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Corporate tax avoidance bill may deliver little more than hefty fees for tax lawyers

Corporate tax avoidance bill may deliver little more than hefty fees for tax lawyers | Solicitors | Scoop.it

There will be much "restructuring" going on right now at the big end of town. Under the government's corporate tax avoidance bill, which passed into law last Thursday, 281 private companies are expected to make public their revenue, and the amount of tax they pay, later this month – those with more than $200 million in revenue.


Labor and the Greens had originally been pushing for a disclosure threshold of $100 million but, in a controversial deal between the Greens and the treasurer, the threshold was set at $200 million on condition the government agree to another transparency measure compelling multinational companies to provide General Purpose financial reports.


So it is that Australia's super-rich will have already been on the blower to their tax lawyers asking them to work out a way of getting below the $200 million disclosure level. The obvious ruse is to hive off bits of the business into smaller entities whose revenues are less than $200 million.

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Should Mediation of Building Disputes be Compulsory by Law?

Should Mediation of Building Disputes be Compulsory by Law? | Solicitors | Scoop.it

It is said that 90 per cent of cases settle before trial. It follows that settlement will have occurred as a result of negotiations or mediation. As mediation has increasingly become entrenched in tribunals and courts of law, one wonders: if it is mediation that is generating settlements, why does one have to go to court in the first place?


Furthermore, why can't Acts of Parliament be proclaimed to make mediation compulsory before one is given permission at law to issue legal proceedings in a court of law or tribunal?


Even though the west has historically embraced the adversarial approach to dispute resolution, it is anathema in certain societies. Japan is one such society; in that culture, those who are at odds with one another negotiate, mediate, solve, and move on.


But to enshrine mediation as a front-end dispute resolution institution would require a seismic shift in governmental policy. It would require legislation where, through force of law, mediation is made compulsory. In other words, it would require the promulgation of mediation legislation.

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Hot property

Hot property | Solicitors | Scoop.it

As real estate and construction markets heat up, lawyers with this expertise are highly sought-after.


Gaining insight into business confidence in Australia can be as easy as scanning the skyline of a major city.


One construction project after another with no workers and abandoned tools is a clear indicator of troubled times – when conditions improve, cranes spring up like victory banners.


In east coast markets, especially Sydney, cranes are becoming a common sight as the construction activity roars to life. Prices for property are continuing their upwards lift even as developers race to complete new projects.


For law firms, this jubilant mood means more clients than property practices can tackle. Yet firms need to consider how long this frantic pace can last.

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E-signatures spell trouble for lawyers

E-signatures spell trouble for lawyers | Solicitors | Scoop.it

It is tempting to speed up transactions by eliminating the physical signing of documents, but one firm has warned lawyers to exercise caution around e-signature technology.


Creevey Russell Lawyers principal Stuart O’Neill said e-signatures facilities such as DocuSign and Adobe are “being pushed” onto the market.


“This is being felt especially in sales industries like real estate, where there is a desire to speed up and deformalise the signing process, and lawyers should always be careful not to take shortcuts on fulfilling their duties in order to save on costs for a client," he said.


Mr O’Neill said the problem with e-signatures is that lawyers run the risk of their client signing documents too quickly and without due thought and consideration of all the legal issues.


“For this reason alone, in many cases lawyers will be naturally hesitant to recommend an e-signing arrangement for their clients,” he said.


In the worst case scenario, a lawyer could be prosecuted for negligence if a document is not validly signed.

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Lawyers fall behind on business development

Lawyers fall behind on business development | Solicitors | Scoop.it

The 2015 ALPMA/JMA: Winning Work in A Digital World report by the Australasian Legal Practice Management Association (ALPMA) and Julian Midwinter & Associates revealed that lawyers are failing to keep pace with business development techniques.


ALPMA president Andrew Barnes (pictured) said: “It is clear that few Australasian law firms are firing on all cylinders from a business development perspective. They have lost sight of the need to refine and improve their lawyers’ baseline skills and their firm’s performance in this area.”


