As a result of the continuing success of our Private Client Department we are now seeking to recruit a full time or part time Private Client Solicitor or Legal Executive.
The successful candidate will have a good level of technical knowledge and experience of advising on a broad range of Private Client matters (primarily Wills, Tax Planning, Trusts, Estate Administration and Powers of Attorney).
They will also be expected to manage their own caseload and be actively involved in assisting with the Private Client department’s own marketing and development initiatives.
STEP membership and/or Solicitors for the Elderly accreditation would be advantageous.
We are able to offer a good work/life balance.
Salary will be dependent on experience.
Applications with CV please to: Simon Stevenson Thompson & Jackson Solicitors LLP 4 & 5 St. Lawrence Rd. Plymouth Devon PL4 6HR or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org...
Due to retirement an excellent opportunity has arisen to join one of North Devon’s leading firm of Solicitors within our busy Private Client department.
We are a well-established firm with offices in Bideford, Braunton and Barnstaple. We have an excellent client base and are looking for either a Legal Executive or Solicitor to join our team.
The role will involve all aspects of Private Client work dealing with Probate, Trusts, Wills, Powers of Attorney and Deputyships.
Qualification as a STEP member or working towards that qualification will be an advantage.
Salary is negotiable depending on experience and qualification.
To apply please contact:
Telephone : 01237 427522
Almy & Thomas are a busy long-established high street practice in the heart of Torquay with some 18 staff members including four directors dealing with private client, conveyancing, civil litigation and family, and various other areas of niche work.
The firm seeks to recruit a NQ or experienced family lawyer to head up the Family Department over the next 5 years with Directorship and equity buy-in anticipating succession. This is a full time position.
No publicly funded work.
Divorce, matrimonial finance, private children, cohabitees, tolata, possibly family provision.
Applications to Owen Evans, Managing Partner, Almy & Thomas, 71 Abbey Road, Torquay, Somerset, England, TQ2 5NL
| | Jobs, Residential Conveyancing / Gen. Non Contentious
We are looking for additional qualified specialist fee earners to join our well-established Residential Property department at our Exeter, Okehampton and Crediton offices.
Our existing department comprises of 15 practitioners across our 6 offices. They enjoy varied caseloads across the whole range of property work including sales and purchases of freehold and leasehold properties including flats and shared ownership, equity release mortgages and re-mortgages, first registrations and new builds.
We have positions to offer to the right candidates which would suit:
Experienced fee earners with a solid Residential Property Background looking to take their career to the next level; and
Highly experienced Residential Property specialists looking for a role which may include supervision or mentoring.
All members of the team are expected to participate in developing and marketing the firm’s Property Services and so we are looking for candidates with a proactive approach who wish to be part of a thriving team.
Excellent interpersonal and time management skills and proficient IT skills are essential, and experience of practice management systems is preferred.
Full-time posts are envisaged however part time positions may be available for the right candidates.
Gilbert Stephens LLP offers a full range of legal services to both individuals and businesses from its 6 offices in Exeter, Budleigh Salterton, Crediton, Okehampton, Ottery St Mary and Sidmouth. Our lawyers work closely with a team of Independent Financial Advisors from Gilbert Stephens Financial Services Ltd. Further details of the firm can be found at www.gilbertstephens.co.uk
Please send detail of your relevant background, experience and qualifications to: email@example.com
For more details contact:
Gilbert Stephens LLP Solicitors 15-17 Southernhay East Exeter EX1 1QE
Tel: 01392 424242...
Private Client Solicitor / Chartered Legal Executive
We are looking for additional specialist practitioners to join our well established and expanding Private Client department at our head office in Exeter and in our branch offices.
Our existing Team comprises 15 practitioners across our 6 offices, including members of STEP, Solicitors for the Elderly and the Agricultural Law Association, enjoy varied caseloads across the whole range of Private Client work including Estate and Inheritance Tax Planning, Estate Administration, Trust Creation and Administration, Elderly Client Services, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection work. We are looking for qualified lawyers to add to our team.
We have positions to offer to the right candidates which would suit:
Newly qualified practitioners with genuine Private Client experience to who we can offer mentoring and development (including support in obtaining STEP qualifications or membership);
More experienced practitioners with a solid Private Client Background looking to take their career to the next level; and
Highly experienced Private Client specialists looking for a role which may include supervision or mentoring and a path to leading a team and/or partnership.
For the more experienced role we would prefer candidates who are members of STEP.
All members of the team are expected to participate in developing and marketing the firm’s Private Client Services and so we are looking for candidates with a proactive approach who wish to be part of a dynamic team.
Excellent interpersonal and time management skills and proficient IT skills are essential, and experience of practice management and accounts/tax management systems is preferred.
Full-time posts and part time positions can be available for the right candidates.
Gilbert Stephens LLP offers a full range of legal services to both individuals and businesses from its 6 offices in Exeter, Bud...
We have an exciting opportunity to join our growing contentious probate team.
https://www.sleeblackwell.co.uk/legal-services/inheritance-dispute Ideally you should have experience in dealing with contentious probate law. However, we are happy to consider applications from private client lawyers looking for a new challenge or lawyers from different litigation backgrounds. The type of case our contentious probate team deals with includes: Inheritance Act disputes; Contested wills; Executor disputes; and Proprietary estoppel claims. We offer a very attractive salary and generous bonus scheme. The position has potential for partnership. The office location is flexible. Working from home and part-time working will be considered. If you are interested and would like an informal chat then please contact Naomi Ireson at firstname.lastname@example.org...
(Offices in Devon & Somerset)
Experienced private client lawyer
Seaton Devon office
Work involves probate, wills, trusts, powers of attorney
& some Court of Protection.
Get in touch with us for an interview.
We will know if you are right for us -
you will know if we are right for you.
Apply with CV to email@example.com
Hours: Full time Contract: Permanent Team: Litigation Location: Exeter, Devon
Our team of litigators acts for a wide range of clients from individuals, small businesses, charities, hotel chains and regional/national housing associations. Our advocates represent clients in County Courts and in Tribunals around the country. . What we’re looking for You will be acting for our clients in a range of commercial and land related disputes. Experience in property litigation (including ownership, boundary, covenants and rights of way disputes as well as L&T and commercial leases) will be a distinct advantage. A working knowledge of internet and IP law will be useful. We are looking for broad commercial litigation experience but within that we offer encouragement and opportunity to develop and refine areas of specialism which are of interest to the firm. The team takes regular referrals from our sector teams: Parks and Residential Providers as well as from our commercial property colleagues and relies on recommendations resulting from our expertise and excellent client service standards. The team does not cover injury or family work. What experience you’ll be required to have You will have a minimum of 5 years’ PQE and in addition to excellent client care skills you will have a clear strategy for both career and business development. ...
| | Jobs, Residential Conveyancing / Gen. Non Contentious
We are recruiting a qualified Residential Conveyancer to work at our Multi-Service Law Firm based in our Plymouth/Torpoint offices. Ideally, you will be a minimum of 2 years’ PQE. This is an exciting opportunity for a qualified Fee Earner looking for personal and career growth opportunities; allowing you to build upon your experience within a modern and dynamic practice. There is the potential for the successful candidate to have long term partnership prospects.
