Morning Briefing: Law firm leaders lack confidence in profession

Confidence in the legal profession and the economy is falling among managing partners of law firms… Japanese, Malaysian firms form alliance… International law firm expands Africa capabilities… New partner for Reed Smith China…

Law firm leaders lack confidence in profession
Confidence in the legal profession and the economy is falling among managing partners of law firms polled by Citi Private Bank. In a quarterly survey the bank’s law group asked managing partners of 68 firms in the US and UK how they felt about business ranking answers on an index of 0-200. For the latest quarter the overall index was down to 110 while the sub-indexes on the economy and the state of their own business were down to 103 and 104 respectively.
William Henderson, a law professor at Indiana University of Mauer School of Law, told Bloomberg that law firms face challenges from a decline in the hourly billing model while in-house teams are doing more lower-level work. He said that firms need to “take measured risks” in new technology, business models and fee structures. However even then, he noted, firms may not be noticed by clients.
Japanese, Malaysian firms form alliance
Japan’s TMI Associates is partnering with Malaysia’s Chooi & Company to form an alliance that will benefit both firms as new opportunities open up as part of the ASEAN Economic Community. It will also boost the two firms’ capabilities across Asia.
International law firm expands Africa capabilities
DLA Piper has opened its first office in Morocco, building on the 15 offices it has across the African continent. The firm's Casablanca office will be led by Christophe Bachelet as Managing Partner with partner Mehdi Kettani and counsel Mohamed Mahjoubi. Another new office will open in Johannesburg, South Africa in the first quarter of 2016 and will consist of both international and South African lawyers. Michael Whitaker, former COO of Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, has been appointed by the firm to assist in the development of the new office in Johannesburg.
New partner for Reed Smith China
Alex Fischer has been appointed as a partner at global firm Reed Smith’s Shanghai office. He joins the corporate and commercial practice from Rodl. The office has been open since 2011 and Fischer’s hire takes the headcount to 5 partners and 12 lawyers.

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