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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.

Kate Stonestreet Appointed Global Chief Operating Officer

Baker McKenzie is delighted to announce the appointment of Kate Stonestreet as our new Global Chief Operating Officer. In her new role, Kate will report to our Global Chair Milton Cheng, and will oversee all of the business services functions of the Firm, as well as the Firm’s internal business services transformation project which aims to deliver higher quality service to our internal and external clients in a streamlined and tech-enabled way.

Kate will work alongside the Global Chair and Executive Committee on the implementation of Firm strategy, with a key focus on our clients and our people. This will leverage the Firm’s global footprint and the investments we have made in innovation and sustainability to reinforce our leading position as a diverse and inclusive workplace committed to our clients, people and the communities in which we work.

She will take up her new position with effect from 1 February 2021 and will remain based in London.

Since 2017, Kate has been the Firm’s Global Director of Operations with responsibility for the strategic oversight of our Centers in Manila, Belfast, Buenos Aires and Tampa, and as part of the leadership team overseeing the development and implementation of the Firm’s business services transformation program.

Prior to assuming her current role Kate spent 13 years as the EMEA Regional Operating Officer (ROO) supporting our EMEA leadership, working with Managing Partners and leading the regional business professional teams. During her time as EMEA ROO, she was instrumental in the new office openings in Casablanca, Dubai, Istanbul and Johannesburg.

Prior to her EMEA role, Kate held a variety of positions within the Firm including COO for HK/PRC/Vietnam and Director of Business Development for Asia Pacific. She joined the Firm in Hong Kong in 1995 and has been based in London since 2004.

Kate earned her BA Hons degree in Public Policy and Administration from the University of Northumbria and her MBA from the University of Western Ontario (Toronto), Hong Kong campus. She is a member of our Global Diversity & Inclusion Committee and our Global Race & Ethnicity Task Force, and co-leads the Firm’s social mobility program.

Kate said, “Coming from a small village in Yorkshire in the North of England and joining the Firm in a relatively junior role in Hong Kong, I am a story of what is possible at Baker McKenzie. As a Firm we are in a strong position as we emerge from the pandemic – with loyal clients, connected global teams, and the drive to excel. This is an exciting time, and we face both opportunities and challenges as we emerge from the crisis, but I believe we are strongly positioned for the future and I look forward to playing a central role in ensuring our future success.”

Milton said, “Throughout her career with the Firm Kate has been an inspiring leader and a highly effective professional. Having known her for more than 20 years I can say with assurance that I know she represents the very best of Baker McKenzie. I look forward to working even more closely with Kate in the coming months and years to drive our global Firm strategy forward.”

Hogan Lovells to refresh practice structures and leadership

Hogan Lovells is making a series of changes to its practice group structure and the leadership of its International Management Committee (IMC). The IMC is the body that is responsible for setting and implementing the strategic direction and business operations of the firm and is made up of the heads of Hogan Lovells’ practice groups and administrative regions plus clients and markets.

These changes take effect from 1 July 2020 under the leadership of the new incoming CEO Miguel Zaldivar and Deputy CEO Michael Davison.

According to Miguel Zaldivar: “We are uniquely placed as a fully-integrated global firm. We have a high-quality business, great clients, genuine international reach, and extremely talented people. The combination of our industry sector knowledge and our market-leading position at the meeting point between business and government is admired by clients and competitors alike. These are the strengths on which we are building our firm.”

“I set out my priorities in December as being: client service; investment in our key markets; incentivising even more collaboration across the partnership; managing our profitability; and supporting citizenship, diversity & inclusion, and sustainability. The changes to our structures help achieve those priorities by bringing increased speed and efficiency to our management decision-making, continuing the work which Steve Immelt started in 2014 in moving from co-leaders to single leaders.”

The firm’s practice groups will shift from five to three. The Corporate and Finance practice groups will be combined to create a new Corporate and Finance practice made up of around 400 partners. Hogan Lovells will also more closely align its Global Regulatory and IPMT practice groups and put them together under one umbrella, Global Regulatory and IPMT, comprising around 230 partners.

Commenting on these changes Miguel Zaldivar said: “There is already a significant amount of overlap between Corporate and Finance, particularly in the capital markets space as well as in areas such as joint ventures, M&A, and commercial work. Bringing them together creates a powerful force for our clients. With Global Regulatory and IPMT there are already synergies between them in areas such as privacy and cyber-security; pharmaceutical and technology patent litigation; and antitrust investigations. Both are also top-rated practices groups in their own right in the market and we will protect those positions in terms of how we go to market.”

The firm’s regions will also shift from five to three. The firm’s current Americas and D.C. regions will be combined into a single region. The firm is also creating a single Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region which combines its existing UK and Africa region with Continental Europe and its offices in the Middle East. The current Asia Pacific and Middle East region will focus on the emergent markets of Southeast Asia as well as the established economies of Australia, Greater China, and Japan.

Zaldivar commented: “Having a ‘One Americas’ region will enable us to more easily take a holistic and integrated approach to sharing clients, work, investments, and resources.

We have already adopted the same approach very successfully with our offices in Germany and Greater China. Having a single EMEA region is an approach taken by many of our clients and competitors, and reflective of the economic and social ties in that part of the world as well as time zone and geographical proximity.”

He continued: “I have tried to ensure continuity of leadership while prioritising bringing on a new and diverse generation of leaders.”

Zaldivar said: “The UK and Washington, D.C. offices will continue to have participation in IMC discussions where relevant and, with Stefan Schuppert also attending IMC meetings by invitation, we are now adding Germany, given the importance of that market to the firm.”

