Author Archive: Brian Sanchez

Hospitals failing to claim back huge sums from insurance firms

NHS hospitals are wasting the chance to claim back hundreds of millions of pounds from insurance companies for the cost of treating accident victims, legal experts have warned.

Overworked managers are routinely failing to chase costs for the care of patients injured on roads or in the workplace, and rely on insurers themselves to volunteer that payment is owed.

New figures reveal that the amount successfully recouped by trusts in England has decreased by 12 per cent over the last two years to just under £163 million in 2015-16.

“I genuinely don’t think the NHS realises how much they are losing through all of this.Jill Greenfield, head of personal injury at Fieldfisher

Last night, an executive for the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) said the sum was likely to represent less than half of the cash potentially available to the financially ailing sector.

Department of Health rules also mean the total recoverable cost for each patient is capped at £48,849, meaning that hospitals – in deficit by £2.45 billion last year – are missing out on recovering the full cost of seriously injured patients, if claims are pursued.

Jill Greenfield, APIL committee member and head of personal injury at City solicitors Fieldfisher, said: “I genuinely don’t think the NHS realises how much they are losing through all of this.

“When hospitals treat accident victims, they’re often unwittingly cushioning the costs of the insurance industry.”

Research by APIL estimates that the cap on patient compensation deprives NHS trusts of £20 million a year, roughly equivalent to the cost of 750 nurses’ salaries.

The Government, however, argues that the Compensation Recovery Scheme rule ultimately saves money because it makes the system of clawing back funds from insurers simpler.

Under current law, motor, workplace and other insurers are obliged to notify the Department for Work and Pensions’ Compensation Recovery Unit when a payout is being claimed by an injured party.

The unit then contacts hospitals, asking for details of the treatment given.

But Ms Greenfield said many victims of personal injury never reached the stage of litigation, and far more money could be recouped if trusts proactively went after insurers.

“It’s not unduly difficult, but very often trusts are not claiming the money at all,” she said.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: “We expect hospital trusts to claim costs for accidents involving personal injury compensation so they can reinvest this money in vital frontline services.

“The introduction of a cap on the costs ensures more efficient and effective collection of funds by trusts, and avoids costly litigation battles where costs might be higher than the actual NHS charges being recovered

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Judge: Seattle abortion providers’ rights trump records law

In a win for abortion rights advocates, a federal judge in Seattle has issued a ruling temporarily protecting the identities of people working with fetal tissue at the University of Washington and elsewhere.

Using state public records laws, anti-choice activists hope to identify workers at clinics associated with Planned Parenthood and the UW Birth Defect Research Laboratory. Earlier this week, U.S. District Judge James Robart issued a preliminary injunction blocking the release of those records until the matter goes to trial.


Robart halted the release of the clinic workers’ information, finding that their work is political advocacy protected by the U.S. Constitution.

“Even if the research in which (the workers) participate or to which they contribute does not fall within the ambit of First Amendment protection, the groups with which (they) have participated or associated do engage in advocacy for the health and reproductive rights of women,” Robart said in his Nov. 15 ruling.

The Supreme Court, Robart continued, has previously found that the First Amendment can trump public records laws if the release of otherwise public documents will subject a person “to threats, harassment, or reprisals from either government officials or private parties.” The judge noted that Washington clinics have been firebombed, vandalized and blocked by those opposed to abortion rights.

Robart’s decision blocks the release of the workers’ names until trial. A trial date has not yet been set.

Abortion rights advocates celebrated Robart’s ruling.

“This crusade to stigmatize providers, politicize women’s health, and try to restrict abortion has gone on long enough,” said Janet Chung, an attorney with the women’s rights organization Legal Voice. “It’s past time to stop the attacks on health care professionals and the necessary care they provide.”

Robart’s decision comes after months of legal wrangling concerning jurisdictional issues. Now, though, it appears those involved in the dispute will turn their attention to the core issue – whether state workers and contractors involved in abortion-related matters are entitled to privacy.

Among those seeking the records is David Daleiden, a California man best known for secretly recording meetings with Planned Parent managers.

Daleiden’s videos were cut to give the impression that Planned Parenthood – the nation’s largest providers of women’s health services, including abortion – was selling fetal tissue. Abortion rights opponents used the eight-minute film to push for investigations into Planned Parenthood, including one in Washington that concluded in November.

In court filings, attorneys for Daleiden and another anti-choice activist claim to the men’s efforts are part of “a robust public debate” on “fetal-tissue procurement” that has prompted congressional inquiry. According to those filings, members of that Republican-led effort contend a “full investigation” will required broad questions “as to whether other value was received from … the University of Washington.”

