Virtual Law Firms In 2022 – Creating A New Way For Lawyers To Do What They Do Best

Analysts have reported that virtual law firms may play a huge role in the future of the legal sector, with coronavirus restrictions fuelling more and more lawyers to become consultant solicitors. The report from investment bank Arden Partners Pllc estimates that one-third of all UK solicitors could be working under a consultancy model within five years. The report also suggests that virtual law firms could be as disruptive to the current legal market as Specsavers and Vision Express have been to High Street opticians.

Of course, the pandemic has acted as an important catalyst for this change, demonstrating that working from home is possible – and for many – preferable to the traditional office environment An increasing number of lawyers have begun to question what they want their future working life to look like, and virtual firms are in ‘pole position’ to take advantage of this according to the report.

How does a virtual law firm work?

Under a consultancy model, freelance lawyers at the firm have a central platform and brand, and also benefit from management and technology services. Consultant lawyers keep a proportion of their fees, and give a percentage to the firm to allow them to utilise the firm’s infrastructure. Typically, lawyers retain around 70% of their fees, which means they often earn more than working in a traditional firm.

How a virtual firm can allow you to do your best work

One of the biggest advantages to joining a virtual firm is that it allows you to focus on doing what you do best. Lucy Scott-Moncrieff said:

“First, many lawyers just want to practise law and don’t want the administrative and managerial responsibility of the partnership – but also they don’t want to be employees any more.”

She goes on to discuss how virtual firms are attractive for fee-earners who just want to be great lawyers without investing in their own firm or becoming involved in practice management. She said:

“They’re happy because they can focus on practising the law and their salaries are often higher than they would find in traditional firms as a result.”

In addition, the ability to work to your own schedule, but also your clients’ schedules is essential too. At Scott-Moncrieff, lawyers are in control of how much they work, when they work, and the type of work they take on.

“Some consultants choose to work full-time for us and take on fairly substantial pieces of work, others work more part-time, and some work for other firms as well as us.”

Reduced overheads under consultancy models also mean competitive pricing. Fee earners are making more money but can also charge their clients less and offer a more tailored service.

Tarek Farran Joins Leaders in Law as the exclusive Business Law member in Lebanon

Leaders in Law, the leading platform in its field, is delighted to welcome Tarek Farran as our exclusively recommended & endorsed Business Law in Lebanon.

Tarek Farran is currently the managing partner of Farran Law Firm where he supervises the firm’s corporate clients.

Tarek specialises in business and corporate transactions. He uses his expertise in this field to serve clients in Lebanon and the Gulf, as well as several African and European countries. He is skilled in structuring major (telecommunications and other) corporate transactions and participated in the restructuring of existing group of companies (mainly family businesses) while introducing and implementing proper governance, and he actually sits on the board of a family owned business.

Jose de Pierola Joins Leaders in Law as the Exclusive Patent Law Member in Peru

Leaders in Law, the leading platform in its field, is delighted to welcome Jose de Pierola as our exclusively recommended & endorsed Patent expert in Peru. Jose’s office is located in Lima.

Jose de Pierola is a Intellectual Property Attorney; admitted to Lima Bar Association (Peru) and Alava Bar Association (Spain). His practice include; Patent and Trade Mark Prosecution, Oppositions, Appeals, Cancellation Actions, Nullity Actions, Infringement Actions at the Peruvian Trade Mark Office, Legal Actions at the Peruvian Courts, Intellectual Property, General and Procedural Law and Domain Name Dispute Resolution.

He studied at Universidad de San Marcos (Bachelor at Law; Lawyer’s Degree; Doctor in Law) McGill University, Montreal, Canada (Diploma in International Air and Space Law) and The Southwestern Legal Foundation, Dallas, Texas (Diploma in Comparative Law).

Dr. Ahmed Khedr Joins Leaders in Law as the Exclusive Corporate Affairs and Mediation Law Member in Egypt and Saudi Arabia

Leaders in Law, the leading platform in its field, is delighted to welcome Dr. Ahmed Khedr as our exclusively recommended & endorsed Corporate Affairs and Mediation Law expert in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Ahmed is Advisory of Law and Corporate Affairs, Managing Partner of KLCCA Legal & Corporate Affairs (Egypt) and Chairman Board of Advice House – KLCCA (Saudi Arabia). He has a mixed background as he was an Assistant Professor of Commercial & International Commerce Law, Taibah University in KSA and the British University in Egypt and he has a background in business administration, he is a graduate of the continuing and executive education program at Harvard Business School. This background made him aware of business law with a deeper concept that targets corporate affairs services as he merged the law with business for the sake of the continuity and development of companies.

Gadens Strengthens its Brisbane Property and Construction Group with a Team of Three Planning and Environment Lawyers

Gadens has strengthened its Planning and Environment offering in Brisbane, attracting a team of three into the Property and Construction Group. Gerard Timbs (Partner), Amelia Prokuda (Director), and Mitchell Osborne (Special Counsel) have joined in the last month from Holding Redlich.

Gerard, Amelia and Mitchell’s appointments follow the recent announcement that Paul Calvert (Partner) has returned to Gadens from Multiplex to advise on projects and construction.