The Role & Requirements:
You will deal with a busy caseload including purchase, re-mortgage and sale files relating to freehold and leasehold properties.
The successful candidate will work under the supervision of the Partner in charge of the department but will have full autonomy to run their own cases.
The ability to build and maintain good rapport with Clients, as well as provide clear & accurate advice.
Maintaining a professional and polite demeanour at all times.
Impeccable written and verbal communication skills.
Be a true team player & not be afraid to learn new techniques and skills.
Good presentation and organisational skills.
Location: Plymouth/Torpoint (occasionally required to travel to our other offices all within one hour of the Plymouth office)
Salary range: Dependant on Experience
Benefits: Fee based Bonus Scheme
Job type: Permanent
Experience: 2 years’ PQE minimum preferred
Job Section: Private Practice
Working Hours: Full time (Monday – Friday)
If you would like to apply for this position please email our Practice Manager, Michelle Handley on firstname.lastname@example.org...
| | Jobs, Residential Conveyancing / Gen. Non Contentious
Gareth Webb & Co LLP Solicitors, Yeovil
experienced full-time Conveyancer to join our busy conveyancing team.
A vacancy has arisen to join our conveyancing team for a qualified Solicitor, Licensed Conveyancer or Legal Executive (preferably with a minimum 3 years PQE) predominantly working in residential conveyancing although some commercial conveyancing experience would be beneficial. Applicants will be responsible for managing their own case load and fee income, work well under pressure and have the ability to secure new work. Applicants must have experience in dealing with the full array of conveyancing transactions.
Applicants should be willing to work as part of a team but also able and willing to work using their own initiative.
A full job description is available on request. Salary dependent on experience.
Please apply in writing with full CV to Abigail Gold
Post: Gareth Webb & Co LLP, 5/6 Church Terrace, Yeovil, Somerset BA20 1HX
Job Title: Commercial Property Solicitor
Position: Full Time
Location: All locations considered
WBW Solicitors is one of the largest legal practices in the South West, with offices based in Torquay, Paignton, Newton Abbot, Exeter, Bovey Tracey, Launceston, Exmouth, Sidmouth & Honiton. With clearly defined divisions catering for business and private clients, our teams are able to offer the very best legal advice through a full range of legal services to individuals and businesses, across a wide range of areas and commercial sectors.
WBW Solicitors has a fantastic opportunity for an ambitious Commercial Property Solicitor, to join our busy property team. You will be responsible for delivering excellent service to your clients. Your role will include;
Undertaking a variety of property work for commercial landlords and tenants including, joint venture work, retail projects, leisure projects and acquisitions of development sites for commercial and mixed-use.
Advising on commercial contracts.
Building and growing client and referrer relationships.
Portfolio sales and acquisitions.
Business transfer work (i.e. restaurants & guest houses etc)
Working with other related internal disciplines where needed.
Active participation in marketing activity.
Managing your own files and maintaining Lexcel compliance at all times.
We are looking for someone will excellent technical skills and a can-do approach. You will need to have a commercial market awareness and the ability to work on your own and collaboratively as situations demand. You will need to have excellent communication skills. You will need to have had previous experience working in a busy property team & may be required to travel to all / some offices.
Experience and qualifications:
Good academic record.
Qualified solicitor or Legal Executive with relevant experience in advis...
Job Title: Solicitor or Legal Executive
Department: Private Client
Position: Full Time
WBW Solicitors is one of the largest legal practices in the South West, with offices based in Torquay, Paignton, Newton Abbot, Exeter, Bovey Tracey, Launceston, Exmouth, Sidmouth & Honiton. With clearly defined divisions catering for business and private clients, our teams are able to offer the very best legal advice through a full range of legal services, across a wide range of areas and commercial sectors. We reward our hard-working staff with flexibility, competitive salaries with a generous holiday plan and a fantastic benefits package.
Due to recent growth and expansion our well established and busy Private Client team are looking for a bright and motivated additional team member in our Torquay Team.
1) To provide a high quality, effective, legal service for WBW Solicitors as a member of the Private Client Department.
2) To promote and develop the department internally and externally.
3) To promote and develop the firm.
4) Maintain the high reputation of the firm.
To provide an efficient, effective and complete legal service ensuring client satisfaction at all times; seeking support and advice from other members of the team whenever necessary.
Skill and Knowledge
To develop personal skills, expertise and experience in the area of private client including all aspects of Wills, Probate and Power of Attorney matters. To be aware of current issues and updates. To be PQE 2 years and have carried a full private client based caseload for a minimum of 2 years. STEP, SFE and/or ACTAPS membership welcomed but not essential.
To make sure that quality standards are understood and adhered to at all times. To promote a high quality of service and to maintain file administration, carry out reviews as dir...
We are looking for an additional Practitioner to join our small but busy Private Client Team. The work will include Inheritance Tax Planning; Estate Administration; Trust Creation and Administration; Lasting Powers of Attorney; Will drafting along with elderly client services.
Selecting the right candidate is important for us and we would be pleased to consider not only experienced Practitioners but Practitioners who have a passion for this work and who may even wish to re-train.
All members of the team are expected to promote not just the work of the Private Client Department but the firm as a whole by attending firm wide and departmental marketing events.
The position will be full time although a part-time position would be considered for the right candidate.
Details of the firm can be found at www.seldons-solicitors.co.uk
For an Application Pack please e-mail email@example.com...
Scott Rowe is a forward thinking law firm with an excellent reputation. We have an exciting opportunity for an enthusiastic individual to join our expanding legal team.
We are keen to speak with:
A qualified Solicitor or Legal Executive ideally with a minimum of two years post qualification experience in a broad range of areas of dispute resolution.
Desirable areas of experience:
Landlord and tenant disputes
Inheritance Act and contentious Probate
The successful candidate will be taking over a well established and varied caseload. Excellent opportunity for the right candidate.
We provide a reward package which includes but is not limited to:
A competitive salary based on experience
Opportunities for professional growth
A focus on work-life balance
If you would like to play a pivotal role in the Firm’s exciting future please contact/send your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dunn & Baker Solicitors are a progressive and forward thinking practice who are committed to providing a high level of service to all clients. We are currently looking to recruit an experienced dispute resolution lawyer to head our general dispute resolution department. We are seeking applications from candidates who:
Are experienced general dispute resolution lawyers with broad experience and strong technical ability;
Have a proven track record for being responsible for their own team, including allocating work, undertaking day to day supervisory duties, coaching/mentoring team members and ensuring training needs are met;
manage their own day to day caseload effectively
perform work accurately, reliably and in accordance with the firms risk management procedures
keep up to date with changes and developments in areas of law
build and maintain a network of contacts and referrers
Desirable areas of experience:
Inheritance Act and Contentious Probate
Shareholder and Partnership disputes
Housing/landlord and tenant disputes
Dunn & Baker Solicitors are offering for the right individual, excellent prospects for career development and also a competitive salary.
