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Norton Rose Fulbright bolsters Riyadh office with new partner

Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright today announced that Zayd Alathari, an intellectual property lawyer with experience in the Middle East and the US, has joined its Riyadh office as a partner.

Alathari joins the Mohammed Al-Ghamdi Law Firm in association with Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP from Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), where he led the company’s IP initiatives as its Senior Manager & IP Counsel in the Middle East and Africa.

In eight years at SABIC, Alathari led a team that supported SABIC’s Middle East and Africa manufacturing teams and the company’s global technology & innovation teams for the chemical, agri-nutrients and metal business in the US, Europe, Middle East, China and India. Alathari also helped develop and implement SABIC’s global IP strategies and policies, and he provided legal and IP advice and contract support to protect and enhance the value of the company’s technology.

Additionally, Alathari and his team drafted and negotiated a wide range of technology agreements; prepared and prosecuted patent applications; managed and maintained patent portfolios; conducted due diligence; and handled freedom to operate (FTO) opinions.

Before his in-house career in Saudi Arabia, Alathari practiced at Venable LLP in Washington, DC. As an associate and registered patent attorney, he advised US-based and international clients on IP litigation, transaction and patent prosecution matters.

Tim Kenny, Norton Rose Fulbright’s Global Head of Intellectual Property, said: “Zayd possesses a broad range of IP experience with more than two decades split between a multinational corporation and a large law firm. When combined with Norton Rose Fulbright’s global platform, Zayd’s versatility and perspective will benefit our clients and their businesses worldwide.”

Mohammed Al-Ghamdi, Partner-in-Charge of Norton Rose Fulbright’s Riyadh office, commented: “Zayd is an accomplished leader who excelled in managing SABIC’s comprehensive intellectual property portfolio. He is well connected to major corporations in Saudi Arabia and respected throughout the Middle East.”

Alathari, who is also a member of the Gulf Petrochemical and Chemical Association’s (GPCA) research and innovation committee, said: “Saudi Arabia’s ambitious economic growth and diversification efforts are transforming the region as it heavily invests in technology, digitalisation, localisation, data protection and management, and a circular economy. Strong IP rights are critical to protecting these initiatives, and Norton Rose Fulbright’s global presence will help my clients realise and commercialise their maximum potential.”

Alathari earned his JD at American University Washington College of Law, his MS at Johns Hopkins University and his BS in biology from The George Washington University. A registered patent attorney with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), he is licensed to practice in the District of Columbia and Virginia.

Norton Rose Fulbright launches NRF Covid Resolve platform

Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has today launched NRF Covid Resolve, a new online legal framework and process for expedited dispute resolution.

COVID-19 has made it difficult for many companies to perform some of their contractual obligations, giving rise to a high number of corporate disputes, particularly relating to the application of force majeure and change in law provisions.

Commercial contracts usually prescribe formal, lengthy and costly modes of dispute resolution. In the current crisis, the overriding need in many cases is to ‘get back to business’ quickly in a way which is still fair to all parties. ADR is being actively encouraged to avoid a deluge of post-COVID-19 litigations.

At the same time, due to the wider financial impact of the pandemic – particularly in the energy sector with the oil price crash – many in-house legal departments are under pressure to conserve legal spend.

To tackle this challenge, a taskforce of energy and disputes lawyers at Norton Rose Fulbright worked with NRF Transform – the firm’s global change and innovation programme – to develop NRF Covid Resolve. It is a dispute resolution process supported through a single online platform, that aims to achieve an outcome for each dispute within four to six weeks. The process can be used for both disputes between companies, or for disputes between companies within the same group, operating in both civil law and common law jurisdictions. Its fixed price allows users to effectively plan and control their budgets.

Parties may opt for a mediation process only, a mediation process followed by documents only arbitration or an arbitration only. The mediators and arbitrators are selected from a pre-agreed panel of independent sector specialists available through the platform.

Anne Lapierre, Norton Rose Fulbright’s Global Head of Energy and developer of NRF Covid Resolve, commented: “The energy industry faces unprecedented challenges from COVID-19, compounded by the wider transformation of the sector as it undertakes the essential transition away from fossil fuels. As such, we feel it our duty to come up with practical solutions to help clients get back to what they do best as quickly as possible. Our unique solution to managing the influx of disputes will do exactly that. Taking this product from conception to launch in under two months is an achievement in which our energy and disputes lawyers should take great pride.”

Neil Q Miller, a London-based energy disputes partner, said: “Businesses, governments, judiciary and commentators have all emphasised the need for a different approach to resolve the volume of potential claims arising from COVID-19. Many such disputes are not suited to lengthy, procedurally burdensome and costly traditional dispute resolution methods, with businesses being damaged by the impasse created from managing many live disputes with no way of efficiently resolving them. NRF Covid Resolve allows clients through their legal departments to adopt a fast track process and effectively plan, manage and resolve these claims whilst controlling external legal spend, which is a priority now more than ever.”

David Carter, Chief Product Officer for Norton Rose Fulbright and global lead for NRF Transform, commented: “The impact of COVID-19 meant clients needed a solution rapidly or it would be too late to help. Our outstanding team of NRF Transform product managers, legal designers, business analysts, solutions architects and developers delivered a technical solution matching our lawyers’ vision. Simplicity was key; the intuitive platform is easy to access and navigate.”

The platform will be rolled out first to clients in the energy sector, with plans for the mediator and arbitrator panel to expand over the coming weeks so clients in all sectors can benefit.

Eversheds supports call for Georgia hate crime legislation

Eversheds Sutherland has signed a letter by the Metro Atlanta Chamber and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce urging the Georgia General Assembly to pass a comprehensive, specific and clear bill against hate crimes in the state of Georgia. Currently, Georgia is one of the few states that does not have such a law in place.

