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International Women’s Day 2021

International Women’s Day gives us an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women, and in particular those working at our firm. The theme for 2021 is ‘Choose to Challenge,’ a reminder that we all can and should choose to call out gender bias and inequality to create an inclusive world.

Women are not a homogenous group; they are diverse by nature of their backgrounds, their life experiences, their abilities, perspectives and opinions, and International Women’s Day is about celebrating inclusion of women in its truest sense.

We have much to celebrate in our global firm – we have remarkable women doing notable work throughout the world. In January 2021, we became the first ‘Am Law 200’ firm to name a woman of color, Shauna Clark, as both our Global and US Chair. Recently, Shauna spoke with women leaders of the firm to get their views on the challenges that women face today, including discrimination and micro-aggression in the workplace and the perceptions of female leadership during a pandemic.

“Discrimination is much less overt now, it’s subconscious in many ways and I think that makes it more challenging to overcome,” said Alison Deitz, Managing Partner, Australia. “We, as female leaders, need to be very aware of that and ensure we can overcome it, whether by unconscious bias training or actively putting in place metrics for gender pay equity, to ensure that we’re not discriminating in any shape or form.”

“We’re getting to the point now where gender discrimination is more systemic, so it’s around the actual structures themselves and who is at the table making the decisions and the transparency around that, which is different to what was more bold and in your face in the past,” echoed Angela Tancock, Chief Strategy Officer, Canada.

The reality, then, is that women still are fighting not just for a place at the table – but to be listened to when they get a seat there.

“As a woman I get penalised for my tenacity and for being direct,” explained Natasha Moore, Head of Learning and Development, Europe, Middle East and Asia. “Women are often invited to the party, but we’re not invited to dance.”

One issue that remains is that women who are assertive are sometimes painted in a negative light, which can make them reluctant to display their full confidence or potential.

“In the context of the work place, many women wait until they are 100 percent ready to take up a challenge, whereas our male counterparts would not do that, and what I say to women is – you go the extra mile, not because you are a woman but because you will find very few people in that space, and that is your place to make your mark in, in whatever way you choose to,” said Marelise van der Westhuizen, CEO, South Africa.

“Women who are seen as go-getters can be judged more harshly and we don’t just see that in professional organisations, but in the wider world too,” added Farmida Bi, EMEA Chair. “Women politicians, for example, are held to a different standard. However, the thing I’ve found most interesting about the current pandemic is the discussion around whether female leaders in countries like New Zealand or South Korea have proved to be more successful because they are leading in a different, better way.”

“When I started, I didn’t have the courage to be my authentic self and I became very adept at shifting my personality to make those around me more comfortable, and it was just another weight that I carried, in addition to being black and a woman and young in a male-dominated environment,” Shauna said.

Combatting the issue requires raising issues of disrespect, implicit bias and micro-aggression when we see it, in order to seek to correct and improve it, Shauna said.

“The conversation needs to be about resilience and being human and correcting mistakes,” Shauna said.

“There are both the implicit bias issues that people have – I have them, we all have them – sometimes there are also biases that we hold ourselves to,” added Gina Shishima, Chief Strategy and Operations Partner, United States. “I also think it’s not the best thing to focus on; if I have to say it again, I’ll say it again. I think trying to be cognisant of it is key, but I try to focus on being effective.”

Read more about our diversity and inclusion efforts, including how we strive to achieve gender balance.

Norton Rose Fulbright announces 2021 Global Charitable Initiative

Norton Rose Fulbright’s 2021 Global Charitable Initiative (GCI) will focus on fighting systemic racism and championing social justice worldwide. This important and timely cause was selected by the firm’s newly appointed Global and US Chair Shauna Clark, the first woman of colour to be chair of an “Am Law 200” firm.

The aim of the initiative will be to raise awareness as to the importance of fighting racism and championing social justice in business, in local communities and as individuals through fundraising, pro bono and volunteering opportunities with charities focused on these causes. Where possible, the firm will join with like-minded clients in these activities to expand its reach.

“I would like 2021 to be remembered as a year of action by the whole firm, uniting to use our time and our talents and our passion to fight racism and champion social justice,” Shauna said. “Our aim is that this initiative will leave a lasting legacy, inspiring our people to support antiracism and social justice causes and to commit to antiracism and social justice volunteering, fundraising and pro bono activities in their local communities.”

