Latest Posts

Judge upholds law allowing counties to hire outside auditors

Published 5:02 am, Wednesday, September 7, 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota judge has upheld a new state law that allows counties to hire private companies for their annual audits.

State Auditor Rebecca Otto is fighting the 2015 law that lets counties forego her office for the financial reviews. Minnesota Public Radio News ( ) says the ruling by Ramsey County Judge Lezlie Ott Marek released Tuesday preserves the auditor’s ultimate jurisdiction to conduct reviews in certain circumstances at county expense.

Republican Rep. Sarah Anderson spearheaded the law change that gave counties more room to opt out of the state-conducted audits and enter into contracts with private firms. At least 50 of Minnesota’s 87 counties are planning to hire outside companies.

Otto plans to ask a higher court to step in.


Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News,

Go to Source

Canon Solutions America and nQueue Partner on Document Processing Solution for Law Firms

Canon Solutions America, Inc., a subsidiary of Canon U.S.A., and nQueue, a provider of software-based cost recovery and document scanning and routing solutions for law firms, have jointly announced the availability of nQ360, a document processing solution for law firms. The new solution combines nQueue’s cost recovery solution, and Therefore, Canon’s information management and archiving system, to provide firms with a secure and automated way to manage documents.

According to the vendors, nQ360 represents the complete scope of coverage of the document lifecycle across capture, process, output, and archive.

nQ360 leverages nQueue’s platform of cost recovery solutions, assisting firms by automating, processing and recovering operational and administrative expenses, including print, copy, scan, phone, fax, travel, court fees, research, courier costs, and credit card charges.

nQ360’s document scanning and routing features enable firms to capture, format and route scans to improve efficiency and reduce costs associated with document retention and retrieval. The technology can be embedded into multifunction devices or reside on tablet computers and terminals.

For more information, go to and

Go to Source

One of Bolton’s oldest law firms opens new office

ONE of Bolton’s oldest law firms has opened a new office in the town centre.

Russell & Russell, started in 1887 by William Russell, has its head office in Wood Street. Now, it has also opened a new “legal shop” in Newport Street in one of the premises upgraded in a £3 million central scheme close to the new £48 million transport interchange.

This is in addition to the firm’s offices in Atherton, Bury, Chester, Farnworth, Horwich and Middleton.

Part of the firm’s personal injury department is working from the upper two floors of the building, moving in teams from Bolton and Atherton to create this new centre of expertise. It deals with accidents at work, road traffic accidents, slips and trips and any other type of accident or injury including clinical negligence.

The ground floor is a legal advice centre for clients wanting help with residential and commercial property, wills and probate, family matters and criminal defence services.

There is also a free legal clinic each Saturday from 11am to 3pm dealing with personal injury inquiries of all kinds.

Twenty-one Russell & Russell staff have moved into the new office – a mixture of secretaries, solicitors and partners. Derrick Smethurst, head of the personal injury department, said: “We deliberately chose this site in the heart of the retail district because of its prominent visible position and its easy accessibility for clients.

“We wanted to improve our service offering to the Bolton community by being very welcoming and accessible, without losing our core values of professionalism, quality advice and efficient service. We had planned for some time to offer a drop-in centre for any legal problems and this move has provided that opportunity.

“So far, we have had a very positive response from the public. I think people particularly appreciate the fact that no appointment is necessary and that we open during the week from 8.30am to 6pm and on Saturdays from 10am to 4pm.”

“We understand that it’s not always possible to see a solicitor during normal working hours so we’re trying to ensure that we’re available to everyone.”

Go to Source

How gender discrimination law has businesses scrambling

“Raise your hand if you are for equal pay for equal jobs; no one would argue with that,” employment attorney Christopher Olmsted told a crowd of human resources executives at a Long Beach conference last week.

Hands flew up in the audience.

But Olmsted quickly warned, “The devil is in the details.”

On the first Labor Day since the passage of the 2015 California Fair Pay Act, touted as the nation’s toughest gender discrimination law, no workplace issue is grabbing more attention across the state.

Employment lawyers are predicting a wave of class-action lawsuits under the new statute, which makes it far easier to sue an employer for discrimination.

