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Pinsent Masons advises HZI on its first Energy from Waste Plant

International law firm Pinsent Masons has advised HZI on the development of the A$511 million East Rockingham Resource Recovery Facility in Western Australia.

The East Rockingham Resource Recovery Facility Project, which will be Australia’s second ‘energy from waste’ plant (EfW), is set to go into operation by the end of 2022. Pinsent Masons is advising Swiss cleantech company Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI) as developer, part-owner, co-operator and EPC joint venture contractor of the plant, which is the company’s first EfW plant in Australia.

The plant will process 300,000 tonnes of municipal and industrial waste a year to generate 28.9 MWe of energy into the grid. Construction is scheduled to begin at the beginning of January 2020.

The project was developed by a consortium consisting of HZI, New Energy Corporation and Tribe Infrastructure. The contract to design, build and commission the plant was awarded by the project shareholders to an EPC consortium formed by Acciona and HZI.

Commenting on the deal, energy and infrastructure partner, Anthony Arrow, said the project supports HZI’s reputation as a global leader in the energy from waste market. “We are pleased to have worked alongside HZI on their first project in Australia, which will bring enormous waste management benefits for the environment and at the same time generate electricity.”

“This work also demonstrates our team’s strength in the energy sector. Our focus continues to be on the changes and latest advancements in the industry, from both a global and local perspective, which is why we’re able to deliver practical legal advice to energy clients operating anywhere.”

HZI was supported by a Pinsent Masons cross-border team, with involvement across each of our Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Birmingham offices. The Australia team acting on the transaction included partner Anthony Arrow, partner George Varma, special counsel Catherine Bendeich, special counsel Katie Joukadjian, legal director Ed Kelly, associate Toby Evans, associate Cameron Reid, lawyer Susan Xu and graduate lawyers Jesse Chen, Lydia Holt and Nicola Macrow on project advisory and the EPC contract; partner Jeremy King and lawyer Shubho Mukherjee on project financing; partner Bill Ryan and lawyer Chris Zhang on risk advisory; and partner Brian Scott, associate Lucy Carter and lawyers Lisa Meyer and Ananya Mittra on corporate-related matters. Support from the UK team was led by partner Didar Dhillon.

Pinsent Masons bolsters its Trade Group in Düsseldorf

Pinsent Masons continues to expand its Competition, EU & Trade Group, with the appointment of competition law specialist, Prof. Dr. Hans Jürgen Meyer-Lindemann, as a partner in the Düsseldorf office.

Regarded as one of the leading competition practitioners in Germany, he joins from Dechert, where he was a senior partner. Hans Jürgen’s focus will be on clients within the Advanced Manufacturing & Technology (AMT) sector, including Life Sciences.

Hans Jürgen’s work includes handling high-profile merger control cases before the European Commission and national competition authorities; major cartel investigations in a variety of industries; and numerous litigation matters concerning both public and private enforcement before local and district courts, Germany’s Federal Supreme Court and the European courts.

Commenting on Hans Jürgen’s appointment, Alan Davis, Head of Competition, EU & Trade at Pinsent Masons said: “We are delighted to welcome Hans Jürgen to the Competition, EU & Trade Group. Hans Jürgen will work closely with the Head of our German Competition Team, Michael Reich in Munich. His outstanding reputation, track record and wealth of experience in German and EU competition law significantly strengthens our pan-European competition law practice advising on complex merger and anti-trust cases.”

Head of the Advanced Manufacturing & Technology (AMT) sector, Florian von Baum added: “Across the AMT sector, we are seeing more disputes with a competition law background and Hans Jürgen’s expertise means that we can support our clients as their needs develop and change. His skillset, knowledge and experience will enable us to deepen our ability to offer high quality competition law advice across the sector and I look forward to working with Hans Jürgen.”

His appointment follows the appointment of Robert Vidal, formerly head of Taylor Wessing’s UK competition team, in the Competition, EU & Trade Group in London and brings the number of partners in the Group across the UK and Germany to nine. The team is currently advising on EU, UK and German antitrust enforcement investigations in the pharmaceutical, financial services, construction and manufacturing sectors, as well as mergers and market investigations. The team is also advising on a variety of competition litigation matters, including follow-on and stand alone damages claims.

