A changing landscape

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Within the legal community, adaptation is key to survival

Whether it’s measuring a concept like the massive Belt and Road, or treading water on technology issues that seemed irrelevant just a short while ago, or considering how crucial the GC’s role has become while weighing the minutiae of improving your legal team, all require an acknowledgement that change has beset the legal landscape and it’s a matter of adapting to survive.

Leader-1707-08Our cover story, In the pipeline, is the third and final article in our special series examining the Belt and Road initiative. This article explores the long-term implications for this massive US$900 billion undertaking.

For some, particularly the many emerging economies dotted along the Belt and Road, the benefits will be quickly tangible in the form of much needed infrastructure. But what of the bigger picture? A more lasting legacy may be evident in the vital establishment of an equitable rule of law. And the development of new legal landscapes opens up a pipeline of work both for domestic firms and seasoned international players from around the world.

GC not EZ condenses the thoughts of Bjarne P Tellmann, the New York-based general counsel and chief legal officer at FTSE 100 multinational publishing and education company Pearson. Tellmann has also worked in Asia, the US and Europe as associate GC for Coca-Cola, and for law firms including White & Case and Sullivan & Cromwell. He adapted sections from his new book, Building an Outstanding Legal Team: Battle-Tested Strategies from a General Counsel, especially for Asia Business Law Journal readers.Tellmann’s views are a treasure trove of information for GCs in companies large and small who want to improve their legal teams. Hard operational awareness can combine with a softer intuition on issues that emerge when managing across borders and cultures towards developing a truly outstanding team. Gone are the days when a GC position was the last soft step before retirement.

Tellmann’s views are a treasure trove of information for GCs in companies large and small who want to improve their legal teams. Hard operational awareness can combine with a softer intuition on issues that emerge when managing across borders and cultures towards developing a truly outstanding team. Gone are the days when a GC position was the last soft step before retirement.

In the second of another series we are running on the impact of technology on the legal sector, Space invaders examines the vital issues of cybersecurity and data protection. Recent events like the Wannacry and Petya viruses have demonstrated the importance of urgency in both regulation and security of digital information, and risk experts are warning that law firms are becoming favoured targets for hacking confidential information, notably in areas related to M&A activity. Can the regulators stay abreast of technology with meaningful law and enforcement? And is your legal team staying ahead of the curve?

Our Head 2 Head series of regional comparisons of law is proving very popular as we regularly explore new topics for examination. This issue, we look at patent law. Regulation throughout the region is constantly in review as authorities attempt to stay one step ahead of illegal infringers, or patent trolls. To have any chance of containing and effectively staving off infringers in this area, a knowledge of the latest in patent law developments in the various Asian jurisdictions is a must.

Finally, Unwanted advances is an article that focuses on an uglier side to the workplace. India passed laws on sexual harassment at work four years ago (after 15 years of obfuscation in parliament), and yet a string of recent cases in the country involving the mistreatment of women beg the question: has there been any real change? We took the issue up with corporate counsel and asked about how far companies in India had come in recognizing their role in helping eliminate workplace harassment. In the wider region, there are many countries with conservative views regarding the status and position of women, and for this reason Unwanted advances resonates further afield than the Indian subcontinent.