Two WFW deals win at Business Law Awards 2022

Watson Farley & Williams (“WFW”) is delighted that two deals it advised on have been named “Best Real Estate & Infrastructure Project” and “Best Banking & Finance & Tax Project” respectively at the Business Law Awards 2022 hosted by Boussias.

WFW advised Primonial REIM France SA (“PREIM”) and Hova Hospitality on the circa €70m sale and lease back of Club Med’s Gregolimano resort at Evia, Greece. The high-end resort is being renovated as part of an extension and renovation project with an initial budget of €20m. The deal was named Best Real Estate & Infrastructure Project.

This was a very complex and challenging transaction as it not only marked PREIM’s first investment in Greece but also the first triple-net lease for a Greek hotel.

WFW also acted as legal advisor to Greek telecommunications operator Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation S.A. (“OTE”) on a €150m loan agreement with the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (“EBRD”), which was named Best Banking & Finance & Tax Project. The deal is the first project under OTE’s ‘Digital Transformation pillar’, using funds from the National Recovery and Resilience Facility ‘Greece 2.0’, financed by the European Union’s NextGenerationEU programme, contributing enormously to the digital transformation of Greece’s economy.

The Business Law Awards celebrate partnerships, projects and teams that promote innovation, quality and efficiency in the delivery of legal services and recognise the top law firms and in-house legal departments of the year.

The WFW Athens Project and Structured Finance team that advised PREIM and Hova Hospitality was led by Project & Structured Finance Partner Nikolaos Kostikas, supported by Senior Associates Georgia Mathiopoulou and Sofia Tyligada.

The WFW Athens team that advised OTE was led by Project and Structured Finance Partner Nikolaos Kostikas and Assets and Structured Finance Partner Christina Giagka. They were supported by Associate Asimina Papakosta.

Read the rest

Standardized Tests Should No Longer Be a ‘Hammer’

Standardized tests should be used as “a flashlight” on what works in education not as “a hammer” to force outcomes, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said during a speech last week.

The statement reflects a shift in thinking since annual testing became federal law more than 20 years ago, and it echoes past comments from Cardona, who warned states against using 2022 NAEP scores punitively when they showed steep drops in reading and math in September.

But federal policies stemming from the two-decade-old No Child Left Behind Act and its successor, the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act, make it difficult for states to use standardized tests in any other way, policy experts say. And despite changing attitudes, there’s little indication that the nation’s schools will move away from the current form of test-based accountability anytime soon.

“It doesn’t matter what the sentiment is,” said Jack Schneider, an education professor and policy analyst at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell who is also an advocate for including alternative measures like school climate, teacher ability, and school resources in accountability policies. “The law is structured so that it really isn’t much of a flashlight.”

Cardona did not announce any new testing-related policies or plans for the Education Department in his Jan. 24 speech to educators, so it’s unclear if the agency plans to address concerns about test-based accountability through grants, waivers, or rulemaking. The department hasn’t announced any plans to revise standardized testing policy.

Still, his words reflect ever-changing opinions about standardized tests and what role they should play in evaluating school performance.

“He’s trying to bridge two eras,” Schneider said. “Right now, we are still very much in the era of test-based accountability because that’s the law. He also recognizes that’s not going to persuade very many people for much longer as a

Read the rest

A conversation with Georgia Dawson: How can we achieve true equality in the legal profession?

Wednesday 25 January 2023

Listen to the podcast

The International Bar Association (IBA) Legal Policy & Research Unit (LPRU) spoke to Georgia Dawson, Senior Partner at law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, on the subject of gender equality at the top of the legal profession in a new podcast published as part of the LPRU’s business and sustainability series. Dawson is the first woman to be appointed Senior Partner of a Magic Circle law firm.

In this episode of the series, Sara Carnegie, IBA Legal Projects Director, and Beatriz Martínez, IBA Project Lawyer, discuss with Dawson the challenges facing female lawyers in attaining and retaining senior positions in the profession, and the initiatives and measures that law firms can take to ensure that workplaces foster and achieve a diverse and inclusive environment.

