Why online law firms could create, lose jobs; new KPMG boss appointed in Ireland

by NZ Lawyer17 Jun 2014
Senior partner to leave Australia’s Allen & Overy... new law boss for KPMG in Ireland… why online law firms could create jobs, as well as lose them... and a top female lawyer gives insights into her career...

Robot lawyers? Not so futuristic
There are few industries or professions that are untouched by technology. It wasn’t that long ago that cows were routinely milked by hand, human beings sorted parcels and a surgeon's only use of a laser would have been inside his CD player. In all sectors there are those that adopt and adapt, and those that hold fast, blindly believing that change won’t happen, or if it does it will be temporary. Without doubt, the law profession has changed. Often these changes have been economic – mergers and acquisitions to save costs – but increasingly technology is changing the profession. An entrepreneur who formed an online law firm five years ago says that technology may cause disruption but the outlook is positive. Charley Moore of RocketLawyer says that while online law firms and even virtual courts could see firms close, the potential is that with lower costs allowing lower fees, more individuals and businesses may seek legal advice. Read the full story.

KPMG appoint new law boss in Ireland
‘Big four’ services company KPMG have appointed a new head of legal services in their Dublin office. Francis Hackett has previously worked in Ireland as managing partner at O’Donnell Sweeney (now Eversheds) and has most recently been working for Blackberry as general counsel. Mr Hackett has six new lawyers in his team and hopes to take advantage of hybrid accountancy and law firms, which have been proposed as a change in law, although not yet implemented. Read the full story.

Senior partner to leave firm... and law
Allen and Overy’s senior partner in Australia will be leaving the firm at the end of the year, four years after launching it. Grant Fuzi had been with A&O in Hong Kong more than 10 years ago and returned in 2010 to launch the Australian arm of the UK firm. With offices in Sydney and Perth, the firm has seen some challenges due to the economic downturn but has recently hired additional partners to further bolster its team. Mr Fuzi will leave in December to pursue opportunities outside of the legal profession. Read the full story.
Top female lawyer gives insight into equality
Hilarie Bass, co-president of Greenberg Traurig in Miami is one of the most powerful lawyers in the US. She’s taken on some big cases, represented some major name clients and has risen through the ranks of the firm, but she never wanted to be a lawyer. In fact she was attracted to the bright lights of acting, appearing in off-Broadway shows and TV soap. The cancellation of the TV show led to her going to law school and the successful career that has followed. Hilarie says that the corporate landscape is slowly changing with more women in senior roles leading to greater acceptance of the change. Read the full story.
Law group or law firm?
In many cases, a name like XYZ Law Group may be taken to be the name of a law firm, or perhaps a group of law firms with common ownership. If a group of lawyers sharing offices, a phone number and domain name, but each a sole practitioner, were to call themselves a law group, it may prove confusing to the public. That’s the conclusion of a ruling by a Canadian Superior Court judge who has advised that lawyers working together in association should be mindful of how they present themselves. The issue surrounds a lawyer at the Davenport Law Group, not a law firm, but a group of lawyers. He was acting as counsel for the plaintiffs in an employment case while the defendants had previously consulted with a lawyer who is also part of the group of lawyers (not a law firm remember!). They claimed issues of conflict and confidentiality, assuming that the two lawyers would have access to each other’s files. Although it was not the case, it does create potential problems for groups of lawyers who appear to be one firm. Read the full story.