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International Women’s Day 2021

International Women’s Day gives us an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women, and in particular those working at our firm. The theme for 2021 is ‘Choose to Challenge,’ a reminder that we all can and should choose to call out gender bias and inequality to create an inclusive world.

Women are not a homogenous group; they are diverse by nature of their backgrounds, their life experiences, their abilities, perspectives and opinions, and International Women’s Day is about celebrating inclusion of women in its truest sense.

We have much to celebrate in our global firm – we have remarkable women doing notable work throughout the world. In January 2021, we became the first ‘Am Law 200’ firm to name a woman of color, Shauna Clark, as both our Global and US Chair. Recently, Shauna spoke with women leaders of the firm to get their views on the challenges that women face today, including discrimination and micro-aggression in the workplace and the perceptions of female leadership during a pandemic.

“Discrimination is much less overt now, it’s subconscious in many ways and I think that makes it more challenging to overcome,” said Alison Deitz, Managing Partner, Australia. “We, as female leaders, need to be very aware of that and ensure we can overcome it, whether by unconscious bias training or actively putting in place metrics for gender pay equity, to ensure that we’re not discriminating in any shape or form.”

“We’re getting to the point now where gender discrimination is more systemic, so it’s around the actual structures themselves and who is at the table making the decisions and the transparency around that, which is different to what was more bold and in your face in the past,” echoed Angela Tancock, Chief Strategy Officer, Canada.

The reality, then, is that women still are fighting not just for a place at the table – but to be listened to when they get a seat there.

“As a woman I get penalised for my tenacity and for being direct,” explained Natasha Moore, Head of Learning and Development, Europe, Middle East and Asia. “Women are often invited to the party, but we’re not invited to dance.”

One issue that remains is that women who are assertive are sometimes painted in a negative light, which can make them reluctant to display their full confidence or potential.

“In the context of the work place, many women wait until they are 100 percent ready to take up a challenge, whereas our male counterparts would not do that, and what I say to women is – you go the extra mile, not because you are a woman but because you will find very few people in that space, and that is your place to make your mark in, in whatever way you choose to,” said Marelise van der Westhuizen, CEO, South Africa.

“Women who are seen as go-getters can be judged more harshly and we don’t just see that in professional organisations, but in the wider world too,” added Farmida Bi, EMEA Chair. “Women politicians, for example, are held to a different standard. However, the thing I’ve found most interesting about the current pandemic is the discussion around whether female leaders in countries like New Zealand or South Korea have proved to be more successful because they are leading in a different, better way.”

“When I started, I didn’t have the courage to be my authentic self and I became very adept at shifting my personality to make those around me more comfortable, and it was just another weight that I carried, in addition to being black and a woman and young in a male-dominated environment,” Shauna said.

Combatting the issue requires raising issues of disrespect, implicit bias and micro-aggression when we see it, in order to seek to correct and improve it, Shauna said.

“The conversation needs to be about resilience and being human and correcting mistakes,” Shauna said.

“There are both the implicit bias issues that people have – I have them, we all have them – sometimes there are also biases that we hold ourselves to,” added Gina Shishima, Chief Strategy and Operations Partner, United States. “I also think it’s not the best thing to focus on; if I have to say it again, I’ll say it again. I think trying to be cognisant of it is key, but I try to focus on being effective.”

Read more about our diversity and inclusion efforts, including how we strive to achieve gender balance.

Health and social care to gain the most from 5G efficiency gains

Productivity and efficiency gains enabled by 5G’s application will drive business, skills and service change worth US$1.3 trillion to global GDP by 2030.

In Powering Your Tomorrow, PwC quantifies for the first time, the economic impact of new and existing uses of 5G in utilities, health and social care, consumer, media, and financial services across eight economies with advanced rollout: Australia, China, Germany, India, Japan, South Korea, United States and the United Kingdom.

More than a faster version of mobile connectivity on 4G, 5G’s speed, reliability, reduced energy usage and massive connectivity will be transformative for businesses and wider society, enabling ubiquitous access to super fast broadband. Used in combination with investments in artificial intelligence and the internet of things, 5G can be used as a platform to enable business and society to realise the full benefits of emerging technology advances.

Economic gains are projected across all economies assessed in the study, as 5G offers the potential to rethink business models, skills, products and services, with the gains accelerating beginning in 2025 as 5G-enabled applications become more widespread

Based on the study, the United States (US$484bn), China (US$220bn) and Japan (US$76bn) will experience the largest uplift as a result of 5G technology applications, due to the size of their economies and strong modern industrial production sectors.