A DBS disclosure is required for this post. For further details or to apply for the position please contact / send your CV to email@example.com
Dunn & Baker is a progressive and forward thinking practice who are committed to providing a high level of service to all clients.
We are seeking a Personal Injury and Medical Negligence Paralegal / Trainee Fee Earner.
The successful candidate will be joining our busy Claimant Personal Injury and Medical Negligence Department to assist the team with their caseloads including high value/catastrophic cases and in time with appropriate training will also have the opportunity to run your own caseload of Personal Injury and Medical negligence cases. You will have client contact and will assist with document preparation and case management.
The team handles a wide variety of Personal Injury Claims including road traffic accidents, accidents at work and public liability claims, in respect of our medical negligence cases these include claims against Hospital Trusts, GPs, Dentists and Ambulance Trusts.
You will also be expected to assist with the Department’s business development.
You will be a Paralegal or Trainee Fee Earner with some experience in personal injury and/or medical negligence claims. Ideally you will have a technical and procedural grasp of running personal injury and/or medical negligence cases.
You will possess the following key skills and personal qualities:
IT literate with a good knowledge and high degree of competency in the use of Microsoft Word and with possible experience of a case management system and of using online portals .
Excellent organisational skills with acute attention to detail
Has strong administration with excellent verbal and written communication skills
Professional appearance and manner
Flexible and able to use own initiative and requiring limited guidance
A motivated self-starter who is a good team player
Is able to remain calm under pressure whilst working to multiple deadlines
Be interested in business development
Dunn & Baker ...
Our Wealth Management Team has built a strong reputation for advising families, including business-owners, farmers and high net worth individuals, with the most complex succession-planning needs. We are seeking a driven and ambitious lawyer to help us build on this reputation and to develop their own career in a supportive and energetic team. What you’ll be doing We are a team renowned for our technical expertise and dedication to providing accurate, effective and pragmatic, solutions to our clients. You will manage complex and high value estates requiring the successful application of Inheritance Tax reliefs and exemptions. This will include direct negotiations with HMRC to achieve the best results for our clients when necessary. Advising families on the Inheritance Tax planning tools available to them will form part of your responsibilities. There will be a particular focus on assisting business owning families with the tax implications of passing their business down the generations, both generally and when crafting Wills and trusts for succession-planning. You will be offered a high-quality, balanced and varied caseload from the outset, including Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and the administration of our complex estates and establishment of lifetime trusts. Undertaking the supervision of other lawyers within your team, with the aim of supporting them to provide the quality of advice and service we are known for, will be one of your ongoing responsibilities. You will also have the ability to help shape the future of your team. Working directly with the Wealth Management Team Leader, Gráinne Staunton, and your fellow senior Wealth Management lawyers, you will provide input into the design and delivery of the growth plan for the team and in initiatives to set the future direction of the department. What we’re looking for We are looking for a motivated lawyer who wants to move towards taking the next step in their career and to build their...
Current NHS information and advice on COVID-19 is available here
Following the Government's advice given on 16 March, a notice was posted on DASLS website homepage with information further disseminated via social media.
Updated 18 March 2020....
This year really is flying by. I have just had my birthday.
After updating you previously on the excellent catch up I had with the Law Society CEO Paul Tennant on his visit to the south west last November, I had not expected to be back in touch with him quite so soon.
Sadly, this time it was in less happy circumstances.
I was, like many of you, shocked and saddened in January to hear the news and see the pictures of the substantial fire at Chancery Lane in London. I have emailed Paul Tennant and James Shepherd, our Law Society Relationship Management Executive, to send our best wishes and we are hoping that the building will be back to full use very soon.
As I write this report, preparations are in full swing for the 2020 DASLS Legal Awards & Dinner. As you know the Annual Dinner is being held again this year at Exeter Cathedral. The event is to take place on the 30th April 2020. After the success of last year, we are hoping that once again the event is sold out which would mean we will have around 480 people attending. If you have not done so already, please contact Llew Nicholls and the team at our Awards partners ‘Grow Marketing’ who have worked very hard alongside our very own Tony and Monique to achieve full sponsorship of this event.
You can contact Llew to book the remaining places by emailing Llew directly at Llew@growmarketinguk.com. There have been more nominations than ever before with more entries making the short list. Please do not miss this dazzling occasion.
You will all have received DASLS latest 2020 training courses programme. Tony Steiner and the team have worked hard to arrange these events. You will see that as members you get preferential rates and if appropriate reduced rates for multiple attendees from your firms. Please take advantage of these services as a proportion of the monies do go to support our Society’s broad continuing education offering.
If I do not see you individ...
The first big social event of the year was the annual DASLS Quiz which is the grand finale of the Challenge Cup. It is an event I thoroughly enjoy and I make no apology for making it a bit challenging.
This year did not disappoint there being just ½ point between first and second place and resulting in joint winners of the Challenge Cup. Congratulations to Ashfords and Michelmores both of whom knew that the study of birds’ eggs is Oology. The next Challenge Cup kicks off with the usual Skittles match in Dawlish when the magnificent Skittles Cup will be contested.
The latest meeting of the County Societies Group took place in February when we were guests of the SRA in Birmingham. DASLS Deputy Vice-President Adrian Richards and I attended. We were welcomed by their Chief Executive Paul Philip who set out some key messages around SRA activity emphasising their desire for light touch engagement with solicitors and good channels of communication. He said that the SRA was working well with The Law Society and was focused on creating an environment where solicitors could be innovative and use the latest in technology. AML is a key area of activity and following the appointment of the new Chair, Anna Bradley, they are working to provide better customer care. He also explained that until now the SRA had not taken any position on issues such as Access to Justice, Rule of Law and Advice Deserts. They were considering looking at, and taking a position on, one or two of these issues each year. There followed several presentations by senior staff at the SRA dealing with Enforcement Strategy and reporting concerns; Customer information – Transparency Rules and clickable logo.; the SQE and Anti-Money Laundering. Comprehensive slides were produced to accompany each presentation which I will forward together with my notes to any member who wishes to see them. Just email me —firstname.lastname@example.org. There followed an interesting tour of the building. SRA have around 600 ...
You may know that DASLS is fortunate to be twinned with Bilbao, Erlangen, Gdańsk, Leuven, Rennes and Verona. Such twinning arrangements underpin a sense that we belong to one community of values on the basis that these relationships are based on reciprocity. Each year, we meet to discuss and debate important legal issues of the day, whilst discovering the cultures and languages of our partners. 2020 is DASLS turn to host such an event, which will be rounded off with the Sunday Legal Service at Exeter Cathedral on 7 June 2020 and to which DASLS members are cordially invited!
