Friday 17 December 2021
Diary news, commentary, insights, and appointments from the legal world
SHORT THOUGHT FOR THE YEAR: KEEP SAFE FROM THE CHRISTMAS HACKERS
By the time you read this the Legal Diary team will have dispersed not to reassemble until into the New Year. Times being what they are, however, no-one is feeling particularly safe or secure what with Covid lurking behind every corner and, even more frightening, a hacker behind every holiday hamper.
According to GCHQ 2021 was a bumper year for hackers with the number of ransomware attacks in the UK doubling over the past twelve months. Andrew Fruish, founder of Nene Cyber Security, has warned, “We all tend to put our guards down during festive periods and combined with the Government directive to work from home where possible, the cyber criminals will be looking to exploit any vulnerabilities.”
For obvious reasons law firms are prime targets. This has been a pretty wretched year for many people. Best not to make it even worse by getting held to ransom over Xmas Day.
Good health and we look forward to returning on January 7th.
IN THIS WEEK’S EDITION
+ LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK
– Ciao Charles!
– Birds Improve Flight Security
– Brick Court’s Biography
– Looking Glass Report Smudged by Pandemic
– CMS clinches Microsoft award
LEGAL COMMENTS OF THE WEEK on
– Independent Review of Criminal Legal Aid report
– Compensation paid by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to Jamil Ahmud of Bloomsbury Law
– The NatWest Money-laundering fine
– The Formula 1 season result
– Civil partnership statistics
CONTRIBUTED ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
THE RISE OF THE ‘LEGAL COONSULTANT’ by Adrian Jaggard, CEO of Taylor Rose MW
APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK at Hodge Jones & Allen and Milbank
LEGAL DIARY OF THE WEEK
They’ll be pouring more than prosecco at Clifford Chance this Christmas with theannouncement that Charles Adams will be the firm’s new Global Managing Partner. After all. Adams’ bubbly rise to the top is quite a coup for the firm’s Italian practice. Although he followed the conventional route into the firm via a law degree from Oxford he swiftly migrated to the firm’s Rome practice arriving there just two years after qualifying as a solicitor in 1992. Seven years later he moved north to Milan where he quickly became partner. Moreover, such was his commitment to Italy that he qualified locally as an avvocato which turbo-charged him to become Manager Partner of the Italian practice in 2007.
Anyone familiar with Italian commercial lawyers knows what a hard-headed lot they are and the fact that Adams can combine such a rich ‘continental’ experience with Anglo roots says a lot about the direction the firm is taking. As fashion designer Giorgio Armani said,“Milan is a true metropolis: strong and fearless but welcoming, too. Little by little, I came to realize that I could become someone here.”
And Adams seemed to be referencing that heritage in his ‘acceptance speech’. “At Clifford Chance we have all the ingredients to continue to shape the legal industry,” he said. “An outstanding global platform, deep and broad market-leading expertise and a strong, dynamic and ambitious culture.” So romance and drive – should be an exciting ride.
Birds Improve Flight Security
With Covid controls back in place over the international travel market will air travel ever recover? If it does we can expect concerns over security to get ever more intense. That’s why the involvement of technology-focussed Bird & Bird with its client Pangiam on the DARTMOUTH project is so interesting.
DARTMOUTH uses AI-led technology alongside Google Cloud’s artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) computer vision tools to revolutionise security in airports. And this week it has been revealed that trials of DARTMOUTH are now underway at Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton Airports to detect prohibited items in real-time as bags pass through airport X-ray scanning equipment.
“Bird and Bird have been true champions of innovation working side by side in the development of Project DARTMOUTH to accelerate the deployment of emerging technology whilst at the same time creating equally as innovative procurement and commercial models for our customers,” says Alexis Long, Chief Strategy Officer of Pangiam,
The appreciation was reciprocated. “We are thrilled to be helping Pangiam take this technology into the market as innovation and disruption are very close to our heart at Bird & Bird.” said Stuart Cairns, Partner, Bird & Bird.
No doubt future iterations might be able to spot Covid as well.
Christmas Reading – History of Brick Court
To mark its centenary celebrations Brick Court has produced a splendid history of chambers – authored by Charles Hollander QC – which has the merit of being full of great anecdotes as well as great cases and great lawyers
Brick Court was founded by up-and coming barrister William Jowitt when he took rooms in 1 Brick Court, Middle Temple in 1921. He was accompanied by Cyril Asquith and Donald Somervell, both of whom also went on to have highly successful careers.
