Web week 03/07/06

The Lawyer‘s Web Week is a weekly commentary on legal activity on the web. This includes an overview of the best of the week’s blogs.

If you want to direct us to useful links, email webweek@thelawyer. com.

Winners’ disclosure

The Lawyer Awards, on Tuesday night (27 June), prompted a rush of web activity among the winners in the following days. DLA Piper, Allen & Overy (A&O), Freshfields and Sharpe Pritchard were among the quickest to put up their web announcements.

DLA Piper, which won Global Law Firm of the Year, had an announcement on www.dlapiper.com, which quoted managing partner Nigel Knowles, who said: “This is an extremely prestigious award to be nominated for and I am delighted that we have won. The award recognises the huge strides we have made globally.” And so on, in similar vein, with only a minor lapse into corporate-speak: ‘vision’ on the DLA Piper website is bizarrely capped up as ‘Vision’.

A&O’s homepage at www.allenovery.com featured an essay on investor concern over executive pay, a profile of a random lawyer from Budapest and a suspiciously massive roll of tenners. A&O managed to announce its win of Finance and
Capital Markets Team of the Year on the same evening. Presumably, nimble-footed PR chief Iain Rodger dictated it from his BlackBerry to some lowly scribe working overtime in the office that evening.

But congratulations are in order to Guernsey outfit Ozannes (www.ozannes.com), which was runner-up in the Offshore Law Firm of the Year category (the trophy went to Walkers). Ozannes rubbed its local competitors’ noses in it by proclaiming: “Ozannes top Channel Island law firm in 2006 Lawyer Awards.”

It said: “Ozannes received a huge endorsement for its offshore legal services at the Lawyer Awards 2006. The
only Guernsey firm shortlisted, the firm was placed second for the ‘Offshore Law Firm of the Year 2006’ category and ahead of all its Jersey rivals.” So there.

Loss of respect

The US Supreme Court ruled last week that the military commissions established to try Guantánamo detainees were unlawful, sparking plenty of discussion on the web.

Tony Mauro and Jason McLure gave the best flavour of the day on www.legaltimes.com: “Stevens’ summary of his 73-page decision triggered angry dissents, read from the bench by Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Scalia made his pique apparent by departing from the tradition that, when justices dissent, they end their opinions by saying, ‘I respectfully dissent’. He said: ‘I vigorously dissent’.”

Partner departures

www.thelawyer.com reported Hammonds’ results in some detail last week, pointing out that its 61 per cent rise in profit was helped by a reduction in costs – most notably among the salaried partner layer. It said: “The 14-month lock-in of equity partners, which ends tomorrow [30 June], meant that none left Hammonds during the past year.”

But it was a different story for new equity partners. “Total partner numbers are down to 183, a net loss of 19. Hammonds has lost 31 partners in the UK, with nine of those quitting the London office.”

World Cup 1 Employees 0

Finally, www.moretolaw.com had some wise words on the law of the workplace. On a commentary entitled ‘Employment laws score own goal’, it said: “It is surely taking political correctness a bit too far when companies can’t be seen to cut employees some slack during the World Cup without fear of legal action.

“It demonstrates the problem of over-regulation – in order to play safe, work places become so inflexible that the rules end up working against the employee rather than in their favour.”

Three cheers for that.