The subject of our conference (on 5 June at County Hall in Exeter) will be around the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) in the sphere of human rights. Rather than understanding AI in terms of a terrifying post-apocalyptic vision of a world controlled by robots, AI features in our everyday lives from Alexa and smart home devices to controversial facial recognition technologies and even Uber! AI is built by lines of code called algorithms. Put simply, an algorithm is a step by step method of solving a problem and is commonly used for data processing and calculation. However, the use of automated data processing techniques in public and private sectors, especially by internet platforms and its impact on the exercise of human rights is somewhat of a hot topic.
When it comes to AI, there is a focus on the usage of huge datasets. AI bias means when an algorithm produces results that may be prejudiced due to erroneous assumptions in the machine learning process and the data used to train the algorithm by data scientists. Bias runs deep in humans and it can be unconscious in nature. AI systems are created by individuals who have their own unique experiences and blind spots all of which can lead to fundamentally biased systems. This issue is compounded by the fact that those responsible for AI (including its deployment and training) may not be representative of society. Accordingly, unfair...
New AML Regulations and the pursuit of the beneficial owner.
The new Money Laundering & Terrorist Finance (Amendment) Regulations 2019 which came into force on 10 January have modified a number of aspects of the 2017 AML Regulations, with which we have been complying for some time. However, many firms’ procedures hark back to the earlier days of the 2007 Regulations and have not been modified or updated much over recent years.
This article seeks to set out what the new Regulations in fact require, and the steps we should be taking in relevant cases.
It has been true for some time that the ultimate aim of all the regulatory rules is transparency – it has always been the case that the use of artificial structures such as trusts, companies, bearer shares, foundations and charities – whilst perfectly legal – have to some extent also benefitted from the extra anonymity they offer to the true owner and recipient of the funds and services we provide.
If we offer services to these types of entity, the Regulations require us to go some way to identifying the individuals who are actually benefitting from our services, and this entails uncovering the true ownership of the organisation.
Whilst this would be difficult in many instances – Cayman Island companies with bearer shares, for example – we must nevertheless attempt to get some assurances from the creators of the companies, accountants or registrars as to the ownership of the shares, and have some way of being notified of any change in ownership.
We also need to be aware of the PEP and Sanctions status of these individuals.
Further, for UK companies, the PSC Regulations 2016 impose an exactly similar obligation on the companies themselves to identify their beneficial owners and notify Companies House of any shareholder with 25% or more of the shares or exercising control over management of the business.
As one of the mediators on the Devon and Somerset Law Society panel of mediators I wanted to share my experience of the cases referred to us from the small claims pilot mediation scheme. We are currently referred cases from the county court at Exeter, Barnstaple, Torquay and Plymouth.
The idea of the scheme is to try to mediate cases that have been issued at court in the hope a resolution can be reached prior to a court hearing. This frees up court time making the process quicker and more cost effective for the parties involved.
Typical mediations are usually scheduled for a minimum of three hours with more complicated cases set for a whole day or more whereas the small claim mediations are set for one hour only.
I have not found the short time limit listed for these mediations to have a negative impact indeed it seems to focus the minds of all involved to start seriously looking at a possible settlement immediately. In my experience of previous mediations in my capacity either as mediator or legal advisor I have found that it is not until the mediation is nearing the end that serious negotiations take place and all efforts are made by the parties to reach a settlement. I remind both sides in a small claim mediation of the time restraints and that time is ticking by and psychologically it seems to take the parties to the same place as at the end of much longer mediations.
If a case settles at a small claims mediation, which they do more often than not, this avoids the case proceeding through the court process saving both time and money including court fees and legal costs. The settlement when reached is made and agreed by both parties and therefore the parties are in control of the resolution. Whereas a Judge by the very nature of court proceedings will make a finding on each point in the case for or against a party leaving the parties with no control over the result.
Overall the small claim mediation scheme is in my opinion advantageous to ...
Practitioners in Devon and Somerset, indeed across England and Wales, will be aware of HMCTS’s ambitious £1bn programme of court reform. Some have been involved in consultations, developing and testing new services and products; for others their work has already been impacted as new technology and modern ways of working are introduced.
Launched in September 2016, the programme is now almost at its half-way stage. We’ve already seen the roll out of several online services covering divorce, probate, civil money claims and social security appeals which have been used by well over 250,000 people. Two new services – immigration and asylum, and public family law – are currently being publicly tested.
Many in the region have been involved in the development of reform services in some capacity. Truro Combined Court, for example, is part of the national pilot in 12 family courts for the Citizens Advice family court domestic abuse support service, which launched in August 2019.
Our south western buildings
Some of your members, especially those who frequently work at Taunton Crown Court and Torquay & Newton Abbot County Court, may already be benefitting from the professional users’ court access scheme. This scheme is being rolled out in stages, across the region and nationwide. It allows legal professionals to avoid delays when being processed by security staff. Although registration for the national scheme has begun with the Bar Council, HMCTS is working with other legal associations who wish to participate and open the scheme for their members.
As part of our estate review process, which aims to improve the physical environment for all court users, Exeter Magistrates’ Court is closing and the work is moving to the Combined Court, half a mile away. To support this move, three new hearing rooms will be built, as well as increased cell capacity, witness and consultation facilities and a new cafe.
The move represents a significant ...
The Cook's and Hatchard's Law Prize is an award which recognises an individual who has achieved not only academic success but has also engaged in charitable initiatives which have raised the profile of the profession; supported junior lawyers and/or the wider community.
The Trustees recognise that the route to qualifying as a Solicitor is an ever changing process. The conventional approach of completing a Degree, undergoing the GDL/LPC and eventually sourcing a Training Contract has been supplemented by a series of alternative routes.
It is now increasingly common specifically in the case of smaller firms and/or Local Authorities for individuals to qualify as Solicitors through a more vocational route. For example, undergoing the conversion from CILEx. Whilst this is not your typical route to qualification, such individuals have nonetheless obtained considerable practical experience and have achieved 'Solicitor' status whilst having to combine study with work, often alongside family obligations. A challenging balance deserving recognition.
The Trustees are intent on ensuring that such individuals are not overlooked, especially in instances where candidates have come from backgrounds where they might have needed to work from school as opposed to being able to attend University and pursue academia.
If you are aware of an individual within Somerset who has achieved the finely tuned balance of academic success whilst also promoting the value of the profession through charitable work or some other means which has benefitted the wider community, then please send full details of the individual whom you are nominating together with the reasons for your nomination to DASLS Administrator, Monique Bertoni, Aston Court, Pynes Hill, Exeter EX2 5AZ by 30 June 2020, for consideration by the Trustees.
Nominations can also be sent by email to email@example.com.
Candidates for this year’s Prize must have been admitted to...
The new SRA Standard and Regulations came into effect on 25 November 2019, replacing the previous SRA Handbook.
Within these latest regulations are the new set of SRA Accounts Rules 2019 which the legal sector is still getting to grips with some of the changes.
In this brief article we look at two of the most topical areas being raised by law firms and their COFAs.