The chambers had excellent political connections. Cyril Asquith was the son of the Liberal Prime Minister HH Asquith and Jowitt himself became an MP first for the Liberals and then the Labour Party (combining both careers highly profitably). When Churchill became Prime Minister in 1940 Jowitt was appointed as Solicitor General and Somervell as Attorny General.
As you might expect from such a distinguished set of chambers the subsequent cast of characters is glittering and the cases sometimes astonishing. From Lord Devlin to Robert Alexander QC, Hilary Heilbron, Sidney Kentridge and Christopher Clarke and Jonathan Sumption the book is packed with heroic figures (although not everyone’s reputation has survived the test of time). And cases such as Lonrho, the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran, Equitable Life along with celebrities from Sting and Elton John to Tony Blair all have their parts (some of them walk-on). Whether you want to be informed or just entertained this is a fascinating account.
Brick Court Chambers 100 Years by Charles Hollander QC is available in a limited hard copy edition but should be available as an e-book via the Brick Court website in the New Year.
Looking Glass Report Smudged by Pandemic
It should be no great surprise that people issues and regulatory risks have soared to the top of Executives’ and General Counsels’ (GC) agendas according to the annual Looking Glass Report published by Clyde & Co and membership network Winmark.
Seven out of ten of those surveyed ranked people challenges as a high or very high impact risk, with 80% of C-suite respondents citing it as a high impact risk. Moreover 30% of C-suite respondents suggested they were not prepared for this risk.
“Not only have businesses had to cope with the risks that came from the unprecedented shift to remote working, they are now adjusting to new working models while facing a skills shortage as economies bounce back but the workforce takes time to adjust,” said Heidi Watson, an employment Partner at Clyde & Co, “There will be more focus on workplace culture, training and development as employers seek to attract and retain talent. Businesses will be assessing how they can implement new processes and systems to ensure they manage the impacts on individuals and their organisations.”
For 70% of General Counsel it is the increasingly regulated global business environment which is of most concern. In fact this was cited as more important than any other risk particularly regarding compliance with bribery and corruption legislation, modern slavery, GDPR, and ESG regulations.
“Not only are laws and regulations more complex, but regulators are increasingly taking enforcement action and baring their teeth with bigger fines,” said Rachel Cropper-Mawer, a regulatory and investigations Partner at Clyde & Co. “Regulators are also not averse to bringing criminal charges against organisations and individuals.”
In third place overall in terms of urgency came technology risks such as IT disruption, data loss issues, and implementation of new technology. “Remote working, e-commerce, and digitisation of operations – all hastened by the pandemic – have in turn further heightened concerns about data security,” said the report.
To see the report go to https://online.flippingbook.com/view/362342975/10/
CMS Clinches Microsoft Award
Top spot in Microsoft’s second annual UK Law Firm Diversity Programme focused onthe ‘accomplishments, progress and commitments of its law firm partners to create more diverse and inclusive organisations’ has gone to CMS.
“Massive credit is due to the superb and diverse lawyers at CMS who devote themselves to providing high quality advice – especially during this most challenging of times,” said Clive Gringras, Microsoft’s client relationship partner and Head of Technology, Media and Telecommunications at CMS, “And huge gratitude goes to Microsoft for bringing a data-driven approach to this Programme; it challenges us to be more deliberate in choosing the most diverse team possible.”
The overall diversity of CMS’s Management Committee saw an increase of 7.7%, to meet the target of 50% diverse.
You can read more about LFDP here.
LEGAL COMMENTS OF THE WEEK
TOPIC: The publication of the Independent Review of Criminal Legal Aid report
Derek Sweeting QC, Chair of the Bar Council, comments:
“The report contains a comprehensive analysis of the underfunding of the criminal justice system over decades and its dire consequences, not just for lawyers, but for defendants, victims of crime and witnesses. The conclusion could not be clearer; urgent additional funding is needed if the entire system is not to face collapse with the profound societal problems and loss of confidence in the justice system that this would cause.
“The Bar Council welcomes the call for significant additional funding, a general uplift in fees and a restructuring of legal aid to ensure that work undertaken is remunerated appropriately and paid without delay. The report sets out minimum requirements for extra investment; more will be needed if the Government is to achieve its ambitious targets in relation to tackling serious crime and reducing the backlog.
“We urge the Lord Chancellor to respond without delay and to make a commitment to additional funding and the establishment of an Advisory Board, as the report strongly recommends. We look forward to working with the Government to implement other recommendations in a way which will make a positive difference to all who work in or come before the criminal courts.”