Attorneys for the workers targeted by the activists note that Daleiden and his associates have “played a direct role in creating that political climate.” They’ve done so, the attorneys said, by promoting a fiction that fetal tissue collected during abortions is some kind of profit center for Planned Parenthood.

The workers’ attorneys not that Daleiden’s efforts sparked a series of investigations into unfounded claims that Planned Parenthood was illegally selling fetal remains. Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson conducted one such investigation at the request from legislators, and found the claims of misconduct empty and malicious.

“Unfounded allegations against Planned Parenthood are troubling,” Ferguson said in November. “They seek to discredit the organization and divert resources away from patient services, making it more difficult for Washington women to exercise their constitutional rights.”

In February, Daleiden and a staffer with the socially conservative Family Policy Institute of Washington filed a pair of public records requests with UW. Each demanded records related to the UW research lab’s relationship with Planned Parenthood; Daleiden is also seeking correspondence between several bioscience firms at the Seattle university.

Concerned that the records request could prompt the release of private information, attorneys representing employees of the university, Planned Parenthood and area hospitals sued in August to block portions of the release. The lawsuit would force UW to censor the workers’ names and identifying information before releasing the records.

Washington Family Policy Institute director Joseph Backholm previously said the public records requests are a continuation of Daleiden’s effort.

Backholm said his organization aims to “verify” the findings of the Attorney General’s Office investigation. He went on to surmise that state investigators stopped short of reviewing contracts between the UW center and purveyors of what he described as “aborted body parts.”

Though his Tuesday ruling does not settle the matter, Robart found that the workers’ claim is likely to succeed at trial.

“The court agrees that the public has an interest in understanding and obtaining information about the types of research and other work in which UW engages with public funds, but releasing (the workers’) personally identifying information would do little, if anything, to advance that interest,” ruled Robart, who was appointed to the federal bench in 2004 by President George W. Bush.

“The First Amendment does not allow state law to force individual (people) to choose between facing threats, harassment, and violence for engaging in … research at a public institution, and foregoing engagement with that public institution to avoid disclosure of personally identifying information and the related harassment and threats that such disclosure is likely to bring.

“This is exactly the kind of ‘chilling effect’ that the Constitution forbids.”

Attorneys for UW, the workers and the activists are expected to appear in court Dec. 2 to discuss scheduling matters.

Seattlepi.com reporter Levi Pulkkinen can be reached at 206-448-8348 or levipulkkinen@seattlepi.com. Follow Levi on Twitter at twitter.com/levipulk. 

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Govt firms scored over remittances

A BICOL congressman scored the Governance Commission for Government-Owned and -Controlled Corporations for failing to oversee at least 10 state firms that have apparently deprived the government of some P68.66 billion in unremitted or undeclared dividends over 10 years. 

Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte said the GCG should immediately probe the fund irregularity with the aim of reorganizing, privatizing or even abolishing GOCCs that have repeatedly violated their charters and other laws.

“We will first let the GCG do its job of evaluating the performance of these GOCCs,” Villafuerte said, citing the violations the CoA uncovered in its 2015 annual report.

“If the GCG is not up to the job, then I might file a resolution calling for a congressional probe into these GOCCs that have either not remitted, under-remitted, under-declared or not declared the dividends due the national government,” said Villafuerte, vice chairman of the House committee on appropriations. 

Villafuerte said among the GOCCs named in the COA are the National Food Authority with P937.602 million; Philippine Sugar Corp., P441.256 million; Philippine Postal Corp,  P356.4 million; Local Water Utilities Administration,  P343.191 million; Philippine Rice Research Institute, P82.274 million; Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp., P27.279 billion;  Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp., P23.817 billion; Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., P15.401 billion; Philippine Aerospace Development Corp.,  P6.84 million; and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, which did not declare any dividends.

According to the CoA, these GOCCs violated provisions of Republic Act No. 7656, or the law requiring GOCCs to declare dividends under certain conditions to the national government.

Villafuerte noted that Section 3 of the law states that, “All government-owned or -controlled corporations shall declare and remit at least 50 percent of their annual net earnings as cash, stock or property dividends to the National Government.” 

The law exempts GOCCs tasked “to administer real or personal properties or funds held in trust for the use and the benefit of its members,” such as the Government Service Insurance System, Pag-Ibig, Employees Compensation Commission, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, and Philippine Medical Care Commission, Villafuerte explained.

But all other GOCCs are required to remit at least half of their annual net earnings to the national government, which “shall be received by the National Treasury and recorded as income of the General Fund,” he said. 

Villafuerte said the GCG should get to the bottom of this CoA-discovered fund irregularity because the agency’s charter, RA 10149, precisely grants powers for such purposes.

“Section 5 of the GCG law specifically states these powers of the Governance Commission,” Villafuerte said. 