Notification of disbursements
One of the leading questions raised has been regarding compliance with the new rule 4.3, which states that if a firm wishes to transfer money from the client bank account from funds held on account for a specific client to cover costs, the client or paying party must first be sent a bill or other written notification of these costs, before the transfer is made.
As ‘costs’ comprise of fees and disbursements, this is in contrast to the old requirements as it is now necessary to notify the client if the firm wants to take funds to cover disbursements.
Firms are now finding themselves in the position of having to choose between the additional administrative inconvenience of having to notify the clients every time they wish to transfer funds in the interim for disbursement, or face potential cash flow burdens. This will come down to a matter of policy, and will differ from firm to firm. It is helpful to highlight it has been mentioned that an email to the client will qualify as written notification to meet this requirement.
A further topical question has been in relation to disbursements that have been included on a bill, but not yet paid by the firm. Rule 4.3 refers to ‘costs incurred’, which, on the face of it, implies that funds can be transferred to cover disbursements that have been incurred but not yet paid, as long as the client has been notified. This has been queried with the regulators where anticipated disbursements had been included on a bill – could the firm transfer client funds to cover these which would be a fundam...
Devon & Somerset Law Society welcome DictateNow as new outsourcing partner
Devon & Somerset Law Society is pleased to announce it has teamed up with leading legal outsourcing provider DictateNow.
The firm, which was the first dictation provider for law firms in the UK, was formed almost 20 years ago, and now works with hundreds of law firms across the country.
“It truly is an honour to work closely with Devon & Somerset Law Society and we are confident we will provide its members with real value through this partnership,” said Maxine Park, who co-founded the firm, and is also a qualified solicitor.
Since its inception in Hertfordshire, at the start of the 21st century, DictateNow has become a leading provider of confidential digital dictation, transcription and business services that helps law firms streamline otherwise labour-intensive processes, reduce overheads, and improve client service.
“Since we started back in the early 2000s we have also expanded to include dealing with overseas clients, and offer other business services as well, with copy typing, proof reading and diary management amongst them,” added Maxine.
The business, which works with hundreds of legal secretaries and experienced administrators all UK based, working around the clock seven days a week, only came into being after Maxine, who was a senior solicitor, was asked by her employer to find a firm that could do the transcription for lawyers. She couldn’t find anyone suitable in the country, so she worked on a plan to fill this gap, with software developer husband Garry. She soon left her job in law, and the reputation of DictateNow gradually spread amongst law firms.
“It is fair to say the needs of law firms have changed greatly in recent years and like all progressive businesses, we are committed to adapting to stay at the forefront. We will never rest on our laurels,” added Maxine.
The business is covered by IS223...
Business Continuity Planning
With England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty warning a Covid-19 epidemic in the UK is looking “likely”, and with home working being a key part of the government's 'Battle Plan' to combat the virus, the prospect of fee earners working remotely may become a reality rather than a trend.
With most UK businesses, including law firms carrying out contingency planning in the event of a widespread outbreak we are being called upon by our clients to provide additional support should it be required.
The ability for fee earners to work from home is far easier than for support staff. Fee earners are able to use mobile phones to continue communicating with clients, receiving emails as well as dictating. Internal support staff aren't geared up to work remotely in the same way.
DictateNow has been providing outsourced business support services to law firms since 2002. Our legal secretaries can continue to support fee earners with their typing requirements with fee earners sending dictations via our apps and our typists returning the work as an attachment to an email, or directly into the client's case or document management system.
We take business continuity seriously, achieving and maintaining the ISO 22301 as a testament to the importance we put on being able to support our clients - whatever the circumstances.
Our management, operations, typists, receptionists and support teams all have the ability to work remotely but with the added security of working on our UK based servers.
Under no circumstances would we want to profit from COVID-19. We provide free apps for iPhone and Android mobile phones, a free registration process for disaster recovery and our service is low cost, pay-as-you-go and with no ongoing commitment.
We sincerely hope COVID-19 isn't as serious as some of the newspaper headlines have said it will be, but a little forward planning ...
Last month, Storm Ciara and Dennis brought devastation across the country, including the South West. We saw multiple flood warnings and alerts issued across Devon and Somerset, with many main routes made impassable, and rail passengers stranded as flooding stopped services reaching Exeter and Plymouth (see link at footnote 1).
Due to the increasing concern about flood risk for property owners, the Law Society has recently updated its Flood Risk practice note – the first revision in four years. The practice note provides guidance relating to information sources that better help clients understand the risk that flooding may pose, as well as offer steps that can be taken with regards to insurance and searches.
The practice note includes information relating to the types of flood risks that have the potential to affect property owners. For example, a property doesn’t have to be located next to a river for it to be located in a high risk zone. Flooding from surface water or groundwater is increasingly common and something that should always be researched in advance of a house purchase.
If flooding is a concern, it is important to investigate whether appropriate insurance cover can be arranged before a property transaction completes, to satisfy the risk criteria of the client’s mortgage lender.
On top of this, the Law Society has also published an updated TA6 Property Information Form and guidance notes. In particular, four areas of property information have been updated relating to Flood Risk, as well Japanese Knotweed, Radon and Septic Tanks. The update provides additional information about a property to prospective buyers and is designed to provide greater transparency.
Yet, while there is a plethora of guidance and support out there, unfortunately, recent research conducted by YouGov for Landmark Information has shown that the majority of consumers in Great Britain are still not checking the flood risk of their homes, despi...
As we come to the end of being the Devon and Somerset Law Society’s Charity of the Year 2019/20 we reflect on some of the achievements made throughout the year:
Thriving Workplace Project
In 2019 we launched our Thriving Workplace project which focuses on training workplaces in awareness and first aid for mental health. After a successful ‘soft launch’ at the SW Business EXPO, we have been working closely with local organisations to train staff members in spotting the signs and symptoms of poor mental health and starting meaningful conversations. The feedback we have received has been fantastic and we hope that this training not only helps organisations, but the wider communities in which we live.
As part of the project, we have also developed a course which we have delivered in custody at HMP Dartmoor, providing a forum for custodians to discuss strategies to manage wellbeing whilst in prison. Again we have had a brilliant response to the training delivered and are looking to roll out mental health first aid courses across the prison to promote conversations and support whilst in custody and for rehabilitation.
The impact this training has had so far has been excellent, helping individuals and organisations recognise the importance of good wellbeing and supporting colleagues and communities with mental health. With the stretch on services for mental health this is a fundamental project to support each other to good mental health and wellbeing.
Torbay Peer Support Project
The aim of this project is to support people over 50 years of age who are struggling with their mental health to engage with their community. We provide engagement visits to help people feel more relaxed when they first meet us and then encourage them to join one of our courses or groups.
Within the year the project has grown through our group of supportive volunteers, there are now 10 volunteers and they have all been people that we had ori...
As the new committee members of the Devon & Somerset Junior Lawyers' Division are starting this year’s culminating activities for our Junior Lawyers' Division members, our National Committee representative has attended the National JLD Meeting held at The Law Society office in London on the 1st of February 2020.