TOPIC: The payment of record compensation amounting to a total of £228,000 by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) in respect of the legal costs incurred by Jamil Ahmud of Bloomsbury Law in dealing with an “improper” prosecution by the SRA which was withdrawn shortly before trial. The agreement follows a damning judgment made by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal in September 2020, when it found that the prosecution of Jamil Ahmud was marred by a “series of grave errors” by the SRA.
Jamil Ahmud of Bloomsbury Law comments:
“By bringing improper proceedings, the SRA caused me significant distress and wasted a great deal of the profession’s money. Its lack of judgment was shown not just by its decision to launch baseless proceedings, but also by its offensive attempt to avoid paying any of my costs when it was forced to withdraw those proceedings. I gave the SRA and their solicitors, Capsticks, numerous opportunities to abandon their misguided prosecution, but they failed to do so until the trial was imminent. The SDT similarly refused to strike the case out in September 2019, despite the obvious flaws in the SRA’s Rule 5 Statement and the glaring absence of any supporting evidence.
“At no stage has the SRA shown any insight into the distress and expense which it has caused or offered any apology for bringing an improper prosecution.. Lawyers are rightly held to high standards, and the SDT has acknowledged that the SRA “fell demonstrably below those standards” in this case. The SRA’s failures in this case have resulted in a record costs order against them, and they cannot be allowed to continue to conduct themselves in this way with no proper independent scrutiny. I have filed a formal complaint against the SRA and Capsticks, it remains to be seen whether the SRA will investigate themselves and their solicitors and I will be interested to see how much contrition and transparency is displayed in replying to those complaints.”
TOPIC: The fine of £265m imposed on NatWest for its failure to undertake proper measures against money laundering by one of its clients
Sara George, former prosecutor for the FSA and now a partner at law firm Sidley, comments:
“The facts of this case are particularly egregious: the sheer amount of cash being physically carried around and deposited is a clear indicator of criminal activity, with £1.8m being deposited in cash in a single day from bin liners. It is difficult to see any basis for failing to suspect that the bank was laundering the proceeds of crime. There were failings at every level of the Bank.
Money Laundering is anything but a victimless crime; it is a facilitative criminal activity. Those who assist others to introduce the proceeds of criminal activities – usually drug trafficking, bribery, corruption and fraud – into the legitimate banking system create the incentives. Without the ability to realise, transfer, invest and enjoy the proceeds of fraud and corruption those activities are distinctly less attractive.
Effective anti-money laundering laws and their robust enforcement are essential – a fact not lost on the FCA. The shift away from imposing regulatory sanctions in the NatWest case to criminal prosecution demonstrates its commitment to employing a fuller spread of their enforcement powers to tackle anti-money laundering offences.”
TOPIC: The controversial outcome of the final Formula 1 motor race of the season which saw Max Verstappen of Red Bull take the world championship
Stephen Taylor Heath, Head of Sports Law at JMW Solicitors comments:
“In any sport where the outcome can turn on the discretion of a human-being applying the rules you will get unfairness. Most onlookers would regard the application of the rules by Michael Masi to be unfair as he went back on previous precedent and the strict application of the rules to manipulate one more lap of racing.
“The FIA justification for Mr Masi’s conduct is that he actually has discretion whether to apply the rules or not and to vary them if he wishes. Needless to say that has raised eyebrows. What needs to be established in any appeal is whether Mr Masi knew a rule but chose not to apply it or whether he believed he had (erroneously or otherwise) discretion to vary the rules in real time as he adapted to the circumstances.
“Formula 1 like many sports sets its own sporting regulations that the courts are reticent to interfere in. The key concern however is independence and conflicting interests that self-regulation can impose. Regulation of a sport should be administered by a body entirely independent of the governing body where that governing body is also a key commercial rights holder in that sport.”
TOPIC The recently released ONS annual civil partnership statistics for 2020 on formations and dissolutions of civil partnerships analysed by the couples’ sex, age, previous marital status and the place of registration.
Neil Russell, Partner and Head of Family at Seddons comments:
“Today’s statistics pose an interesting question- is marriage no longer considered the gold standard with 7,566 opposite-sex civil partnerships formed in England and Wales? There has been a growing trend in opposite-sex civil partnerships since the Supreme Court decision in 2018 in the case of Steinfield and Keidan. As from 31 December 2019 all couples have had the choice whether to marry or enter into a civil partnership. Yet, cohabiting couples who choose not to marry need to be aware that without marriage or a civil partnership, they do not have any financial provision available on breakup, which remains a huge problem.
