Deloitte comments on ONS retail sales

In this press release references to “Deloitte” are references to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”) a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity.

Commenting on today’s ONS retail sales figures, Ian Geddes, head of retail at Deloitte, said: “Retail sales continued to struggle in May, despite both values and volumes rising by 11.8% and 12% compared to April. In a month that saw two bank holiday weekends, some easing of outdoor social gatherings, and warmer weather for many, retailers may have been looking for the first green shoots of recovery to make up for lost ground in March and April.

“Overall food sales values were flat, at +0.3% month-on-month, but, whilst grocers may have hoped for stronger food sales in what is traditionally the start of barbecue season, online grocery sales remain strong, up by 21.1% compared to April and now accounting for 11.3% of all food sales. More encouragingly, non-food sales are up month-on-month in both value (+24.2%) and volume (+23.7%) for the first time since lockdown, which, for some, will mark the early signs of ‘normality’ for this time of year. However, 41.5% of non-food sales occurred online in May, up from 15.8% in February 2020 before lockdown.

“A wider disparity between online and in-store sales remains this month in spite of garden centre and hardware store re-openings. Total online sales stood at 33.4% this month, beating April’s record sales, though this is unlikely to have offset sales usually seen in-store over this period. In addition to household goods, purchases have also likely been driven by beauty products and, more notably, clothing items as many consumers continue to work from home, with an increased requirement for video conferencing and a more relaxed ‘work’ wardrobe.

“Looking ahead, as non-essential retailers begin to phase-in store reopening plans, some consumer anxiety will remain. During lockdown, consumers have pivoted to fewer but bigger food shops. Whether this trend will also translate into non-food remains to be seen. For retailers, there are two options: a difficult balancing act to between re-creating a familiar shopping experience whilst implementing and maintaining strict new hygiene practices, or innovating and re-inventing the shopping experience for a post-COVID-19 world. Deloitte data shows that 46% of UK consumers currently feel safe visiting a store, but building on this confidence will be key for drawing more shoppers back to the High Street over the coming months.”

Norton Rose Fulbright launches NRF Covid Resolve platform

Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has today launched NRF Covid Resolve, a new online legal framework and process for expedited dispute resolution.

COVID-19 has made it difficult for many companies to perform some of their contractual obligations, giving rise to a high number of corporate disputes, particularly relating to the application of force majeure and change in law provisions.

Commercial contracts usually prescribe formal, lengthy and costly modes of dispute resolution. In the current crisis, the overriding need in many cases is to ‘get back to business’ quickly in a way which is still fair to all parties. ADR is being actively encouraged to avoid a deluge of post-COVID-19 litigations.

At the same time, due to the wider financial impact of the pandemic – particularly in the energy sector with the oil price crash – many in-house legal departments are under pressure to conserve legal spend.

To tackle this challenge, a taskforce of energy and disputes lawyers at Norton Rose Fulbright worked with NRF Transform – the firm’s global change and innovation programme – to develop NRF Covid Resolve. It is a dispute resolution process supported through a single online platform, that aims to achieve an outcome for each dispute within four to six weeks. The process can be used for both disputes between companies, or for disputes between companies within the same group, operating in both civil law and common law jurisdictions. Its fixed price allows users to effectively plan and control their budgets.

Parties may opt for a mediation process only, a mediation process followed by documents only arbitration or an arbitration only. The mediators and arbitrators are selected from a pre-agreed panel of independent sector specialists available through the platform.

Anne Lapierre, Norton Rose Fulbright’s Global Head of Energy and developer of NRF Covid Resolve, commented: “The energy industry faces unprecedented challenges from COVID-19, compounded by the wider transformation of the sector as it undertakes the essential transition away from fossil fuels. As such, we feel it our duty to come up with practical solutions to help clients get back to what they do best as quickly as possible. Our unique solution to managing the influx of disputes will do exactly that. Taking this product from conception to launch in under two months is an achievement in which our energy and disputes lawyers should take great pride.”

Neil Q Miller, a London-based energy disputes partner, said: “Businesses, governments, judiciary and commentators have all emphasised the need for a different approach to resolve the volume of potential claims arising from COVID-19. Many such disputes are not suited to lengthy, procedurally burdensome and costly traditional dispute resolution methods, with businesses being damaged by the impasse created from managing many live disputes with no way of efficiently resolving them. NRF Covid Resolve allows clients through their legal departments to adopt a fast track process and effectively plan, manage and resolve these claims whilst controlling external legal spend, which is a priority now more than ever.”