In late 2021, lawyers and support personnel firm-wide will be invited to participate in a global activity day. Likewise, each region or jurisdiction will be encouraged to interpret the themes of fighting racism and championing social justice in a way that resonates with their local community and culture, identifying an organisation active in this cause with which to partner in 2021.

“As a global law firm, we can use our voices to stand up for those who don’t have a voice, who don’t have access, who don’t have opportunities,” Shauna said.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s Global Charitable Initiatives are proposed and sponsored by a different region each year. Each region is asked to choose a cause which resonates with the firm globally, motivating lawyers and other personnel to participate and take action.

Past initiatives have included promoting the building of environmentally sustainable communities, fighting hunger and reducing food waste, supporting the Special Olympics and helping to build a facility for Menzi Children’s Home in South Africa.

Find out more about the firm’s commitment to corporate responsibility and diversity and inclusion.

PwC appoints Carol Stubbings to lead Global Tax and Legal Services

PwC has appointed Carol Stubbings to be its Global Tax and Legal Services Leader from 1 July 2020. Carol has been a member of PwC’s Global Tax and Legal Leadership group for the past four years, most recently leading PwC’s People and Organisation practice.

Carol joined PwC UK in November 2003 and has been a partner for the last 15 years. Carol has lived and worked in Zambia, South Africa and the United States and her roles at PwC have included Global Mobility Leader for PwC UK and Client Experience Leader for PwC’s Global Tax practice. Carol has also over the last 12 months led PwC’s New World. New Skills. programme, which is focused on upskilling both PwC’s own people and developing and sharing technologies to support clients and communities.

“I am delighted to welcome Carol to PwC’s global leadership team to head up our Tax and Legal Services practice. Her experience leading multinational teams and working with clients to solve their most pressing strategic challenges will prove invaluable as we work through the ups and downs of work and life in a post COVID-19 world”, said Bob Moritz, Global Chairman of the PwC Network.

“It’s an honour to be asked to lead our 55,000 strong Tax and Legal Services practice across the world. As we navigate some very difficult times, our focus will be on helping our stakeholders to build and grow the businesses and organisations of tomorrow”, said Carol Stubbings, PwC’s Global Tax and Legal Services Leader.

Carol replaces Colm Kelly who will take on a new role as PwC’s Global Purpose and Corporate Responsibility Leader.

“I would like to thank Colm for his outstanding leadership of our Tax and Legal Services team over the last four years and I look forward to continuing our work together on Purpose”, added Bob Moritz.

South African and Kenyan law firms added to CMS’s global presence

CMS announces that RM Partners and Daly & Inamdar Advocates, based in South Africa and Kenya respectively, have today joined the leading global law firm. Going forward, they will be known as CMS RM Partners and CMS Daly Inamdar Advocates.

The addition of these firms considerably strengthens CMS’s presence in Africa, already encompassing Angola, Algeria and Morocco. For over 50 years, CMS has developed a track record of significant deals in Africa, showcasing its deep knowledge of the legal systems across the continent. CMS now has 75 offices in 43 countries and more than 4,800 lawyers worldwide.

Duncan Weston, Executive Partner, CMS said, “Our clients see Africa as a major growth opportunity, and many are looking to expand into key markets on the continent. South Africa and Kenya are both sizable economies, but they’re also gateways into other sub-Saharan markets. RM Partners and Daly & Inamdar Advocates have outstanding reputations thanks to their local market knowledge and the overall quality of service they provide to clients.”

With this expansion, CMS is unveiling a dedicated organisation that brings together our African firms and experts in a unique model and aligned practices to provide our clients with the best support in Africa. CMS Africa has a presence in the most dynamic regional hubs – Casablanca, Johannesburg and Nairobi – providing us with a strong footprint, sustained by offices in Algiers, Luanda and Mombasa. CMS Africa offers the ideal alternative for tax and legal services in Africa, a position that is being reinforced through the addition of the new firms.

CMS RM Partners

CMS RM Partners specialises in providing practical and innovative legal, tax and transaction advisory services. It is committed to developing young African talent and is accredited as a Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) Level 1 law firm. Founded by senior lawyers with exceptional track records from top international and local firms, the firm is based in Johannesburg and comprises more than 20 lawyers. Its clients include local private and public institutions, listed companies and numerous global enterprises.

