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Winter trumps summer for clerkship experience

Winter trumps summer for clerkship experience | Solicitors | Scoop.it

Global firm Squire Patton Boggs has established a winter internship program in an effort to give students a more accurate idea of what working as a lawyer is really like.

 

Squire Patton Boggs partner Michelle Segaert told Lawyers Weekly that the traditional summer clerkship program doesn’t give students a true idea of what working in a firm is like.

 

"Christmas and January can be a bit ad hoc in the sense that at Christmas teams are frenetically working on finishing projects and doing client BD Christmas parties, and January is typically a bit quiet," Ms Segaert said.

 

"So clerks are thrown in to a program where there might be lots of activities and BD and other things but they might not necessarily be doing a lot of directed legal work."

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Dentons launches global referral network

Dentons launches global referral network | Solicitors | Scoop.it

Dentons has launched Nextlaw Global Referral Network with 283 member firms providing services in 160 countries.

The network does not charge a membership fee for firms and does not give members exclusivity in their territories, allowing multiple firms of differing sizes to sign up.

The network utilizes a proprietary technology platform that enables member law firms to refer clients to the law firm most appropriate to their needs.

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Should you need top quality legal services in your area. Find them in Top4 today.

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Start-up law firms call for back-up

Start-up law firms call for back-up | Solicitors | Scoop.it

Start-up law firms benefit from partnering with established practices and utilising their infrastructure according to the CEO of NewLaw firm lexvoco.

 

Speaking with Lawyers Weekly, Anthony Wright, the CEO of lexvoco, which has a partnership with established firm McInnes Wilson, said start-up law firms that try to go it alone may well struggle.

 

"When you start any new business, let alone a new law firm, you don’t have the infrastructure or the capital that big mature businesses have," Mr Wright said.

 

"All of the really valuable things that big law firms have captured over decades, obviously start-up law firms don’t have that."

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Lawyers compelled to see eye-to-eye with other colleagues

Lawyers compelled to see eye-to-eye with other colleagues | Solicitors | Scoop.it

Law firms have been urged to reflect on how ‘non-fee-earners’ are perceived in the workplace, starting with the use of the term.

 

With self-improvement a constant priority for law firms looking to stay head and shoulders above the rest, Barolsky Advisers strategy consultant Joel Barolsky believes the time for lawyers to confront “professional arrogance” has come.

 

In an interview with Lawyers Weekly, Mr Barolsky said that dialogues concerning culture-shift in law firms must turn to the ‘fee-earner’ versus ‘fee-burner’ mentality. Although the common catchphrase is used as shorthand and often in jest, its essence drives a greater wedge between lawyers and other members of the firm’s workforce.

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Takeover law reform required

Takeover law reform required | Solicitors | Scoop.it

Two global firm partners have called for reforms to Australia’s takeover law to reduce red tape, simplify the rules and drive greater efficiency for the benefit of the economy.

 

Two Herbert Smith Freehills M&A partners, Rodd Levy (pictured left) and Baden Furphy (pictured right), have called for reforms to Australia’s takeover law, with four key proposals.

 

"Despite takeovers being regarded as an integral part of the operation of equity markets and of the Australian economy, there has been no general review of the principles underlying our takeovers laws for many decades," Mr Levy, who is also a member of the Australian Takeovers Panel, said.

 

"In this respect, Australia lags behind many overseas countries which have revised their rules from time to time as their markets have developed."

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Visa category opens US doors for Aussie lawyers

Visa category opens US doors for Aussie lawyers | Solicitors | Scoop.it

Australian lawyers looking to practice in the US have more options than other foreign nationals – but finding a foothold in the market remains a challenge, according to two global firm partners.

 

Under the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA), Australian citizens have the option of applying for a visa in the E-3 category, which is a visa for professionals in specialty occupations.

 

"It is definitely easier for Australians to obtain US work visas compared to citizens of most other countries," Austin-based K&L Gates partner and immigration specialist Brian Graham said.

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Most lawyers can expect a pay rise this year

Most lawyers can expect a pay rise this year | Solicitors | Scoop.it

Most lawyers can expect a pay rise this year above inflation with those in Victoria set to benefit the most from individually negotiated deals.

 

About 45 per cent of law firms said they were planning on pay rises above the rate of CPI this year, while 32 per cent of firms said they would not increase pays beyond CPI.

