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Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. Fewer than 500 partners across the entire United States have made it into the inaugural list.

Joseph C Shenker, Chairman

What has been your greatest achievement, in a professional and personal capacity?

Having the opportunity to lead one of the world’s preeminent law firms is a professional high point unmatched by anything else in my career. Sullivan & Cromwell is a great institution with strong core values, a rich, nearly 140-year history, and among the best lawyers anywhere. The most respected people in the world turn to us for help with the issues that determine their own and their companies’ futures. I am proud to help lead this institution, and to be entrusted with its stewardship, with the goal of handing it down even stronger to the next generation of S&C lawyers.

What do you do differently from your peers in the industry?

At a time of increasing specialization, we train our lawyers to be generalists with exceptional professional judgment and a deep understanding of the full range of our clients’ business issues. We work together as one firm worldwide, collaborating seamlessly across offices, regions and practices. But ultimately, what differentiates us is our steadfast commitment to our clients. Clients come back time and again because they know we will work tirelessly, with our highest and best focus, to ensure their success: we aim for and expect nothing less than perfect work product and advice.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Actively seek out as wide a range of professional experiences in your field as you can. And develop supportive relationships with mentors with whom you can have open conversations about your professional growth and career path.

Can you give me a practical example of how you have helped a client add value to the business?

Over the last decade or so, one focus of my practice has been counseling the owners of family businesses on a wide range of issues, most significantly with respect to generational transition. ‎Often, family members who manage significant business interests for the benefit of other family members have a difficult time navigating through the inevitable complications imposed by their continuously evolving family dynamics. I have been privileged to advise numerous families confronting these issues by bringing an objective perspective, informed by many similar experiences (both with other families and in more traditional corporate matters), to successfully, I believe, develop a plan and governance structure that will inure to the client’s benefit for the foreseeable future. Success in this space is obviously professionally ‎rewarding, because the issues are often new and complex, involving different disciplines, specialties, geographies and industries, but it is also personally satisfying when we help these families achieve harmonious solutions.

Within your sector, what do you think will be the biggest challenge for clients over the next 12 months?

There are tremendous political and economic changes taking place around the world right now. Meanwhile, companies are experiencing increasing competitive pressure, digital disruption and an ever more complex, global regulatory environment coupled with stepped-up enforcement activity. There’s a great deal of uncertainty, and the pace of change is only going to increase. At a time like this, one significant challenge for clients is to stay focused on doing the things that will foster long-term growth and protect value in the face of disruptive forces. It’s human nature to be reactive, but at S&C we play the long game and help our clients do the same.

Legal Developments worldwide

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  • Chambers Guides - Insurance 2018 - India

    India is a common-law jurisdiction. In general, Indian laws borrow heavily from, and are based on, English law. However, insurance law in India has certain unique features that deviate from English insurance law. The primary legislation of insurance law in India is the Insurance Act, 1938 (the “Insurance Act”) and the Insurance Rules, 1939 (the “Insurance Rules”).
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    AVELLUM acted as the Ukrainian legal counsel to Private Joint Stock Company with Foreign Investments “Slobozhanska Budivelna Keramika” (“SBK ”) in connection with the restructuring and refinancing of SBK’s debt, valued at approximately EUR20 million. Atlas Advisors, an independent investment banking firm, acted as the exclusive financial advisor to the SBK’s shareholders in connection with the restructuring of the credit portfolio, attraction of financing for the debt’s refinancing, and buy-out of SBK’s shares.
  • AVELLUM advises on Ukraine’s USD2 billion Eurobond issue

    AVELLUM acted as the Ukrainian legal counsel to the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine on the USD2 billion sovereign Eurobond issue consisting of two tranches with 5.5 and 10-year tenor. J.P. Morgan Securities, Goldman Sachs, BNP Paribas, and Citigroup acted as joint lead managers on the transaction.
  • New Anti-Money Laundering Law

    The new anti-money laundering ( AML ) law of the UAE took effect at the end of October 2018. Containing features recommended by the Financial Action Task Force ( FATF ), the new law introduces subtle but important changes to the AML landscape in the UAE. 
  • Confidentiality Under Renewed Focus

    The UAE federal government has recently issued a raft of important legislation, addressing and in many ways updating areas of law that are key to businesses in the jurisdiction. Amongst this legislation is Federal Decree-Law 14 of 2018 concerning the central bank and the organisation of financial institutions and activities (the New Banking Law ) and Federal Decree-Law 20 of 2018 concerning anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing (the New AML Law ). Both the New Banking Law and the New AML Law repeal and replace the previous legislation on their respective subjects. Importantly, the New Banking Law and the New AML Law have together enhanced the protection afforded to confidential information under UAE law, in particular where financial and legal service providers and their customers and clients are concerned. 
  • Israel Chapter in The Virtual Currency Regulation Review

    Earlier this year, the Israel Tax Authority (ITA) issued two circulars, one on the taxation of digital tokens and the second addressing the taxation of utility tokens in initial coin offerings (ICOs). Additionally, in March, the Israel Securities Authority (ISA) released a detailed interim report by the Committee for the Regulation of Public Offerings of Decentralized Cryptocurrency Coins (Report) (with a follow-up report due to come out around October 2018). Moreover, it is expected that before the end of 2018, legislation will come into force that for the first time will see Israeli primary legislation define virtual currencies as financial assets and mandate licensing for related services, as is later discussed in detail.
  • GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte – Report on authorized dealer’s entitlement to compensation

    Under certain circumstances, an authorized dealer may be entitled to claim compensation after termination of the contract with the company if the latter continues to be able to use its business contacts.
  • The Intra-Corporate Transfer Regulations

    The Conditions of Entry and Residence of Third-Country Nationals in the Framework of an Intra-Corporate Transfer Regulations (“Regulations”) were brought into force through Subsidiary Legislation 217.21. These Regulations transpose EU Directive 2014/66/EU into Maltese law.
  • Spring is coming for real estate registration in Israel

    Israel may be the “Start-up Nation” and a world-renowned center of technological innovation, yet for many years the procedures and conduct of the Israeli Land Registry have been trapped in the past.
  • The Tax Working Group’s Interim Report - A capital gains tax for New Zealand?

    ​​​​​​The Tax Working Group has released its Interim Report on the Future of Tax. Amongst a number of other matters, the Interim Report describes two alternative methods for the implementation of a capital gains tax in New Zealand, which will be the subject of further consideration over the coming months.