REUTERS | Dominic Ebenbichler

It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed our daily lives. Many of us are adapting to government-issued restrictions, remote working, and other measures designed to combat the spread of the virus. Andy Gilman, President and CEO of CommCore Consulting once said that “the secret of crisis management is not good versus bad, it’s preventing the bad from getting worse.” Continue reading

REUTERS | Kacper Pempel

Smart is the new black! We use smart-phones to make calls, smart-watches to check the time, and watch news on smart-TVs, while sipping tea prepared by a smart-kettle. Smart-cars driving us through the streets of smart-cities to our smart-homes, while we are doing a bit of smart-working, are just around the corner.

The legal profession is trying to smarten up too, but there is one “smart” that lawyers still approach with caution: smart contracts. In the last two or three years they have generated a lot of hype, with some commentators predicting that they will fundamentally change how we contract with each other, eventually eradicating the need for lawyers to draft contracts and for judges to adjudicate on them. These contracts will be so smart that they will do whatever is required automatically, leaving no room for non-performance, competing interpretations or disputes. Sounds fantastic; but is it feasible and how exactly are these smart contracts different from conventional contracts?

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Countries around the world including the UK have announced their intention to rapidly develop and deploy contact tracing apps to access data from mobile phones as a means to carry out surveillance about the spread of COVID-19. The aim is to use the tool as part of the efforts to kickstart the economy and return to a state of normality more rapidly. Continue reading

REUTERS | Mike Blake

Legal panel reviews are a well-established way for companies and large public sector bodies to formally appoint a group of law firms to their panel, establish common ways of working and benefit from more competitive rates and volume discounts.

However, while the purposes of a panel review may be well-understood, panel reviews are complex and unique projects that require thoughtful handling. To get the most out of them it pays to keep your finger on the pulse of the legal market, set a strategy, and always, always have a plan.

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REUTERS | Esam Al-Fetori

The average age of non-executive directors (NEDs) serving on the top 150 FTSE boards was 60.6 in 2018, up from 59 in 2013 and 58.5 in 2008. This represents a 3.6% increase over a ten-year period according to the 2018 UK Spencer Stuart Board Index. NEDonBoard believes that there is a risk that having an older NED pool might mean businesses are out of touch with contemporary practices and make boards unprepared to address emerging issues, such as cybersecurity, climate change and digital transformation.

NEDonBoard is an advocate of increasing the representation of younger NEDs on boards. Although some sectors are at the forefront of cross-generational representation on boards, notably technology, most boards continue to value broad business experience above all else.

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REUTERS | Jorge Adorno

In the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic, organisations globally are now living the reality of what their business looks like when the majority of its workforce is remote.

For those of us who work remotely on a regular basis, we know that it’s not as easy as it may seem. The distractions are plentiful, it can be harder to feel motivated, human connection is dramatically reduced – and all of this has an impact on how effective we can be.

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REUTERS | Ognen Teofilovski

These are unprecedented times. As the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic unfolds, we find ourselves in a world that is increasingly unfamiliar and changing daily. Many legal professionals are working from home, teams are disconnected and whole offices are closing as we follow government guidelines to fight COVID-19. As well as the physical threat, many people are also experiencing high levels of concern and anxiety about their own health and the health of family members.

When humans are faced with a threat, it is a natural and biological response for the brain to generate a fight or flight response so that we can be prepared to run or defend ourselves against danger. This response can save your life in some situations but chronic levels of uncertainty and stress, which some individuals may be experiencing now, can be long-lasting and damaging (see Practice note, Mental health, stress and wellbeing in the legal profession: an introduction).

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On 26 March 2020, a reception in the Great Hall of the Royal Courts of Justice will mark the 125th anniversary of the Commercial Court. It will also mark the launch of the 2020 Commercial Litigators’ Forum (CLF) Directory of Service Providers, a centralised database of service providers to the law, which will be a key means of raising funds for the new National Pro Bono Centre opening this year.

We invite and encourage providers of services of all types to the leading law firms and to litigation and arbitration to consider what they can contribute by becoming a sponsor of the Directory: all income raised will go to support the new National Pro Bono Centre and its essential work.

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