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With Vigour and Zeal » What When Where

Archive for the ‘What When Where’ Category

European Securities Litigation, the Conference

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

The alternative name for this post could’ve been “Does exactly what it says on the tin”. (hint) If you’re not familiar with that phrase, translate that to the more straightforward “What you see is what you get”. (explained or watch) For the three events listed below are literally named after their respective programme contents.

Securities Docket hosted its first webcast Tuesday, entitled 2008 Year in Review - Securities Litigation and Enforcement. (details; via BrightTALK, registration required) It’s free to play from the archive.

Barroway Topaz Kessler Meltzer & Check LLP’s fourth annual Rights & Responsibilities of Institutional Investors conference is forthcoming. It will be held on 12 March in Amsterdam at the Renaissance Hotel. (details) This year’s keynote speaker is former US Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright.

The Ronseal prize however goes to the Euromoney Institutional Investor Plc’s inaugural European Securities Litigation Conference. (Main sponsor: Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP) It takes place on 30 and 31 March in London at the Radisson Edwardian Marlborough. (details, programme)

This conference boasts a number of familiar speakers as well as interesting new ones and covers a wide spectrum of topics, all related to European securities litigation. An outlook on 2009 and the coming ‘wave of actions’, an update on litigation funding, perspectives from regulators and in-house counsel, a discussion of hedge funds’ roles in collective actions and dealing with the difficulties of (lack of) discovery are all in there, as is the big one: ‘how will trustee obligations propel pension funds into securities litigation cases?’

Change of venue: European Securities Litigation Conference has changed its venue to the Radisson Edwardian Mayfair.

Wrapping it up, 26 November 2008

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

One event for in the diary, notes on one that has taken place and updated links here on WV&Z:

Grant & Eisenhofer PA’s 8th Global Shareholder Activism Conference (details, programme) takes place in New York from 4-6 December. (The 9th is in London, 23-24 April 2009.) Alexander Reus of Diaz Reus LLP and Andree Nesselrodt of DekaBank Deutsche Girozentrale, a Diaz Reus client, are on the panel of the luncheon breakout session IV-C Class Action Settlements on the Friday. Unrelated to the event, both Reus and Nesselrodt (a Vice President and Senior Legal Counsel with DekaBank) are quoted in the Financial Times Deutschland (in German) earlier this year, as are Geoffrey C. Jarvis of G&E and Winheller Rechtsanwälte’s Stefan Winheller, on the role German investors may play in US class actions.

ClassActionBlawg.com has published notes on the 12th Annual National Institute on Class Actions conference (previous post), including on the “Class Actions Sans Frontières” presentation.

NERA Economic Consulting’s new topic specific website Securities Litigation Trends has been added to the Resources links section (right column). It has NERA’s reports on SEC settlement trends and shareholder class action trends, settlement documents and a weekly securities blog digest among other things all in one place. In the past few weeks a number of plaintiffs’ firms has changed firm names and domain names accordingly. These have been amended in the Firms / US / Plaintiffs links section (right column).

My friends at Tilburg University have recently launched the Tilburg Institute of Comparative and Transnational Law (TICOM). The Institute “aims to be a leading institute for scholarly research into law as an international phenomenon… [It] questions the relevance of territorial and dogmatic borders delineating both national jurisdictions and the classical areas of law.” (original emphasis) Their link has been added to Resources as well. WV&Z wishes TICOM and all involved all the best.

Collective redress, four events (well, five)

Monday, October 20th, 2008

In the next few weeks four events will take place, so there’s three dates for your diary. The fifth one has already taken place on the 8th of October, a programme in King & Spalding LLP’s University e-Learn Series, entitled The Globalization of U.S. Securities Class Actions and U.S. Securities Law Enforcement (details). The handout (62 slides) is still available online.

Looking forward then, the 14th annual Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP sponsored Forum for Institutional Investors is on next week in New York, 23-24 October. This year’s theme is Protecting Shareholder Value, The Credit Crisis and Beyond. (programme)

Next up is the ERA’s Collective Redress, Towards a system of class actions in Europe? (ERA is short for Europäische Rechtsakademie, Academy of European Law based in Trier and Brussels.) This event takes place in Florence, 30-31 October, under the patronage of the Ordine degli Avvocati di Firenze and the University of Florence. ERA itself is supported by the European Union. (programme, register) The programme takes a very European approach, first setting the scene by way of comparative analysis between the US and Europe,
then discussing several national systems - England, the Netherlands, Germany among them - before
concluding with ‘Expectations for a collective redress mechanism at EU-level’, the latter being presented by
representatives of the European Commission (Dirk Staudenmayer) and European Parliament (Diana Wallis MEP).

Next month the American Bar Association hosts two events of note on the same day, 7 November, with thanks to ClassActionBlawg.com for the notice. And not only the same day, the most interesting discussions are even held the same time at 4pm and on the same topic!

