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Freshfields Digital podcast series

Human insights into digital matters.

The rapid advance of technology has profound implications for both business and society.

Law and regulation is the bridge between the two, yet rule-makers are struggling to keep up with the speed of change.

In this series of podcasts, we explore developments in the digital world, and debate the challenges and opportunities they present. We hope you enjoy the conversation.

What every startup should know about corporate governance

Done well it’s the key to a successful IPO, but done poorly it can lead to a founder losing control of their business or being unable to attract new investors. Corporate governance is one of the most important considerations for a fast-growing startup, but often isn’t addressed until it’s too late. Kate Cooper in London is joined by fellow partners Sarah Solum and Pamela Marcogliese in Silicon Valley, who explain what founders the world over can learn from the West Coast experience.

The IP mistakes founders make

Can you trademark software? Will a patent in one jurisdiction protect your idea elsewhere? And what rights can you assert over data? Nothing’s more important than safeguarding what’s valuable in an innovative company, yet it’s surprising how many mis-steps founders make. Here, Partner Richard Bird, principal associate Theresa Ehlen and special counsel Peter Jaffe discuss the most common errors.

Fintech in focus: digital identity

There’s never been a better time to shape the debate on digital identity. As the pandemic has accelerated digitalisation for all, digital identity is high on the agenda at a government level, an international level and regulator level. Done properly, digital identity systems could unlock the potential for greater financial inclusion, enable frictionless payments and mitigate the disruptive effects of COVID-19.

In this podcast, part of our 'Fintech in focus' series, Matt O’Callaghan (Head of financial services Asia and co-head of Asia fintech), Cyrus Pocha (Co-head of global fintech) and Theresa Ehlen (Principal Associate specialising in the TMT sector) look at what digital identity could mean for businesses and consumers that are crossing borders, discuss the danger of bias, highlight the importance of data privacy and protection, and consider what firms can do now to make sure new AML systems and regulations strike the right balance.

Introducing the Freshfields Digital podcast series

In the face of disruption, established companies are having to harness emerging technologies and boost their digital offering. But as a result they face a new set of challenges. Antitrust partner Mary Lehner introduces the digital topics we will be exploring over the coming months with our panels of experts.

Capital raising in the time of COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the startup financing landscape. In the latest episode of the Freshfields digital podcast, Nigel GleesonDavid Schwintowski and Andrea Basham discuss the additional risks founders and investors now face when raising capital around the world.

View from the Valley #2: diversity, IPOs and director compensation

In the second of a series of regular updates from our team in northern California, Boris FeldmanSarah SolumMaj VaseghiJohn Fisher and Doru Gavril take a look at three of the hottest issues in tech and life sciences – diversity, exit options and board pay.

View from the Valley #1: the impact of COVID-19

In the first of a series of dispatches from our team in northern California, Boris FeldmanSarah SolumMaj VaseghiJohn Fisher and Doru Gavril explore the impact of the COVID crisis on everything from shareholder activism to securities litigation.

Inside the Freshfields Hub

The Freshfields Hub is transforming how the firm delivers legal advice. Hear from the people who are driving the change.

A global guide to data ethics

There is growing debate in Europe about the ethics of data use. But does the topic get as much attention elsewhere in the world? We gathered a team of experts in Washington, London and Hong Kong to find out.

Can you own AI?

Many people are keen to say they ‘own’ artificial intelligence. But what does that really mean? IP and technology partner Giles Pratt is joined by associates Emily Rich and Sonja Mross to discuss the legal mechanisms being used to exert rights over AI – and the way courts around the world are treating this fast-evolving field.

Investing in startups

Taking an early-stage stake in a fast-growing tech company can be a route to big returns. But with so much risk involved, what do investors need to look out for? Nigel Gleeson, who advises financial investors and corporates on their tech investments across Asia, explains how to get the most out of founder-led businesses, protect voting rights through multiple fundraising rounds – and negotiate an exit once it’s time to step away.

How lawyers can help mitigate cyber risk

When you discover a cyber attack your first call might not be to your legal counsel. But there’s plenty they can do to help. Our experts discuss the role a lawyer should play in cyber security – from regulatory notifications to freezing stolen funds

Tech IPOs – what can we expect in 2019?

Partners Mark Austin and Lars Meyer assess the market for European tech IPOs, discuss how to prepare for a successful flotation – and reveal some of the unexpected surprises companies often face when they go public.

The impact of EU regulation on US tech

How should US technology companies approach EU regulators? Partners Natasha Good, Eric Mahr, Thomas Janssens and James Aitken, and senior associate Jennifer Mellott, discuss messages delivered by the European Commission's Nick Banasevic during the FT–Freshfields briefing that took place in Silicon Valley on the approach US tech companies should have towards EU regulators.

Cyber security: our experience at the Expo

Resilience has come to be expected of companies, especially in the wake of a cyber-attack – being prepared has never been so important. Litigation and investigations partner Rhodri Thomas and associate Raphaella Pitt reflect on our participation at the Cyber Security Summit and Expo and a speech made there by the Financial Conduct Authority on operational resilience and cyber security.

Cyber security: are you on your best behaviour?

The most sophisticated firewall in the world is no defence against the threat from within. Our specialists discuss how to counter the human factor in data breaches, explore examples of the behaviours that hackers exploit - and give practical tips on how to ensure those phishing attacks don’t get a bite.

Digital transformation: the secrets of success

For companies losing market share but lacking the insight to work out why, rethinking their use of technology and data analytics might help. But before jumping into a big transformation project, organisations should start by looking outside for inspiration. Drawing on her experience as digital leader at IBM, author and inventor Lindsay Herbert reveals her thoughts on best practice when it comes to digital transformation, including her five-stage plan for success.

The trouble with platforms

Digital platforms have revolutionised the way we shop, the way we communicate and the way we book our holidays. But are they really as beneficial for consumers as they seem? Antitrust authorities – particularly in Europe – fear they may not be, and are starting to pay much closer attention to the way they work. Our experts take a look at this emerging battleground and discuss what the crackdown means for the platforms themselves – and the companies that sell through them.

How to build a digital business

Every company wants to become more ‘digital’. But what does that really mean? How do businesses do it? And what does the process involve from a legal perspective? Matthias Koch, Theresa Ehlen, Richard Bird and Caroline Stroud share what they’ve learnt on the front line of digital transformation projects – from how to handle liability risk to the importance of collaboration and the best ways to drive cultural change.

The rise of people analytics

From sentiment analysis on emails to optimising the recruitment process, people analytics are an emerging tool in human resources. But should employers use them to make decisions about their workers? Partners Caroline Stroud and Boris Dzida discuss the legal – and ethical – issues people analytics raise.

Data and merger control

Antitrust regulators exist to preserve competitive markets. But in a world where digital businesses can become very powerful very quickly, they are struggling to keep pace. Partners Rafique Bachour, Bruce McCulloch and Kaori Yamada look at how authorities around the world are adapting their tools for the 21st century – and what this means for M&A.

What’s different about digital deals?

If you are buying a business that looks like your own, the deal process is equally familiar. But apply traditional methods to a digital acquisition and you will miss many of the most important issues. Partners Natasha Good, Giles Pratt and Julian Pritchard discuss how to mitigate risk in tech M&A – and avoid the pitfalls that can put your investment at risk.

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