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Antitrust advice is highly business sensitive: cartel activity can result in substantial fines; dominant undertakings can be required to grant rivals access to key assets or change business strategy; mergers can be prohibited or, in some cases, unwound, under merger control regimes now operating in approximately 65 countries and continuing to proliferate; and State aid may have to be repaid.
Competition authorities worldwide have wide-ranging powers of enforcement. In several jurisdictions, including the US and UK, individuals involved in breaches of competition law may be imprisoned as well as individually fined, and in the EU, companies found to have acted anti-competitively may be fined up to ten per cent of their annual worldwide turnover.
We pride ourselves on offering a top-level, client-focused service, with integrated multi-jurisdictional teams providing transaction support on restrictive agreements, abuse of dominance/monopolisation, merger control, State aid and other aspects of EU and US law.
Find out more about our experience
EU Internal Market and Trade
We regularly advise clients on complex abuse of dominance issues and benefit from an extraordinary wealth of experience across our international network of offices. We are regularly involved in behavioural cases for both incumbents and complainants.
Our leading behavioural practice was awarded 'Competition Team of the Year' (2005) by The Lawyer for our work on Microsoft.
Our cartel practice is also thriving and we frequently advise in licensing and anticompetitive agreements and have advised clients in a number of high profile international cartels and other national or EU investigations. In cartel enforcement our teams have broken new ground in the use of leniency programmes on a global scale.
The London team's burgeoning behavioural practice reflects its careful development of practical solutions for its clients. The range of issues on which we have provided advice (from abuse of market dominance to cartels) and the variety of industry sectors in which our clients operate underlines the team's ability to apply its legal knowledge to novel and difficult issues.
We have advised in relation to a number of market studies and market investigations carried out by the OFT, the Competition Commission and the European Commission. We have handled complex leniency applications and cartel matters often with an international dimension. We have worked with a number of clients to develop on-line programmes to train staff and prepare clients should they ever be subject to investigation by the antitrust authorities. Our work for clients subject to cartel investigations is of particular note.
It is clear that competition law is not just an academic exercise in economic regulation conducted by antitrust authorities. Its overall aim is the protection of consumers operating at all levels in the business world. However, antitrust authorities are not in possession of unlimited resources and therefore, private actions against those in breach of competition law are actively encouraged.
In the more litigious US culture such actions are already standard and, as the European Commission continues to push for an increase in the number of private actions brought before the national courts of the EU Member States, we expect this number will increase over time. The international group contains some of the most respected advocates in this field and we have advised many large corporates on contentious antitrust issues.
We have a wealth of experience within the group, which includes the development of risk management strategies, arbitration, litigation risk assessment, and crisis management as well as acting for those aggrieved by and those defending breaches of competition law and decisions of antitrust authorities.
In addition to competition law advice, we also advise clients on other areas of European law such as free movement of goods, services and capital, anti-dumping, intellectual property, harmonisation of laws and telecommunications.
The Brussels EU team is the hub for our client service across Europe. Three partners, Dirk Arts, Michel Struys and Francis Herbert have served as law clerks either at the CFI or COJ. This previous experience strengthens our knowledge of "all-round" EU law.
Our antitrust practice was recently described as "first rate for merger clearances" by Chambers' guide to the legal profession. This is a reflection of the high number of significant merger cases in which Allen & Overy's antitrust practice has been involved over the last few years, with a strong track record of success.
We develop global strategies for obtaining clearance of mergers and joint ventures in all relevant jurisdictions using our local contacts and expertise. We also develop universal antitrust submissions that can be adapted for use in national filings to reduce cost and ensure a coherent approach for our clients. In particular we advise on:
how best to present cases to merger control authorities.
managing the process of preparing submissions and briefing papers.
negotiating settlements (e.g. involving structural or behavioural remedies) when needed to secure clearance.
working with specialist economic consultants when needed.
Public procurement has played a key role in the creation of the European single market. It is designed to ensure healthy competition between suppliers and value-for-money for purchasers, as well as to prevent discrimination or the favouring of "national champions". Non compliance with the rules can have very serious commercial consequences.
Our international team has the experience to address public procurement issues arising under EU and national law from the perspective of all those involved in the procurement process. We anticipate potential issues and prepare suitable strategies for dealing with the rules, providing clear, structured advice to guide you from the initial commercial assessment to the final award and performance of the contract.