A lot of issues were discussed and tackled and it is important to share the outcome of the discussions. To highlight these, the following are the main points of discussion:-
There will be another consultation with the SRA regarding the SQE as it has been discussed that there are a large number of unresolved issues. The Legal Services Board has opened a call for evidence in relation to continuing competence. Everyone is encouraged to contact us and we would welcome any comments and inputs.
The Law Society has updated its Wellbeing Guidance in the workplace in October 2019 as well as a recently issued guide for firms to re-label work social events to divert the initial perception away from alcohol. This is to promote and encourage individuals to attend events with less pressure to consume alcohol in order to “fit in”. The DSJLD have been in full support of this and our events are being tailored to match this initiative.
In addition, The Law Society is currently developing a new Learning Management System and in the next coming months, The Law Society will launch a beta program for this which will give selected firms a free testing with this program. This will initially be provided free of charge with precedents etc available to firms.
The JLD event season 2020 kicked off in fine style with a groovy disco at I-Bounce in Exeter. With dimmed lights and funky disco beats, the JLD contingent were relishing the opportunity to hone their dancing skills ahead of this year’s highly anticipated JLD Summer Ball!
It is fair to say some members took to the bouncing b...
Some think there is no place for emotion in the law and believe emotions interfere with rational thinking. In fact there is a huge body of scientific evidence which proves cognition and emotion are intertwined. If we consider that emotions affect your actions, decision-making, reasoning, thought processes and judgement, we can clearly see the relevance of emotion in the law.
Often lawyers enter the workplace without the emotional competencies needed to meet the demands of an evolving profession. Emotional competency is about how we understand and handle our emotions, as well as identifying and interpreting emotional responses around us.
Providing legal professionals with resources to enable them to understand and develop key emotional competencies such as emotional self-awareness, self-reflection and better strategies for emotional self-regulation is one way to equip them more effectively for practice, enhance their wellbeing and potentially reduce levels of stress, anxiety and depression.
LawCare and academics at The Open University and the University of Sheffield have developed a new free online resource on emotional competency and professional resilience for the legal community.
The interactive resource, called Fit for Law, is part of an on-going project to promote psychologically and emotionally healthier ways of working within law and was developed based on evidence from focus groups with legal professionals across the UK and Ireland. The course takes 2-4 hours in total to complete but is broken down into smaller sections, and includes videos from legal professionals discussing wellbeing issues as well as a range of interactive activities.
The goal is to foster enhanced wellbeing, to support legal professionals to not just survive, but to also thrive, within a challenging work environment.
In addition to providing resources aimed at individual practitioners, the resources we are developing will include a tool kit for employers, to ...
Congratulations to Ashfords, winners of the ‘notoriously difficult’ annual DASLS Challenge Cup Quiz.
Held on 28th January at Las Iguanas, Exeter and overseen by Quizmaster Tony Steiner 12 teams did battle testing their knowledge of Cambridge bridges, caviar, sports personality of the year, the Large Hadron Collider, Taylor Swift and the Swallow Sidecar Company. Who knew that the study of bird eggs is Oology? Only a few knew that rugby legend J P R Williams had also won junior Wimbledon in 1966.
By the last round it was neck and neck and by close of the evening just ½ point separated Ashfords in first place and Michelmores in second. Well done also to the team from Crosse & Crosse coming in at a close third.
This was the final round of the Challenge Cup for 2019/20 and congratulations go to both Ashfords and Michelmores who are joint winners with 18 points each and will share the Cup.
Ashfords / Michelmores
Wollens & Tozers
Dunn & Baker
Pennon Group, DSJLD & Trowers & Hamlins
Beers, Gilbert Stephens & Crosse & Crosse
The Family Law Company & Browne Jacobson
We are proud to congratulate the firms and individuals that have been shortlisted for the DASLS Legal Awards 2020. The winners will be announced at the Society’s virtual Legal Awards Ceremony on 23 September 2021 hosted by David Fitzgerald.
The DASLS Legal Awards are judged by a panel of nine independent judges who commented on the high standard of entries and the number of outstanding legal firms in Devon & Somerset. The Awards recognise the achievements of those who have gone the extra mile to serve their clients, their community and their profession.
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FULL SHORTLIST OF FINALISTS...
Happy new year to you all!
I have certainly had a very festive few months.
The Taunton Dinner was a great success. Can I say a big thank you to all who attended. We raised an excellent £858.12 with gift aid, for my chosen charity of ‘Step One’. Our guest speaker Chris Robinson brought the history of the south west to life with his after dinner talk.
It was a great pleasure to welcome the Law Society CEO Paul Tennant to the south west when he visited Exeter on the 13 November.
After Paul attended our committee meeting in the morning it was good to participate in the Law Society Gazette Roundtable ‘South West Discussion’ in Exeter. A cross section of local firms sent members of staff to take part in debating various topics that were relevant to our lawyers and their firms’ development. The hour and half flew by. The debate flowed well and it was clear at the end that everyone felt they had their say and were given an opportunity to express their views. Thank you to Paul Tennant for organising this with Eduardo Reyes the Commissioning and Features Editor of The Law Society Gazette chairing the event.
Can I thank those of you who have entered the 2020 DASLS Legal Awards to celebrate and raise the profile of the solicitors’ profession in our area. I must also thank Grow Marketing Group for all their help to enable us to put together an incredible night in celebration of the legal profession and to showcase the achievements and successes within it. Please do not forget to put the DASLS Annual Dinner 2020 at Exeter Cathedral in your diary. The event will take place on the 30th April when we will celebrate and recognise the achievements of those in the legal profession. Don't miss this dazzling occasion.
With that in mind I may I wish you all a happy and prosperous 2020. I look forward to seeing you in the New Year.
With very best wishes
DASLS President 2019-2020...
Happy New Year
It is the morning after! No not that sort of morning after – as I write it’s the morning after the deadline for nominations to be made for the DASLS Legal Awards and we are delighted to announce that we have had significantly more entries than in previous years. Thank you to everyone who has entered; we look forward to seeing you at Exeter Cathedral on 30th April when the winners will be announced. No doubt there will be another morning after that! Tickets will go on sale once the shortlist has been announced towards the end of January.
Our new recruitment advertising service has started well with good support and our work behind the scenes has seen increased levels of activity on our website. The advertising package includes a job posting on the Law Society Gazette Online Job Board ensuring a national presence at a very cost-effective price. The DASLS Job Board is now the place to go to look at vacancies available across our two counties and all the latest positions are advertised on the back of this Newsletter. Go to DASLS website for more details.
Looking forward we will be working to improve and refine our provision of training events. The DASLS programme has always been responsive to members’ requests and we would be very pleased to hear about seminars that you would like to see included speakers that we might wish to invite. Look out for new Annual Conferences and masterclass sessions.
The County Societies Group will be meeting in February when we will be the guests of the SRA at The Cube. I am sure there will be some interesting discussions about their direction of travel and current operations to report back.