“Susan Bright, Eve Howard, and Cole Finegan will be stepping down from the IMC after many years of hard work and significant contributions to the firm. We all owe them a huge debt of gratitude in managing very important regions through some of our strongest and most successful years as well some uniquely challenging times.”

Susan will take on a new responsibility as Global Managing Partner for Diversity and Inclusion and Responsible Business. In addition she will continue to act as the OMP for the UK until the end of the year. This is in order to ensure a smooth transition to accommodate Penny Angell’s current intense workload advising lenders on financing’s impacted by COVID-19. Eve Howard will serve as Global Head of our combined Capital Markets practice. Cole Finegan will continue serving as office managing partner of the Denver office and support the expansion efforts of the Government Relations and Public Affairs practice in the Americas.

VEGAS LEX on The Legal 500 EMEA 2019 rankings

VEGAS LEX has improved its ranking in traditionally strong categories of The Legal 500 EMEA 2019. In particular, the firm ranks first in PPP and infrastructure projects category.

Many experts of VEGAS LEX have been recommended in the ranking. The following experts have been named in the individual ranking in the PPP and infrastructure projects category:

Competition Law

VEGAS LEX focuses on anti-monopoly cases, compliance projects and regulatory advice. Alexander Sitnikov heads the practice, which handles work for key clients such as pipe producer TMK and Roche Diabetes Care Rus.

Dispute Resolution: Litigation

At VEGAS LEX, managing partner Alexander Sitnikov’s extensive experience in the corporate space covers conflicts relating to investment projects, the protection and recovery of business assets, corporate governance and restructuring. Department head Victor Petrov has a strong track record in commercial, corporate, insurance and bankruptcy disputes. Evgeniy Rodin is recommended for energy disputes. The practice represents a mix of clients from the aerospace, energy, life sciences and retail sectors.

Energy & Natural Resources Law

Specializing in power generation projects, VEGAS LEX regularly represents clients such as OGK-2 and Irkutsk Electric Grid Company in contractual, commercial and tax-related disputes. Evgeniy Rodin and Alexander Sitnikov are the main practitioners.

PPP & Infrastructure Projects

According to one client, VEGAS LEX has ‘the leading practice in the Russian PPP sector’; the team is known for its strong focus on large-scale PPP projects in the energy, transportation, ports and healthcare-related areas. The ‘highly reputable’ practice is led by ‘industry expert’ Denis Shtirbu and is well known for advising federal and regional governmental agencies and state-owned companies including Russian Railways and the Ministry of Transport of the Novosibirsk region. Irina Dolgikh ‘demonstrates exceptional knowledge, professionalism and attention to detail’.

Real Estate & Construction Law

Headed by the ‘diligent and responsible’ Igor Chumachenko, the real estate department at VEGAS LEX provides ‘high-quality and cost-effective legal services’ and is recommended for its ‘deep familiarity with the Russian regulatory framework and the local implementation of EPC projects’. The team supported the Development Corporation of Kamchatka with the implementation of the modernisation project concerning the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (Yelizovo) airport.

TMT Law

The TMT practice at VEGAS LEX is headed by Alexandra Vasukhnova and advises on regulatory, contractual and e-commerce matters. Natalia Abtseshko is also noted. Clients include animation studio Sky and creative digital marketing agency Jami, among others.

Tax Services

VEGAS LEX has expertise across a broad range of tax matters including domestic and foreign tax structuring, tax support for major infrastructure projects and M&A transactions and customs. Yuriy Ivanov specializes in contentious tax and tax planning; he recently advised Russian Post on taxation and customs clearance matters pertaining to international mail and cargo operations. Denis Kozhevnikov assists Ivanov with contentious tax matters.

Transport Law

At VEGAS LEX, Denis Shtirbu heads the transport practice, which assists clients with major railroad infrastructure projects. The team advised the Ministry of Transport of the Novosibirsk Region during negotiations with government agencies regarding a high-value railway concession initiative. Dorogi Rossii is another notable client, among others.

If you would like to get more information about VEGAS LEX, please visit https://www.vegaslex.ru/

JLL expands logistics advisory business with Vincia acquisition

Real estate services firm JLL has expanded its supply chain and logistics advisory platform with the acquisition of Vincia in France.

JLL acquired the French supply chain consulting business for an undisclosed sum and said the deal supports JLL’s plans to expand its industrial and logistics business and strengthen its supply chain platform by investing in markets across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

The deal will expand JLL’s supply chain and logistics platform which currently provides services to landlords, occupiers and developers with more than 250 dedicated experts across 18 locations in EMEA.

Established 20 years ago, Vincia specialises in helping clients in the manufacturing and distribution services sectors to enhance their performance in the areas of service, cost and quality.

The acquisition of Vincia strengthens JLL’s capabilities in the sector which follows the acquisition of logistics and supply chain firm GCL Europe in 2014.

Charles Boudet, managing director, JLL France, said: “At a time of changing purchasing behaviour and the widespread introduction of omni-channel services, the logistics and supply chain market presents new opportunities for our clients.

“This acquisition strengthens our expertise in the sector and is key to enhancing our ambitions to grow our supply chain and logistics operations in France and beyond.”

Laurent Vallas, regional director and industrial and logistics assets sponsor, JLL France, said: “The acquisition of Vincia enables us to respond to the growing market demand for supply chain consulting services.

“It is an expansion of our capabilities in the sector which follows our acquisition of GCL Europe in 2014.”

Fabrice Mattei and Pascal Querro, co-founders of Vincia, said: “We have worked with JLL for a number of years on key projects.

“These shared experiences have always delivered great value to our clients and have proven that we share the same principles and culture of excellence.”