Diary news, commentary, insights, appointments and arts from the legal world
September 2 2022 Editorial Contact email@example.com
SHORT THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
The thought on many people’s minds right now must surely be ‘What exactly will Liz Truss bring out of the hat to make things even worse than they are already?’ For lawyers this is going to be hugely important as changes in regulation, a trade war with the EU as well as constitutional conflict with the Celtic nations are all going to aggravate the sense of crisis inspired by the imminent energy shock.
But as this week’s very interesting survey Navigating Deep Waters from Hogan Lovells’ highlights,(see report below) lawyers are also facing their own overload of challenges not least in the shape of ESG requirements. Of the professionals interviewed at large multinational companies across the United States, Europe, Asia and Brazil, more than four out of five said that ESG risk is their current and future priority for business strategy. So where exactly does that leave the idea of an adventurous risk-taking British economy ploughing the seas in quest of booty wherever it might be found?
Feeling hemmed in? Or is there any light on the horizon?
Please Note: The Legal Diary will NOT appear next Friday as the Editor is not sure he can bear the shock of next week’s events. Instead, he is travelling for a little time. But the Diary will appear again from the 16th September.
In This Week’s Edition
+ LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK
– City Lawyers: Old Before their Time?
– Getting Geeky
– ESG Etc. EtC. Etc…
– Everyone Invited?
+ LEGAL COMMENT OF THE WEEK on an expansion of the role of associate prosecutors
+ APPOINTMENT OF THE WEEK
LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK
City Lawyers: Old Before their Time?
City law – it’s a young person’s game, isn’t it? That seems to be the conclusion from research by Hazlewoods, the business advisers who specialise in the legal profession. Whereas firms which focus on criminal law tend to have older partners with a mere 24% of their partners aged 44 (or under), City firms focussed on corporate and financial work can boast as many as 38% of partners are under 44 – a triumphant celebration of youthful vigour!
“A lot of ambitious young lawyers choose to go where they will get the best opportunities,” says Ian Johnson, Associate Partner at Hazlewoods. “The chances of making partner and the billing levels both tend to be higher in corporate and financial work than in areas like criminal law.”
The consequence of this however is that City partners retire earlier, burnt out by the demands of the job but hungry to enjoy their accumulated wealth. Plus this creates the opportunity for younger lawyers to leap quickly up the ladder.
By contrast criminal firms are left puzzling over where the next generation of partners will come from. “Some do not have anyone who is ready to step up,” says Johnson. “ Another issue is that some younger lawyers today don’t see joining the partnership as automatically being part of their career plans.”
Without question it’s tough at the top.
It’s the start of the new term and already the geeks among the profession are looking forward to that great guzzling celebration of legal technology at the annual Legal Geek Conference. Described by the Law Gazette, apparently, as being “The go-to Legal Tech event” the event will be held this year on Wednesday 28th and Thursday 29th September at the Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch.
As you might expect, the organisers have spiced up the slate of speakers with some of the stars of legal techdom including that well-known tech innovator Joe Wicks who will open the whole show by discussing, naturally, mental health and his work on championing awareness of its importance – thereby demonstrating that there is life after Long Covid.
On an even more serious note, perhaps, the conference will also hear from Vadym Prystaiko, Ukraine’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United Kingdom while Margaret Alphonsi MBE, rugby player and Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year will be offering some inspirational observations.
After that it’s down to the hard work of the event with a wide ranging series of speakers including such diverse people as Maria Passemard (the Global Head of Legal Ops at Johnson Matthey),Mayowa Odusote (Design Lead at DLA PIPER), Richard Batstone (Innovation Manager at Slaughter and May), Katri Nousiainen (Resident fellow at Harvard Law School)and, perhaps the most intriguing of all, Adam Hirschovits, the General Counsel at the Roald Dahl Story Company (expect something fascinating but creepy?).
If you’re inspired to attend then you need to act quickly. All the Early Bird type tickets are now sold out with only the full priced now available. Maybe it’s a geek thing.