Can it really be 20 years since the Millennium? The economic and political landscape has changed greatly in that time and new challenges and opportunities in the provision of legal services have emerged. I hope that DASLS has evolved and adapted to continue to be relevant and fit for purpose in that time. ...
What made you want to serve on The Law Society Family Law Committee?
I was impressed by The Law Society’s campaigning over Legal Aid and felt this was an area in which they really stood up for lawyers such as me, working in a strongly Legal Aid practice. I looked at the kind of work done by the Family Law Committee and saw that it was very interesting; I thought it would be stimulating, and it is. What are the key concerns you have at the moment for the legal profession in the South West?
They are the same concerns as I have about the national picture: people not having access to justice because of the assault on Legal Aid; chaos in the court system; the unknown impact of Brexit. I know for many firms in the South West there will be a direct impact from Brexit; but for all of us, the threat of recession and increased poverty accompanied by its familiar problems is alarming.
What is your dream job?
If I had not been a lawyer, I’d have enjoyed being a psychiatrist or a private detective – I’m very curious (or nosy) about people. If I was embarking on a new career now, I’d be a gardener or a chef. Which sort of work gives you the most job satisfaction?
I’m motivated by fairness. My job gives me the opportunity to try to achieve a bit more of it.
What gets you up in the morning?
Optimism. What do you do in your spare time?
Gardening, food, reading, films, travel, learning Italian, swimming, my family.
I’m very interested in language, generally. What book are you reading at the moment?
Naomi Klein – This Changes Everything
Before that, Elmore Leonard – Gold Coast
Next, I will be reading Margaret Atwood’s sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, The Testaments.
What is the most recent film you have seen?
Amazing Grace – a documentary about Aretha Franklin
In the Loop – (again; it never gets stale) What are your favourite food / restaurant?
I honestly love food and am happy to go anywhere ...
DASLS is twinned with a number of local law societies across Europe, and the group fosters and maintains DASLS’ relationships with its Twin Bars.
The Sub-Committee represents DASLS abroad by attending international conferences, but also serves as the first point of contact for any enquiries from international lawyers looking for local legal advice. On occasion, they host foreign lawyers who attend the Exeter Legal Sunday Service and provide funding to send representatives abroad.
Lucy Ferrat, Solicitor with Stephens Scown, attended the Twin Bars annual meetings hosted by Leuven in 2018 and by Rennes in 2019. These conferences are topical and aim to compare legal systems in order to learn from other jurisdictions. For the last two years, the conferences have focused on questions relating to professional regulation. Lucy explains the benefits derived from her involvement with DASLS International Relations Sub-Committee.
“Building our worldwide network
Attending these conferences is an important part of my professional development – the skills acquired are good for business and good for international relations.
Last year, I met fellow IP practitioners from Italy. They explained that they have seen increased demand for advice about accessing the UK market post-Brexit, and were happy to meet someone who they could refer work to if/when the need arises. In turn, I have had the opportunity to refer work abroad with confidence in the person receiving our instructions. This is an essential part of our international practice.
I have found that there is immense value in developing friendships, as well as professional relationships, with the foreign lawyers we meet as part of our work. Repeat attendance has meant I have been able to consolidate relationships forged with other junior lawyers from across the EU – our interests and concerns are markedly similar. We stay in touch throughout the year and it is enriching to hear their (often dif...
Having been appointed as Council Members in July 2019, the first two meetings have already flown by. Council met on the 3rd October 2019 and the 5th December 2019. We hope to bring you up to date with developments over the last few months.
Much of this time has been dominated by the word we shall not mention, beginning with “B” and the General Election. A lot of the usual Law Society work has therefore been on hold awaiting the outcome and strategising so as to be prepared for which Government would be in power.
We now know that we have a Conservative Majority Government and whilst many will be happy about that, this may well make some of the Law Society’s campaigning around Access to Justice and Legal Aid a little harder.
Time will tell…..
Prior to Purdah, the Law Society was continuing to support works on funding inquests for people who are unable to access legal aid. The Policy and Regulatory Affairs Committee had approved a plan designed for restructuring legal aid provision, into Law Society policy. The plan detailed the Society’s intention to reintroduce early legal advice in family law cases, to reintroduce legal aid in all finance cases, and to bring back legal aid for alleged perpetrators of abuse in domestic violence cases. There were 120 MPs lobbying for change to practice direction 12J (on child arrangements and contact orders involving domestic abuse and harm), for there to be legal representation provided to alleged perpetrators of domestic abuse. It was a major issue that more children were being killed in situations where there is unsafe contact. There have been ongoing discussions about the Flexible operating hours and the pilot. An update is expected on that.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) allocation includes a 4.9% increase in real terms to the department’s resource budget from 2019-20 to 2020-21, with £55 million bookmarked for use across the Criminal Justice System to “support the work of 20,000 additional ...
A statistical number from the ‘campaign report’ in respect of the first 5 top links clicked by members looking at the November 2019 Newsletter sent via Mail Chimp. This was my article in between the President’s Letter (no.1 with 56 clicks and the article from PKF Francis Clark (no.3 with 47 clicks) – interesting but not sure what to make of this?
In terms of performance, Mail Chimp tells us “Well, this is exciting. You’re doing great!” with average campaign performance above 32% but when you look more closely …. firstname.lastname@example.org comes up as ‘subscriber with most opens with 209 clicks… well I can assure you I certainly did not click on the Newsletter articles that many times …. but I did post them as drafts, updated them when corrections were needed, proof-read them again before publishing them and finally time to push the SEND button.
Then the perennial question – how do we engage / reach out to the other 70% of our members? What articles would they like to see in DASLS Newsletter and what would really be of interest to them?
2020 … New Year … New Resolution …. Your chance to let us know – we’d love to hear from you!
This brings me to the topic of our Twin / International Bars’ Meeting hosted by DASLS to be held from 5 to 7 June. The working sessions on the Friday will discuss Artificial Intelligence. This is a fascinating if somewhat scary subject and we are all affected by it. It covers so many aspects – algorithms, human rights, ethics etc.
The June 2020 Working Group is putting together the programme and hope to see as many members as possible participating in the AI debate on Friday 5 June. Put the date in your diary now and contact me if you would like to be kept updated as things progress and to receive a copy of the final programme including reserving tickets to take part in the procession at the Legal Service on Sunday 7 June.
There are other ways for you / your firm to be involved –...
Well, it is all over now. The Election is won, Brexit is confirmed and the future will be what it will be – AND the SRA has implemented its new Standards & Regulations (STARS), effective from 25 November 2019.
2020 has a much calmer (and resigned) outlook than did 2019.
Along with new – and briefer – Accounts Rules and the obligation to adopt the SRA clickable logo, the STARS have ushered in a novel approach to regulation. I mention here the main things that immediately occur to me, but in future months I will be offering some further, more reflective thoughts on the implications of the new regime.
