No love lost in NZ legal purchasing
COSTS AND poor cost management have once again been cited as the top reasons for law firms being fired from lucrative panels, according to the results of a recent survey of New Zealand’s top companies.
The Chief Legal Officer Report surveyed the top executives responsible for the legal function of New Zealand’s largest organisations. It found that even poor quality work paled in comparison with overcharging as the main catalyst for an external law firm’s services no longer being required by corporate New Zealand.
In a continuation of a fairly consistent theme, consumers of legal services have placed little importance on loyalty, with only 21 per cent of respondents considering their lead law firm ‘clearly better’ than its nearest and best competitor.
The survey also underscored that companies and government agencies are being systematic in the way that they manage their work with outside lawyers from requiring law firms to provide budgets, to introducing matter management and billing technology.
If outside firms do not meet expectations, corporate and government agencies are relatively unconstrained in taking action, with fully three-quarters of respondents (76 per cent) reporting no significant barrier to their ability to terminate their relationship with their lead law firm. The ability to terminate relationships with law firms holding secondary positions on client panels is likely higher still.
Although reducing outside legal costs is a priority, the most pressing issues facing legal departments include keeping appraised of company activities with legal implications; attracting, retaining and motivating good lawyers; and workload/ time pressures.
TressCox announces scholarship recipients
TRESSCOX RECENTLY announced the winners of its 2006 Scholarship in Law Program. The scholarships have been awarded to Peter Sharkey (Newcastle University), Katelyn Donnelly (University of Technology, Sydney) and Vanessa Webb (Sydney University).
The recipients will each be awarded $2,000 to assist them with their legal studies. The scholarship recognises students in their penultimate year who, because of either financial disadvantage or personal circumstances, are finding it difficult to continue their studies in law.
TressCox has supported law students for the past 15 years. Previous winners have participated in the firm’s summer clerkship program and gone on to pursue legal careers at TressCox. The winners will also be interviewed for a position in the firm’s summer clerkship program.
The three scholarships will be presented at a luncheon at the TressCox Sydney office on 4 August 2006.
Kennedys opens Sydney office ahead of schedule
UK LAW firm Kennedys has opened its Sydney offices much earlier than originally anticipated.
The firm had expected to open later in the new financial year, but chief executive and partner Ric Martin, Kennedys, said things moved pretty quickly for the business.
With a professional team of 16, the insurance specialist law firm is already at work for its clients in dispute resolution and litigation.
“The Australian-based clients were ready to brief us, the team was very keen to get to work, our resources and systems were in place and we had signed the lease on our premises so it made sense to open the office as soon as possible,” Martin said.
Sydney litigation and arbitration lawyer Patrick George will head the new Sydney office, with assistance from managing partners Tony O’Reilly and Mark Doepel.