Law firm named Australia’s healthiest workplace
A national survey of workplace health trends has established that a leading global law firm has the healthiest workplace in Australia.
The research by AIA Vitality has found that Ashurst
is the healthiest of the 32 companies around Australia which took part, based on employee lifestyle, clinical indicators, stress and mental health to understand the associated impact on wellbeing and productivity.
"We are delighted to be named Australia's Healthiest Workplace 2017,” Regional head, Australia Phil Breden commented. “It is fantastic recognition of the firm's programs and policies to improve the health and wellbeing of our employees and the way that the entire team in Australia embrace and drive these initiatives."
Among the initiatives introduced by the firm in its Australian offices are access to the firm's employee assistance program, access to wellbeing officers across the firm, subsidised gym membership and access to mindfulness training.
Why bigger clients may mean bigger budget cuts
A survey of in-house legal teams in the US found that 41% made cuts to their spending on outside counsel while just 32% increased it.
The Altman Weil Chief Legal Officer Survey reveals that 45% increased their overall budget in 2017 while 36% decreased it. In larger departments (50+ lawyers) 59% cut their spending with just 22% increasing.
“The survey shows law departments with over 50 lawyers doing much more than smaller departments to improve internal efficiencies, manage outside resources, control costs and utilize professional administrators and staff," according to Altman Weil principal and survey co-author James Wilber. "Smaller departments simply have fewer resources to devote to these important initiatives and positions."
While 79% of in-house legal departments provide external counsel with guidelines on billing, expenses, matter staffing and matter management; only 60% routinely enforce them.
Legal departments report using price reductions and technology most often to drive efficiencies while there was lower use of outsourcing to non-law-firm vendors to make savings.
For 2018, more law departments expect to spend more on outside counsel than those that expect to decrease spend.
“It's ironic that while most law firms want to work for the biggest and best-known companies, the survey shows that law departments in larger companies are generally more sophisticated and demanding consumers of legal services,” says Rees Morrison, Altman Weil principal and survey co-author.
Lady Chatterley’s Lover lawyer dies aged 102
A lawyer who was one of the team that successfully argued for the ban of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, has died aged 102.
Jeremy Hutchinson, QC was called to the Bar in England in 1939 and went on to have a long and prolific career representing many famous names along the way.
The BBC reports that Hutchinson was the role model for the popular TV series Rumpole of the Bailey which ran from the late 70s until the early 90s.
In real life though, the barrister fought the establishment many times and his high-profile clients included Christine Keeler (of Profumo Affair fame) and Soviet double-agent George Blake.
During the Lady Chatterley’s Lover trial of the 1960s, Hutchinson ensured that the jury included a lot of women, noting that “women are more sensible” about sex. The ban was overturned.