That topic is Class Actions Sans Frontières as one panel is called, or about ‘actions brought in the US and Europe on behalf of purported worldwide classes’ according to the details of the other. Panelists in New York include Lynda J. Grant of Cohen Milstein Hausfeld & Toll PLLC (based in New York) and in Miami Gerard J. Meijer of NautaDutilh NV (Rotterdam) and Peter J. Rees of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP (London). Also note Miami’s 2pm litigation funding panel which will ‘examine… new techniques for funding major litigation and debate their practical as well as ethical impact.’

What when where: four in four

Monday, April 21st, 2008

In the next four weeks there are no less than four conferences to go to, one a week. They are, in chronological order:

  • Conference on Securities Litigation, 28, 29 April, London (programme)
  • Corporate Governance and Responsible Investment, 6, 7 May, Copenhagen (programme)
  • Global Shareholder Activism Conference, 15, 16 May, Paris (programme)
  • Pension Fund Investment World Nordic 2008, 19, 20 May, Stockholm (programme)

London is more geared toward the topic of securities litigation for a legal practitioner audience, Copenhagen and Stockholm are more about corporate governance for investors and Paris is a mix of the two. (Also see this previous post.)

What when where: US Chamber, updated

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

Henry M. Paulson Jr., Secretary of the Treasury was a last-minute addition to the roster of speakers last week at the US Chamber’s Capital Markets Competitiveness conference. (See previous post.)

Transcripts of most of the speeches, including Paulson’s, are available from the Chamber’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness section. The conference was webcast live and once the archive is ready, it will become available again (here). And finally, another report was launched on the day, with the same title as this year’s conference, namely Strengthening U.S. Capital Markets - A Challenge for All Americans.

Who’s who in UK litigation funding

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008

This week’s Legal Week has an extensive overview of the players, law firms and funding specialists alike, in the UK litigation funding market. At least one is missing though, namely accountancy firm Smith & Williamson, which had set up its funding practice in September last year.

From the article: “The dramatic adoption of the once-controversial technique illustrates the fast-changing attitudes as London litigators position themselves for an expected upturn in group claims and litigation in general.”

It quotes Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s Paul Mitchard, head of Skadden’s European International Arbitration Group thus: “Funding is definitely here to stay. It is a significant development in dispute resolution, where litigation and arbitration are now being viewed as a commercial venture for outside funders for the first time.”

Then yesterday’s FT Weekend chipped in too, with a writing of a far more general nature. If this was London buses, the wait would be for the third piece around the corner…

So just in case, to make up for it if there isn’t one, one off the WV&Z shelf then from over a year ago, a profile of ‘trailblazer’ and founder of IM Litigation Funding, Toby Duthie. (FT) (Note, another IMLF founder of higher profile, Susan Dunn, has left that company late last year to join fellow funder MKM Longboat Capital Advisors LLP. (The Times, The Times))

What when where: Next week the US Chamber of Commerce Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness is to hold the second installment of its Annual Capital Markets Summit (26 March 2008, Washington DC). This year’s focus is on ‘Strengthening U.S. Capital Markets for All Americans’. (programme) Two topics of the day will be securities litigation reform and the state of regulation, which, given the events of the past week or so, should be very interesting indeed. Not a single speaker from the plaintiffs’ bar, mind.

What when where: active activist engagement

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

There are three coming events, due to take place this week and in the coming months, that are interesting to note here.

The first is the third installment of Schiffrin Barroway Topaz & Kessler LLP’s annual Rights & Responsibilities of Institutional Investors conference on Thursday this week in Amsterdam. (This event is actually reportedly overbooked already.) This year’s keynote speaker is the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi A. Annan.

Among the other speakers are Elad Man of Man-Barak Advocates & Solicitors and Stefan Winheller of Winheller Rechtsanwälte, on the topic of international collective and class actions. (Both firms are in an alliance with Schiffrin Barroway.) Other topics of the day under the general theme of corporate governance will be the Vivendi Universal SA case and sovereign wealth funds. Interestingly, most speakers are corporate governance advisors or counsel with investment firms or are otherwise non-legal professionals on the ‘buy-side’ of legal services.

The second event of note is C5’s aptly-named Conference on Securities Litigation, taking place on Monday 28 and Tuesday 29 April (and a workshop Wednesday 30) at the Millennium Knightsbridge Hotel, London. Lots of friends of WV&Z and recognisable names appear on the speakers list. A selection, in no particular order:

Myths surrounding UK and European class actions, managing risk and D&O liability, KapMuG, the extra-territorial reach of the US and the subprime fallout are all on the menu. (programme)

And finally, a bit further away in May, is Grant & Eisenhofer PA’s Global Shareholder Activism Conference (May 15-16, Hotel Prince de Galles, Paris). Its three keynote speakers are former Senator Paul S. Sarbanes (D-MD), Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Myron T. Steele and Jürgen Maruhn, Presiding Judge of the Oberlandesgericht Frankfurt am Main. Like the Schiffrin Barroway conference and unlike C5’s, the emphasis is on buy-side and even more so on academic speakers.

