Morning Briefing: Law students challenge older partners, NZ lawyer given maximum suspension

Law students aim to be ahead of the pack on new ways to practice law… NZ lawyer suspended after relationship with a client… Stephenson Harwood to open new Seoul office… and US law firms help fleeing children

Morning Briefing: Law students challenge older partners, NZ lawyer given maximum suspension
NZ lawyer given maximum suspension
The New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal has suspended Tauranga lawyer Craig Ronald Horsley from legal practice for a total of three years, running from 4 April 2014. Horsley was found guilty of misconduct on 19 March 2014 for providing regulated services to a client while in an intimate personal relationship with her. He was given a two year suspension. Horsley also admitted a charge of misconduct for knowingly making a false statement to the investigating New Zealand Law Society standards committee. For this he received a three year suspension, the maximum that can be imposed. The suspensions will run concurrently. The New Zealand Law Society’s National Prosecution Manager, Mark Treleaven said: “The tribunal found that the acceptance of responsibility by Mr Horsley and mitigating factors were just sufficient to pull the penalty back from strike-off to the maximum period of suspension.”

Law students focused on the business of law
Much has been written already about the changing face of the law business and how some long established firms find change difficult or even unpleasant. While some stuck-in-their-ways partners may come to regret ignoring change there are plenty of next generation lawyers who are being taught that they should be entrepreneurs as well as professional lawyers. An article in the New York Times highlights how law students at Michigan State University are thinking of new ways to practice law; focusing on niche businesses rather than top jobs in big law firms. Could it be that these ideas are more than flights of fancy? While a global marketplace and cross-jurisdictional M&A will surely keep the big firms busy for some years to come, these students could just come up with the kind of ideas that appeal to a changing breed of clients.

Stephenson Harwood to open Seoul office
The Korean Ministry of Justice has awarded Stephenson Harwood its licence to practice in Seoul. Michael Kim, who joined the firm in February has led the successful application and will be Managing Partner of the office. Michael says: "Korea is a key market for Stephenson Harwood and one where both the firm and I personally have many clients. Our new office will enable us to further strengthen our presence and provide closer contact to these clients."

US law firms help fleeing children
Children affected by violence in Central America are fleeing to the US in their thousands and law firms are stepping in to help them. Bloomberg reports that the children need help getting through the immigration system and are being helped by lawyers from all practises, not just those with immigration experience. Firms that typically work on corporate litigation are taken on the cases because, as Kirkland & Ellis partner Jeanne Cohn-Connor says:  “These children are not just escaping poverty - they’re leaving pretty horrific situations.” The scale of the problem is highlighted in a report that shows more than 46,000 children entered the US without parents or guardian during a recent 8 month period. With so many cases law firms are doing everything they can to help. 

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