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Ongoing debate about workplaces and more market moves: What’s hot in law this week (4–8 Dec)

As big-name partners and teams continue to move between Australia’s largest firms, conversation continues about what the working environment will look like for lawyers in 2024. Plus, a high-profile defamation trial continues to dominate headlines. Here is your weekly round-up of the biggest stories for Australia’s legal profession.

user iconLawyers Weekly 09 December 2023 Big Law
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For the week from 4 December to 8 December, these were the 10 most-read stories on Lawyers Weekly (in case you missed them):

  1. Judge frustrated with tweets attacking Lehrmann’s barrister
Some social media users watching Brittany Higgins’ tense and emotional cross-examination unfold has put the live stream at risk of being pulled down, the judge has warned.

  1. RBA makes final rate call for 2023
In its 11th and final cash rate call for the year, and after increasing the cash rate by 25 basis points in November, the Reserve Bank of Australia decided to leave the cash rate target unchanged at 4.35 per cent.


  1. Mills Oakley hires 4 more partners and a consultant as it aims to be Australia’s ‘leading national law firm’
BigLaw player Mills Oakley has continued a year of significant growth, adding another five senior professionals, including four partners, from various national and SME rivals (some of whom have brought team members with them). The firm, its CEO says, is playing the “longer game”.

  1. Melbourne lawyer to face tribunal for alleged trust account misconduct
A Melbourne solicitor who allegedly held trust money without authorisation and created a false invoice for his fees has failed to convince a tribunal to throw out the disciplinary charges.

  1. Will flexibility and WFH die out in 2024?
FEATURE: Following a recent Fair Work Commission decision ruling in favour of an employer declining a request to work from home full-time, employment lawyers and legal recruiters have discussed the future of flexibility in law – and whether employers will be able to mandate full-time onsite work moving forward.

  1. Former Clayton Utz partner joins Gilbert + Tobin with team
National law firm Gilbert + Tobin has appointed a partner from fellow BigLaw practice Clayton Utz, who will serve as the firm’s co-head of restructuring and insolvency and has brought her team with her.

  1. Will the Friday long lunch ever return for lawyers?
FEATURE: Following the pandemic-induced boom in hybrid working and deserted CBDs on Fridays, which elements of post-pandemic working will stick in the legal profession? Some insist Fridays in the office are back, while others are adamant Thursday will remain the new Friday.

  1. Election plot, hygiene fears tested in Lehrmann defamation case
Fiery claims of an election scheme, concerns about a recorded conversation, and a live stream viewer fed up with the judge’s coughing closed out the second week of Bruce Lehrmann’s case.

  1. Porter assault allegations inspired Higgins’ media interviews
Brittany Higgins, appearing as a witness for Network Ten, said she went public with her story after a media program accused former attorney-general Christian Porter of a history of sexist and inappropriate behaviour towards women.

  1. Firms’ pro bono hours loom large as government tender process opens
FEATURE: Early last week, the request for tender to re-establish the Whole of Australian Government Legal Services Panel went live, and the Attorney-General’s warning of the imperative for panel firms to meet pro bono targets will likely be weighing on those seeking government work.

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