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Pandemic has accelerated digital upskilling, but key groups still miss out

A new survey of 32,500 workers in 19 countries paints a picture of a global workforce that sees the shift to remote working as just the tip of the iceberg. Reflecting the fact the pandemic has accelerated a number of workforce trends, 60% are worried that automation is putting many jobs at risk; 48% believe ‘traditional employment won’t be around in the future’ and 39% think it is likely that their job will be obsolete within 5 years.

However, this is not a counsel of despair, as 40% of workers say their digital skills have been improved through the prolonged period of lockdown, and claim they’ll continue to embrace training and skill development. 77% are ‘ready to learn new skills or completely re-train’ and 74% see training as a matter of personal responsibility. And, 80% are confident they can adapt to new technologies entering their workplace, with a large majority of those asked in India (69%) and in South Africa (66%) saying they are ‘very’ confident.

In addition, 49% of respondents are focused on building entrepreneurial skills with an interest in setting up their own business.

Half of workforce report missing out on career opportunities or training due to prejudice

The survey also found that 50% of workers say they’ve faced discrimination at work which led to them missing out on career advancement or training. 13% report missing out on opportunities as a result of ethnicity and 14% of workers have experienced discrimination on the grounds of gender, with women twice as likely to report gender discrimination as men. 13% report discrimination on the basis of class, with post-graduates and others with higher qualifications more likely to report prejudice. Younger people are as likely as older people to report discrimination based on age.

On top of that, the survey found there are disparities in access to upskilling opportunities. While 46% of people with postgraduate degrees say their employer gives them many opportunities to improve their digital skills, just 28% of people with school-leaver qualifications say the same. Industries like retail or transport, which are most at risk of disruption, score just 25% and 20% respectively; while banking scores 42%.

“If current patterns in access to training persist, upskilling will increase social inequality when it should be doing precisely the opposite,” said Bhushan Sethi, Joint Global Leader of PwC’s People and Organisation Practice. “Government and business leaders need to work together to intensify efforts to ensure people in the most-at risk industries and groups get the opportunities they need. Automation and technological disruption are inevitable, but we can control whether its negative effects are managed or not.”

Younger people more focused on maximising income than ‘making a difference’ if forced to choose

Three-quarters of workers globally (75%) say they want to work for an organisation that will make a ‘positive contribution to society.’ This feeling was especially acute in China (87%), India (90%), and South Africa (90%).

However, economic insecurity is limiting people’s ability to pursue purpose driven careers, with younger people particularly affected. Overall, 54% of those polled said, if forced to choose, they would prefer a job that enabled them to ‘take every opportunity to maximise their income’ over a job that ‘makes a difference’ (46%).

Interestingly, those between 18 and 34 are more likely than other generations to prioritise income over purpose in their job with 57% prioritising ‘maximising their income’ over ‘making a difference’ (43%), a margin of 14 points. Those over 55 prioritise making a difference by a margin of 8 points, which rises to 22 points amongst workers over 65.

“As the world continues to grapple with a global health crisis and economic uncertainty, we’ve seen workers come to demand more from the business community, expecting their employers to make a positive contribution to society,” said Peter Brown, Joint Global Leader of PwC’s People and Organisation Practice. “Fortunately, focusing on societal impact and maximising profit are not mutually exclusive, and being a purpose-led business can actually help boost your bottom line.”

Employees want the option to work remotely moving forward

The survey concludes that remote working will persist post-lockdown. Of those who can work remotely, 72% of say they prefer a mixture of in-person and remote working, with only 9% stating they’d like to go back to their traditional work environment full-time. This is particularly true of professionals, office workers, business owners and the self-employed, all of whom are able to perform their jobs remotely using technology. Home working need not be limited to professional jobs. 43% of manual workers and 45% of semi-skilled workers say there are many elements of their job that they are able to do remotely.

People’s attitudes to working from home also change by location, providing further evidence of how the pandemic has increased the global digital divide. Workers in metropolitan areas (66%) are more likely to work in roles that could allow remote working than those who live in rural areas (44%).

Workers torn on privacy and technology

44% of workers globally would agree to let their employer use technology to monitor their performance at work including sensors and wearable devices, with 31% against. However, many would not go as far as allowing their employers access to their personal data. 41% of respondents said that they were unwilling to give their employer access to their personal data including social media profiles, with only 35% willing.

Eversheds Sutherland named Tax Practice Group of the Year

Eversheds Sutherland is pleased to announce that its Tax Practice Group has been selected as Practice Group of the Year by Law360 for the third consecutive year, and for the sixth time in the last seven years. The group has been recognised for its role in helping clients succeed in high-stakes litigation and critical business challenges in Federal, International, and State and Local tax.

