UK firm launches in Australia and should you be accepting Bitcoin payments?

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UK law firm opens new Aussie venture…. Black lawyers poorly represented in US firms… and should you be accepting Bitcoin?

Brits Open Australian Office With Big Claims
UK law firm Keystone Law are the latest British law firm to open in Australia and they claim to the different to the rest. The firm will be known as Keypoint (as there is already a Keystone Lawyers in Australia) and will be based in Sydney – although staff will also be in Melbourne and Canberra. The firm is initially looking for lawyers with 10+ years PQE and will not have hourly billing targets, two of the strategies that have worked well for the UK parent, which has been in practise for about a decade. Keypoint officially launch today (30th May).
The firm’s USP for hiring lawyers is that they pay fee earners 70% of the fees they generate from clients.
 
Black Lawyers Not Well Represented in US
A report shows that black lawyers are not well represented at top US law firms. Other minorities including Asian-Americans and Hispanics fare better in the survey of 223 top firms. The report, in the June edition of The American Lawyer, says that black lawyers face ‘unconscious racial bias’ which means they miss out on the best assignments and may suffer prejudice from colleagues. Black lawyers also appeared to suffer more from the economic downturn, with re-employment rates being lower. Read the full story.
 
UK Commitment to Staff Diversity
While there appears to be work needed in the States to ensure diversity in the workforce, the UK’s law professionals are showing commitment to equal opportunities and corporate and social responsibility. The Solicitors Regulation Authority places obligations on firms and the evidence suggests that firms are embracing the rules and actively making changes, such as increasing the numbers of women recruited to senior roles. Read the full story.

New South Wales Leads the Way... But Who’s Following?
A framework for the legal profession that has spread across many parts of the world, including the UK, Canada and parts of the US, began in New South Wales. Ideas such as allowing multidisciplinary firms, incorporation of law firms and cultures of entire firms rather than individual discipline have helped shape the future of many practises, but ironically they have not been widely adopted throughout Australia. Only NSW and Victoria have agreed to a national regulatory framework, so why are other parts of the nation not following suit? Read the full story.
 
Can’t Find A Law Firm You Like? Start Your Own
Michael McDevitt isn’t a lawyer, but as a former CEO of a company that was involved in a class action, and one of his own, he knows a thing or two about how law firms work… and he wasn’t impressed. Although his company had a USD$300 million turnover, he was unable to get the legal representation he wanted. McDevitt found that the biggest firms either wouldn’t take a case from a ‘small fry’ business like his or, if they did, it was junior staff who were assigned. When he left the company, he decided to team up with a lawyer friend and do things differently. Tandem was born and prides itself on poaching top talent from other firms, while charging half their hourly rate to clients! Read the full story.
 
First major US Law Firm to Accept Bitcoin
Not everyone is certain about Bitcoin, the digital currency, but it is gaining support, and now one of the oldest law firms in the US has become the first major law firm in the country to start accepting Bitcoin. Michael Paradise from McLaughlin and Stern LLP says, “We are excited to offer our clients a new way to pay. We believe it is important that if we want to be on the cutting-edge of the law and technology, we must adapt and apply the law to these new technologies". Read the full story.
 

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