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Law firms collaborate on industry first to accelerate tech adoption

DLA Piper is amongst six international law firms which have developed a Protocol to help deliver a globally consistent approach to the use of online case management platforms in international arbitration. It is anticipated that the Protocol will be of significant value to arbitration practitioners, parties to international arbitrations and to arbitrators as they adapt to the increasing use of technology in dispute resolution, a development which has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Protocol, which is a product of collaboration between DLA Piper, Herbert Smith Freehills, Ashurst, CMS, Hogan Lovells and Latham & Watkins, has been in development since May 2019. It aims, amongst other things, to improve arbitral participants’ ability to meet their obligations relating to data handling and cybersecurity in a way which is both practical and cost effective. It is also intended to facilitate efficient and secure document sharing.

The initiative to produce the Protocol reflects a common need that had been identified by lawyers who are engaging directly with a changing legal landscape in which the use of technology and digitisation are assuming ever growing prominence. Particular features of that in international arbitration include the greater focus which Arbitral tribunals are having to give to cybersecurity and data protection, the recognition following the pandemic that much if not all of the arbitral process can be done virtually and the revisions which arbitral institutions are making to their procedures as, for example, they look at the ways in which they can operate through online data hosting platforms.

With this Protocol the six firms have worked together to produce guidance that will help to foster greater understanding of those and other issues, and assist the arbitration community to take a consistent approach. It is of global application, deliberately flexible in approach, and relevant to all forms of international arbitration. In addition to providing guidance to parties to an arbitration, their lawyers, tribunal members and arbitral institutions, it is hoped that it will also contribute to the way in which technology developers and providers tailor their legal tech offerings and develop new products.

Maria Scott, Senior Associate at DLA Piper, and member of the Protocol’s working group, commented: “DLA Piper is proud to be a part of this collaborative initiative, which aims to drive real and beneficial change in the way proceedings are managed around the world. This fits well with our firmwide radical change agenda which addresses the increasing role that technology and innovation is playing within the legal sector. It was, therefore, a natural step for us to work with other firms to develop this comprehensive and practical guidance to assist arbitral users in navigating the online case management options available to them when seeking to store, share and manage data securely.”

Charlie Morgan, Senior Associate and Digital Law Lead (UK) at Herbert Smith Freehills, who chairs the collaborative working group, added: “This protocol will help drive discussion and consensus within the arbitration community and with relevant technology providers about the need for and functionality of online platforms in arbitration. Given the fantastic input from various arbitral participants to date, this guidance will support more informed, streamlined and effective decision-making about the adoption and use of online platforms in international arbitration. It will also herald the development of more sophisticated platform options that continue to meet the evolving needs of arbitration users.”

James Carter, Partner at DLA Piper, also commented: “The guidance set out in the draft Protocol will help to drive the effective and consistent use of sophisticated new technologies in international arbitration in a way which not only delivers efficiency of process but contributes to the confidence which parties have in arbitration as a method of dispute resolution. If it is to remain such a popular method of dispute resolution, international arbitration must adapt and embrace new practices, particularly as regards the use of technology. This Protocol will materially contribute to that by providing valuable guidance to users of international arbitration around the world.”

Dentons advises shareholders of VRmagic on the sale of their shares

Global law firm Dentons advised the Board of Directors and shareholders of VRmagic on the sale of 77 percent of their shares in the company to the Swiss medical technology company Haag-Streit.

VRmagic was founded in 2001 and is a pioneer in virtual and augmented reality technology for medical training. The solutions developed by VRmagic enable realistic simulation of examinations and operations on the eye. The company has special expertise in the development of camera systems for high-precision optical tracking. With its Eyesi® product group, VRmagic is the market leader in the training of ophthalmologists.

With this acquisition, Haag-Streit is expanding its ophthalmology product portfolio in the key area of medical training. The transaction follows a four-year collaboration between the two companies to develop a simulator for slit lamp examinations, an important instrument for microscopic examination of the human eye.

A Dentons team led by partner Robert Bastian advised the Executive Board and the shareholders of VRmagic on the sale. Bastian has advised the company’s largest shareholder Leonardo Venture on numerous transactions over the past years.

Information and data privacy law heavyweight joins Pinsent Masons

Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons has hired partner Jonathan Kirsop as a key addition to its leading data privacy and information law offering.

Jonathan advises a wide range of clients on data privacy with particular focus on the financial services sector. His range of expertise spans contractual and regulatory advice, data subject access requests, international data transfers as well as providing broader technology, data and commercial expertise.

He joins the firm from Stephenson Harwood where he established and led the information law practice within their commercial, outsourcing and technology team.

Jonathan will assist in the further development of Pinsent Masons’ information and data privacy law capabilities in London, particularly to the firm’s financial services clients, as well as working with partners within the rest of the UK, across Europe and Asia Pacific offices.

Simon Colvin, Head of the Technology, Media and Telecommunications practice at Pinsent Masons said “Data and privacy is at the heart of the business for most of our clients. As the regulatory landscape continues to evolve, Jonathan brings valuable expertise to support clients, particularly in the heavily regulated financial services sector, as their needs for support and advice on all things information and data privacy law grow and become more complex.”

Laura Cameron, Head of Risk Advisory Services at Pinsent Masons said “The demand for data and privacy advice has increased exponentially and it has become a boardroom issue for businesses. Jonathan is a key addition to the firm at this time, as the continued development of technology and indeed the strategic use of, and protection of, data is a business critical issue for all organisations.”

