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Editor's picks

INSOLVENCY

The business of staying in business

Commercial pressures are forcing restaurant and retail businesses to seek better deals from their landlords, says Thomas Bond of law firm Russell-Cooke.

LUXURY LAW SUMMIT

Luxury companies get together in New York to talk legal

Luxury and retail lawyers are meeting in New York next month to discuss the latest challenges faced by the industry globally.

INSOLVENCY

Carillion insolvency puts question mark over legal team's future

The construction giant's high profile legal department, headed by GC and board member Richard Tapp, has an uncertain future ahead.

GDPR could be used as a weapon against SMEs

The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) could be used as a weapon against businesses by dissatisfied customers or protesters, says Collyer Bristow.

INNOVATION

It's the Kodak moment for law firms

Bold innovation-and not just jumping on the latest tech hype-is a necessity rather than a choice, as smart legal providers up their game to deliver more than automation, says Wayne Ramsay, Chief Strategy Officer at Exigent.

MUELLER INVESTIGATOIN

Quinn Emanuel to represent Steve Bannon in Russian investigation

The litigation law firm is also representing other members of the White House.

PROFITABILITY

Law firms face declining productivity but must resist return to failed strategies

Declining productivity is costing law firms an average of $74,100 per lawyer each year, according to the latest research from Georgetown University.

What's new today:

Thursday, 21 June 2012

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Stolen Minter Ellison funds will not be returned

    The former finance chief at Sydney-based law firm Minter Ellison had intended to repay the AU$2.7 million he stole, claimed his lawyer, but a lavish lifestyle saw the money disappear rapidly.

    The Australian newspaper reports that Craig Dean Raneberg spent all the money he stole on 'exclusive accommodation and first-class travel', according to his lawyer David Mullen of South Australian firm Andersons.

    Mr Raneberg, 47, has pleaded guilty to 70 counts of dishonestly taking property without the owner's consent and prosecutors have called for a penalty to reflect the serious breach of trust involved.

    Minter Ellison has also demanded that Mr Raneberg pay back AU$6.5 million to reflect the stolen funds and his wages. But Mr Mullen told the South Australian District Court that the money was all gone.

    'There is no grand house, there are no Ferraris, no Swiss bank accounts, there's nothing,' said Mr Mullen. 'It has amazingly all gone into travel and accommodation and spending.'

    Mr Raneberg will be sentenced on July 20.

    The Australian coverage >>

  • LAW FIRM NEWS

    Willkie Farr battles negligence claim

    New York-based Willkie Farr & Gallagher has claimed it will 'vigorously' defend itself after property investor David Lichtenstein began negligence proceedings against the law firm.

    According to the New York Law Journal, Mr Lichtenstein claims that the firm inappropriately advised him to put into bankruptcy a company he once led, and then switched sides to represent a bank. He is seeking $104 million in damages.

    Mr Lichtenstein, the chairman and chief executive of Lightstone Group, claims he retained the services of Willkie Farr partners Marc Abrams and Matthew Feldman to advise him following Lightstone's purchase of hotel company Extended Stay.

    When that business faced a liquidity crisis, according to the claim, the Willkie partners made 'full-throated warnings about Mr Lichtenstein's drastic exposure if ESI failed to file for bankruptcy'. The claim continues: 'This advice provided by Willkie was wrong, given that Mr Lichtenstein would ultimately prevail in any such lawsuit.'
    Mr Lichtenstein also claims that 'in a breath-taking violation of base ethical obligations' Willkie agreed to represent Bank of America in its enforcement of guarantees against Lichtenstein and Lightstone Holdings.
    In a statement, Willkie said: 'The allegations against the firm and its partners are completely untrue and without merit and are brought by former clients who continue to owe the firm substantial unpaid legal fees.'

    New York Law Journal coverage >>

  • LAW FIRM NEWS

    Akin Gump bats away defamation claim

    A California state court judge has dismissed a $120 million defamation suit against a leading international firm launched by a former partner of San Diego practice Luce Forward Hamilton & Scripps.

    According to a report on the Am Law Daily web site, John Kirkland - who was also a partner at Manhattan law firm Dreier and Miami's Greenberg Traurig - launched the claim against Washington DC-based law firm Akin Gump and litigation partner Douglas Rappaport last January, with business consultant Charles Arnold also filing a claim.

    The defamation claims relate to a January 2011 letter sent by Mr Rappaport to James Worsham - the chief executive of California aerospace company Santa Fe Springs. The complaints stated that, in the letter, it was made to appear that Mr Kirkland and Mr Arnold had committed crimes, concealed conflicts of interest, and violated their fiduciary duties. The plaintiffs sought $100 million in punitive damages, $10 million in presumed damages, and $10 million in actual damages, as well as legal costs.

    When contacted for comment, Mr Kirkland referred the Am Law Daily to his lawyer, Mark Vega of the Los Angeles-based Libertas Law Group, who said that Akin Gump only prevailed on a 'technicality' - mentioning California's anti-SLAPP statute - and his client is considering an appeal. The statute itself is a mechanism used to strike out claims defendants construe to be a restriction on their constitutional rights to free speech.

    Mr Kirkland - now managing director at institutional investment company Ironridge Global Partners - has a strong social media presence, including pictures with former US President George W Bush on Twitter, a Facebook profile demonstrating his interest in big game hunting, and a YouTube video of him shooting elk.

    Am Law Daily coverage >>

  • SOCIAL MEDIA

    Nike falls foul of UK Twitter advertising rules

    Sportswear brand Nike has become the first company in the UK to have a Twitter campaign banned after failing to make it clear that personal accounts of prominent footballers were being used as advertisements.

    The Advertising Standards Authority clamped down on Oregon-headquartered Nike - which has high-profile sponsorship deals with many Premier League superstars - after it used the Twitter accounts of Wayne Rooney and Jack Wilshere as part of a marketing strategy for the 'Make It Count' campaign.

    According to The Guardian newspaper, a tweet posted by Mr Rooney - who has 4.37 million followers -- read: 'My resolution — to start the year as a champion, and finish it as a champion...#makeitcount gonike.me/makeitcount.'

    Although Nike UK said both players were well-known for being sponsored by the company -- arguing that Twitter 'followers' would not be misled about the relationship Nike had with them - the ASA said the content in the tweets was 'agreed with the help of a member of the Nike marketing team'.

    The ASA continued: 'In the absence of such an indication, for example #ad, we considered the tweets were not obviously identifiable as Nike marketing communications and therefore concluded they breached the [advertising] code. The ads must no longer appear. We told Nike to ensure that its advertising was obviously identifiable as such.'

    The Guardian coverage >>

  • LAW GRADUATES

    UK grads slam lack of law firm internships

    More than 700 law and non-law graduates from top UK universities have cited the dearth of internships offered by law firms as their chief concern when asked about career-related issues by researchers.

    The survey - conducted by leading graduate careers web site Targetjobslaw.co.uk - was revealed at the site's annual Law Employers Forum, held at the London offices of Chicago-headquartered Baker & McKenzie earlier this week.

    The students involved said a lack of work experience opportunities made it difficult to land job interviews and training contracts, with many pointing out the irony of firms asking students to gain work experience while offering none themselves.

    A law student from the University of Birmingham told Targetjobslaw: 'Can you please ask the law firms to provide more opportunities for LLB students at universities so that the students are able to maximise their chances of getting a training contract that suits them and also that the students are given more choice and options of diverse legal areas to choose from in their contract.'

 

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Mainz 05 obtains landmark ruling on tempory contracts

A top German football team has won as landmark ruling for temporary player contracts in team sports.