Allen & Overy has one of the strongest European-wide practices in State aid, with expertise in European law issues concerning the aid that governments in the 27 EU Member States provide to the private sector. This is now a specialist area within competition law in which few firms have a comparable level of expertise.
Allen & Overy's U.S. Antitrust Group (based in New York) is comprised of individuals from our corporate and litigation departments with considerable antitrust litigation and investigation experience. Unlike most firms where the antitrust group is more clearly tied to either the corporate department or to litigation, Allen & Overy's U.S. Antitrust Group presents the "best of both worlds", combining the transactional, litigation and investigational experience needed for any conceivable US antitrust challenge into one team. The US Antitrust Group is fully supported in its efforts by top-notch M&A, SEC and white-collar criminal defence colleagues in both the corporate and litigation departments, including 11 other partners and over 30 associates.
For U.S. clients, the U.S. Antitrust Group is experienced in virtually all aspects of U.S. Antitrust, with particular emphasis on evaluating antitrust issues in connection with M&A transactions, representing clients in connection with regulatory and criminal antitrust investigations, and handling major antitrust litigations in federal court.
International clients of Allen & Overy increasingly face the same sorts of risks as our US clients, and also come to us for our knowledge of antitrust and regulatory issues affecting business they conduct in the U.S.
Employment & Benefits
Our Employment & Benefits (E&B) department comprises some of the market's leading practitioners across Employment, Pensions and Incentives, with over 180 lawyers located across 22 jurisdictions. Consistently highly ranked in the legal tables in each of the three areas, we offer high quality advice on issues such as boardroom disputes, employee discrimination, executive remuneration and tax issues, complex pension arrangements or complex cross-border transactional issues.
The E&B practice works as part of an integrated team with our corporate M&A lawyers, not only in carrying out projects, but in winning them too as most large scale M&A transactions involve HR issues which can often be critical to the outcome of a transaction.
Our Employment specialists are involved in all contentious and non-contentious matters including boardroom disputes, employee relations, HR policies and privacy, restructuring, and dispute resolution. Our Pensions specialists handle quality advisory and litigation work for both trustees and sponsors, while our Incentives team offers expert advice on equity incentive plans, employment tax issues and corporate governance in the context of reward.
Notable matters our E&B team have worked on include:
Employment: Advising HSBC on a high-profile, sexual orientation discrimination claim following the dismissal of an employee for gross personal misconduct at work. The case was the first high-value, City-based claim under the sexual orientation discrimination laws involving a number of novel legal questions.
Pensions: Advising Cable and Wireless on the split of its £2 billion pension scheme in connection with the company's demerger
Incentives: Advising Red Football Limited on its high profile acquisition of Manchester United PLC. The circumstances of the acquisition meant that there was a short window of time within which the employee share plan matters had to be dealt with.
The Allen & Overy Employment & Benefits team is an integrated practice which covers all aspects of employee incentives, employment and pensions work. We are experts in all three areas, with in-depth knowledge of local as well as global issues.
Our lawyers are experts in all the legal aspects of implementing and structuring share plans, pension schemes as well as providing practical and commercial advice on employment law issues.
Our client centric approach means we cover not only advisory and corporate transactional work but also provide clients with a more bespoke approach which includes providing training, regular news bulletins and a broad range of value added services.
We are committed to the development of best market practice within all three areas and devote a considerable amount of time and resources on training our lawyers to ensure our clients receive the best, practical and robust advice.
Employment is a fluid and fast-changing area of law. Being alive to your obligations as an employer and recruiting, retaining and managing the right people, has never been more critical. Non-compliance with obligations can be expensive, in financial and reputational terms. Globalisation means that workplace issues have a cross-border and a local dimension.
Our global team of over 110 employment lawyers works in partnership with clients to develop individual and creative solutions to your modern workplace issues, from working conditions, employee relations, HR policies and privacy, to restructuring, relationship breakdowns and dispute resolution. We're decisive. We recognise your commercial needs.
Always in the news, the rights and expectations of employees have never presented a greater challenge to your business and reputation. And keeping on top of new legislation and regulation has never been more demanding. Working in partnership with you on workplace issues and employment law, we ensure you stay ahead of the game and control your risks. From dispute resolution, discrimination and corporate governance to stress, whistleblowing and family friendly rights, we can help you. Characterised by our no nonsense style, we're decisive, solution-driven and we tell you what we think. That's our reputation and yours in safe hands.
