According to GlobalData’s M&A report, a total 6,608 M&A deals were announced in sector during this timeframe, marking an 8.6% increase over the 6,085 deals announced during the same period in 2019. The deal value increased by 5.7% from $630bn in Q1-Q3 2019 to $666bn in Q1-Q3 2020.
Goldman Sachs tops by value and volume
As per GlobalData’s ranking, Goldman Sachs became the top financial adviser for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) by value and volume, having advised on 62 deals worth $143.5bn.
GlobalData lead analyst Aurojyoti Bose said: “While most of the sectors were heavily impacted by the challenges of COVID-19, the TMT sector remained relatively resilient – in fact, deal activity in the sector improved. Goldman Sachs managed to capitalize on this opportunity and advise on the highest number of deals, which included several high-value transactions that helped it to also top the list by value. The firm was involved in 22 deals worth more than or equal to $1bn. Of these, three were megadeals (deals valued more than or equal to $10bn).”
Morgan Stanley occupied second position by value with 53 deals worth a total $129.4bn, followed by JP Morgan with 47 deals worth $92bn and Citi with 24 deals worth $90.7bn.
Ernst & Young took second spot by volume with 54 deals worth a total $1.9bn, followed by Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan.
According to GlobalData’s M&A report, a total 6,608 M&A deals were announced in sector during this timeframe, representing an 8.6% increase over the 6,085 deals announced during the same period in 2019. The deal value increased by 5.7% from $630bn in Q1-Q3 2019 to $666bn in Q1-Q3 2020.
Kirkland & Ellis tops by value and volume
As per GlobalData’s ranking, Kirkland & Ellis became the top financial adviser for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) by value and volume, having advised on 135 deals worth $74.9bn.
GlobalData lead analyst Aurojyoti Bose said: ““Kirkland & Ellis was the only legal advisor that managed to advise on more than 100 deals amid the challenges brought by Covid-19. It also advised on 13 deals valued more than or equal to $1bn, which included two mega-deals (deals valued more than or equal to $10bn). This helped the firm outpace its peers by a great margin in terms of volume and value.”
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom occupied second position in terms of value with 40 deals worth $54.1bn in total, followed by Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton with 17 deals worth $52.7bn, and Weil Gotshal & Manges with 56 deals worth $50.1bn .
Bose added: “Fenwick & West and Jones Day occupied second position and third position by volume with 83 deals each worth a total of $25.1bn and $24.8bn, respectively; followed by Latham & Watkins with 78 deals worth $34.6bn in total.”
The world’s biggest technology companies – Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google – have reported largely blowout quarterly results, demonstrating their resilience to the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Combined, the four companies reported a quarterly net profit of $38 billion at a time when many traditional industries have seen revenues slump, redundancies made and businesses closed down.
Against this backdrop, Big Tech profits this year looks set to widen the wealth gap between them and non-technology companies.
Here’s how the Big Tech firms fared in their latest quarterly earnings:
Amazon saw its profits triple this quarter as the pandemic’s stay-at-home measures continued to shift consumer buying habits to online. It reported net income of $6.3bn, up from $2.1bn in the year-ago period. This translated to diluted earnings per share of $12.37.
The US company said it had incurred more than $7.5bn in incremental Covid-related costs so far this year, but these have been absorbed by record revenues. This quarter, Amazon reported revenue of $96.15bn, up 36% year on year.
Amazon Web Services (AWS), the company’s cloud computing business, reported net sales of $11.6bn for the quarter, up 29% year on year.
Amazon’s success is expected to continue next quarter, which will include the sales from Amazon Prime Day and holiday shopping.
“Amazon delivered another homerun quarter, underlining the fact that its business model perfectly positions it to expand its e-commerce dominance even more broadly as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread,” said Jesse Cohen, senior analyst at uk.Investing.com.
“Amazon’s key business looks primed for more blockbuster growth for its key fourth quarter, which covers the holiday shopping season.”
Google parent Alphabet beat Wall Street expectations to report revenue of $46.17bn in its third-quarter results. The search and advertising giant shrugged off its first-ever revenue decline in the previous quarter, when its core advertising business took a hit from customers slashing ad spend to weather the economic fallout of the pandemic.
This quarter, Google’s advertising unit brought in sales of $37.1bn, up from $33.8bn a year ago.
Google Cloud, which includes AWS rival Goole Cloud Platform, saw strong revenue growth, up 45% year on year to $3.4bn. Advertising revenue from YouTube outstripped analyst expectations, netting sales of $5bn compared with forecasts of $4.4bn.
Overall, Alphabet’s profits came in at $11.2bn for the quarter, up from $7bn this time last year.