Natasha Hood, joint lead of the Property and Construction Group said,

“The appointment of Gerard, Amelia and Mitchell is an excellent addition to our already thriving practice and will enable us to further expand the breadth and depth of planning and environment advice to our clients in an area that is so crucial to the success of projects and transactions in this space.”

Commenting on his decision to join Gadens, Gerard said,

“With significant infrastructure and development planned for South-East Queensland over the coming years, joining Gadens provides an immense opportunity to be part of a leading practice to work closely with top-tier developers, local and state government to provide advice on the plethora of planning and environment issues for their developments.”

Highly regarded in the industry having been recognised in both Best Lawyers and Doyle’s, Gerard brings over two decades of experience in both contentious and non-contentious planning and environment matters. His experience has included the delivery of major renewable energy, master-planned residential and commercial developments as well as local, state and federal government work.

Amelia brings town planning, development and environmental law experience to Gadens as well as experience in land acquisition and compensation matters, and appeals, applications and enforcement proceedings in the Planning and Environment Court, Land Court and Magistrates Court.

An experienced lawyer and qualified town planner Mitchell provides front-end and back-end advice to developers, landowners, local and state governments on planning, environmental, infrastructure and property matters.

John Nicolas, joint lead of the Property and Construction group said,

“These key appointments support the continued growth of our group into key areas where we expect strong demand from our clients. Gerard, Amelia and Mitchell are all highly regarded practitioners. Their capabilities and experience will strongly complement our offering, further enhancing our firm’s ‘fire-power’. We are extremely pleased they have joined Gadens and look forward to the valuable contributions they will make for our clients.”

Donato E. Tagliavia Joins Leaders in Law as the Exclusive Employment Law Member in Spain

Leaders in Law, the leading platform in its field, is delighted to welcome Dr. Donato E. Tagliavia as our exclusively recommended & endorsed Employment Law expert in Spain. Donato’s office is located in Madrid.

Prof. Dr. Donato E. Tagliavia practices in Employment Law and Tax Law. He Studied at the Universities of Deusto (Bilbao), Madrid/León and Dissertation at the University Complutense Madrid. Donato was a Professor of Employment Law and Social Security at the University Complutense Madrid and Lecturer for postgraduate courses on European Employment Law and Sports Law.

Notice of Establishment of “AMT Metaverse Legal Study Group”

We are pleased to inform you that AMT Law Firm have decided to establish the “AMT Metaverse Legal Study Group”.

Due to the prolonged Korona-ka, the use of “virtual space” including “metaverse” has rapidly penetrated, and “virtual space business” is attracting worldwide attention as a new economic zone. On the other hand, the legal aspect of the “virtual space business” is finally at the stage where the need for full-scale examination is being recognized.

Based on this situation, AMT will continue to organize and examine legal issues related to “virtual space business” from various perspectives such as the Intellectual Property Law, Data Protection Law, Electronic Commerce Law, Financial Regulation Law, and Tax Law. They have set up this study group, which is composed of lawyers specializing in each field, across fields.

In the future, they plan to hold a study meeting for each theme about once a month, with the first meeting on Thursday, April 7, 2022.
The results of this study group will be widely announced through seminars hosted by their office and various media.

AMT Metaverse Legal Study Group
Ken Kawai / Shunsuke Aoki / Takeshi Nagataki / Takashi Nakazaki / Hiroshi Shimoo / Inoue Inoue / Rinsuke Kazama / Miko Nakamura / Yuko Triangle / Takugo Tsunoda /Hiroki Tsue

Katie Lau Joins Leaders in Law as the Exclusive Medical Aesthetics Member in Hong Kong

Leaders in Law, the leading platform in its field, is delighted to welcome Katie Lau as our exclusively recommended & endorsed Medical Aesthetics expert in Hong Kong.

For Katie, Founder of Dr. Katie Clinic, principles are of paramount importance, and the sole principle she has staunchly followed since the onset of her professional career is to help people in need. This principle of Katie has been one of the key factors that has made her one of the most admired and influential doctors in and around her space in Hong Kong. Katie graduated from the University of Hong Kong in 2006 and later completed three years of surgical training at its teaching hospital. Katie still needed hands-on experience as a practitioner to prover her mettle and absorb the knowledge of a professional practice, which led her to work in many organisations and helped her gain her initial clinical aesthetic experience. “After 3 years of basic surgical training, there were a few opportunities which led me into private practice. Before my clinic, I started off as a general practitioner, and after a few months I got involved in the study of cosmetic medicine”, says Katie.

Emerging Damage and Loss of Earnings. The Revenue Agency Returns to the Taxation to be Applied.

With its response to question no. 185 of April 8, 2022, the Revenue Agency provided clarification about demotion and damages for loss of chance, stating that the sums awarded on an equitable basis by the Court, to compensate for the injury to the employee’s professional capacity, are to be considered non-taxable, in that they can be configured as consequential damages and, therefore, are not subject to withholding tax.

