ÄHF Immobilienfonds GbR has sold Ärztehaus Friedrichshain to Canada’s NorthWest Healthcare Properties REIT. By deal volume, the transaction is one of the largest in the asset class of ambulant health centers in Germany. With this health center, NorthWest Healthcare Properties REIT will further expand its portfolio of healthcare properties in Germany. The Canadian company invests worldwide in healthcare properties such as clinics, hospitals and medical centers, primarily in its main markets of Canada, Brazil, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. Germany member firm GvW Graf von Westphalen provided legal advice on the sale and liquidation of the fund under the leadership of Dr. Lorenz Czajka. Others on the team include Dr. Sven Donner, Johannes Räther, Dr. Holger Kühl and Dr. Magnus Dorweiler.

Alberta member firm Field Law will be presented with the Law Firm Award at the 2019 Women in Law Leadership Awards. The Law Firm Award is presented by the Counsel Network and the Association of Women Lawyers to an Alberta firm that best demonstrates leadership in fostering an inclusive environment for female lawyers. The firm’s commitment to and recognition of the importance of gender diversity has led to its adopting progressive policies relating to maternity leave, parental leave, flexible work arrangements, alternative career paths, and equality and diversity. Notably, it has a 40/60 ratio of female to male lawyers, and a 55/45 female to male ratio among its associate lawyers. The award will be conferred at a banquet to be held at the Fairmont Palliser in Calgary later this month.

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From the CEO
As 2019 draws to a close, SCG Legal is pleased to announce it will soon unveil several new initiatives and programs to help you grow your practice. Marianne Talbot, who recently joined SCG Legal as EVP of business development and client service, will be heading up our efforts in this area, beginning with a webinar December 4th regarding California’s Consumer Privacy Act cohosted with Los Angeles member firm Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp and another December 11th designed to help you formulate your 2020 business development plans. These are just two of the many webinars SCG Legal will be rolling out in the new year. In addition, we are designing programs that will focus on client service, technology, innovation, diversity, and other matters of importance to SCG Legal member attorneys, clients, and the legal industry at large. We also look forward to revealing some of the exciting plans we have in store for you at our midyear meeting in Lisbon next May. To learn more about next month’s two webinars, read the related articles below. If there is ever anything we can do for you, don’t hesitate to let me know.

We’ve Moved!
SCG Legal has moved – next door from our previous location. Effective this month, our address is 1701 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Suite 200, Washington, DC 20006. The new office telephone number is (202) 580-6527. Our facsimile number remains (202) 204-5220 and all email addresses remain the same.

California’s Consumer Privacy Act – For California Business and Beyond
Los Angeles member firm Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp and SCG Legal will cohost a webinar on Wednesday, December 4, 2019, at 10:00 a.m. (PST)/1:00 p.m. (EST) regarding California’s new Consumer Privacy Act. CCPA will take effect in January 2020, affording California consumers greater knowledge about the nature and extent of the data collected about them, how it is used and shared by those who possess it, and how individual consumers can control the use of their personal data. CCPA applies to a vast array of companies, regardless of where they are located, and applies if the company generates $25 million or more in gross revenue (not California specific) or annually buys, sells, receives or shares for commercial purposes, the personal information of 50,000 or more consumers, households, or devices; or derives 50% or more of its annual revenues from selling consumer personal information. Running afoul of the requirements can lead to enforcement and fines by the Attorney General, along with general civil liability and reputational harm. During this 30-minute free webinar, Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp cybersecurity & privacy protection attorneys will discuss the criteria, framework, and implications of CCPA, with an emphasis on how best to implement the requirements and plan for future developments. To register, click here.

Success by Design: Constructing Your 2020 Individual Business Plan
As we start counting down towards the new year, now is the perfect time to take stock of 2019’s successes and challenges and start planning for next year. Join us for an action-oriented business development planning session with Marianne Talbot, SCG Legal’s executive vice president of business development and client service, where she will give you steps and strategies to launch you into a successful 2020. This 30-minute free webinar will cover the three main activity areas attorneys should include when designing their business plans, the four action steps necessary to guarantee success, and four main pitfalls to avoid that can derail the best-laid plans. And, as an added benefit, participants will receive a business development planning template they can immediately put to use during and after the webinar. The webinar will take place Wednesday, December 11, 2019, from 1:00 to 1:30 p.m. (EST). To register, click here. If there are others in your firm you think might benefit from this webinar, be sure to share this information with them. Questions? Contact Marianne Talbot.

