Throughout law school, law students are required to regurgitate case law and legislation in essays and exams. In a law exam, a problem is presented, and students only have to identify legal issues and apply relevant laws.
Law students graduate expecting work in a commercial law firm to involve tasks like this:
1. Client seeks advice on a particular area of law
2. Lawyer reads, listens and applies legal knowledge, avising and solving the client's problems.
3. Client follows that legal advice.
4. Lawyer bills, client pays, case closed.
Classic legal tasks one to four are only one dimension of what is required by clients, particularly start-ups and small and medium-sized businesses. These classic tasks were evolved in what has been called the purely bespoke or artisan era of legal practice.
Business priorities shift depending on where a business is in its lifecycle from start-up to early growth and maturity.
Seizing opportunities to deduct business expenditure is especially important for businesses in their start-up and early growth stages.
Despite the momentous announcement in the Budget that the Medicare changes will help fund medical research in Australia, the Budget has reduced the incentive for research and development (“R&D”) in other areas. It is expected that the medical research fund will top $20 billion.
The government anticipates that the reduction in the R&D offset will be softened by the already announced reduction in the company tax rate.
Certainly, the company tax rates will go down by 1.5% from 30% to 28.5% from 1 July 2015.
We've known for decades that the law is "choking on statutes". The author of that concept is now known to me.
It will soon be 30 years since those lectures. Business, real productive and sustainable business, can today choke to death on legislation (aka statutes).
The subject of access to justice appeared in three recent readings - an official report, a blog post and a new book. They confirm what is known and suggest improvements.
The official report is "Access to Justice Arrangements", a 92 page draft report of the Australian Productivity Commission released in April 2014.
WTF is usually thought of as a rude acronym. I've decided to give it a new meaning.
During a meeting yesterday I informed a new client start-up that too often new clients make contact with lawyers after a fire has started. They treat lawyers like the fire brigade.
That's when the client said: "Ah yes, WTF, meaning Where's The Fire". He said go ahead feel free to use it. So I have.
Do yourself a favour stop treating lawyers like the fire brigade – only calling when your house is on fire.
In about 1987 I attended a music lawyer's seminar at the Arts Law Center in Sydney. I have never forgotten how my eyes watered as the experienced music lawyer (Nina Stevenson) described Byzantine contractual complexity such as royalty-related cross-collateralisation in the 30+ page label contract she reviewed for a rock band. I felt then that I knew too little to be a music business lawyer.
Subsequently I've done a few dozen jobs involving music, incuding for artists, labels and publishers. Still, that's not a lot of deal flow.
But on the road to being digital much is changing.
As music business models change, mostly favouring digital formats, there has been some convergence in business models across entertainment and information markets.
Over the last few decades workplace relations, collaboration and new ways of working have become increasingly topical.
Old ideas about organising people, companies and institutions are being proven wrong in today's context. New ideas and solutions are needed.
One element of the discussion is this question: What motivates people to do tasks, especially those that involve higher cognative function?
In the valuation of businesses the portion attributed to goodwill is often greater than other items of property such as stock, equipment or work in progress. Pain is felt immediately when a competitor or pirate pass off its business or product as yours.
They are taking your goodwill, a business property right. Protection against this is at the heart of the tort of passing off law.
The use of passing off law is neatly illustrated in an English case involving Rihanna and sale of a designer T-shirt bearing her image.
The case was triggered after Topshop, a major English garment retailer, produced and sold the T-shirt online and in its stores.
Rihanna has an army of minders. They were not happy.
The case was launched as Robyn Rihanna Fenty and Others vs Topshop and Another. The decision was handed down in mid-2013 by Justice Birss in the High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, Intellectual Property.
The music production business and the music consumption habits of the 20th century were shaped by the technologies and distribution channels of the time.
Music was distributed on physical media (eg vinyl, cassettes or CDs), marketed heavily, sold in racks at record stores and consumed via stereo cabinets or other playback devices that shared space with lounge room furniture.
The cost of producing, manufacturing, marketing and distributing recordings was considerable. This mitigated toward the growth of large, well capitalised record companies. Appling economies of scale, they attracted or built the larger acts, shaped their repertoire, offered them major advances to guarantee exclusivity, financed recordings, publicity tours and a range of additional support.