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Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP’s public law and policy group has an excellent reputation for its expertise in specialty areas such as emerging technology, complex or controversial projects and Cuba law and policy. Other core areas of strength include Native American matters, health, trade, and environment issues. Scott Parven leads the Cuba team, which is well known for assisting companies with entry into the Cuban business markets; past matters have included obtaining an Office of Foreign Assets Control license to authorize a US company’s import of a pharmaceutical product made in Cuba, and acting for a multinational telecoms equipment provider in an internal investigation into several transactions where equipment sold to Cuba was repaired in the company’s US service center without proper authorization. In another matter, Parven led the advice to non-profit organization on applying for Department of Defense medical research funds worth $300m. Ed Pagano led the team assisting the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers with blocking congressional passage of legislation to prevent its transition from the Department of Commerce. Jeffrey McMillen, Joel Jankowsky and John Jonas are also recommended. In April 2017 G Hunter Bates and Brian Pomper took over as co-chairs of the practice from Donald Pongrace, who remains active.

The ‘extremely responsive’ government relations team at Hogan Lovells US LLP handles a workload dominated by tax, healthcare and financial services matters; aviation policy and international trade cases are other areas of expertise. A substantial amount of the group’s recent work was focused on advocating policy positions in the ongoing tax reform debate, particularly for multinational companies, including American Gaming Association and Xcel Energy. Aviation law expert Lisa Ellman leads the advice to Commercial Drone Alliance pertaining to advocating the continuing development of the commercial drone industry. In another matter, the team is assisting several energy companies with obtaining federal approval to export liquefied natural gas from the US to countries such as China, Taiwan and the Philippines. Of counsel Norman Coleman leads the team, which includes sanctions law expert Robert Kyle and former senior advisor in the US House of Representatives Aaron Cutler. In 2017 Ivan Zapien, former member of the Democratic National Committee, joined the firm. Julie Brill left to join Microsoft.

With around 40 partners in its public policy and regulation practice, Holland & Knight LLP has the strength and depth to assist clients from a broad range of industries. It has notable expertise in lobbying for healthcare entities; clients include the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine and the American Chemistry Council. Recent work for the group includes assisting the PCI Security Standards Council with addressing congressional committees on payment card security matters following high-profile data breaches. On behalf of the National Fisheries Institute, it negotiated with Congress to repeal the US Department of Agriculture’s Catfish Inspection Rule via a Congressional Review Act. Rich Gold and Atlanta-based Robert Highsmith are highly recommended. Paul Bock, tax expert Nicole Elliott, Joel Roberson and Gerry Sikorski are other names to note.

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IP specialist Finnegan detail how their collaborative approach makes for a unique culture which is designed to allow them to work with clients in a way which is cognizant of the challenges facing all companies today.

K&L Gates’ public policy and law group provides ongoing assistance to private mortgage insurance company Radian pertaining to advocacy for the protection and expansion of private mortgage insurance for low-down-payment loans. On behalf of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, the team advocated for the commercial spaceflight industry in the NASA Transition Authorization Act, and is now assisting NASA with funding issues through the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies’ appropriations process. The Airport Minority Advisory Council retains the firm for advocacy concerning major airport and aviation legislation. Other representative clients include Pitney Bowes, the Transportation Institute and the Greater Washington Board of Trade. Bruce Heiman leads the team. Paul Stimers, Daniel Ritter, Michael Scanlon, Emanuel Rouvelas, Stacy Ettinger and Karishma Shah Page are other key contacts.