On her passion for gender equality in the legal profession, Dawson remarked: ‘Ideally, we should all be pushing for absolute gender parity and not satisfying ourselves with anything less. I am incredibly passionate about trying to move the needle, in terms of diversity and improvement […] one of the first things I did in becoming Senior Partner was to announce global targets and a series of commitments to deliver on those targets.’

On the importance of involving male colleagues in the conversation surrounding gender equality, Dawson said: ‘Looking for ways to involve your male colleagues, to play to their strengths and help them find a role within the diversity & inclusion agenda that they feel comfortable with is really important. Then, you get heightened levels of engagement because they feel comfortable and confident in the role that you’re asking them to play. You need to play to the strengths of all your colleagues.’

For legal organisations keen to improve the situation in their workplace, Dawson

Read the rest

Alberta law society votes to keep continuing education rule following petition against Indigenous culture course 

The Law Society of Alberta rejected a motion to suspend the group’s ability to require members to undertake continuing education, multiple lawyers told Global News.

The decision comes after the Law Society of Alberta held a special meeting on Monday to vote on the motion. Roughly 4,669 active Alberta lawyers registered to attend the special meeting, which was held via Zoom.
There were 2,609 votes against the motion, compared to 864 votes in favour. The Law Society of Alberta said 3,473 votes were cast at Monday’s meeting.
This means lawyers practicing in Alberta will still have to take mandated continuing education courses.

Read more:

Indigenous course for lawyers becoming ‘increasingly common’ in Canada: experts

Read next:

Deadly Turkey earthquake exposes dangers of major fault lines below

The vote is a response to a petition from 51 lawyers opposed to The Path, a five-part course on Indigenous history and culture that follows one of the calls to action in the Truth and Reconciliation report.

Story continues below advertisement

Glenn Blackett, a signatory to the petition, called the course “political indoctrination.”

Read more:

Alberta minister Tyler Shandro takes stand at law society conduct hearing

Read next:

Real-life Doogie Howser: Boy, 9, becomes one of the youngest-ever high school graduates

In response, 400 lawyers filed a letter supporting the Indigenous cultural competency requirement. The letter said that the legal profession was complicit in the residential school system and its members have acted in ways that perpetuate injustices faced by Indigenous peoples.

Koren Lightning-Earle, legal director of the University of Alberta’s Wahkohtowin Law and Governance lodge, is very pleased with the results.

She said the vote signifies the importance of

Read the rest

It Depends – Does marriage matter in family law financial cases?

Click here to watch the Video

In this edition of ‘It depends’, special counsel Craig Turvey talks about whether marriage matters in family law financial cases.

Video transcript

Welcome to this edition of It depends. Today I’d like to talk about whether marriage matters in family law financial cases.

Family law property settlement or maintenance applications

Under the Family Law Act, you can make a property settlement or maintenance claim against someone if you’ve either been married to them or you can satisfy the court that you’ve been in a de facto relationship. Now, if you don’t fall within either of those two categories and you’ve been in a relationship with someone and you’re seeking financial recourse against them, you might not have any alternatives. So, it’s really important that you try and figure out and get advice as to whether you fit within either category or whether there’s perhaps nothing that can be done for you legally.

Does marriage matter?

It depends. If you’re married, it’s really easy to prove. You’ve got a marriage certificate. You can just attach that to your application. You don’t have any other evidentiary issues. And under the Family Law Act, it doesn’t have to be a marriage in Australia. It could be marriage in any other country. De facto cases are quite different however. Most people don’t register de facto relationships. So, what that means is that there’s not one magical piece of paper that you can wave around that will say, I have been in a de facto relationship with this person. It means that you might have some problems in terms of making a claim. There’s lots of people who think under the Family Law Act they’re in a de facto relationship when they probably aren’t or vice versa. The Family

Read the rest