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Law firms collaborate on industry first to accelerate tech adoption

DLA Piper is amongst six international law firms which have developed a Protocol to help deliver a globally consistent approach to the use of online case management platforms in international arbitration. It is anticipated that the Protocol will be of significant value to arbitration practitioners, parties to international arbitrations and to arbitrators as they adapt to the increasing use of technology in dispute resolution, a development which has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Protocol, which is a product of collaboration between DLA Piper, Herbert Smith Freehills, Ashurst, CMS, Hogan Lovells and Latham & Watkins, has been in development since May 2019. It aims, amongst other things, to improve arbitral participants’ ability to meet their obligations relating to data handling and cybersecurity in a way which is both practical and cost effective. It is also intended to facilitate efficient and secure document sharing.

The initiative to produce the Protocol reflects a common need that had been identified by lawyers who are engaging directly with a changing legal landscape in which the use of technology and digitisation are assuming ever growing prominence. Particular features of that in international arbitration include the greater focus which Arbitral tribunals are having to give to cybersecurity and data protection, the recognition following the pandemic that much if not all of the arbitral process can be done virtually and the revisions which arbitral institutions are making to their procedures as, for example, they look at the ways in which they can operate through online data hosting platforms.

With this Protocol the six firms have worked together to produce guidance that will help to foster greater understanding of those and other issues, and assist the arbitration community to take a consistent approach. It is of global application, deliberately flexible in approach, and relevant to all forms of international arbitration. In addition to providing guidance to parties to an arbitration, their lawyers, tribunal members and arbitral institutions, it is hoped that it will also contribute to the way in which technology developers and providers tailor their legal tech offerings and develop new products.

Maria Scott, Senior Associate at DLA Piper, and member of the Protocol’s working group, commented: “DLA Piper is proud to be a part of this collaborative initiative, which aims to drive real and beneficial change in the way proceedings are managed around the world. This fits well with our firmwide radical change agenda which addresses the increasing role that technology and innovation is playing within the legal sector. It was, therefore, a natural step for us to work with other firms to develop this comprehensive and practical guidance to assist arbitral users in navigating the online case management options available to them when seeking to store, share and manage data securely.”

Charlie Morgan, Senior Associate and Digital Law Lead (UK) at Herbert Smith Freehills, who chairs the collaborative working group, added: “This protocol will help drive discussion and consensus within the arbitration community and with relevant technology providers about the need for and functionality of online platforms in arbitration. Given the fantastic input from various arbitral participants to date, this guidance will support more informed, streamlined and effective decision-making about the adoption and use of online platforms in international arbitration. It will also herald the development of more sophisticated platform options that continue to meet the evolving needs of arbitration users.”

James Carter, Partner at DLA Piper, also commented: “The guidance set out in the draft Protocol will help to drive the effective and consistent use of sophisticated new technologies in international arbitration in a way which not only delivers efficiency of process but contributes to the confidence which parties have in arbitration as a method of dispute resolution. If it is to remain such a popular method of dispute resolution, international arbitration must adapt and embrace new practices, particularly as regards the use of technology. This Protocol will materially contribute to that by providing valuable guidance to users of international arbitration around the world.”

Global Top 40 mining companies resilient in face of COVID-19

The global Top 40 mining companies are so far weathering the COVID-19 crisis but should take advantage of relative stability to adopt strategies to mitigate against further economic and social risks, according to PwC’s Mine 2020 report.

PwC’s forecast for 2020 suggests the big miners will take a modest hit to EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation & impairment) of approximately 6%. This follows a strong financial performance in 2019 – with revenue up 4% to US$692bn and market capitalisation up 19% to US$898bn (though since reduced to US$752bn on 30 April 2020). On this basis PwC believes the Top 40 are in a strong and resilient position to weather the economic uncertainty created by COVID-19.

Despite this positive outlook, the report cautions that mining companies will need to adapt to long-term impacts caused by COVID-19. Miners may need to think about de-risking critical supply chains and investing more in local communities. A shift towards localisation in supply chains and for smaller deals in local markets, as well as different forms of community engagement, may turn out to be enduring consequences of the pandemic.