The law shifts the burden of proof to employers to show why a worker is paid less than a colleague and applies to companies of any size.

The new law has bosses scrambling to audit their payrolls, rewrite job descriptions, research industry comparables and document the reasons for individual discrepancies.

In certain cases, they are proactively boosting the wages of some workers and considering whether to cap the salaries of others.

“The earthquake has happened,” said Olmsted, whose firm, Ogletree Deakins, has five California offices, including one in Costa Mesa. “The tsunami is on its way.”

The law’s impetus was the state’s documented pay gap. In California, according to government data, a woman working full-time, year-round earned an average of 84 cents to every dollar a man earned.

The gender wage gap, although somewhat narrower than the national gap of 79 cents to a dollar, extends across almost all occupations in California.

The discrepancy is worse for women of color. Latina women in California make only 44 cents for every dollar a white male makes, the biggest gap for Latina women in the nation.

In July, Qualcomm, a multinational chipmaker, chose to settle a threatened class-action lawsuit before it was even filed in court, after plaintiffs uncovered extensive data on company practices.

Female engineers in Qualcomm’s San Diego headquarters alleged systemic discrimination in pay and promotions. Women hold less than 15 percent of Qualcomm’s leadership positions, according to the complaint.

Under the settlement, which covers 3,300 female employees, the company will pay $19.5 million in back wages. More significantly, it agreed to hire outside consultants to help revamp hiring, promotion, salaries, bonuses, complaint procedures, weekend and evening demands, and mentoring policies.


The Qualcomm case follows a similar settlement last April in which Los Angeles-based Farmer’s Insurance Co. agreed to pay $4 million to some 300 women who worked as claims litigators.

The suit was brought by a Farmer’s Insurance attorney who discovered her male litigation partner was paid twice her salary, although he had less experience. Similar gaps were documented across the company’s national offices.

Farmers agreed to broad reforms in its pay practices as part of the settlement.

California’s aggressive law is part of a national trend. In 2009, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first new law President Barack Obama signed after taking office, fulfilling a campaign pledge to strengthen federal discrimination protections.

The law extended the statute of limitations for filing claims to within 180 days of the last discriminatory paycheck.

In January, the Obama administration announced an executive action to require companies with 100 or more employees to report to the government their employees pay by race, gender, and ethnicity.

“Why is the government making you do this?” asked Michele Patterson, a Rancho Palos Verdes attorney, addressing another group at the Long Beach conference. “Because it wants to catch you for discrimination!”

The three-day Professionals in Human Resources Association conference, a gathering of 2,400 employment personnel and exhibitors, featured no less than seven sessions focusing on the Fair Pay Act and federal gender discrimination law.

The floor of the vast Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center was filled with exhibits from law firms promising protection against class actions and software companies touting auditing and data analysis to parse gender-related compensation.

With the new California law, “companies are going to have to do more due diligence to support pay decisions,” said Briana Heathcott, a conference attendee who oversees human resources for Costa-Mesa based Fisher & Paykel Appliances, which has 150 U.S. employees. “Does Jane Doe make the same as John Smith for the same job with the same experience? You never know until you lift up the rug (to see) what’s underneath.”

Many businesses are not waiting for lawsuits to materialize. Last year, Salesforce, the San Francisco-based software giant, undertook a voluntary audit. The result: $3 million in pay hikes for women, along with a few men.

This June, Obama announced The White House Equal Pay Pledge, under which companies commit to reviewing hiring and promotion practices and to conducting annual across-the-board gender pay analyses.

So far, more than 50 big corporations have signed on, including Apple, CVS, Facebook, Target, Hilton and General Motors.

California’s new statute tightens gender discrimination protection several notches beyond federal law. Golden State companies must show men and women are paid equally for “substantially similar work,” not just for “equal work.”

“That gives employees a lot of wiggle room,” said Greg Labate, an Irvine labor lawyer.

In the past, for instance, a hotel might pay a male janitor more than a female maid. Now, it would have to justify the disparity.

Labate advises clients to get their employees to sign arbitration agreements, waiving their right to sue in court, and sending disputes to privately hired arbitrators.

The controversial tactic means disputes are settled behind closed doors with no public disclosure, no right of appeal, and none of the strict procedural rules that courts follow.