Stephen Amato of Kentucky member firm McBrayer has been inducted into the Order of the Writ’s inaugural class. The Order of the Writ is a fraternal and charitable organization that embraces the spirit of Kentucky bourbon education, responsibility, environmental stewardship, history, scholarship and an unwavering commitment to the furtherance of America’s only native spirit. A member of the Alliance of Alcohol Industry Attorneys and Consultants, Mr. Amato focuses his practice on representing alcoholic beverage producers, wine and spirits wholesalers, malt beverage distributors, and on- and off-premise retailers. Also at McBrayer, the firm has once again earned a spot on the U.S. News – Best Lawyers® in America list of “Best Law Firms.” The firm’s Lexington office was given “first-tier” recognition in administrative and regulatory Law, commercial litigation, criminal defense (white-collar), healthcare law, land use and zoning law, litigation (real estate), litigation (trusts and estates) and real estate law. The firm’s Louisville office was also given “first-tier” recognition in the area of litigation (intellectual property and trademark law).

Mark Meredith, Denny Chung, Teio Senda, Zachary Rogers, Matthew Singerman and Dani Marshall have joined British Columbia member firm Clark Wilson. Mr. Meredith joins the firm from KPMG Law as a partner. His tax planning practice encompasses a broad range of client situations, including establishing and financing Canadian businesses. He also maintains an active tax dispute management practice. Mr. Chung joins as an associate in the firm’s insurance and infrastructure, construction and procurement groups, representing clients in multiparty settlement conferences, multiparty mediations, summary judgments and summary trial applications. Mr. Senda joins the firm’s private company mergers and acquisitions group as an associate, where he advises business leaders at companies of all types and sizes in a variety of unique markets. Mr. Rogers joins the firm’s estates and trusts group as an associate, representing clients in the Provincial Court of British Columbia, British Columbia Supreme Court, and the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal. Mr. Singerman joins as a partner in the firm’s commercial real estate group, having previously advised on key transactional legal agreements for many complex multi-property and multijurisdictional commercial real estate projects across Canada. Finally, Ms. Marshall will also join the commercial real estate group as an associate, focusing on complex commercial real estate transactions.

Grant Berry, Sean Donoghue, Stephenie Anderson Scialabba and Benjamin Dauber have joined Pennsylvania member firm Eckert Seamans as associates in the firm’s Pittsburgh office. A transactional attorney, Mr. Berry has worked with clients on a wide variety of commercial transactions, including acquisitions, divestitures, mergers, financings, reorganizations, and joint ventures. He is a graduate of Duquesne University School of Law. Mr. Donoghue focuses his practice on construction and commercial litigation, as well as on counseling clients on commercial leases, franchise agreements, and contracts concerning the sale of goods. Mr. Donoghue is also a graduate of Duquesne University School of Law. Ms. Scialabba focuses her practice on global and domestic cybersecurity and data privacy matters. She received her J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Finally, Mr. Dauber concentrates his practice on business counseling, financial transactions, hospitality, and mergers and acquisitions. He too is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Also at Eckert Seamans, Michael Regan joins as an associate in the firm’s Philadelphia office. He focuses his practice on intellectual property matters, including copyrights, trademarks, licensing of intellectual property, domain name enforcement, and intellectual property litigation. Mr. Regan received his J.D. from Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law.

William (Trip) England, Dean Cooper, Paul Boudreau and Charles Smarr of Missouri member firm Brydon, Swearengen & England have been selected for inclusion in the 2020 edition of Best Lawyers® in America. Mr. Smarr is listed in food and beverage law; Messrs. Cooper and Boudreau, in energy law; and Mr. England, in energy and communications law. Also at Brydon, Swearengen & England, Jesse Craig has joined the firm as an associate.  He is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Law. While there he focused on representing indigent and underserved members of the community by working with the Missouri State Public Defender, as well as participating in such programs as the University of Missouri School of Law Veterans Clinic and the Midwest Innocence Project.