“After its first-ever revenue decline in Q2, Alphabet crushed expectations. There is clear evidence that the company’s core digital ad market is rebounding strongly after the pandemic-induced slump,” said Haris Anwar, analyst at uk.Investing.com.
“The biggest surprise comes from YouTube, where ad sales have been much stronger than expected. These numbers are generating a very strong buying interest right now in Google shares after some sluggish months.
“These earnings suggest that the worst might be over for the social media giant.”
The world’s most valuable company reported revenue of $64.7bn in its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings, a mild beat on Wall Street expectations. Profit was down from $13.7bn a year ago to $12.7bn. A 20% year-on-year decline in iPhone sales was the biggest factor in this slump.
However, those figures do not include sales of the iPhone 12, which launched after the Q4 cut off.
Despite this, work from home measures helped drive record Mac sales, which stood at $9bn for the quarter ended 28 September.
Apple’s growing services segment saw revenue increase to $14.5bn, up from $12.5bn a year ago.
“iPhone aside, this was a strong quarter for Apple with other product categories continuing to perform robustly,” said Geoff Blaber, Americas VP research at CCS Insight.
“We are inclined to view iPhone weakness in the quarter as validation of strong demand for iPhone 12 in fiscal Q1.
“The fact that total company revenue grew year-on-year despite a big fall in iPhone revenue underlines the increased diversification of Apple’s product lines. iPhone remains the anchor product but 2020 has shown that Apple’s broader business is resilient and can weather shifts in demand to its core product.”
Like Google, Facebook’s core advertising business took a hit earlier this year due to the pandemic. However, the social media giant saw advertising revenue increase by 22% year on year this quarter to $21.2bn.
Overall, revenue grew to a record $21.47bn from $17.65bn a year ago.
Facebook also weathered an advertising boycott, in which hundreds of companies cancelled advertising spend due to concerns over Facebook’s handling of hate speech on the platform.
Its net income was $7.85bn, compared with $6.1bn this time last year.
Globally, Facebook’s monthly active users – a key metric for appealing to advertisers – grew by 12% to 2.74 billion. However, there were slowdowns in the US and Canada.
“Similar to other social media platforms, Facebook showed no signs that it was feeling the squeeze from the coronavirus pandemic,” said uk.Investing.com’s Cohen.
“Despite an ongoing boycott, small and medium-sized businesses, which make a much bigger contribution to the company’s overall sales, continued to allocate their ad dollars to Facebook.
However, the company faces a big test over the coming weeks during the US presidential election.
“Facebook has put many measures in place over the last two years to combat social network problems with elections,” said Martin Garner, COO at CCS Insight.
“But the biggest test of all will be next week as the US Presidential election takes place. The company will face enormous scrutiny for all the election activity it handles and there is bound to be a large and public postmortem, whoever wins.”
For now, there is one clear winner in 2020 – Big Tech and it’s ever-growing profits.
With 2020 seeing the prominence of the Black Lives Matter movement, this month, we decided to not only focus on the changes that are yet to be made in the legal sector for equality to no longer just be a ‘nice to have’ for ethnic minorities and women, but we also decided to take this moment to reflect on the black lawyers that have had a revolutionary impact on the society we live in today.
Here, Lawyer Monthly presents the top five black lawyers that have had a lasting impact on the legal sector and thus civilisation.
Charlotte E. Ray – America’s first female black lawyer
Ray was an important figure in the abolitionist movement and later not only became the first woman admitted to practice, but the first black woman, before the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia after studying law and receiving her degree in 1872.
Ray studied at the Institution for the Education of Colored Youth in Washington, D.C., and by 1869 she was teaching at Howard University; despite her efforts to break the glass ceiling, racial prejudice made it difficult for her to find legal business.
Thurgood Marshall – First African American Supreme Court Justice
Marshall played an instrumental role in promoting racial equality during the civil rights movement. He was appointed as an associate justice of the Supreme Court in 1967 and was the first African American to hold the position; he served for 24 years, until 1991. As a practising attorney, Marshall argued a record-breaking 32 cases before the Supreme Court, winning 29 of them. He is remembered for his work in 1954, where he won the Brown v. Board of Education case, in which the Supreme Court ended racial segregation in public schools. Marshall was also counsel to the NAACP, where he utilised the judiciary to champion equality for African Americans.
Charles Hamilton Houston– The man who killed Jim Crow
Houston helped play a role in dismantling the Jim Crow laws and is also well known for having trained and mentored a generation of black attorneys, including Thurgood Marshall (above. Houston played a role in nearly every civil rights case before the Supreme Court between 1930 and Brown v. Board of Education (1954). He attacked and defeated Jim Crow segregation by using the inequality of the “separate but equal” doctrine (from the Supreme Court’s Plessy v. Ferguson decision).
