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Duane Morris & Selvam Statement on Myanmar Operations

Duane Morris & Selvam issued the following statement in response to the on-going political uncertainty impacting Myanmar.

“We continue to carefully monitor the on-going situation throughout the country,” said Leon Yee, Chairman for Duane Morris & Selvam. “That said, we believe in the long-term future for the country and its economy, as well as for Duane Morris with our strong roots there. At this time, maintaining the on-going safety of our team and clients, and concern for the people of Myanmar, remains of our utmost priority.”

“Throughout the turmoil of the past weeks, our active and comprehensive counsel to clients in Myanmar and across Asia has remained firm and steadfast. We will always be here for our clients. The relationships our lawyers have established with business leaders in the region, as well as the operational and legal resources available to clients as a local office within Duane Morris’ robust global network, has positioned us well for continued seamless delivery of substantive legal counsel,” Mr. Yee continued.

He added further that lawyers and staff located in the Firm’s office in Yangon, Myanmar, are able to work both in the office as well as remotely, and that the Firm is accommodating in-office attendance consistent with local COVID-19 conditions.

About Duane Morris & Selvam

Duane Morris & Selvam LLP is the joint law venture between Duane Morris LLP and Selvam LLC, with its headquarters in Singapore. By way of its global platform and extensive range of legal services, the firm helps companies conduct business in and out of Asia, the United States, Latin America, the United Kingdom and beyond. In addition to the excellent skills of its lawyers, clients benefit from the cultural fluency and key relationships that the firm has developed over many years of practising law throughout the region. The firm has a presence in the key markets of Southeast Asia, including Singapore, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, as well as offices in Shanghai and Yangon. Supporting these regional offices, the firm operates a series of country desks for India, Indonesia, Korea and Japan, as well as an alliance in Sri Lanka. It is regularly ranked among the region’s leading law firms by Chambers & Partners, The Legal 500 and IFLR1000.

Baker McKenzie announces global revenues of $2.9 billion

Baker McKenzie has announced revenues for the fiscal year ended 30 June 2020 (FY20) of $2.9 billion. In terms of constant currency revenues were up 1.2% compared to the previous year. In US dollar terms, the Firm’s reporting currency, this translates into a flat year (FY19 $2.92 billion), after the effect of adverse currency movements during the year.

All of our regions recorded growth in constant currency terms – Asia Pacific up 1%, EMEA higher by 2%, Latin America rose 2% and North America increased 1%. In US dollar terms, three out of our four regions – Asia-Pacific, EMEA and North America – each experienced slight growth. Latin America revenues, however, fell by 12% in U.S. dollar terms, highlighting the weakness of currencies in that region during FY20. The first quarter of FY21 has continued that growth with revenues and profitability up in all four of our regions.

Our PPP for FY20 is down 12% year-on-year as compared with FY19, reflecting the significant investments we made in new technology, infrastructure and laterals and other talent, as well as the negative impact of FX. Over the last decade the Firm has grown by 37% in terms of revenue and 31% in terms of PPP.

We saw revenue growth in our two largest markets – the United States and the UK. Some of our markets that saw high single-digit or double-digit growth include: Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Luxembourg, Hungary, Egypt, Kazakhstan and Morocco.

Milton Cheng, Global Chair, Baker McKenzie says, “I am proud of how our Firm has stepped up this past year to record a reasonable set of results, given the economic and logistical headwinds we have faced since January and the softening of demand we saw in the final quarter of FY20. It is a strong demonstration of our collective resilience.

“We continue to look to the future. Despite the ongoing challenges of COVID-19 and the decline in economic activity in many parts of the world, Baker McKenzie is heading into FY21 with confidence, bolstered by our client base, resilient team, and exciting investments in the future of our industry and communities. The Firm has appointed new leaders, including our first Chief Sustainability Officer, as well as announcing our innovation arm Reinvent.

