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🤖 Amazon’s hoovering up iRobot

In today’s email:

  • Are law firms starting layoffs?

  • Lofi + air traffic control = perfection

  • Did a law firm say the quiet part loud?

  • VC investment has gone down but also up

  • Johnson & Johnson is paying a big settlement

  • Amazon’s deal’s getting sucked up by regulators

  • Speak to the author of that book you’ve not read

If you take just one thing from this email…

Some things just shouldn’t be put down in writing.

EDITOR'S RAMBLE 🗣

The big story this week on Law Twitter has been the leaked slide from a presentation given at US law firm Paul Hastings.

If you’ve not seen it, here’s it is. 👇️ 

It allegedly outlines the firm’s ‘non-negotiable expectations’. It’s been made clear that the firm itself did not write this officially. It was written by a senior associate at the firm giving a presentation to juniors.

Now, the slide has understandably caused a lot of discussion online.

Some (and the vast majority) are very much against the advice.

But some people have different views…

I’ve got my own views on the slide based on my experience of work in corporate law over the last 2.5 years.

But instead of sharing my views (at least for now) I want to hear what you think.

Is it a clear indication of a toxic workplace? Is it just stating the realities of how to shine in a competitive corporate environment?

What do you think about the slide (+ why)?

You can give a reason once you click an option below.

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Let me know your thoughts! 👆️ 

- Idin

FEATURED REPORT 📰

🤖 Amazon’s hoovering up iRobot

What’s going on here?

The CMA (the UK's competition regulator) is reviewing Amazon's planned takeover of iRobot, the maker of Roomba vacuum cleaners. The CMA is worried the deal could reduce competition in the market for ‘smart home’ appliances.

Why does Amazon want to buy iRobot?

iRobot is a tech company best known for its robot vacuum cleaner called Roomba - but it makes other products too (like robot mops and robot air purifiers).

Amazon’s been trying to break into the smart-home game since its launch of Alexa, so the deal made sense. Last August, Amazon made a £1.4bn offer to buy the company.

Why is the deal being investigated by the CMA?

The CMA (like other regulators in the world) is all over tech mergers at the moment - a few weeks back, we wrote about the CMA’s scrutiny of Microsoft’s deal too.

The regulator’s asking for submissions of evidence on whether the deal could lead to “a substantial lessening of competition”. If it finds that it would reduce competition, it could launch a full investigation into the deal.

Do other regulators have issues with the deal?

🇪🇺 European regulators are worried about data privacy. They’re concerned how Amazon might combine its own customer data with iRobot’s data to gain an unfair competitive advantage.

🇺🇸 The US regulator - the Federal Trade Commission - has said it will review the deal but is currently still considering whether to launch an official investigation.

A UK advocacy group called Foxglove (advised by Mishcon de Reya) has also asked the CMA to block the deal. Their main concern is mostly to do with how much customer data Amazon will get hold off (including layout of users’ homes and potentially images too - some of the robots have cameras on them).

How are Amazon and iRobot responding to the CMA review?

The case is still at its earliest possible stage, where the CMA is pretty much just gathering comments from relevant people to establish whether there could be a “substantial lessening of competition” in the country as a result of the deal.

Both Amazon and iRobot have said they’re "working co-operatively" with the relevant regulators over the merger.

Why should law firms care?

This story is important because it shows how regulators are getting more involved in tech M&A activity. It means companies (and their legal advisers) should anticipate these issues and address them when planning a merger - this means allowing a longer timeframe to get regulatory approval and engaging the right people (namely competition law specialists) to help out earlier on.

Another point firms may find interesting (read: frustrating) is that the regulators in different jurisdictions seem to have different issues with the deal. For example, the EU regulators are more focused on data but the UK regulators are looking at market dominance. Regulators are all different, it seems, and so are their approaches.

In this deal, both parties got help from US commercial law firms. Amazon was represented by Paul, Weiss and iRobot was represented by Goodwin.

A BIT OF FUN 😄

😪 too. dynamic. for. me.

IN OTHER NEWS 🗞

  • ✂️ Kirkland & Ellis (one of the biggest US law firms by revenue) has laid off cut some of its associates in its California and Texas offices. The cuts were allegedly not layoffs, but were ‘performance-based’ (i.e. the lawyers weren’t doing enough). Some people don’t think they were in fact layoffs as many of the lawyers let go had been hired during the pandemic when there was a boom in mergers and acquisitions. But now deal-making has slowed down (which would explain the job cuts).

  • 💰️ Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay almost $9 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits claiming that its talc-based baby powder caused cancer (we covered this story before). Although the consumer products company still denies the claims, it hopes the settlement will end the legal battle and get this whole thing over with quicker.

  • 🛡️ Venture capital investment in ‘defence tech’ has increased while venture capital in general has slowed down. As the war in Ukraine continues to escalate, more start-ups developing technologies for military use are launching (for example, Luffy AI which develops software for robotics). Investment in defence tech firms in the UK nearly doubled from £149m in 2021 to £295m last year.

AROUND THE WEB 🌐

  • 📖 Read: If you’ve got a book on your list but haven’t had time to read it, this site uses AI to let you ‘speak to the book or author’ and ask it any question you want!

  • 🎵 Music: This site that mixes mixes live air traffic control with lofi hip hop. It’s the peaceful combination you really didn’t know you needed (although I think it’s just some US airports for now).

  •  📩 Read: Market Loop is the free, 3-minute daily email delivering bite-sized business and finance news from the UK and beyond (and with no jargon).

STUFF THAT MIGHT HELP YOU 👌

  • 👥 Community for aspiring lawyers: If you're struggling with motivation for law firm applications, check out FlowHuddle - a supportive online community, hosting remote co-working sessions, expert office hours and in-person meet-ups.

  • 📕Commercial awareness journal: Check out this journal that we've created alongside the team from The Lawyer Spot. It gives your a simple three-step structure to improve your commercial awareness in a high-quality physical notebook.

  • 📣 Advertise with us: If you're looking to reach an engaged audience of over 6,000 aspiring lawyers, drop us an email.

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