Jock O’Callaghan, global leader for mining and metals at PwC, says: ‘In some respects, the mining sector is well-situated in the wake of COVID-19. Mining companies have strong finances and are mostly still operational, albeit with some level of increased precautionary and preventive control.

‘But the longer-term impacts remain uncertain, and ongoing disruption is likely. Top 40 miners should take advantage of their current position of financial stability to revisit their strategies. Doing so will ensure their businesses can enhance their resilience over the long term and meet the demands of the global economy – meeting their aspiration to resource the future.’

A changing outlook for investment & deals

Capital expenditure was up 11% to US$61bn in FY19, according to Mine 2020. PwC expects capital expenditure will slow in 2020, freeing up cash flows, and giving miners the capacity to pay dividends should they choose to do so.

PwC doesn’t expect many mega-deals to take place in 2020 due to increased economic uncertainty and practical constraints of site visits and inspections. However, the current conditions provide opportunities for the Top 40 to capitalise on smaller acquisitions in their local markets.

The enterprise value of mega gold deals totalled US$19.2bn in FY19. Gold deals are not likely to recur to the same size or quantum as in recent years.

Cybersecurity requires attention

Currently just 12% of mining and metals companies’ CEOs are extremely concerned about cyber (down from 21% in FY18 and 14% in FY19). Yet Mine 2020 notes that over a similar period the number of reported cyber breaches among mining companies increase fourfold.

Jock O’Callaghan says: ‘Cybersecurity should be an integral part of the Top 40’s safety and business strategies. Miners should take the opportunity, given their relative resilience, to leverage their strong safety cultures to embed the concept of ‘cyber safety’, which like other forms of safety, is non-negotiable.’

Growing expectations around ESG

Although Mine 2020 has found that most large miners are moving in the right direction on ESG disclosure, some are performing better than others. Only 11 of the Top 40 companies (28%) are setting public ESG commitments and targets, reporting consistently against them, and linking executive and management performance to achieving them.

No one commodity group is outperforming any other. But given rising stakeholder expectations, all Top 40 miners should have moved past the stage of general or variable commitments about ESG.

Jock O’Callaghan says: ‘How should mining come together to take collective ownership of ESG and accept the necessary accountability and transparency that will ensure they are taken seriously? It is time for miners to sit down and work towards a common global standard about what constitutes responsible mining and how companies will report their performance against it.’

BSI PHOTO

BSI announces acquisition of US firm AppSec Consulting

BSI, a business improvement company, today announced the acquisition of AppSec Consulting – a cybersecurity and information resilience (CSIR) company – located in San Jose, California. This will see AppSec Consulting become a part of BSI’s CSIR offering and will operate under the name “AppSec Consulting – a BSI Professional Services Company”.

The acquisition of AppSec Consulting further strengthens BSI’s CSIR services in the United States – one of the company’s key markets.

Established 14 years ago, AppSec Consulting focuses on the US cybersecurity sector, servicing a wide range of clients across the country. The business was initially focused on web application security, penetration testing, and developer training and has since successfully diversified into providing strategic cybersecurity, data privacy, and a range of governance, risk and compliance advisory services.

Howard Kerr, Chief Executive at BSI, said: “This acquisition is reflective of our key strategic aim to expand our cybersecurity and information resilience offering, building a centre of excellence for organizations globally. AppSec Consulting is one of the most professional companies to emerge in the last 20 years. Their services perfectly complement those offered by the BSI Cybersecurity and Information Resilience teams in the UK and Ireland, which together with their reputation for excellence in client service, makes this a perfect match.”

Brian Bertacini, President at AppSec Consulting, commented: “Merging with BSI is the natural next step for AppSec Consulting, providing huge opportunity for both our clients and employees alike. We are delighted to benefit from BSI’s global reach and broader range of services, which – when combined with our proven cybersecurity expertise – will allow us to further expand and flourish.”

Advisory Excellence PHOTO

BSI becomes newest RelativityOne certified partner

BSI’s global centre of excellence for Cybersecurity and Information Resilience has announced a new partnership with Relativity to use its SaaS product, RelativityOne. BSI Cybersecurity and Information Resilience plans to leverage the SaaS product at their headquarters in Ireland and will be the first partner deployed in RelativityOne’s Netherlands data center.

