Law firms work volume slips, fees rise

KWM’s bankers tighten lending conditions… Brexit faces new legal challenge…

Law firms work volume slips, fees rise
Despite demands from clients for savings from their law firms, a report shows that firms are charging more while workloads have decreased.

Citi Private Bank’s latest report on the legal sector in the US shows a 4.1 per cent rise in law firm revenue for the first half of 2016, compared to 3.3 per cent a year earlier.

The additional income is from higher billing rates, not increased demand from clients; fees increased by an average of 3.2 per cent, the New York Times reports.

Profits were higher in the first half of the year but are expected to be impacted in the second half by larger payments for junior lawyers being paid by large law firms.

Citi’s survey of 180 law firms including 80 of the top 100 in the US reveal that those focused on litigation and bankruptcy are optimistic about their prospects for the year compared to those involved in deals and capital markets concerned about the impact of Brexit and the US presidential election.
KWM’s bankers tighten lending conditions
King & Wood Mallesons in Europe and the Middle East is facing new, tighter restrictions on its borrowing after signing a debenture with its bankers.

Among the conditions of the document filed with the UK’s registrar of companies, Barclays Bank will need to be consulted before the law firm can sell, assign, lease, license, sub-license or grant any interest in its IP rights.

The debenture gives the bank a claim on securities, goodwill, current and future trade debts and IP with the option to appoint an administrator should the law firm fail to meet its obligations.
Brexit faces new legal challenge
With a legal challenge to the UK prime minister’s authority to begin the process of Brexit already scheduled in the High Court in October, there is now another case underway.

In what is believed to be the first Northern Ireland lawsuit against Brexit, McIvor Farrell solicitors in Belfast are acting for campaigner Raymond McCord who says that Brexit would breach the terms of the country’s peace treaty.

Mr McCord’s son was murdered by loyalist paramilitary group UVF in 1997 and he is concerned that EU ‘peace money’ paid to victims of the Troubles could end with Brexit.

The lawsuit may not derail the UK’s exit of the EU but could delay it.

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