The ‘excellent’ team at Mayer Brown is noted for assisting international, federal, state and local clients with government affairs matters; based in Chicago, where John Janicik and Mitchell Holzrichter are names to note, and Los Angeles, where Philip Recht and Edgar Khalatian are based and singled out for their expertise. Recht leads ongoing advice to the California High-Speed Rail Authority on the development of the high-speed rail network, currently the largest public works project in the US. Alongside Andrew Kugler, Recht advises the Lytton Rancheria tribe on state legislative and regulatory issues pertaining to internet gaming, alongside handling negotiations with Congress to enact legislation to place Sonoma County, the land selected for the tribe’s proposed housing development project, in trust for the tribe. In an example of its international capabilities, the group represented the government of Puerto Rico in advocacy for the development of a US-Puerto Rico tax policy relationship. Michael Kantor, Timothy Keeler and Duane Layton are recommended in the Washington DC office.

Squire Patton Boggs is noted for its experience in lobbying, regulatory advocacy, and public policy due diligence into proposed legislation and regulations with the potential to affect business deals. Past clients include SpaceX, Amazon, Mars, Wake Forest University, California Steel Industries and Gazprombank. Jeffrey Turner, who handles public policy matters relating to tax and trade policy issues, heads the public policy practice. Erin McGrain is a name to note.

Scott Segal and Dee Martin co-chair Bracewell LLP’s ‘forward-thinking and impactful’ government relations group, which attracts praise for its ‘very good understanding of the Washington ecosystem’. Energy policy is a core strength for the team; for example, it is assisting Valero Energy with advocating for reform of the Renewable Fuels Standard, which currently requires that a set amount of renewable fuels be blended into transportation fuels every year. The firm is acting for Air Liquide in advocating for consistent legislative and regulatory control of hydrogen and helium. The group also represents the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council in policy debates pertaining to electricity, energy and environmental regulation. The team regularly advocates on behalf of the FBI Agents Association (FBIAA) before Congress, the White House and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) itself; it successfully advocated on the FBIAA’s behalf for seven FBI agents, who died as a result of health conditions related to the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, to be officially recognised as losing their lives in the performance of their duties. In another matter, the group assists the FBIAA with lobbying Congress to craft statutory language to strengthen legislation on domestic terrorism. Joshua Zive is also recommended.

Following the opening of an office in Sacramento, Dentons’ public policy and advocacy network now reaches across 50 states and also operates at a federal level. The attorney general practice is a core strength of the firm, and provides ongoing assistance to DeVry Education Group pertaining to investigations and multiple claims regarding marketing materials and statements made to prospective students on the subject of graduation and job placement rates. Washington DC-based Gordon Giffin combines public policy and energy expertise to assist the Canadian Electricity Association with providing strategic advice to Congress on Canadian electricity imports into the US. Giffin also leads the advice to Brookfield Renewable on federal energy legislation, including the EPA’s efforts to revise and/or rescind the Clean Power Plan. Other clients include Charter Communications, Northside Hospital and Boy Scouts of America. Daniel Gibb and Michael Zolandz are other names to note in the Washington DC office. Jeffrey Bleich is a key name in San Francisco, while Edward Lindsey and Eric Tanenblatt are recommended in the Atlanta office.

King & Spalding LLP’s group has notable expertise in handling congressional investigations and political law matters, as well as assisting clients drawn from the healthcare, infrastructure, defense and automotive/transportation sectors. The team is also well known for handling regulatory work for foreign corporations with US subsidiaries. In the healthcare area, the firm assisted Adventist Healthcare with securing grant funding for early childhood behavior health projects, and with securing provisions in mental health legislation enacted by Congress. The group also represented MultiCare Health System in lobbying efforts to secure funding for the construction of an inpatient psychiatric facility; the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment Accessibility Act of 2017, which assists hospitals with leveraging federal support, was issued as a result. In another matter, the team represents Equifax before the Senate and the House of Representatives in congressional inquiries pertaining to the company’s high-profile cybersecurity breach in September 2017. Practice head Thomas Spulak, automotive sector specialist Jacqueline Glassman, Ted Hester and healthcare expert C’Reda Weeden are noted. International trade specialist Steve Kupka and counsel Wintta Woldemariam joined the team in 2017.

