Morning Briefing: Are Aussie law firms helping to change perceptions of lawyers?

by Steve Randall05 Oct 2015
Are Aussie law firms helping to change perceptions of lawyers?
Law firms in Australia and the UK are among those that are helping to change the business of law – and the perception of lawyers. That’s the view of Mark A. Cohen, founder of legal consultancy Legal Mosaic, who says that allowing interdisciplinary practice will create a different dynamic. Writing for Bloomberg BNA, Cohen says that lawyers are often viewed as “difficult” and the cause of problems by the general public and are seen as charging too much. He also cites the use of legal jargon as distancing lawyers from the wider population and that lawyers are often not considered happy; depression rates in the profession add weight to this view.
On a positive note though, Cohen writes that technology, and the way that lawyers and business interact, are creating new opportunities – at least for those willing to adapt the delivery model. As part of his vision for changing the law business, he calls for a reduced cost of legal education; for lower expectations of financial reward; and a stronger focus on client relations.
International law firm to close one office, review another
International law firm Fasken Martineau is reportedly closing its Paris office next month and is considering the reduction of its headcount in London. The Canadian-based firm has almost 800 staff but most are located in its six offices in Canada. It also has a South African office in Johannesburg and also has an alliance with Simmons & Simmons in Africa.
Former law firm IT engineer convicted of hacking its network
A former IT engineer at international law firm Locke Lord has been convicted of unauthorised access of the firm’s network. Anastasio Laoutaris faces up to 10 years in prison and US$500,000 in fines. The Dallas-based firm, which has offices in Hong Kong and Tokyo, was known as Locke Liddell & Sapp at the time of the incidents. A US federal court heard that systems were accessed by Laoutaris on two occasions in December 2011 during which he "issued instructions and commands that caused significant damage to the network, including deleting or disabling hundreds of user accounts, desktop and laptop accounts, and user e-mail accounts.”