Welcome back to our Weekly Roundup. As with the previous week, we will share headlines and brief summaries of these notable news stories from around the world, along with a link for those seeking further information.
We intend for these roundup articles to provide a quick and easy way for readers to stay up to date with current legal and business affairs, and leave them well informed and able to participate in professional conversations.
‘Walk The Talk’ On Racial Diversity—Black Solicitors Network Pens Open Letter to Law Firms
In the U.K., The Black Solicitors Network has published an open letter calling on law firm leaders to “walk the talk” on racial diversity, and to step up action on addressing racial inequalities in the legal profession.
Chaired by Linklaters counsel Paulette Mastin, the network – which refers to itself as the ‘primary voice of black solicitors in England and Wales’ – warns that these changes will only come about once senior management start taking “tangible steps needed to create a truly inclusive and diverse legal workforce”.
The letter in full was published recently on law.com and can be read by clicking here.
Law firms intend to overhaul business structures in wake of pandemic
Around two thirds of legal firms in the U.K. plan to review their business structures and processes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and well over half are planning a major change in strategy, according to a survey of more than 100 law firms of all sizes conducted by accountants and business advisors association MHA.
Around 59 percent of firms say they will use the opportunity to change their business strategy with a focus on better IT, review of specialisms, and improving profitability.
In addition, nearly two thirds (63 percent) of firms surveyed said they found the transition to homeworking during the pandemic ‘easy’ or ‘very easy’, and 81 percent said they expect to allow staff to work part of the week from home in future.
HSBC to cut 35,000 jobs
HSBC is resuming plans to cut around 35,000 jobs which it put on ice after the coronavirus outbreak, as Europe’s biggest bank grapples with the impact on its already falling profits.
It will also maintain a freeze on almost all external hiring, Chief Executive Noel Quinn said in a memo sent to HSBC’s 235,000 staff worldwide on Wednesday and seen by Reuters.
“We could not pause the job losses indefinitely – it was always a question of ‘not if, but when’,” Quinn said, adding that the measures first announced in February were “even more necessary today”.
You can read the full report from Reuters by clicking here.
Increasing number of Tech IPOs during the pandemic
The New York Times reported last week that the trend for Technology companies taking their businesses public via an IPO (initial public offering) had come “roaring back” over recent weeks.
The report noted that “some of the biggest Silicon Valley start-ups are taking steps toward an I.P.O.” including Airbnb (which is currently valued at $31 billion).
Vroom, a New York based start-up that sells used vehicles online, went public last week.
Its share price more than doubled on the first day of trading as the company raised $495 million from its offering.
The full article from the New York Times can be found here.
Trade set to plunge as COVID-19 pandemic upends global economy
World trade is expected to fall by between 13% and 32% in 2020 as the COVID 19 pandemic disrupts normal economic activity and life around the world, according to a memo published by the World Trade Organization.
In the memo, the WTO noted that “the wide range of possibilities for the predicted decline is explained by the unprecedented nature of this health crisis and the uncertainty around its precise economic impact.”
WTO economists added that “the decline will likely exceed the trade slump brought on by the global financial crisis of 2008‑09”.
The memo, as published in a press release from the WTO can be found by clicking here.
Irish software firm Workhuman latest to be valued at over $1bn
Irish software company Workhuman (which is co-headquartered in Massachusetts and Dublin) has achieved unicorn status on foot of a new investment that means it is now valued at $1.2 billion (€1.06 billion).
The company is believed to be only the second Irish company after Intercom to officially confirm it has reached unicorn status, a title given to privately-held tech companies worth $1 billion or more.
Formerly known as Globoforce, Workhuman operates employee reward and incentive schemes on behalf of some of the world’s biggest companies, including Cisco, GE, LinkedIn, Procter & Gamble, Symantec and KPMG.
To read the full report from the Irish Times click here.
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