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Practice management musings and High Court rulings: What’s hot in law this week (10-14 Apr)

Headline hurdles for the daily operations of law firms have been at the forefront this past week, while the nation’s highest court has handed down some significant judgments. Here is your weekly round-up of the biggest news stories for Australia’s legal profession.

user iconLawyers Weekly 15 April 2023 Big Law
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For the week from 10 April to 14 April, these were the 10 most-read stories on Lawyers Weekly (in case you missed them):

  1.   Record number of finalists chosen for 30 Under 30 Awards 2023
A record 290 finalists have been selected to compete at the 12th annual 30 Under 30 Awards.

  1.   Son, be a lawyer
OPINION: I am retiring after 42 years of legal practice. Here are some hopefully helpful words to impart upon my younger colleagues, writes Mark O’Connor.


  1.   High Court decision will enhance Australia’s reputation as pro-arbitration
Yesterday’s (12 April) unanimous decision by the nation’s highest court affirms Australia’s international standing “as an efficient, pro-arbitration jurisdiction”.

  1.   Shadow A-G resigns over Libs’ Voice position
Julian Leeser has quit his roles as the opposition’s spokesperson for Indigenous Australians and as shadow attorney-general over the Liberal Party’s stated position regarding the upcoming referendum on the Voice to Parliament.

  1.   Fabricated allegations by ChatGPT raise defamation questions
ChatGPT recently invented a sexual harassment allegation against a prominent American law professor. Now, with an Australian mayor suing the chatbot for false allegations levelled against him, questions must be asked about the capacity of automated text services to defame individuals and the potential dangers of such confected text.

  1.   ‘Thousands of visa applicants affected by High Court ruling’
Supposedly, thousands of visa decisions have been brought into question by a High Court ruling that found the government is responsible for, and cannot defer the making of, intervention decisions for denied visa applicants the request of the minister for immigration to review their decisions.

  1.   Prioritise purpose over profit, says BigLaw managing partner
Hamilton Locke managing partner Nick Humphrey is uninterested in what he calls the “very short-term perspective” of thinking that a BigLaw firm’s purpose is ultimately to generate profit for partners. What is needed, he argues, is a desire to have a more holistic impact on all staff and stakeholders.

  1.   ‘The hourly charge is old and should be dead by now’
In-house counsel must arm themselves with data to push for more creative pricing models from external legal panels, according to a legal services provider.

  1.   K&L Gates head on the last decade’s biggest changes and challenges
Lawyers Weekly spoke with Nick Nichola, managing partner in Australia of K&L Gates, where he discussed the headline hurdles and evolutions faced by the legal profession over the past 10 years.

  1. How to grow (then sell) your firm
After starting his own firm — and then separating himself from the business slightly — this firm owner was able to turn his boutique into a “seven-figure firm” and sell it off.