Morning Briefing: Lawyers suspended over alleged ‘honey trap’

Global companies fear increase in disputes… Olswang appoints new chief executive… Three lawyers suspended over alleged ‘honey trap’…

Global companies fear increase in disputes
Companies worldwide are concerned about increasing disputes, leading to litigation. The latest litigation trends survey from Norton Rose Fulbright reveals that the number of class actions and a more litigious business environment were the top concerns of more than 800 general counsel in 26 countries. The survey was undertaken by Acritas and polled GCs in jurisdictions including Australia, UK, US, Canada, France, Singapore and Hong Kong across a wide spectrum of sectors. In Australia (along with the US and Canada) class actions were the top concern.

A quarter of all respondents reported at least one class or group action against their companies in the preceding 12 months, with survey participants from the US comprising 80 percent of that number. And 71 percent of those who reported a class action had more than one filed against their companies in the previous 12 months. The US led the concern about a more litigious business environment; 55 per cent faced more than five lawsuits in the past 12 months compared with 22 per cent in Australia. Thirty-six per cent of Australian GCs reported no lawsuits in the 12 month period.

Regulatory issues are also a major concern and are one of the main reasons that the respondents retained external law firms or other outside counsel. Twenty-two per cent increased the number of outside firms on their rosters in the past year.
Olswang appoints new chief executive
IP partner Paul Stevens has been named as the new chief executive of international law firm Olswang effective May 13. The firm has been seeking a replacement for David Stewart who resigned last year and an outside recruitment specialist was assessing both internal and external candidates with Stevens the only recommendation. He will now appoint a new executive team to work with him during his term, which will run initially until 2018.
Three lawyers suspended over alleged ‘honey trap’
Three lawyers in the US have been suspended pending an investigation into an allegation that they used their attractive paralegal to have an opposing lawyers thrown off a case. The lawyer was caught on camera drinking but it is claimed he was set up by his opponents in the case, using their paralegal to get him drunk and then persuading him to drive her car. The DUI case against the lawyer was later dropped but the court will now decide whether the paralegal and her two bosses should continue to practice law.

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