“Cohabiting couples need to be aware of myths such as a ‘common law spouse’, as there is no such thing. It’s all about the label, of which there are three to choose from, two of which (marriage and civil partnership) provide for financial provision on a break up, beyond strict property rights. Watching your partner drop down on one knee, may leave you in suspense not knowing if you will be given a proposal of marriage, or civil partnership, or the option of which one to choose, like a multiple-choice test. There is no legal difference, in terms of responsibilities, commitments and obligations.”
CONTRIBUTED ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
THE RISE OF THE ‘LEGAL COONSULTANT’
by Adrian Jaggard, CEO of Taylor Rose MW
The term ‘legal consultant’ has been around for years, but only gained a huge amount of traction more recently and has been exacerbated by the pandemic with many firms now starting to move into a new model of working.
So, what is a consultant? Some often confuse or overcomplicate the transition from traditional employment to the consultant, but from an employee perspective, very little needs to change day to day, especially in the way you service your clients. The consultant accesses a whole range of support and back-office functions that they will already be used to, including access to the firms’ accreditations and professional indemnity insurance, essential to practise law. The fundamental difference is you now become self-employed (meaning you are free to set your own hours and place of work and to determine how the work is done), and you also operate on an income based upon work you have billed and brought into the firm.
The benefits can be huge. The consultancy model allows the legal professional greater control and flexibility over potential earnings, clients, working hours and fees while offering a career without limits or restrictions. On average, our consultants can earn upwards of 60 per cent of their billing. Furthermore, our fee ratios usually increase in the consultant’s favour once higher billing milestones are achieved, and legal professionals can double their current employed earnings without the stress of a higher caseload. The shift in percentages also provides a greater work-life balance. Meanwhile, those consultants more focused on their financial remuneration can see their earnings double or even triple with the right set-up. The model suits both full-time and part-time working and professionals wanting to work from home. As mentioned above. the consultants choose when they work, how they work, and the clients they want to serve.
There are considerations for anyone moving into this way of working. As a start-up, the consultant model naturally suits areas of law with shorter transactional lifecycles or the opportunity to interim bill, as the consultant is paid their fees once the client has paid. Therefore, solicitors with specialised experience in conveyancing, private client, civil litigation and general private client matters have significant advantages over areas of law with longer billing cycles. Allowing time to get up and running should also be considered, and where your clients are coming from, whether that is the firm or from your own contacts.
For ambitious consultants or those who focus on large, convoluted transactions, they can quite often end up running their own mini businesses without the burden of high initial start-up costs, such as securing office space, purchasing indemnity insurance, IT infrastructure and legal subscriptions, along with the admin time restraints that are inevitably required so concentration can be given to client care and billing, as the parent firm provides the framework needed to practice. Quite often, the fees given to the parent firm can be much lower than going it alone as everyone benefits from efficiencies of scale.
Interestingly, consultants can work on their own, however, some employ others, operate in groups and operate as a hub – such as a legal franchise – proving the model is flexible and not restrictive.
For more on Taylor Rose go to https://www.taylor-rose.co.uk/
APPOINTMENTS OF THE WEEK
Christine Dyson, an experienced Court of Protection solicitor, has joined the Private Client team at Hodge Jones & Allen to help deal with the firm’s growing deputyship caseload.
Previously with a Cambridge law firm and Cambridgeshire County Council, Dyson has expertise in managing deputyships arising from catastrophic injuries, referrals from family members and from local authorities. She is highly experienced at managing financial affairs and coordinating adult safeguarding.
“The legal rights of the elderly and vulnerable sparked an early interest in working for those who are sometimes unable to express their views and opinions due to lack of mental capacity,” she says. “Helping those more vulnerable in our society ensure their views and opinions are heard is very important to me. The work is extremely rewarding.”
Andrea Hamilton has joined the London office of Milbank LLP as a partner in the Global Corporate Group to expand the firm’s global antitrust capability into the United Kingdom
Hamilton arrives from the Brussels office of McDermott Will & Emery, where she was partner. She has regularly represented clients before the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the European Commission in merger control reviews and antitrust investigations. In addition to being a qualified Solicitor of England & Wales, she is also a member of the New York and Washington, DC bars and the Brussels Bar (B-List). She was named by Global Competition Review in 2021 in its Women in Antitrust survey in view of her outstanding contribution to the international antitrust community.
“Andrea brings deep international expertise advising leading aerospace and defense, industrial and life sciences clients,” said Alexander Rinne, head of Milbank’s European Antitrust practice. “Her background will undoubtedly benefit our existing clients in those areas.”
AND FINALLY AS IT IS CHRISTMAS
A message from the Collyer Bristow choir – We wish you a merry Christmas
|The choir and all at Collyer Bristow wish you good health and trust you will have an enjoyable festive break. To listen to the choir’s performance use the link below.|