David Carter, Chief Product Officer for Norton Rose Fulbright and global lead for NRF Transform, commented: “The impact of COVID-19 meant clients needed a solution rapidly or it would be too late to help. Our outstanding team of NRF Transform product managers, legal designers, business analysts, solutions architects and developers delivered a technical solution matching our lawyers’ vision. Simplicity was key; the intuitive platform is easy to access and navigate.”

The platform will be rolled out first to clients in the energy sector, with plans for the mediator and arbitrator panel to expand over the coming weeks so clients in all sectors can benefit.

Eversheds Sutherland attorneys named among best in United States

Eversheds Sutherland is pleased to announce that 19 practice areas and 99 attorneys have been recognised in the 2020 edition of The Legal 500 United States, a comprehensive survey of legal service providers. For more than 25 years, the series has provided feedback on law firms from more than 100 countries.

Also this year, The Legal 500 named 11 attorneys to its elite “Leading Lawyers” list. Lee C. Davis and Jennifer Wheatley Fletcher were recognised in the Construction category; Adam B. Cohen and Vanessa A. Scott were recognised in the Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation and Retirement Plans category; James R. Dwyer and Cynthia R. Shoss were recognised in the Insurance: Non-contentious category; Jeffrey A. Friedman and Jerome B. Libin were recognised in Tax – US Taxes: Contentious; Robert D. Owen was recognised in the Dispute Resolution – E-discovery category; Wade H. Stribling was recognised in M&A/Corporate and Commercial – M&A: Middle-market (sub-$500m); and Peter C. Quittmeyer was recognised in the Technology: Outsourcing category.

Eversheds Sutherland received national rankings in:

  • Dispute Resolution – E-discovery
  • Dispute Resolution – General Commercial Disputes
  • Finance – Financial Services: Regulation
  • Finance – Structured Finance: Derivatives and Structured Products
  • Industry Focus – Energy Regulation: Conventional Power
  • Industry Focus – Energy Regulation: Oil & Gas
  • Industry Focus – Energy: Renewable/Alternative Power
  • Industry Focus – Energy Transactions: Conventional Power
  • Industry Focus – Insurance: Non-contentious
  • Intellectual Property – Patent: Patent Prosecution (including re-examination and post-grant proceedings)
  • Labour and Employment – Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation and Retirement Plans
  • M&A/Corporate and Commercial – M&A: Middle-market (sub-$500m)
  • Media, Technology and Telecoms – Fintech
  • Media, Technology and Telecoms – Technology: Outsourcing
  • Real Estate and Construction – Construction (including construction litigation)
  • Real Estate and Construction – Real Estate
  • Tax – International Tax
  • Tax – US Taxes: Contentious
  • Tax – US Taxes: Non-contentious

About Eversheds Sutherland

As a global top 10 law practice, Eversheds Sutherland provides legal services to a global client base ranging from small and mid-sized businesses to the largest multinationals, acting for 75 of the Fortune 100, 68 of the FTSE 100 and 113 of the Fortune 200.

With more than 3,000 lawyers, Eversheds Sutherland operates in 70 offices in 34 jurisdictions across Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the United States. In addition, a network of more than 200 related law firms, including formalised alliances in Latin America, Asia Pacific and Africa, provide support around the globe.

Eversheds Sutherland provides the full range of legal services, including corporate and M&A; dispute resolution and litigation; energy and infrastructure; finance; human capital and labour law; intellectual property; real estate and construction; and tax.

Eversheds Sutherland comprises two separate legal entities: Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP (headquartered in the UK) and Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP (headquartered in the US), and their respective controlled, managed, affiliated and member firms. The use of the name Eversheds Sutherland is for description purposes only and does not imply that the member firms or their controlled, managed or affiliated entities are in a partnership or are part of a global LLP.

Duane Morris Cannabis Industry Group Recognised by Business Insider

Duane Morris has been named a top law firm for cannabis law by Business Insider. The publication reached out to 29 players in the cannabis industry, from VCs to start-ups to multistate operators, to get their take on the best law firms in the industry.

