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Merck CEO says mentorship is key

Kenneth Frazier, the former general counsel of pharma company Merck, who is now CEO, says mentorship is key to corporate progress.


Modernising the courts: digital access to justice

With court closures on the agenda, how does this impact the access to justice debate for the vulnerable, asks Francesca Kaye of Russell-Cooke.


Most law firms fail the 'First Impression Test'

SME law firms are not creating a good impression to potential clients nor following up viable inquiries.


Russell McVeagh faces media maelstrom over intern allegations

The New Zealand law firm is at the centre of a media storm over its 2016 intern programme.


The big bang for alternative legal services providers

Will 2018 be the 'big-bang' year for the use of Alternative Legal Services providers, asks PwC's Peter Workman?


Clifford Chance buys Carillion legal arm

The global law firm has picked up the 60 strong paralegal team from the contractor which collapsed last month.


Thomson Reuters is the number one alternative legal services provider

The power of alternative legal service providers in the US has been revealed in a new legal index with Thomson Reuters at the top with the Big Four not far behind.

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Monday, 25 June 2012

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    Merill Lynch replaces Reed Smith after disclosure blunder

    Philadelphia-based law firm Morgan Lewis & Bockius will replace Pittsburgh-headquartered Reed Smith in advising Merrill Lynch, the wealth management division of Bank of America, in its battle against deferred-pay claims from more than a thousand former brokers.

    Reuters reports that a lawyer from Reed Smith apparently undermined Merrill's defence in its biggest case so far, as it tries to overturn a 3 April arbitration ruling from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority hat awarded $10.2 million to two brokers.

    The issue arose during the case of former Merrill brokers Tamara Smolchek and Meri Ramazio, when Reed Smith's Douglas Spaulding - Merrill's lead lawyer -- discovered that he possessed documents with information about the arbitrator's spouse that Merrill claimed it was unaware of until hearings were in progress.

    Although Merrill spokesman William Halldin confirmed the bank hired Morgan Lewis to represent it in the deferred-pay cases, Reed Smith will continue to represent Merrill in other matters.

    Reed Smith are yet to comment on the matter, while a Morgan Lewis spokeswoman also declined to comment, citing the firm's policy.

    Reuters coverage >>


    Strong showing by law firms in professional services ranking

    Several top US and UK firms have muscled their way into the higher echelons of a recently released league table of professional services firms.

    Leading Australia & Hong Kong-based independent corporate advisory firm Beaton Capital today released its first annual listing of the world's 450 largest professional services firms - which included 206 law firms.

    Ranked by 2010 revenue, Chicago-based Baker & McKenzie took the top law firm position, ranking 33rd overall with revenue of $2.26 million and a headcount of 4,455. New York's Skadden came 38th with 2010 revenue of $2,1 million, and Anglo-US firm DLA Piper and another American practice, Latham & Watkins, came 43rd and 44th respectively.

    The UK's magic circle contingent also made a strong showing, with Clifford Chance in 46th position with revenues of $1.88m; Linklaters in 48th with $1.85m; Freshfields in 50th with $1.76m and Allen & Overy with $1.73m.

    The overall top ranked firm was accounting and advisory outfit Deloitte, with 2010 revenue of $26 billion and a headcount of 138,757.

    Full Beaton450 league table >>


    Herbert Smith and Freehills vote on merger

    London-based law firm Herbert Smith and Sydney's Freehills could be set for full financial integration if the firms' partnerships voted in favour of a tie-up, with the result of the poll expected this week.

    The Lawyer newspaper reports that the proposal - a full profit-sharing merger - represents a fresh approach by the top-10 London firm, as it is a definite break with any alliance strategy.

    Herbert Smith - which set in motion a review of its lockstep last year - is likely to opt for a modified lockstep, according to the report, similar to the Freehills system. Other details suggest that China may be a key location for the firms, with the deal including a commitment by Freehills that its partners should be 'prepared to be mobile across the network'.
    Meanwhile, The Lawyer reports that English law firm Shoosmiths is merging with Edinburgh's Archibald Campbell & Harley in the latest in a line of similar tie-ups.

    The deal will see Archibald Campbell & Harley re-branded as ACH Shoosmiths, giving the English firm its first office in Scotland while boosting its real estate, retail, litigation and recoveries for lenders departments.

    The Lawyer coverage >>


    Wikipedia founder bids to block British student's extradition

    The founder of internet encyclopaedia Wikipedia has called on Britain's Home Secretary to stop the extradition of a British student to the US on copyright charges.

    The Independent newspaper reports that Jimmy Wales, 45, has backed a campaign seeking to block the extradition of Richard O'Dwyer, 24, who faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of charges relating to his website, TVShack.net, which linked to other web sites that included pirated television programmes.

    Mr O'Dwyer's supporters argue that as the site did not host material itself he should not face any charges and should therefore not be extradited.

    Mr Wales - who in a petition on the Change.org web site said TV Shack was 'similar to a search engine' - described the case as 'the human face of the battle between the content industry and the interests of the general public.'

    Mr O'Dwyer's extradition was approved by a district judge in January, but Mr Wales - who has born in Alabama but lives in London - wrote: ' Mr O'Dwyer is not a US citizen, he's lived in the UK all his life, his site was not hosted there, and most of his users were not from the US. America is trying to prosecute a UK citizen for an alleged crime which took place on UK soil.

    'The internet as a whole must not tolerate censorship in response to mere allegations of copyright infringement. As citizens we must stand up for our rights online.'

    The Independent coverage >>


    Kenya's attorney general demands 'disciplined legal profession'

    Leaders of Kenya's legal profession must be more vigilant in ensuring the country's lawyers adhere to ethical standards, attorney general Githu Muigai said recently.

    Mr Muigai also calledon the Advocates' Complaints Commission to crack down hard on lawyers failing to behave ethically and that those who breach the rules are quickly sanctioned to regain public confidence.

    According to the All Africa news web site, Mr Muigai said: 'Unless we have a disciplined legal profession, we have a clear threat to the rule of law, and the changes at the judiciary will mean nothing if the legal profession is incompetent and corrupt. That is why we must instil the best practices and maintain the highest standards.'

    Mr Githu made the comment after pledging his support to MPs' decision to amend the country's constitution to bring in electoral reform measures, telling those who opposed the changes to take their case to court.

    According to the report, Mr Githu - speaking on the subject for the first time after the MPs bid to amend sections of the constitution - said the MPs were exercising their constitutional rights.

    All Africa.com coverage >>


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FCA chief admits to tax 'error of judgement'

The former Slaughter and May partner had invested in a film tax avoidance scheme which saw him repaying the Inland Revenue £114k.