How Firms Are Coping With the Downturn
Large law firms are finding different ways of coping with the downturn in the mergers and acquisition market and overall weak economy. Bloomberg reports that firms are finding work overseas, with deal volume in Asia, Latin American and the Middle East increasing by 39 percent. Firms are now seeking to accelerate foreign expansion, with some offering partners $250,000 in housing allowances and associates $150,000 a year in incentives to move overseas. And while some U.S. firms have laid off lawyers in their home offices, others are building their overseas roster.
This story from Law.com reports that many law firms are replacing "headline making deals" with more middle-market transactions. And state-owned sovereign wealth funds are also keeping firms busy, since the funds are able to make investments that "require a pure equity investment" and "are not susceptible to outside leverage." And firms expect these funds to remain an area of opportunity for firms even when the credit crunch abates.Sphere: Related Content
Long Billable Hours Causing Problems for Lawyers Around the Globe
Today, Conde Nast's Porfolio covers this "earth shattering" story about stressed-out, overworked, guilt-plagued, miserable lawyers who don't lead balanced lives. This time, the conclusion came from a three-year study by the New York State Bar Association. Needless to say, most of the findings aren't new; long hours are driven by round-the-clock client demands, financial pressure to repay student loans and the intrusion of the BlackBerry and other technologies that make it difficult to leave the office behind. And the solutions aren't much more original -- law firms must adopt and implement flexible options.
But long hours aren't unique to attorneys in the United States. As this story from Australia points out, law firms all over the world have "pretty much the worst practices," says academic Linda Duxbury. Duxbury said that both Canada and Australia were equally lacking when it came to work-life balance options, with the major difference between the countries being that, "In Canada, they know they have a problem."Sphere: Related Content
Lawsuit Seeks to Raise Court-Appointed Rate Above $650
What do large-firm, white-collar criminal defense attorneys and court-appointed criminal lawyers have in common? They both charge $650. Only for the Biglaw attorneys, that's $650 an hour, while for court-appointed lawyers in Pennsylvania, it's $650 for preparation of a felony case (or a whopping $2,000 for homicides). Rates like these compromise indigent defendants' constitutional rights to effective assistance of counsel and a fair trial, argue a group of court-appointed lawyers in Philadelphia, who've filed suit for a pay increase in federal court, according to this report. In their complaint, the lawyers ask the court to prohibit all criminal trials involving court-appointed lawyers until a more adequate pay system is put in place.
While court-appointed lawyers aren't entitled to the same pay as their large-firm clients (whose clients can afford to pay huge fees), at the same time, $650 for a felony or $2,000 for a homicide is unconscionably low. At a bargain rate of $50/hour, that's 13 hours for the felony case or 40 hours for the homicide. Kind of hard to squeeze in a trial with caps like that.
If you're a criminal defense lawyer, what do you do? Do you press your clients to take a plea? And how many of these cases do you handle at a loss before you stop accepting them at all?Sphere: Related Content
A New Circuit for Justice Scalia
It's been years since Justice Scalia sat on the D.C. Circuit. But these days, he can be found on a different circuit entirely -- the speaking circuit. As today's Washington Post reports, with Scalia's upcoming book, Making Your Case: the Art of Persuading Judges, co-authored with writing guru Bryan Garner and due out April 28, the justice has been making the rounds to drum up publicity. Earlier this week, Scalia spoke at a high school and a law school, and soon, he'll make an appearance on "60 Minutes." Who would have thought that beneath Justice Scalia's robes lurked a marketing machine?
For more information on Scalia's upcoming book, see this post.Sphere: Related Content
Rodrigo González Fernández
DIPLOMADO EN RSE DE LA ONU
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