Jane Bolin – The First Black Woman Judge
Breaking many ‘firsts’, Jane Bolin was the first African American woman to serve as a judge in the US. She was also the first African American woman to graduate from Yale Law School, the first to join the New York City Bar Association and the first to join the New York City Law Department.
After being sworn to the bench in 1939 in New York City, she served on the Family Court bench for four decades, fiercely advocating for children and families, whilst simultaneously fighting against racial discrimination within the system.
Austin T. Walden – First black judge to be appointed in the state of Georgia since Reconstruction
Walden attended the University of Michigan Law School where he earned a law degree in 1911. From then, he founded the Atlanta Negro Voters League, which increased the level of black voting in the late 1940s. Walden also litigated the equalisation of pay for black and white teachers in Atlanta. During his work in law and politics, he also fought for the desegregation of Atlanta public schools in a series of lawsuits.
GlobalData estimates that fixed-broadband penetration in North America (NA) region will reach 33% by the end of 2025, compared to 18% for Latin America (LATAM).
Essentially across the Americas NBB plans involve connecting extreme remote areas and a strong focus of developed markets seeking to achieve 100% ultra-fast country connectivity. Whereas developing economies across Latin America aim at connecting large unattended communities.
For instance, in 2020 the Argentinian government has launched a NBB plan that will benefit over 22 million people by 2023 and includes, amongst others, expanding fibre optic backbone network to reach 39.300 km by 2023 and a tenfold increase in broadband capacity.
The Americas region is characterized by significant differences in FBB penetration among North America and Latin America countries. North America countries, such as the US and Canada boast higher broadband penetration levels, in part supported by their higher PPP-GDP per capita.
Latin America countries with a lower PPP-adjusted GDP per capita, such as Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia have an interest to invest in their fixed infrastructure; however, due to the lower income levels there is less willingness and affordability to uptake FBB solutions.
This will affect the feasibility of the investment, here we can see the necessity of the governmental support and funds, to increase both the availability and affordability of these products in all the countries, with more competitive prices so a greater degree of the population can uptake.
The NBB project, Plan Conectar, planned total investments mount to $37.9 billion pesos (US$ 485 million) from which $13.2 billion (US$ 169 million) will be committed to the fibre optic federal network (REFEFO).
Investments include $3.7 billion pesos (US$ 47.3 million) to update and repair REFEFO, $1.9 billion pesos (US$ 23.7 million) and $7.7 billion pesos (US$ 97.9 million) to complete REFEFO stage 2 and 3 respectively. While key players for the project’s implementation encompass the national government, telcos, and infrastructure providers.
Earlier this month, we saw House Lawmakers in the US releasing a 449 page report on how the world’s top technology companies have too much power, calling for changes to be made to antitrust laws.
After spending 16 months investigating Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, the House Judiciary Committee’s Democratic leadership said that these BigTech companies have abused their monopoly power, stating they “ had turned from “scrappy” start-ups into “the kinds of monopolies we last saw in the era of oil barons and railroad tycoons.” Are they right to be concerned?
Anti-competitive or simply innovative?
The big five tech companies (FAAMG – Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Google – respectively) make up as much as 13% of the value of the whole S&P500 by market capitalisation, totalling a colossal $5 trillion combined. Other than revenue, these companies bring sociocultural evolution and drive social change at full speed. With masses of money comes great power, and BigTech has flourished in this area by being smart with mergers and acquisitions; yet, this is where the potential issue lies.
Despite being only 15 years old, and the youngest company out of the five, Facebook has purchased over 70 companies; the biggest of these purchases was WhatsApp, with the acquisition totalling a whopping $19 billion. In comparison, the oldest out of the five BigTech companies, Microsoft, purchases an average of six companies a year, some of those including LinkedIn, Skype and Mojang (the creator of Minecraft). Even when we take a look at Google – a company some may only recognise as the most used search engine on the internet which handles more than 5.4 billion searches each day – has purchased more than 200 companies since 1998.
A commonly expressed issue that presents itself when companies of this size absorb other organisations, is the suppression of smaller competitors. We are no strangers, especially during economically testing times, of hearing ‘shop locally’ to push start-ups and smaller, independent stores in a successful direction. Some are more consciously aware and will avoid Amazon (as much as they can) for that very reason, hoping that their tiny bout of moral support will be heard and will overthrow such a dominating, multinational entity. So when the youngest of the five, Facebook, presents a history of purchasing smaller companies (such as Instagram) that it believes may be a threat to its primary business model, concerns ensue. Bullying competitors out of the market, and setting up a monopoly where no other businesses could enter, brings anti-competitive issues to the surface and this was expressed in the Government’s report: “The firms investigated by the Subcommittee owe part of their dominance to mergers and acquisitions. Several of the platforms built entire lines of business through acquisitions, while others used acquisitions at key moments to neutralize competitive threats.”
