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Norton Rose Fulbright EMEA Chair, Farmida Bi, is awarded CBE

Norton Rose Fulbright’s Chair of Europe, Middle East and Asia, Farmida Bi, has been made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2020 for services to the legal profession and to charity. Farmida is also Chair of the Trustees of The Patchwork Foundation.

The CBE is awarded to individuals for having a prominent role at national level, or a leading role at regional level. CBEs are also awarded for distinguished and innovative contribution to any area.

Peter Scott, Managing Partner, Europe, Middle East and Asia, said: “The firm is delighted for Farmida. She is a lawyer who specialises in innovative and market leading transactions, particularly in Islamic finance, and is a passionate advocate for social justice, who has worked tirelessly to champion social equality both within the firm and in our wider communities. It is great to see that Farmida’s work in the legal profession and her efforts to support the positive integration of disadvantaged and minority communities have been recognised.”

Farmida Bi recognised in HERoes 100 Women Executives List

Norton Rose Fulbright’s Chair of Europe, Middle East and Asia, Farmida Bi, has been recognised in HERoes 100 Role Women Executives List 2020. This is the second time Farmida has been included in the list. The list, supported by Yahoo! Finance, showcases business leaders who are breaking down barriers in the workplace and seeking to drive workplace equality and inclusion.

Farmida is also the firm’s European Head of Islamic Finance. She has more than 20 years of experience in capital markets and Islamic finance transactions, advising on English and New York law.

Farmida has been included in the HERoes 100 Women Executives List based on her work done internally and externally to champion women, and her recent and significant business achievements. As Chair of the firm’s Partnership Committee and Audit Committee as well as a steering group member of the firm’s Women’s Network (WIN), she has worked to recruit more women to management positions, created spaces for meaningful discussions and organised successful inclusion-focused events.

A leading individual for Islamic finance and for debt capital markets in Legal 500 UK 2020, Farmida commented:

“To be included in this list for the second consecutive year is an honour, especially alongside such talented women. At Norton Rose Fulbright, we remain dedicated to creating a workplace which is diverse and inclusive. We value diversity and the opportunities it provides to widen our horizons and understand our clients, and each other.”

Farmida has previously been listed in Financial news Most Influential Women in Europe Finance (2019) and was recognised as an “Outstanding Practitioner” at the International Financial Law Review Women in Business Law Awards. She was also listed in The Lawyer’s Hot 100 2019.

Gerry Pecht elected as Global Chief Executive

Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright announced today the election of Gerry Pecht as Global Chief Executive of Norton Rose Fulbright, effective January 1, 2021. Gerry Pecht will succeed Peter Martyr, who has led Norton Rose and then Norton Rose Fulbright since 2002.

Currently Norton Rose Fulbright’s Global Head of Dispute Resolution and Litigation, Gerry Pecht commented “I am proud and honoured to be elected Norton Rose Fulbright’s Global Chief Executive. Over the past ten years, we have built a global platform with exceptional lawyers serving valued clients in virtually every major business centre. The quality of our people around the world enables us to collaborate on a truly global level. I look forward to building on our platform and taking our firm to the next phase of its evolution. As Global Chief Executive, I will promote our firm’s unity and strategic alignment, emphasise our client service focus, utilise our technological and innovative advantages and optimise our financial performance.”

“I will also place a priority on social engagement. Lawyers play a special role in society, and our firm must use its influence to fight racism, sexism and social injustice. Diversity and inclusion is a key focus for our firm and a cause I will continue to champion.”

“On behalf of the global business, I would like to thank Peter Martyr for the outstanding contribution he has made to the firm as its first Global Chief Executive, and I am committed to continuing to build on the foundations laid by Peter.”

Peter Martyr, Norton Rose Fulbright’s Global Chief Executive, added “Gerry is a highly experienced business leader, with whom I have worked closely over the past eight years. Gerry is a US lawyer with a global personal and professional background, making him well equipped to drive the firm’s global business transformation strategy. The firm is in good hands, and I am certain it will flourish under his leadership.”

Gerry has been a member of the firm’s Global Executive Committee since 2013 and has served as Global Head of Dispute Resolution and Litigation since 2014. He joined our Houston office in 1980 and was named a partner in 1987.

Regularly representing publicly traded companies located both within and outside the US and their officers and directors, Gerry built a commercial litigation practice focused on securities litigation and enforcement, energy litigation, internal corporate investigations, international litigation and arbitration. Both Chambers USA and The Legal 500 United States have recognised Gerry for his work in securities litigation.

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.

Projects, energy and infrastructure teams recognised at IJGlobal Awards

Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright received Global Legal Adviser of the Year, Asia Pacific Legal Adviser of the Year and North America Legal Adviser of the Year accolades on July 13, 2020 at the IJGlobal Awards 2019, which recognised the best energy, infrastructure and mining deals and firms from around the world over the past year.

A leading publication for the energy and infrastructure market, IJGlobal also honoured the firm with 13 Deal of the Year awards for transactions completed in Asia Pacific, Europe & Africa, Middle East & North Africa and North America.

