Morning Briefing: King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin plans to downsize

Big changes ahead for King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin… Firms find high-value lateral hires harder… LinkedIn hit with class-action lawsuit over employment history… Ford hopes to have found a loophole in digital music lawsuit…

King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin plans to downsize
A year after its merger King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin is about to get smaller… but only in name. The firm, which combined on 1st November 2013, will lose the SJ Berwin part of its name on the first anniversary of the legacy Asia Pacific and UK firms combining. The longer name has been in use throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East but it was always planned that the shorter name would become the global brand.
Firms find high-value lateral hires harder
Law firms in the US report that attracting partners with high-value client books is becoming harder. Firms are generally looking for lawyers who can bring with them business worth US$1 million or more, but those partners are either unwilling to move from their current firm or they set up a boutique firm of their own and take their high-value business with them.
LinkedIn hit with class-action lawsuit
It may be the choice of many professionals but LinkedIn has been hit with a class-action lawsuit on the grounds of breaching privacy. Premium users of the social network can run a data search to find potential candidates for employment but the legal challenge states that this can be done without users being aware that their information is being searched in this way and that the information may be inaccurate. The action is being brought under California’s Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970, which as well as protecting consumers from unfair searches and use of their credit data also protects employment information. However, the four plaintiffs will need the court to decide that LinkedIn is considered a ‘reporting agency’ in the context of the law if the case has any chance of success.
Ford hopes to have found a loophole in digital music lawsuit
The motor giant Ford is hoping that an exemption to a 1992 law will save it million of dollars in damages to the music industry. The car firm is being sued by the music industry over digital music storage devices fitted in some of its models. The record companies claim that the devices are digital audio recording devices (DARDs) which according to the 1992 law could mean that royalty payments are due; the companies want $2,500 for each vehicle sold with the device over the last three years. Ford argue that a 1999 court ruling that computers and MP3 players are not DARDs also applied to their devices, which can also perform other functions. 

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