 

This is good news given the growth in law firm salaries has declined to 2.8 per cent in the past year from 4.6 per cent the previous year.

 

The new figures are revealed in a legal industry survey of 254 law firms in Australia by the Australasian Legal Practice Management Association and recruitment firm the empire group.

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'Robo-lawyers' of the future are coming for lawyers' jobs

'Robo-lawyers' of the future are coming for lawyers' jobs | Solicitors | Scoop.it

Law firms and law schools will have to improve lawyers' technology skills to cope with a professional revolution, experts say.

 

Richard Susskind, a London-based legal industry analyst who focuses on technology, said developments in the 2020s would radically transform legal services.

 

Yet law firms remained leagues behind in preparing for change, concentrating only on using technology to optimise the way they worked in the past, he said. Meanwhile, tech-savvy start-ups were starting to cut into some of the work firms were doing.

 

"Technology will change the business model entirely, it is a move away from the one-to-one advisory service, to one where the skills, knowledge and experience of lawyers are embedded in systems that are made available to clients," Mr Susskind said.

 

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Law Society lauds Queensland law reforms

Law Society lauds Queensland law reforms | Solicitors | Scoop.it

Two significant law reforms have been applauded by the Queensland Law Society, in what it describes as a welcome return to evidence based policy and the restoration of independence for the state’s anti-corruption body.

 

The announcements on youth justice reforms and strengthened powers for the state’s Crime Corruption Commission (CCC) were welcomed by society president Bill Potts.

 

Youth justice reforms include the return of Youth Justice Conferencing and ending the automatic transfer of 17 year olds to adult correctional facilities. The changes follow the introduction of the Youth Justice and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016to the Queensland Parliament this week.

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'Free and open' legal market a boon to Aussie lawyers

'Free and open' legal market a boon to Aussie lawyers | Solicitors | Scoop.it

Australia has one of the world's most open legal markets, with the influx of foreign lawyers helping to globalise the Australian profession and improve local practices, the president of the Law Council of Australia has said.

 

Speaking with Lawyers Weekly, LCA president Stuart Clark (pictured) said: “Australia has the freest, the most open legal market in the world, and it has been of huge benefit to the Australian legal profession.”

 

While Mr Clark acknowledged that describing an open market as beneficial may sound "counter-intuitive" to some, he stood firmly behind his position.

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Lawyers salaries will rise just 1pc in five years

Lawyers salaries will rise just 1pc in five years | Solicitors | Scoop.it

Law firms' revenue growth will be sluggish over the next five years and they will have to compete with 2300 new legal businesses, according to a study by market researcher IBISWorld.

 

Industry revenue in Australia will grow to $24.8 billion or by about 1.9 per cent a year between 2016 and 2021, IBISWorld estimated.

 

The current average wage of about $99,488 would rise to about $100,477 by 2020-21 and the $10.5 billion pool of wages would increase to about $11.4 billion in that period but would have to be spread over 8400 extra lawyers, according to the report.

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Clients demand nationwide HR and IR capability

Clients demand nationwide HR and IR capability | Solicitors | Scoop.it

Companies that operate nation-wide increasingly want to engage with full-service national law firms that can cater to all their legal needs, including human resource and industrial relation issues, according to a Minter Ellison partner.


Speaking with Lawyers Weekly, Minter Ellison partner Craig Boyle said that national clients prefer to work with national firms that offer a full range of legal services across several locations to avoid engaging with multiple service providers.

 

“Clients will often have matters that have a number of components with implications across a number of practice areas, including HR and IR, but it will be a single matter,” Mr Boyle said.

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Firm launches global innovation team

Firm launches global innovation team | Solicitors | Scoop.it

An international law firm has created an integrated team across its offices with a focus on research and development and legal service innovation for clients.

 

Ashurst’s new global team, Ashurst Advance, will be led by partner Mike Polson (pictured left) and head of strategic projects Mark Higgs (pictured right).

 

The team will focus on three key areas of innovation in legal service delivery that will improve operational efficiency: resources, process and technology.

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Demand for outsourcing brings new models to table

Demand for outsourcing brings new models to table | Solicitors | Scoop.it

Increased interest in cost-effective ways to complete routine and repetitive legal work has contributed to the trend of new outsourcing models coming to the industry, according to a NewLaw firm founding director.