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Northern Ireland: Pinsent Masons crowned Law Firm of the Year

ONE of Northern Ireland’s largest law firms has been named Law Firm of the Year 2018 at the prestigious awards ceremony hosted by The Lawyer magazine.

Servicing major Northern Irish institutions such as Queen’s University, Allstate, and Belfast Harbour Commissioners, Pinsent Masons employs more than 85 people in Belfast, with that number rising to around 110 when combined with their rapidly expanding new office in Dublin.

This year’s judges – a panel of in-house general counsel, The Lawyer Hot 100 alumni and managing partners of major international firms – recognised the firm’s achievements over the past year, from continuing to be a market leader across its five key sectors, to expanding its revenue streams outside of traditional legal services through a range of innovative ‘New Law’ products.

The judges also commended the firm’s desire to lead on gender diversity, with the firm one of the first in the sector to publish its gender pay gap data.

Pinsent Masons has also succeeded in raising the percentage of women in its partnership from 17 per cent to 25 per cent in five years, and four of its nine board members are female.

Head of Pinsent Masons Belfast office and real estate partner Andrea McIlroy-Rose said: “In Northern Ireland we have enjoyed working on high profile local projects including the purchase of Belfast International Airport, the £200m Gas to the West expansion, and major new Grade A office facilities for inward investors such as Allstate and Concentrix.

“The strength of our firm offering, and investment in technology, means we can provide our clients with outstanding service and efficiencies that are unparalleled in a regional market such as Northern Ireland.”

On a global level the firm has acted on several significant deals globally in the past year, including advising Shell UK on its $3.8bn sale of North Sea assets to Chrysaor; Laing O’Rourke on AU$955m Sydney Metro Central Station; ING and Commonwealth Bank of Australia on a pilot AI program for MiFID II; and advising Redefine International on the disposal of its German retail portfolio of 66 properties for €205m.

Pinsent Masons recently reported its 2017/18 financial results, achieving a 10 per cent increase in fees billed. The firm’s total global turnover for the year stood at £449.8 million, representing turnover growth of more than 40 per cent and profit growth of 60 per cent over the past five years.

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Morton Fraser chalks up 60% revenue growth over last five years

INDEPENDENT law firm Morton Fraser has chalked up revenue growth of nine per cent, topping the £20 million mark for annual billings for the first time in its history (£21.7m). It also saw profits soar 13% in the year to April 30, 2018, with revenue having grown 60% over the last five years.

The Scottish firm, which employs over 270 staff, attributed its growth to its investment in people. And it declared its strong commercial performance would result in another increase to Morton Fraser’s performance-related bonus scheme, which will reward all staff with up to 13% of their annual salary.

Chris Harte, chief executive, said that the quality of the team at Morton Fraser was the “one consistent factor underpinning this period of growth for our business”. Mr Harte said: “We have some exceptional talent and some of the best specialist teams in the country. The roster of truly independent Scottish firms is dwindling, and our focus on talent is setting us apart.”

Performance highlights included a “fantastic year” for the firm’s commercial real estate division, boosted by a strong performance in London. It also advised Rockspring on the purchase of 9-10 St Andrew Square in Edinburgh and BAM Properties on its role in the city’s largest speculative office development at Capital Square.

Morton Fraser’s corporate team played an integral part in Quattro Group’s multi-million-pound acquisition of Scotland’s big gest privately-owned plant hire operator, AB2000.

Mr Harte said that the firm, which merged with Macdonalds five years ago and has offices in Edinburgh and Glasgow, continued to work with longstanding clients including Diageo for which Morton Fraser is lead legal adviser for the global drinks giant’s commercial real estate work in the UK.

It also saw an increase in its international work, with a growing number of referrals through the global network Interlaw.

“It would be wrong to assume that a proudly independent firm in Scotland can only do business in Scotland,” Mr Harte said.

“Our connections and reputation extend not only into the City of London, but also internationally.

