Risk Update

Postal & Remote Edition — MP Conflicts Accusation, Proposed FLA Bar Opinion on Cross-border IP Practice

Now MP targets Herbert Smith over Post Office work” —

  • “An MP has urged both the justice and business select committees to investigate the role of law firms – and in particular Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) – in helping client companies accused of wrongdoing set up compensation schemes.”
  • “As we reported earlier this month, that complaint concerns in part HSF’s work on the Griggs review, which dealt with compensating victims of the fraud but was ultimately deemed flawed and is now being re-run.”
  • “Mr Hollinrake said he was “astonished” that the firm was also advising the Post Office on its recently announced compensation scheme for subpostmasters who suffered a “shortfall” in using the flawed Horizon computer system that led to many being wrongly accused and convicted of theft.”
  • “HSF acted for the Post Office last year in settling group litigation brought by some of the subpostmasters. The firm denies any conflict of interest.”
  • “In his letter to justice select committee chair Sir Bob Neill MP, Mr Hollinrake said: ‘The mere fact that HSF acted on behalf of the Post Office in the legal action with the responsibility to minimise losses should prohibit them from taking any role in a compensation scheme.'”
  • “An HSF spokeswoman said: ‘There is no conflict with the firm acting for the Post Office on this matter.'”

Florida Bar UPL Committee issues proposed opinion stating that out-of-state lawyer may practice federal law remotely from Florida home” —

  • Florida Bar’s Standing Committee on the Unlicensed Practice of Law: Proposed UPL Advisory Opinion FAO #201904
  • “The proposed advisory opinion states that an out-of-state licensed attorney who is working remotely on federal intellectual property rights matters (and not Florida law) from his or her Florida home for an out-of-state law firm and no public presence or profile in Florida as an attorney would not be engaging in the unlicensed practice of law. The advisory opinion will be filed with the Florida Supreme Court on August 17, 2020.”
  • “It is the opinion of the Standing Committee that the Petitioner who simply establishes a residence in Florida and continues to provide legal work to out-of-state clients from his private Florida residence under the circumstances described in this request does not establish a regular presence in Florida for the practice of law.”
  • “Consequently, it is the opinion of the Standing Committee that it would not be the unlicensed practice of law for Petitioner, a Florida domiciliary employed by a New Jersey law firm (having no place of business or office in Florida), to work remotely from his Florida home solely on matters that concern federal intellectual property rights (and not Florida law) and without having or creating a public presence or profile in Florida as an attorney.”