With a strong reputation in the field of financial services advocacy, Steptoe & Johnson LLP’s government affairs and public policy practice has seen a significant uptick in work relating to tax reform. For example, the group was retained by seafood producer and distributor StarKist to advocate for the extension of a tax rule affecting companies operating in American Samoa. In another matter, the team acts for the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers (CIAB) in ensuring that US states implement the regulations set by the Dodd-Frank Act, as well as promoting an employer-sponsored healthcare market for US businesses who are clients of CIAB members. Las Vegas Sands is another client. Scott Sinder and Micah Green jointly head the practice. Darryl Nirenberg, James Barnette and of counsel Jason Abel are also recommended.

At Van Ness Feldman LLP, the firm’s core specialisms in environmental, natural resources, energy, and transport matters filter through into its government relations and policy practice. The group’s recent workload includes assisting clients with reforms to regulations affecting clean energy standards, energy infrastructure projects and access to energy resources, particularly Alaska’s natural resources. Firm chair Richard Agnew advises the Alaska Federation of Natives on federal and state legislation designed to recognise and protect hunting, fishing and gathering rights to renewable subsistence resources for Alaska Natives. The team provides ongoing assistance to Clean Line Energy regarding lobbying efforts in support of the wind energy transmission line project Plains & Eastern Clean Line and the Department of Energy’s decision to participate by means of a public private partnership. It was also retained by the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority to assist with lobbying for expedited federal permitting to allow a land building project, designed to protect and restore the Louisiana coast, to be built at the earliest date possible. Other clients include the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, Noble Energy, Shell, Los Angeles Department of Water & Power and the city of Houston, Texas. Robert Szabo, Tom Roberts, Alan Mintz and Andrew VanderJack are all recommended.

WilmerHale’s public policy and legislative affairs group has solid expertise in developing advocacy strategies that span multiple branches of government. It is representing the Beer Institute before the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the Department of Commerce and the White House regarding trade matters. Other clients include Brambles and Charter Communications. Another key area of strength is handling the political side of mergers; the team provides ongoing assistance to Monsanto regarding a $62m merger with Bayer. In Washington DC, Jamie Gorelick, Jonathan Yarowsky and Thomas Strickland are key contacts. Ken Salazar is the name to note in the Denver office.

Arnold & Porter is noted for its advocacy expertise in the healthcare, insurance and education sectors, but also acts for clients from technology and environmental industries. On behalf of AT&T, the group provided strategic advice to members of Congress pertaining to communications issues impacting wireless and video policy, among other regulatory matters. In another example, the team assists McGraw-Hill Education with a $200m college completion campaign to engage more directly with education stakeholders and advocate for policy issues in the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, such as college affordability and use of data analytics to monitor student performance. Kevin O’Neill and Charles Landgraf jointly head the practice.

Tax policy is Miller & Chevalier Chartered’s core specialty, and the team includes many former senior government officials. The firm has seen an uptick in legislative work and is representing a broad range of clients before Congress, the IRS and the Treasury in connection with the comprehensive reform of the Internal Revenue Code. In 2016, the group represented Alaska Native Corporation Shee Atiká before Congress and the US Forest Service in connection with the federal government’s acquisition of 22,000 acres within the Admiralty Island National Monument wilderness; the team continues to assist the client with the multi-phase transaction. Trade associations and large multinational corporations are also clients. Marc Gerson, who was made firm chair in July 2017, is the key name.

Elizabeth Moeller leads Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP’s ‘very responsive’ public policy team, which is well known for handling a lot of international work, such as assisting the Cayman Islands’ Ministry of Financial Services with deepening diplomatic relationships with US leaders overseeing tax and financial services legislation. Cybersecurity expert Brian Finch advises FireEye on legislative defense authorization and funding matters. Former Texas Congressman and senior counsel Greg Laughlin attracts praise for his ‘energy and enthusiasm’. Associate Aimee Ghosh is also recommended.