BigTech wouldn’t agree that this is their main motive and will fight against the notion that they are being anti-competitive. In a statement, Facebook expressed this: “We compete with a wide variety of services with millions, even billions, of people using them. Acquisitions are part of every industry, and just one way we innovate new technologies to deliver more value to people.”
Democrats suggested that Congress ought to add to antitrust laws, including clearer rules that could block the tech giants’ attempts to buy other companies; where some on the opposing side agreed with proposals to bolster funding for antitrust enforcement agencies, they did not warm to the idea that Congress should intervene and steer the companies and their business models towards a more supposed ‘fair’ restructuring.
Google is currently appealing their $9.5 billion fine the EU demanded and have since stated ‘People use Google because they choose to’, emphasising on how consumers aren’t forced to.
Leading the narrative or controlling it?
Deeper into the anti-competitive realm lies the problem with advertising which, again, leaves smaller corporations falling short and consumers being under undue influence. Many tech companies are responsible for helping their consumers discover content, learn new things, and engage with others. As aforementioned, they have the potential to control the public narrative; Google will only lead us to websites that fit certain criteria, for example, but these algorithms can also be tweaked in a way that fits ulterior motives. If we step the possibility of exposing ‘fake news’ to the side, a recurring debate on whether BigTech advertises fairly leaves Lawmakers questioning how these companies influence its consumers.
Amazon, for example, has been accused of promoting its own smart-home products ahead of those of other makers, and also dealt unfairly with open source software developers in its cloud computing business. The Lawmakers said the companies had abused their dominant positions, setting and often dictating prices and rules for commerce, search, advertising, social networking and publishing. Google is often the prime example used for this and, in fact, has not long been hit by a landmark competition lawsuit in the US for its alleged violation of competition law to preserve its monopoly over internet searches and online advertising. Contracts between Google and smartphone manufacturers whereby Google pays a share of its search advertising revenues in exchange for ensuring its search engine is installed as the default on the mobile device are, as the DoJ argues, a monopoly abuse of Google’s leading market share in search. This is not the first time the company has been under scrutiny here; Google is currently appealing their $9.5 billion fine the EU demanded and have since stated ‘People use Google because they choose to’, emphasising on how consumers aren’t forced to.
Legislation is slow and BigTech, we can agree, is fast.
To solve such an issue, it was suggested that Congress should consider making it illegal for the tech giants to provide preferential treatment to their own products.
How did this happen?
Whether the Lawmakers are Democrats or Republicans, they both agree on the fact that something needs to be done; albeit, they aren’t agreeing on what changes ought to be implemented, but Lawmakers on both sides have expressed concerns.
Legislation is slow and BigTech, we can agree, is fast. It seems like yesterday we were waiting for dial-in internet, and now we have the web at the tips of our fingers, 24/7. With limited consumer awareness (think GDPR, privacy, mindlessly clicking accept all cookies and having personalised adverts), it is not really shocking that BigTech have made it this far. But with many areas of technological development being new, and therefore hard to regulate, and it being difficult to distinguish between competitive and anti-competitive behaviour, the debate on whether BigTech has too much power will either serve an unforgettable lesson for regulators and consumers alike, or present new anti-trust regulations, possibly bewildering FAAMG.
With the threat that one of the five BigTech companies going bust could shatter the economy, it seems it has been somewhat determined that BigTech has too much power
Clearer disclosures and better transparency from tech companies could also go a long way in replacement of building new anti-trust regulations, as well increased diligence and control on the mergers these companies are often eager to snatch up. While consumers may not be too concerned, other businesses may be on the lookout waiting for change, especially in regards to the notion that BigTech is supposedly ‘allowed’ to get away with more than what other industries may be permitted. Tech companies often don’t face the same level of regulation that is required by law, for example: it’s illegal for companies to buy up competitors, but Amazon purchased both Whole Foods and Zappos without interference.
After the report had been published, Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and Chairman of the judiciary committee, and David Cicilline, Democrat of Rhode Island and Chairman of the antitrust subcommittee, said in a joint statement: “Our investigation leaves no doubt that there is a clear and compelling need for Congress and the antitrust enforcement agencies to take action that restores competition, improves innovation and safeguards our democracy”.
With the threat that one of the five BigTech companies going bust could shatter the economy, it seems it has been somewhat determined that BigTech has too much power; it is now up to the Lawmakers to come to a decision and decide how to tackle the problem. There will be some fight, naturally, from BigTech’s side, with Apple disagreeing with the conclusions in the staff report, Google stating that they compete fairly in a fast-moving and highly competitive industry, Amazon arguing the committee’s recommendations could end up harming small businesses and consumers and Facebook disagreeing their mergers were anticompetitive.
