[Australia] Confidence up, but revenues are down for top and mid-tier firms
A recent survey of top and mid-tier Australian law firms has produced some surprising results which contradict widely-held assumptions about top firms.
The survey conducted by the Commonwealth Bank and Beaton Research + Consulting showed that despite facing challenges from numerous quarters, law firms at the beginning of 2014 are overall more positive about the future.
The renewed optimism comes despite revenue expectations decreasing in all parts of the country except Melbourne.
Firms also nominated the areas of the legal business they were least confident about, with ‘negotiating prices with clients’, ‘winning new business’ and ‘keeping staff fully utilised’ making up the top three areas of concern.
The report dispelled the popular view that large law firms are inherently conservative and lagging behind when it comes to adopting new technologies, indicating that top firms were actually leading the industry in that area and showed that top tiers were the leading adopters when it came to implementing new information and communications technologies.
Source: Australasian Lawyer
[USA] Global Quartet Dig Into US$5.85 Billion Copper Mining Deal
Dentons and White & Case have grabbed lead roles advising a consortium of state-owned Chinese companies on their acquisition of a Peruvian copper mining project from Glencore Xstrata for US$5.85 billion.
The sale of the Las Bambas project to a group led by Melbourne-based MMG Ltd., a subsidiary of metals and mineral trading company China Minmetals Corp., comes almost a year after Glencore Xstrata was formed via the US$65 billion merger that joined the two legacy companies.
Initially structured as a merger of equals, Switzerland-based Glencore eventually ended up buying London-based Xstrata for roughly US$34 billion. As part of the sweeping regulatory approval process required to close the deal, Glencore agreed to relinquish its stake in Xstrata’s Las Bambas project to a buyer approved by Chinese authorities.
That buyer has now come forward in the form of a consortium led by MMG. MMG owns 62.5% of the consortium, while Hong Kong–based Guoxin International Investment Corp. and Citic Metal own stakes of 22.5% and 15%, respectively.
Source: The American Lawyer
[UK] Linklaters promotes more women than men to London partnership for first time ever
Four out of the seven new associates made up to partner in Linklaters’ London office this year are female, compared to just one out of six last year and the year before, according to local reports. Globally, nine of Linklaters’ 21 new partners are women, which represents the highest proportion of female new partners in the firm's history - and the most women the firm has made up in its annual round of promotions since records began in 2001.
A spokesman for Linklaters said the relatively high proportion of women this year reflects "the commitment we have made to identifying and supporting female associates with partnership potential".
[USA] Former Defense Department lawyer Kathy Brown joins Covington
Kathy Brown, most recently an associate general counsel in the Office of General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Defense, has joined Covington & Burling, where she is expected to play a key role in the firm's aerospace, defense and security industry group.
Brown has more than thirty years’ experience at the Defense Department, where she handled government defense contracts and defense industry M&A, including competition, CFIUS and FOCI reviews. She has served as associate general counsel for Acquisition, Technology & Logistics in the Defense Department's Office of General Counsel since 1990.
She joins Covington less than six months after Roger Zakheim, former general counsel of the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee.
[Hong Kong] Hong Kong clears further five solicitors to appear in court
Five additional Hong Kong solicitors have been cleared to appear in the city's courts following a second round of applications for higher rights of audience (HRA) in September.
The lawyers, who have not been required to undergo any assessment in order to obtain the approval, bring the total number of qualified solicitor-advocates in the city to 24, following a move in 2012 to expand the scope of work law firms are permitted to handle.
The partners include Mayer Brown JSM matrimonial disputes partner Jonathan Mok, Baker & McKenzie associate Ambrose Ng and Fried Frank consultant Philip Nunn, who heads the litigation and arbitration practice
for Fried Frank in Hong Kong and is also a consultant to the London office.
It also includes commercial and insurance litigator Kevin Bowers, co-managing partner of Reed Smith spin-off firm Howse Williams Bowers, and Hong Kong solicitor Eric Cheung, a principal lecturer in the Faculty of Law at Hong Kong University.
All of the lawyers have been approved to appear in civil cases except Cheung who can appear in criminal.
Source: Legal Week