Morning Briefing: Are the big money days over for Singapore lawyers?

Are the big money days over for Singapore lawyers?... Ashurst hires Freshfields Australia group head… US state takes step towards law firm reform… Law firm partners prepare to share $40 million from IPO… PI lawyers turn to social media for clients…

Are the big money days over for Singapore lawyers?
A report says that law firms in Singapore are scaling back after boom time of a few years ago. The Business Times article says that a slowing economy has led to a reduction in compensation packages, fewer trainees and a curb on hires. It was only a few years ago that the city state was suffering from a shortage of lawyers but that has reversed with many now concerned that there may be a glut of talent with nowhere to go. It appears that monthly wages are being moderated by many firms, however that may allow firms to hire more lawyers.
Ashurst hires Freshfields Australia group head
Australian lawyer James Wood is leaving Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in London to join Ashurt. Wood began his career at Allens in Australia before joining Freshfields where he has been managing partner in Tokyo before relocating to London. He is the firm’s country partner for Australia.
US state takes step towards law firm reform
Non-lawyers will be able to jointly own law firms in one US state following a landmark decision by the Supreme Court. The Washington State Bar Association had proposed the change as part of ongoing reform. Three years ago Washington began allowing legal technicians to practice family law but not to advocate in court; those technicians will now be able to jointly own law firms with lawyers. However they will not have managerial responsibility for lawyers with an attorney in a managerial role overseeing conduct. The only other part of the US where non-lawyers can jointly own law firms is the District of Columbia.
Law firm partners prepare to share $40 million from IPO
Seven partners of the first UK law firm to be publicly listed on the London Stock Exchange will net £20 million (AU$40.02m) from the IPO of 30 per cent of the firm’s equity. Gateley will join the alternative investment market on June 8 and has been valued at £100 million (AU$200 million). Along with the partners two large institutional investors will take holdings of 5.6 and 8 per cent in the new public company.
PI lawyers turn to social media for clients
Personal injury lawyers are turning to social media to find new clients. The days of firms relying on broadcast and print media advertising to find new cases are increasingly numbered as lawyers are finding the focused targeting and analytics capabilities of Facebook, Twitter and other popular networks is a more cost effective and accurate way of attracting new clients. One of the areas this is being used for heavily in the US is cases involving the pharmaceutical industry where social media is proving invaluable for tracking down victims of severe side-effects to join class actions.

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