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Dentons Boekel migrates name and brand to Dentons

The partners of Dentons Boekel have decided to transition the name to Dentons, with effect from January 1, 2020. Dutch law firm Boekel combined with Dentons in 2017.

“Dentons Boekel has had a rich legacy of serving clients for more than 60 years in the Dutch market. We are delighted to have benefited from the brand and goodwill and are excited about Dentons’ next chapter in the Netherlands,” said Elliott Portnoy, Global Chief Executive Officer of Dentons.

“Connecting our new talent to colleagues and clients around the world is a key element of our global strategy,” said Joe Andrew, Global Chair of Dentons. “As the partners of Dentons Boekel have decided to transition from Dentons Boekel to Dentons, we are remarkably pleased with the success of the combination in the Netherlands, which is just one example of the uptick we are experiencing across so many of our markets around the world.”

Since joining Dentons in May 2017, the Amsterdam office has doubled in revenue growth. It has grown from 16 to 29 partners, adding new teams, and/or significantly enhancing capabilities in Banking and Finance, Corporate and M&A, Energy, Private Equity, Intellectual Property and Technology, Tax and Real Estate.

Wendela Raas, Managing Partner in Amsterdam said: “We are delighted by the way this combination has played out, which is one of the reasons we decided to transition the name to Dentons at this time. We are fully committed to Dentons’ vision to always be the law firm of the future and look forward to continuing to work with our colleagues around the world under the Dentons brand.”

“The last two years have been transformative for our Amsterdam office,” said Marien Glerum, Benelux Managing Officer at Dentons. “Not only have we attracted top talent and strengthened our service offering, but we have also gained numerous new client relationships. At the same time, our existing clients have benefitted from the unmatched global coverage of the world’s largest law firm.”

Dentons has more than 100 lawyers in the Netherlands, and employs more than 10,000 lawyers in 181 locations and 73 countries around the world.

Dentons Hong Kong awarded Pro Bono Law Firm Award

Dentons Hong Kong has received the Bronze Law Firm Award from the Law Society Pro Bono and Community Work Recognition Programme 2019. This programme aims at promoting and encouraging Hong Kong legal practitioners serving pro bono and community work.

Hong Kong Partner Julianne Doe was also recognised for her outstanding dedication to pro bono and community service, by being the recipient of the Distinguished Community Service Award and the Individual Gold Award at the same programme.

Commenting on this achievement, Julianne, who is also Chair, Dentons’ WomenLEAD for Hong Kong, said: “These awards reflect our ongoing commitment to volunteering pro bono/community service, demonstrating creation of social value in our community and in line with our professionals’ global commitment to apply our legal and business skills, passionate commitment and boundless energy to helping others. Not only do we get involved personally, we create a platform for young people to do so by participating in university initiatives which allow law students to come into our office and be inspired by the pro bono work we do.”

“The Hong Kong office is extremely delighted to receive these recognitions and I would like to thank Julianne for passionately leading the pro bono efforts of Dentons Hong Kong for many years,” said Keith Brandt, Hong Kong office managing partner.

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Exclusive: A lawyer’s guide to keeping it professional on social media

In today’s environment, social media allows people to instantly share their opinions with the world. However, given the many heated issues that dominate our national discourse, there can be a tendency to post (or tweet) in anger or passion, which can lead to regrets later.

This risk is especially dangerous for attorneys. While attorneys may sometimes view their presence on social media to be in a “personal” capacity, the reality is that the line between personal and business can be blurred, or may not exist at all. In particular, with respect to an attorney’s ethical obligations, it may not be a very effective defence for an attorney to claim that she was acting in her personal capacity, and not as a lawyer, when she violated an ethical rule.

Recognising the rise of these issues in the age of social media, the State Bar of California issued a Formal Opinion in 2012 that addressed the interplay between postings on a supposedly personal social media page and the ethical rules governing attorney advertising. State Bar of California Formal Op. No. 2012-186. At issue were certain posts on an attorney’s personal social media page that highlighted the successes the attorney had on other cases, such as “Another great victory in court today! My client is delighted. Who wants to be next?” The California Bar concluded that, even among posts relating to the attorney’s personal life, such posts and others constituted the solicitation of clients or otherwise “concern[ed] the availability for professional employment,” and thus were required to comply with the rules for attorney advertising set forth in the California Rules of Professional Conduct.