“In fact, looking at this CoA list of erring GOCCs, some of them should be evaluated by the GCG regardless of whether they have failed to remit or declare the correct amount of dividends to the Treasury because their functions, if you examine them,  are best performed by the private sector instead of by state-controlled firms,” he said. 

The GCG law specifically states the Commission can conduct periodic study, examination, evaluation and assessment of the performance of the GOCCs, and also receive, and in appropriate cases, require reports on the operations and management of the GOCCs including the management of the assets and finances of the GOCCs, Villafuerte said. 

“Thus, the GCG is within its powers to investigate the GOCCs in the CoA list and even look into the management of their assets and finances,” he added.

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When it comes to divorce, our family law system …

By Brynn Doctor

As a mom, stepmom, partner to a divorcee, hopeful adoptive parent, communications consultant for separated families, and law student, I have had more than my fair share of exposure to our family law system.

Through all these roles, I have come to understand one thing very clearly: our family law system is woefully inadequate.

While roughly 40 per cent of marriages in Canada end in divorce — and that doesn’t include common-law families that break down – nearly 80 per cent of people engaged in a family law issue do not use a lawyer. For the vast majority of people, this is a product of economics. A family in breakdown is doubling their expenses while maintaining or lowering their combined income. Paying $2,000 for a retainer and being billed $400 an hour is simply not feasible for most households.

Even for those who can afford a lawyer, the billable-hour model hardly encourages trust and goodwill between clients and lawyers. While clients generally wish to settle their conflicts as quickly and favourably as possible, lawyers are incentivized through high billing targets to drag the file along.

There is a unique kind of fury brought about when receiving a bill in the hundreds or thousands of dollars for phone calls and emails, each billed within 1/10th of an hour. And all of the risk is on the client should a file take more time than originally estimated.

Of course, it’s not just clients who become frustrated. As firms become more competitive, billable targets are consistently increasing, pushing lawyers to work longer hours on stressful files without adequate support. Burnout in the field of family law is high, and many law students and lawyers are scared off from entering the field by stories of difficult clients and high-conflict counsel.

There is a unique kind of fury brought about when receiving a bill in the hundreds or thousands of dollars for phone calls and emails, each billed within 1/10th of an hour

Students who do want to enter the field struggle to find principles who have the time and energy to train them, and even if they succeed, they are taught to practice family law within the same broken model that is currently failing clients and lawyers alike.

So how do we fix it?

First, we move away from billable hours. By taking the time to scope out services at the outset, clients are discouraged from vindictive litigation that falls outside the scope of services initially agreed to, and lawyers are encouraged to work as efficiently as possible to increase their profit margins.

While it’s often argued that family law is wildly unpredictable, analysis of case law by companies such as Mira Law Group show that to be a myth. Technology allows lawyers to track their outcomes, and quickly perfect the art of providing fair, upfront pricing to their clients while maintaining reasonable profit margins.

Lower, more accurate rates mean more families can access legal services, lawyers can increase productivity without focusing on billable targets, and clients can trust their lawyers to be working toward their common goals. More efficient, less litigious service also allows us to streamline our courts, ensuring matters are heard sooner, or keeping clients out of court altogether.

Second, we recognize that while a family breakdown often involves legal problems, the breakdown itself is largely a social – not a legal – issue. Increased co-operation with social services and supports will allow clients to get the emotional assistance they need to process their separations, and leave the lawyers to focus on the law.

No judge or lawyer, no matter how well-intentioned, can do the work necessary in the time it takes to process a file to help families heal and parents learn to communicate with one another.

The best thing we can do is invest in teaching new lawyers entirely new ways of thinking about what family law is and how it can be practiced. With 80 per cent of the market currently unrepresented, there is no telling how new models of practice could change the face of family law in Canada.

Brynn Doctor is a communications coach and third-year law student at the University of Calgary.


By Dr. Jillian Ratti As an advocate for universal child care, I never thought I would see the day, but this week, it happened: Alberta’s NDP government announced that it would …

By David B. Layzell Energy Efficiency Alberta, the provincial government’s newest agency, is a welcome and important initiative.

Why was key information about the four-year-old’s death omitted from the child advocate’s report?

The record. Meaningless. The records. Meaningless. Despite collective regular-season excellence (15-2-1 paced the Canadian Football League), despite individual exclamation marks (too many to mention), the Calgary Stampeders are here.

Xiu Jin Teng, who is charged with first-degree murder in the February 2012 death of her husband, actively participated in the jury selection process this week

For decades, Alberta has been seen as the land of boom or bust. When oil prices surged above US$100 a barrel, the economy took off like a rocket.

“I used to hate everybody.” As Les Hosford makes this pronouncement, he does so with a warm smile.