“Tax has long been one of Eversheds Sutherland’s premiere practice groups, and it is an honour to be recognised consistently for the team’s tremendous work,” said Mark D. Wasserman, Eversheds Sutherland Co-CEO. “I congratulate them for their exceptional accomplishments, excellent client service and for receiving this award.”

The Law360 Practice Group of the Year award honours law firms that have worked on the biggest deals or have achieved the biggest wins in the most important cases throughout the legal industry in the past year.

“We have had a particularly strong year in tax planning and tax controversy. We are fortunate to have a group of talented tax lawyers whose experience span the breadth of every significant tax specialty area. Our lawyers are committed to providing our clients with thoughtful and integrated tax advice, and we are humbled to be recognised as a top practice group for the third year in a row,” said Jeffrey A. Friedman, US Tax Practice Group Leader.

Eversheds Sutherland serves as tax counsel to many of the world’s most prominent corporations—including more than 35 of the Fortune 100—in every area of federal, international, state and local tax law. Our prominence in legal tax services dates back to the firm’s founding nearly a century ago. More than 100 tax attorneys represent taxpayers in federal, international, employee benefits, insurance, tax exempt, and state and local tax matters. By virtue of the size of our tax practice and our varied client base, we are active in every area of taxation—from planning the most complex corporate tax transactions to representing taxpayers in administrative and judicial tax controversies.

Pinsent Masons realigns its professional services offerings

Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons has brought together a range of skill set offerings to launch a professional services practice group as it further embeds its strategy to become a purpose-led professional services business with law at the core.

Pinsent Masons Vario, will become a practice group and sit alongside the firm’s traditional legal practice service lines, and will combine the firm’s flexible resourcing division, diversity and inclusion (D&I) consultancy Brook Graham, technology and consulting group, legal project management and managed legal services capabilities in response to client demand for commercial expertise alongside legal capabilities.

Over the past three financial years, Pinsent Masons Vario has achieved average year-on-year growth in excess of 30% and has opened in four new jurisdictions. In addition to this, it has grown its global client base to 250 clients in the past year.

Managing Director of Pinsent Masons Vario, Matthew Kay, said: “For some time now there has been a move away from the idea that the provision of legal services is mainly about black letter law. More and more, we and our competitors are called on to play a central role in responding to broader business issues through the provision of technology, or the delivery of managed legal services. While flexible services have been a game changer in recent years – enabling businesses to dial resource up and down in line with day-to-day needs – this offering alone will not be the only solution required by clients as they grapple with increasingly complex business demands.

“By combining the very best of our expertise across legal tech, D&I, project management, resourcing and managed legal services into one function and by establishing it as a practice group we can tailor our response more effectively to the specific needs of each client.

Senior Partner for Pinsent Masons, Richard Foley, commented: “These disciplines are a core component of our ever widening range of skill sets. Clients may require corporate or planning lawyers as well as forensic accountants, data scientists and D&I consultants. These are all just skill sets and yet historically many have looked and treated the former very differently to the latter. By bringing these professional disciplines into one group and aligning them internally alongside our global practice groups we hope to drive a material change and thus to be able to easily flex and adapt how we provide support on a case-by-case basis.

“Legal services have been transformed in recent years by increasing client demand for a flexible and solutions-based approach to legal and commercial challenges. Now more than ever, clients are looking for professional services advisers to collaborate with who are able to deploy an array of professionals, including lawyers, who can help them deliver their strategic aims.

Byron Pacheco joins Kirkland’s Litigation Practice

Kirkland & Ellis LLP is pleased to announce that Byron Pacheco has joined the Firm as a partner in the Litigation Practice Group. He is based in the New York office.

Mr. Pacheco has experience representing clients in complex disputes, both at the trial court level and on appeal, in a variety of substantive areas, including antitrust, breach of contract, class actions, fraud, labour and employment and securities. He also has experience handling government and internal investigations and has maintained a strong pro bono practice.

“We are happy to welcome a rising star like Byron to our litigation practice here in New York,” said Sandra Goldstein, a litigation partner and member of Kirkland’s Executive Committee. “He’ll be able to immediately add value to the wide range of complex litigation matters we are handling, from securities litigation to antitrust, class actions and commercial matters.”

Earlier in his career, Mr. Pacheco clerked for judges in the Southern District of New York and the Northern District of California. Prior to law school, he was a researcher at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Mr. Pacheco is a member of the Puerto Rican Bar Association, and was a New York City Bar Association Associate Leadership Institute Fellow and a Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Pathfinder. He was also recently appointed to the Board of Directors of the Stonewall Community Foundation.

“I’m excited to join Kirkland’s litigation practice and I’m really looking forward to working with such a dynamic and talented team of lawyers,” Mr. Pacheco said.

