Morning Briefing: Legal profession offers help to bush fire victims

by NZ Lawyer07 Jan 2015
Legal profession offers help to bush fire victims
Lawyers and the profession’s governing bodies have reacted quickly to help those affected by bush fires in South Australia. The Law Society of SA is maintaining a register of lawyers who are providing free immediate legal help and the Law Services Commission is providing a free advice helpline. Law Society Members can be added to the Disaster Relief Assistance Register here.

Another new partner for Bird & Bird
Bird & Bird has announced another partner for their Asia-Pac region. Zhaofeng Zhou has joined the competition practice in Beijing from Taylor Wessing. It follows Seow Hui Goh’s appointment in Singapore announced on Monday. Bird & Bird’s regional chairman Justin Walkey says that anti-trust issues are a growing area in China and advice on the subject is being increasingly requested by clients. 

Learner begins second quarter-century at Kirkland
James L. Learner, a former member of the global management committee of Kirkland and Ellis, is returning to the firm after two years with a private equity firm in California. Learner had been with Kirkland for 25 years when he left and was a key part of the growth of the firm’s London office. He returns to the corporate practice group from 1st February.

US class-action lawyers focusing on outdated employment laws
Law firms in the US could be boosting revenues with employment class-action lawsuits according to a forecast from Seyfarth Shaw. The report says that a combination of the Obama administration’s pro-labor stance and outdated laws often dating back to the 1930s is providing a relatively easy source of business for lawyers. Partner Gerald Maatman says that many plaintiff lawyers are entering the field and there will be an increase in cases involving working hours, entitlements, pensions and employment contracts. Many cases will be brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act which requires far less preparation work and are easier to bring to court than discrimination cases.

Harvard law professor urges Prince Andrew to file defamation suit
Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard law professor named in the ‘sex slave’ case alongside Prince Andrew, is urging the royal to file a defamation suit. Dershowitz has already taken the action in London and the US claiming that lawyers for the alleged victim, Virginia Robert, knew her claims were false when they filed their case. Dershowitz has denied claims that he had sex with Roberts when she was a minor under Floridian law. Buckingham Palace has denied the allegations against Prince Andrew.