By Brynn Doctor As a mom, stepmom, partner to a divorcee, hopeful adoptive parent, communications consultant for separated families, and law student, I have had more than my fair share …

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Law Firms Must Improve Transparency and Efficiencies to Meet Changing Corporate Client Demands

CHICAGO, Nov 18, 2016 (BUSINESS WIRE) —
Law firms are seeking strategies to respond to clients’ quest for value
and efficiency while simultaneously increasing profitability.

Corporations decreased outside legal spend by 2 percent as law
departments look to reduce costs and keep more matters in-house,
according to HBR Consulting’s Annual
Law Department Survey.

Leading law firms looking to differentiate themselves in an increasingly
competitive market are paying close attention to law department trends
to build strategies that drive operational efficiencies and align with
client needs, including understanding how clients select and measure
outside counsel. According to HBR’s Survey, the top criteria for
selection of outside counsel was the level of client service and
engagement (79 percent). This was followed by predictability in matter
handling, project management capabilities and creative staffing, and
innovation in fee arrangements. The top metrics for tracking outside
counsel performance are results and outcome, knowledge of company,
communication and billing practice, and compliance with billing
guidelines.

“Leading law firms are holistically looking at the entire lifecycle of a
client relationship – from the outside counsel selection process all the
way through the billing process – and are leveraging client perspectives
to drive change within their organizations,” said HBR president, Nick
Quil. “Areas that may have traditionally been viewed as ‘back-office’
support functions, such as IT and procurement and billing, are becoming
strategic points of differentiation for many law firms.”

As corporate clients increasingly pursue strategies to do more with
less, law departments are focused on optimizing internal resources and
leveraging technology to increase operational efficiency, and they
expect the law firms that they work with to do the same. In response to
client pressures and emerging competition, almost every decision leading
law firms make today is rooted in improving
service delivery and demonstrating increased value for clients,
including:

Improving visibility, transparency and billing practices. Leading
law firms are prioritizing immediate visibility into the budget of
matters. As law departments look to further control costs and minimize
any billing surprises, corporations are looking to select law firms that
are creating models that provide transparency into the billing process
from the onset of matters. The role of the legal secretary and billing
and collections departments are evolving, and in many cases elevating,
to address increasing client demands.

Investing more strategically in IT. According to HBR’s survey, 40
percent of law departments plan to increase their use of technology to
automate routine tasks, enhance work processes and support data
analytics in the near future. As law departments become more tech-savvy
and use data-driven metrics to inform decision making, they are
expecting outside counsel to do the same. Forward-looking law firms are
elevating their IT functions to be more strategic and implement
processes that support the firm’s attorneys in achieving their clients’
overarching business goals. For some firms, this means moving to
third-party IT support in order to free IT leaders’ time and allow them
to better craft strategies that enable attorneys to be more effective in
their roles.

Managing third-party risk with advanced procurement capabilities. Top
firms are looking to improve operational efficiencies and reduce costs
through enhanced procurement functions. But as corporate law departments
continue to focus on mitigating risk, particularly third-party risk, law
firms are strategically investing in support areas focused on
establishing vendor
governance policies and processes to ensure they are meeting
evolving client demands. Additionally, firms are looking to their
procurement departments to create savings to fund investments focused on
transforming the operating model.

For more information on HBR’s Annual Law Department Survey or to arrange
a legal trends briefing, contact HBR
Consulting.

About HBR Consulting

HBR Consulting (www.hbrconsulting.com)
delivers advisory, managed services and software solutions that increase
productivity and profitability for corporations, professional services
and law firms. Thought leaders with decades of experience, we deliver
value to our clients. HBR has long-term relationships working with 90
percent of Am Law 200 law firms and 35 percent of Fortune 500 corporate
law departments.

About the Survey

The annual HBR Law Department Survey is the leading source of
benchmarking data for U.S. and global law departments. It gathers and
reports key qualitative and quantitative metrics that assess and
benchmark law department performance. The Survey, now in its thirteenth
year, continues to grow its participant base and expand its focus on
global legal function management. The 2016 Survey includes a total of
276 participants representing 22 industries.

Unique among law department surveys, HBR Consulting’s Survey focuses on
larger law departments, includes both global and U.S. law departments
and emphasizes data consistency and rigorous quality control procedures.
For more information about how to purchase HBR Law Department Survey
reports, visit http://www.hbrconsulting.com/lawdepartmentsurvey.html
or call 215.628.3409.

View source version on businesswire.com: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20161118005125/en/

SOURCE: HBR Consulting”>
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Walker Sands Communications
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Elite white-collar law firms are finally getting their comeuppance

Billable hours charged to corporate clients are the cash cow of elite legal firms. The problem: AI can do much of the legal work in less time.

