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Jay Williams joins DLA Piper’s Structured Finance practice in New York

DLA Piper announced today that Jay Williams has joined the firm as a partner in its Structured Finance practice, based in New York.

Williams represents issuers, underwriters, investors and other market participants in a wide variety of structured finance transactions – including CLOs; secured lending facilities backed by loans, CRE assets and other asset classes; re-securitisations; and synthetic securitisations – as well as swaps, derivatives and repurchase agreements. He has extensive experience with regulatory capital relief transactions and other types of synthetic risk transfers and also advises private funds and their sponsors with respect to investments in distressed assets. Williams is dual-qualified, practicing both New York and English law.

“Jay is a fantastic addition to the firm who will immediately enhance our structured finance capabilities,” said John Cusack, US chair and global co-chair of DLA Piper’s Finance practice. “His extensive experience handling complex financial transactions increases our ability to meet the evolving needs of the market, and our global platform will be of significant benefit to his practice and clients.”

“We are continuing to build our wider finance practice, including structured finance, in New York and across the firm, and Jay’s skillset and experience providing guidance to highly sophisticated clients across multiple asset classes is an important part of that strategic initiative,” added Richard Hans, managing partner of the firm’s New York office.

“The addition of Jay to our structured finance team will greatly enhance our ability to continue to strengthen our position among the market leaders in US and European CLOs, as well as other important asset classes,” said Rich Reilly, head of DLA Piper’s Structured Finance practice.

Williams joins from Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP. He received his J.D. from Wake Forest School of Law, his LL.M., with distinction, from Georgetown University Law Center, his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and his B.S.F.S. from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

DLA Piper advises National Urban League on development of framework

DLA Piper advised on a pro bono basis the National Urban League, a historic civil rights organisation dedicated to economic empowerment that elevates the standard of living in historically underserved urban communities, on its development of the framework of a comprehensive agenda aimed at leveraging the tools of the information economy to create a more equitable and inclusive society.

The Lewis Latimer Plan for Digital Equity and Inclusion includes steps such as deploying broadband networks everywhere in the country, connecting every household to broadband networks, utilising the networks to improve delivery of essential services and creating new opportunities for underserved communities to participate in the growth of the digital economy. The plan is named for Lewis Howard Latimer, a 19th-century draftsman, soldier, scientist and researcher whose parents were born into slavery and who worked with Alexander Graham Bell on the development of telephones and with Thomas Edison on electric lighting.

Under the Latimer Plan, the Federal Communications Commission would re-examine network performance standards, pinpoint areas without any broadband network, eliminate restrictions that disqualify providers who could deliver service quickly and efficiently, and allocate subsidies necessary to close the availability gap. The plan recommends the creation of a federal Office of Digital Equity to coordinate training, as well as a major restructuring of the FCC’s Lifeline Program, which subsidises communication services for low-income households.

“If adopted, the Latimer Plan would improve how our country delivers healthcare, education, job training and other government services in ways that will benefit all Americans, especially those in marginalised communities,” said Edward “Smitty” Smith, a partner in DLA Piper’s Telecom practice who advised the National Urban League.

The plan also would require companies that benefit from federal investment to improve access to economic opportunity, and it would direct the Department of Commerce and the FCC to collect information that allows the government and the public to understand and evaluate how the private sector is improving diversity, equity and inclusion.

DLA Piper advises SalesLoft in its US$100 million Series E financing

DLA Piper represented Atlanta-based start-up SalesLoft in its recent US$100 million Series E financing led by Owl Rock Capital, with participation from Insight Partners, HarbourVest, and Emergence.

SalesLoft’s sales engagement platform helps industry-leading companies generate more revenue and deliver better experiences to their customers. DLA Piper also advised SalesLoft in its US$70 million Series D round in 2019. The company has now raised a total of US$245 million and is valued at US$1.1 billion.

“We were proud to again partner with SalesLoft in its latest financing round, bringing our wide-ranging experience advising high-growth technology companies on complex transactions to achieve a successful result. We look forward to supporting SalesLoft in its success as it expands its customer base and continues to transform the sales industry,” said Jeffrey Leavitt, the DLA Piper partner who led the firm’s deal team.

“Working with Jeff and the DLA Piper team has been a phenomenal experience. The team provides an exceptional level of support and guidance, and their attention to detail and professionalism ensured that closing this financing round was a smooth and efficient process,” said Kyle Porter, CEO of SalesLoft.

“DLA Piper brings a business-oriented approach to every matter they take on, and Jeff’s background as a former VC and entrepreneur himself gives him a unique ability to understand and prioritise the business issues we care about. The firm’s focus and responsiveness was a key factor in helping us secure this funding and move our goals forward. We were extremely pleased to partner with them once again,” said Chad Gold, CFO of SalesLoft.

In addition to Leavitt (Atlanta), the DLA Piper team advising SalesLoft included partners Stacy Paz (Silicon Valley), Julia Kovacs and Jennifer Kashatus (both of Washington, DC); and associates Puja Vadodaria and Mario Bolaños (both of Atlanta).

DLA Piper’s Emerging Growth and Venture Capital practice includes more than 200 lawyers in the US who provide strategic counsel to emerging companies in high-growth industries, including biotech, manufacturing, communications, software and semiconductors. Over the last three years, DLA Piper has completed more than 2,100 financings totalling over US$31 billion.