“We help overseas clients to assess their options here and also support domestic clients in other jurisdictions too,” he added. “We are the only Scottish firm in the Interlaw network but you still need a reputation for excellence to succeed internationally.”

The firm, said Mr Harte, had spent the last five years “getting into the right shape and investing in people”, and has increased its headcount by 30%. “That has been the bedrock of success for us,” he said. “A lot of people have been working really hard to get us to this stage and it is still about trying to retain and attract the right people.

“As we become more successful it makes it easier for us to have conversations with people we think might be interested in working for us and we have had people choose to relocate to Scotland rather than move to another firm in London, for example.”

There was also an increase in profits and turnover for international law firm Pinsent Masons which employs 540 staff in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Its unaudited results for 2017/18 showed a 6% increase in global turnover to £450m. Fees billed rose by 10% on the previous year. In the last five years, turnover has increased by more than 40% while profit growth has jumped by 60%.

The results follow a period of investment which has included setting up a technology and financial services-focused practice in Dublin. In the last year, Pinsent Masons has added an energy and infrastructure practice in Perth to complement its Australian business in Sydney and Melbourne.

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Award Winners Announced from the 2018 Middle East Legal Awards

DLA Piper was crowned International Law Firm of the Year for the second year running at the Middle East Legal Awards, underscoring the firm’s continued strong performance in the region.

As the only international firm with offices in all six Gulf Cooperation Council countries, judges praised its regional ambitions and its ongoing efforts to put innovation at the forefront of client care and service in the Middle East.

Clyde & Co, which narrowly missed out on the flagship prize, emerged as the biggest winner on the night, picking up three awards for CSR Initiative of the Year, Litigation Team of the Year and Arbitration Team of the Year.

The awards – which were jointly hosted by Legal Week and the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Middle East Chapter – took place at the Ritz-Carlton in Dubai yesterday (19 April) and were attended by nearly 400 lawyers from across the region and beyond.

Some 24 prizes were up for grabs amid a record year of submissions from leading global and local firms and in-house legal departments.

The awards highlighted the international legal industry’s commitment to the Middle East, with a number of large firms recognised for their work in the region.

Pinsent Masons was named Real Estate Team of the Year for advising on a giant luxury shopping centre and hotel project in Dubai, while Baker McKenzie took home the Regulatory and Investigations Team of the Year award for guiding a client through a complex international regulatory probe.

A number of winners joined DLA in retaining their titles for a second year running. Simmons & Simmons collected the TMT Team of the Year prize again, while Dentons held onto the Construction Team of the Year title for advising on a shopping mall and entertainment development in Abu Dhabi. Bracewell, meanwhile, took home Infrastructure and Energy Projects Team of the Year for a second consecutive year.

The big regional winner was Al Tamimi & Company, which was named Regional Law Firm of the Year (large practice), also for a second year running. The Dubai firm also scooped the Corporate Team of the Year prize to ensure it was the most successful regional player at this year’s awards.

Tribonian Law Advisors (in association with Rindala Beydoun Legal Consultancy) collected the Regional Law Firm of the Year (small practice) award, praised by judges for landing a number of high-profile M&A deals ahead of much bigger competitors.

Satellite TV broadcaster OSN’s in-house team was named Legal Department of the Year (large team) in recognition of its efforts to continuously go above and beyond its remit, while building technology services provider Johnson Controls Middle East & Africa picked up the Legal Department of the Year (small team) award for supporting business development and driving growth across the company.

Dr Zaid Mahayni, group chief legal officer at SEDCO Holding, was crowned General Counsel of the Year (large team) for his strong leadership skills, while Microsoft Gulf’s Joanne Fischlin was named General Counsel of the Year (small team) for transforming how the wider business views and interacts with her department.

The final prize of the night – the ACC Middle East Achievement Award, presented by ACC Middle East president Sahia Ahmed – went to Mark Beer OBE, chief executive of the Dubai International Financial Centre’s Dispute Resolution Authority, who has been instrumental in developing the commercial court system in Dubai, which is part of the reason why many companies have been eager to run their regional business from the DIFC.

