Morning Briefing: Law firm hires Ashurt team for Tokyo launch

An international law firm is gearing up to open a new practice in Tokyo… Employees more likely to ask a co-worker than legal counsel… Singapore firm boosts litigation and disputes practice… Corrs Melbourne join charity sleepout… US firm loses case defending its fees…

International law firm hires Ashurt team for Tokyo launch
US-based international law firm King & Spalding has hired a team from Ashurst for the launch of its new Tokyo practice. Former Ashurst managing partner John McClenahan will head up the King & Spalding team and is  joined by Mark Davies and Chris Bailey from Tokyo and Rupert Lewi from Perth. Lewi knows the market having spent more than a decade in the country and being involved in the launch of legacy Blake Dawson’s Tokyo office. King & Spalding now has 18 offices worldwide including its Singapore practice, well known for its international arbitration and energy practices.
Employees more likely to ask a co-worker than legal counsel
Employees would rather ask the person sitting next to them for advice on a business decision than consult the firm’s legal counsel. Aaron Kotok, the legal practice leader for London-based consultancy CEB says that almost 75 per cent of employees will avoid seeking help from in-house legal teams, leaving the business open to serious compliance or regulatory failures. Writing for City A.M, Kotok says that while 60 per cent of those in middle management realise the legal implications of their decisions, only 31 per cent always consult the legal team. He advises that legal teams should be more approachable and make their communications more accessible to all levels of the business in order to create better engagement and avoid costly mistakes.
Singapore firm boosts litigation and disputes practice
Singapore-based firm RHTLaw Taylor Wessing has hired two partners from Tan Kok Quan Partnership. Anthony Chey and Vernon Voon join the litigation and disputes resolution practice. Chey is an insurance litigation specialist while Voon’s practice focuses on debt recovery litigation.
Corrs Melbourne join charity sleepout
Three partners from Corrs Chambers Westgarth’s Melbourne office will be giving up their beds on Thursday and sleeping out at the city’s Convention and Event Centre to help raise awareness and funds for Australia’s homeless which numbers around 100,000 every night. Matthew Critchley (litigation), Jane Hall (workplace relations) and Nathaniel Popelianski (property & infrastructure) will join the annual Vinnie’s CEO Sleepout which aims to raise $10 million and will be attended by more than 200 CEOs and business leaders.
US firm loses case defending its fees
Law firm Baker Botts has lost its court case in the US Supreme Court in which it argued that it should be paid for action taken to defend its right to collect fees. The case related to the U$117 million in fees that the firm charged mining firm ASARCO for a bankruptcy case. The client disputed the fees and Baker Botts then spent $5 million defending their fees and argued that the estate should also pay those costs. A lower court had already rejected the claim which has now been upheld by the higher judiciary. 

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