Posts

Eversheds Sutherland publishes The State of Cannabis Law

Eversheds Sutherland is pleased to announce the publication of its comprehensive cannabis book, The State of Cannabis Law. Authored and researched by the firm’s Cannabis Industry team and published by Wolters Kluwer, The State of Cannabis Law is a first-of-its-kind book that provides an overview of all 50 states’ marijuana and hemp laws and includes information about key ancillary issues such as intellectual property, real estate and tax implications. The book is now available for purchase at the Wolters Kluwer online bookstore.

“Our Cannabis Industry team was formed to bring cross disciplinary insights to businesses operating in this rapidly growing industry, where state, federal and international regulations are still being developed,” said Mark D. Wasserman, Co-CEO of Eversheds Sutherland. “After working with many clients in the space, our team identified a need for comprehensive guidance on state-by-state laws which will hopefully be helpful to businesses working within and across state lines.”

As developments in the cannabis industry continue to move at rapid speed, current command of a state’s specific regulation, as well as its pending legislation and overall evolution with respect to cannabis, is vital for businesses to meaningfully work in the cannabis space, whether by serving clients, starting a business or as an ancillary service provider or other role. However, material available to make prudent decisions is often piecemeal and inconsistent in identifying various issues relevant in individual states. With this innovative book, the Eversheds Sutherland Cannabis Industry team has created a desk reference that provides industry participants with a streamlined and accessible starting point to understand the cannabis landscape in any given state.

“In the last decade, cannabis has emerged as a powerful tool for health, agricultural, and sociocultural and economic change,” said Anna C. Halsey, special counsel in the Eversheds Sutherland Intellectual Property practice group who co-authored and spearheaded the project. “Currently, more than two-thirds of the states and Washington DC have legalised marijuana for medical use while 11 states and Washington DC have legalised marijuana for adult or recreational use. Still more states have various nuances associated with their cannabis regulatory regimes. Due to these important variations, we have created this book and captured them in a single resource.”

Many significant legal and economic potentialities loom on the horizon that will continue to change the cannabis industry and legal landscape. As those changes happen, this book will evolve as well with upcoming editions.

About the Cannabis Industry Team

The Eversheds Sutherland Cannabis Industry Team is an assembly of experienced attorneys from across our practice groups and offices who serve the expanding and diverse needs of the cannabis industry. We combine deep industry knowledge, a network of relationships and subject matter experience to provide clients with the advice needed to successfully launch, grow, manage and work with cannabis companies. We scan for and study with depth the rising cannabis business questions and challenges—from communications and branding to transportation and banking—and proactively work with clients to develop strategic plans that leverage opportunities and address relevant issues. Our Cannabis Industry Team brings the legal and regulatory frameworks necessary to most any business decision made in the industry.

Konexo launches ‘hourly’ resourcing model

Konexo, a division of Eversheds Sutherland, has launched Resourcing+ an evolution of its existing resourcing service to be rolled out across its global network.

As the demand for different ways of working increase, Resourcing+ gives clients immediate and high quality legal talent on an hourly basis with the flexibility tailored to clients. Clients will be able to hire immediate, ad hoc support as an extension to their in-house team without having to commit to specific timeframes.

Clients currently using the service include Nestle UK, Pernod Ricard UK and Lion Group.

James Lewindon, Head of Konexo Legal Resourcing UK, said: “As clients face challenges around location, IT infrastructure and talent management, being able to access interim staff on an ad hoc and flexible basis is both appealing and necessary particularly in the current climate.

“Clients are looking for high quality and experienced legal professionals who can hit the ground running. Resourcing+ provides both reassurance to clients and a service to meet their varied and changing business needs.”

Konexo Legal Resourcing has provided interim placements to its clients for the last nine years and has an extensive talent pool of over 1,000 legal professionals including lawyers, paralegals and project managers across multiple legal disciplines.

Eversheds Sutherland expands leading tech practice

Eversheds Sutherland announced today that Frankie Tam has joined the Hong Kong-based Asia technology team, led by Rhys McWhirter.

