Dentons adds Corrs lawyer to employment practice

by Steve Randall26 May 2019

Dentons has hired Ruth Nocka as a partner in its employment practice in Sydney.

The experienced lawyer was previously special counsel at Corrs Chambers Westgarth in the city and is a workplace relations lawyer who advises on all areas of employment law including termination of employment, managing injured employees, advising on contracts and statutory interpretation.

"We're very excited to have Ruth join us,” said Dentons Australia region chair and chief executive, Doug Stipanicev. “Her appointment strengthens our ability to provide employment expertise to our clients in more locations and will complement our employment offering in Adelaide following our combination with our associate firm, Fisher Jeffries."

Freshfields launches innovation lab
Another global law firm has launched a drive to fuel innovation as a core part of its digitization.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer opened the first of several planned Freshfields Lab locations, in Berlin, last Friday. The firm will collaborate with clients in the space to develop legal-profession focused solutions.

“The Freshfields Lab is a vital part of our response to the challenges presented by a fast-moving digital landscape, ensuring that we can continue to support our clients and transform our own business in the face of digitization,” said Matthias Koch, partner and head of Freshfields’ Digital Advisory Board. “Legal Tech and digitization sit at the heart of our client offering. The Lab will further strengthen the Firm’s expertise in both areas and will enhance the processes adopted to develop ideas and products.”

Firms need to find ways to integrate tech, reduce billable hours
Lawyers understand the importance of technology to their firm but want better user interfaces and more solutions that are designed for the profession.

A recent survey of lawyers in the UK and US found that 40% of respondents said the software they use regularly is not tailored to the legal profession but 29% said this was needed; the same share want software to be more intuitive.

The survey by YouGov for Intapp also revealed that artificial intelligence is a key tech that lawyers say is valuable for the profession with around a third seeing the benefits of AI drafting documents and around the same citing its ability in tracking billable time.

“As I often tell my legal industry clients, law firms are at a tipping point with regard to technology,” said Ralph Baxter, former chairman and CEO of the global law firm Orrick and advisor to law firms, legal technology startups and corporate law departments. “As the survey clearly demonstrates, firms need to invest now in technology that integrates quickly and contributes to business development, client service and internal processes. Further, they need to find creative ways of reducing the billable hour and providing faster service. The technology to do so is out there, and time is of the essence.”

In terms of technology helping lawyers meet client demands; 35% say clients are demanding faster service, 25% say clients want lower fees as a priority, and 24% say they want more transparency about the status of matters.