“People question whether arbitration tends to favor employers,” Labate told a conference session. “I believe they do. I use the same arbitrators over and over, and they get paid when I pick them. They know where their bread and butter comes from.”

The California law also forbids discrimination across different locations of one company. In the past, employees could only sue based on unequal pay within a single establishment.

Now a bank with an East L.A. branch would have to show why it pays a manager less than at a West L.A. branch.

The change likely will centralize hiring decisions at company headquarters, where human resources professionals can standardize pay scales.

“Before, you’d have a guy in Bakersfield doing whatever the heck he wanted,” Olmsted said. “When local managers make hiring decisions, you see pay differentials and favoritism.”

Detailed hiring and performance information will determine the outcome of court cases, he added, “but I have yet to see one company able to put that on a data grid and showed me exactly why their employees are paid what they are being paid.”

Courts also will face the challenge of untangling the nuances of how and why various bona fide factors — such as education, quality and quantity of work, seniority, responsibilities, merit or geography — can justify a pay gap.

“You can pay Bob more if he lives in San Francisco than if he lives in Irvine, but you can’t pay him 25 percent more if the cost of living is only 10 percent more,” said Nancy Yaffe, a Los Angeles employment lawyer. “Education could be irrelevant if Bob (is) a CPA, but he is working in marketing.”

No wonder, she adds, “A lot of my clients are very overwhelmed.”

Patterson is helping several clients with audits, including a large Orange County company.

“I just got off my sixth phone call,” she said. “They are bogged down. The company has merged over and over, so compensation structures are all over the place.”

In many cases, she added, companies don’t have lawsuit-proof job descriptions.

“The job has morphed a million times, but they haven’t gotten around to updating the description,” she said.

Recruiting practices are likely to change. Companies will no longer be able to base a pay offer on a job-seeker’s previous salary, given that a woman might have been discriminated against by a previous employer.

“Statistics show men negotiate harder for opening salaries,” Yaffe said. “So they come in at a higher salary, and then 10 years later, you have a big pay differential.”

Employers will need to set written pay ranges for positions.

“You can’t just pop someone into a position and pay them a premium because you really want them,” Olmsted said.

The new law also prohibits companies from retaliating against employees who assert their equal pay rights or discuss salaries with each other.

“You can’t punish Sally for asking Bob,” Labate said.

The Irvine lawyer is guiding audits of several Orange County-based clients with thousands of employees across the country.

“They’re linking spreadsheets with education, experience, starting salaries, performance,” he said. “It is onerous, and incredibly complicated. But if they haven’t done the legwork, it could be a massive problem to do it on short notice.”

Go to Source

Revealed: Scottish firms fronting global child-porn websites

Scottish firms are acting as fronts for international websites used to share child pornography.

A Sunday Herald investigation has discovered that secretive shell companies registered in Scotland are behind online file-sharing systems accused of enabling access to everything from images of young children being abused to “rape” videos.

The firms involved are Scottish limited partnerships, or SLPs, a once obscure kind of company now widely marketed across the former Soviet Union as a way for entrepreneurs to hide both their wealth and their identity.

At least two such businesses registered in Scotland are formally hosting at least four so-called “cyberlockers”, sites which appear to facilitate industrial-scale piracy of software, music, games, big TV shows, and Hollywood blockbusters.

These cyberlockers also host material featuring children under nine. Other forms of extreme pornography available featured rape and incest.

Our internet checks also uncovered links to piracy, with numerous mainstream films and television shows available, including movies currently on general release in cinemas, such as the latest Jason Bourne production.

The Sunday Herald has forwarded our findings to Police Scotland, which has launched its own investigation. After discussions with detectives we have decided not to publish the names of either the websites concerned or the Scottish-registered companies behind them in order not to alert the firms and impede the police investigation.

Detective Inspector Eamonn Keane, one of the country’s leading cybercrime experts, has seen the links discovered by the Sunday Herald. He said: “Police Scotland is investigating this matter.”

Keane stressed that there are numerous file-sharing systems available and that most of them do not facilitate access to any material that breaks indecency or child protection laws in Scotland or other countries.

He added: “But there are those sharing content that is criminal or close to criminal.”