Mr. Pacheco is an alumnus of Stanford Law School and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Hamilton College and Harvard University, respectively. He was previously an associate with Boies Schiller Flexner.

Duane Morris Welcomes Corporate Partner Anastasia N. Kaup

Anastasia N. Kaup has joined Duane Morris LLP as a partner in the firm’s Corporate Practice Group in its Chicago office. Prior to joining Duane Morris, Kaup practiced at Mayer Brown LLP.

“Anastasia is a hard-working, highly skilled lawyer with a strong commitment to her clients and her fellow attorneys,” said Matthew A. Taylor, CEO and Chairman of Duane Morris. “She is a great fit with our collegial and collaborative culture and the level of client service we strive to achieve at the firm.”

“The addition of Anastasia to our strong and growing Corporate Practice Group will deepen our bench in our very busy national commercial finance practice,” said Brian P. Kerwin, chair of the firm’s Corporate Practice Group. “Her skills and sophisticated transactional experience will be very beneficial to our private equity practice as well.”

“We’re excited to welcome Anastasia to the Chicago office and the firm,” said John Robert Weiss, managing partner of the Duane Morris Chicago office. “She has an impressive skill set, a team-oriented approach and she’s an excellent personality fit with our office, which has been recognised as one of the best places to work in Chicago.”

Kaup has represented financial institutions, funds and other corporate clients in financing transactions across the private equity, real estate, hedge fund, private credit and distressed lending spaces. Kaup structures, negotiates and documents complex financing transactions domestically and internationally at all levels of the organisational structure, with specific focuses on fund finance, sponsor finance and financing in distressed situations. Her fund finance experience covers a wide spectrum of transactions to meet the financing needs of various types of funds at every phase of their existence. She also assists with the analysis and negotiation of investor documents with institutional, governmental, high-net-worth and sovereign wealth investors. Kaup has represented private equity sponsors and their portfolio companies in nearly every industry, as well as lenders to such entities, in a wide array of financing transactions. Kaup also has significant experience counselling clients in distressed situations, in bankruptcy as well as out-of-court restructurings, and has represented clients in some of the most complex restructuring cases in the last decade. She has negotiated and documented countless transactions involving multiple creditors and has substantial knowledge of intercreditor and subordination arrangements and agreements. Kaup’s experience with transactions during downturns as well as growth cycles distinctively positions her to assist clients with a broad range of financing-related needs at any time.

Kaup is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School (J.D., cum laude, 2010) and the University of Utah (honours B.S., cum laude, 2008).

Schoenherr strengthens Warsaw real estate practice group

Schoenherr Warsaw further strengthens its real estate practice with the addition of three highly qualified specialists. They bring a wealth of knowledge and an excellent track record to Schoenherr’s dynamic Polish office. Prior to joining Schoenherr, the new team members worked in real estate and real estate finance with leading international firms in Poland.

  • Marta Bijak-Haiduk, joining as partner, has vast experience with various types of real estate transactions, including JVs, financing structures, asset and share deals. She has represented clients in negotiations of lease agreements concerning logistics, office and retail buildings as well as in build-to-own development agreements, and advised on the construction process. Marta takes over the helm of the firm’s real estate practice.
  • Dominika Sulak-Seyfried, senior attorney at law/advocate, focuses on advising domestic and international entities on real estate transactions, as well as construction and development projects, including various aspects of financing.
  • Patrycja Czarnecka, associate/advocate, works primarily on transactional real estate matters and her legal career has been focused on various real estate transaction related topics.

“Schoenherr has a strong real estate practice in the CEE/SEE,” said partner Sebastian Gutiu, who co-heads Schoenherr’s real estate practice. “As Poland continues to play a key role in the regional real estate market, we are confident that the consolidation of our specialised team in Warsaw will add value for our clients and our firm.”

“I am delighted to welcome Marta, Dominika and Patrycja to our Warsaw practice,” the office’s managing partner Paweł Halwa added. “I am convinced that they are a great fit for our team and that the strengthened real estate practice led by Marta will further boost our growth in Poland.”

“This is an amazing experience to be a member of Schoenherr and I am eager to continue to develop the real estate practice together with such an exceptional team,” said the new head of the Warsaw real estate team, Marta Bijak-Haiduk.

Schoenherr Poland

Schoenherr’s Warsaw office is a full-service practice that focuses on mergers & acquisitions, capital markets, banking & finance, real estate and energy. Our team of lawyers advises domestic and international clients on investing in Poland and on cross-border transactions. We have particular experience in mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, private equity, privatisations, public takeovers, initial public offerings, real estate acquisition, sale and development, financing of M&A and real estate projects and renewable energy. Our client list includes national and international corporate groups from several industries, including banks, real estate developers, investment funds, private equity funds, manufacturers, distributors and industrial companies.