Big change to way you pay your legal bills

 

TIME OUT

CUE outrage from lawyers all over Queensland. Sunshine Coast legal eagle Travis Schultz is calling time on one of his profession's more unpopular ways of billing clients.

People unfortunate enough to have been on the receiving end of a legal bill will know that many charge by the clock using time sheets.

Your diarist recalls that in his brief and lacklustre legal career having to fill in a time sheet every day with different billing codes for activities such as a phone call or research.

TIME OUT .. Travis Schultz.
TIME OUT .. Travis Schultz.

Schultz says lawyers now need to rethink its traditional long-hours culture in the wake of new industrial regulations requiring junior lawyers to clock all their overtime.

To come into effect in March next year, the new regulations will require junior lawyers and paralegals to record all their overtime to ensure they are not being paid below minimum rates. Schultz says that at his own firm, professional staff aren't required to complete time sheets or even meet billable hour targets.

"We don't use time costing as our staff hate the pressure of it and clients loathe the lack of transparency and the perception of inherently poor value in time costing models," he adds.

MOTHER ISSUES

FORMER JM Kelly director John Murphy was back on the stand this week in Federal Court answering questions about the $50 million collapse of the construction firm.

Murphy was asked about his 80-year-old mother, now suffering from dementia, who was the sole director of a company GJ Murphy Holdings that took on $3 million worth of debt from other firms in the group.

JM Kelly director John Murphy.
JM Kelly director John Murphy.

Barrister Craig Wilkins asked Murphy whether his mother had the capacity to handle her financial affairs when GJ Murphy Holdings took on the debt. Murphy replied that he can't recall when he first became aware of his mother's illness. "As you would understand, it's a gradual thing," he told the court.

Wilkins also asked Murphy why his mother would have agreed to take on the debt to which he replied: "I can't recall." The hearing continues on Monday.

PILLOW TALK

STILL on JM Kelly and a big thank you to whoever sent your diarist a neck pillow to help him get through the long Federal Court sittings into the matter.

A note accompanying the anonymous gift sent in the mail said: "Glen, my associates and I felt a bit sorry for you during the first sitting of the JM Kelly public examination in August in the Federal Court. We noticed you were dozing off rather often and it was a bit noticeable to everyone who attended. Now with that public examination reconvening, we thought that a neck pillow might be something that you would find useful and so we have all chipped in and bought you one."

It's appreciated but for the record I wasn't dozing off merely resting my eyes.

GOING NATIVE

THE American Chamber of Commerce showcased the potential of indigenous tourism during a business forum at the Hilton on Friday. Along with a welcome to country from local Aboriginal businessman Shannon Ruska, there was a traditional eagle dance from the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association. Joining Ruska and Tourism Minister Kate Jones on a discussion panel was Native American Sherry Rupert who offered her expertise in what our so-called "first nation tourism industry" can learn from the US.

Eddie Ruska with his son Shannon Ruska.
Eddie Ruska with his son Shannon Ruska.

 

Ruska, who runs Brisbane-based Tribal Experiences offering welcome to country, dance and smoking ceremonies, says there is a lot of interest from international tourists for authentic indigenous experiences. More than 100,000 people have so far watched his various shows. "This is something you can't buy off the shelf," says Ruska. "It is not just the Dream Time. We have a 65,000 year story."

ASIC BAN

ASIC has permanently banned former financial advisor Emma Maree Radke from providing financial services for engaging in misconduct which included dishonestly transferring client money into her personal accounts.

From 2011 to 2018, the watchdog says Radke provided administrative services via a related company of Fitzpatricks Private Wealth Pty Ltd (Fitzpatricks), a financial services licensee. Ms Radke was convicted of fraud in April 2019, after the District Court of Queensland found that, between January 2017 and January 2018, Radke used her own banking security token and a second banking token that did not belong to her to transfer a total of nearly $300,000 of client and corporate funds into her personal accounts.

The fraudulent transactions affected client and company accounts of Fitzpatricks Private Wealth Partners Pty Ltd, a related body corporate and authorised representative of Fitzpatricks.



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