Connecticut member firm Robinson+Cole has signed on to participate in the Diversity Lab’s Mansfield Rule 3.0, a year-long certification process developed to increase the representation of diverse lawyers in leadership positions by broadening the pool of women, lawyers of color, lawyers with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ lawyers considered for significant governance roles, partner promotions, and lateral partner and senior associate hiring. The process will be used to measure whether the firm has considered at least 30% women, lawyers of color, lawyers with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ lawyers among its field of candidates for significant leadership roles and activities in the firm. Also at Robinson+Cole, 52 of its attorneys were named to Super Lawyers® lists in the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island for 2019. In addition, 32 attorneys at the firm were recognized as “rising stars.” The firm also received 33 first-tier metropolitan rankings, including 25 in the city of Hartford, in the 2020 edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms.” Law firms included in the publication are recognized for professional excellence with consistently superior ratings from clients and peers. Finally, the firm’s manufacturing industry team chair Jeffrey White is among those who have been recognized in the 2019 New England Trailblazers list. Published in a special supplement developed by the business arm of Law.com and the Connecticut Law Tribune, the inaugural list recognizes professionals in New England who have “moved the needle in the legal industry” by being true agents of change. Mr. White is significantly involved with manufacturing industry issues, both nationally and internationally.

Daniel Neuman and Sommer Clement have been elected shareholders at Washington member firm Carney Badley Spellman. Mr. Neuman focuses his practice on advising start-ups and emerging companies as well as venture capital funds on entity formation, securities, corporate finance, venture capital, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property and general corporate counseling. He is experienced in representing companies in the software, virtual and augmented reality, e-commerce, life sciences, healthcare, manufacturing, real estate and restaurant industries. Ms. Clement practices in the areas of construction and real estate transactions and litigation, civil litigation, and insurance defense. She has represented numerous Washington real estate developers and contractors in disputes related to tower, commercial, condominium, apartment, conversion, and single-family construction. Also at Carney Badley, Rory Cosgrove has been named “outstanding litigation associate” by the Washington Defense Trial Lawyers. WDTL confers the award annually on a member who has “promoted the highest professional and ethical standards, collegiality, professional decorum, and the utmost ethical standards while practicing supreme advocacy for his or her clients.” Mr. Cosgrove focuses his practice on appellate litigation in state and federal courts. 

The 2020 edition of litigation guide Benchmark Litigation has named 13 attorneys from Iowa member firm Nyemaster Goode to its 2020 list of Benchmark litigation “stars.” Benchmark Litigation’s list of “local litigation stars” for each state recognizes attorneys who have consistently been recommended by clients and peers as reputable and effective litigators. Kevin Collins, Hayward Draper, Frank Harty, Harty, Jeffrey Harty, Debra Hulett, Glenn Johnson, Ben Roach, Richard Sapp, Michael Thrall and Angel West were recognized as “local litigation stars” in Iowa. Messrs. Harty and Johnson and Ms. Johnson were also named “labor and employment stars,” as were Katie Graham and Frances Hass. In addition, Ms. Graham and Ms. Haas were named “future stars” in Iowa, as was Kristina Stanger. Ms. West also was named one of Benchmark Litigation’s “top 250 women in litigation” for the eighth consecutive year. Benchmark Litigation singled her out for her work in general commercial, product liability and securities litigation. Finally, the firm itself was ranked as one of only three “highly recommended” law firms in Iowa for litigation.

Jerusha Adams of Alabama member firm Capell & Howard has been selected by the judges of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama as a full-time magistrate judge. Before joining the firm, Ms. Adams served as an assistant United States attorney and senior litigation counsel for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Alabama in both the civil and criminal divisions. She received her J.D. from Emory University School of Law. Also at Capell & Howard, W. Jackson Britton has joined the firm as an associate, where he focuses his practice on civil litigation. A graduate of the University of Alabama School of Law, he was senior editor of the Alabama Law Review.

Minnesota member firm Larkin Hoffman has launched the Travel Technology Newsletter, which features insights into the technologies that power the travel industry and on leisure and group bookings from attorneys with substantial expertise in the travel and hospitality field, including in-house counsel from leaders in the industry. Topics to be covered will include online booking systems, online search services, global distribution systems, property management systems, central reservation systems, revenue management systems and other technologies and services unique to the travel industry, with an emphasis on legal and contracting concerns unique to those systems and services. The newsletter is edited by hospitality group chair Mark Robertson. Before joining Larkin Hoffman, Mr. Robertson spent 17 years with Hilton Worldwide, where he managed business and legal issues, including international and domestic operations and services for more than 3,500 owned, leased, licensed, franchised and affiliated properties across ten different hotel brands.