Eversheds Sutherland expands leading tech practice

Eversheds Sutherland announced today that Frankie Tam has joined the Hong Kong-based Asia technology team, led by Rhys McWhirter.

Frankie, who joins the practice as Of Counsel, will advise clients on technology issues, including large-scale technology outsourcing, fintech and data privacy issues. She also acts for clients on ‘regtech’, a relatively new field, based around technology solutions that support regulatory monitoring, reporting and compliances. These purpose built platforms feature complex screening and monitoring tools, many of which are based on blockchain technology, making the solutions affordable, efficient and scalable.

Frankie is well known in the Hong Kong market for her efforts to promote Hong Kong as a ‘centre of excellence’ for financial services technology. She is a member of the ‘Vetting Committee’ of the Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Commission General Support Programme. The committee advises the Hong Kong Government on funding submissions for projects that foster the local innovation and technology culture. She is also a co-founder and Vice President of the ‘Hong Kong Internet Finance Association’, and a member of the ‘Core Committee for Payments’ of the Fintech Association of Hong Kong.

Qualified in Hong Kong, New York and England and Wales, Frankie has worked in Hong Kong, London and Shanghai. She brings this international perspective to the Hong Kong practice at a time when the team is advising global and regional banks, financial service providers, airlines and travel organisations on their digitisation strategy. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this task both more complicated and more urgent. Since the pandemic began, shortly after Chinese New Year, organisations have been introducing digital solutions in tandem with new work practices. In some cases the ‘proof of concept’ stage was scaled up and became an ‘all enterprise proof-of-concept’. Testing that would ordinarily require months was conducted on the front lines as the end users deployed the new technology. This increased digitisation ensured that business critical objectives including customer service delivery, remote and flexible working, team management and brand recognition were maintained.

Rhys McWhirter commented: “We are very excited to have Frankie join our team. She is a highly qualified lawyer who combines strong technical skills with an understanding of how technology must be made to work for clients. Her involvement with organisations in the fintech and regtech space will give our clients insights into the legal, ethical and commercial implications of new tech, including smart contracts, AI, machine learning, automation and big data’.”

Stephen Kitts, Managing Partner, Asia added: “I join with Rhys in welcoming Frankie to the Hong Kong practice. Under Rhys’ leadership the team has become the ‘go to’ practice for advice on the latest developments in the tech sector, in particular their impact at both the strategic and commercial levels. For example, he is working with three of the eight new virtual banks in Hong Kong, to advise on all aspects of their technology strategy and implementation. A remarkable achievement. Frankie is joining a team that truly is at the ‘top of its game’.”

Dentons HPRP: Uninterrupted Service during COVID-19 Outbreak

Dentons HPRP has adopted remote working since 18 March 2020, in compliance with the direction of the President of Indonesia on Sunday, 15 March 2020 and Circular Letter of The Minister of Manpower of Indonesia regarding Worker / Labour Protection and Business Continuity in the Context of Preventing and Countering COVID-19, announced on 17 March 2020.

This will continue.

Following the announcement by the Governor of DKI Jakarta no.33/2020 regarding Large Scale Social Restrictions (Pembatasan Sosial Berskala Besar or PSBB) to contain the spread of COVID-19, our office (at Wisma 46 – Kota BNI, 32nd and 41st floors, Jl. Jend. Sudirman Kav.1, Jakarta 10220) will be closed from 13 April 2020 to 24 April 2020, both dates inclusive.

As a global firm, we are accustomed to working virtually and have extensive technology at our disposal to enable our teams to continue providing services to our clients without interruption. We also continue to process mail correspondence and service of documents during this period. Please contact our office at +62 21 5701837 for the necessary arrangements.

Minimising disruption to our clients is our top-most priority as we understand that many of you will have questions on how the outbreak will impact you and how we can help. Please do not hesitate to contact the relevant partners or associates by email or mobile phone. We will make every effort to support your business and your needs for legal services during this period.

Dentons has also developed a comprehensive, regularly updated COVID-19 hub which houses a wealth of resources to help navigate the ongoing challenges during this difficult time. We invite you to access this hub for further insights.

We thank you for your continued support. Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to be in touch with us.

We wish you and your families good health.

About Dentons

Dentons is the world’s largest law firm, delivering quality and value to clients around the globe. Dentons is a leader on the Acritas Global Elite Brand Index, a BTI Client Service 30 Award winner and recognised by prominent business and legal publications for its innovations in client service, including founding Nextlaw Enterprise, Dentons’ wholly owned subsidiary of innovation, advisory and technology operating units. Dentons’ polycentric approach, commitment to inclusion and diversity and world-class talent challenge the status quo to advance client interests in the communities in which we live and work.

White & Case advises Hg on Investment in smartTrade Technologies

Global law firm White & Case has advised Hg on its planned investment in smartTrade Technologies, a global leader in managed services and hosted software for trading desks.

The transaction was announced on February 7, 2020.

Hg is a specialist private equity investor focused on software and service businesses. It has led more than 150 investments in the software and services sector during the last 25 years.

The White & Case team in Paris which advised on the transaction was led by partner Nathalie Nègre-Eveillard and included partner Clara Hainsdorf, with support from counsel Valérie Ménard and associates Alexandre Giacobbi, Amandine Grima, Caroline Lyannaz, Laura Tuszynski and Dany Luu.

About White & Case

Supporting our clients around the globe

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As a pioneering international law firm, our cross-border experience and diverse team of local, US and English-qualified lawyers consistently deliver results for our clients.

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