Another potential issue exacerbated by the rise of social media is the potential for “positional” conflicts. Such a conflict may typically exist where, for example, an attorney argues for a certain interpretation of a statute in one lawsuit because it is in the best interests of one client, but then at the same time argues for the opposite interpretation of the same statute in another lawsuit on behalf of a different client. Comment 6 to Rule 1.7 of the California Rules of Professional Conduct (as effective Nov. 1, 2018) provides that such circumstances typically do not create a conflict requiring the client’s informed written consent unless certain factors are present.

However, it is arguably less clear how positional conflicts may function in the context of positions taken on social media. Comment 4 to Rule 1.7 provides that a conflict of interest requiring informed written consent) exists “if there is a significant risk that a lawyer’s ability to consider, recommend or carry out an appropriate course of action for the client will be materially limited as a result of the lawyer’s other responsibilities, interests, or relationships, whether legal, business, financial, professional, or personal.” Interpreting similar provisions, at least one bar association has stated that attorneys sharing information on social media sites should exercise caution “when stating positions on issues, as those stated positions could be adverse to an interest of a client, thus inadvertently creating a conflict.” See District of Columbia Bar Ethics Op. 370.

Although some commentators have suggested that the D.C. Bar’s opinion goes too far to limit attorneys, social media posts can also create sticky client relations issues even if the posts do not rise to the level of a traditional conflict of interest. Below are some tips for avoiding issues when using social media.

Considering Staying Neutral

Social media is generally not a place for balanced, well-reasoned assessments of issues but is used by many to express visceral reactions to news events. While attorneys may feel the urge to immediately share their thoughts with the world, they do so at their own risk.

For example, if Congress is considering passing a law that may impact a client, an attorney may be inclined to immediately offer her or his opinion on that law without regard to whether that position is aligned with the client’s. Even if the attorney’s posting does not create an actual conflict, a client certainly may be less than pleased to see its law firm advocating for a position if that position stands to harm the client’s business, financial or legal interests.

Likewise, commenting on ongoing cases can also be risky, but attorneys who feel compelled to do so can limit their risks by avoiding taking a definite stance and instead presenting a balanced analysis. That could help avoid creating any potential positional conflict with the interests of a client of the attorney and her or his law firm.

Avoid Unprofessional Conduct

Attorneys (typically) understand that their correspondence and briefs should be consistent with the level of decorum expected of members of the bar. Too often, that level of decorum is thrown out the window on social media. However, despite the informality of social media, it should not be considered as a free zone for unprofessional conduct.

A good rule of thumb is to ask whether the comment made on social media would be appropriate if standing outside a courtroom or at a dinner party. Many times, attorneys post comments on social media that they would never say in a face-to-face conversation, much less one with a client.

In some respects, comments on social media are worse than face-to-face conversations, as they are generally broadcast to the world and preserved for posterity. Courts and bars are increasingly taking notice of these issues and applying the same bar rules to social media as they do to traditional legal correspondence.

Think First

The most obvious tip can often be the hardest in practice. Before posting on any substantive issue (e.g., legal or political issues), it is helpful to stop and think practically about the post and the possible response from their firms, clients, and potential clients. Where practical, it may be a good idea to first run the posting by a colleague or firm leadership to ensure that it does not create any unintended conflicts or client relations issues.

Too often, attorneys instead let their emotions take over and fire off a post without a second thought. While attorneys certainly can use social media effectively in establishing a presence in their community or in a certain practice area, the undisciplined use of social media can unfortunately create the wrong kind of presence very quickly.

Shari L. Klevens is a partner at Dentons US and serves on the firm’s US Board of Directors. She represents and advises lawyers and insurers on complex claims, is co-chair of Dentons’ global insurance sector team, and is co-author of “California Legal Malpractice Law” (2014).

Alanna Clair is a partner at Dentons US and focuses on professional liability defence. Shari and Alanna are co-authors of “The Lawyer’s Handbook: Ethics Compliance and Claim Avoidance.”

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Award Winners Announced from the 2018 Middle East Legal Awards

DLA Piper was crowned International Law Firm of the Year for the second year running at the Middle East Legal Awards, underscoring the firm’s continued strong performance in the region.

As the only international firm with offices in all six Gulf Cooperation Council countries, judges praised its regional ambitions and its ongoing efforts to put innovation at the forefront of client care and service in the Middle East.

