The phrase pro bono publico literally refers to "for the public good"; it is usually shortened to pro bono, a Latin phrase referring to professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment or at a reduced fee as a public service. Unlike traditional volunteerism, it is service that uses the specific skills of professionals to provide services to those who are unable to afford them.
As an attorney, especially if you have specialised in a particular field, the question is how you can become involved in pro bono work that not only assists in meeting your requisite pro bono hours but also enables you to make a meaningful contribution to those in need of assistance within your area of expertise.
Australia takes copyright seriously, more seriously than we do. Their copyright legislation has been amended to allow a copyright owner to get a court order blocking overseas websites that infringe its copyright, and an Australian court recently ordered internet service providers to hand over details of customers who had been downloading illegally.
Luxury law is becoming more and more fashionable, with the movement towards practitioners specialising in the field and opening their own boutique law firms for the protection and enforcement of elite brands. Recent decisions make it quite obvious why. And there's even a Luxury Law Summit which will enjoy its third annual event in London in 2016, with the likes of in-house counsel, CEO, CFO and COO from luxury industry brands including Alexander McQueen, Burberry, Gucci, Harrods, Jimmy Choo, Stella McCarthy and Swarovski to name but a few. Not to mention that the International Trademark Association (INTA) attended the D.C. Fashion Law Week earlier this year.
The figure of speech used to describe something as a "curate's egg" derives from a cartoon by G du Maurier, published in the British humorous magazine Punch in November 1895. It depicts a meek curate, faced with a bad egg at the Bishop's breakfast table, commenting that it is partly good. In other words it is something that is thoroughly bad but is diplomatically said to be partly good.
There are two ways to extend patent protection: by way of an extension of the patent term (for example as in United States of America); or by way of an extension of protection of the product (for example the Supplementary Protection Certificate (SPC) in Europe). These extensions are generally allowed due to a delay in the issuance of a patent or a delay in commercialising a product due to the lengthy process to obtain regulatory approval for a product.
The Montana Meth Project, an American non-profit organisation, infamously popularised the phrase "meth: not even once" as part of a media campaign to raise awareness about methamphetamine use. In Intellectual Property law, replacing the word "meth" with "joint ownership" would admirably encapsulate the feelings of some attorneys on this matter.
Lawyer's document review possibly devoid of legal judgement
A document reviewer working for a major firm claimed that he was entitled to overtime when he worked more than 40 hours a week, because the job was covered by the Fair Labour Standards Act, which exempts legal practice from its provisions. The lawyer said he was not practising law because all he did was look for search terms provided to him, sort documents containing the search terms into pre-determined categories and draw black boxes around material to be redacted. He said he worked under such tight constraints that he exercised no legal judgement whatsoever. On a motion to dismiss, the court said that accepting those allegations as true, he had an arguable case and the court allowed the case to proceed. Martha Neil July 23
In July, workers with San Francisco Public Works began painting buildings in the city with a clear-coat sealant that, in theory, will splash back urine, or any other liquid sprayed onto it. Signs on walls warn would-be urinators of the risk they face if they relieve themselves. Director of Public Works, Mohammed Nuru said some people who decide to answer the call of nature will learn to obey the rule the hard way when they get their feet or pants wet.
It is a fairly rare occurrence for our courts to be faced with a dispute regarding a particular section of legislation only to have the section amended or deleted by the legislature before the dispute has been finalised. The Constitutional Court in Chevron SA (Pty) Limited v Wilson t/a Wilson's Transport and Others (CCT 88/14)  ZACC 15 (5 June 2015) was recently faced with such a situation.
With the Baking Tin judgement in 2007 (Commissioner, South African Revenue Service v The Baking Tin (Pty) Ltd 2007 6 SA 545 (SCA)), it was considered that legal certainty was restored with the Supreme Court of Appeal confirming the objective approach when determining tariff classification for customs duty purposes. The Smith Mining decision (Smith Mining Equipment (Pty) Ltd v The Commissioner: South African Revenue Service 9728/12)  SASCA 145 (1 October 2013)) in 2013, however, troubled the waters again.
In Botswana, like everywhere, time and again employers are faced with the problem of how to deal with a non-performing employee without breaching the provisions of the Employment Act.
As well as reforming insolvency procedures, the Legal Framework for Insolvency and Business Recovery, approved by Decree-Law No. 1/2013 of 4th July (DL 1/2013), introduced the new concept of "court-supervised restructuring" to the Mozambiquan legal system. Court-supervised restructuring aims to enable companies which are in financial difficulty to overcome their inability to meet their obligations.
We routinely make significant business decisions based on assumptions about what the world will be like three to five years from now. Things almost always turn out differently. Sometimes better; sometimes worse... but almost always different.
In recent years many articles highlighted a possible decline in profitability of law practices. Titles include "Why is the demand for legal services shifting?" (legalexecutiveinstitute.com); "Law firm clients today are in the driver's seat – asking law firms to provide more value at a reduced cost" (businessoflawblog.com); and "Solving the Profitability Problem" (legal executive institute.com). The key message is that there is a buyer's market in the legal industry and that law firms are shrinking.