Welcome back to our Weekly Roundup where we share headlines and brief summaries of notable news stories from around the world, along with a link for those seeking further information.

These roundup articles provide a quick and easy way for readers to stay up to date with current legal and business affairs.

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Paschal Donohoe elected president of the Eurogroup

Ireland’s finance minister Paschal Donohoe has been elected president of the Eurogroup and will replace outgoing president Mario Centeno on 13 July.

Donohoe was elected by 19 of the euro zone’s finance ministers last Thursday, beating his Spanish counterpart Nadia Calviño, and Luxembourg’s Pierre Gramegna, after two rounds of voting.

It is thought that Donohoe’s election will give Ireland a significant platform as the European Union debates how to handle the economic fallout of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The new president will have to navigate the eurozone through its worst ever recession, with the euro area economy expected to shrink by 8.7% this year.

Congratulating him on the win, Ireland’s new Taoiseach Micheál Martin said Donohoe’s election was “a great win for Ireland”.

You can read the full report from the Irish Times by clicking here.

Video highlights of the video conference of the Eurogroup, held on 9 July, can be viewed here.

More that 170 Irish law firms now authorised to operate as LLPs

The Irish Legal News reported last week that over 170 Irish law firms have now been authorised to operate as limited liability partnerships (LLPs) since the law was changed late last year.

The Legal Services Regulatory Authority (LSRA) began accepting applications for authorisation as an LLP last November following the commencement of chapter 3 of part 8 of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015.

As of 22 June 2020, 174 firms have been authorised to operate as LLPs, up from 155 firms the previous month.

Mason Hayes & Curran LLP, which was authorised to operate as an LLP in May, remains the largest of them.

The report from Irish Legal News can be read here.

Dentons delays launch of Dublin office and shuts two U.K. offices

The Global Legal Post reported last week that Dentons, the world’s largest law firm by headcount, was delaying the launch of its highly vaunted Dublin office by four months to September, citing the impact of COVID-19 as the reason for the move.

When the firm announced its much-anticipated Ireland launch on 8 January, it promised to ‘grow the office quickly’ and be ‘fully operational’ in Q2, initially providing transactional work for clients in the financial services, real estate, energy, infrastructure and technology sectors.

A spokesperson confirmed a scheduled May opening had been put back to September due to Covid-19 with further hires at partner and associate level expected to be announced at that point.

Also announced last week by the U.K. Law Society’s Gazzette was that Dentons would be shutting two of its U.K. offices to cater for full-time remote working and shrink its real estate footprint.

Offices in Aberdeen and Watford will be vacated with all partners and employees continuing with their current virtual working arrangements.

The staff from those offices will be able to work in offices in Edinburgh and Milton Keynes when required.

The firm said it is not currently planning to close any other offices but will review the situation when the lease on its London office expires in 2025.

The report of the delay of the Dublin office launch can be found here, while the report on the closure of the U.K. offices can be found here.

European Commission forecasts a “deep recession” this year

The European Commission released its Summer 2020 Economic Forecast on Tuesday last week under the headline “an even deeper recession with wider divergences”.

The press release for the report stated that:

“The EU economy will experience a deep recession this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, despite the swift and comprehensive policy response at both EU and national levels. Because the lifting of lockdown measures is proceeding at a more gradual pace than assumed in our Spring Forecast, the impact on economic activity in 2020 will be more significant than anticipated.”

The updated forecast predicts that the EU economy will contract by 8.3% in 2020 and grow by 5.8% in 2021.

Looking more locally, in Ireland the forecast predicts that “all in all, real GDP is projected to contract by 8.5% in 2020, while the economy is expected to grow by 6.25% in 2021, on the back of the pent-up domestic demand release and the global post-crisis recovery.”

The press release from the European Commission can be found here.

The forecast for Ireland can be found here.

Pandemic forces wave of bankruptcies across the U.S.

More than 110 businesses have declared bankruptcy in the U.S. so far this year and cited the coronavirus pandemic as a cause, according to a report from Bloomberg.

The list includes retailers, airlines, restaurants, and sports leagues sports leagues. Some of those were household names such as Hertz, J.C. Penney, and Brooks Brothers. The majority, however, were small and medium-sized businesses.

While many of the businesses struggled financially even before the COVID-19 crisis, the growing list underscores the economic damage of the pandemic. Chapter 11 business bankruptcy filings were up about 26% in the first half of the year, according to legal-services firm Epiq Systems.

You can read the report from Bloomberg here, or the report from the Wall Street Journal here.

David Lammy says “getting lawyers back to work is crucial for economy” in the U.K.

In an opinion piece published in the Financial Times, David Lammy, a Labour MP and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice and Shadow Lord Chancellor in U.K., has said that “getting lawyers back to work is crucial to restarting the economy and beginning the recovery.”

In the piece Lammy acknowledges the clichés of lawyers “turning up to court in a sports car and raking in millions” that he says are perpetuated by “Harvey Specter in Suits or Miranda Hobbes in Sex and the City” but urges that people consider that “£60bn in gross value added to the UK economy” by legal services each year.

You can read the full opinion piece as published in the Financial Times by clicking here.

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