Cyberlockers are just the latest unethical or illegal business being fronted by Scotland’s increasingly controversial limited partnerships.

The Sunday Herald last year detailed how such firms, sometimes based at modest council houses or virtual offices in provincial Scottish high streets, were used to launder proceeds of the alleged looting of $1bn from banks in Moldova, Europe’s poorest country.

Similar SLPs, with secret partners formally registered in jurisdictions such as Dominica, Panama, the British Virgin Islands or Belize, were named in corruption scandals in Latvia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

Our sister paper, The Herald, has also revealed that they have been used as front companies for a variety of controversial online businesses, including those offering to write essays for students or pushing diet pills regarded in the UK as a scam.

Some cyberlockers linked to Scottish shell companies have already come to the attention of international campaigners.

A group based in Australia, Copy Control, has described one of the sites identified by the Sunday Herald as “a haven of illegal pornography” and campaigned for major credit card companies to boycott it.

The group, which is backed by the mainstream adult entertainment industry, claimed the cyberlocker concerned contained pirated software and movies, including legal porn, as well as images of children, animals and adults being sexually abused.

All four cyberlockers linked by the Sunday Herald to Scottish limited partnerships have published terms and conditions claiming to prohibit any illegal pornography or any images of children. The websites also say they do not allow users to upload copyrighted material.

However, such claims have been undermined by Copy Control which uncovered links entitled “rape medley” and “incest films” featured in promotions for $89 annual subscriptions to “Scottish” cyberlockers.

Law enforcement sources stress that such sites operate over a number of different jurisdictions, including those where child pornography or copyright protection are not taken as seriously as in Scotland.

The two Scottish limited partnerships linked to cyberlockers are registered at virtual offices in central Scotland and have no physical presence here. At least one of the sites in their name is also registered through a virtual office here. The cyberlocker sites themselves, while operating under the name of the Scottish shell companies concerned, give management addresses in other countries, such as Russia and South Korea.

The Sunday Herald shared some of its findings with the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT). Its director general, Kieron Sharp, said: “In principle there are many legitimate uses for cyberlockers, such as sharing photo albums or work related files.

“However, they are increasingly being used to illegally share copyrighted TV and film content. Popular cyberlockers receive millions of hits a day and are generating substantial profit through advertising or premium subscriptions and affiliate schemes – whilst the businesses and creators who put the time, effort and income into creating the content, are being short changed of their well-deserved revenue.

“What is even more concerning is that illegal piracy sites have also been found to be linked to other types of serious organised crime.

“Our investigations in the past have uncovered information that the individuals behind these sites are also linked to other illegal activity such as counterfeit pharmaceuticals and drugs and we continue to work with the police and other law enforcement agencies to ensure this criminality is combated.”

An MP, Roger Mullin of the SNP, will this week seek an amendment to the UK government’s Finance Bill to review Scottish limited partnerships amid growing cross-party concerns that the corporate structure, created under a Westminster law of 1907, is facilitating international tax evasion, money-laundering and cyber crime.

Children’s tsar: “I applaud Sunday Herald”

Scotland’s official champion of children’s rights has called for those who access images of abused youngsters to be pursued with the same “vigour” as abusers.

Tam Baillie, Scotland’s commissioner for children and young people, said: “We need to be clear: accessing pornography is not a victimless crime. The demand for it is leading to countless numbers of children being abused across the globe. The origin of the images doesn’t matter, it is accessing them that creates the crime and fuels the demand for children to be used and abused.”

Speaking after being alerted to the role of Scottish firms in fronting for websites where abuse files are shared, he said: “It is obvious that some adults will use any means at their disposal to access child pornography and the discovery that so-called ‘cyberlockers’ are being used for this purpose, is another illustration of the need to be always vigilant.”

Baillie added: “Pornographic images have a longevity in the digital sphere and the impact of the abuse on children is devastating which makes it all the more urgent that we pursue those who access these images with the same vigour as we pursue those who abuse children, using whatever means we can.

“I applaud the Sunday Herald for shining a light on this issue.”

Children’s charity NSPCC last week revealed that Police Scotland had recorded 1900 child pornography offences over the last three years. The figure for the whole UK topped 21,600 in the same period.

