3 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – JULY 2023 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM THE BRIEFING: YOUR MONTHLY NEED-TO-KNOW APAC GCs SAY LEGAL DEPARTMENTS According to Axiom’s APAC General Counsel Survey Report: Managing the Unmanageable, which surveyed 300 GCs based in Hong Kong and Singapore across a wide range of industries, heads of in-house legal departments are facing a parallel crisis of budget cuts and increasingly complex workloads. Ninety per cent of APAC GCs say their legal department budget has been cut because of economic conditions and ongoing volatility. On average, APAC budget cuts represent 3 percent of company revenue. Singaporebased GCs have seen their budgets shrink by $3.7 million, and their HK peers have experienced budget cuts averaging $1.7 million. This is even though approximately half (45 percent) of APAC GCs report that their department is seeing an increase in both the volume and complexity of legal matters. In fact, the vast majority of APAC GCs (92 percent) say their department does not have the necessary staffing resources. And 35 percent feel they do not have the necessary expertise in their teams. Percentage of Australian in-house lawyers who believe that they’re completely ready to defend against cyberattacks and cybersecurity breaches, according to a report from ACC Australia and Wolters Kluwer. ARE TOO UNDER-RESOURCED 25 PERCENT Linklaters has signed up for DHL’s GoGreen Plus service in an effort to reduce carbon emissions associated with shipments across its Asia-Pacific and UAE regions. In 2021, the firm adopted firmwide carbon reduction targets to meet by April 2030 IN THE NEWS Singapore Supreme Court Justice Kannan Ramesh has become the first Asian, as well as the first judge, to be named president of the International Insolvency Institute. Ramesh succeeds the outgoing president, Norton Rose Fulbright partner John Martin. U.S. district judge P. Kevin Castel fines New York law firm Levidow, Levidow & Oberman for submitting a ChatGPT-written brief that included false citations. “THERE IS NOTHING INHERENTLY IMPROPER ABOUT USING A RELIABLE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE TOOL FOR ASSISTANCE. BUT EXISTING RULES IMPOSE A GATEKEEPING ROLE ON ATTORNEYS TO ENSURE THE ACCURACY OF THEIR FILINGS.” QUOTE UNQUOTE (Reuters) More law firm mergers were completed in the first half of 2023 than in the same period in 2022 and 2021, according to data released on Monday by legal consultancy Fairfax Associates. Twenty-eight law firm mergers took effect in the first six months of this year, compared with 25 deals each in the first halves of 2022 and 2021, according to Fairfax, which tracks mergers by effective date. Fairfax reported 11 deals in the second quarter of 2023 after the first quarter saw a flurry of mergers between large firms. Eleven mergers were also completed in the second quarter of 2022, following a slower start to the year. Law firm mergers are rebounding after deals dropped off during the COVID-19 pandemic; however, the 28 mergers of 2023 are below the historical first-half average over the past 10 years, which is 32 combinations. Proportion of U.S. lawyers who feel law firm staffers involved in knowledge management and research could be replaced by generative AI, according to a survey by Wolters Kluwer and Above the Law. U.S. LAW FIRM MERGERS TICKED UP IN FIRST HALF OF 2023