Nonetheless, if BigTech are manipulative with their corporate decisions, (rather than simply having the consumer and innovation in mind), we could be progressing to a problem bigger than we imagined. As House Judiciary Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee Chair David Cicilline, D-R.I. succinctly said: “Many of the practices used by these companies have harmful economic effects. They discourage entrepreneurship, destroy jobs, hike costs, and degrade quality. Simply put: They have too much power.”
How do we know something is true? Usually by using our senses. However, when internet scammers can fool our senses by using doctored photos and videos and discourse-driving bots, our trust in online information decays. In the 20’s, internet users crave trustworthy sources. Your company can become and stay a trusted source by using good domain name practices. By applying the domain name practices detailed below, you can launch and boost your brands in ways that promote consumer trust.
Choose Strong Brands to Discourage Deceit
People can be tricked more easily when names are not very memorable or are confusing. Would it be easier to find the real clothing company in the morass of internet search results if it were called Clothing for You, Inc. or Opaline, Inc.? By choosing a strong brand, your company can help users recognize it from among overwhelming internet and mobile content.
With communication today often consisting of three letter texting abbreviations and sometimes only a one character emoji, short is in.
Strong brands are usually coined terms that are easy to spell or are existing words used in unexpected ways. Weaker brands include terms that describe the goods and services offered and contain no distinctive elements.
Online scammers love weak brands because they can swap out a word or use a slightly different abbreviation in a domain name to divert online traffic to their sites. They can also spoof email addresses related to weak brands more easily for use in phishing campaigns. The stronger your brand, the more easily you will be found online and the more difficult it will be for criminals to misdirect users to a fake you.
Choose Strong Domain Names to Help Consumers Find the Real You
With communication today often consisting of three letter texting abbreviations and sometimes only a one character emoji, short is in. Choose short domain names (with no hyphens or numbers) that match your company or brand name. This will minimize the risk that users will be diverted through typosquatting. Scammers engaged in typosquatting will register a domain name that is a slight typographical error off of a brand, such as by using a double consonant where the brand contains a single consonant. The shorter a domain name, the less likely a user can be confused.
To get a short domain name, consider registering in one of the new generic top level domain (gTLD) names which have greater availability than .com. While opaline.com may be taken, opaline.inc may not be. With millions more available domain names, the new domain name extensions offer a much greater opportunity to find the strong domain name you seek.
Before registering in a new gTLD extension, consider the registry’s reputation for protecting trademark owners. For instance, the .inc registry uses strong cybersquatting policies and premium pricing to discourage squatters and scammers from registering in it. Choose new gTLD registries with a trustworthy reputation, and that reputation will help strengthen your domain name.
No matter how hard the tricksters try, you can try harder.
In addition, if you are in a particular industry, you could seek an industry-related extension such as .bank, which has increased registration requirements and helps screen out fakers.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently affirmed that a generic term combined with a gTLD can become well-known enough among the public to receive trademark protection (USPTO v. Booking.com, B.V., 19-46 (https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/19pdf/19-46_8n59.pdf). However, starting with a strong domain name, rather than a weak one, will make it easier for consumers to find the real you.
Build a Protective Shield Around Your Strong Brands and Strong Domain Names With Other Domain Names
No matter how hard the tricksters try, you can try harder. Think of variants and misspellings of your domain name and register them. Register defensively in other domain name extensions and point all traffic from those domain names to your main website. Defensive registrations will help shield your brand.
Register or Block Homographs
Take steps to protect your brand from homographs which are often used in phishing and astroturfing. Homographs are words that contain characters in two or more different international scripts. An example would be an “n” with a tilde used in a Spanish word. Although an “n” with a tilde is fairly easy to distinguish from an “n,” many homographs are much more difficult to spot and can be used to trick even very careful users.
Companies panic when changed contacts or expired credit cards cause them to miss a domain name renewal, their website is down, and their emails no longer function.
For instance, a malicious person might send out emails to Google users, attempting to fool them into providing confidential account and credit card information. The source email address from the phisher might read, “info@gοοgle.com.” However, the two O’s in the email address are actually Cyrillic characters rather than the Latin “o” used on English keyboards. These differences can be quite difficult for the average email recipient to notice, and by responding, they may end up compromising their financial information.