Go to Source

Few Law Firms Pitch to Defend Lawsuits Against the City of Jackson

Ward 1 Councilman Ashby Foote said that more firms might want to present to the council but were unavailable for the late Friday meeting before the Labor Day weekend.

Ward 1 Councilman Ashby Foote said that more firms might want to present to the council but were unavailable for the late Friday meeting before the Labor Day weekend.

Photo by Imani Khayyam.

— As many residents headed out of town for a long Labor Day weekend, the Jackson City Council heard short, three-minute presentations late today from local law firm for the contract to represent Jackson in the recently filed discrimination lawsuits.

Adams and Reese, Phelps Dunbar, Bryant Arant Boult Cummings and individual practitioner Sam Begley all pitched their services to the council, although the body did not make a decision today. One reason for the delay, as Ward 1 Councilman Ashby Foote pointed out to the rest of the council, was that not all the available firms were able to attend the meeting or were aware of the opportunity.

“So it is really tough to have a meeting on the Friday, late in the afternoon, before a three-day weekend,” Foote said. “So we appreciate all the people that did make it here, but there are other firms that for whatever reason could not be here.”

Foote said he contacted Watkins & Eager, Jones Walker, and Hawkins and Gibson about the meeting but that each could not attend due to scheduling conflicts.

Council President Tyrone Hendrix said that the council would continue to look through the options available to the body before making its decision.

“But it is important for us to do our due diligence and go through each and every one of these packets and anyone that may come to us and make the best possible decision about who will represent the City,” Hendrix said, before thanking the firms for attending.

The Jackson Free Press will request copies of the proposed packets.

The matter, Ward 4 Councilman De’Keither Stamps reminded the council, was also on the agenda for the next regular council meeting next Tuesday.

The council then entered into executive session to discuss strategy about the “pending legal matters” before the council, which passed unanimously.

The council still has scheduled a meeting at 6 p.m. about the proposed budget for next year.

Email city reporter Tim Summers Jr. at Read more about lawsuits against Jackson and its suburbs at

Go to Source

Survey reveals top law firms struggling for gender equality

The UK’S top 100 law firms suffered a collective dip in turnover last year, during a challenging period for the legal sector, according to a new survey.

The survey also found that many big law firms are struggling to achieve gender equality at the highest levels. Just 19 per cent of equity partners in the top 100 law firms are female.

The research from Legal Business magazine found that the UK’s top 100 law firms in 2016 have a combined turnover of £20.19bn, a fall of 2 per cent on the £20.64bn reported in 2015.

The top 100 firms employ 62,214 people, a fall of three per cent on 2015, when they employed 64,024 people.

However, the fall in combined revenues follows the removal of two of the larger, international firms – Dentons and Squire Patton Boggs – from the list because their centres of gravity have moved away from the UK.

DLA Piper, which has large offices in Leeds and Sheffield, remains the UK’s largest firm by revenue, posting a four per cent increase in turnover to £1,586m. Eleven firms in the top 100 have average profits per equity partner of £1m or higher.

Slaughter and May’s partners remain the highest earners – with its top earners taking home more than £3m.

The average profits per equity partner across the 100 rose by 5 per cent to £699,000, giving full-share partners a £32,000 pay rise.

Mark McAteer, the Legal Business managing editor, said: “2016 has been a challenging year for the UK legal professional.”

Go to Source

Big Law Firms Change Hiring Criteria

While some may view legal analytics to be controversial, now, for the first time, hiring managers at Law Firms can base their hiring decisions on actual performance data. In addition, they can also see valuable information about their candidates’ case volume, type, duration, and even the clients they represent. Leading the change is Miami based, Premonition, a company that is bringing about a fundamental shift in how law firms are recruiting Litigators.

Miami, Florida – August 31, 2016 – (

The recent arrival of litigation analytics to the legal industry has forced major companies to re-evaluate their choice of lawyers. Law firms are scrambling to catch up, and 19 of the World’s largest 25 firms have changed their recruiting practices in the last month. The sudden arrival of analytics to law, an industry that traditionally hires attorneys based on law firm brand, law school rankings, and peer recognition, has not been without controversy. “Law has historically been a credence good. This means the market relies on elite credentials and firm reputation as a proxy for skill,” explains Professor William Henderson, of Indiana University Maurer School of Law.