At a regional level, Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) is expected to benefit the most from manufacturing applications of 5G, due to the size of the manufacturing sectors. It demonstrates the potential for regional competitive advantage through approaches to the adoption and regulation of the technology.

Wilson Chow, Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications Industry Leader, PwC China, comments: “These numbers quantify impact, but perhaps more important, our study reflects the value of 5G – new levels of connectivity and collaboration mean companies will be able to see, do and achieve more. It will open up new opportunities for growth and change as organisations rethink and reconfigure the way they operate in the post-pandemic world.”

“With the pandemic accelerating digitalisation across all sectors, 5G will act as a further catalyst. It will emerge in this decade as a fundamental piece of our societal infrastructure and as a platform for driving the competitiveness of national economies, new business models, skills and industries.”

Achieving better, faster outcomes in health and social care

Over half the global economic impact (US$530bn) will be driven by the transformation of health and social care experience for patients, providers and medical staff within the next ten years.

While the acceleration of telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic provided a glimpse of the future of healthcare, remote care is just one area in which 5G can enable both better health outcomes and cost savings.

5G’s applications include remote monitoring and consultations, real time in-hospital data sharing, improved doctor-patient communications and automation in hospitals to reduce health care costs.

Regional & Sector impacts

At a sector level, impacts vary for individual economies. The United States and Australia are projected to gain the most from financial services applications: India from smart utilities; China and Germany in manufacturing. Other industries analysed in the study show the significant potential of new and existing applications over the next decade, driving changes in skills, jobs, consumer products and regulation:

  • SMART utilities management applications will support environmental targets to reduce carbon and waste through enabling combined smart meters and grids to deliver energy savings, and improving waste and water management through tracking of waste and water leakage (US$330bn).
  • Consumer and media applications include: over the top gaming, real time advertising and customer services (US$254bn)
  • Manufacturing and heavy industry applications include: monitoring and reducing defects, increased autonomous vehicle use (US$134bn)
  • Financial services applications including reducing fraud and improving customer experiences (US$86bn)

Wilson Chow comments: “5G is more than mobile connectivity. It puts a new lens on advancing productivity and rethinking entire business models for the future. Given the scale of potential and its impacts, every organisation will need a plan for 5G’s implementation within five years across technology and business strategies to maximise opportunities and prepare for how they integrate their technology and business strategies, and engage with customers, supply chain and regulators.”

Policy & Trust

The study highlights that the reach of 5G’s technology potential will require businesses and government to consider new approaches to regulatory and consumer engagement – focusing on how the technology is used.

Wilson Chow comments: “With any technology, policy engagement, transparency and public trust are critical factors. Whether it’s considering the use of self driving vehicles or telemedicine, how data is managed, infrastructure deployed, or how different sectors collaborate, business and government need to shit from focusing on regulating a technology, to promoting transparency in 5G’s application, building and sustaining public trust in its use and potential.”

Dentons builds on Brisbane presence with two new partners

Dentons continues to build on its Brisbane presence welcoming Craig Chapman and promoting Cara Richardson.

Craig Chapman, formerly Group General Counsel at Bank of Queensland, joins Dentons as a partner in the banking and finance team, and Head of the Brisbane office. Craig has a long and distinguished career with nearly three decades of industry experience. Craig has been selected by Australasian Lawyer as one of 2020’s leading in-house legal leaders and is also a finalist for Financial Services Lawyer of the Year at the 2020 Corporate Counsel Awards.

Cara Richardson has recently been promoted to partner in Dentons’ real estate group, and has specific experience working with large institutional companies dealing with commercial, industrial and retail leasing, disposal of businesses and land, acquisition of businesses and land and advising on property related matters.

Dentons’ Australia Chair and Australasia Region CEO, Doug Stipanicev, said the addition of Craig, and the promotion of Cara strengthens Dentons’ presence in the Queensland market, and increases the Firm’s client offering.

“Craig is an extremely highly regarded legal professional in the financial institutions sector, with a career spanning more than 30 years. We are delighted to have him join us”.

“Since opening in Brisbane, Dentons has always maintained a presence in the Queensland market and it is an important part of our client focused strategy”.

“In welcoming Craig and Cara to the partnership, we continue to build our strategy around what our clients in Queensland need, which is primarily within the financial institutions and real estate sectors. Given our commitment to the Queensland market, we are continuing to progress a number of opportunities to expand our local offering”.

Mr Stipanicev also said Dentons’ national presence across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth; and global footprint means that Dentons clients in Australasia will always have a team of experienced legal professionals ready to seamlessly continue to meet their needs.