He continued: “Despite all the changes that are happening, it’s still a very traditional profession where they still think that the personal relationships, personal introductions and referral networks count for something.”


Of the 153 law firms across Australia and New Zealand that responded to the survey, 47 per cent rated their firm’s business development and marketing capability as ‘under-developed’.

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Problems recruiting and keeping lawyers could threaten justice in rural areas

Problems recruiting and keeping lawyers could threaten justice in rural areas | Solicitors | Scoop.it

The Law Council of Australia says that unless lawyer shortages are addressed, there will be a significant negative impact on access to justice throughout regional Australia.

"In regional areas, many people will rely on applications to their local Legal Services Commission and Legal Aid. Legal Aid lawyers can only do so much and there's a hope that the private profession, funded by Legal Aid, can do some of the work," said executive member of the Law Council of Australia, Morry Bailes.


"If, for example, there are insufficient members of the private profession, or the private profession are doing private paying work, then people can miss out."


Director of law firm Tyler Tipping and Woods based in regional Victoria, Mark Woods, said there had been an "explosion in the legal needs of people in regional areas".

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National firm ventures into new territory

National firm ventures into new territory | Solicitors | Scoop.it

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers has opened its first office in the Northern Territory this week.


he opening of Maurice Blackburn’s Darwin office means the firm has an on-ground presence in all states and territories of Australia apart from Tasmania.


“We have had many clients in the Territory for some time and the time is right to have our lawyers permanently on the ground in Darwin,” Alison Barrett, Maurice Blackburn principal, said.


“Many of our lawyers are familiar with the Territory, having last year won a landmark case on behalf of the traditional owners at Muckaty station near Tennant Creek, who were opposed to having a nuclear waste dump on their land.”

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Mackay Regional Council sacks CEO after just four weeks

Mackay Regional Council sacks CEO after just four weeks | Solicitors | Scoop.it

Mackay Regional Council has sacked its CEO Brett Heyward.

Mayor Deirdre Comerford said it would be inappropriate to go into specifics, but the decision had the full support of councillors.


"My colleagues and I discussed the matter at length and felt this was in the best interests of the organisation and the community," she said.


This council has achieved a number of goals in this current term and it is vitally important that we continue to work together in achieving outcomes for the community.

 
Cr Comerford acknowledged it was bitterly disappointing that the appointment of Mr Heyward didn't work out.


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Appointments to the Federal Court and Federal Circuit Court

Appointments to the Federal Court and Federal Circuit Court | Solicitors | Scoop.it

The Administrator of the Commonwealth of Australia, the Hon Paul de Jersey AC QC, on advice of the Cabinet,  made a number of judicial appointments to the Federal Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia.


Mr Mark Kranz Moshinsky QC will fill the vacancy left in the Melbourne registry of the Federal Court following the appointment of the Hon Justice Michelle Gordon to the High Court of Australia. His appointment commences 2 November 2015.


The following four experienced barristers have been appointed as judges of the Federal Circuit Court:
- Dr Joshua Douglas Wilson QC, commencing in the Melbourne registry on 2 November 2015;
- Mr Timothy James Heffernan, commencing in the Adelaide registry on 23 November 2015;
- Mr Steven Charles Arnold Middleton, commencing in the Newcastle registry on 9 November 2015; and
- Mr Philip Dowdy, commencing in the Sydney registry on 7 December 2015.

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WorleyParsons $50m class action lawsuit filed by ACA Lawyers

WorleyParsons $50m class action lawsuit filed by ACA Lawyers | Solicitors | Scoop.it

WorleyParsons shareholders have joined together in a $50 million class action claim filed by ACA Lawyers alleging the engineering group breached its continuous disclosure obligations when it gave profits guidance in mid-2013.


The class action, which is mostly composed of institutional shareholders but also some retail shareholders, will have a directions hearing on November 19 in the Federal Court in Sydney.


ACA Lawyers, which specialise in class actions, have been investigating action against WorleyParsons for more than a year.
A previous class action brought in December 2013 by serial litigator Melbourne City Investments, an investment company set up by former Minter Ellison partner Mark Elliott, was thrown out of Victoria's Supreme Court last year after the court found its arguments were "flawed".