While some may view legal analytics to be controversial, now, for the first time, hiring managers can base their hiring decisions on actual performance data. In addition, they can also see valuable information about their candidates’ case volume, type, duration, and even the clients they represent. Leading the change is Miami based, Premonition, a company that is bringing about a fundamental shift in how law firms are recruiting Litigators.

Premonition, the World’s largest litigation database, has recently announced that 19 of the 25 largest law firms in the US are using their analytics products to improve their attorney recruitment process. Premonition is an Artificial Intelligence system that mines Big Data to find top performing Litigators by win rate, case type, case duration and judge. According to the company, “It is x-ray vision for the courtroom.”

Premonition is also impacting the legal industry in other meaningful ways. Many Law firms have struggled to implement effective diversity initiatives. Premonition is helping them bypass these obstacles by shifting the focus away from prestige to actual performance. “Performance transparency is very important, but with this tool, we can now go even further”, says Nissan Canada General Counsel and Premonition Advisory Board Member, Fernando Garcia. “For the first time ever, law firms and corporate counsel can now make true color, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and gender blind hiring decisions. Women and minorities are underrepresented as litigators in major law firms, yet the data shows that they are just as successful, if not more so. The era of guesswork is over. Hiring by metrics has arrived.”

A number of major companies in the insurance market are trialling Premonition’s litigator selection tools with a view to reducing court losses and legal spend. Many see insurer-mandated performance minimums as fueling the need for law firms to hire new attorneys with better litigation track records. “It’s getting harder and harder to sell the time of mediocre litigators.” says Premontion Co-Founder & CEO, Guy Kurlandski, “Transparency is coming.”

For more insider legal news visit us at

Follow us at

Related Links
Contact us
Learn more with a free demo

Related Images

Press Release Service

Original Source:

Big Law Firms Change Hiring Criteria

This article was originally distributed via, Frankly and this Site make no warranties or representations in connection therewith. If you are affiliated with this page and would like it removed please contact

Go to Source

The Herald stages Law Awards of Scotland for first time

THE coveted Law Awards of Scotland are today launched for the first time under The Herald banner.

Scotland’s leading legal awards scheme, held in partnership with recruitment firm HR Consultancy, give law firms the chance to be recognised for the major achievements they have made in the last year.

It is the first time the awards are being staged by The Herald since its publisher, Newsquest Scotland, acquired the rights from Carnyx Group in July.

Regarded as the Oscars of the legal profession, the Law Awards of Scotland brings together the Scottish legal sector’s most influential figures.

They highlight the enormous efforts made by firms to ensure that clients accessing the Scottish judicial system receive the highest standards of advice and service.

Previous winners include Burness Paull, DLA Piper, Harper Macleod and Simpson & Marwick.

Hilary Roberts, managing director of HR Consultancy: “Scotland’s legal industry is going from strength to strength, but what’s most exciting for us in the recruitment business is seeing the abundance of talent currently working in the sector. This country is a hot bed for legal minds and it’s brilliant to see them recognised at these awards.”

There are more than 20 awards up for grabs this year, highlighting the work undertaken by firms, sole practitioners, teams and trainees within Scotland’s judicial system.

HR Consultancy is sponsoring the law firm of the year (over 40 fee earners), while debt management company Stirling Park is sponsoring the awards for litigation firm of the year and debt recovery firm of the year. The Law Society of Scotland is sponsoring the global law firm of the year award.

Graham Matthews, vice-president of the Law Society of Scotland: “The Law Awards play an important role in showcasing some of the very best practice across our profession. Each of the awards highlights some of the outstanding work done by our members from high street firms to multinationals and in-house solicitors, both at home and beyond our borders. We are delighted to support the awards again this year and to celebrate the very best of our truly world-class legal profession”.

Ronnie J Murison, director of Sheriff Officer Services, said: “Stirling Park has supported the Law Awards since its inception and I believe that it is important to recognise high achievers and those spearheading good practice within a legal profession increasingly driven by audit and compliance.”

The closing date for entries is Tuesday, October 11, 2016. Full details are available at or by calling Lyndsay Wilson on 0141 302 7407.

Go to Source