Donuts offers a homograph protection service in its gTLDs that analyzes the content of each domain name, breaks it down into its individual characters, compares it against Unicode’s list of confusable characters, and replaces it with all viable internationalized domain name (IDN) “glyphs” supported by Donuts. This comparison results in potentially millions of IDN permutations of a brand’s trademark which may be considered confusable to an end user. Donuts offers blocking services that block those permutations from being registered by others in Donuts extensions. In non-Donuts gTLDs, you can consider some of the most likely domain name permutations for your brand based on homographs and defensively register them to protect your users.
Avoid Loss of Online Business by Ensuring Renewals
Companies panic when changed contacts or expired credit cards cause them to miss a domain name renewal, their website is down, and their emails no longer function. Protect the domain names you have, especially the domain name for your main company website and email accounts, from non-renewal by placing them on multiple calendars or docket systems and setting up auto-renewals.
Prevent Infringement by Dropcatchers by Renewing
To keep your protective shield strong, it is best to renew domain names you have. If you allow them to expire, they are often picked up by squatters using dropcatching services. It is almost always less expensive to renew a domain name than it is to fight an infringer who picks it up and begins using it to confuse internet users.
Finally, when you find out about infringements and scams related to your brand online, it is important to take action.
Lock Your Domain Names
Security of domain names is paramount. Protect the domain names you have from unauthorized transfers by using registrar lock services, and registry lock services, if they are available.
Consider Obtaining a .Brand gTLD in Next Domain Name Expansion Round
ICANN is planning another expansion round in which it will enable the launch of new domain name extensions. In ICANN-speak, this is called “Subsequent Procedures.” The Subsequent Procedures ICANN working group plans to deliver its final report in 2020. For the ultimate in security, your company could register a .brand gTLD (your brand would be after the dot), in which it would control all domain names. Absent that, it will be important to keep track of new gTLD launches and to protect your company’s trademarks in them.
Monitor and Pursue Infringers and Scammers to Care for Your Customers
Finally, when you find out about infringements and scams related to your brand online, it is important to take action. Report scams to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, https://www.ic3.gov/ and state attorneys general. Use Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) proceedings to obtain transfer of infringing domain names. Fighting against scammers builds and maintains trust with your customers.
You can help prevent truth decay and stem the tide of fakery on the internet through strong domain name selection and management. By taking the steps explained above, including choosing strong brands and domain names, defensively registering homographs and other similar names, and locking and renewing your domain names, you can help consumers feel safe trusting your company.
Jamie Nafziger is a Partner at the law firm Dorsey & Whitney, LLP and chairs the firm’s Cybersecurity, Privacy and Social Media Practice Group. With over twenty years’ domain name experience, she has helped clients obtain from ICANN and launch several new gTLDs in the 2000 and 2012 rounds of domain name expansion, including .inc, .coop, and several .brand top level domain names. With diverse internet-related legal work and writing, she has been named as one of the “Top 250 Women in IP” by Managing Intellectual Property and “Author of the Year – E-commerce” for the United States by Lexology.
I think some members of our profession are racist. There I said it!
Now before you get too upset, please, I ask you to bear with me. This article is not about sullying this great profession’s name. This article is not about shouting that all white middle class men are racist (or any other entire group for that matter). On the contrary I want this article to leave you feeling empowered; empowered to have those uncomfortable discussions you were always too fearful to engage in; empowered to step in when you felt you couldn’t; and most importantly, empowered to speak out when you felt you were treated less favourably, but felt unable to.
I’ve been at the Bar for over 20 years and in that time I have suffered racism from my peers. Sometimes the bullying was so bad that I suffered stress-related illnesses. I was told that I had missed out on opportunities because of my colour. I was told to change my hair (I was wearing it in braids at the time) because it looked unprofessional, messy and was not the “right fit” for a member of the Bar….and I’ve lost count of the number of times I have been asked to leave rooms at Court – not just the advocates’ room, but a room that the Barristers in my case had gathered in to discuss their position – because I was supposed to be the social worker, the client… basically anyone who wasn’t the Barrister.
I was intrigued by the Lammy Review, which focussed on the outcomes for people of colour coming into contact with the criminal justice system.
Who did I take my complaint to? No one. When a solicitor who was leaving the profession told me with tears in her eyes, that she had on more than one occasion been asked to forcefully negotiate my fees down so the white client would be prepared to use me, who did I raise a grievance with? No one.
Why? Because I was fearful. The people who approached me to raise the fact that they thought I was a victim of racism, that they had been party to a conversation that had made them feel uncomfortable or witnessed behaviour that concerned them, they told me they would support me. However, I was too scared. I wanted a simple life. I just wanted to be a great Barrister, to forge my dazzling career and to ignore the fact that these things were happening to me. However, as we all know, the problem will remain until you deal with it…and it did, but now I am dealing with it and I want others to know that it is possible to speak out without losing out.
