Warning as Australian law firms lose millions in email scam

by Steve Randall20 Dec 2017
Warning as Australian law firms lose millions in email scam
Lawyers across Asia Pacific are being warned about a fraudulent email which has already cost firms and clients significant sums.

At least two law firms in Queensland have been caught out, losing millions of dollars in the process, reports the Brisbane Times.

Emails appear to come from potential clients who gain the trust of law firm staff before gaining access to systems. The scammers have seemingly genuine backstories and write good English.

The scam relies on convincing law firm staff to provide login details for their email accounts by sending a fake link to documents which can only be accessed by using login information. 

Conveyancing transactions have been the hardest hit but any movement of trust funds is at risk, the Queensland Law Society says.

The New Zealand Law Society says that it believes firms in the country have also been targeted.

Major firms advise on landmark Metro Tunnel PPP
Teams from global and national law firms have advised on the $11 billion Metro Tunnel public-private partnership in Victoria.

It’s the biggest public transport project ever for Victoria and is the largest enhancement for Melbourne’s CBD rail network since the City Loop was built 30 years ago.

A team from Herbert Smith Freehills advised the Victorian Government’s Metro Rail Authority on the request for tender process and contract documentation.

Project Delivery partners Erin Wyeth and Jim Theodore led the multi-practice team which also included partners David Sinn, Miles Wadley, Heidi Astenand and Steve Bell.

White & Case were also advisers to the Metro Rail Authority, MinterEllison advised the Cross Yarra Partnership and Norton Rose Fulbright advised the design and construction joint venture and the maintenance subcontractor.

Allens was also involved, advising the financiers to the Cross Yarra Partnership, with a team led by partners David Donnelly and Michael Ryan.

'We are extremely proud to have supported the financiers and Cross Yarra Partnership on what will be a transformational project for the City of Melbourne and the largest rail infrastructure project in Australia for decades. It is a great example of the continued strength and depth of the project finance market in Australia that such a large and diverse group of institutions have supported this landmark project,' said Michael Ryan, Allens’ Head of Project Finance.

Ashurst hires White & Case regional practice head
Damien Whitehead has joined Ashurst in Hong Kong as a partner in its finance practice.

He joins from White & Case where he led the financial restructuring & insolvency team in Asia. He was previously with Herbert Smith Freehills as head of the firm’s Greater China restructuring and insolvency team.

Whitehead has almost two decades of experience in his sector and has worked in Australia and London as well as Asia.