Adviser reviews: Lucozade Ribena Suntory completes first post-merger panel

Adviser reviews: Lucozade Ribena Suntory completes first post-merger panel

Eversheds Sutherland has won the role of primary UK and Ireland adviser in Lucozade Ribena Suntory’s (LRS) inaugural legal panel review, with nine other firms also making the cut.

The review was a first for general counsel (GC) Mary Guest since joining the drinks giant from Magic Circle firm Linklaters in June 2017, and it is also the first since LRS was formed after Lucozade and Ribena were acquired by Suntory for £1.35bn in 2013. Eversheds will be top of the list for general matters, with the remaining nine firms offering more specialist advice. Continue reading “Adviser reviews: Lucozade Ribena Suntory completes first post-merger panel”

Travers makes pension play with Sackers hire as KFC GC Nelson-Smith decamps to WeWork

Travers makes pension play with Sackers hire as KFC GC Nelson-Smith decamps to WeWork

Travers Smith has made a rare lateral play with the hire of Sebastian Reger to its pensions sector group as KFC loses highly-regarded general counsel (GC) Sarah Nelson-Smith to WeWork.

Travers announced today (20 September) that Reger will be joining the firm from pensions boutique Sackers & Partners, where he had been a partner since 2015 in the finance and investment team. Reger started his career at Magic Circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Continue reading “Travers makes pension play with Sackers hire as KFC GC Nelson-Smith decamps to WeWork”

‘Europe’s waking up to legal tech’: another hefty funding round as start-up Apperio raises $10m

‘Europe’s waking up to legal tech’: another hefty funding round as start-up Apperio raises $10m

Legal tech start-up Apperio is switching to growth mode after closing a $10m funding round that will enable it to double in size to 40 staff and expedite further expansion into the US market.

Apperio, founded in 2013 and formerly called Legal Tender, is a platform that provides companies with real-time transparency on legal fees while tracking matters. It can also be used to assess and monitor law firm performance: features which combine to both manage in-house budgets and help general counsel (GC) show value. Continue reading “‘Europe’s waking up to legal tech’: another hefty funding round as start-up Apperio raises $10m”

Deal watch: Westfield GC exits for something ‘very different’ as takeover completes while DLA lands Poundworld administration role

Deal watch: Westfield GC exits for something ‘very different’ as takeover completes while DLA lands Poundworld administration role

Retail’s high street struggles are keeping advisers in the sector busy, as multiple firms took roles on the £18.5bn takeover of Westfield Corporation and DLA Piper took the lead on the administration of discount retailer Poundworld.

A host of firms across the globe advised as French property company, Unibail-Rodamco, completed its acquisition of shopping centre operator Westfield last week, in a deal first announced late last year. The combined $72bn entity owns and operates 102 shopping centres in 13 countries, the majority of which are in Europe and the US. Continue reading “Deal watch: Westfield GC exits for something ‘very different’ as takeover completes while DLA lands Poundworld administration role”

Virtual Fear and Loathing – Can GCs get law firms to collaborate on tech?

Virtual Fear and Loathing – Can GCs get law firms to collaborate on tech?

Clichés abound over the stereotypical contrast between stuffy lawyers and progressive tech start-up gurus. Clearly law firms – whose liberal and often misplaced use of the term ‘innovation’ often adds fuel to the fire – have plenty of work to do. At the same time, some clients are far more insistent on innovation from their external advisers than others.

To what extent is this true? Are clients really driving a technological shake-out in the procurement of legal services? As Stuart Whittle, business services director at Weightmans, says: ‘The appetite varies massively among clients. Some want a solution on a stick while others are willing to invest time in tech and work with start-ups. They are all doing their own things and they are subjected to all kinds of pressures.’ Continue reading “Virtual Fear and Loathing – Can GCs get law firms to collaborate on tech?”

Fly like an Eagle: Barclays joins raft of firms with City law-tech incubator launch

Fly like an Eagle: Barclays joins raft of firms with City law-tech incubator launch

Banking giant Barclays is joining the trio of law firms which have already introduced forms of legal technology incubators by launching its own space for the rapidly-growing UK legal start-up market, which received about £16m of investment in the 18 months from 2016.

The 100-person law-tech Eagle Lab in London’s Notting Hill is backed by 13 law firms and several other industry players including the Law Society, PwC, start-up community Legal Geek, as well as the University of Liverpool and University College London. Continue reading “Fly like an Eagle: Barclays joins raft of firms with City law-tech incubator launch”

Preparing for Brexit – alternative provider Axiom launches new AI as deadline looms

Preparing for Brexit – alternative provider Axiom launches new AI as deadline looms

Marking the 365-day countdown to Brexit, alternative legal services provider Axiom has today (29 March) launched a purpose-built service to aid companies revise millions of financial services contracts as the pressure to update paperwork increases with the UK’s exit from the EU looming.

Designed specifically for in-house legal teams, the service, named ‘BrexitBridge’, will incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) to help companies update and rewrite their contracts they begin one of the largest contract-renewal endeavours ever undertaken. Continue reading “Preparing for Brexit – alternative provider Axiom launches new AI as deadline looms”

Higher learning

Higher learning

1998 seems like a lifetime ago, where e-commerce was a fantasy for ordinary people just discovering the internet. Yet 1998 was year zero for the European Union’s Data Protection Directive – the basis for legislation protecting personal data across member states today.

But over the past two decades, digitalisation has detonated a data explosion, giving rise to data mining on a level of sophistication and scale that was unthinkable at the time the directive was conceived. In keeping with the spirit of our globalised age, data, like everything else, is ‘big’ – and so are the threats.

Continue reading “Higher learning”

Guest post: What happens to Anna when companies merge?

Guest post: What happens to Anna when companies merge?

This is not a piece written from the perspective of a project manager or a strategist. Neither am I writing a worthy best practice guide. What I would like to do is to take you into a small world occupied by one person. She is an in-house lawyer. Let’s call her Anna.

Anna has worked for the Medium-Sized-But-Mighty-Fine (MSBMF) pharmaceutical business for the last five years. It was only very small when she started, but MSBMF has grown quickly after two of its products became market-leading. Continue reading “Guest post: What happens to Anna when companies merge?”

Gibson Dunn finance veteran Gillespie departs for investment business as GC

Gibson Dunn finance veteran Gillespie departs for investment business as GC

City finance veteran Stephen Gillespie has left Gibson Dunn & Crutcher after three years to join international investment business  Letterone Holdings as its general counsel.

One of the biggest names in his field with more than 25 years’ experience at London’s most celebrated US and Magic Circle firms, Gillespie joined Gibson in December 2014 from Kirkland & Ellis as part of the LA-headquartered firm’s substantial push to bring on board heavyweight advisers for its London office, becoming co-chair of its global finance team. Continue reading “Gibson Dunn finance veteran Gillespie departs for investment business as GC”