Morning Briefing: Law firms borrowing more to boost business

by Steve Randall18 Aug 2015
Law firms borrowing more to boost business
Law firms are borrowing more to invest in technology, retain lawyers and fund expansion plans. The FT reports that a new study by finance provider LDF in the UK, bank lending to British law firms has grown by 28 per cent since 2010 and stands at the equivalent of AU$15.58 billion. With many UK-based firms reporting strong financial results, expansion is a key reason for the borrowing in order to keep up with peers in the increasingly competitive landscape.
Pay rises have also been necessary to retain the best lawyers. Technology is the third big area for investment with systems being introduced to make operations leaner and more cost-effective and the use of artificial intelligence systems also part of the conversation at the most innovative firms.
Indian lawyers benefitting from growing perks
The expanding legal profession in India is proving lucrative for its lawyers, even those that are relatively new to the profession. Law firms are offering various perks to lawyers with the India Times reporting that premium-brand cars and low cost loans for house purchase are on offer to those at Mumbai firms. The family feud and court case that led to the split of Amarchand Mangaldas ignited a frenzy of hiring and highly competitive deals to attract the best talent.
The recent issue of fake lawyers is likely to see the competition heat up as the bogus practitioners are weeded out. The article reports that a typical law firm pay rise has been in the region of 12 to 25 per cent across all levels along with promotions to partner or practice head as incentives. Although India has a glut of lawyers, quality is less prolific, meaning some rich pickings for the country’s elite.
Law firm hires new corporate partner in Hong Kong
Terence Lau has joined the Hong Kong office of Norton Rose Fulbright as a corporate and equity markets partner. He joins with 19 years’ experience in the region from Hogan Lovells where he has been a partner for seven years. NRF now has 23 partners in Hong Kong.
Lawyers want Kamitsis proceedings supressed due to “lunatic” media
Lawyers representing Darwin travel agent Alexandra “Xana” Kamitsis, who is accused of rorting an NT Government pensioner travel scheme,  want the details of the court proceedings to be withheld from the media due to the “over the top” reporting by some organisations. NT News reports that Jon Tippett QC says that some “journalistic lunatics” are potentially prejudicing the trial, due to start in November, and wants any reference to his client to be suppressed until the trial is active. Wade Roper, the barrister representing NT News, ABC and Channel 9, said there was no evidence that the news organisations have not been fair and accurate in their reporting.