International firm Pinsent Masons has capitalised on the growing trend of freelance working by expanding its flexible lawyer service to Hong Kong.The firm said Vario, the flexible lawyer arm it runs, has launched in Hong Kong in ‘direct response to increased demand across the region from both lawyers who want to work differently, and businesses which require a more flexible legal resource’.Matthew Kay, managing director of Vario, said: ‘The legal world is changing, and more businesses need quality lawyers working flexibly. Similarly, we’re seeing a growing demand from lawyers who want to manage their work life balance, whilst enjoying a greater variety of legal work.’Kay said the aim is to recruit a ‘substantial number’ of legal consultants in Asia over the next year. ‘We are looking to hear from lawyers who are keen to work more flexibly,’ he added.Kirsty Dougan, previously managing director at Axiom, will be Vario’s managing director for Asia. She said: ‘This launch is not just about opening another office in the region, it’s about integrating Vario into the legal market in the region and we will be working hard to get out and meet and speak to as many clients and lawyers as we can over the coming months.’Lawyers who work under the Vario model go through an ’on-boarding’ process with the firm but are then free to accept or reject work and can also act for other providers.Pinsent Masons previously said applications to work under the Vario model increased 63% in 2018. The firm launched the service in Australia in 2017 and Singapore in 2018.
UP TO 180 trains a day are now running at 200 km/h on Swiss metals thanks to the introduction of cab signalling with ETCS Level 2 on the new line between Mattstetten and Rothrist.Swiss Federal Railways had intended to operate at 200 km/h with Level 2 when the 45 km line opened in December 2004, but because of late delivery of equipment, it decided in September 2003 to postpone the introduction of ETCS and limit speeds on the new line to 160 km/h. ETCS testing continued until July 2006 with service trains relying on conventional lineside signalling. From that date a few trains were authorised to run with Level 2 in commercial service, and SBB then gradually stepped up the number of ETCS-controlled services, although speed remained limited to 160 km/h. Only on July 29 this year were trains authorised to run at 200 km/h in commercial service.After 10 days SBB was satisfied that all was well, and the 200 km/h maximum became permanent. For the moment it applies to eastbound trains only, although westbound services may run at 200 km/h to make up time. Passengers will notice little change – only with the next timetable on December 9 will up to 3 min be shaved off Bern – Zürich schedules to achieve the original target timing of 56 min.
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