In this week’s news roundup, we look at a Singaporean firm exploring blockchain technology, an international firm focusing on its associates, and a new plea bargain system in Japan.
SINGAPORE’S RHT TO EXPLORE BLOCKCHAIN TECH FOR SUPPLY CHAIN
Singapore law firm RHTLaw Taylor Wessing and professional services firm RHT Holdings have signed an MoU to jointly explore blockchain technology with Linfinity, the world’s first distributed supply chain platform based on blockchain, Internet of Things, and Big Data.
The two organisations are set to share their legal, compliance and professional services expertise with Linfinity with the aim of tackling issues such as transparency and inefficiencies within the supply chain industry through blockchain technology.
REED SMITH LAUNCHES REDESIGNED ASSOCIATE LIFE INITIATIVE
Reed Smith has launched a redesigned Associate Life initiative – a programme to prepare the firm’s early career lawyers for advancement, leadership roles, and long-term professional success. Among new features are a mobile app for ongoing performance feedback from more senior lawyers; an enhanced billable-hours “credit” policy for learning and development and for pro bono and innovation projects; a ramp-up hours policy following return from leaves of absence; and secondment opportunities within the Reed Smith global platform.
Reed Smith has also announced the roll-out of its 2018 Innovation Hours program, which recognizes up to 50 innovation hours towards billable-hour targets for fee earners. This follows a pilot that saw attorneys across the firm devoting hundreds of innovation hours to six projects last year.
JAPAN INTRODUCES PLEA BARGAINING SYSTEM FOR ORGANISED CRIME, BRIBERY CASES
Last week, Japan introduced a plea-bargaining system for organized crime and bribery cases, according to reports in local media. Under the system, prosecutors can now agree not to indict or to pursue lesser charges or lighter penalties if suspects or defendants provide evidence or depositions against alleged accomplices.
However, under the Japanese system defendants will not be rewarded with reduced sentences for pleading guilty, unlike plea bargaining in, for example, the United States. There are also concerns the new practice could encourage suspects or defendants to make false statements that lead to lapses in justice.
UK LAW FIRM KNIGHTS AIMING FOR LARGEST-EVER LAW FIRM FLOTATION
Knights, a UK law firm, is set to become the fifth law firm to list on the London Stock Exchange – and potentially the largest law firm flotation so far. The IPO is expected to value the business in excess of 100 million pounds ($133 million), outstripping Gateley, the first English firm to go public in 2015, which was valued at 100 million pounds when it floated.
The firm is expected to use the proceeds of the IPO to pay down its debt, for working capital and to provide a future financing option to back its expansion. The other three law firms to list on the LSE are Rosenblatt, Keystone and Gordon Dadds.
Anndy Lian is an inter-governmental blockchain advisor with more than 15 years of experience in Asia. He has provided advisory across a variety of industries for local, international and public listed companies.