We know from the experience of the Barrister, Alexander Wilson that Court staff clearly still have a long way to go before recognising that a person of colour can be a Barrister, as opposed to the defendant.
I was intrigued by the Lammy Review, which focussed on the outcomes for people of colour coming into contact with the criminal justice system. Why? Because there was no specific reference to the question of whether a person of colour thought that their representative may have been racist. There is reference to the part lawyers play as pieces of a bigger puzzle, but it seemed like such an obvious question that was left unanswered.
We know from the experience of the Barrister, Alexander Wilson that Court staff clearly still have a long way to go before recognising that a person of colour can be a Barrister, as opposed to the defendant. However, my unfortunate experience has taught me that the people who members of the public place their faith in, may, at a minimum, not care about the outcome for that client, because they are a person of colour, or at its worst, actively fail to perform to the best of their ability. How could the Barristers who treated me so unfavourably, or asked me to leave rooms because they assumed I could not have been the Barrister, then leave that room to passionately take up their client’s case, when that client may have been the same colour as me?
This is happening to me, some 20 years on, even though there has been a clear push by the Bar Council and the Bar Standards Board over the last five years to offer expert training in equality and diversity and to provide victims or those who have observed such unlawful behaviour the anonymous opportunity to report such.
In my opinion, it is fear that has permitted racism’s continued existence.
It’s true I may have been the first Barrister to go public with my unfortunate experience, but I find it hard to believe that I am the only one to have suffered. The Bar Standards Board published its own research undertaken by YouGov on 12th October 2020. The qualitative work found “bullying, discrimination and harassment remain an issue at the Bar”. The report referenced a “culture of fear” regarding reporting matters, which sadly I have sympathy for, as it took me over 20 years to say something fearing the impact on my career and the potential for victimisation.
I recently wrote to the Bar Council about my experiences and was incredibly impressed at the immediate response of Amanda Pinto QC and Sam Mercer to tackle my concerns and address my campaign seeking compulsory equality and diversity training commencing from the acceptance onto the Bar Vocational Course, to one’s ongoing continuing professional development at the Bar.
Clearly, giving us an option hasn’t worked and we need to be forced to engage in the impressive training that is on offer.
George Floyd is not the first black man to die at the hands of an arresting officer and whatever you may think of the politics behind the Black Lives Matter movement this year, clearly the world has woken up to the plight of injustice that those of colour still encounter every day.
In my opinion, it is fear that has permitted racism’s continued existence. It has moved around us, effortlessly, feeding off our ignorance, knowing it will be unquestioned or unspoken of and go unchallenged by the many, because its job is to divide and conquer. I and many of my black colleagues roll our eyes or shrug our shoulders when we encounter that every day throwaway racist comments: “Sorry, where are you from?…No, I mean where are you really from?”; “No, I didn’t mean you, you’re one of the good ones”; or, “But you do know that George Floyd was a drug addict, don’t you…”.
Making diversity and equality training compulsory will force us all to confront our fears around race and enable us to have uncomfortable discussions in a safe and informed setting.
I was recently asked by a white male, whether he could refer to my hair as ‘afro hair’. When I told him that he could, because that is what it was, he was genuinely shocked. He thanked me and told me that he would have never asked me this question before for FEAR of insulting me. I have encountered a number of white people, like the solicitor I discussed earlier, who have felt fearful.
Making diversity and equality training compulsory will force us all to confront our fears around race and enable us to have uncomfortable discussions in a safe and informed setting. We hold ourselves out to be the best providers of legal services from around the world. However, to retain that impressive standing we must confront our weaknesses and strive to make them stronger. Racism is a weakness and supporting the campaign for compulsory equality and diversity training will inevitably make us stronger.
Paula advises on all aspects of family law, but specialises in Ancillary Relief (Divorce and settling the financial arrangements) and parents/family members who are in disagreement over how a child should live their life or where a child should live. Paula’s decades of experience at the Bar are clear evidence of her strong track record for customer satisfaction and that she has earned the respect of Judges and those who instruct her.
 David Lammy, the Labour MP was asked to undertake a review in 2017 by David Cameron, of the experience of person’s of colour coming into contact with the criminal justice system.
 Ms Wilson received an apology from The chief executive of HM Courts & Tribunals Service after she was identified as the defendant on three separate occasions in one day.
Growing up in New Haven, Connecticut, Erick noticed there weren’t many police officers who were people of colour. He set out to become a police officer but wound up becoming a lawyer. Now, he mentors Black law students and was just named to the American Bar Association’s “On the Rise – Top 40 Young Lawyers” Award program. He offers some interesting insights below on why diversity is still an issue and what can be done to help other black people and people of colour progress in the legal sector.
Why is diversity an issue in the legal workplace in the US?
