Morning Briefing: Gap closing between law firms tiers says PwC

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Gap closing between law firms tiers says PwC
The gap between top-tier and mid-tier law firms is narrowing according to analysis from PricewaterhouseCoopers. In its annual law firm survey PwC found that 82 per cent of the firms polled (in the UK) increased their income with the mid-tier firms closing the gap between themselves and the top 10 firms. Equity partners in the mid-tier were receiving a greater share of the profits than large firms; 17 per cent compared to 3.5 per cent; the large firms’ increase was partly down to smaller headcounts.
Although carried out in the UK the survey highlighted some trends which are also being seen elsewhere. Pressure on hourly billing in favour of alternative fee arrangements was reported especially by the top 11-50 firms. There is also reticence among law firms to embrace digital innovations with 80 per cent recognising the need to embrace technology but only 23 per cent making changes to do so. Many firms have not even updated websites to allow clients to interact in the way that many are demanding.
Hong Kong arbitration proposal backed by HSF
Hong Kong could introduce third-party funding for arbitration in the territory and law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has added its support to the proposal. Third-party funding of arbitration is already allowed in Australia, England, the US and many other jurisdictions and a major consultation has been launched this week to establish whether it is right for Hong Kong.
Justin D'Agostino, who leads Herbert Smith Freehills' global dispute resolution practice and is the firm's Regional Managing Partner for Asia and Australia, was a member of the sub-committee that produced the report. As Honk Kong was recently named as the third most-popular venue for arbitration after London and Paris D’Agostino sees reform as important: "Liberalising the funding rules will ensure Hong Kong maintains this leading position.”
Firm wins trademark industry award
International law firm Simmons & Simmons has been recognised by the International Trademark Association (INTA) for the pro bono work that it has undertaken for the body. INTA supports trademarks and related intellectual property in order to protect consumers and to promote fair and effective commerce. Simmons & Simmons was awarded with a Volunteer Services Award for its work with INTA; the law firm has expanded the volume of its pro bono work this year.