As one of the first 100 employees at Google , Ron Dolin worked directly on the indexing and retrieval of information on a massive scale. Before that, he was a physicist working on data acquisition and computer controls at European particle accelerator CERN, where scientists explore the fundamental laws of nature that create and destroy universes. Now the physics and computer science have come together for Dolin in a surprising place: the legal profession. Dolin doesn’t think the traditional structure of the legal universe can survive what’s coming from the world of artificial intelligence.

“These firms are looking at future doom if they don’t start playing with business models in different ways,” said Dolin, now a senior research fellow at the Harvard School of Law’s Center on the Legal Profession.

Specifically, the cash-cow model of elite law firms — first-year associates racking up billable hours from endless hours of M&A contract document review, with the revenue flowing up the pyramid to partners — is facing an unprecedented challenge.

Artificial intelligence software can do the contract review work of first-year law associates at a speed and scale that no human could — or should — be asked to do. And as A.I. systems become more common, it becomes more problematic for law firms to not follow that trend.

“This is not reversible,” Dolin said. “The first-year associate as cash cow to partnership is breaking.”

It’s not your typical rise-of-the-machines problem . In manufacturing scenarios, the robots lead to lower costs and better returns — often at the expense of jobs. In the legal world, becoming more efficient doesn’t necessarily mean less lawyers — though no one knows for sure — but it does mean less billable hours and potentially less revenue for the partners.

“GE is selling a product for a set dollar amount, so the more efficient they can be and the more they can lower cost, the more margin they get. That is not the case with law firms,” said Noah Waisberg, CEO and co-founder of A.I. software firm Kira Systems, who was an M&A lawyer before starting Kira. “With professional services firms, it’s tricky to sell A.I. to them because unless they work on a fixed-fee model already, [Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Krantz is the prime example of an elite firm that doesn’t use billable hours], if they are selling hourly, they really need lots of hours of output.”

Law firms don’t have their heads in the sand, but they would prefer that the partnership model makes some tweaks rather than being upended.

“Lots of clients are questioning billable hours,” said Isabel Parker, director of legal services innovation at U.K.-based law firm Freshfields, which is one of the oldest law firms in the world (it has been the legal advisor to the Bank of England since 1743). “It’s not just law firms but firms like Deloitte and EY. There is need for more price predictability and fixed fees, and automation allows you to run much more accurate analytics on the work you are doing,” Parker said.

She said the pressure from corporate clients is an extension of what they are experiencing in their own worlds. “Big financial institutions face being put out of business on a daily basis, and they expect us to be looking at our own sector,” Parker said. “It’s not the death of the law firm partnership model, but it will change over time. No one can say how, exactly, but we have to think about how we price and work.”

Matt Kesner, the chief information officer at Fenwick & West, one of the top tech-sector law firms, said 30 years ago in his first job as a trial lawyer, he was working with “mini computers” — precursors to PCs — in the attempt to track vast amounts of data for trial discovery phase purposes. In the United States, at least, that role for lawyers was long ago outsourced and automated by e-discovery software — either because law firms were far too slow to adapt, or the work wasn’t important enough to defend as part of their business. But the past three to four years has seen the encroachment of A.I. as a more fundamental challenge to the overarching model of many law firms.

Law and professional service firms are turning to start-ups like Kira Systems — and many others operating in the A.I. software niche that can handle the contract review work of associates faster and more accurately. Deloitte’s implementation of the Kira Systems technology, which is now being used by more than 3,000 employees, is the largest A.I. deployment at any professional services firm in the world, according to Kira Systems’ Waisberg, which counts Deloitte, Fenwick and Freshfields among its growing roster of legal and professional services clients.

“Most of our corporate clients want the same efficiency from us that they want out of manufacturing partners,” Kesner said. “This [A.I.] is one way to get there. It does have an impact on revenue. It doesn’t necessarily help us make more money. We may make less, but that’s OK. It lets us focus on things more important to clients and it’s lucrative enough,” Kesner said. “I know it will sound pollyanish, but we really are trying to please clients. For us working for with tech companies, it’s the expectation. We’re amazed and delighted with what they come up with, and for us, to not use it is silly.”

A.I. technology can review contract documents with the same or greater accuracy than lawyers in anywhere from 20 percent to 90 percent less time, according to Waisberg.

Freshfields’ Parker said since it began using Kira in the fall, it has seen efficiency gains of between 40 percent and 70 percent.

And first-year law associates aren’t panicking. “Its ridiculous to think associates should do this over and over to just generate money,” Dolin said. “They hated doing that work in the first place.”

The law firm executives agreed that first-year associates are more relieved than worried. “These are smart people. They get frustrated doing that work over and over again, and clients don’t want to pay for it. We can’t sustain a model where humans are doing this work.”