The 2018 Middle East Legal Award Winners List:

– TMT Team of the Year – Simmons & Simmons
– Regulatory and Investigations Team of the Year – Baker McKenzie
– Litigation Team of the Year – Clyde & Co
– Arbitration Team of the Year – Clyde & Co
– Corporate Team of the Year – Al Tamimi & Company
– Real Estate Team of the Year – Pinsent Masons
– Construction Team of the Year – Dentons
– Infrastructure and Energy Projects Team of the Year – Bracewell
– Banking and Finance Team of the Year – Stephenson Harwood
– Associate Solicitor of the Year – Rachael Ashley, Hadef & Partners
– Regional Law Firm of the Year, Small Practice – Tribonian Law Advisors
– Regional Law Firm of the Year, Large Practice – Al Tamimi & Company
– International Law Firm of the Year – DLA Piper
– Best Use of Technology – Squire Patton Boggs
– CSR Initiative of the Year – Clyde & Co
– Innovation Award – Microsoft Gulf
– Junior Corporate Counsel of the Year – Amira Fayad, Sediqqi
– Senior Corporate Counsel of the Year – Varsha Gupta, Reckitt Benckiser
– Legal Department of the Year, Small Team – Johnson Controls Middle East & Africa
– Legal Department of the Year, Public Body – DIFC Academy of Law
– Legal Department of the Year, Large Team – OSN
– General Counsel of the Year, Small Team – Joanne Fischlin, Microsoft Gulf
– General Counsel of the Year, Large Team – Dr Zaid Mahayni, SEDCO Holding
– ACC Middle East Achievement Award – Mark Beer OBE, chief executive, Dubai International Financial Centre Dispute Resolution Authority

For more information about the Middle East Legal Awards, please visit: http://www.middleeastlegalawards.com/

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Linklaters bows to pressure and restates gender pay gap figures

Linklaters has revealed the gender pay gap within its partnership, amid growing calls for law firms to be more transparent about pay disparities among their senior ranks.

The firm, which last month became the first of the magic circle to file its gender pay gap report, revealing a pay gap of 23% for non-partner employees, has now announced that when including partners, the overall gender pay gap for all employees and lawyers rises to 60.3%.

However, when looking at partners in isolation, the pay gap is just 2.2% in favour of men.

The move comes after fellow magic circle firm Clifford Chance (CC) became the first magic circle firm to include partners in its pay gap reporting earlier this week, while Allen & Overy (A&O) is among a number of other firms now considering restating their figures to include partners.

In a statement, Linklaters said: “We appreciate the need to be as transparent as possible. Ensuring gender equality and achieving gender balance is a global strategic priority. It is embedded in our strategy and reinforced by our gender targets, which this year we exceeded, in appointing 37% new female partners. We will work hard to keep up the momentum on achieving this, and our other diversity goals.”

Linklaters’ decision to issue revised pay gap figures comes after CC revealed that the mean gender pay gap for the whole of its London workforce, including all partners and employees, is 66.3% in favour of men. The firm said that it hoped that other firms would ”demonstrate their commitment to addressing gender issues by adopting an equally transparent approach”.

Of the other magic circle firms, both Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Slaughter and May have told Advisory Excellence they will not release partner data.

Pinsent Masons also recently restated its figures to include partners, and said that it would be “engaging with the Law Society and other City law firms to seek their support in making representations to government to make changes” to what law firms are required to disclose.

Linklaters’ initial pay gap report was published in early February, and, like many of the other law firms to report early, did not include partner data. The report revealed that male staff received on average 58% more in bonuses than women, although marginally more women (78%) than men (76%) received a bonus in the year to April 2017.

There is no statutory requirement for law firms to include partners in their gender pay gap reporting, but a growing number have now made the decision to, including Dentons, Eversheds Sutherland, Reed Smith, Irwin Mitchell and Norton Rose Fulbright.

A&O and CMS have confirmed to Advisory Excellence that they are also considering issuing revised figured.

The big four accounting firms led the way by restating their figures to include partner earnings following criticism from high-profile figures such as Conservative MP Nicky Morgan, who said that by not including partners, firms were “taking advantage of a loophole” and “abiding by the letter of the law, but not the spirit”.