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Billion Dollar Lawyers

Billion Dollar Lawyers

By John Bowie

Among the many factors motivating lawyers to enter the profession are a concern for social justice, equity and . . umm, oh yes, money. Along with most modern homes, 'Briefcase' both leaks and is leaked to and we accordingly received a copy of a leaked invitation that gave some insight into the monumental legal fees paid by trans-Tasman government agencies and corporates. The invitation relates to meetings, previously kept secret, starting next week. The meetings relate to the release of a report showing over a billion dollars (around NZ$1.25 billion) spent on legal expenses annually in both countries.

The report, The Legal Department Benchmarking Report, has an international pedigree, coming from NZ consultancy, Canada's Catalyst Consulting, Hudson recruitment and the Australian and New Zealand corporate lawyers associations and Australia's Institute of Knowledge Development. The report, which will set you back around $3000 a piece and is doubtless cheap at twice the price, weighs in with enough data, charts and metrics to make a data wonk's eyes water. This is serious stuff. These are big numbers.

The Law Business

Assembling law firm metrics in New Zealand is not the easiest job in the world, rating possibly a little ahead of achieving a lasting peace in the Middle East. Assembling data for my New Zealand Lawyer 'Who's Who' publication, subsequently acquired by LexisNexis, was like pulling teeth from Graeme Burton.

I recall the spilt lattes and chardonnays when Brookers' 'Business of Law' publication came out some time ago with its details on salary levels and earnings for law firms. I understand the publication is coming your way again this year and all going well I'll get to spill some of those beans. An earnings ruckus is still going to erupt, but that's just growing pains for local law firms.


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