14 DLA Piper
With a global footprint spanning Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas, DLA Piper is positioned to assist clients wherever they are doing business. However, not one to rest on its laurels, DLA Piper opened its own office in Casablanca, Morocco in October 2015 and will open an office in Johannesburg in early 2016. The two jurisdictions are among the strongest economic bases in Africa for many of the firm’s clients and DLA Piper views the new offices as the next steps in establishing its brand across the African continent.
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- Real Estate
PEOPLE AND PRACTICES
DLA Piper is renowned for its strength in real estate and clients benefit from its significant experience in the industry. Global leaders Jay Epstien and Olaf Schmidt lead a team of 500 lawyers worldwide. Epstien is based in Washington, DC and has been involved in many of the largest downtown office leases, as well as in corporate real estate facilities matters. Clients also praise his experience in the shopping center industry. Milan-based Schmidt delivers “pragmatic and commercial advice” and is highly respected by clients.
The Paris office was recently bolstered with the hire of Antonia Raccat who specialises in complex financing transactions including the creation of real estate funds and joint ventures. In San Francisco, Stephen Cowan concentrates on real estate fund formations, transactions and workouts. Martin Polevoy heads the real estate group in New York and is lauded for his “excellent attention to detail”. Head of the Australian real estate practice Les Koltai has been involved in real estate and real estate funds management transactions for more than 20 years.
DLA Piper is a global leader in franchise law having assisted many of the largest restaurant chains, hotels, retailers and service providers in establishing their franchise and distribution systems. In recognition of the firm’s deep expertise in the field, it serves as general counsel to the International Franchise Association, the major trade association for the franchise industry. Chair of the franchise and distribution practice Richard Greenstein has over 30 years’ experience advising clients in the sector and is renowned for his “timely responses” and “encyclopedic knowledge”. Practice head Iain Bowler in London “works to fully understand a clients’ business” and “offers practical solutions”. Philip Zeidman is a “longstanding figure” at the bar who is “simply the best” according to clients.
The media, sport and entertainment practice at the firm is home to market leading lawyers with “deep insight into how the industries work”. The practice advises a range of clients from leagues, clubs, and advertisers, to studios, investors, banks and agencies and promoters. DLA Piper is our entertainment firm of the year for the third time running.
Co-chair of the global media, sport and entertainment team Nick Fitzpatrick possesses “in-depth knowledge” of copyright, digital broadcasting, television, sport, film and sponsorship law. Fellow co-chair Peter White, is recommended for his sports expertise, he has over 20 years’ experience representing parties in commercial, development, financing and corporate transactions. His clients have included major league baseball, the National Basketball Association and England’s Premier League. On the TMT front, Patrick Van Eecke is a “renowned authority” on matters relating to e-commerce including data protection, electronic signatures, consumer protection and advertising. Paris-based Stéphane Lemarchand specialises in assisting large companies in international IT outsourcing transactions and business process outsourcing, as well as advising IT service providers in litigation matters and strategic projects. In London, Mike Conradi is a “top telecoms lawyer”.
The pro bono culture at DLA Piper permeates through all levels of the firm from senior management to trainees. The firm utilises its size and geographic scope to deliver pro bono services that are seamlessly coordinated across offices, while also continuing to provide one-on-one advice. Last year, the firm devoted 202,500 hours to pro bono legal work focusing in particular on areas such as juvenile justice, heirs’ property law, human rights, nonprofits and charities, and poverty law. The firm’s hallmark is its pioneering approach to the delivery of services which has seen the firm create its own nonprofit organisation New Perimeter to provide long-term pro bono legal assistance to under-served regions around the world to support access to justice, social and economic development, and sound legal institutions.
The diversity and inclusion strategy at the firm focuses on four key processes: recruitment, retention and engagement, advancement and promotion and pipeline development. One of the firm’s initiatives is ‘Agile Working and Flexibility’ in recognition of its lawyers’ responsibilities and interests outside of the firm. To promote flexibility, DLA Piper looks to accommodate the needs of the firm and its clients with the interests of the lawyer by creating individually tailored arrangements. The success of this initiative is evident in the figures: 11 per cent of US lawyers announced in the 2014 class of partner promotions were working a reduced-hours schedule when they became partner.