Frankie, who joins the practice as Of Counsel, will advise clients on technology issues, including large-scale technology outsourcing, fintech and data privacy issues. She also acts for clients on ‘regtech’, a relatively new field, based around technology solutions that support regulatory monitoring, reporting and compliances. These purpose built platforms feature complex screening and monitoring tools, many of which are based on blockchain technology, making the solutions affordable, efficient and scalable.

Frankie is well known in the Hong Kong market for her efforts to promote Hong Kong as a ‘centre of excellence’ for financial services technology. She is a member of the ‘Vetting Committee’ of the Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Commission General Support Programme. The committee advises the Hong Kong Government on funding submissions for projects that foster the local innovation and technology culture. She is also a co-founder and Vice President of the ‘Hong Kong Internet Finance Association’, and a member of the ‘Core Committee for Payments’ of the Fintech Association of Hong Kong.

Qualified in Hong Kong, New York and England and Wales, Frankie has worked in Hong Kong, London and Shanghai. She brings this international perspective to the Hong Kong practice at a time when the team is advising global and regional banks, financial service providers, airlines and travel organisations on their digitisation strategy. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this task both more complicated and more urgent. Since the pandemic began, shortly after Chinese New Year, organisations have been introducing digital solutions in tandem with new work practices. In some cases the ‘proof of concept’ stage was scaled up and became an ‘all enterprise proof-of-concept’. Testing that would ordinarily require months was conducted on the front lines as the end users deployed the new technology. This increased digitisation ensured that business critical objectives including customer service delivery, remote and flexible working, team management and brand recognition were maintained.

Rhys McWhirter commented: “We are very excited to have Frankie join our team. She is a highly qualified lawyer who combines strong technical skills with an understanding of how technology must be made to work for clients. Her involvement with organisations in the fintech and regtech space will give our clients insights into the legal, ethical and commercial implications of new tech, including smart contracts, AI, machine learning, automation and big data’.”

Stephen Kitts, Managing Partner, Asia added: “I join with Rhys in welcoming Frankie to the Hong Kong practice. Under Rhys’ leadership the team has become the ‘go to’ practice for advice on the latest developments in the tech sector, in particular their impact at both the strategic and commercial levels. For example, he is working with three of the eight new virtual banks in Hong Kong, to advise on all aspects of their technology strategy and implementation. A remarkable achievement. Frankie is joining a team that truly is at the ‘top of its game’.”

Eversheds Sutherland advises on Springland privatisation financing

Eversheds Sutherland Hong Kong advised DBS Bank on the acquisition financing in connection with the HK$4.5 billion privatisation of Springland International Holdings Limited (“Springland”).

Springland operates a number of department stores and supermarkets in Mainland China, in particular in the Greater Yangtze River Delta region. It has branches across nearly ten cities in Jiangsu and Anhui provinces. Springland listed on the Main Board of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong in 2010 (HKSE: 1700).

The privatisation of Springland by the offeror, Octopus (China) Holdings Limited, was by way of a scheme of arrangement under section 86 of the Companies Law of the Cayman Islands. DBS Asia Capital Limited was the financial adviser to Octopus (China) Holdings Limited. The scheme became effective in February 2020.

Lead partner, Kingsley Ong, commented: “We were delighted to work with DBS on this notable transaction and to help Octopus (China) Holdings Limited in its successful acquisition and privatisation. Our team worked to a demanding timetable and the successful close is a credit to everyone’s hard work and dedication”.

Stephen Mok, Senior Partner and Head of Corporate, Asia, added: “We are very grateful for this opportunity to advise DBS on this transaction. There are many reasons why privatisations take place. Some controlling shareholders may want to restructure and recapitalise their business with a view to re-listing later on. Some investors may see privatisations as good opportunities to take over undervalued listed companies. The current state of the stock markets present a valuable opportunity to go down this route. I expect to see more activities in this area as the sentiment of the financial markets continues to be hampered by the current pandemic.”

The Hong Kong team was led by partner Kingsley Ong, with Of Counsel Sin Joh Chuang and Simon Barrell, Associates Polly Chiu and Toby Wai, and trainee Hinny Leung.

