Debevoise Wins at British Legal Awards

1 December 2017

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP enjoyed a successful evening at the British Legal Awards 2017, picking up the Regulatory and Investigations Team of the Year award, as well as being “Highly Commended” in the Private Equity Team of the Year and CSR/Diversity Initiative of the Year categories.

The Regulatory and Investigations Team of the Year accolade was awarded for the firm’s work advising Rolls-Royce in an internal investigation and coordinated resolutions with UK, U.S. and Brazil investigating authorities relating to bribery and corruption involving intermediaries in a number of overseas markets. In one of the most closely followed and complex corporate investigations in recent years, Debevoise was originally engaged by Rolls-Royce in early 2012 to assist with enquiries from the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”), and to lead the subsequent internal investigations. The firm then jointly advised Rolls-Royce alongside Slaughter and May on the investigations by the SFO and the U.S. Department of Justice (“DoJ”), and the subsequent landmark coordinated resolution with the SFO, DoJ and the Brazilian Ministério Público Federal. The award judges deemed this work “by far and away” the clear winner in this category

In the Private Equity Team of the Year category, Debevoise was Highly Commended for its work advising HarbourVest Partners (“HarbourVest”) in its £806.6 million acquisition of the investment portfolio of SVG Capital (“SVG”). The acquisition followed an initial £1,015 million takeover offer by HarbourVest for SVG. The deal attracted a great deal of media attention at the time, with HarbourVest fending off several rivals to obtain agreement with SVG, as well as a complex resulting asset transfer process. It showcased the increased sophistication, ambition and creativity of the private equity secondaries market, and has had a dramatic and potentially lasting impact on the listed funds sector.

Debevoise’s work with the Centre for Reproductive Rights (“CRR”) was also Highly Commended by the judges in the CSR/Diversity Initiative of the Year category. The Debevoise team worked alongside the CRR to draw international attention to the unjust and harmful effects of El Salvador’s absolute ban on abortion in all circumstances. The project involved examining the cases of 17 women who had been convicted under the anti-abortion legislation following obstetric complications, and a resultant shadow letter and advocacy brief for submission to the UN Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (“CEDAW Committee”). As a direct result, the CEDAW Committee made the unprecedented recommendation to El Salvador to decriminalize abortion, and to make it legal in certain circumstances. Two days later, the Ministry of Health in El Salvador endorsed a bill calling for the partial decriminalization of abortion.

The British Legal Awards are a showcase for the achievements of the UK’s legal sector. Hosted by Legal Week in association with The City of London Law Society, the awards ceremony was attended by 1,000 lawyers, representing the cream of the UK's legal community. A major feature of the awards is the credibility of the judging process, with the winners decided by an independent judging panel.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a premier law firm with market-leading practices, a global perspective and strong New York roots. We deliver effective solutions to our clients’ most important legal challenges, applying clear commercial judgment and a distinctively collaborative approach.