WorleyParsons' shares tumbled 26 per cent to $16 on November 20 2013, slashing more than $1 billion off its market value, after chief executive Andrew Wood cut the company's annual net profits guidance to a new range of $260 million to $300 million.

Investors were shocked by the warning, because the engineering group had told shareholders at its annual results in August and at its annual general meeting in early October to expect net profit of at least $322 million.


WorleyParsons shareholders have joined together in a $50 million class action claim filed by ACA Lawyers alleging the engineering group breached its continuous disclosure obligations when it gave profits guidance in mid-2013.


The class action, , which is mostly composed of institutional shareholders but also some retail shareholders, will have a directions hearing on November 19 in the Federal Court in Sydney.


ACA Lawyers, which specialise in class actions, have been investigating action against WorleyParsons for more than a year.
A previous class action brought in December 2013 by serial litigator Melbourne City Investments, an investment company set up by former Minter Ellison partner Mark Elliott, was thrown out of Victoria's Supreme Court last year after the court found its arguments were "flawed".


WorleyParsons' shares tumbled 26 per cent to $16 on November 20 2013, slashing more than $1 billion off its market value, after chief executive Andrew Wood cut the company's annual net profits guidance to a new range of $260 million to $300 million.

Investors were shocked by the warning, because the engineering group had told shareholders at its annual results in August and at its annual general meeting in early October to expect net profit of at least $322 million.

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Solicitors & accountants should cooperate.

Solicitors & accountants should cooperate. | Solicitors | Scoop.it

Solicitors and legal advisors, who want to become the first choice for property and building clients, need to start thinking outside the box. They have to be open to a cooperation with accountants to move their own business forward, but also the clients' firms. This is beneficial for both parties.

Top4s insight:

In order to gain maximum profit, solicitors should work together with financing firms.

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Lawyers in Australia

Lawyers in Australia | Solicitors | Scoop.it

In this life there might be a few events in which you may need a lawyer. To find a lawyer you want to work with is a very stressful process. Australia provides 2 types of legal advisers. Either Solicitors and Barristers, who deal with all criminal and civil matters.

Top4s insight:

No matter what type of lawyer or solicitor you need, Australia has it.

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At-risk lawyers trained in suicide prevention

At-risk lawyers trained in suicide prevention | Solicitors | Scoop.it

Suicide prevention training is an important part of promoting workplace safety for lawyers, according to Hope for Life national program manager Bill Sayers.


Lawyers are often the first point of contact for people with chronic mental health issues and can benefit from understanding how to identify if people are at risk and can help connect people with services, said Mr Sayers.


Hope for Life is a Federal Government-funded program organised by The Salvation Army. It has been delivering free training to lawyers, legal staff and volunteers throughout Australia for more than three years.  The suicide prevention workshops are aimed at frontline legal professionals, particularly those working in legal aid and community legal centres as well as pro bono lawyers and the DPP.  Like medical professionals and emergency service professionals, lawyers work under high pressure, often with clients who have experienced trauma, mental health issues or financial difficulties, according to Mr Sayers.

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Poor compliance provides opportunity for firms

Poor compliance provides opportunity for firms | Solicitors | Scoop.it

A new report, based on a survey conducted by LawPath, has revealed that small to medium-size Australian businesses are failing to meet their legal requirements in several areas.


More than 500 small businesses completed the survey, of which 40 per cent reported not having employment contracts in place. These included part-time, full-time and casual employment contracts.


In addition, 77.5 per cent of businesses surveyed reported not having workplace policies, such as drugs and alcohol and social media policies, in place.

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Old profession, new tricks

Old profession, new tricks | Solicitors | Scoop.it

Compulsory continuing legal education is viewed as a nuisance by some lawyers and essential by others - but ongoing learning may be the key to overcoming industry challenges.


As autumn rolls around each year, many lawyers scramble to enrol themselves in the bare minimum of CLE courses mandated by their Law Society. Seminars are suddenly booked out, bums appear on seats and online CLE providers see a spike in download rates and traffic.