Before going into the merits of the Revenue Agency’s ruling, in terms of demotion, we can distinguish:

  • the pecuniary damage, deriving from the impoverishment of the professional capacity of the worker or from the failure to acquire greater capacity, with the related loss of chances, that is, of further possibilities of earning,
  • non-asset damage, including, inter alia, (i) damage to the worker’s psychological and physical integrity, (ii) existential damage, such as any prejudice that is not merely emotional and inner, but objectively ascertainable, that alters the worker’s habits and relational assets, inducing him/her to make different life choices as regards the expression and realization of his/her personality in the outside world, (iii) damage to the professional image and (iv) damage to the worker’s personal dignity.

The case that involved the tax authority originated from the request of a company that, having already paid to the Revenue Agency the withholding tax – operated on an amount awarded as compensation for damages to an employee – wanted to understand

  • whether the interest was intended to make up for the damage suffered and, therefore, was to be considered as having no relevance to income and improperly subjected to withholding tax or, differently, as being intended to make up for the loss of profit, with full relevance to income and, therefore, correctly subjected to withholding tax,
  • the procedures for recovering the withholding tax potentially considered to have been paid in error, assuming that this can be done when submitting the supplementary 770/2021 form, relating to the 2020 tax year.

In 2020 the petitioner had paid in two tranches to a former employee, the entire sum awarded as compensation for demotion by a sentence of the Court appealed by the same employee.

Specifically, a first instalment as an amount net of withholding tax, then, at the official request of the former employee, who had claimed the non-taxability of the sum in question, a second instalment by paying the difference between what was settled with the judgment and what was received.

In response to the question, the tax authorities point out that, based on Article 6, paragraph 2 TUIR, income earned in lieu of income and indemnities received, including in the form of insurance, as compensation for damages consisting in the loss of income, excluding those dependent on permanent disability or death, constitute income of the same category as that replaced or lost.

In this regard, in practice it has been specified that the indemnities paid by way of compensation must be taxed, provided that they have a replacement or supplementary function for the income of the recipient; in substance, the sums paid in order to replace lost earnings (so-called loss of profit), both present and future, of the person who receives them, are taxable.

On the other hand, the indemnities paid in order to restore the assets of the subject, or in order to compensate the economic loss suffered by the assets (so-called “emerging damage”) do not assume income relevance.

In view of the above, the Agency concludes that the sums settled on an equitable basis by the Court, following the injury to the professional capacity of the worker, are to be considered non-taxable, in that they can be configured as emerging damage and, therefore, aimed at compensating the economic loss suffered by the assets.

Therefore, as the petitioning company has already returned the withholding tax to the former employee, it may recover this amount by submitting the supplementary declaration for Form 770/2021 relating to tax year 2020.

With the response to the rulling , therefore, the Revenue Agency reiterates not only that, in terms of demotion and loss of chance, the sums settled on an equitable basis by the Court, following the impairment of the employee’s professional capacity, are to be considered non-taxable, but also that the chance represents a value that can be independently assessed from an economic point of view, making its loss a current and compensable damage.

Bird & Bird Advises Equistone Partners on the Acquisition of Eperi GmbH

Bird & Bird has advised Equistone Partners Europe on its recent acquisition of Eperi GmbH as a new portfolio company.

Based in the Rhine-Main area of Germany, Eperi GmbH is a leading provider of data security and compliance as well as cybersecurity solutions. Through its secured gateway, the company enables it customers to use cloud applications such as MS365 and Salesforce safely and legally compliant with e.g. GDPR and Schrems II while preserving the functionality of the secured applications. The company’s solutions are easy to deploy in on-premise, hybrid-, and multi-cloud environments. Eperi GmbH has a particular focus on data encryption for cloud applications for their international customer base consisting of large companies from the financial, healthcare and industrial sectors.

Equistone is currently expanding its traditional company portfolio with the additions of high-growth and future-oriented IT companies. The goal of this partnership is to enhance the strong market position of Eperi GmbH through scaling the organization, a dedicated buy-and-build strategy, and further internationalising Eperi GmbH. The seller and founder of Eperi GmbH will continue to act as managing director and will retain a significant stake of shares in the company.

Bird & Bird advised Equistone in cooperation with P+P Pöllath + Partners in the legal due diligence and the negotiation of the transaction documentation. Bird & Bird’s main focus was on the complex IT and IP related matters due to the leading expertise in this practice as well as the FDI assessment for the fund’s long-term strategy with the acquisition and the FDI clearance with the German Department of Economics.

Equistone Partners was advised by the following Bird & Bird lawyers: lead partner Dr. Hans Peter Leube, LL.M. and associate Michael Maier (both Corporate/ Private Equity, Frankfurt); partner Dr. Alexander Duisberg and associate Gökhan Kosak (both IT/Data Protection, Munich); partner Dr. Stephan Waldheim and Tamy Tietze (both Competition & EU, Dusseldorf); partner Dr. Christoph Maierhöfer (IP, Munich); partner Dr. Catharina Klumpp, LL.M. and associate Julia Neuper (both Employment, Düsseldorf); as well as partner Guido Bormann and associate Johannes Woltering (both Public Commercial and Regulatory law, Dusseldorf).