UN human rights chief concerned at China’s crackdown on lawyers
. CNN reports that Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein has spoken with the Chinese authorities and expressed concern that they "too often reflexively confuse the legitimate role of lawyers and activists with threats to public order and security." More than 200 lawyers and others have been arrested since the crackdown began last July.
Herbert Smith Freehills to support Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras
Herbert Smith Freehills recently announced that it is continuing its support for diversity by sponsoring the Brisbane MELT Festival for the first time this year. It has now confirmed that it will also support the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras for the second consecutive year. The event, one of the largest of its kind in the world, runs from this Friday (19th
Feb.) until 6th
March. The firm is also supporting the Melbourne Queer Film Festival.
Concern that new UK entry exam could deter talented lawyers
A proposal to standardise the entry exam for solicitors in England & Wales could lead to talented individuals deciding against qualifying. The Law Society has responded to the proposals of the Solicitors Regulation Authority to create the Solicitors Qualifying Examination to replace other routes to qualification.
Law Society president Jonathan Smithers said the society supports a centralised entrance exam but warned that it is “critical that the standards for the solicitor qualification are not diminished, as this will damage the standing of solicitors at home and abroad and thereby impact on our economy and jobs.” He said that if the standard is not set at the right level to ensure the profession attracts the best.
Microsoft law firm announces sudden closure
The law firm that represents Microsoft for much of its legal work is to close at the end of the month. The sudden closure has not been explained but is reported to be for financial reasons. Lawyers and staff at Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan’s 15 offices across the US were informed of the closure on Monday.
BizJournals.com has published an emailed statement attributed to the Wisconsin-based firm’s chairman Emery Harlan which includes the words:
“After considerable analysis and deliberation, the equity partners of Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan have voted to discontinue the operation of the firm effective Feb. 29, 2016. Our immediate concern is to our clients and working with our lawyers and employees to transition the legal services we have been providing to other firms or lawyers.”