Incentives, remuneration and corporate governance are now issues constantly in the headlines. Staying on top of frequent changes in legislation and market practice is a crucial part of any employer's business and fundamental in managing reputational risk, particularly for remuneration committees. We are experts in all the technical aspects of this area such as tax, company, securities and regulatory law. We are also experienced in share plan design and regularly advise clients on the impact of corporate transactions on share plans. Our proactive analysis of market practice and data means we have real insight and up-to-date knowledge of current market equity and reward trends thereby enabling us to provide our clients with practical and commercial expert advice.
We are constantly seeking ways to be innovative and develop online tools to assist our clients to work as efficiently as possible as evidenced by Global Shareweb.
Incentives, remuneration and corporate governance are now issues constantly in the headlines. Staying on top of frequent changes in legislation and market practice is a crucial part of any employer's business and fundamental in managing reputational risk, particularly for remuneration committees. We are experts in all the technical aspects of this area such as tax, company, securities and regulatory law.
We are also experienced in share plan design and regularly advise clients on the impact of corporate transactions on share plans. Our proactive analysis of market practice and data means we have real insight and up-to-date knowledge of current market equity and reward trends thereby enabling us to provide our clients with practical and commercial expert advice.
We are constantly seeking ways to be innovative and develop online tools to assist our clients to work as efficiently as possible as evidenced by Global Shareweb.
Outsourcing is no longer limited to back office functions. Complex business processes and even front office operations are now being outsourced and businesses are looking to their lawyers for help in developing and delivering more flexible business models.
Our outsourcing practice is widely regarded as a market leader, with an experienced international team and a client base that includes many of the major players in the industry. We are noted for the breadth of our international team that brings together experts from a number of different disciplines and who have unique experience of acting for both suppliers and customers across a wide range of sectors.
Outsourcing is no longer limited to back office functions. Complex business processes and even front office operations are now being outsourced and businesses are looking to their lawyers for help in developing and delivering more flexible business models. Our outsourcing practice is widely regarded as a market leader, with an experienced international team and a client base that includes many of the major players in the industry. We are noted for the breadth of our international team that brings together experts from a number of different disciplines and who have unique experience of acting for both suppliers and customers across a wide range of sectors.
Retirement benefits are rarely out of the headlines. Recent years have seen a steady flow of reforms as governments, struggling to cope with ageing populations, look for ways to encourage private pension provision. With a raft of new legislation and increased regulation, it's vital to keep one step ahead. Pension plan design issues, plan governance, funding, investment policy and deficit management, are among the issues that companies and plan fiduciaries may have to consider. There is the added cross-border dimension, as multinationals consider strategies to design and manage pension arrangements globally.
This is a time of opportunities and challenges for companies and fiduciaries. Our global pensions team is at the forefront of developments and market practice. We offer creative, integrated solutions and commercial advice to meet our clients' business needs, both locally and across borders.
For our recent key pensions matters, please look at the Deals & Cases section below.
Support the pension scheme or save the business? In the current climate the choice can seem stark but it doesn't have to be. We work with both corporate sponsors and trustees to find middle ground where both can survive the current market turmoil. It's liability management, not a closing down sale. It's time to get creative and we've got a good reputation for doing exactly that. Our experience of the UK Pensions Regulator means we can help groups reorganise while still protecting the interests of pension scheme members. We can also guide trustees through challenging times.
If you want your scheme changed, your funding arrangements rebalanced or your documents updated, please speak to our UK pensions team. We can also help you with disputes, investment matters and the questions of benefit interpretation and administration that come up in every scheme on an almost daily basis. We aim to build a long-term relationship with our clients so we can react quickly to help.
Energy & Natural Resources is one of the most important and fastest changing industrial sectors. The need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (primarily carbon dioxide), growing global demand, security of supply and aging energy assets means that government and energy companies globally are faced with some of the most complex and challenging decisions that will have an impact not only on economic prosperity, but also on the long-term health of the environment.
Allen & Overy's global Energy & Natural Resources team is at the forefront of this sector, providing clients advice on matters relating to power and utilities (including thermal and IWPPs, nuclear and renewables), transmission and distribution, carbon capture and storage, oil & gas (up, mid and downstream and LNG), mining & metals and climate change.
