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Funds head to co-lead Debevoise’s ‘integrity practice’

The law firm has launched a new unit to help clients ‘manage the risks of 21st century business’.

Debevoise & Plimpton has launched a new practice to help clients manage risks relating to corruption, human rights and other “21st century” risks.

“For the modern global business, integrity turns on strategic management of human rights, corruption, disclosure, environmental and money-laundering risks. With the accelerating trend toward intricate and significant legal integrity risks, the time is right for a dedicated practice focused on sophisticated, commercially reasonable integrity advice,” Michael Blair, presiding partner at Debevoise said in a statement.

The practice will be led by seven partners, including Erica Berthou, who leads the firm’s global investment management and funds group. In her current role she advises firms with open and closed ended private investment funds, co-investment funds, fund of funds and separately managed accounts. Her experience covers a variety of sectors and strategies, including buyout, infrastructure, energy and power, real estate, debt, distressed and credit, according to her profile on the firm’s website. Berthou represents a number of firms including Blackstone, The Carlyle Group and EQT Partners.

The business integrity group will provide guidance on leading integrity standards, including the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and UK Bribery Act, the UK Modern Slavery Act and federal human trafficking regulations, Debevoise said in the statement. “Each of these standards affects corporate governance systems, M&A due diligence, non-financial disclosure, compliance risk assessments, complex investigations and high-profile disputes,” the firm added.

Co-leading the group alongside Berthou are Catherine Amirfar, a partner in the firm’s international dispute resolution practice; Sarah Fitts, co-chair of the energy and natural resources group; Donald Francis Donovan, co-chair of the international dispute resolution group; Lord Goldsmith QC, former UK attorney general and chair of European and Asian litigation; David Rivkin, co-chair of the international dispute resolution group; and Bruce Yannett, deputy presiding partner of the firm and chair of the white collar and regulatory defense practice group.