Clyde & Co, which narrowly missed out on the flagship prize, emerged as the biggest winner on the night, picking up three awards for CSR Initiative of the Year, Litigation Team of the Year and Arbitration Team of the Year.

The awards – which were jointly hosted by Legal Week and the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Middle East Chapter – took place at the Ritz-Carlton in Dubai yesterday (19 April) and were attended by nearly 400 lawyers from across the region and beyond.

Some 24 prizes were up for grabs amid a record year of submissions from leading global and local firms and in-house legal departments.

The awards highlighted the international legal industry’s commitment to the Middle East, with a number of large firms recognised for their work in the region.

Pinsent Masons was named Real Estate Team of the Year for advising on a giant luxury shopping centre and hotel project in Dubai, while Baker McKenzie took home the Regulatory and Investigations Team of the Year award for guiding a client through a complex international regulatory probe.

A number of winners joined DLA in retaining their titles for a second year running. Simmons & Simmons collected the TMT Team of the Year prize again, while Dentons held onto the Construction Team of the Year title for advising on a shopping mall and entertainment development in Abu Dhabi. Bracewell, meanwhile, took home Infrastructure and Energy Projects Team of the Year for a second consecutive year.

The big regional winner was Al Tamimi & Company, which was named Regional Law Firm of the Year (large practice), also for a second year running. The Dubai firm also scooped the Corporate Team of the Year prize to ensure it was the most successful regional player at this year’s awards.

Tribonian Law Advisors (in association with Rindala Beydoun Legal Consultancy) collected the Regional Law Firm of the Year (small practice) award, praised by judges for landing a number of high-profile M&A deals ahead of much bigger competitors.

Satellite TV broadcaster OSN’s in-house team was named Legal Department of the Year (large team) in recognition of its efforts to continuously go above and beyond its remit, while building technology services provider Johnson Controls Middle East & Africa picked up the Legal Department of the Year (small team) award for supporting business development and driving growth across the company.

Dr Zaid Mahayni, group chief legal officer at SEDCO Holding, was crowned General Counsel of the Year (large team) for his strong leadership skills, while Microsoft Gulf’s Joanne Fischlin was named General Counsel of the Year (small team) for transforming how the wider business views and interacts with her department.

The final prize of the night – the ACC Middle East Achievement Award, presented by ACC Middle East president Sahia Ahmed – went to Mark Beer OBE, chief executive of the Dubai International Financial Centre’s Dispute Resolution Authority, who has been instrumental in developing the commercial court system in Dubai, which is part of the reason why many companies have been eager to run their regional business from the DIFC.

The 2018 Middle East Legal Award Winners List:

– TMT Team of the Year – Simmons & Simmons
– Regulatory and Investigations Team of the Year – Baker McKenzie
– Litigation Team of the Year – Clyde & Co
– Arbitration Team of the Year – Clyde & Co
– Corporate Team of the Year – Al Tamimi & Company
– Real Estate Team of the Year – Pinsent Masons
– Construction Team of the Year – Dentons
– Infrastructure and Energy Projects Team of the Year – Bracewell
– Banking and Finance Team of the Year – Stephenson Harwood
– Associate Solicitor of the Year – Rachael Ashley, Hadef & Partners
– Regional Law Firm of the Year, Small Practice – Tribonian Law Advisors
– Regional Law Firm of the Year, Large Practice – Al Tamimi & Company
– International Law Firm of the Year – DLA Piper
– Best Use of Technology – Squire Patton Boggs
– CSR Initiative of the Year – Clyde & Co
– Innovation Award – Microsoft Gulf
– Junior Corporate Counsel of the Year – Amira Fayad, Sediqqi
– Senior Corporate Counsel of the Year – Varsha Gupta, Reckitt Benckiser
– Legal Department of the Year, Small Team – Johnson Controls Middle East & Africa
– Legal Department of the Year, Public Body – DIFC Academy of Law
– Legal Department of the Year, Large Team – OSN
– General Counsel of the Year, Small Team – Joanne Fischlin, Microsoft Gulf
– General Counsel of the Year, Large Team – Dr Zaid Mahayni, SEDCO Holding
– ACC Middle East Achievement Award – Mark Beer OBE, chief executive, Dubai International Financial Centre Dispute Resolution Authority

For more information about the Middle East Legal Awards, please visit: http://www.middleeastlegalawards.com/

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Linklaters bows to pressure and restates gender pay gap figures

Linklaters has revealed the gender pay gap within its partnership, amid growing calls for law firms to be more transparent about pay disparities among their senior ranks.