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“The history of this has been different for every industry and in some tech eclipses what people do, and in other industries it is just an assist or supplement,” Kesner said. “I don’t think it is clear what will happen in law, and I don’t think law is just one silo of jobs.” He said trust and estate lawyers are already using software for a much bigger part of their jobs than a decade ago. “The expectation is they will have expensive software, and most work is done by computer. It isn’t that way for corporate lawyers yet.”

But there are no guarantees. Kira’s main use at Freshfields is in its Manchester-based legal services center, where tasks defined as “repetitive legal work” are handled by paralegals. “Their reaction so far has been positive, because the parts of work taken by Kira need a lot of training. You can’t just stick it in a room and expect the result to come out,” Parker said. “That’s a new set of roles for people that they didn’t have before. … A hybrid role between lawyer and tech.”

But Parker added, “It’s very difficult to predict, and it would be naîve to say it won’t change the shape of our traditional workforce.”

Waisberg said an important goal of Kira is to ultimately convince law firms that AI will lead to additional revenue opportunities. A typical M&A deal of $500 million might include review of 75 to 300 contracts. But those firms in total may have thousands of contracts between them. “Right now buyers only look at a small part. “They don’t feel like paying fancy law firms thousands per contract to review all of them,” Waisberg said. But AI holds out the possibility of increasing the scope of contract review. And increasing scope doesn’t necessarily reduce the number of people, or the bill.

The law firms are reserving judgment on that. “There is no way of knowing whether Kira is right about the capacity to review more data,” Parker said, because they do not know what would compel clients to ask for more data.

Dolin said Google now offers a dashboard that allows legal counsel within corporations to monitor the billing codes being generated by their outside legal firms.

“The leading indicator of change by far is data gathering and data acquisition. All the data is there and is increasingly enabling competition and pushback in a strong way. If you are charging me three times as much as someone else, can you tell me what is unique about this deposition. In-house corporate counsel has never had that power before, but do now,” Dolin said.

But from his point of view trying to education the next generation of lawyers, billable hours are only one problem within the larger problem of how legal partnerships think — they don’t think like corporations where a portion of revenue is paid out to shareholders in the form of dividends and the rest of the money put back into R&D and systems. Partners are both the corporate managers and shareholders.

“For some reason, partners think it’s taking money out of their pocket to invest in new systems,” Dolin said.

Dolin does not worry about associates losing their jobs. It’s not the model of a next generation of good attorneys that is breaking, he said. “But if you have a pyramid model that’s in trouble.” He said firms are narrowing that model into a pipeline and continuing to make a profit that way, switching from pure billable hours as the dominant model to some fee structure that incentivizes efficiency and value.

A start-up like LegalZoom which can now handle highly commoditized legal work is not an immediate threat to elite law firms. But what happened within the U.S. market with e-discovery is cautionary. “That’s an area where work has been desegregated from the firm. That market has been taken and it’s hard for any law firm to compete there,” Parker said. “We have to be alert that desegregation can happen elsewhere.”

Only one thing is certain. “Firms resting on their laurels will be completely gone,” Parker said.

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Rights Groups Warn Tech Firms Over China's Harsh New Internet Regime

RFA
Saturday 19th November, 2016

rights groups warn tech firms over china harsh new internet regime

International tech giants like Facebook, Microsoft, and LinkedIn have been warned that they will have to comply with China’s draconian new surveillance rules if they operate inside the system of blocks, filters, and human censorship known as the Great Firewall.

Citing a new Cybersecurity Law passed by Beijing last week, the London-based rights group Amnesty International said any tech company operating inside China will have to become a tool of the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

“It is a vast human and technological system of Internet censorship without parallel in the world,” Amnesty’s East Asia research director Roseann Rife wrote in an article on the group’s website as the World Internet Conference started in Wuzhen, in the eastern province of Zhejiang.

“The new law codifies existing abusive practices and seeks to turn tech companies operating in China into de-facto state surveillance agents,” Rife said.

Rife said that while the Chinese market is currently dominated by homegrown tech giants like Tencent and Sina, Chinese officials have already made it clear that foreign internet companies will have to toe the line if they seek access to the country’s internet users.

‘Problematic’ content

Under the Cybersecurity Law, internet service providers will be forced to pass on huge amounts of data, including personal information, to government, and to censor users’ posts without regard for freedom of expression and the right to privacy, she wrote. Those who fail to comply will be hit with substantial penalties.

Rife cited the detention of bloggers Lu Yuyu and Li Tingyu on the implausible charges of “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble” as an example of how internet users can be criminalized simply for compiling and posting publicly available data.

Under the new law, internet companies are required to remove and report to authorities any content likely to be regarded as politically sensitive or problematic by the government.

