Big law firms in US getting bigger, Australia to get tough on data protection laws

by NZ Lawyer10 Jun 2014
Big law gets bigger in the US, but mainly through international mergers... Australia likely to get tougher data protection laws... and why the church stays silent on child abuse...

More lawyers at US big law firms – but not all good news
Any industry or profession likes to see an increase in numbers, but while the figures showing big law firms in the US now have more lawyers, it’s not quite as good as it seems. The annual report from the National Law Journal discovered that while there are more lawyers working at the big firms now than before the financial crisis started in 2008, this has largely been the result of mergers with international firms like that of K&L Gates in Pittsburgh with Middletons of Australia. Many of these big firms are actively developing their business overseas, in Africa for example. One area of expansion though is the home of technology, Silicon Valley which has been hiring at an above average rate. Read the full story.
 
Australia data laws to mirror UK
Tougher data protection laws are on the way in Australia. A report by European legal firm Fieldfisher has examined data laws in Europe, the US and the Asia-Pacific region. Their conclusion is that Australia and New Zealand will be among those countries that will need to toughen their regimes to be more in line with the UK and Germany. This will have a big impact on businesses, who will need to consider many areas of their operations to ensure legal compliance. The Privacy Act 1988 was amended in 2012 and implemented from this year but Fieldfisher believe there will be further moves towards a more level global privacy playing field. Read the full story.
 
Why the Church can stay silent on child abuse
The Catholic Church system of discipline is less severe now than it was in the 12th Century. Back then if a priest was accused of the sexual abuse of children, he would be dismissed and handed over to the relevant authorities for the courts to deal with. However, since the early 20th century there has not been this requirement for civil justice. Retired Sydney lawyer, Kieran Tapsell, also has a theology degree and highlights the issues surrounding Canon law and the policy of secrecy. Read the full story.
 
Deloitte expand legal business
As the big players in various professions cross over into others, Deloitte is expanding its global legal services operations. As one of the ‘big four’ professional services firms, Deloitte began as auditors and accountants and expanded from there. Its legal services division employs some 1300 lawyers and already operates in many areas including Australia, North America and Europe but it is keen to expand to other countries. Its first target is the UK and the firm says there is increasing demand for truly global firms. Read the full story.
 
Docket-based data could provide law firm league tables
A Florida legal services company suggests that using court docket data can give a more transparent way of comparing the efficiency of law firms. Oversite Data Services carried out a survey that shows the varying timelines of key markers such as foreclosures. They say that widespread use of such data would provide clients and regulators with greater insight and comparison of firms. Read the full story.
 

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