
Richard Susskind must have lost count of the number of times he has spoken about the future of law, but in his introductory remarks to the 2018 CLOC EMEA Institute gathering in London he seemed cheerfully off balance. Many of the concepts Susskind has prophesied are now realities at large US companies and even sceptics would concede that the emergence of sophisticated legal operations teams feels like a decisive shift for the industry.
Continue reading “Evolutionary forces – US body for legal ops hits Europe as new breed of client emerges”
The train puns were inevitable, but it took longer than expected. Towards the end of my conversation with the general counsel (GC) of online ticket retailer trainline, Neil Murrin, he says: ‘It’s a matter of getting people to join us on that journey.’ And adds: ‘Getting people on the right track and all that.’
Coming from a family of medics, Murrin was intent on avoiding a career in health services. He cites his earliest interest in law as originating from seminal-yet-cheesy drama series L.A. Law, in addition to the influence of his solicitor uncle. He recalls: ‘I’ve always been interested in economics and companies. There was an understanding that law gives you a good training in those areas and could move you towards the company side.’ Continue reading “Client profile: Neil Murrin, trainline”
Mayer Brown will open a new office in Tokyo next year after hiring the former head of Ashurst’s Tokyo office.
Rupert Burrows, Ashurst Tokyo’s former managing partner, will lead a new team at Mayer Brown as it looks to expand its offering in Japan in 2018. Continue reading “International round-up: Mayer Brown launches in Japan as Mills & Reeve cements European ties”
Latham and Cleary advise as Siemens and Alstom combine
US law firms took the lead as Siemens agreed to combine its transport operations with former rival Alstom in a merger of equals to counter the threat from China to the European railway industry. Continue reading “US firms lead in Europe as Franco-German merger creates new rail giant”
Freshfields and K&E act on Monarch administration
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s restructuring chief Ken Baird and finance partner Catherine Balmond led the team advising KPMG as Monarch Airlines filed for administration. Kirkland & Ellis and Reed Smith advised the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), while Stephenson Harwood acted for the Pension Protection Fund. Continue reading “Autumn dealwatch: Euro mega deals keep Magic Circle busy”