This would effectively target people whose activities had not yet attracted the attention of China’s “stability maintenance” regime, she wrote.

“It is an Orwellian vision of the internet, a dragnet to trap those the government views as troublemakers, where the right to freedom of expression exists only at the discretion of the censors,” Rife said.

“Technology companies … should challenge the new law and make known to the government the company’s principled opposition to implementing any requests or directives which violate fundamental human rights.” she said, calling on companies not to sign up to China’s conditions under the new law.

The warning came as veteran political journalist Gao Yu reported via social media that browsers in China are now displaying warning notices that the user may be trying to access a “fraudulent website” whenever they try to access overseas news organizations and other websites blocked by the Great Firewall.

Chinese internet entrepreneur Hao Peiqiang, who founded Chengdu-based Ginkgo Software Technologies, said the Chinese government has been gradually tightening its control over the country’s internet users under a strategy that is coming from the very highest level of government.

“Domestic browsers basically decide what a website is, and then it is what they say it is,” Hao said, adding: “They’re not very reliable.”

Impact on rights

Amnesty International China researcher Patrick Poon said overseas tech firms are overlooking the human rights implications of carrying out their business in China.

“Actually they haven’t thought about the fact that they are helping the Chinese government to suppress the freedom of expression of its citizens,” Poon said. “We will continue to call on internet companies to pay particular attention to the right of freedom of expression and the right to privacy.”

He said the law stems from President Xi Jinping’s concept of “internet sovereignty” in which a country controls what its nationals do online, rather than accessing a global network of information and services.

“There is a double standard here, in which there is no room for human rights, where international norms on human rights will not be applied,” Poon said.

U.S.-based rights activist Liu Qing welcomed Amnesty International’s warning. “This is both fair and correct,” Liu said. “There are quite a few Western tech companies who are willing to do as the Chinese Communist Party tells them in order to advance their interests in China.”

“But since Xi Jinping came to power, there has been a steady rise in online surveillance and control of information.”

Liu said companies that do toe the line to do business in China are unlikely to benefit greatly from the trade-off, however.

Reported by Xi Wang for RFA’s Mandarin Service, and by Ng Yik-tung for the Cantonese Service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.

Copyright 1998-2014, RFA. Published with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036

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SHAREHOLDER ALERT: Pomerantz Law Firm Reminds Shareholders with Losses on their Investments Impax Laboratories Inc. of Class Action Lawsuit and Upcoming Deadline – IPXL



NEW YORK, Nov. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Pomerantz LLP announces that a class action lawsuit has been filed against Impax Laboratories Inc. (“Impax” or the “Company”)












IPXL, -1.69%










and certain of its officers. The class action, filed in United States District Court, Northern District of California, and docketed under 16-cv-06557, is on behalf of a class consisting of all persons or entities who purchased or otherwise acquired Impax securities between February 20, 2014 and November 2, 2016, both dates inclusive (the “Class Period”), seeking to recover compensable damages caused by defendants’ violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

If you are a shareholder who purchased Impax securities during the Class Period, you have until January 9, 2017 to ask the Court to appoint you as Lead Plaintiff for the class.  A copy of the Complaint can be obtained at www.pomerantzlaw.com. To discuss this action, contact Robert S. Willoughby at rswilloughby@pomlaw.com or 888.476.6529 (or 888.4-POMLAW), toll free, ext. 9980. Those who inquire by e-mail are encouraged to include their mailing address, telephone number, and number of shares purchased. 

[Click here to join this class action]

Impax, a specialty pharmaceutical company, develops, manufactures, and markets bioequivalent pharmaceutical products.  Impax Laboratories, Inc. has a strategic alliance agreement with Teva Pharmaceuticals Curacao N.V. to develop, manufacture, and distribute controlled release generic pharmaceutical products.

The Complaint alleges that throughout the Class Period, Defendants made materially false and/or misleading statements, as well as failed to disclose material adverse facts about the Company’s business, operations, and prospects.  Specifically, Defendants made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose that:  (i) Impax and several of its pharmaceutical industry peers colluded to fix generic drug prices; (ii) the foregoing conduct constituted a violation of U.S. antitrust laws; (iii) consequently, Impax’s revenues during the Class Period were in part the result of illegal conduct; and (iv) as a result of the foregoing, Impax’s public statements were materially false and misleading at all relevant times. 

On November 3, 2016, media outlets reported that U.S. prosecutors might file criminal charges by the end of 2016 against Impax and several other pharmaceutical companies for unlawfully colluding to fix generic drug prices. 

On this news, Impax’s share price fell $4.00, or 19.51%, to close at $16.50 on November 3, 2016.

