Legal Business Blogs

The Friday Edit: Ethics and the modern GC, ethics in court and partners behaving badly

As we prepare for the clocks to go back this weekend, here’s our regular look back at some of the stories that have drawn attention over the last five days. For access to subscriber content, click here for full access to Legal Business.

Analysis of the week: Where next, consigliere?

The last six years have seen unprecedented influence placed in the hands of general counsel. Kicking off our three-part annual in-house survey, which canvassed over 400 in-house counsel, we asked this month whether the blurring line between the role of general counsel as head of the legal function and corporate confidant means that the legal team finds itself in a treacherous middle ground between business imperatives and ethical and regulatory considerations. Subscribers can access the piece here. The in-house survey also includes views from clients on which law firms are best on three key measures: high-end advice; commercial approach and value. See The Usual Suspects to find out if your firm made the grade.

Theme of the week: an unfortunate few days in the courts

This week has seen law firms caught up on the wrong end of a variety of interesting disputes, for a variety of reasons. Clifford Chance will be happy if it never hears the word ‘Excalibur’ again, but this long-running saga ratcheted up a notch again with the Commercial Court yesterday (23 October) finding the litigation funders involved in the $1.6bn case on the hook for the considerable litigation costs. Meanwhile, in one of our most popular posts of the week, Reed Smith’s clients – which included ISPs Sky, BT and Virgin – were on the receiving end of landmark judgment establishing that trade mark owners can force ISP to block websites that are structured to infringe their trade mark rights by selling counterfeit goods online. Finally, one firm definitely on the receiving end is DLA Piper, which Facebook is suing in the US over its role in a ‘fraudulent’ claim against the social media giant, which the international giant claims it was only involved in for 78 days.

Stories of the week: ‘He will be a success wherever he goes‘: Land Securities group general counsel and company secretary Adrian de Souza resigns

High-profile departures always attract plenty of attention, as our posts on the exit of Charlie Geffen from Ashurst to Gibson Dunn last week and the recent exodus of Bingham’s City office to Akin Gump demonstrate. Few general counsel enjoy the profile of Land Securities Adrian De Souza, so when we broke the news this week of his impending departure, the wires lit up. On the subject of high-profile figures moving on, confirmation today (24 October) that Slaughter and May’s respected practice partner Paul Olney, who is retiring at the end of the year, is to be replaced by David Wittmann, means the corporate partner has some distinguished shoes to fill.

Finally, continuing our in-house theme, required reading in these dark autumnal nights is a guest post from Bruce MacEwen of Adam Smith, Esq – ‘Partners Behaving Badly – how not to handle client relations’. This post – on the dangers of partners claiming ownership of clients – has proved one of our most popular pieces of the year.

Quotes of the week:

‘When law firms fail in most cases it’s not the market but a failure of leadership.’

Allen & Overy senior partner David Morley reflects on why the buck stops here, Visionaries, politicians and survivors

‘The firm is not your oyster; you are neither King nor Queen’ – a message for the most narcissistic Big Law partners: ‘Guest post: Partners Behaving Badly – how not to handle client relations

‘We will defend this meritless litigation aggressively and we will prevail’ – DLA Piper GC Peter Pantaleo talks tough over Facebook’s suit against the firm – ‘A tactic to intimidate lawyers’: Facebook sues DLA Piper for bringing ‘fraudulent’ US lawsuit

This week’s top posts:

Guest post: Partners Behaving Badly – how not to handle client relations

‘He will be a success wherever he goes’: Land Securities group general counsel and company secretary Adrian de Souza resigns

Reed Smith ISP clients defeated in landmark counterfeit website dispute brought by Cartier owner

Comment: Leadership in law – improving, crucial and maybe in the nick of time

A tactic to intimidate lawyers‘: Facebook sues DLA Piper for bringing ‘fraudulent’ US lawsuit