AllAboutLaw Blog: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s shock statement, the implications of a changing high street and more

This week’s edition of the AllAboutLaw blog addresses a potential trademark conflict over ‘Sussex Royal’, what a changing high street means for the legal profession and the continued growth of Africa’s start-up culture.

  • Last updated Jan 15, 2020 10:54:58 AM
  • Tuula Petersen
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The Harry and Meghan debacle

Last week, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex expressed their intention to step back from royal duties and divide their time between the UK and North America. The statement also cited the couple’s desire to become financially independent. 

The announcement comes after months of media scrutiny against Meghan, which culminated with a number of legal claims against Britain’s tabloid press last September for breach of privacy and the unlawful publication of a letter she had written to her estranged father.

The unexpected statement issued last week compliments an application by the royal couple to register ‘Sussex Royal’ as a global trademark with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). Meghan and Harry have been using the Sussex Royal brand on their Instagram account and on a website launched last week. However, the couple may face a trademark battle after an alternative application filed with EU authorities emerged, looking to trademark beer, jewellery and cosmetics under Sussex Royal. It was filled in German, with English listed as a second language.

With the aim of appeasing tensions between members of the Royal family and seeking a clear future for the royal couple, Queen Elizabeth II organised a family meeting on Monday at the Sandringham estate. The conversation was attended by the Duke of Sussex, the Duke of Cambridge, the Prince of Wales and Meghan who participated over the phone.

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“You can’t be a member of the European Union if you don’t have independent, impartial courts operating in accordance with fair trial rule, upholding union law”

Koen Lenaerts, President of the European Court of Justice, issuing a warning against Poland following the overhaul of its judiciary.

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Firm news

Addleshaw Goddard has announced 100% retention rates for its March newly-qualified lawyers.  

In America, Philadelphia-based Pepper Hamilton LLP merged with Atlanta’s Troutman Sanders LLP. The move makes Troutman Pepper one of the largest firms in the country.

Dentons’ decision to expand to Dublin was motivated by the city’s aircraft leasing, financial services and its innovative technology scene.

Withers continues its tech expansion in Asia with the hire of Technology and IP partner Jonathan Kok.

Clifford Chance has decreased its trainee intake, employing 12 fewer trainees compared to last year, resulting in a reduced associate intake.

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Calling all Manchester and Cardiff-based students! The JLD is running two free events that might be of interest to you. 

Free JLD forum: helping you to secure a training position, 8 February, Manchester

This one-day forum will help LPC students and LPC graduates in their search for a training position and give them an opportunity to discuss the issues they face.

More info

Free JLD forum: Supporting you through qualification and beyond, 7 March, Cardiff

This event is aimed at equipping those at the start of their careers with advice and knowledge to enhance their professional development.

More info 

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Is the High street coming to an end—and what does this mean for the legal profession?

As people’s consumer habits continue to shift online, the traditional high street retail industry is struggling to remain competitive. Boxing Day, which used to represent the epitome of shopping fanaticism, saw plummeting sales and the most significant drop of high street shop visitors for almost a decade. After having been placed in administration, Mothercare stores definitively shut down on Sunday evening and Debenhams closed six more of its stores. Such changes will lead to an increase in insolvency and restructuring work for legal professionals, as will the demand for real estate lawyers, who will have to adapt to the nature of commercial spaces needed by retailers.

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Vacation schemes: which ones are closing soon? 

17/01 - RPC London Summer Scheme 

17/01 - Weil Summer Vacation Scheme 2020 

17/01 - Gowling WLG Vacation Scheme (London and Birmingham

17/01 - Travers Smith Summer Vacation Scheme 2020

19/01 - BCLP Summer Vacation Scheme 

19/01 - Horwich Farrelly Easter & Summer Vacation Schemes 

19/01 - Shearman & Sterling Summer Vacation Scheme 2020 (Spring & Summer

Make sure to visit our vacation scheme page for all available opportunities.

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The persistent growth of Africa’s start-up economy

The African technology ecosystem shows no signs of receding with the continent receiving a total of $1.3 billion in startup funding over the course of 2019. Compared to the $200 million invested in 2015, such an increase marks the rapid emergence of technological ambitions. This is coupled with the expansion of a significant number of leading international law firms to the African continent. As demand for legal expertise grows particularly in relation to infrastructure and green energy projects, the appetite to establish a presence in Africa is unlikely to cease. Countries which saw the largest share of venture capital investment include Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt and South Africa. For instance, the Nigerian Bar Association has recently announced its plans to liberalise its legal services market.

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Recommended reading

Trump’s justification for killing Soleimani was the threat of an attack on four US embassies, yet Defense Secretary Mark Esper has claimed there was no hard evidence for such a threat.

Similarly, contrary to recent rhetoric, the law does hold an important place in matters of war, but as argued in The Atlantic, there is still room for its greater involvement.

The High Court hears a psychiatric nurse’s plea to restrict puberty-blocking drugs for under 18-year-olds, raising critical questions on gender. 

A year after Google employees protested against the company’s handling of sexual harassment, David Drummond the chief legal officer of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, announced his resignation in light of an investigation into his relationships with women.

Jay-Z and Yo Gotti wrote a letter to two Mississippi officials threatening to sue over the “inhumane and unconstitutional” prison conditions in the state.

Much to the dismay of environmental groups, Trump has announced plans to speed up the federal approval process for major infrastructure projects which would put limits on the implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act.

Lord Reed is to take the seat of Lady Hale as the president of the UK Supreme Court—what do we know about Lord Reed?

This article helps to clarify recent merger and acquisition trends in America.

With Brexit no longer dominating the headlines, it is easy to neglect the recent developments. This article provides an overview of the current Brexit situation.

Two African Americans are suing the fast-food chain McDonald’s for racial discrimination which allegedly worsened under former CEO Steve Easterbrook.

Following on from last week’s focus on the Carlos Ghosn scandal, Reuters sets out the legal risks facing the fugitive.

 

 

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