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Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Overview clients in London using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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This chapter aims to reflect the capabilities of law firms which best demonstrate an ability to advise clients on anticipating and managing different types of business risks.

The unprecedented legal, political and economic uncertainty created by the outcome of the UK’s EU referendum in 2016 was further exacerbated by the result of the 2017 General Election, which raised additional questions in terms of the UK’s approach during the negotiations. In order to provide effective legal and strategic commercial advice to clients on Brexit, law firms are increasingly having to demonstrate a co-ordinated approach across their businesses as well as, where possible, a sense of the UK government’s overall long-term direction of travel (through anticipating and shaping policy, for example, and working with industry and trade associations on their engagements with government).

Corporate governance also creates challenges for businesses, as they seek to establish structures and implement policies and procedures which balance the interests of all stakeholders, including shareholders, management, suppliers and financial backers. In 2016, the UK government published a Green Paper on reform of the existing corporate governance framework, with a particular focus on executive pay, increasing connections between boards of directors and other stakeholders, and the extension to private companies of certain features of the corporate governance regime which currently apply to listed companies. The Conservative Party manifesto also featured a number of proposals in this area.

On a related front, the legal market reports robust activity in the areas of internal and regulatory investigations, with clients seeking advice on matters involving allegations of corruption, bribery and money laundering. Some corners of the market have expressed concern at government proposals to shut down the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and incorporate it back into the National Crime Agency, with the SFO widely hailed as an effective investigator and prosecutor of white-collar crime.

Elsewhere, in the data protection arena, a major talking point has been the EU’s adoption of the General Data Protection Regulation in 2016; it comes into effect in May 2018, so will remain a popular topic for a while. Advice in this area is increasingly being sought by clients as their reliance on technology for general day-to-day business increases. The replacement of the US-EU Safe Harbour framework with the Privacy Shield framework has generated some uncertainty, with numerous companies unclear as to how the change will affect their ability to move data outside of the EU.

In the area of reputation management, the recent Katie Hopkins v Jack Monroe case grabbed the market’s attention, particularly with there being an increased focus on libel issues and defamation on social media. Phone hacking has been another driver of activity for law firms, acting either for the victims or the newspapers allegedly involved.

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