Morning Briefing: Lawyers get public warning; Fieldfisher announces 100% NQ retention rate

by NZ Lawyer07 Aug 2014
Law firms warned over data breaches
Law firms worldwide are being advised to assess their handling of sensitive data after the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) issued a public warning to solicitors and barristers that more needs to be done to keep clients’ data safe. It follows a series of breaches in the last few months involving the UK legal profession; 15 cases in the last three months. With the highly confidential and potentially damaging nature of data handled by the profession, the ICO warns that breaches can easily fall within the statutory limits for a financial penalty. Along with the potential for client lawsuits for data breach regulators frequently have some strong penalties to issue; the ICO for example has the power to issue fines of up to £500,000 (AU$ 902,463) for the most serious incidents. With its warning it has issued some ‘top tips’ to avoid such data breaches. These include not leaving files in cars especially overnight, only carrying essential data, using encryption on memory sticks and in email, only keeping information as long as required and making sure data is completely deleted from old computers when discarding them.

Fieldfisher hits 100 per cent
Retention rates for newly qualified lawyers at the big law firms have been generally high this year, but Fieldfisher has announced that 100 per cent of its NQs will stay with the firm this autumn. All 11 of the former trainees will stay with the firm; an increase on last year’s 12 out of 17 figure.

Chadbourne closes Ukraine office
With political and civil unrest escalating in the country, Chadbourne and Parke has taken the decision to close its Kiev office. The firm, with offices including Beijing, New York, London and Moscow has operated in Ukraine for over 20 years. Adam Mycyk , one of two partners in the office, is moving to Dentons. The Chadbourne office in Kiev will close in the next few months.

Small law can still win big deals
The end of the prospect of a trial for Formula 1 racing boss Bernie Ecclestone has been negotiated by a specialist at a small German law firm. Sven Thomas of Dusseldoft-based Thomas Deckers Wehnert & Elsner was the multi-billionaire’s main counsel in the settlement to avoid a trial for alleged bribery. The settlement figure was over AU$106 million.

Law puts an end to LA’s movie business
Okay so the big blockbusters are safe; the Hollywood A-listers will still only have to make a short commute to work. However, one specialist area of movie making has been driven out of Los Angeles by the rule of law. Applications for permits for the production of adult movies in the city have fallen by 90 per cent due to a law forcing actors to wear condoms. Producers claim the law has hit their sales, while some actors are reportedly considering claims for ‘rashes and chafing’.