This year’s winner of the highly coveted award for the leading individual advisor in Switzerland is Philippe Pulfer, who heads the Geneva private client practice at Walder Wyss.
Showcasing ‘best of breed’ providers in the global private banking, wealth management and trusted advisor communities, the awards were designed to recognise companies, teams and individuals which the prestigious panel of judges deemed to have ‘demonstrated innovation and excellence during 2017’. As one of the founding partners and main driving force of the successful launch of Walder Wyss in Geneva two years ago, Philippe has managed to combine successfully his and his team’s entrepreneurial aspirations with the excellence of his widely recognized private client practice.
Experienced offshore litigator Jennifer Fox has rejoined Ogier’s growing Cayman Dispute Resolution team.
Jennifer is the fifth new addition to the ten-strong team since October, following the arrival of Harneys’ former head of litigation Marc Kish, and new associates Deborah Barker Roye (formerly from the English Bar and Deputy Director of the Cayman Islands Law School and author of the leading Cayman text on civil litigation), Gemma Lardner (from Harneys) and Britt Smith (from Baker & McKenzie).
With more than ten years’ experience offshore after practising at the English Bar, Jennifer, who rejoins the team as a managing associate, has broad offshore disputes expertise in Cayman and the BVI in contentious insolvency matters, complex civil fraud claims, and disputes involving trusts and investment funds.
Partner Rachael Reynolds, who leads the Cayman Dispute Resolution team, said: “We are all very pleased to welcome Jennifer back to the team.
“It is an exciting time at Ogier and in the Cayman team in particular, where we have seen growth in the partnership and at associate level, and where we continue to win instructions on the jurisdiction’s most significant and high value disputes.”
Jennifer has previously acted for a defendant to the US$9.2bn Saad fraud litigation, advised on the Winsway restructuring of its offshore bond debt (involving an unprecedented complex BVI scheme of arrangement with a parallel scheme in Hong Kong and Chapter 15 relief in New York), acted for the liquidators of Fairfield Sentry (which was the largest offshore feeder fund into Madoff), and advised numerous distressed funds.
UK law firm TLT has appointed disputes partner John Paul Sheridan as its new head of Scotland
John Paul has been with the firm since joining as a trainee in 1998 and is a respected commercial litigator, supporting clients in the financial services and real estate sectors. He is also a solicitor advocate with rights of audience in the Court of Session and the UK Supreme Court.
He succeeds Tom McEntegart, who oversaw the successful 2012 merger and subsequent integration of legacy Scottish firm Anderson Fyfe with TLT. Tom will continue to play a key role in the development of the firm’s offering to the financial services sector in Scotland.
John Paul Sheridan, Head of Scotland, TLT said:
“We’ve had an impressive period of rapid growth across the UK. In Scotland this has meant broadening our expertise and offering to clients, from a recognised heritage in banking & finance disputes and real estate to include areas like employment, licensing, and energy & renewables. This is an exciting time for the business and I’m looking forward to building on the strong platform that Tom has delivered, to realise our ambitious growth plans for the future.”
Kinstellar is pleased to announce that it has successfully advised United Bulgarian Bank (“UBB”) and Cibank on their merger. The transaction follows UBB’s acquisition by KBC Group in 2017. Our team in Sofia has worked on the merger documentation, including obtaining the regulatory approvals from the Bulgarian National Bank, as well as on the related employment and corporate law aspects.
The newly formed bank has, as a result of the merger, assets exceeding BGN 11 billion (EUR 5.6 billion), a larger branch network throughout Bulgaria and a wider range of products and services, focused on individuals and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). UBB’s offering in Bulgaria will also capitalise on the support of the international banking group КBC.
The Kinstellar team comprised Diana Dimova (Partner), Svilen Issaev (Counsel), Nina Tsifudina (Managing Associate) and Stiliyana Ivanova (Associate).
The merger followed the EUR 610 million acquisition of UBB and Interlease by KBC Group in 2017 where Kinstellar acted as main legal advisor to KBC Group. This was the most significant M&A transaction in the Bulgarian financial sector in recent years.
Kinstellar has successfully advised B2 KAPITAL on the acquisition of a €119bn unsecured retail NPL portfolio from MONETA Money Bank. Kinstellar provided advice in connection with the bidding process, as well as with negotiations over the loan, sale and purchase agreement, servicing agreement and other transaction agreements.
The portfolio consists of approximately 28,000 loans and has an aggregate nominal value of €119bn. The portfolio was sold by Moneta Money Bank, a leading retail and SME bank in the Czech Republic.
The Kinstellar team was led by Jan Juroška (Partner) and Martina Březinová (Counsel) with Martina Mazurková (Associate) acting as a key team member.
Three Gowling WLG partners from Canada and the United Arab Emirates are among the 2018 recipients of the Client Choice Awards, presented by the International Law Office in partnership with Lexology.
Todd Burke and Robert A MacDonald of Ottawa and Jon Parker of Dubai were distinguished for their unwavering commitment to client service and impressive ability to deliver practical solutions to complex problems.