The Pomerantz Firm, with offices in New York, Chicago, Florida, and Los Angeles, is acknowledged as one of the premier firms in the areas of corporate, securities, and antitrust class litigation. Founded by the late Abraham L. Pomerantz, known as the dean of the class action bar, the Pomerantz Firm pioneered the field of securities class actions. Today, more than 80 years later, the Pomerantz Firm continues in the tradition he established, fighting for the rights of the victims of securities fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, and corporate misconduct. The Firm has recovered numerous multimillion-dollar damages awards on behalf of class members. See www.pomerantzlaw.com

CONTACT:
Robert S. Willoughby
Pomerantz LLP
rswilloughby@pomlaw.com

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/shareholder-alert-pomerantz-law-firm-reminds-shareholders-with-losses-on-their-investments-impax-laboratories-inc-of-class-action-lawsuit-and-upcoming-deadline–ipxl-300366159.html

SOURCE Pomerantz LLP

Copyright (C) 2016 PR Newswire. All rights reserved



















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SHAREHOLDER ALERT: Pomerantz Law Firm Reminds Shareholders with Losses on their Investment in Allergan plc of Class Action Lawsuit and Upcoming Deadline – AGN



NEW YORK, Nov. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Pomerantz LLP announces that a class action lawsuit has been filed against Allergan plc (“Allergan” or the “Company”)












AGN, -4.10%










and certain of its officers. The class action, filed in United States District Court, Southern District of New York, and docketed under 16-cv-08661, is on behalf of a class consisting of all persons or entities who purchased or otherwise acquired Allergan securities between February 25, 2014 and November 2, 2016, both dates inclusive (the “Class Period”), seeking to recover compensable damages caused by defendants’ violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

If you are a shareholder who purchased Allergan securities during the Class Period, you have until January 3, 2017 to ask the Court to appoint you as Lead Plaintiff for the class. A copy of the Complaint can be obtained at www.pomerantzlaw.com. To discuss this action, contact Robert S. Willoughby at rswilloughby@pomlaw.com or 888.476.6529 (or 888.4-POMLAW), toll free, ext. 9980. Those who inquire by e-mail are encouraged to include their mailing address, telephone number, and number of shares purchased. 

[Click here to join this class action]

Allergan, a specialty pharmaceutical company, develops, manufactures, markets, and distributes medical aesthetics, biosimilar, and over-the-counter pharmaceutical products worldwide.  The Company was formerly known as Actavis plc and changed its name to Allergan plc in June 2015 after acquiring Allergan Inc. The Company’s common stock has traded under the ticker symbol “AGN” since June 15, 2015.  Prior to June 15, 2015, the common stock of Actavis plc traded on the NYSE under the ticker symbol “ACT”.

On July 26, 2015, Allergan entered into a master purchase agreement, under which Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. agreed to acquire Actavis, the Company’s global generic pharmaceuticals business unit.  On August 2, 2016, the companies announced the completion of the acquisition.

The Complaint alleges that throughout the Class Period, Defendants made materially false and/or misleading statements, as well as failed to disclose material adverse facts about the Company’s business, operations, and prospects.  Specifically, Defendants made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose that: (i) Allergan’s Actavis unit and several of its pharmaceutical industry peers colluded to fix generic drug prices; (ii) the foregoing conduct constituted a violation of federal antitrust laws; (iii) consequently, Allergan’s revenues during the Class Period were in part the result of illegal conduct; and (iv) as a result of the foregoing, Allergan’s public statements were materially false and misleading at all relevant times. 

On November 3, 2016, media outlets reported that U.S. prosecutors might file criminal charges by the end of 2016 against Actavis and several other pharmaceutical companies for unlawfully colluding to fix generic drug prices.

On this news, Allergan’s share price fell $9.07, or 4.58%, to close at $188.82 on November 3, 2016.

The Pomerantz Firm, with offices in New York, Chicago, Florida, and Los Angeles, is acknowledged as one of the premier firms in the areas of corporate, securities, and antitrust class litigation. Founded by the late Abraham L. Pomerantz, known as the dean of the class action bar, the Pomerantz Firm pioneered the field of securities class actions. Today, more than 80 years later, the Pomerantz Firm continues in the tradition he established, fighting for the rights of the victims of securities fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, and corporate misconduct. The Firm has recovered numerous multimillion-dollar damages awards on behalf of class members. See www.pomerantzlaw.com

CONTACT:
Robert S. Willoughby
Pomerantz LLP
rswilloughby@pomlaw.com 

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/shareholder-alert-pomerantz-law-firm-reminds-shareholders-with-losses-on-their-investment-in-allergan-plc-of-class-action-lawsuit-and-upcoming-deadline–agn-300366156.html

SOURCE Pomerantz LLP

Copyright (C) 2016 PR Newswire. All rights reserved



















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