New Zealand Ministry of Justice redefines meaning of a "law firm"

by Steve Randall11 Aug 2017
New Zealand Ministry of Justice redefines meaning of a “law firm”
A late amendment to New Zealand’s Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Amendment Bill has redefined the meaning of “law firm” after an unintended error.

The proposed legislation will bring law firms under the AML/CFT legislation but concerns were raised by law firms Russell McVeagh and Chapman Tripp that the wording would have meant individual members of a partnership being responsible for reporting.

The original wording defined a law firm as: (a) a barrister or solicitor practising on the barrister’s or solicitor’s own account: (b) in relation to 2 or more lawyers practising law in partnership, the partnership: (c) an incorporated law firm.

That was changed by the Law & Order Committee to: (a) a barrister or barrister and solicitor, practising on the barrister’s or barrister and solicitor’s own account (whether in partnership or otherwise) or (b) an incorporated law firm.

The New Zealand Law Society backed the concerns of the law firms and wrote to the Ministry suggesting an amendment which would mean the law firm being treated as a single reporting entity whether incorporated or not.

The provision now reads: "Law firm means - (a) a barrister or a barrister and solicitor who is practising on the barrister's or barrister and solicitor's own account in sole practice; (b) in relation to 2 or more barristers and solicitors practising law in partnership, the partnership; (c) an incorporated law firm."

Foreign law firms will be good for India says Supreme Court lawyer
Harish Salve, recently named India’s most expensive lawyer, says foreign law firms will be a good thing for the country’s legal profession.

Writing in the Economic Times, the Supreme Court lawyer says that foreign firms are not interested in taking work from local firms’ litigation practices but will operate in a similar way to large accountancy firms.

That, Salve says, will mean large foreign firms directly hiring Indian lawyers which will benefit the profession by giving junior lawyers experience of working for global firms.

The benefits mean that those lawyers will then be used to working in a global law firm culture, making a transition to working in other countries easier.

Imagine if your law firm was based on a private jet
The offices of law firms are evolving into collaborative, modern workplaces but one law firm in Houston, Texas has taken things to new heights, literally.

Patterson and Sheridan is an IP specialist firm which operates in Houston but is pushing into Silicon Valley where sky-high commercial real estate has made an innovative solution a reality.

The firm bought a 9-seater corporate jet and regularly flies teams of lawyers to California.

The Houston Chronicle reports that even with the $3 million price tag for the jet and running costs of $2,500 an hour, the far lower costs of commercial real estate and staff in Houston compared to San Francisco make it competitive.