Is ESG giving compliance managers sleepless nights? The relentless heightening of profile of environmental, social and governance issues means that it is now proving difficult for compliance managers to accommodate it within their existing programmes. At least that is the picture painted by Hogan Lovells’ Navigating Deep Waters survey, published earlier this week which reports that among the companies surveyed, 82% said that ESG risk is their current and future priority for business strategy.
But while companies recognize the importance of ESG compliance, they also struggle to identify an approach that encompasses all of the issues at play
“Businesses are looking across their organizations to address their impact on both the environment and society,” says Stephanie Yonekura, Global Head of Hogan Lovells’ Investigations, White Collar and Fraud (IWCF) practice. “As they face the challenge of navigating increasingly heightened ESG expectations, companies can use existing Anti Bribery & Corruption compliance measures to assist ESG risk management. The two issues are inextricably linked and companies do not need to – and should not – prioritize one to the detriment of the other. Our survey provides an overview of where businesses are in terms of developing mature ESG programs – and where there are risks still to be addressed. For example, we identified third-party risk as one area that should be at the forefront of companies’ ESG compliance strategies.”
Getting a grip on those risks presented by third parties requires greater company-wide engagement, and continued vigilance against bribery and corruption along the supply chain, says the report. But there are plenty of other issues as well.“With ESG regulatory investigations on the rise and increased public pressure from internal and external corporate stakeholders, it is important that organizations evaluate business decisions through an ESG lens to reinforce the company’s standards for conducting business and proactively mitigate ESG risks,” suggests Shelita Stewart, IWCF partner in Washington, D.C.
The Next 100 Years project – which campaigns to maintain the momentum of women in the legal profession one century on from their admission to professional qualification – has just released the latest film in its Next 100 Voices series (with support from Irwin Mitchell). The focus this time is on Victoria McCloud, a Master of the Senior Courts, Queen’s Bench Division. McCloud shares her story as a rising leader in law and gives advice on leadership, law and work/life balance – a living example of how to get to the top.
Watch the film https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65AZa-ou4m4&mc_cid=bddaea0699&mc_eid=30ef329c7d
Meanwhile, as we all know, networking is key to professional success and Collyer Bristow continues to make its contribution to creating the ‘Next 100’ via its ‘Higher’ female network. As the firm points out ‘Higher’ is a professional network designed to ‘elevate women and champion equality in the workplace’. The key drivers are two Partners, Tanya Roberts and Janet Armstrong-Fox, and the programme organises an annual series of events to ‘inspire and empower, aid in the building of female networks and support the development of practical skills’.
Maybe the catch in all this is that, as the firm says, the events are ‘exclusive’. Reconciling that exclusivity with diversity and inclusivity might be a stretch.
LEGAL COMMENT OF THE WEEK
TOPIC: The call by the Labour Party for an expansion of the role of associate prosecutors so as to help reduce the backlog in criminal cases awaiting hearings
COMMENT BY: Professor Chris Bones, Chair of CILEX
“CILEX welcomes this announcement by the Labour Party, as the current restrictions on the career progression of many Associate Prosecutors limit the contribution they can make to clearing the court case backlog and stifles the pipeline of talent that is required by the Crown Prosecution Service to meet the demands of the criminal justice system over the long term. Importantly, this change would speed up access to justice for those who are currently stuck in the courts system for years.”
APPOINTMENT OF THE WEEK
BRANCH AUSTIN McCORMICK
Eugene Matveichuk has joined Branch Austin McCormick, the boutique firm based in St James’s in central London. Previously with Fladgate, Matveichuk has over twenty years of experience advising major private and state corporations, as well as ultra-high net worth individuals operating mainly in the energy/natural resources, real estate and financial sectors. He has routinely conducted arbitrations in the leading international arbitration institutions including the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC). “I am delighted to be joining Branch Austin McCormick and becoming part of this fast-growing entrepreneurial law firm,” said Matveichuk. “It is a unique opportunity to join an exceptional and talented team of like-minded professionals and I look forward to adding my expertise and experience to the firm’s offering to global clients and key players.”
Matveichuk’s appointment comes during a period of rapid growth for the firm, including a name change in May 2022 following the addition of Joseph McCormick, a solicitor advocate with Higher Rights of Audience. Tatyana Talyanskaya has also joined recently as a Partner within the Dispute Resolution team.