Commenting on his move to Dentons, Craig said: “I have enjoyed my time in-house which has been incredibly rewarding and successful. I am excited to re-join private practice as a partner of Dentons with their strong history, capability and relationships in the banking and financial services sector, both in Australia and globally. I am also looking forward to the challenge of leading and growing Dentons’ Brisbane presence.”

DLA Piper advises Iberdrola on AUD893 million takeover

Global law firm DLA Piper has advised Spanish utility giant Iberdrola on its AUD893 million takeover of Infigen Energy (ASX:IFN).

This acquisition allows Iberdrola to establish a beachhead in Australia via acquiring one of the country’s most significant renewable energy companies, strongly complementing its Port Augusta hybrid farm project approved in January 2020, and positioning it to participate in the significant expected growth in the Australian renewable market.

DLA Piper’s cross-border, cross-practice team was led by Inigo Gomez-Jordana in Spain and James Stewart in Australia, supported by partners Tom Fotheringham and Lyndon Masters, as well as special counsel Roger Hawkins and solicitor Tarrant Sewell.

The DLA Piper team was able to support Iberdrola through the complexities of the Foreign Investment Review Board approval process, recently amended due to the COVID-19 disruption, and expedited an approval within weeks.

Inigo Gomez-Jordana and James Stewart noted: “We are delighted that our client Iberdrola has successfully completed the takeover of Infigen Energy. Our team was perfectly placed to advise our client on this cross-border transaction, particularly relating to strategies to address a competing bidder and obtaining Foreign Investment Review Board approval. This is a fantastic result for Iberdrola, and we are excited to see them expand into the Australian market.”

Hogan Lovells strengthens Australia practice

Hogan Lovells is pleased to announce that Paul Shillington will be joining as a partner in the firm’s Finance practice on 11 May 2020, based in the Perth office. Paul has held private practice and executive roles in Switzerland, Paris and Perth, most recently with leading Australian domestic firm, MinterEllison.

Paul is an oil and gas specialist with more than 20 years’ experience acting in the energy and resources sectors on both transactional and regulatory aspects of deals. His practice focuses on providing clients with advice and assistance on asset acquisition and divestment, private M&A, JV arrangements, development activities and the strategic management of associated disputes.

Commenting on Paul’s arrival, Global Head of the Hogan Lovells Finance practice Matthew Cottis, said: “Paul’s arrival represents the latest step in our plan for the building out and strengthening of the Australian practice which is an increasingly important and attractive region for the global energy and resources sector. Paul’s cross-border experience brings enhanced capability to the team supporting both global clients with operations in Australia as well as domestic Australian companies.”

Paul Shillington added: “I am delighted to be joining the Finance practice at Hogan Lovells. The firm’s global footprint and integrated nature provides the ideal platform for me to further develop my practice and service my clients.”

Hogan Lovells Perth

When major corporations, financial institutions, and governments need practical advice on local, regional, and international corporate and financing transactions they turn to Hogan Lovells.

Herbert Smith Freehills advises on sale of Earnd to Greensill Capital

Herbert Smith Freehills’ private equity and venture capital team has advised on the sale of 100% of Earnd to Greensill Capital. Founded by Josh Vernon and Serge Kotlyarov, Earnd’s platform enables employees to access their pay packet on-demand as they earn it, facilitated through their employer payroll systems.

The Herbert Smith Freehills team was led by partner and Australian Head of Venture Capital Peter Dunne, consultant Elizabeth Henderson, and solicitor Lisa Alderson.

Elizabeth Henderson said, “Earnd is an incredible example of Australian fintech innovation and business talent. In less than two years, Earnd has grown from a small start-up into a serious challenger in the financial services space. We have enjoyed working with Earnd’s founders and investors who believed in the company and have enabled it to reach this great milestone.”

Earnd’s co-founder and CEO, Josh Vernon, said, “Peter, Elizabeth, Lisa and the team at Herbert Smith Freehills were incredible partners throughout the acquisition process. We felt as if we had a friendly yet deeply professional and competent team on our side and, for a first-time founder, they made the journey a breeze. It was nothing short of a pleasure working with them and we look forward to working together in the future.”

This deal is another example of Herbert Smith Freehills’ market-leading work in Australian venture capital. Other recent examples include:

  • Adairs Limited in its NZ$80 million acquisition of Mocka Group from its founders;
  • Deputy Group on its A$111 million Series B capital raise;
  • Culture Amp on its A$120 million Series E capital raise;
  • Nura on its A$21 million Series A capital raise;
  • Expert360 on its A$12 million Series C capital raise;
  • Roborigger on its Series A capital raise; and
  • Reejig on its Series Seed capital raise.