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Wake Up Call: Microsoft Raises Bonus for Law Firm Diversity

Aug. 5, 2015, 11:27 AM

Below is the latest list of the top news in the legal industry.

Microsoft Corp. is toughening bonus criteria for its seven-year-old voluntary diversity program for outside law firms. In the past, law firms could earn a 2 percent bonus on legal fees each year by increasing diversity of their lawyers, especially lawyers working on Microsoft matters. Now, law firms must increase diversity among attorneys in leadership positions to qualify for the annual bonus, and the maximum bonus has increased to 3 percent of legal fees. (Corporate Counsel)

• A new video in China, “The Justice Lawyers’ Song,documents names and faces of some of the more than 200 civil rights lawyers and their associates detained or questioned by the Chinese government since July 9. (New York Times)

• Paulette Brown started as American Bar Association President on Tuesday, the first woman of color to hold the position. As 2014 president-elect, Brown, an employment law partner at Locke Lord in Morristown, New Jersey, traveled to 27 states, and she said she intends to continue her tour of the country, particularly to areas less-visited and populated with lawyers. (Big Law Business)

• Faruqi & Faruqi LLP has reached a settlement with its former associate Alexandra Marchuk, who had sued the firm with sexual harassment claims. The sides agreed to settle their dispute a few months after both filed appeals of the jury trial decision, which had awarded Marchuk a $140,000 judgment. (Law 360)

Legal Market

• Fast-growing labor and employment law firm Littler Mendelson announced Tuesday that it has expanded into Canada , adding an office in Toronto with a seven-lawyer team, as part of the firm’s strategy of becoming a single source solution for multinational employers. (Big Law Business)

• According to a new report, law firms Honigman Miller, LeClairRyan and Kutak Rock promote the largest percentage of associates to partner . (Above the Law)

• Pinsent Masons continues to lead the standings among UK law firms for number of AIM (Alternative Investment Market-listed) clients,but it could soon lose its top billing to the new firm created by Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co’s merger with Gowlings. (The Lawyer)

• New Jersey law firm Scarinci Hollenbeck announced it is relocating its New York City office to Times Square, where it will share office space with midsize firm Ballon Stoll Bader & Nadler, PC. (PR Newswire)

Laterals

• California-based firm Cooley has added a three-lawyer patent team from Mintz Levin to the 50-lawyer office it opened in London in January. (The Global Legal Post)

Portuguese firm Vieira de Almeida has picked up some 20 lawyers, including six partners, from rival Miranda Correia Amendoeira & Associados, enhancing its team in oil and gas and African work. (The Lawyer)

Technology

• The so-called internet of thingsmeans more sources of information are available for eDiscovery than ever before, with information growing at an accelerating rate. This could be both an advantage and disadvantage in litigation, so companies should not delay addressing questions of requesting, preserving, reviewing and producing this information, according to Mark Kerzner of LexInnova Technologies. (Big Law Business)

• As demand picks up for eDiscovery services in Asia, eDiscovery companies are increasingly the subject of mergers and acquisitions,and demand is also rising for Big Law firms in the region.(LegalTech news)

• Seattle startup Patent Navigation is raising funds to speed development of its software aimed at helping lawyers prepare patent applications more efficiently. (Geek Wire)

• As financial and reputational risks associated with cybersecurity become increasingly critical for corporate boards, board members who lack adequate knowledge about cybersecurity matters are weakening their company’s security defenses, according to a new study by Ponemon Institute. (LegalTech news)

Miscellaneous

• Brazil’s state-controlled power utility, Eletrobras, will create a commission to oversee Hogan Lovells’ work to investigate whether the company’s contracts contain violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, according to a regulatory filing. (Big Law Business)

• Litigation specialist William Dillingham, who founded the San Francisco boutique Dillingham & Murphy , died Monday of liver cancer at age 64. (The Recorder)