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Editor's picks


Does up-to-date website content mean no rest for the wicked?

Generating new content for websites takes time and resource, says James Noble.


Top tips for GDPR compliance: What every company and law firm should know

Fortune 500 Privacy and Data Officer and author of 'GDPR - Fix it Fast' Patrick O Kane outlines the key 'must do' GDPR tasks.


Private equity fund acquires leading directory publisher Chambers

Chambers and Partners has been acquired by Inflexion led by legal entrepreneur Mark Wyatt.


Kinstellar targets investment opportunities in Uzbekistan

The law firm is opening in Tashkent with plans to actively recruit for the office.


EC: gone fishing

No Brexit trade deal could cost UK and EU companies £57bn a year

Law firm Clifford Chance says financial services and the automotive sector would be hardest hit in the absence of a deal between the UK and Europe.


Luxury elite lawyers and founders get ready for Luxury London

Around 250 of luxury's elite lawyers and businesses will join forces in London on 14/15 May.


Predictive coding yields low cost litigation results

BLP's use of predictive coding has yielded a positive result for its client.

What's new today:

Thursday, 21 June 2012

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    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 >>


    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 >>


    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 >>


    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 >>


    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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CMS Cameron McKenna dismisses Singapore managing partner

The international law firm has also reported Andrew Stott to the SRA.