The Law Business: 15th to 21st October

Welcome to the weekly 'Law Business' column from the SundayLawReview team taking a cursory look at what happened in the business of law within UK as reported by online legal publications throughout last week.

Lawyers at loggerheads inside a court room debating over forensic evidence in a criminal trial could well be compared to cats engaged in a fight, but we have been reassured this week that no such feud exists between Larry and Freya, the Downing Street cats. But, Judges should “think twice” before halting such cross-examinations by advocates, particularly if they respond by standing their ground, Lord Justice Munby has said, and that even in family cases, advocates should stop “irrelevant or time-wasting” cross-examinations. However carefully the papers have been read, counsel is “likely to have a better grasp of the inner forensic realities” of the case. 

The Crown Prosecution Service has reported a decrease in hate-crime prosecutions as a result of victims failing to provide supporting evidence or even unexpectedly, failing to attend court. While discrimination is not a hate crime, a Law Society survey revealed that a notable percentage of solicitors have experienced it and almost one in six solicitors have been bullied at workplace. 17% of solicitors say they have been bullied at work. The percentage is higher for those working in government (25%) and commerce and industry (23%), compared with those working in private practice (16%). These figures are worrying at a time of major changes sweeping through the legal profession. It would be interesting to hear of barristers experiences of bullying. The Criminal Bar Association had invited 'Judge John Deed' to deliver its annual 'Kalisher lecture' this week. Justice Deed being a fictitious character played by the actor Martin Shaw, it was the actor who delivered the speech that admitted he knew little of the law, but loved the glamour of the Inns of Court. His fear was that deregulation would spoil this glamorous world by letting in more solicitors. We look forward to Sylvester Stallone in the guise of Judge Dredd being the speaker next year?

The Home Secretary Theresa May blocked the Asberger's syndrome suffering Gary McKinnon's extradition to the US this week as it would have been a breach of his human rights under EU law. She also indicated that the Government would be handing more power to judges in extradition cases, outlining plans to introduce the forum bar, which would mean - in cases where prosecution is possible in both the UK and another state - UK citizens could present their defences in the UK rather than facing extradition.

One of the US's leading general counsel has predicted this week that large corporate firms are wedded to an unsustainable business model, which could lead to more collapses like US firm Dewey LeBoeuf in the present economic climate. At least such collapses are not deterring law students as more than 60 per cent of the almost 2,000 students who took part in the annual survey carried out by the College of Law in conjunction with The Times newspaper, said economic uncertainty had no impact on their decision to apply to law school. However, students do believe that alternative business structures (ABSs) will mean more job opportunities but lower salaries and status. At least the law students in this side of the pond are too busy thinking of the career ahead than some of their counterparts across the pond. In an apparent attempt to empirically prove the veracity of Robert Frost’s 1962 poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” Berkeley School of Law students, Eric Cuellar and Justin Teixeira, were arrested in Las Vegas after being caught on tape killing an 14-year-old helmeted guinea fowl. On that same side of the pond, a legal academic, Teresa Wagner claimed discrimination because she wasn't liberal enough for her academic bosses. This is a lawsuit that's being watched closely by those who have long claimed universities have a left-leaning bias. Wagner's colleagues at the University of Iowa's law school called her smart, driven, and passionate, but somehow she was still passed over for every new position.

That's our legal world summed up for the week at the SundayLawReview and off we go to relax over a cuppa and an article on strange Scottish laws.

The most interesting articles on developments, compliance and the business of law including articles cited within TheLawMap 'focus of the day':

  • Law firms will have to adopt a more forceful marketing model if they are to survive in the post-alternative business structure (ABS) marketplace, a specialist in growing online businesses has urged. Full story | Legal Futures
  • British ministers are this week reported to be revaluating a controversial extradition treaty with the US following yesterday's decision not to send a computer hacker to stand trial in America. Full story | Global Legal Post
  • Judges should “think twice” before halting cross-examinations by advocates, particularly if they respond by standing their ground, Lord Justice Munby has said. Full story | Solicitors Journal
  • The Bar Council has strongly opposed the creation of a category of ‘non-trial’ advocates in the planned advocacy accreditation scheme. The ‘plea-only’ category – originally proposed by solicitor advocates – would put the public at risk and undermine public confidence in the profession & criminal justice system, the council says in its response to the fourth and final consultation on the controversial Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA). Full story | Law Gazette 
  • Is there a life outside the lecture theatre for law students? Extracurricular activities such as mooting, legal research and pro bono help law students develop transferable skills. Full story | Guardian Law
  • SRA wins appeal for dishonesty strike-off | Law Gazette
  • Court won't order Google to block anti-Islam film  
  • Supreme Court prepares for revamp as three justice positions become available | The Lawyer
  • Bar Council: solicitors to blame for falling criminal advocacy standards | Legal Futures 
  • Law firms’ revolving door turns faster as election draws near
  • Judicial figure beaten as SRI LANKA wrestles with bench independence | The Global Legal Post 
  • Duty solicitor rotas: application deadline on 14 November 2012
  • Million-dollar rewards for whistleblowers could see them approach the authorities before their companies | The Lawyer
  • OFT looks to improve investigations as it heads towards new regulatory era | The Lawyer
  • Google told to fix privacy policy by EU data regulators 
  • Gear up for big data | Law Gazette 
  • War tribunal ‘politically motivated’ | Law Gazette 
  • Fund will assume risks of ABSs, says MoJ | Law Gazette 
  • Litigant in person ‘not entitled to indulgence’ | Law Gazette 
  • Hudson warning over failure to modernise conveyancing | Law Gazette
  • Susskind lays out blueprint for education and training reform | Legal Futures
  • Pro bono group expands to Wales | Law Gazette
  • Interpreter firm still missing target, official statistics reveal | Law Gazette 
  • SRA chief admits light touch for new ABSs | Law Gazette
  • Young offenders should be screened for brain injuries 
  • SRA warns firms and solicitors: co-operate or else | Legal Futures
Articles of the week:

The UK and international articles of the week are two pieces selected by @TheLawMap tweeting team based on recommendations from friends and followers of daily law news blog. 

News from the Law Firms: 

Friday 19th October
Thursday 18th October
Wednesday 17th October
Tuesday 16th October
Monday 15th October

We would like to thank all the publications cited in this week's column. Please notify via @SundayLawReview Twitter handle of any errors or omissions.