Morning Briefing: The future of ‘virtual’ law firms

by John Maguire15 Apr 2015
The future of ‘virtual’ law firms: a network of offices
We may be in a period of change, much of it of brought about by disruptive technology, but one pioneering firm has found that clients still want elements of tradition. Excello Law, an innovative firm that was granted an alternative business structure licence in the UK and launched with lawyers working from home, has just opened its fourth office. Founder and managing director George Bisnought told the Law Society Gazette that feedback from staff and clients had led the firm towards a hybrid of virtual and traditional practices. Although lawyers will now have offices to work from, and more are planned, flexible working and home-working are still a key part of the business model. Bisnought predicts that other virtual firms will follow Excello’s lead.
 
Legal technicians can now own some US law firms
A ruling by the Washington Supreme Court means that legal technicians can now own law firms in the state. While they will not be able to supervise or direct the work of lawyers it is a major step in allowing non-lawyers to own law firms in the US. The Washington State Bar Association petitioned the court for the change with spokeswoman Paula Littlewood highlighting that the legal profession is approaching a “paradigm shift”.
 
Italian firm hires former Clifford Chance CEO
Italian law firm Grimaldi has set its sights on the City of London’s magic circle with the hire of a former CEO of Clifford Chance. Michael Bray, who retired from CC last year, will focus on Grimaldi’s finance and banking practice. The firm will continue to only practice Italian law.
 
Convict prefers execution to lawyers
Lawyers get some bad press sometimes but few who criticise the profession have gone quite so far as a US convict. Raghunandan Yandamuri a 29-year-old former IT professional from India has been convicted in the US courts for murdering a baby and her grandmother and is facing the death penalty. On Monday he told the Montgomery County Court that his lawyers, Hilles and Heckman, do not answer his calls or letters and said he may as well be executed “right now” rather than face a retrial with the firm’s representation. Judge Steven O’Neill called the statement “a little dramatic” and said that he knows of the law firm to be “diligent and zealous”. Hilles and Heckman expressed surprise at their client’s outburst saying that they have been “as responsive as any law team has ever been.” Yandamuri effectively represented himself during the trial with the lawyers acting as stand-by counsel.
 

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