 

Speaking with Lawyers Weekly, Chris Dancey, founding director of hybrid law firm Augment General Counsel, said: “There’s an increasingly global trend for there to be NewLaw services, meaning disrupting the traditional model of legal service provision, being provided.”

 

Mr Dancey said people are becoming more aware that shifting routine and repetitive work to a dedicated offshore legal outsourcing centre can be worthwhile.

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Adelaide boutique merges with Piper Alderman

Adelaide boutique merges with Piper Alderman | Solicitors | Scoop.it

National firm Piper Alderman has merged with Adelaide boutique Watsons Lawyers, welcoming two new lawyers to the partnership and one senior consultant.

 

Lucy Gauvin (pictured) and Sarah Clarke will join the Piper Alderman partnership, taking the Adelaide office's total partner number to nine.

 

The merger also sees the addition of senior consultant Peter Watson. Mr Watson has 46 years of corporate and commercial practice experience. He previously served as group legal counsel and group executive of Normandy Mining Limited. Following the takeover of Normandy by Newmont Mining Corporation in 2003, he returned to private practice in Adelaide when he established Watsons Lawyers. Mr Watson was a partner at international firm Deacons (now Norton Rose Fulbright) for more than 20 years and for a period of time managed the firm’s Melbourne office.

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Winter trumps summer for clerkship experience

Winter trumps summer for clerkship experience | Solicitors | Scoop.it

Global firm Squire Patton Boggs has established a winter internship program in an effort to give students a more accurate idea of what working as a lawyer is really like.

 

Squire Patton Boggs partner Michelle Segaert told Lawyers Weekly that the traditional summer clerkship program doesn’t give students a true idea of what working in a firm is like.

 

"Christmas and January can be a bit ad hoc in the sense that at Christmas teams are frenetically working on finishing projects and doing client BD Christmas parties, and January is typically a bit quiet," Ms Segaert said.

 

"So clerks are thrown in to a program where there might be lots of activities and BD and other things but they might not necessarily be doing a lot of directed legal work."

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NSW law schools producing young talent

NSW law schools producing young talent | Solicitors | Scoop.it

More than half of this year’s Lawyers Weekly 30 Under 30 finalists studied at a law school in New South Wales.

 

The 100 finalists studied across 25 universities, with 52 of them graduating from a university in New South Wales.

 

The law school with the most alumni listed as finalists is the University of Sydney, with 17 former students making the cut.

 

This was closely followed by the University of New South Wales, the University of Melbourne and Monash University which produced 12, 11 and nine finalists respectively.

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Law students create legal expertise websites

Law students create legal expertise websites | Solicitors | Scoop.it

Students at Melbourne Law School are deepening their understanding of the interface between law and technology by designing legal expertise websites.

 

As part of Melbourne Law School’s Juris Doctor degree, students have designed and built a range of legal help websites to provide the public with fast, accurate and cost-effective information about common legal problems, including inaccurate credit reports, handling and managing fines, and assessing employment rights.

 

The legal expertise websites are designed to replicate the thought processes and actions of a lawyer and provide tailored legal information to non-lawyers and the not-for-profit sector.

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Legal aid push gathers steam

Legal aid push gathers steam | Solicitors | Scoop.it

A raft of legal industry bodies have voiced their concern over legal aid funding following the launch of the national Legal Aid Matters campaign, calling for a total of $350 million in funding.

 

The Legal Aid Matters campaign, which was launched on Monday to mark the first day of National Law Week, is aimed at ensuring the next federal government responds decisively to the funding crisis.

 

"Deep cuts by successive federal governments now means that thousands of ordinary Australians are being denied justice," Stuart Clark AM, president of the Law Council of Australia and spokesman for the Legal Aid Matters campaign, said.

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Family law practice enters online territory

Family law practice enters online territory | Solicitors | Scoop.it

In the view of lawyer Chrissy Leontios, it is time private family lawyers embrace the virtual delivery of legal services in the same way as their commercial and transactional counterparts.

 

“There are a number of virtual law firms in Australia but they are predominantly commercial with transactional type of work. There is nothing in family or criminal law in the private sphere, community legal centres [CLCs] do it but not private firms,” Ms Leontios said.