Riza Moosa, Founder and Director at CMS RM Partners, said, “We are on a journey to transform and modernise the South African legal market, but we also recognise the importance of an African and international footprint. Joining CMS is the right step for our firm because they recognise the importance of growing an African business from Africa, and have a clear, regionally-focused growth plan for Africa which aligns with our own strategies.”

CMS Daly Inamdar Advocates

CMS Daly Inamdar Advocates is one of the top-ranking law firms in Kenya. It was formed via the merger of two of Kenya’s oldest law firms and comprises more than 35 lawyers working out of offices in Nairobi and Mombasa. The firm’s partners have handled numerous ground-breaking commercial transactions and contentious civil disputes.

Hamish Keith, Senior and Managing Partner at CMS Daly Inamdar Advocates, said, “Kenya is East and Central Africa’s epicentre of tech innovation and its economic expansion has been supported by a government that is committed to implementing business reforms. Our decision to join CMS follows a period of close collaboration on client work and a shared commitment to service. This will only deepen as Kenya becomes increasingly attractive as a destination for foreign investment.”

Pierre-Sébastien Thill, Chairman, CMS, said, “This is an exciting time in the development of CMS. Our clients have a global mindset, and when they come to CMS, they need to know that they can access quality advice and service delivery in every major jurisdiction. One of our primary objectives for the next four years is to further grow our geographical reach. This is a significant expansion in our journey to becoming a genuinely global law firm.”

Norton Rose names Andrew Robinson as its new Global Chair

Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright today announced that Andrew Robinson has become its Global Chair, effective January 1, 2020.

Andrew is also the firm’s South African Chair and, until recently, the head of its Cape Town office. He has practiced transport law for more than 30 years and has a diverse practice which encompasses both the commercial and litigation aspects of transport and logistics, including: shipping, rail, claims recovery, admiralty, marine insurance, charterparty, oil and gas, international trade, maritime casualty response, subrogated recoveries and marine environmental law. In that time, he has been involved in some of the largest and most complex shipping litigation matters on behalf of both local and foreign clients.

The Global Chair position is for a period of one year. Andrew takes over from Walied Soliman, whose term as Global Chair expired by rotation on December 31, 2019. Walied continues as Chair of Norton Rose Fulbright in Canada.

Peter Martyr, Norton Rose Fulbright’s Global Chief Executive, said: “The appointment of Andrew Robinson to the role of Global Chair for Norton Rose Fulbright demonstrates the importance of our African business to the development of the global firm.

In addition, Andrew is an internationally recognised leader in shipping and marine insurance, and this experience will be invaluable as we look to grow our transport practice this year.

I would like to thank Andrew’s predecessor, Walied Soliman, for his contribution to the firm during his year as Global Chair.”

Andrew Robinson, Norton Rose Fulbright’s Global Chair, said: “I am honoured to be appointed to the Global Chair role. The firm has ambitious and exciting plans for this year, and I look forward to playing an active role in the delivery of these.”

Bosch Capital SAPSA advisory firm of the year award

Bosch Capital has been presented with the 2019 Advisory Firm of the Year Award in the category for Commerce, Law and Management, at the annual South African Professional Services Awards (SAPSA) function, held in Johannesburg recently.

Each year, SAPSA recognises outstanding accomplishments in various fields. Awards are presented for excellence in important areas, including transformation, customer service, contribution to the community and commitment to ethical best practice.

“This esteemed award, which is an honour for the Bosch Capital team, comes as the company celebrated its fifth anniversary in 2018,” says Mike Gibbon, CEO, Bosch Holdings. “We are proud that Bosch Capital has been acknowledged for attributes, which encompass the demonstration of leadership skills, professionalism, resilience and performance excellence.”

Bosch Capital offers advisory, capital raising and investment solutions, which form an integrated financial and engineering solution for clients.

The award was presented to Bosch Capital’s Managing Director, Chris Baloyi, who was also a finalist under the Professional of the Year Award category. Chris had this to say about the company’s win: “We are immensely humbled to have won this prestigious award – it is a great motivator for our team, as we steer the business into the next dimension.”

Bosch Capital is a member of the Bosch Holdings group, a diversified group offering multidisciplinary consulting engineering, skills and development and financial solutions. Another tribute for Bosch Holdings was the SAPSA 2019 Engineering Young Professional of the Year Award, which was presented to Jeshika Ramchund, Lead Engineer – Developments, for Bosch Projects. Bosch Holdings and Bosch Projects were also finalists for the Engineering Large Firm of the Year Award and Engineering Firm of the Year Award, respectively.