HSF, Kennedys announce expansion

by Steve Randall24 Oct 2017
HSF, Kennedys announce expansion
Two international law firms have announced extended footprints with the opening of new offices.

Herbert Smith Freehills has launched a new Milan office with a senior hire from Simmons & Simmons. Laura Orlando was previously head of the Dispute Resolution and IP practice at Simmons in Italy.

She specialises in contentious and non-contentious IP, with a focus on patent and regulatory law in the life sciences sector, which has seen growth in Milan.

Meanwhile, Kennedy’s has a new member of its network; Bermuda firm Sedgwick Chudleigh, significantly expanding its capabilities to an important insurance and financial centre.

Sedgwick Chudleigh was formerly associated with US firm Sedgwick LLP and makes Kennedy’s the first ‘on-shore’ law firm to establish a presence in Bermuda.

The office will continue to be led by partner Mark Chudleigh and further expansion of the office is planned.

Simmons loses Southeast Asia practice head to rival
Reed Smith has hired Bree Miechel as a partner in its Energy and Natural Resources Group in Singapore.

The projects and construction lawyer was previously at Simmons & Simmons where she led the Southeast Asia construction practice.

“Bree’s vast experience with major energy and infrastructure projects, her particular experience in procurement and delivery strategies, and her overall thought leadership in construction and environmental law, complements our strong existing energy practice in the region and makes her a very valuable addition to our growing team in Singapore,” said Barry Stimpson, Reed Smith’s Singapore Office managing partner.

Technology isn’t optional say lawyers but investment lags
Investment in legal tools in small and mid-sized law firms remains low despite firms acknowledging their ability to improve efficiency.

A survey of lawyers by LexisNexis found that 92% said that technology is no longer optional but 81% of firms spend less than 10% of their turnover on legal tools and 58% spend less than 5%.

The reason appears to be a high level of law firms believing that they are already efficient.

While more than half of those that use legal tools say they are a significant contribution to their business, and 30% of non-users saying that investing in tools would improve efficiency; 49% of lawyers said their firm’s efficiency is average and 36% said it is above average.

The top reason for maintaining efficiency among respondents was “not dabbling outside your practice area” (41%), well above “investing in new technology” (17%). Ninety-five percent of lawyers said they refer business to other firms if it is outside their practice focus.

“Law firms must align their working practices with that of their increasingly tech-savvy and informed client base,” commented Jon Whittle, Market Development Director at LexisNexis. “One of the problems is getting lawyers to take a long term view. While their firms may be thriving now, if they don’t take a commercially savvy, customer-centric, progressive view of the business and invest in solutions that drive efficiency today, this will not be in the case in five years.