“A record number of lateral hires these past 12 months combined with our continued commitment to developing home- grown talent, as well as our significant investments in technology and our new services centres ensure that we are well prepared for a new set of challenges over the next decade.

“We have also learnt how to collaborate, work and socialise together in new and innovative ways that bring out the very best of Baker McKenzie. We transitioned smoothly to working remotely, with nearly all of the teams in our offices across the world working from home for significant periods of time over the past months.”

Pinsent Masons grows its Financial Services offering in Dubai

Multinational law firm, Pinsent Masons, has appointed Banking & Finance partner Matthew Escritt to lead the firm’s Banking & Finance practice in the Middle East, based in Dubai.

Matthew joins from Norton Rose Fulbright, where he has been for the past 19 years, with the past eight spent as partner in the banking and finance team. During this time he has worked in London, Moscow, Bahrain, Singapore and Dubai.

Matthew is a banking and finance specialist, advising on all areas of structured cross border finance, including syndicated lending acquisition, development finance, asset finance, vendor finance, and structured trade and commodity finance. He is familiar with both conventional and Islamic finance funding structures. He also advises on financial restructuring and insolvency mandates. Based in Dubai, he will be leading the Banking & Finance practice in the Middle East (within the Finance & Projects group) and will focus primarily on clients in the Financial Services sector.

Commenting on Matthew’s appointment, Michael Watson, head of the Finance & Projects group at Pinsent Masons said: “Matthew’s reputation precedes him and we look forward to welcoming him as head of our banking and finance practice in Dubai. His experience and expertise will greatly strengthen the practice, enabling them to deepen relationships with existing clients as well as developing new ones. His appointment is another fantastic addition to our growing international capabilities.”

Alexis Roberts, head of the Financial Services sector at Pinsent Masons added: “Matthew’s appointment is a pivotal one in increasing our financing bench strength and will enable us to better support our clients within the Financial Services sector. His breadth of experience and the clients that he’s worked with will allow us to grow our offering across the sector. We greatly look forward to him joining the team.”

Matthew Escritt, head of Banking and Finance in the Middle East added: “I am excited to have been given the opportunity to lead Pinsent Masons’ Banking & Finance practice in the region and to be part of an international team tasked with growing a strategically important practice area to complement the firm’s existing strengths. It will also ensure that we are able to provide vital, full-service support to our clients as they navigate today’s challenging business environment. Given the diverse talents of the individuals involved and the well-known strengths of the existing practice I am confident that we are well placed to achieve our goals.”

Adding to the growing multinational Finance & Projects group, Matthew’s appointment follows that of Anthony Morton in Frankfurt, James Harris in Asia, Jim Hunwick in Sydney and Eran Chivka in Paris.

Digitalisation maturity across the energy value chain

From 30 October until 1 November 2019, the Asia Clean Energy Summit took place in Singapore. Matthias Lang discussed the digitalisation maturity across the energy value chain focusing on the current legal framework, use cases of digitalisation in the energy sector and possibilities and challenges of digitalisation.

On 31 October 2019 four different panels discussed the digital transformation of energy. The panels focused on ‘Digitalisation maturity across the energy value chain’, ‘Developing a digital energy ecosystem’, ‘Enabling e-mobility: Business models, infrastructure, technologies, stakeholders’ and ‘IT security and resiliency in the critical power sector’.

Matthias Lang participated in the panel ‘Digitalisation maturity across the energy value chain’ along with:

  • Franck Bernard, CEO of Nippon Koei Energy Europe
  • Pierre Cheyron, CEO of ENGIE South East Asia
  • Praveen Kumar Lala, Director Customer Success of Power APAC & India GE Digital
  • Nirupa Chander, Country Managing Director of ABB Power Grids Singapore
  • Mathias Steck, EVP & Regional Manager of Digital Hub Asia DNV GL – Digital Solutions

Matthias pointed out that digitalisation is a key instrument in the future energy transition. Along the energy value chain digitalisation has been used for a long time for backend solutions but energy digitalisation is more about future frontend business models. Future digital business models need a secure legal framework to be able to develop but digitalisation in the energy sector is still in its developing phase. The legal framework has to be secure and transformative to pave the way for a more and more mature digitalisation across the energy value chain.

