Showing posts with label Lawyers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lawyers. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New Working Order for Legal Profession

Robert Half Legal Research Highlights Management Practices Transforming Legal Field

MENLO PARK, CA, June 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — As the economy regains momentum, it’s not a return to business as usual in the legal field. A just-released industry report from Robert Half Legal outlines how strategies developed during the downturn are now guiding the business and customer relationship management models for law firms and corporate legal departments.

Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal

The report, Best Practices for a New Era in the Legal Profession, is part of Robert Half Legal’s eleventh annual Future Law Office project, which also includes video interviews with leaders in the legal field, and is available at

For its Future Law Office project, Robert Half Legal surveys lawyers from among the largest law firms and corporations in the United States and Canada, interviews leaders in the legal field, conducts research to assess how law offices might operate in the future, and obtains the insights of key Robert Half Legal staffing and recruiting professionals throughout the company’s branch network in North America.

Key Findings

* Firms are playing a more strategic role in their clients’ businesses. As corporate clients seek more return for their investment in legal services, the ability for law firms to address the needs of their clients is essential. A thorough understanding of clients’ businesses and the issues they face, along with flexibility on fees, are forming the cornerstone of many law firms’ new customer service models.
* Most law firm revenue growth is expected to stem from current clients. Eighty-five percent of lawyers surveyed said their law firms do not plan to launch new practice groups to increase revenue in the coming year. Eighty-six percent of lawyers said their firms were hoping to obtain more business from existing clients.
* Lateral hiring is more prevalent. More lawyers are making lateral career moves as law firms recruit them to bring their expertise and client contacts. Firms also are focusing on retaining top employees who are at risk of being recruited by other law firms looking to broaden their areas of specialization.
* New fee structures gaining ground. Law firms are offering clients alternatives to the traditional billable hour. More than half (56 percent) of lawyers surveyed said their clients request flat or fixed fees the most. Volume discounts and discounted fees followed, with each receiving 43 percent of the response.
* Compliance, cost-containment taking center stage. The top challenges facing legal departments include “compliance or regulation issues,” “controlling litigation or outside counsel costs,” “increased workloads” and “budget reductions.” Many general counsel are keeping more work in-house and using project teams to control spending on law firms and meet business demands.

Changing Business Models to Improve Service Levels

According to the research, corporate clients are demanding greater efficiencies from their law firms. General counsel are specific about what they are willing to spend on outside counsel and the outcomes they expect. As a result, law firms are implementing new approaches to deliver quality legal services while containing costs to clients. “Many firms are renewing their focus on customer service and capturing new business by showing a willingness to adapt to their clients’ changing needs,” said Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal.
Law Firms Pursue New Growth Strategies

Law firms increasingly are taking a measured and strategic approach to growth, expanding their client bases through lateral hires and mergers or acquisitions to enhance their service offerings and increase revenue.

“The most successful law firms in this new working order are focusing on improving efficiency, flexibility and responsiveness to their clients,” said Volkert.

Retaining top performers and hiring senior- and partner-level lawyers with client portfolios in high-demand practice areas remains a priority while long-standing practices, such as lockstep pay and the billable hour, are being re-evaluated, the research shows.
Corporate Legal Departments Seek Greater Value from Outside Counsel

With compliance, discovery and litigation-related expenses continuing to escalate, general counsel are striving to minimize risk while managing spending on law firms. “To keep costs in check, many corporate legal departments are handling more work in-house and using external project teams assembled for specific case work, along with managed review solutions, in order to gain immediate access to specialized expertise,” Volkert said.

Added Volkert, “Many corporate clients want to partner with outside counsel to find the best approach for legal matters, whether that involves obtaining the firm’s advice on risk management and alternative business strategies, or coming up with creative solutions for resolving issues.”

To download a complimentary copy of the complete report, Best Practices for a New Era in the Legal Profession, watch the video, or find more information about the Future Law Office project, please visit

About Robert Half Legal
Robert Half Legal provides law firms and corporate legal departments with project and full-time professionals, including lawyers, paralegals and legal support personnel. Robert Half Legal offers online job search services at

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Media Contact:
Lisa Hamilton
(650) 234-6234

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

National Jury Summit Seeks to Mold the Jury Trial of the 21st century

National Jury Summit Seeks to Mold the Jury Trial of the 21st century

Collaborative forum to direct attention to opportunities for advancements in the trial system and improving public access

DALLAS (Feb. 25, 2011) /PRNewswire/ — The dramatic reduction in the number of civil jury trials in recent years is a wake-up call to anyone interested in preserving a fundamental constitutional right, say planners of the upcoming National Jury Summit in Chicago, June 23-24. One of the most basic rights of Americans is in jeopardy. This is a story that needs to be told.

Themed as “The Jury Trial of the 21st Century,” the National Jury Summit is a call to action that will feature goal oriented sessions on the best practices for jury innovations, reforms to improve access to jury trials, technological advancements in courtroom presentation, and assessment of the public perception of the jury trial.