 

The north Queensland-based family dispute resolution practitioner believes that a greater focus on mediation-type family law services delivered online, can help capture a wider clientele and promote access to justice across Australia.

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Australian pro bono market shows signs of growing up

Australian pro bono market shows signs of growing up | Solicitors | Scoop.it

While Australian firms are at a "different stages of maturity" in their development of pro bono, the Australian market has been recognised as one of the world's strongest pro bono cultures.

 

According to the Australian Pro Bono Centre, the provision of legal pro bono services has enjoyed a strong tradition in Australia, with law firms beginning to adopt a structured approach to the practice about 20 years ago.

 

Among the various structural models for the provision of pro bono services employed in Australia, centre director John Corker cited clinics, where lawyers can provide direct advice to clients, outreach programs, law reform work and CLEs.

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Law grads might have better chance of getting a job, even without old school tie

Law grads might have better chance of getting a job, even without old school tie | Solicitors | Scoop.it

Law firms are revamping their graduate programs to cope with an influx of applications from desperate students and to make the recruitment process less discriminatory.

 

The good news for graduates is that most firms said they were planning to increase their clerk and graduate intake slightly in the next year.

 

While some firms such as Clayton Utz have relaunched their graduate programs, other firms including King & Wood Mallesons are using "blind" recruitment techniques to remove bias from application processes.

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Gilbert + Tobin scores new partners for Perth and Sydney

Gilbert + Tobin scores new partners for Perth and Sydney | Solicitors | Scoop.it

Two high-profile partners have joined the Gilbert + Tobin team, with Philip Edmands leaving his post as Rio Tinto General Counsel and M&A partner Costas Condoleon recruited from MinterEllison.

 

Following more than a decade with Rio Tinto, Mr Edmands is joining Gilbert + Tobin’s Perth office in June. He is Rio Tinto’s former managing director, Australia and general counsel for iron ore. Previously, Mr Edmands practised in Blake Dawson Waldron’s (now Ashurst) energy and resources group as a managing partner.

 

Mr Costas leaves Minter Ellison, where he has overseen major M&A and ECM transactions as the firm’s deals chair. Described by Gilbert + Tobin as “one of Australia’s leading strategic M&A and corporate lawyers”, he is due to start with the Gilbert + Tobin's Sydney office in July.

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Law firms embrace cafe style to keep staff in office

Law firms embrace cafe style to keep staff in office | Solicitors | Scoop.it

To impress clients and keep staff happy, some law firms are going hipster.

 

Maddocks new office fitout in Collins Square, Melbourne, includes a barista bar and a two-storey wintergarden, complete with wifi, with spaces inside and out to socialise.

 

Cafe and other areas were not just where lawyers could mingle with other lawyers, but places designed for client use, and where they could set up for the day.

 

"We invite them to spend more time in the office so there is more assimilation between clients and staff," Maddocks senior partner Guy O'Connor said.

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Migration lawyers receive recognition

Migration lawyers receive recognition | Solicitors | Scoop.it

The inaugural Lawyers Weekly Partner of the Year Awards has a category dedicated to migration lawyers, which has attracted finalists from a range of backgrounds.

 

The migration law category has four finalists, two men and two women, who work at law firms as well as community legal centres with varying specialisations.

 

The finalists are Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS) senior solicitor Alison Ryan, Kinslor Prince Lawyers’ legal practitioner and director David Prince, SHS LAW CEO Josh Chan and Withers SBL partner Rita Chowdhury.

 

In April 2015, not-for-profit refugee legal service RACS received a one-off Legal Aid grant of $80,000, which allowed it to hire Ms Ryan.

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Pricing transparency a major issue for in-house teams

Pricing transparency a major issue for in-house teams | Solicitors | Scoop.it

As in-house teams come under pressure to cut their external legal spend, pricing certainty is more important than ever, the founder of Lawcadia has said.

 

Lack of visibility over future legal spend is a real issue for companies, Warwick Walsh, CEO and founder at Lawcadia, told Lawyers Weekly.

 

“In-house counsel now want much more transparency over the legal procurement process and need better reporting over legal spend,” said Mr Walsh.

 

He added that while law firms are offering ‘discounts’ to respond to client needs, firms often make up the balance by charging ‘out-of-scope’ fees.

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