Significant matters – Autumn 2019

Agenda |

WeWork picks 11 firms for first EMEA panel

Workspace provider WeWork has launched its first legal panel for the EMEA region with 11 firms for an initial two-year period. The panel includes Addleshaw Goddard, Bird & Bird, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang, DLA Piper, Eversheds Sutherland, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Hogan Lovells, McCann FitzGerald, Shoosmiths and Simmons & Simmons. The panel follows the appointment of Sarah Nelson Smith as its first regional GC, who joined from KFC, where she was European legal chief.

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A no-deal outlook and the law – time for pragmatic pessimism

New Law is as a breed still a lot better at promise than delivery, particularly on claims of providing better value than law firms.

Leader |

We go to press with Parliament and the courts locked in battle with the Government over threats to take the UK into a ‘no-deal’ exit from the European Union (EU). I’m not going to offer political predictions but we are clearly at the point where a disorderly exit from the EU is a very real prospect for the country and the profession. [Continue Reading]

Profile: Elizabeth Messud – Kingfisher

The retail group’s legal director on crossing snow-covered fields in wool boots and why the Russians would just get Brexit done

Profile |

Living at the home of an ancient babushka. Rubbing shoulders with bodyguards on share acquisition deals. Arranging licensing deals so that The Muppets characters can appear on ice cream wrappers in Russia. ‘It’s been a fascinating and varied 25 years of practice, made deeply rich by the experience of different people and their different ways,’ Kingfisher legal director Elizabeth Messud says. ‘There has been many a modest cliff hanger in all I have done.’

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Brexit v Dicey

With Brexit entrenching divisions, Britain’s patchwork constitution is being increasingly pitted against political upheaval. Do legal experts see crisis brewing?

Constitutional law |

Britain has developed an uncharacteristically laid-back attitude to constitutional change, with once-rare reforms to the UK’s ad hoc democratic settlement coming at a startling pace in recent years. The previous Labour administration ushered in varying degrees of devolution in Scotland and Wales, before in 2003 pulling the UK’s highest court out of the House of Lords and into the new Supreme Court (tacked on was reform of the Lord Chancellor’s historic role). The process of further EU integration under the Maastricht Treaty, not to mention Labour’s 1998 Human Rights Act, which gave domestic force to the European Convention on Human Rights, also had significant impact.

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Under pressure

With no end in sight to high-street closures and job losses, IHL talks to retail GCs about the fight to adapt

Retail |

The crisis engulfing high-street retailers is showing few signs of abating. May saw the public collapse of almost the entirety of Jamie Oliver’s restaurant eateries and, in June, retail tycoon Philip Green’s Arcadia empire narrowly avoided bankruptcy with a rescue deal severing some 50 clothing stores. [Continue Reading]


Reaping what you sow

We look at the challenges and opportunities present for entrepreneurs within India’s burgeoning start-up ecosystem

India |

2018 was a good year for Indian entrepreneurs. The world’s third-largest start-up ecosystem saw its base expand by 12-15% and investor funding grow by 108% year-on-year, as well as a rise in late-stage funding, according to a 2018 report by industry association NASSCOM and consultants Zinnov. This boom was last year enough to hand unicorn status – valuations on young tech companies of more than $1bn – to more than eight Indian companies. [Continue Reading]


The clean-up crew

In-house litigation teams vary markedly in size even at the most regulated companies, but they have taken on more authority and are managing disputes closer to home

Litigation |

It is a complex world. Globalisation, increasingly interconnected economies, decades of tougher regulation and, yes, frenetic levels of law making across the world mean that getting business right is harder than ever and not all the proliferating risks can be managed. [Continue Reading]


Dealing with no deal

With a no-deal Brexit on 31 October now a realistic prospect, we assess how the top UK law firms are preparing

Brexit |

Simon Davis has had quite a start to his one-year term as the 175th president of the Law Society of England and Wales. Taking office just a few weeks before Boris Johnson was appointed prime minister in July, the Clifford Chance (CC) litigation partner faced the reality of a nation that was heading for a cliff-edge exit from the EU, with major potential disruption for its legal industry.
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The waiting game

Will opt-out competition actions shake up the dynamics of consumer claims facing major companies? A key court ruling awaits

Competition market briefing |

Competition litigation has certainly become a hot topic in litigation circles, thanks largely to marquee disputes like the £14bn group claim launched against Mastercard.
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