The firm, which last month became the first of the magic circle to file its gender pay gap report, revealing a pay gap of 23% for non-partner employees, has now announced that when including partners, the overall gender pay gap for all employees and lawyers rises to 60.3%.

However, when looking at partners in isolation, the pay gap is just 2.2% in favour of men.

The move comes after fellow magic circle firm Clifford Chance (CC) became the first magic circle firm to include partners in its pay gap reporting earlier this week, while Allen & Overy (A&O) is among a number of other firms now considering restating their figures to include partners.

In a statement, Linklaters said: “We appreciate the need to be as transparent as possible. Ensuring gender equality and achieving gender balance is a global strategic priority. It is embedded in our strategy and reinforced by our gender targets, which this year we exceeded, in appointing 37% new female partners. We will work hard to keep up the momentum on achieving this, and our other diversity goals.”

Linklaters’ decision to issue revised pay gap figures comes after CC revealed that the mean gender pay gap for the whole of its London workforce, including all partners and employees, is 66.3% in favour of men. The firm said that it hoped that other firms would ”demonstrate their commitment to addressing gender issues by adopting an equally transparent approach”.

Of the other magic circle firms, both Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Slaughter and May have told Advisory Excellence they will not release partner data.

Pinsent Masons also recently restated its figures to include partners, and said that it would be “engaging with the Law Society and other City law firms to seek their support in making representations to government to make changes” to what law firms are required to disclose.

Linklaters’ initial pay gap report was published in early February, and, like many of the other law firms to report early, did not include partner data. The report revealed that male staff received on average 58% more in bonuses than women, although marginally more women (78%) than men (76%) received a bonus in the year to April 2017.

There is no statutory requirement for law firms to include partners in their gender pay gap reporting, but a growing number have now made the decision to, including Dentons, Eversheds Sutherland, Reed Smith, Irwin Mitchell and Norton Rose Fulbright.

A&O and CMS have confirmed to Advisory Excellence that they are also considering issuing revised figured.

The big four accounting firms led the way by restating their figures to include partner earnings following criticism from high-profile figures such as Conservative MP Nicky Morgan, who said that by not including partners, firms were “taking advantage of a loophole” and “abiding by the letter of the law, but not the spirit”.

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Credit Suisse finalises new global legal panel with four firms winning spots

Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse has finalised its new global legal panel, with four firms winning places on the roster.

Ashurst, Allen & Overy, Linklaters and Latham & Watkins have all been appointed to the line-up, which replaces its EMEA and UK panels.

In addition to the global panel, which is expected to handle the bulk of the bank’s work, Credit Suisse has also appointed a number of firms to sub-panels covering practices such as employment, litigation, M&A and securities work. It also has a separate panel for Switzerland, and countries in Asia where it may require specific local expertise.

Credit Suisse’s Zurich-based corporate general counsel Julian Gooding led the review, with the global panel expected to run for two to three years.

The move to a global panel structure is in line with wider organisational changes at Credit Suisse, with the bank moving away from regional divisions in 2016.

A spokesperson for Credit Suisse said: “The driving principle of how we now run our panels is to manage our firm relationships in a holistic way more consistent with our organisational strcture. We’re happy that what we’ve put in place is a more coherent way of managing firms – we want to make sure all parties get the most out of the relationships by managing them globally.”

The bank’s review had been delayed by several months, with firms initially hoping to have heard if they had been successful in August last year.

Confirmation of Credit Suisse’s panel comes after fellow banks Societe Generale and Santander recently completed their international legal panels.

Societe Generale appointed DLA Piper, Norton Rose Fulbright and Mayer Brown among its ‘preferred’ advisers.

The French bank’s panel comprises 12 full-service firms – split into eight ‘preferred’ firms and four ‘selected’ firms – alongside six others appointed specifically to handle large litigation and tax advice.

Santander, meanwhile, has agreed terms with 46 firms, understood to include global firms DLA Piper, Baker McKenzie and Dentons, and US firms including Latham & Watkins and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.