Thursday, March 8, 2012

Law Firm Mergers, Client Confidentiality Management, Legal Ethics + More

Two interesting stories to share today:

King & Wood and Mallesons iron out confidentiality issues ahead of merger
  • "King & Wood and Mallesons have addressed perceived client confidentiality issues ahead of their 1 March merger by pledging to keep the Chinese partnership out of the firm’s network system... a number of Mallesons partners were uneasy about sharing systems across the merged firm because under Chinese law lawyers in domestic firms are obligated to hand over any client information the ruling Communist Party may ask for."
  • "The new approach includes establishing a comprehensive intranet site to help lawyers manage the change to King & Wood Mallesons and ensure effective internal communication, and setting up a stricter procedure of sharing client documents and confidential information between the partnerships."
  • In an internal memo, Mallesons chief executive Stuart Fuller instructs: "You should only share client documents and client confidential information between the partnerships if you have the client’s consent. This applies to sharing documents via the document management system or by email."
Privatizing Professionalism: Client Control of Lawyers’ Ethics
  • [via Hildebrandt Institute]: "Whelan and Ziv examined the formal guidelines given to outside counsel by their clients, as well as informal industry ethical norms, to determine what impact corporations can have on the ethical standards and behavior of their lawyers."
  • "The authors found that clients can, in fact, exert considerable influence over the ethical behavior of their outside counsel. More significantly, Whelan and Zin make the argument that such influence is an important form of “private regulation” that may fill in the gaps between government regulation of legal ethics and self-regulation by the industry"

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