All this last-minute activity seems to suggest that many lawyers do not take their formal continuing education seriously – is this ‘tick the box’ mentality around CLE requirements holding the profession back?


The legal industry is changing faster than ever before and even the most experienced lawyers must learn new tricks to stay competitive, according to Terri Mottershead of Mottershead Consulting.


Ms Mottershead says learning has to be “your number one priority” as a law firm: “If you get that right, then everything else should follow.”

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Cunneen hails 'democratic process' in NSW Bar elections

Cunneen hails 'democratic process' in NSW Bar elections | Solicitors | Scoop.it

The election results, announced on Friday, revealed that 12 out of the 21 members of the 2016 council will be women. Seven barristers were re-elected, including crown prosecutor Margaret Cunneen SC, Arthur Moses SC, Mary Walker and Noel Hutley SC.


Almost half of the 2015 Bar councillors did not get re-elected and three did not stand, including 2015 Bar president Jane Needham SC. Notable losses include former Commonwealth Solicitor-General David Bennett QC, Paul Menzies QC, Jeffrey Phillips SC and John Hyde Page. Sixty-four per cent of Bar members voted in the election, with 1,484 votes counted.


Mr Bennett said it was disappointing on a personal level to not get a

seat on the council, but offered his congratulations to the newly elected members.

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Women now a majority of in-house counsel, but still face pay gap

Women now a majority of in-house counsel, but still face pay gap | Solicitors | Scoop.it

While the majority of Australian in-house counsel are women, a new study has shown that most still earn less than men. 


The Association of Corporate Counsel’s (ACC’s) global census report, released in October, revealed a persistent pay gap between male and female in-house lawyers in Australia and around the world.


Data from the 2015 census showed that a higher percentage of women in Australia earn less than $200,000 per year, while a higher percentage of men in Australia earn more than $200,000 per year.


Speaking with Lawyers Weekly, Tanya Khan (pictured), the vice-president and managing director of the ACC (formerly ACLA), said the pay gap was “disappointing”.


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Disciplinary hearing for man who defended Morcombe's killer

Disciplinary hearing for man who defended Morcombe's killer | Solicitors | Scoop.it

THE barrister who defended Daniel Morcombe's killer and who is defending the Ipswich man accused of raping and murdering French student Sophie Collombet is facing disciplinary proceedings and has had his case adjourned until later this month.


The Legal Services Commission is taking action against Michael Bosscher and the case was briefly mentioned at the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal on Tuesday.


The tribunal heard Mr Bosscher's legal team was trying to access records from the state Justice and Attorney-General Department but had not heard back.


It is understood Mr Bosscher is facing disciplinary action for alleged misconduct when he tendered a document to a Commission of Inquiry that contained allegations of corruption against now-Chief Justice Catherine Holmes.

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Australian firms push back against restrictive contracts

Australian firms push back against restrictive contracts | Solicitors | Scoop.it

A new study has revealed that clients are imposing tough terms of engagement on UK law firms, but Australian firms are holding their own, according to one consultant. 


The study, conducted by Dr Steven Vaughan from the University of Birmingham and consultant Claire Coe Smith, was prepared on an independent basis for the Solicitors Regulation Authority.  


Based on in-depth interviews with 53 partners, the study revealed that law firms are being placed in potentially compromising positions by their clients.  Clients now have the upper hand in negotiations and are increasingly imposing terms of engagement that seek to “regulate” law firm behaviour and control future client interactions, according to the report.


“The seeking by clients to restrict, via contract, who a firm can and cannot act for has reshaped the market for financial services litigation,” the authors said.  “Of most concern are claims from some lawyers that these contractual provisions might be used strategically by some clients to deny claimants' representation from a tier of firms.”


The authors also said the “most worrisome” threat to independence was the efforts by third parties to seek to influence the behaviour of advisers to other parties on a transaction.

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Profession urged to 'close the information gap'

Profession urged to 'close the information gap' | Solicitors | Scoop.it

With his term as president of NSW Young Lawyers drawing to a close, Elias Yamine has called for more transparency around job opportunities for graduates.