Michigan member firm Fraser Trebilcock has etered into a strategic alliance with Zelmanski, Danner & Fioritto to leverage its knowledge and expertise in the areas of legislative and governmental affairs, complex commercial and real estate litigation, cottage law, estate planning, and intellectual property in the metropolitan Detroit market. Headquartered in Plymouth, Michigan, Zelmanski, Danner & Fioritto specializes in condominium and homeowner association governance and association development, Fair Housing Act counseling and litigation, ADA compliance, FHA and VA certifications, and cannabis law. “The mission of Fraser Trebilcock throughout its history has been providing high quality legal services to our clients and this agreement bolsters that mission,” says firm president Michael Perry. Also at Fraser Trebilcock, former Michigan state senator David Robertson has joined the firm as director of governmental affairs. Mr. Robertson previously represented southeastern Genesee County and northwest Oakland County in the Michigan Senate, where he served as caucus chairman. He was named legislator of the year in 2003 by the Michigan State Medical Society and in 2018 by the Michigan Dental Association. He previously served as a member of the Genesee Board of Commissioners.

England member firm Mills & Reeve has been ranked fourth in the U.K. in the latest edition of Legal 500, based on the number of top tier rankings received (45). Pinsent Masons, Eversheds Sutherland, DLA Piper and CMS completed the top five. The firm was also included in the top ten firms by number of leading individual lawyer rankings (88). This year’s Legal 500 U.K. includes more than 1,300 firms across more than 10,000 unique rankings. More than 5,000 individual lawyers are ranked across the U.K. as leading individuals, next generation partners or rising star associates. Also at Mills & Reeve, the firm has launched In House in Focus, an online “hub” dedicated to the challenges faced by in-house legal teams in the U.K. that are part of international and U.K. organizations. The “hub” provides information on a range of topics, including intellectual property, data and technology, corporate banking and tax, people and talent, commercial relationships, regulatory, property and dispute resolution.

Australian member firm Hall & Wilcox has expanded its property and projects and employment practices with the appointment of partner Kitty Vo and special counsel David Catanese. Ms. Vo’s appointment is part of the firm’s strategy to build on its growing profile in Sydney while also supporting the firm’s national property team. Mr. Catanese will be based in Melbourne and will assist with the growth of the firm’s offering to the government sector. Also at Hall & Wilcox, the firm has advised Carlton & United Breweries on a joint venture with Australian craft beer pioneer Phil Sexton to establish a boutique brewery in Victoria’s Yarra Valley. Partner James Morvell and special counsel Steve Aitchison led the team. Finally, the firm’s Sydney office will relocate to Level 18, 347 Kent Street. All online services, email addresses and telephone numbers will remain the same.

Texas member firm McGinnis Lochridge partner and labor and employment practice group chair Felicity Fowler has been recognized as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in 2019 by the National Diversity Council. Along with the other honorees, she was feted at a breakfast celebration in Houston last month during Legal Diversity Week. Ms. Fowler was chosen for her experience, leadership and commitment to supporting diversity in the legal profession, embodying the mission of the National Diversity Council, which focuses on recognizing and honoring prominent leaders in the legal community who champion diversity. Also at McGinnis Lochridge, partner Manuel Escobar was honored at the Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas’ Judge Suzanne Covington Pro Bono Awards reception for his exceptional volunteer service. Mr. Escobar is a member of the firm’s corporate and tax practice group and is active in the firm’s pro bono activities.

New Zealand member firm Wynn Williams’ corporate advisory team recently advised the major shareholders in Auckland-based Agility CIS on their share sale to London-based private equity firm SilverTree Equity and Auckland-based Pioneer Capital. Founded in 1988, Agility is a market-leading utility customer information and billing systems software provider for energy retailers in Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East, and the United States. Partner Ash Hill and senior associate Tom Corkill acted as lead legal advisers to the Agility shareholders. 

Ontario member firm WeirFoulds technology and intellectual property partner James Kosa has been named by Lexpert as a 2019 Rising Star, Leading Lawyers Under 40. Mr. Kosa was presented with the award at the annual Rising Stars Awards Gala earlier this month. He has since joining the firm been growing a client list of technology companies in a wide variety of high technology fields, including telecommunications, cloud computing and artificial intelligence companies, software development companies, as well as hosting service providers and infrastructure as a service provider.

“You protested that the film was inaccurate and that Hollywood didn’t understand that some people build things just for the sake of building them.
It was hard not to feel the irony while I was reading excerpts from your recent speech at Georgetown University, in which
you defended — on free speech grounds — Facebook’s practice of posting demonstrably false ads from political candidates.”