Our clients are diverse, and include sovereign governments, corporates (utilities and sponsors, miners, oil & gas IOCs and NOCs, and independents), and financial institutions (banks, funds, ECAs/MLAs), suppliers and manufacturers. Their needs are also diverse, and we take immense pride in being able to deliver outstanding advice on transactions relating to M&A, project development, litigation, energy & emissions trading and funding (debt and equity). All of these transaction are supported by our market leading experts in areas such as taxation, antitrust, regulatory, environmental and employment, to name but a few.
Energy is a global market with many deals being cross border as a result of resources being located in far flung and often difficult to get to countries around the world, many of which have complex legal and regulatory regimes. Allen & Overy is one of the few firms that can leverage a truly global network and deliver an absolutely seamless service across the UK, Europe, CIS, Asia, Middle East & Africa, United States and Latin America. Our global exposure and experience is highly valued by our clients.
Carbon Capture and Storage
Oil and Gas
Environmental compliance and liability issues are now part of everyday life for most businesses, be they engaged in evidently hazardous activities or not. Likewise, developments in the climate change arena are raising new challenges for both the regulatory and business communities. Regulatory demands, however, continue to widen in response to increasingly international environmental concerns and throw up more and more compliance issues affecting both processes and products, as well as liability issues in business transactions. To steer successfully through this regulatory jungle requires specialist expertise on a global scale.
Allen & Overy's global environmental law group includes more than 60 specialist, commercially focused environmental law experts in Asia, Europe and the Americas, advising on all aspects of environmental law and liability. As one of the first law firms to develop a globally integrated environmental law practice, Allen & Overy is able to provide both transactional and stand alone advice in all the major areas of environmental and health and safety law at national, regional and international levels.
Our geographic reach, including the transfer of knowledge between different offices and jurisdictions, means that we are able to keep abreast of the latest environmental initiatives and legislative developments occurring around the globe. In addition to expertise in Allen & Overy's own offices, by virtue of our network of specialist local firms in other jurisdictions we can also ensure that you get high quality environmental advice wherever in the world you need it.
Chemicals Regulation and REACH
Climate Change and Green Technology
Contaminated Land and Environmental Liability
Corporate Governance, Environmental Disclosure and Access to Information
EHS Regulatory and Permitting
Energy, Renewables and the Environment
Environmental Disputes and Litigation
Green Real Estate
Producer Responsibility and Product Stewardship
Allen & Overy is at the heart of the world's banking and financial markets. Few practices can match the quality of our people, the breadth of our client base, our global reach and our top tier position across the full range of financial products. We have been instrumental in nearly all the major developments in the modern financial markets, starting with the first ever eurobond issue in the 1960s.
We advise over 800 corporate and financial institution participants in the financial markets. They entrust us with the full range of their domestic and cross-border transactions. They rely on us for the depth and breadth of our expertise, our intellectual rigour and our proven track record of finding solutions and completing the transactions we work on. We have over 1,000 banking and finance lawyers worldwide working together to demonstrate these qualities in their professional lives.
Debt Capital Markets
Derivatives and Structured Finance
Equity Capital Markets
Investment Funds and Structures
Real Estate Finance
Ship, Rail, Aircraft and other assets
Convergence has blurred traditional industry boundaries. To add to this, industry consolidation has taken place on a global scale. There is now a clear need for multi-disciplinary and international legal advisers.
Our industry sector groups offer specialist industry expertise across our international offices. We advise global players from a variety of industries, as well as governments, regulators and investment banks. Our mix of legal and regulatory hands-on commercial experience enables us to provide relevant legal services of the highest quality.
Communications, Media and Technology
Energy and Utilities
Hotels and Leisure
Licensing, gaming and betting
Our International Insurance Group is a dedicated cross-border team which advises many of the world's leading insurers, financial institutions, brokers and businesses on transactions in the insurance sector as well as insurance regulatory matters throughout Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and the U.S.
The group comprises lawyers with specialist insurance expertise, some of whom have spent part of their careers in the industry or with insurance regulators. This practical industry experience ensures that we are able to provide commercially driven legal advice.
Our insurance lawyers work as an integrated team on an international basis with specialists from our other market leading practices, such as corporate, capital markets, banking, litigation and arbitration, outsourcing and insolvency. As a result, our clients receive the best possible technical and commercial legal advice at both a domestic and international level.
Our ability to handle and manage cross-border and international transactions is an important consideration in many clients' selection of Allen & Overy to advise them.
Insurance advice for corporates and banks
Insurance capital markets and derivatives
Insurance M&A and reorganisations
Insurance regulatory and compliance
Insurance restructuring, insolvency and run-off insurance