“There has been a lot of recent media attention about the high number of law graduates and the diminishing number of jobs,” said Mr Yamine.    “The essential part of the work we are doing is to ensure we close the information gap so that students [know] what options they have for a legal career before they graduate."


NSW Young Lawyers and the Law Society plan to gather more data about employment trends in the coming year, according to Mr Yamine.  The report found there was anxiety within law schools about a lack of employment opportunities, and suggested that more work be done to track law graduates and understand employment trends.


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MH370 and MH17 lawyer sued by Shine Lawyers for taking clients

MH370 and MH17 lawyer sued by Shine Lawyers for taking clients | Solicitors | Scoop.it

SHINE Lawyers is suing a former employee for $665,000 after he allegedly left the firm, taking with him six clients whose relatives had died in the Malaysia Airlines MH17 and MH370 disasters.
 

The claim, lodged in the Brisbane Supreme Court, sheds light on the lengths to which lawyers are prepared to go in signing the families for compensation claims.

Shine Lawyers alleges the former employee, aviation law expert Joseph Wheeler, breached confidentiality clauses in his contract when he started his own firm in May and took with him six clients whose family members were among the 537 victims of the Malaysia Airlines tragedies. 

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Top five ways to retain your top talent

Top five ways to retain your top talent | Solicitors | Scoop.it

Latest research from Insync Surveys’, Why people stay: how to keep your best employees, suggests it comes down to implementing five key themes.


Nicholas Barnett, CEO of Insync Surveys, explains that these are “fulfilling jobs, inspiring leadership, a performance focus, values driven culture, and to feel proud”.

Here are five tips to consider:


1. Job fulfilment and growth: Offer meaningful work via mechanisms such as job fit, mission alignment, role clarity, job enrichment, personal development and career progression.


2. Inspiring leadership: Employees are more likely to stay when the senior leadership team has an inspiring vision, encourage innovation, are good role models, act with integrity, and get the maximum from people’s individual talents and knowledge. Senior leaders set the tone for the whole organization, and this influences employees’ views about whether the organization is right for them in the long term.


3. Performance focus: Employees are more likely to stay when they consider their organization to be high performing and well run, according to the research. Items highly related to retention include the perception that their organisation is committed to best practice; being able to link everyday actions and performance to the organization’s goals; and the belief that the organization is committed to high standards of performance.


4. Values driven: Organisations that have clear values that are demonstrated in practice are more likely to retain their staff. Items highly correlated with retention include equity in resource allocation, being advised about organisational changes that will impact the employee, belief that the organisation cares about and is committed to the employee, and seeing the organisation’s values and behaviors being demonstrated every day in the employee’s work group.

5. Pride and advocacy: Employees who can envisage a future for themselves in the organization have a strong sense of connection with, and pride in, their organization, according to the survey. Items highly correlated with retention include being willing to recommend the organization as a workplace to others, being proud of working for the organisation, and having a strong sense of belonging. These items emphasise the reciprocity inherent in the employer-employee relationship.

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A solicitors’ letter can reduce late payers by more than 80%

A solicitors’ letter can reduce late payers by more than 80% | Solicitors | Scoop.it

For about the same price of a cup of coffee or your favourite daily newspaper, there is a new system that helps firms that are struggling with late payment. An option for them is to instruct a solicitor to issue a Letter Before Action(LBA) and have an 84% chance of being paid.

Top4s insight:

Having a business, you want your customers to pay on time. Normally this is done properly, but there are always ones who pay too late. This simple system will help you cut the late payers by 84%.

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Sydney Solicitor - Get an Obligation Free Consultation

Sydney Solicitor - Get an Obligation Free Consultation | Solicitors | Scoop.it

It might be needed in just a splitsecond. Then it will be nice if you could find one instantly. When looking for a solicitor in Sydney there are a number of factors one must consider when making such important ...

Top4s insight:

 It could happen any time, you will never know when you are in need of a Solicitor. This video will give an in-depth view on how to get one. 

 

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