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Legal Profession

The Legal Services Board, an industry body representing and - after a fashion - regulating lawyers in England and Wales, is to propose to The Lord Chancellor that will-writing and post-mortem legal services should be "reserved" - that means only those falling within the scope of the LSB's supervision should be allowed to do them. That's going to cause a near riot. And it may be another nail in the coffin of small firms.

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New York law firm FARUQI & FARUQI, LLP specialises in class actions, especially those where it alleges misconduct in relation to securities which, it usually claims, leads to a significant fall in share prices, thereby causing losses to shareholders. It's frequent press releases call upon those who held shares in companies at relevant times to join in the action they hope to mount and to get paid on a contingency basis. But all is not rosy.

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Mexican company Grupo Mexico S.A.B. de C.V. is more than a little peeved. Its US subsidiary Americas Mining Corporation applied to the Delaware Supreme Court for "re-argument" as to legal fees in the case of Americas Mining Corporation, et al., v. Michael Theraiult, as Trustee for the Theriault Trust, No. 29, 2012. The court said "no" and in doing so has demonstrated the conflict of interest inherent in contingency fee ("no win, no fee") arrangements.

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The Law Society of England and Wales long ago began a system of registering those that wanted to demonstrate they met certain criteria. It was a voluntary quality assurance scheme. It was, at the time, seen as a bit of a waste of time by professionals who had extensive experience and new what they were doing, a way for the second rank to gain credibility that they did not, fully, deserve on merit. Gradually, the idea mutated away from a marketing tool to part of regulation and it is now a compulsory registration of specialists in certain areas. The latest to fall under the compulsory requirement is Solicitor-Advocates. And disturbingly, many have not signed up with only days to go.

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It's probably not a great idea for me, an English solicitor (retired) to be publicly harsh about my professional body. But, seriously, is the Law Society of England and Wales contrary or comatose? It really just does not "get" money laundering risks and its latest attempt to update its guidance demonstrates that its attitude is, simply, retarded.

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A US Judicial Conference Committee has updated the model set of jury instructions federal judges use to deter jurors from using social media to research or communicate about cases on which they serve. The new guidelines provide detailed explanations of the consequences of social media use during a trial, along with recommendations for repeated reminders of the ban on social media usage.

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The Solicitors Regulation Authority, which regulates solicitors in England and Wales, is to cease development of a database of retired solicitors who wish to remain on the Roll. Apparently, the Roll a costa lot.

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The bribery was the least of the worries of California lawyer Alfred Nash Villalobos, 46. It was the reason he was paid USD50,000 that really annoyed prosecutors and the Judge.

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Dewey Ballentine was one of the bluest of blue chip law firms. LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae was an upstart that grew rapidly and gathered large clients like a farmer gathers hay. In 2007, the firms decided to merge creating Dewey & LeBoeuf, one of the largest law firms in the world. Yesterday, it put itself into the hands of receivers under the USA's Chapter 11 provisions.

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A lawyer, formerly with Baker & McKenzie in New York has pleaded guilty to money laundering and conspiracy to commit securities fraud while with the firm.

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