It’s important to put conversations regarding diversity into context. In the United States, many often talk about our long history of slavery, systemic racism, and oppression as if these issues are ancient history and no longer present. The reality is that systemic racism has had, and continues to have, a profound impact on communities of colour, affecting employment, education, housing and several other aspects of life.
It starts with providing more equity in communities of colour and levelling the playing field with respect to education and experiential opportunities.
The legal profession is not immune to these challenges. In fact, many challenges impacting underrepresented communities are often heightened in the legal profession. In addition to facing many of the challenges caused by systemic racism, generally, the legal profession was also segregated in many ways, and it’s going to take time and a deliberate effort to change the status quo. Approximately 85 per cent of lawyers in the United States are white. Only 5 per cent of lawyers are African American and only 5 per cent of lawyers are Hispanic. And despite growing minority populations in the United States, none of these statistics have changed significantly over the past decade.
What opportunities could be given to those in minority communities to progress in the legal sector?
It starts with providing more equity in communities of colour and levelling the playing field with respect to education and experiential opportunities. It’s hard enough for historically disadvantaged communities to break through the difficulty of often being the first in their family to attend college or enter a certain profession, but those challenges become even larger when communities are starting from a place of adversity. We’ve seen a huge push from law firms and companies to make diversity and inclusion a priority, and so much of that effort starts with giving professional opportunities to diverse people who have historically been excluded from the profession. Among other things, Pullman & Comley has been participating in a first-year summer associate program called the Cultural Diversity Initiative sponsored by the UConn Law School Diversity Committee, mentors law students through the Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity, and has several attorneys who participate in Connecticut’s affinity bar groups, such as the George W. Crawford Black Bar Association and Connecticut Hispanic Bar Association. This work has been key to providing opportunities to help young lawyers of colour progress professionally and secure employment in the legal field.
People from diverse communities are able to draw upon their unique experiences and perspectives to best represent their clients and provide value for their organisations.
What difference would having a multitude of voices in the legal field make?
The legal profession should be a reflection of our larger society. It’s our obligation to have as many voices, backgrounds, and perspectives as possible represented to best serve our clients and communities.
Having a diverse group of voices simply provides a better product for clients. Having people at our firm who think about issues differently, have had different experiences, and understand different perspectives is something that benefits every client relationship we have.
This has been easy to see in practice. Several of my colleagues at Pullman & Comley who now practice law, had previously worked in industries, such as energy and construction, and they draw on those experiences every day. Similarly, people from diverse communities are able to draw upon their unique experiences and perspectives to best represent their clients and provide value for their organisations.
Can you share more about your work mentoring Black students?
I’ve always believed that we have an obligation to give back as much as we receive. I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunities that I’ve had because of those who have paved the way for me and guided me along in my process. Organisations like the Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity and the George W. Crawford Black Bar Association were huge resources for me, providing mentorship, interviewing experience, and opportunities to build relationships in the legal field. These experiences were critical to my success in law school and while seeking employment, and the relationships I built and the knowledge I gained remain beneficial to this day. It’s important to me that, where possible, I provide that same guidance and support for the next person coming up after me.
How do you/would you advise POC to prepare themselves for law – especially as they will be representing more than just themselves (i.e, representing other people of the same background/colour)?
The most important advice I received when entering law school was to be confident in who you are and what you’re capable of doing. Know that you belong in every room you step into, and don’t shy away from making space for yourself. There will often be times when you are the only person of colour in the room. Take pride in the fact that you are representing more than just yourself, and stay true to who you are.
Building relationships is also important. Participate in legal bar organisations and attend events with your peers.
What are your tips on being named to the ABA “On the Rise – Top 40 Young Lawyers”?
The most important tip for any young lawyer is to really learn your craft. Put the time in and focus on developing your skills and learning your practice. It is important to understand that the practice of law is a profession, not a job, and the time and energy that you dedicate to it is broader and more involved than thinking about going to work and going home.
Building relationships is also important. Participate in legal bar organisations and attend events with your peers. Invest your time in building your network. Get involved in organisations or causes that are important to you. And, remember that your reputation within the legal community is everything – being known as an ethical, responsive and diligent advocate for your clients will serve you well in the long run.
Erick Russell practices in the firm’s Government Finance Department. Erick represents state and municipal governments in the issuance of tax-exempt and taxable bonds and other debt obligations. In addition, Erick represents issuers of 501(c)(3) bonds, qualified private activity bonds, revenue bonds and conduit borrowings. He has drafted primary financing documents, including bond authorisations, purchase contracts, opinions and bond and note closing documents. In addition, he has conducted due diligence and legal research with respect to state and municipal law issues relating to the issuance of bonds and notes.