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Workplaces under scrutiny: What’s hot in law this week (27 Feb-3 Mar)

Myriad workplace issues and trends — from treatment of staff to greenwashing, from virtual courts to leadership traits — have dominated legal news this past week. Plus, a takeover of a BigLaw firm happened. Here is your weekly round-up of the biggest news stories for Australia’s legal profession.

user iconLawyers Weekly 04 March 2023 Big Law
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For the week from 27 February to 3 March, these were the 10 most-read stories on Lawyers Weekly (in case you missed them):

  1.   Slater & Gordon directors ‘unanimously support’ takeover offer by Allegro Funds
One of Australia’s biggest law firms — and the first to ever list on the ASX — has agreed to be acquired by private equity firm Allegro Funds, in a move that could shake up the nation’s legal services marketplace.

  1.   Judge suggests young lawyers unionise in face of ‘poor treatment’
Western Australia’s newest District Court judge has called out the bullying, sexual harassment, unreasonable work hours and expectations placed on the youngest members of the profession, and floated collective bargaining or unionising as a solution to such scourges.


  1.   ASIC brings 1st court action alleging ‘greenwashing’
The corporate regulator is commencing civil penalty proceedings against alleged greenwashing conduct, involving the supposed making of misleading statements and engagement in conduct that could mislead the public about sustainability.

  1.   Slaters CEO: Proposed takeover not about turnaround or restructure, but ‘investment for growth’
Speaking to Lawyers Weekly shortly after the listed firm’s confirmation of a proposed private equity takeover, Slater & Gordon chief executive John Somerville said that Allegro Funds’ investment not only supports the firm’s growth trajectory but also ensures it can evolve and be relevant in the future.

  1.   Top 25 Attraction Firms: Where lawyers in their 30s want to work
Following the unveiling of the 2022–23 Top 25 Attraction Firms ranking, Lawyers Weekly and Momentum Intelligence can reveal what firms legal professionals at different stages of their careers see themselves at — here, we detail the firm choices of lawyers aged between 30 and 39.

  1.   Top 25 Attraction Firms: Where lawyers in their 40s want to work
In recent days, Lawyers Weekly has revealed which law firms lawyers in their 20s and 30s most want to work at. Here, we unveil the firms of choice for those aged between 40 and 49.

  1.   What constitutes ‘reasonable’ additional work hours?
With a current MP drawn into a legal battle by a former employee, two workplace relations lawyers discuss what constitutes reasonable working hours in the eyes of the law, and specifically for lawyers.

  1.   ‘Cookie-cutter’ approach to partnership not relevant anymore
As the legal profession moves past traditional mindsets and into more innovative ways of practice, the skills that firm leaders need have also evolved, according to these BigLaw partners.

  1.   Pro bono hours continue to rise, but ‘greater participation’ still needed from BigLaw firms
New findings show that Australian law firms have once again increased the volume of pro bono hours they undertake annually. However, there remains “room for growth” among the nation’s biggest legal practices — even if capacity is a “major constraint”.

  1. Will Australia see court cases in the metaverse?
Recently, a Colombian court case was heard in the metaverse. The president of the Law Council of Australia reflects on how such hearings might emerge in Australia and the associated benefits and drawbacks.