Eversheds appoints Rachel Broquard as Service Excellence Partner

Eversheds Sutherland announces the appointment of Rachel Broquard, a partner in its Corporate group, to the newly created role of Service Excellence Partner, effective from 1 April 2020.

This new role is an evolution of that previously held by Andrew McManus, who led the firm’s Client Technology and Innovation team. The new role will incorporate and more holistic approach to client service.

Client-facing technology will be a key part of Rachel’s responsibilities, but with a broader remit to include client service excellence, legal project management and knowledge in the client context. She will also lead on the firm’s innovation agenda.

Rachel has an outstanding track-record in cross-border M&A transactions and forging major client relationships, fulfilling the role of Client or Deputy Client Partner for a number of the firm’s key clients. She has long combined front line transactional work with a passion for innovative client service solutions, often with a technology angle, and has been instrumental in developing a number of Eversheds Sutherland’s client technology offerings including the firm’s flagship M&A project management tool, Dealmaster.

Keith Froud, Managing Partner, Eversheds Sutherland (International) comments: “This is a significant appointment for the firm and I am delighted that Rachel has accepted the position. Taking our approach to service excellence to another level is a strategic priority for us in the coming period, and Rachel has a fantastic track record in this area. She has a long history of delivering innovative, high quality solutions for clients and will make a huge contribution in her new role.”

Rachel Broquard, Service Excellence Partner, Eversheds Sutherland (International) comments: “I am delighted to have been appointed to this role – a first for Eversheds Sutherland – with a focus on service excellence, and am looking forward to close collaboration with our clients and many colleagues across the firm.”

Pensions solutions for policy makers and society

The pensions industry has seen significant change over the last 25 years, with further material challenges, both short-term and long-term, already on the horizon including the revival of the Pension Schemes Bill and its many implications.

To meet these issues head on, Eversheds Sutherland has today (12 February), in conjunction with research company, Winmark, launched a new report: The Future of Pensions.

The report acts as a roadmap for pension policy makers and society as a whole. It tackles the unique challenges currently facing future generations and provides innovative ideas to the ultimate pensions questions: How do we get people to save enough for an affordable retirement, and how can we provide better financial options for retirement?

The report includes an “innovation checklist” of ideas to ensure a better retirement for all, suggested by the senior pensions industry professionals who took part in the research exercise, and on which over 350 participants were then surveyed.

The report’s innovation checklist lists the 18 solutions in order of popularity, with the top five as follows:

  • Annual pensions statements that show actual annual income at retirement
  • Accelerated development of the pension dashboard
  • A savings and pension planning ‘rite of passage’ for young people
  • Extending auto-enrolment to the self-employed
  • A greater role for IFAs, through the introduction of safe harbour legislation

The innovations relate to the four principal themes covered in the report, which came out of the global legal practice’s research process:

  • The future of Defined Benefit (DB) – facilitating a “safe landing”
  • The future of Defined Contribution (DC) – better coverage, adequacy, consolidation and decumulation (converting pension savings to retirement income)
  • The future of long-term pensions: planning and collaboration
  • The future of pensions: engagement and communication

Francois Barker, head of pensions at Eversheds Sutherland, and Partner who commissioned the report, said:

“The Future of Pensions is a huge and urgent topic.

“By focusing on the four key themes identified by our report we have been able to better understand and suggest some innovative solutions for each, as well as capture and incorporate the views of our international colleagues on where the UK may have lessons to learn from overseas jurisdictions, and vice versa.

“The ‘innovation checklist’ of ideas makes for particularly interesting reading as these are some of the solutions, if correctly implemented, that will make the Future of Pensions a better place for all of us. Without a combined effort to tackle these issues by both government and society, whole generations face the threat of simply not being able to enjoy an affordable retirement.

“The pensions landscape remains in a state of flux but what is clear is that we need to transition to a range of new and effective models to ensure that pension provision for the future is adequate and fit for purpose – for all generations of savers, and all groups in a diverse society.”