Nick Merritt, Norton Rose Fulbright’s Global Head of Infrastructure, Mining and Commodities, commented: “These accolades affirm our position as a market leader for project finance work in the infrastructure and energy sectors. We would like to congratulate all of our clients on their wins, and we are pleased to have been able to make a positive contribution to each and every of the named projects. We have had a strong year advising on many first-of-its-kind type projects and are grateful for the industry recognition from our peer group which continues to recognise our global scope and knowledge in the development and financing of ever more complex projects around the world.”

Anne Lapierre, Norton Rose Fulbright’s Global Head of Energy, said: “Being recognised for our involvement in a wide range of highly complex projects in oil, gas and renewables is a testament to the strength of our global team. While this year may present challenges to our clients, we remain committed to helping them achieve their objectives related to global projects.”

The firm advised on 13 award-winning transactions at the IJGlobal Awards 2019:

Asia Pacific

  • Asia Pacific Telecoms Deal of the Year – Kacific-1 Satellite
  • Advised Kacific Broadband Satellites Group on credit facilities totalling US$160 million to finance the construction, launch, ground system and initial operation for Kacific-1, a Boeing-built next-generation high-throughput Ka-band satellite. Led by Nick Merritt.
  • Asia Pacific Hydro Deal of the Year – Tina River Hydro
  • Advised Korea Water Resources Corporation and Hyundai Engineering Company Ltd as sponsors on the 15-MW Tina River Hydro Development Project. The deal marks the first large-scale infrastructure P3 project in the Solomon Islands. Led by Nick Merritt.
  • Asia Pacific Waste Deal of the Year – East Rockingham EfW
  • Advised a group of five senior financiers on the East Rockingham EfW project, which will be the second waste-to-energy facility in Western Australia aimed at addressing Australia’s growing waste crisis. The project was developed by a consortium led by Tribe Infrastructure Group, New Energy Corporation and Hitachi Zosen Inova. Led by Jo Crew.

Europe and Africa

  • European Portfolio Refinancing Deal of the Year – Project Keane Refinancing
  • Advised Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners on the Refinancing of an entire portfolio of onshore wind assets, which includes 17 360-MW projects in Ireland. Led by Rob Marsh.
  • European Refinancing Deal of the Year – Beatrice Offshore Wind
  • Advised a consortium of lenders on the senior debt refinancing of the Beatrice offshore wind project in Scotland. The consortium comprises 29 commercial and institutional lenders and 24 hedging banks. Led by Rob Marsh.
  • European Restructuring Deal of the Year – Irish Schools Bundle 5
  • Advised DIF infra 4 Limited as shareholder of Inspiredspaces Bundle 5 (Ireland) Limited on the restructuring and financing of completion works in relation to the Irish Schools Bundle 5 PPP project. Led by Mark Berry.
  • African Refinancing Deal of the Year – Société Ivorienne de Raffinage
  • Advised Africa Finance Corporation on the debt financing of Société Ivoirienne de Raffinage under a multi-currency long-term credit agreement for approximately US$675 million. Led by Anne Lapierre.
  • African Power Deal of the Year – Bridge Power
  • Advised the lenders to the Bridge Power Project in Ghana, sponsored by General Electric, Endeavour Energy and the Quantum Group. The project is a fast-deployment dual-fuelled LPG and natural gas power project, comprising approximately 400 MW of combined cycle power generation technology. Co-led by Martin McCann, Charles Whitney, Dan Metcalfe and Dan Giemajner.

Middle East and North Africa

  • MENA Water Deal of the Year – Taweelah IWP
  • Advised lenders, including Natixis, Siemens Bank and Mizuho Bank, to the successful bidding consortium, led by ACWA Power, on the US$1.2 billion Taweelah desalination independent water project (IWP) in Abu Dhabi. Led by Jo Emerson-Taqi and Paul Mansouri.

North America

  • North America Battery Storage Deal of the Year – Lāwa’i Solar and Energy Storage
  • Advised Societe Generale as lenders on the financing of the combined 20 MW solar PV and 20 MW/100 MWh AES Lāwa’i Solar and Energy Storage Project in Kauai, Hawaii – the largest operational solar and storage system in the world. Co-led by Ben Koenigsberg and Jim Berger.
  • North America Utility Deal of the Year – ESAP Modernisation Project
  • Advised the Department of Justice in providing procurement advice and transaction support services to Public Services and Procurement Canada for the Energy Services Acquisition Program’s Energy Service Modernisation P3 project. Led by John Naccarato.
  • North America Wind Deal of the Year – Clearway Repowering
  • Advised Clearway Energy on the US$381 million repowering of two Texas wind farms – the 161 MW Wildorado wind farm in Oldham County and 121.9 MW Elbow Creek wind farm in Howard County. Co-led by Rob Eberhardt and Jim Berger.
  • Latin America Water Deal of the Year – BRK Ambiental
  • Advised sponsor BRK Ambiental Participações S.A in relation to the BRL denominated IDB financing provided in respect of BRK’s wastewater infrastructure project in Recife and Goiana in northeast Brazil. Led by Charlie Johnson.
  • At last year’s awards, IJGlobal recognised Norton Rose Fulbright as Legal Adviser of the Year – North America (private sector) and the firm advised on 18 Deals of the Year. The year prior, Norton Rose Fulbright was named Global Law Firm of the Year and Europe and Africa Law Firm of the Year, while advising on 15 Deals of the Year.

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.