Morning Briefing: Election sees largest female-led firm emerge

by NZ Lawyer20 Nov 2014
Morgan Lewis: largest US law firm led by a woman
Morgan Lewis has published an article commenting on its election of Jami Wintz McKeon as chair of the international firm. It points out that the firm is the largest in the US headed by a woman and highlights that female-led law firms are still a rarity, especially at the biggest firms. Figures from the National Association of Women Lawyers show that only 17 per cent of equity partners are women and of course not all equity partners are in management roles. The article calls for more to be done to promote women to senior roles and suggests there could be a ‘ripple effect’ from a woman being appointed to such a high profile role.

Survey shows positive outlook for law firm revenue
A report by Citi Private Bank’s Law Firm Group shows that revenues are positive so far this year. The study looked at the revenues of US based firms including those with a global footprint and found that revenues are exceeding expenses. Demand is higher as are billed hours but more of the work is transactional, meaning a longer collection cycle. There is also a rise in discounted rates and alternative fee arrangements. Among the largest firms it’s estimated that 46.5 per cent of work is being carried out at a discount rate.

New website allows lawyers to bid for work
A new web-based service that allows clients to post details of their law work and invite lawyers to bid for it has launched across four countries. charges no upfront fees to either client or lawyer; the client pays when they have chosen to accept a lawyer’s bid with the website taking a 10 per cent commission. The service is based in Canada and operated by a web company and Jonathan Burshtein of law firm Davidzon Burshtein. As well as Canada it has launched in Australia, US and UK.

Irony in the ‘David and Goliath’ legal food fight
Food giant Unilever has some egg on its face having launched a lawsuit against a start-up rival. Unilever owns the Hellman’s brand of mayonnaise and is seeking to force the far smaller Hampton Creek to change the name and labelling of its Just Mayo brand on the basis that it doesn’t contain eggs and is therefore not ‘mayo’. However as the lawyers begin to build their case it is claimed that Unilever have changed some descriptions on their own websites which described some products as mayonnaise when their oil content was too low to qualify. The descriptions have been amended to read ‘mayonnaise dressing’.