Werner says: after a three-month hiatus, it’s good to be back.

What when where: pension funds’ activism

Monday, December 10th, 2007

Wednesday this week, 12 December, London’s Lawrence Graham LLP hosts a morning seminar at its office on shareholder activism and securities class actions in association with Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP of New York. (Thanks to Securities Litigation Watch’s Adam Savett for sending this in.)

Samuel Issacharoff, Professor of Constitutional Law at NYU School of Law, speaks about ‘[w]hy class action [sic] exists in the US and how UK shareholders can take part’. The programme ends with presentations on ‘Companies Act 2006 opportunities’ and why pension funds ’should get involved’. (programme and registration form)

Litigation Forum: Skadden votes ‘foe’

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

John Malpas, Legal Week’s editor-in-chief, reviews his publication’s recent Litigation Forum in this post on his Editor’s Blog. He there quotes Andrew L. Sandler of Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP who didn’t pull his punches during the panel session on the topic of whether class actions are friends or foes: “In the US it is more the exception than the rule that members of the class end up with meaningful recovery.”

WV&Z here adds the reference Sandler made to the approach to taking jurisdiction by US courts - ’schizophrenic’ and Vivendi was mentioned - and the likening of importing US-style class actions into Europe as ‘McDonald’s to Paris’.

Securities class actions are “flawed, subject to rampant abuse and are lawyer-generated for the purpose of large fees”. On the upside (depending on which side of the fence you’re on), he did cite the familiar list of reasons why here the “real danger is somewhat limited”, among them the lack of contingency fees, opt-in versus opt-out and cost distribution.

What when where: RiskMetrics Group - the new parent of Institutional Shareholder Services (renamed ISS Governance Services) and its Securities Class Action Services - hosts a two-day conference for its clients in Paris this week, on Wednesday 3 (Governance) and Thursday 4 October (Risk). (event details)

One of the Governance presentations is on the topic of the ‘Increasing Role European Institutional Investors are Playing in Securities Class Actions’, by a panel of among others Frédérik-Karel Canoy of the Association des Actionnaires Actifs, Stuart M. Grant of Grant & Eisenhofer PA and David Paterson of the UK’s National Association of Pension Funds.

Other speakers include Dr. Antiono Borges of Goldman Sachs International and the European Corporate Governance Institute and Peter Montagnon of the Association of British Insurers.

Litigation funding to drive euro-class actions

Saturday, September 15th, 2007

Legal Week has published the results of its latest Legal Week/EJ Legal Big Question survey, namely on the topic of class actions in Europe. The headline conclusion: “The UK legal community is united in the belief that US-style class action litigation is set to take off throughout Europe, with product liability cited as a key growth sector.” The second area of law cited behind product liability (cited by 52% of respondents) is shareholder claims (36%).

On the latter area in particular, Anna Pertoldi of Herbert Smith LLP is quoted as saying:

Shareholder actions could be an area for increased group litigation in Europe, but we will have to see how it pans out. With the new Companies Act coming into force in the UK, and new funding methods becoming available, people may be encouraged to have a go and test the waters.

Note how she is apparently not squarely in the other camp then but appears to be so on the issue of the derivative claim and the Companies Act 2006 (see previous post). Two more quotes:

John Whittaker, Clyde & Co LLP:

If class actions are given a platform through proactive law firm initiatives, it is likely that claimants will seize the opportunity to litigate their claims.

Matthew Newick, Clifford Chance LLP:

Across Europe there are government moves to facilitate class actions [for example, in Denmark], with specialist firms setting up shop [Cohen Milstein Hausfeld & Toll LLP in London] and increasing investor activism as well as interest in third-party funding, which, if it takes off, could be a key driver for class action growth.

The survey also shows that 72% of respondents are in favour of the concept of litigation funding. Herbert Smith is reportedly (Legal Week) considering offering access to litigation funding to its clients, indirectly joining the ranks of funder IM Litigation Funding and funding broker Calunius Capital LLP.

(One error Legal Week continues to make however: Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP has not launched a class action defence practice in London, see previous post.)

What when where: Mark Wells of Calunius Capital and Susan Dunn of IM Litigation Funding will be joined by Sam Eastwood (Norton Rose LLP) to discuss litigation funding at the Masterclass session of The Lawyer’s Private Litigation Conference, which overall has an emphasis on litigation relating to competition. The conference takes places on 28 - 30 November 2007 at the Melia White House in London. (programme and registration form)

Topics discussed include (speaker or selected speakers in brackets):

  • ‘How should private enforcement develop in UK & Europe?’ (Vincent Smith, Cohen Milstein Hausfeld & Toll; Nicolas Bessot, European Commission - DG Competition),
  • ‘Comparison of class actions in the UK, Europe & the US’ (Mike Pullen, DLA Piper UK LLP), and
  • ‘Settlement options’ (Simon Morgan, Simmons & Simmons), as well other topics by Howrey LLP, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Irwin Mitchell among others.