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Regulating the future report

Written by the Economist Intelligence Unit

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Helping big business navigate the rules.

In a world of ever-more complex and interlocking regulatory requirements, compliance is a growing burden, with enforcement action and penalties becoming more severe.

Our regulatory lawyers are spread across several practice groups, including antitrust, competition and trade, data and IP, people and reward, tax and financial regulatory, offering a pool of knowledge that is both wide and deep. Freshfields are market leaders in proactively identifying risk arising from legislative changes, helping multinational businesses to minimise it and working closely with regulatory authorities in multiple jurisdictions.

We also have long experience working on strategic advisory, transactional, investigative and enforcement issues, including state aid and cartel investigations. In addition, our lawyers advise on merger control, pricing and sales strategies, data protection and security, workplace investigations, as well as managing complex pensions matters. And we work with our clients on the ‘people agenda’, and help them embrace the new focus on culture and governance (PDF, 583KB).

We have around 100 partners worldwide with both contentious and non-contentious regulatory expertise, advising on the effects of rapidly developing regulation, building compliance programmes, and guiding our clients to manage regulatory and enforcement risks, often involving multiple regulators.

Client successes

We helped this global business exploit the benefits – and manage the risks – of holding huge collections of personal data and know-how. Some examples:

  • We helped the business connect its scientists across the world through an open shared network of connected lab notebooks. Sharing trade secrets like this encourages new insights and innovation, but also raises the risk of insider threats and espionage . We helped the business roll out the project globally in a way that protects its data and IP.
  • We helped it comply with employee surveillance laws in over 30 countries -  including in relation to its internal cyber security tools that use analytics to track employees’ movements.
  • We advised on aspects of the EU General Data Protection Regulation that are particularly challenging for a multinational conglomerate - including new rules on automated processing, Data Protection Officers and lead supervisory authorities.
  • We negotiated with multiple third-party vendors, including major software and cloud service providers, to ensure that the business is protected in relation to data privacy and security.

Several of these mandates have moved from initial advice to the proposed implementation of Brexit plans.