With the new cloud-based e-Discovery platform, BSI Cybersecurity and Information Resilience will expand their best-in-class data advisory and compliance services into new areas and markets thanks to the flexibility and global reach of RelativityOne. The BSI e-Discovery and Forensics consultants have expert knowledge of the platform and will leverage the speed and efficiency of the secure SaaS product to respond quicker to the growing GDPR, litigation and regulatory requests of their clients.

Commenting on the partnership, Inés Rubio, Head of Information Management and Incident Response at BSI Cybersecurity and Information Resilience said, “We are delighted to become a certified RelativityOne partner and look forward to incorporating the platform into the uniquely tailored solutions that we offer our global clients. Relativity is a ground-breaking technology and it has really made the e-Discovery process more insightful, manageable and efficient.”

“We’re excited to welcome BSI Cybersecurity and Information Resilience as a new RelativityOne certified partner,” said Steve Couling, Vice President of International at Relativity. “We look forward to seeing how they leverage the extensibility and flexibility of our SaaS product to further optimise and transform the businesses of their clients.”

Built on the industry-leading security controls of the Microsoft Azure Cloud, RelativityOne provides an added layer of security to the leading security posture BSI is known for. To celebrate the new partnership and its commitment to joint security, Relativity Solutions Specialist, Clare Longworth, will speak at the inaugural BSI International Cyber Resilience Exchange on 26 March 2019 at The Convention Centre in Dublin where she will present an interactive workshop titled ‘Information Management and e-Discovery: Which of Your e-Discovery Workflows are Primed for Change?’ To find out more visit: https://bsicyberexchange.com/

BSI Cybersecurity and Information Resilience provides a range of solutions to help organisations address their information challenges covering cybersecurity, information management and privacy, security awareness, compliance and testing. For more information visit https://www.bsigroup.com/en-IE/our-services/cybersecurity-information-resilience/

About BSI Cybersecurity and Information Resilience centre of excellence

The BSI centre of excellence for Cybersecurity and Information Resilience is based in Sandyford, Dublin, where it manages and secures corporate information for BSI’s global clients. The company provides expertise to clients on the identification, protection, compliance and management of their information assets through a combination of consultancy, technology, research and training. Its mission is to help clients achieve Information Resilience – an environment where infrastructure is protected and secure, regulatory and compliance obligations are met, people are safe, and reputation and trust is maintained. The companies highly qualified consultants’ experience and expertise cover the entire Information Governance landscape.

The companies’ credentials are enhanced by adherence to internationally recognised accreditations and certifications (CREST / Cyber Essentials / Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard Qualified Security Assessor). BSI is the originator of the ISO 27000 series of Information Security Standards and the global leader in providing training and certification to ISO 27001, the established best practice in Information Security Management Systems (ISMS).

About BSI

BSI is the business improvement company that enables organisations to turn standards of best practice into habits of excellence. For over a century BSI has championed what good looks like and driven best practice in organisations around the world. Working with over 86,000 clients across 193 countries, it is a truly international business with skills and experience across a number of sectors including automotive, aerospace, built environment, food, and healthcare. Through its expertise in Standards Development and Knowledge Solutions, Assurance and Professional Services, BSI improves business performance to help clients grow sustainably, manage risk and ultimately be more resilient. To learn more, please visit https://www.bsigroup.com/

About Relativity

At Relativity, we make software to help users organise data, discover the truth, and act on it. Our e-discovery platform is used by thousands of organisations around the world to manage large volumes of data and quickly identify key issues during litigation, internal investigations, and compliance projects. Relativity has over 180,000 users in 40+ countries from organisations including the U.S. Department of Justice, more than 70 Fortune 100 companies, and 198 of the Am Law 200. RelativityOne offers all the functionality of Relativity in a secure and comprehensive SaaS product. Relativity has been named one of Chicago’s Top Workplaces by the Chicago Tribune for eight consecutive years. Please contact Relativity at [email protected] or visit http://www.relativity.com for more information.