Digitalisation in the energy sector can be utilised in different ways. Introducing new technologies like Blockchain to create peer-to-peer trading platforms demonstrates the possibilities and challenges of digitalisation.

The European Clean Energy Package takes an important step towards utilising digital solutions for the clean energy transition and building a more flexible electricity system, but is only an early step towards a more comprehensive, mature and digital legal framework.

If you would like to find out more information, please visit: https://www.twobirds.com/

HFW boosts fast-growing transactional offering

Global, sector-focused law firm HFW has continued to expand its fast-growing transactional offering with the hire of senior corporate finance partner Wing Cheung.

Wing specialises in capital markets, including initial public offerings, as well as M&A, private equity and other transactional work. He joins HFW’s Hong Kong office from US law firm Locke Lord, where he was Hong Kong Managing Partner.

Wing’s arrival continues HFW’s significant expansion of its global corporate and finance practices. HFW launched a transactional practice in China earlier this year and has now added 19 transactional partners across its international network since 2018, including lateral hires in Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Monaco, Paris and Singapore.

Patrick Yeung, Hong Kong Office Head, HFW:

“This is a major boost to our transactional offering in Greater China and the wider region. Wing brings a wealth of experience of high-end corporate finance, and has an outstanding reputation for his technical expertise and exceptional client service. I am thrilled to welcome him to the firm.”

Wing advises clients on a wide range of corporate and commercial matters, including initial public offerings and M&A. He also has significant experience in regulatory enforcement and compliance, having acted on major investigations and other proceedings by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission.

Wing Cheung, Partner, HFW:

“I am very excited to be joining HFW. It’s been really noticeable over the past few years that HFW is building a strong global corporate and finance practice to complement its leading reputation for disputes and sector-related work. I’m looking forward to helping the firm continue that growth, and working with the HFW transactional teams in Greater China and across the firm’s extensive international network.”

HFW has operated in Greater China for more than 40 years, having been one of the first international law firms to open an office in the country, in 1978.

The firm now has almost 80 lawyers in Greater China, including 21 partners, and is a market leader in aviation, commodities, construction, energy, insurance, shipping, commercial litigation and corporate.

HFW also recently brought in a market-leading team to launch in Monaco – one of 11 international office openings, mergers and associations since 2016, including a fully-integrated US merger and other moves in Brazil, China, Indonesia and the Middle East.

About HFW

HFW is a leading global law firm in the aerospace, commodities, construction, energy, insurance, and shipping sectors. The firm has more than 600 lawyers, including 185 partners, based in offices across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. HFW prides itself on its deep industry expertise and its entrepreneurial, creative and collaborative culture.

If you would like to find out more information, please visit: https://www.hfw.com/

Singapore: the International Convention on Mediation

The signing ceremony for the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation (“Singapore Convention on Mediation”) was held on 7 August 2019 in Singapore.

There is a great expectancy by the players involved in internacional commercial disputes concerning what really wait from this point in the mediation international scenario.

It is true that the Covention is a milestone. An international convention is very likely to bring us various benefits, and contribute with the development of mediation as an adequade method of dispute resolution in the international arena. Many users are expecting the same positive effects that New York Convention has brought to arbitration.

The text of the Convention gives a wide interpretation of the term Mediation and sets grounds under which the recognition and enforcement of the agreement could be denied by State courts.

It seems there will be no more escuses not to consider Mediation as an option for the ones who are involved in actual ou potential conflicts.

Singapura is giving us the example, by leading an International Mediation Competition during the week of the Singapore Convention signature, and, thus, putting together many of the young generation representatives, that will be soon dealing with international dispute resolution.