The client is the copyright owner of the novel Candle in the Tomb. The defendant used the main characters and the taboos and rules of grave robbing in the novel to compose new works without permission and authorization, and conducted unfair competition in the publication and distribution of books.
East & Concord played the role of attorney in the first and second instance.
A new problem in the copyright field: the original author continued writing of novels. The original author used the main characters and the taboos and rules of grave robbing in the novel to compose a new work The Jiuyou General in Mo Jin Xiao Wei after he assigned all property rights in the novel Candle in the Tomb to Xuanting Company. Whether it constitutes copyright infringement and unfair competition or not?
A new problem in the copyright field: fan-fiction. The original author authorized other people to use the main characters and the taboos and rules of grave robbing in the novel to compose new works—four fan-fictions named “Royal Liuren” after he assigned all property rights in the novel Candle in the Tomb to Xuanting Company. Whether it constitutes copyright infringement and unfair competition or not?
Clifford Chance is the first magic circle firm to adopt the United Nations’ (UN) standards of conduct to promote equality for LGBTI people in the workplace.
The firm has joined Baker McKenzie in signing up to the agreements, as well as BNP Paribas, the Coca-Cola Company, EDF, Gap, Godrej, IKEA, Microsoft and SAP.
According to the five ideals, businesses should respect the human rights of LGBTI workers; eliminate workplace discrimination; support LGBTI employees at work; prevent discrimination and related abuses and stand up for the human rights of LGBTI people in the communities where companies do business.
Clifford Chance managing partner Matthew Layton said: “This isn’t just a question of ethics, it is about our ongoing commitment to be a responsible and responsive business.
“Excluding anyone from any group holds everyone back, and every moment that someone spends worrying about what their colleagues or clients might think of who they are is a moment wasted.”
Earlier this month, The Lawyer revealed that 17 law firms were named on Stonewall’s list of top 100 employers for LGBT staff. Pinsent Masons ranked second after Lloyds Banking Group. Other firms to feature on the list include Clifford Chance, which came fourth; Baker McKenzie, which came seventh; BLP, which came in eighth place, and Norton Rose Fulbright, which ranked tenth.
The other firms included are Dentons, Hogan Lovells, Herbert Smith Freehills, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, CMS, Cameron McKenna, DWF, K&L Gates, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Travers Smith, Eversheds, Slaughter and May and Reed Smith.
A final firm, Simmons & Simmons, is not ranked in the list but recognised as a ‘star performer’, an accolade handed out to employers that have demonstrated “unwavering efforts to create inclusive workplaces where staff can bring their whole selves to work.”
A German law firm has introduced a workload management app for its employees, with a panic button for lawyers who are feeling overworked.
The employment firm Pusch Wahlig, which was set up by former Baker McKenzie and Allen & Overy lawyer Tobias Pusch in 2006, worked with Berlin developer Push Creative Ventures to create the app. It allows lawyers to input their expected workload on any given day in the coming week, and instantly auto-ranks them by availability.
“From the very beginning, we wanted to do some things differently from the top-tier firms while still providing same high level of employment law advice to global companies,” Pusch told The Lawyer.
“We wanted to give women a stronger role in the firm and for our people to have a life as well as exciting job with demanding clients. That was at the heart of our firm from its foundation. We introduced some work-life balance initiatives such as a flexible working programme, and we also have a ‘no silo’ policy – so all associates work for all partners, something that helps us balance the workload of associates better.
“To manage that system effectively I decided we needed to have an app. We do everything on our smartphones; why not manage workload that way too?”
“Now when I have a new instruction from a client, I don’t have to go out and talk to everyone individually to see who has more availability; I can steer work towards those who have most capacity.”
The app includes a ‘panic button’ for fee-earners so that they can request help from colleagues if they are facing a work overload.
If any fee-earner, partner or associate, has too much on their plate and has no time to go round the office and ask for help, they can press the button. They will be pushed to the top of the list and a warning light flashes.
Pusch says use of the app is not mandatory but the take-up is 98 per cent. “People love it. It takes five to 10 seconds to show your availability, so it saves a lot of time. Previously, you would you would have to write an email asking, ‘Who can can help me? Please reply’ and there would be an inevitable time-lag and a lot of chatter before you found someone.”
“It is basically putting our culture into an app. There has always been an understanding here that when you leave the office you check your colleagues are okay. The app helps us to help with that.”
The system has attracted attention from other members of the L&E Global network of specialist employment firms that Pusch Wahlig is a part of. “Our Canadian partner is very interested,” says Pusch; “it will be one of the key items of discussion in their next partner meeting.”
Work allocation is a perennial topic of contention in the profession and many UK law firms are looking at the topic anew, with a number utilising technology and introducing the new role of ‘work allocation manager’ to help make the process more fair.
Germany’s Pusch Wahlig is one of the shortlisted firms for the upcoming European Awards 2018. The winners will be announced at our glittering ceremony on 15 March 2018. Book your place here, and find out more about our shortlist here.