Firm Profile from the Publication

Founded: 1904

Involved in cannabis: 2015

Recommended by: Panther Opportunity Fund, Salveo Capital

About: Duane Morris’ cannabis industry group, which has been around since 2015, is led by Seth A. Goldberg (Philadelphia), Tracy Gallegos (San Francisco/Las Vegas) and Paul P. Josephson (Cherry Hill, NJ).

Their clients range from those directly cultivating and selling cannabis products to investors in the industry. A spokesperson for the firm said that the group advises clients in a variety of areas, including regulatory, intellectual property, and litigation law.

If you would like to find out more information, please visit the Business Insider website (subscription required).

Dentons advises on ACS Group’s €500 million NEU-CP Program

Dentons, the world’s largest law firm, has advised Spanish-based multinational construction group, Actividades de Construcción y Servicios, S.A. (ACS), on the renewal of its €500 million Negotiable European Commercial Paper (NEU-CP) Program. The NEU-CP program is registered with the Central Bank of France, with the involvement of BNP Paribas, BRED Banque Populaire, Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, ING Bank N.V. and Natixis, as dealers for the Notes.

Headquartered in Madrid, the ACS Group is a worldwide leader in construction and services. It is currently the only non-financial issuer with a NEU-CP Program registered with the Central Bank of France.

Dentons’ Capital Markets group in Madrid advised ACS on all aspects of the transaction. Partner Ignacio Corujo led and coordinated the transaction with the support of junior associate Ana Artola.

Ignacio Corujo joined Dentons in January this year to establish and lead the Capital Markets group in Spain. In addition to this most recent deal for ACS, he has closed several high-value debt capital markets deals since his move, including most notably, Grupo Cajamar’s €1 billion issuance of mortgage bonds, as well as Sacyr’s renewal of its €500 million EMTN Program.

About Dentons

Dentons is the world’s largest law firm, connecting talent to the world’s challenges and opportunities in more than 75 countries. Dentons’ legal and business solutions benefit from deep roots in our communities and award-winning advancements in client service, including Nextlaw, Dentons’ innovation and strategic advisory services. Dentons’ polycentric and purpose-driven approach, commitment to inclusion and diversity, and world-class talent challenge the status quo to advance client and community interests in the New Dynamic.

Hogan Lovells associate duo named on Yahoo Finance EMpower list

Hogan Lovells associates Sengova Kailondo and Ademola Bamgbose have been named in The EMpower Top 100 Ethnic Minority Future Leader Role Models 2020, which celebrates the achievements of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) business leaders who are helping to make the workplace a more welcoming place for ethnic minority employees.

At Hogan Lovells, London-based banking associate Sengova is an active member of the Steering Committee of our Multicultural Network, as well as our newly established employee network, Race and Ethnicity at Hogan Lovells (REAHL). REAHL focuses on the progression, retention and inclusion of BAME employees.

His efforts helped see an increase in the recruitment of employees from BAME and lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Further, Sengova mentors BAME students through firm programmes in collaboration with Rare Recruitment, a specialist diversity recruitment company, and has spoken on numerous panels to hundreds of students.

He also works with Urban Synergy, an organisation that helps young people reach their full potential, where he inspires students to pursue careers in the City. In addition, he is co-treasurer of NOTICED, the UK’s first inter-firm D&I network aimed at promoting networking opportunities to celebrate diversity across the legal sector.

International arbitration associate Ademola also sits on the steering committee of both our REAHL and Multicultural Networks at Hogan Lovells. Admitted to practice in Nigeria, England and Wales, he has previously undertaken a litigation secondment at a FTSE 100 company in London and spent some time at the ICC Court of Arbitration in Paris and a leading commercial law firm in Lagos.

Ademola mentors BAME lawyers and students and takes a front seat in driving Hogan Lovells’s diversity and inclusion agenda. He co-founded Africa Arbitration, a platform designed to promote black practitioners across the globe. He is a Regional Representative (Africa) at the London Court of International Arbitration – Young International Arbitration Group, director of the Africa Arbitration Academy and Honorary Lecturer (international arbitration) at Nigeria’s premier university, University of Ibadan.

He regularly features on leading media platforms and contributes to the discourse on diversity especially in international arbitration.

All those listed were nominated by peers and employees. Nominations were then reviewed by EMpower’s judging panel, which included head of Yahoo Finance UK Lianna Brinded. The panel scored nominees on: the influence of their role; their impact on ethnic minority inclusion inside and outside the workplace; and their business achievements.