“Our firm values stand against bigotry, hatred and inequality, and we believe the state of Georgia should send the same message by passing a law against hate crimes that protects diverse Georgians – our employees, our clients, and their families,” said Mark D. Wasserman, Co-CEO of Eversheds Sutherland. “Being part of the Georgia business community, we believe in advancing policies that support positive change and are proud to be part of a solution that fights for racial justice and equality.”

Eversheds Sutherland has joined the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and more than 60 corporations in support of comprehensive hate crime legislation. Companies interested in joining the growing group should go to www.passhatecrimesga.com where they will find instructions how to join and contact elected officials.

Eversheds Sutherland strengthen projects offering in the Middle East

Eversheds Sutherland has appointed project finance lawyer, Ashley Halewood, as a partner in its Projects team in Dubai. Ashley joins the firm from Linklaters’ Energy & Infrastructure team in Dubai.

With nine years’ experience working in the Middle East, Ashley has advised on a number of high profile transactions in the infrastructure, renewables, oil & gas, petrochemicals and power and water (IWP, IWPP and ISTP) sectors across the MENA region.

He has represented sponsors, developers, commercial lenders, Islamic finance institutions, ECAs and multilateral agencies, in all aspects of project financing, including bids, acquisitions and disposals.

Ashley is named as a ‘Rising Star’ by The Legal 500 in the Infrastructure and Projects (including Project Finance) sector.

Keri Rees, Co-Head of Global Company Commercial, Eversheds Sutherland said: “We’re thrilled to welcome Ashley. His appointment builds on our existing offering in the Middle East, enhancing the capability we already offer to our clients through the technical excellence and wealth of experience that he brings. Whilst Middle East focused, Ashley is part of a global team and it’s great to see this develop with Ashley already connected with colleagues in London, Paris, Germany and Asia in particular. Despite these challenging times, having Ashley on board reaffirms our ongoing long term commitment to meeting the needs of our clients and the increasing demand for service excellence.”

Nadim Kayyali, Regional Head of Eversheds Sutherland’s Corporate and Commercial team in the Middle East commented: “Ashley is a superb lawyer, with a proven track record in the region and his appointment reflects the investment in talent that the firm has made in the Middle East over the past couple of years. He brings with him a wealth of technical experience and client relationships which will develop further our existing projects teams in Dubai and across the region in Tunisia, Qatar, Jordan, UAE and KSA. We are committed to the growth of our practice in the Middle East, and supporting the strategic growth and strength of our global projects offering, and it is my pleasure to welcome Ashley to our team.”

Ashley Halewood commented: “I am delighted to be joining such a highly reputable team, building on what is already a strong offering in the Middle East, and a great platform from which to grow and strengthen my relationships with clients. It’s an interesting time to be joining Eversheds Sutherland amid our clients’ obvious concerns around COVID-19 and its impact on, amongst other things, the energy and infrastructure sectors. I look forward to working as part of the team to help find innovative solutions to our clients’ challenges and opportunities.”

Dentons launches combination with Rattagan Macchiavello Arocena

Dentons has launched its combination with Rattagan Macchiavello Arocena, a leader in the Argentine legal market, positioning Dentons as the largest global law firm in the country. In Argentina, the office will be branded as Dentons Rattagan Macchiavello Arocena. Dentons now has more offices in all of Latin America and the Caribbean than any other law firm, making it the first truly Pan-Latin American and the Caribbean law firm.

“Dentons’ launch in Argentina enables us to meet client needs in another priority market for our clients,” said Elliott Portnoy, Global CEO of Dentons. “We can now connect our clients to our leading talent at Dentons Rattagan Macchiavello Arocena as well to our 19,000+ people in 183 locations and 75 countries around the globe.”

“Dentons’ polycentric strategy has seen the Firm scale its presence to 24 countries across the Latin America and the Caribbean region,” said Joe Andrew, Global Chairman of Dentons. “Despite the current challenges created by Covid-19, Dentons continues to execute its strategy to scale the firm through virtual combinations with leading law firms like Rattagan Macchiavello Arocena and is now present in virtually all of Latin America and the Caribbean.”

“Since entering the region in 2016, Dentons has combined with elite firms across Latin America and the Caribbean,” said Jorge Alers, Latin America and the Caribbean Region CEO of Dentons. “Argentina has a number of exceptional legal service providers, but Rattagan Macchiavello Arocena stood out for its leadership and innovative and forward-looking thinking. This new launch means we can now connect clients to market-leading talent in Argentina and the whole of the Americas.”

Less than 15 years since its foundation, Rattagan Macchiavello Arocena became a highly recognised leader in practice areas such as Corporate and M&A, Energy, Environment and Natural Resources, Banking and Finance, Compliance and Anticorruption, Government Relations, Infrastructure, Labour Law, Litigation and Dispute Resolution, Pharmaceuticals and Tax.

“We are very proud and terribly excited with this distinction. As part of Dentons, our Buenos Aires office will now have at hand’s reach all of the knowledge, talent, best practices and state-of-the-art technology to better support our clients, allowing them to do business throughout Latin America and the Caribbean and, quite literally, in any other place of the world,” said Michael R. Rattagan, who in 2005 co-founded Rattagan Macchiavello Arocena.

So far in 2020, Dentons has launched Dentons Bingham Greenebaum and Dentons Cohen & Grigsby, the first step in forming a truly national law firm in the United States as part of Dentons’ “Project Golden Spike,” Dentons Kensington Swan in New Zealand, Dentons Lee in South Korea and Dentons Jiménez de Aréchaga in Uruguay, and opened an office in St. Lucia.

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.