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Class actions, AI and acquisitions: What’s hot in law this week (6-10 Feb)

From reflections on artificial intelligence to headline market moves by BigLaw firms, here is your weekly round-up of the biggest news stories for Australia’s legal profession.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 10 February 2023 Big Law
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For the week from 6 February to 10 February, these were the 10 most-read stories on Lawyers Weekly (in case you missed them):

  1.     AI: The beginning of the end for lawyers?
OPINION: Irrespective of whether ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence language models have usefulness for businesses in Australia, it would be a bold, and potentially negligent, move to rely exclusively on AI-generated research or information for important and strategic company decisions, writes Lisa Fitzgerald.

  1.     RBA makes first cash rate call for 2023
In its February interest rate decision — the first one for 2023 — the board of the Reserve Bank of Australia decided to increase the cash rate by 25 basis points, to 3.35 per cent.


  1.     Bartier Perry adds 4 partners from Coleman Greig
Emerging BigLaw firm Bartier Perry has appointed four lateral partners from NSW-based mid-tier firm Coleman Greig, bringing the former’s partnership ranks to 37.

  1.     Legal salaries are slowing down
While there may still be some pay increases for legal professionals in 2023, salaries will almost certainly not continue to rise at the same pace as last year — with drops in pay also possible, say recruiters.

  1.     ‘Resenteeism’: The new trend for lawyers?
Being overly frustrated by one’s professional circumstances but still pushing through has been newly labelled as “resenteeism”. It’s something that almost certainly will be afflicting lawyers right now.

  1.     Is a ‘loyalty tax’ sustainable within the legal profession?
Within a candidate-short market, some firms are opting for increased sign-on and other bonus schemes for top lawyers, in what’s being called a loyalty tax. But how sustainable is it?

  1.     Hotel quarantine class action to proceed, despite stay application
The Victorian Supreme Court ruled, late last week, against the state government’s application for a stay of proceedings in the hotel quarantine class action that has been brought on behalf of impacted businesses.

  1.     The Star hit with 2 more class actions over 24-hour period
Two more class actions have been filed against The Star Entertainment Group, following allegations of inflated share prices and non-disclosure of systemic money laundering, links to organised crime, fraud and corruption.

  1.     AFL to pay for 2 firm acquisitions in cash, not shares
Listed firm Australian Family Lawyers has signed deeds of variation with two boutique practices it has acquired, with those firms to be paid in cash rather than shares.

  1.     Yet another class action filed against Medibank
Health insurer Medibank is facing another legal claim, this time from one of the world’s biggest law firms, after a data breach late last year resulted in millions of customers’ data being leaked — and eventually released by hackers onto the dark web.