find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Firms choosing profits over clients

Firms choosing profits over clients

Lawyers are failing in their duty to clients by not recommending quicker, cheaper methods of dispute resolution, it has been claimed.

Anthony Dempsey (pictured), who heads the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) specialist firm WISDOMdr with partner David Vaux, told Lawyers Weekly that time-based billing discourages lawyers from suggesting ADR to their clients.

“The move to encourage ADR in Australia will be stymied as long as lawyers charge in time increments ... because the most profitable route for litigation lawyers is to proceed to court,” he said.

Dempsey admitted his comments may hit a nerve with lawyers but he maintained that firms must act in the best interest of clients which, in today’s economic climate, is to resolve disputes more efficiently.

“Court proceedings are not private and are the subject of enormous uncertainty. They can cause great distraction and interruption to business operations and they can fracture relationships between the business parties in dispute,” Dempsey claimed.

“Mediation and conciliation are more attractive options for businesses right now.”

He added that lawyers should heed the message coming from judges, who are ordering cases away from the courts, to “resolve disputes commercially and sensibly”.

Playing catch up

Jon Rowell, an accounting consultant and partner at McGrathNicol, also believes in the virtues of ADR. However, he disagreed with Dempsey’s claim that law firms are resisting this option.

“There has been push within law firms to move away from the courtroom and resolve matters using alternatives,” he said.

“I have seen more legal matters being resolved through mediation in the past 12 months than I have ever seen.”

Rowell told Lawyers Weekly that the firm’s forensic practice is booming as more lawyers call in independent experts for ADR proceedings.

He admitted, however, that firms in Australia may be lagging behind the rest of the world. A consultant in Europe and the UK for 10 years, Rowell said he saw a significantly higher percentage of legal matters being resolved via ADR channels overseas compared to Australia.

“We have some catching up to do with Europe and the UK,” he added.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Firms choosing profits over clients
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice
‘Ego status’ compelled ex-lawyer to defraud $2.97M, court told
Debarred lawyer John Gordon Bradfield told a NSW District Court that he was driven by “ego status...
Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA), Queensland’s new industrial manslaughter legislation,
ALA welcomes ‘tough’ Qld manslaughter laws
The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) has welcomed Queensland’s new industrial manslaughter legisl...
Legal podcasts, tune in, microphone
Legal podcasts you have to tune in to right now
The rise of the internet has hailed in a new dawn for storytelling. Here’s our top pick of podcast...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...