DLA Piper’s global Technology sector lawyers work across practice areas and offices to support technology clients – from start-ups to fast-growing and mid-market businesses to mature global enterprises – doing business around the world.

DLA Piper helps build pro bono culture in Colombia

New Perimeter, DLA Piper’s non-profit affiliate that provides long-term pro bono legal assistance in under-served regions around the world, recently taught an online seminar on pro bono to more than 30 undergraduate law students at the Universidad del Rosario in Bogotá, Colombia.

During the course, which was held on November 18, Lisa Dewey, DLA Piper’s pro bono partner and director of New Perimeter, and Sara Andrews, senior international pro bono counsel and assistant director of New Perimeter, spoke to the participating students about the importance of pro bono legal work and how they can get involved in pro bono over the course of their legal careers.

The project is part of an eight-year relationship between New Perimeter, the Universidad del Rosario and Fundación Pro Bono Colombia to encourage and help create a culture of pro bono in Colombia. Over the course of the collaboration, New Perimeter has sent lawyers to Colombia to teach law students and practicing lawyers about legal social responsibility, the use of pro bono to address unmet legal needs and increase access to justice, and the history of pro bono in the United States and around the world. This is the first time New Perimeter connected virtually with Colombian students.

“It is always a pleasure to speak to Colombian law students about pro bono,” Dewey said. “Even though we weren’t able to be there in person this year, it was exciting to connect virtually to hear about the important issues the students are passionate about and how they plan to use their legal degrees to make a difference in Colombia.”

DLA Piper published global report on sustainability

DLA Piper has today published a comprehensive global report on sustainability and the implications on the insurance industry. The report looks at sustainability-related initiatives and frameworks around the world and analyses the current status in 19 countries. With its global reach and coverage the report is the first of its kind setting out the legal basis for sustainable insurance.

The insurance industry is affected by environmental, social and governmental (ESG) risks in its entirety. From asset prices and investment choice to business transition risk; the ESG risk to insurers’ own operations including property, personnel. supply chains and claims – the insurance industry will need to deal with many issues. However, it is also uniquely placed to play a fundamental role in as part of the solution. Insurance engages with almost every industry and sector; it owns a large amount of the world’s assets and it has a global reach and a finely detailed knowledge of risk transfer and solutions.

The report was launched at an online event attended by industry members from a variety of functions (including compliance, responsible business, claims and risk management) at insurance companies, brokers and consultancy firms with speakers from UNEP FI, AIG, Insurance Council of New Zealand and FTI Consulting. During the session a survey was conducted which found that in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic 69% of attendees had experienced an increase of the importance of ESG issues due to public attention and policymaker statements. This has been reinforced by increasing focus on ESG topics from employees (57%) and customers (31%) and 38% of attendees noticed a marked increase in their competitors’ activities in this area. Within insurance companies the areas most affected by ESG issues were Investment (71%) and Risk Management (64%) departments.

Download a full copy of the report

Jennifer Waldner Grant, Chief Sustainability Officer at AIG, who provided an editorial to the report, said: “We applaud the commitment DLA Piper has made through the publication of this report. It will ensure the insurance industry is informed and educated around the changing regulatory landscape on ESG topics, global coalitions, partnerships and initiatives supporting businesses, regulators and society in addressing the climate emergency.”

DLA Piper Counsel and Chief Editor of the report, Heike Schmitz said: “DLA Piper has a particular focus on sustainability issues, both as a firm and supporting our clients in this hugely important area. This report is our contribution to the debate, focused on the insurance market, and aims to provide an overview of current developments and thus support decision makers, inhouse counsel, sustainability officers and others as they develop their sustainability strategies.”

DLA Piper announces launch of Compliance Atlas app

DLA Piper is pleased to announce the launch of the Compliance Atlas app, a mobile solution built to meet the policy needs of modern-day companies.

Often, policies and related documents are difficult to find on the intranet or are not accessible for field-based employees. After DLA Piper generates these policies and documents at a client’s request, the Compliance Atlas version of the documents delivered to the client allows it to aggregate them into a single application that can be accessed from anywhere at any time. Links throughout the Compliance Atlas integrate with other elements of the company intranet, directing employees to additional resources, such as to the compliance hotline for reporting potential violations.

“The Compliance Atlas provides practical advice in a user-friendly, easy-to-navigate format, enabling employees to access crucial company documents in a matter of moments and prevent compliance breaches. Everything from the logo to the colour scheme is fully editable from a dashboard within the app, so clients can customise the look and feel to best suit their needs,” said Daniel Garen, a partner in DLA Piper’s Litigation and Regulatory practice who spearheaded the creation of the app. “This product is especially ideal for highly regulated, high-risk industry clients in sectors like healthcare, life sciences, telecom, energy and financial services.”

Once delivered, the Compliance Atlas is fully editable and owned by the client. The interface is very similar to industry-standard word processing applications, and users may edit the content without contacting DLA Piper. However, if a client chooses to create an entirely new section or to make substantial edits, firm lawyers are available to assist and provide legal advice related to such changes.

DLA Piper’s Global Governance and Compliance group has unparalleled experience helping clients with international operations meet the evolving – and sometimes conflicting – expectations of regulatory and enforcement agencies. With compliance-focused lawyers in more than 75 offices around the world, DLA Piper has the global breadth, local knowledge and industry experience to guide clients in all aspects of designing, implementing and managing compliance programs, assessing and mitigating risk, remediating compliance issues and running internal investigations.