“The Social Network” screenwriter Aaron Sorkin in an October 31st New York Timesop-ed,
addressing Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s refusal to block inaccurate or misleading political ads.

Legal Industry Trails Employment Growth in Broader Economy
Despite a GM strike that temporarily sidelined 50,000 workers in September, the U.S. economy still managed to add 128,000 jobs from September to October, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported November 1st. However, employment in the legal industry, which includes attorneys, paralegals, legal secretaries and others, remained flat with the addition of just 300 jobs. Although a nominal gain in comparison to the 1,147,900 who now work in the industry, the addition of any jobs was a welcome sign after last month’s loss of 900 jobs. October continued a year-long trend in the legal industry of modest growth or minimal contraction month to month. August of this year saw 4,100 jobs added, but June saw a loss of 1,000 jobs and April saw a loss of 700. Compared to October 2018, the legal sector has 5,200 more jobs on the books. Professional services as a whole saw growth of 22,000 jobs in October, again outpacing the legal industry but falling below last month’s gains of 34,000 jobs.

 Legal Employment Growing in Smaller Cities, Report Finds
Law firms continue to expand in lower-cost areas with large talent pools, while growth in dominant markets such as New York and Washington has plateaued, according to a study by real estate giant CBRE. The new report on legal employment and real estate trends found that the U.S. legal sector has continued to grow in emerging markets, where low business costs and talented millennial workers have attracted firms looking to expand. CBRE also identified key markets for potential future growth based on legal industry labor and real estate costs, particularly for large firms looking to establish back offices outside their core markets. Overall, Phoenix was the national leader in legal service employment growth, with a 9.6% increase. Following Phoenix was Austin, Texas, at 9.1%; Atlanta, Georgia, at 8.9%; Orlando, Florida, at 7.4%; and Dallas, Texas, at 5.1%. In the major markets of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, by contrast, only Los Angeles has shown real legal employment growth in recent years, with lawyer employment growth of 13.2% and legal services employment growth of 3.8% between 2016 and 2018.

Demand for Big Law Services Reaches Prerecession Levels
According to a Thomson Reuters Peer Monitor Economic Index report released November 4th, demand for large law firm legal services in the first three quarters of the year was at its highest level since the recession and billable rates continue to rise. However, the report also found that costs were up and overall productivity was down in the same period. A composite index derived from data collected from 160 major law firms in the U.S. and some international markets, the report gave the legal industry a score of 56, up three points from the previous quarter’s rating. A rating of 65, according to the report, indicates “strong” firm market performance. Demand for large law firm services rose 2.4% in the third quarter, putting demand 1% higher in 2019 compared with the first nine months of 2018. Broken up by segment, Am Law 50 firms saw 2.3% demand growth in the third quarter, while firms in the bottom half of the Am Law 100 saw the largest growth, up 3%. Am Law Second Hundred firms were just behind at 2.6%. According to the report, expenses are on the rise and threaten to erode some of the profitability fostered by increased demand, however. Expenses were up, from 3.4% in the second quarter, to 4.1% in the third quarter, which the report said is the highest expense growth level in three years. Increased spending on recruiting and technology were the two primary drivers of the increased overhead.

Employment Opportunity
With CEO David Poisson’s announcement that he will soon be retiring, the board of directors is seeking a new CEO to lead the organization in a time of great opportunity and change in the legal industry. Reporting to the board of directors, whose members are of international standing, the CEO will build upon SCG Legal’s tradition of providing outstanding and innovative leadership and services to member firms. The CEO’s primary focus will include marketing the value of the network to new audiences, especially in-house attorneys, and supporting member firms in building their business development capabilities for those audiences. Knowledge of how and why corporations make use of firms in the professional services industry is expected. A record of having led the development and execution of a strategic plan in conjunction with a board of directors will also be highly prized. A proven record of management, business, and financial acumen in an organization of similar scale and complexity, as well as an ability to generate new revenues while managing in a budget-constricted environment, is essential. In addition to business planning and aligning strategic initiatives with current needs, the incumbent will have the vision to identify and execute on future opportunities. Ideal characteristics: strategic leader, collaborator and team builder, diplomat, and superb communicator. Although a law degree is not necessary, the ability to relate well to an all-lawyer membership would also be preferred. This is an extraordinary opportunity to provide vision and leadership to a highly regarded professional network with a proud legacy and a desire for continued success. Interested applicants may apply by sending Diane Case a cover letter and resume at dcase@scglegal.com before November 29th. Please, no calls.