Morning Briefing: Freshfields duo aim to be joint leaders

by Steve Randall08 Jun 2015
Freshfields duo aim to be joint leaders
As Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer approaches a leadership election this month two former rivals have united with a proposal to run the firm together. Edward Braham and Christopher Pugh are said to be the favourites in the election and if successful Braham would become senior partner with Pugh becoming managing partner. Two other duos are contenders in the election to replace current senior partner Will Lawes and managing partner David Aitman who will step down at the end of the year following a three-month handover period.

South Korean firm expands to Hong Kong
Bae, Kim and Lee has expanded its regional footprint with the launch of a new Hong Kong office. The practice will focus on financial and regulatory work and will be led by Tongeun Kim. The South Korean firm recently opened in Dubai and plans to expand to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City by the end of 2015, adding to its existing Beijing and Shanghai offices.

Lawyers given go ahead to take on non-law competitors
Lawyers in England have been given the tools to fight back against increased competition from non-law businesses. The Solicitors Regulation Authority has voted to allow law firms to own businesses that are not regulated by the SRA including accountancy firms. The move will mean that law firms can compete with alternative business structures on a more level playing field as many of the ABS competitors are accountancy firms. Lawyers will be required to only refer clients to the firm’s non-law business when it in in the client’s best interests and will need to provide information about the regulator for that work.

Failed law firms can’t claim profits from unfinished business
A court has over-ruled an earlier judgment that profits from unfinished business of a bankrupt law firm should go to trustees of the failed firm. The case relates to action taken by trustees of defunct firm Howrey who sought to claw back profits from partners who took unfinished business with them to eight law firms including Hogan Lovells, Seyfarth Shaw and Perkins Coie.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Judge James Donato of the US District Court in San Francisco said that if a client fires a law firm and hires a competitor then the first firm does have a right to profits where the work is carried out under the original engagement contract. That was not the case here. The judge said that the general principle is that where lawyers have done the work, they should be paid for it.