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  • Korean Financial Regulators Advance Legislation to Introduce Regulatory Sandbox to Spark FinTech

    The 2018 year in review in Korea was notable for the sluggish overall economy, uncertainty surrounding the geo-politics and impact on Korea due to the global trade wars, on-going concerns related to the lack of jobs and unemployment, increased taxes and burdens for businesses and families, and no meaningful improvement or clarity in the current situation for 2019. In response, the Korean National Assembly passed a legislation called the Financial Innovation Support Act (the “FinISA”) on December 7, 2018 to spark the financial services industry in conjunction with FinTech products and services. The FinISA, which will soon take effect in March 2019, is intended to lay the legal foundation to introduce a regulatory sandbox for innovative financial services, where FinTech firms test their new products and services without certain regulatory oversight pursuant to exemptions for a limited period of time (“Sandbox”). As the FinISA exempts or defers application of existing finance-related regulations for new financial technology, products or services with the purpose of fostering the creation of innovative and new financial products and services, it will also support the stabilization of such services in the financial services market at the end of the testing period and is expected that the FinISA will support a revitalization of the FinTech industry which experienced sluggish growth in recent times. In particular, as companies and investors become more interested in security tokens and Security Token Offerings (“STO”) which are regulated by the Financial Investment Services and Capital Markets Act (the “FSCMA”), there have been on-going discussions and debates as to whether the FinISA could lead to a breakthrough in the crypto-asset industry based on blockchain technology. Crypto assets encompasses those assets which utilize blockchain technology where the asset is digitalized by utilization of cryptography, peer-to-peer networks and a public ledger of verified transactions resulting in a ‘units’ of such a crypto asset without any involvement by middle-persons or brokers (e.g., cryptocurrency.

    The sacking of Nissan’s high-profile chairman may have beenproof that nobody is infallible. But Nicola Sharp argues that it should also beseen as an indicator that no company can be considered safe from wrongdoing.
  • 2018 FCPA Enforcement Actions and Highlights

    Overall, 2018 was a more active year in terms of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA") enforcement actions compared to 2017.
  • Legality of advertising with statements on the effects of medical treatments

    Advertisements featuring statements on the effects of medical treatments are only permissible if they are supported by sound scientific evidence. This was reaffirmed by the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Frankfurt, the Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt.
  • Sayenko Kharenko announces new partner promotion

    Sayenko Kharenko announces new partner promotion
  • ECJ – Distinctive character necessary for registration as EU trade mark

    For a sign to be capable of being registered as an EU trade mark, it must be distinctive across the entire European Union. This was confirmed by the Court of Justice of European Union (ECJ) in a ruling from 25 July 2018.
  • Supporting local and international charitable organizations

    As one of the leading law firms in Cyprus, we are active promoters and supporters of local economic growth by sponsoring local events, applying environmental-friendly practices, minimizing our ecological impact, and most importantly, by raising money for local charities and non-profit organizations.
  • BAG – Employers can claw back bonus payments

    The Bundesarbeitsgericht (BAG), Germany’s Federal Labour Court, confirmed in a recent ruling that employers can claw back collectively agreed bonus payments from employees under certain circumstances.
  • Stricter supervision in relation to the Scheme for Naturalisation of Investors in Cyprus by Exceptio

    Recently there were a lot of publications within the European Union expressing concerns about the allegedly very high number of Cypriot passports being given to foreign investors the last few years. The Council of Ministers has decided on 9th January 2018 with the decision with number 84.069, to impose a stricter supervision of all the parties involved in the Scheme for the naturalisation of non-Cypriot investors in Cyprus by exception.
  • 19% VAT on Plots

    In order to harmonize the  Acquis Communautaire on the Taxation of untapped and undeveloped plots of land, the Cyprus Government enacted, on 03/11/2017, relevant legislation for the imposition of 19% Value Added Tax (VAT) on these properties, with a date of enforcement being 02/01/2018. The relevant legislation refers to plots/pieces of land offered and/or provided for construction for economic purposes.

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