Numerous studies, including a recent one conducted for ABOTA, have demonstrated that there is overwhelming support for the jury trial among Americans. And yet, there is an alarming downward trend occurring in the nation’s civil courts.

“We intend to make reforms and innovations happen, not just ponder them,” said Harry T. Widmann, president of the American Board of Trial Advocates, the organization sponsoring the Summit.

ABOTA, in collaboration with the National Center for State Courts, has advocated changes that will improve the system’s ongoing quality and relevancy.

“Juries are the backbone of our democracy and are as critical as the right to vote itself,” said Summit Chair Gilbert H. Dickinson of the Denver law firm of Dickinson, Prud'Homme, Adams & Ingram, LLP. “The jury trial not only provides protection to the litigants, it also directly involves our citizens in the judicial branch of government. The declining numbers of jury trials demonstrates the need for innovations that will make the system more effective and efficient. Inaction is not an option.”

Summit speakers were chosen because they have backed up their research with action and are dedicated to the preservation and improvement of the jury trial.

* Federal Judge Mark W. Bennett of the Northern District of Iowa has written extensively about the vanishing jury trial and has been an active proponent of using technology in the courtroom.
* Professor Robert P. Burns of Northwestern University is the author of the books, “The Theory of the Trial” and “The Death of the American Trial.”
* Daniel J. Hall and Paula L. Hannaford-Agor are from the National Center for State Courts, a clearinghouse for research information and comparative data to support improvement in judicial administration in state courts conducts research on emerging issues.
* Justice Rebecca L. Kourlis (retired) is the executive director of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, a national, non-partisan organization dedicated to improving the process and culture of the civil justice system.
* Professor Nancy S. Marder of the Chicago-Kent College of Law has written and researched a wide range of issues regarding jury innovations.

The National Jury Summit is open to lawyers, judges, legal professionals, and the public. For registration and event information, call (800) 932-2682 or go to

ABOTA is a national association of experienced trial lawyers and judges. ABOTA and its members are dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the civil jury trial right provided by the 7th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Foundation of ABOTA is an affiliated charitable entity, the mission of which is to support the purposes of ABOTA through education and research. ABOTA membership consists of more than 6,400 lawyers and judges spread among 96 Chapters in all 50 States and the District of Columbia. ABOTA publishes Voir Dire magazine, which features in-depth articles on current and historical issues related to the 7th Amendment.

For more information:
Brian Tyson
(214) 871-7523

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Nigeria's El-Rufai a Victim of Trial by Headline, Say Lawyers

17 Apr 2009 16:53 Africa/Lagos

Nigeria's El-Rufai a Victim of Trial by Headline, Say Lawyers

Crass tactics of intimidation and slander against Nasir el-Rufai reveal political persecution by the State, argue defense lawyers

LONDON, April 17 /PRNewswire/ -- The following is a statement that represents the views of Amsterdam & Peroff:

Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, the highly regarded former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FTC), Abuja, Nigeria, has been relentlessly targeted in recent weeks by state-controlled media with aggressive slander and false accusations, prompting his international defense team to denounce this "trial by headline."

Viewed as a popular potential political competitor, the Nigerian government has initiated a politically motivated investigation against El-Rufai, which is ironically being carried out by the once-respected Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), presenting a slew of implausible charges related to his exercise of discretion to allocate land in accordance with Nigeria's Constitution and the Land Use Act, during his tenure as Minister of Abuja between 2003 and 2007.

"The EFCC's ongoing attempts to slander and taint the reputation of El-Rufai are not indicative of a legitimate case, but rather illustrate their fear and willingness to violate the law in persecuting a potential political opponent," said Robert Amsterdam, a Canadian lawyer on the international defense team. "There are few other individuals who have opened themselves up to such a high level of scrutiny, and even fewer who have testified before Senate hearings and published lengthy responses to even the most absurd allegations."

The false accusations against El-Rufai attempt to argue that in his duties as FCT Minister he was allegedly responsible for improper allocation of land. However, any review of the records in Abuja, (FCT) clearly show that all beneficiaries of these alleged parcel distributions were ordinary Nigerian citizens, and that El-Rufai's conduct was strictly in accordance with the laws of Nigeria and the objective of the restoration of the Abuja Master Plan and the City's economic revitalization.

"In many countries, Nasir El-Rufai's excellent stewardship of the Abuja region would receive accolades and admiration," said Chief Rotimi Akeredolu SAN, the lead Nigerian defense lawyer on the case. "Unfortunately, in our country today a capable and ethical politician like El-Rufai is persecuted to stamp out any alternative opinions, while those who have looted the treasury walk free on the streets."

The defense team for El-Rufai vigorously denounces the government's slander campaign of false accusations, and announces that a new international campaign will be initiated to bring justice to this case, highlighting the unlawful actions of the EFCC in pursuing groundless, political cases.

Source: Amsterdam & Peroff

CONTACT: James T. Kimer for Amsterdam & Peroff, +1-917-355-0717,