UK legal industry plagued by sexual harassment and bullying, IBA survey finds

UK legal industry plagued by sexual harassment and bullying, IBA survey finds

Law firm culture is again under the spotlight after a survey of almost 7,000 lawyers across 135 countries found sexual harassment and bullying is rife within the legal industry, with the UK reporting above average levels of bullying.

The report, carried out by the International Bar Association, found 62% of female respondents in the UK reported they had been bullied in relation to their employment, alongside 41% of male respondents. These were both ahead of the international levels of bullying, at 55% and 30% respectively. Continue reading “UK legal industry plagued by sexual harassment and bullying, IBA survey finds”

Picking up the pieces – the risk debate gauges the #MeToo era

Picking up the pieces – the risk debate gauges the #MeToo era

A clear focus on a number of #MeToo episodes among City law firms has led to a close examination of culture by risk teams as well as wider discussion of reputational damage and the extent to which this can be measured.

We gathered leading risk experts from some of the UK and international firms in the eye of the storm to debate what steps can be taken not just to deal with reputational fallout but to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Continue reading “Picking up the pieces – the risk debate gauges the #MeToo era”

Market Report: White-Collar Crime – Closing the net on corruption

Market Report: White-Collar Crime – Closing the net on corruption

With deferred prosecution agreements proving a success and the scale of investigations increasing, things have never been busier for corporate crime firms. Anna Cole-Bailey discusses

The consensus among white-collar crime partners is that financial misconduct cases are not going away any time soon. With many investigations historic, they leave deep footprints over time. Continue reading “Market Report: White-Collar Crime – Closing the net on corruption”

No more firsts – Reflections of the first female counsel to the White House

No more firsts – Reflections of the first female counsel to the White House

There can be few legal roles in the US of as much significance and substance as White House counsel. And when Beth Nolan jettisoned film school for law school, she had no idea her eventual career, including serving as White House counsel for President Bill Clinton – the first female to take on the role – would be almost the stuff films are made of.

But the path to what could be termed the ultimate general counsel (GC) role was not an obvious progression for Nolan. Eschewing private practice thanks to an interest in administrative law, she found herself as a junior attorney with the US Department of Justice (DoJ), tasked with working on government ethics. Continue reading “No more firsts – Reflections of the first female counsel to the White House”

Akin rainmakers quit to launch Russia independent in further apocalyptic sign for Western firms

Akin rainmakers quit to launch Russia independent in further apocalyptic sign for Western firms

Lawyers have been speaking for months of a tough environment for international firms in sanction-battered Russia, but no event has been as emblematic as the news in September that two of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s top Moscow partners have quit to launch an independent firm.

Heavyweight litigator Ilya Rybalkin and corporate veteran Suren Gortsunyan launched Rybalkin, Gortsunyan & Partners (RGP), bringing across 11 other fee-earners from their former shop – now left with just 18 lawyers in Moscow.
While the US sanction regime bars US firms from supporting Kremlin-linked oligarchs, speaking to Legal Business Gortsunyan said Russian companies were becoming increasingly less comfortable with instructing Western advisers. Continue reading “Akin rainmakers quit to launch Russia independent in further apocalyptic sign for Western firms”

Grieve on Brexit: No great advantage

Grieve on Brexit: No great advantage

Alex Speirs: Now less than a year out from the UK’s scheduled withdrawal from the EU, how would you characterise the current state of negotiations?

Dominic Grieve: They’re not going well at all. We are not talking the same language. The UK is seeking a bespoke deal recognising our past membership of the EU, our desire to maintain very close links with the EU in a wide range of fields, to have as near frictionless as possible trade in goods and services, and to participate in a vast range of EU peripheral activities. But we want freedom to operate our own immigration policy, not have freedom of movement, the ability to do third-country trade agreements and the ability to deregulate or change the regulatory framework in areas. Continue reading “Grieve on Brexit: No great advantage”

Three new appointments to Supreme Court but still no commercial judges

Three new appointments to Supreme Court but still no commercial judges

While the UK Supreme Court announced today (27 June) that Lady Justice Arden, Lord Justice Kitchin and Lord Justice Sales will be appointed later this year, a lack of commercial expertise at the nation’s highest appeal court has drawn criticism.

The trio’s elevation comes after former deputy president Lord Mance retired this month, with Lord Hughes and Lord Sumption set to retire in August and December respectively. Continue reading “Three new appointments to Supreme Court but still no commercial judges”

Veteran Novartis GC Ehrat steps down over ‘error’ in Trump lawyer agreement

Veteran Novartis GC Ehrat steps down over ‘error’ in Trump lawyer agreement

A longstanding and well-respected member of the in-house community, Felix Ehrat has abruptly stepped down from his role as general counsel (GC) of Swiss healthcare giant Novartis after becoming entangled in a controversy involving US President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer.

Ehrat said in mid-May he would retire from Novartis shortly thereafter. He had been GC and a member of the executive committee at the Basel-based pharmaceuticals company since 2011, but was forced to admit ‘an error’ relating to an agreement between the company and Michael Cohen – Trump’s lawyer. Continue reading “Veteran Novartis GC Ehrat steps down over ‘error’ in Trump lawyer agreement”

Government backs ‘under-funded’ legal AI and data technology with £20m contestable R&D fund

Government backs ‘under-funded’ legal AI and data technology with £20m contestable R&D fund

A £20m government fund for the development of artificial intelligence (AI) and data analysis in law, accounting and insurance is being welcomed as a positive step for what is ‘under-funded and under-thought’ research and development (R&D) in the legal tech space.

Earlier this month, the government launched the fund as part of a wider drive to address challenges through research funding agency UK Research and Innovation and its Innovate UK arm. It is the latest development in the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund which focuses on improving UK science and business innovation. Continue reading “Government backs ‘under-funded’ legal AI and data technology with £20m contestable R&D fund”

Middle East: Mission unaccomplished

Middle East: Mission unaccomplished

‘The Middle East. We will try to make it better, but it is a troubled place’: the words of Donald Trump as he announced the recent military strikes targeting Syrian president Bashar Assad’s chemical weapons facilities. Although there is some truth to his sweeping statement, most of the over 400 million citizens in the 17 countries that comprise the Middle East region beg to differ. While the World Bank estimates that GDP growth in the region slowed from 5% in 2016 to 1.8% in 2017 – fuelled by oil production cuts and geopolitical tensions – this is projected to rebound to 3% in 2018 and 3.2% the following year.

The region’s lawyers point to the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) economies as leading the way, supported by infrastructure investment. ‘It’s a very good time in the region,’ says Doug Peel at White & Case, head of the firm’s Middle East practice, which is spread across five regional offices: Cairo, Riyadh, Doha, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. ‘We are busy all the way around – there’s substantial activity in all the GCC countries and in Egypt.’ Last year White & Case – along with Latham & Watkins – advised JPMorgan, Citi and HSBC on Saudi Arabia’s debut 144A/Reg S Sukuk programme, including the issue of $9bn Sukuk. Continue reading “Middle East: Mission unaccomplished”