My top 5 thoughts are:
1 Loss of monopoly
We – the learned legal profession - have lost our age-old monopoly over the right to employ ‘solicitors’ to offer legal services to the general public. The tide turned against us on this one some years ago, when the Competition & Markets Authority pointed out that 90% of members of the general public with a legal problem will not go and see a solicitor (mainly as a result of misperceptions about the cost of so doing). This has led to the Transparency Rules 2018 the efficacy of which is yet to be determined, but which has led to a rethink over the marketing challenges facing us in the fight against others (professions, as well as commercial entities) who want to offer the services of a solicitor to our historical client-base. Time will tell whether this will increase our recruitment difficulties.
2 Legal professional privilege
One disadvantage of taking legal advice from a ‘solicitor’ working in a non-regulated environment is that the advice sought and given will probably not benefit from the cloak of legal professional privilege, as it would be given by a solicitor on behalf of a non-regulated business, rather than a law firm. Recent Law Society publications have mentioned this drawback, but it is one thing that the SRA c...
Partners in firms that have closed since 2000 and some employees of such firms may face claims for negligence after 30 September 2020 and may not have the benefit of professional indemnity insurance cover (PII). Many of them are unaware of the risk they face if the firm closed without a successor practice regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
The History of Solicitors Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII)
Up until 31 August 2000, the profession self-insured through the Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF). SIF provided firms with the compulsory level of cover and if firms closed before September 2000 then run off cover protection was provided without time limitation.
Back in 1999, after the large number of claims in the 1990’s it was recognised that the mutual fund had been an expensive means of providing cover for the profession and that the open market could provide a cheaper alternative for the majority of firms. The Council of the Law Society did not favour the open market solution as it recognised that the 1990s recession had been a difficult time and that the open market may not be a comfortable place when markets hardened. However, the profession was balloted and as a result, it was decided that firms would go to the open market.
The Law Society negotiated minimum terms and conditions (MTC) with insurers, providing far better protection than is normally available in the open commercial market. Insurers in the open market accepted these terms and there have been, despite fluctuating numbers, sufficient numbers of insurers to make the scheme viable. The terms of cover have broadly been maintained by the SRA. Generally speaking, over time many firms have paid less for their insurance than they would have done if SIF had been retained.
The cover for solicitors’ negligence claims is provided on a ‘claims made’ basis, which means that insurance needs to be in place at the time when a claim is made and notified. T...
Please help shape the future of your local Law Society.
The main Committee is at the heart of the work and decision making of DASLS and also helps to co-ordinate the important work of the many Sub-Committees. As a result membership of the main Committee can make a real difference to the Society and to the working life of solicitors across our two counties.
The Committee is made up of the Officers of the Society together with (see Articles §7.1.5) “not less than 10 or more than 40 elected members”.
If you would like any further information please contact the Honorary Secretary Chris Hart. - email@example.com
Elections will take place at the 28 April 2020 AGM at the Exeter Golf & Country Club.
Contact DASLS office on 01392 366333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like further information. Click below for the nomination form which must be completed and returned by 31 January.
In November I attended the annual conference of the Civil Mediation Council (CMC) and share below three issues raised there.
Those issues were access to mediation for mid-level cases, the increasing numbers of defended county court claims and the effectiveness of half day (or time limited) mediations for more complex disputes.
Particular concerns were expressed by speakers about the availability of mediation services for disputes falling between the small claims limit and larger High Court actions, a ‘gap’ which the Civil Justice Council Working party final report on ADR (https://www.judiciary.uk/announcements/new-report-on-alternative-dispute-resolution/ ) had identified as a concern.
These are disputes, generally in the range £10,000 to £100,000, where the sums involved are too high to trigger the involvement of the court appointed Small Claims Mediation Service (although the lack of availability of that service in practice, even for small claims, was also a recurrent theme at the conference) but at a level where the legal costs involved in mediating (to which the mediation fee is of course only a small part) could still present a significant barrier to the use of mediation or ADR.
Of course, for DASLS members that gap is not an issue as they have, unlike solicitors in much of the rest of the country, their own mediation panel of experienced mediators available to mediate such cases. As one of only two (together with Manchester) ‘pilot’ providers of a court scheme for such cases the DASLS panel is at the forefront of seeking ways solicitors and clients with mid-range claims can access mediation as an alternative to Court proceedings. As Jeremy Ferguson reported, in the September edition of this newsletter, the availability of that scheme has in cooperation with the court service and judiciary recently been extended to all Devon Courts.
Secondly, the CMC conference heard that demand for mediation for such cases has been ...
Thursday 27th February 2020 AT 7.30 P.M.
The IMPERIAL HOTEL TORQUAY
From Glamour to Gore - the Life of a Make-up Artist
Sharon is a professional hair & make-up artist who covers all aspects of hair & make-up including for film, TV and photography.
20 years ago, Sharon followed a lifelong ambition to work in TV & film, deciding to train as a professional make-up artist. She now has a successful career in that industry.
In 2015 and 2016 Sharon worked for the BBC on its drama series "The Coroner" which was filmed all around the South Hams area.
To reserve your place go to https://torquaymedsoc.com/book-february-meeting
and make sure you tick the box confirming that you are attending as a DASLS member.
Sharon Anniss with Harry Enfield in the process of applying a Bald Cap
Vice President Global Professional & Financial Risks Lockton
It must be incredibly difficult for the Legal Profession to determine which broker they should trust to place their professional insurances with, especially when being approached by multiple brokers all reporting to be specialists.
Your Professional Indemnity premium is likely to be the third largest spend annually after staff and premises costs. However, it is possibly one of the most critical spends as your PII provides you with your certificate to trade. In light of the importance to your business it is incredibly important you select the right broker. After all, you are entrusting them with your livelihood, and they should appreciate the seriousness of this task that you are entrusting upon them. So how do you differentiate one broker from another, and why is it important to ensure you find the right fit for you?
The financial aspect is just one consideration why finding the right broker is important. Perhaps of equal importance is consideration of the fact that a broker also manages your firm’s reputation within the insurance market which you could argue is more valuable. A good broker will be one whom you feel confident will represent you as you would represent your practice when speaking to insurers. You should feel confident that they not only understand you and your business, but can evidence to you that they are experts within their field, as you and your associates can for your clients.
You should feel confident that your broker understands the ethos of your practice and will relay this fluently to insurers. Importantly, does your broker take the time to ask you questions and listen in order to understand what is important to you? If not, how can they be selecting the right insurers for you or representing your firm adequately?
The relationship between a client and broker should be a true partnership of guidance and support which is utilised ...
Expert in the house
Janet Taylor is a well-known name in the legal sector. One of the UK’s top legal trainers, Janet is renowned for taking the complexity out of the SRA Accounts Rules. Over the years, hundreds of law firms have turned to her business for expert advice to boost their growth and profitability.
Janet joined PKF Francis Clark as a Director in 2018 and is based out of the firm’s Poole office, providing training and legal accountancy services to law firms right across the UK. Her appointment to PKF Francis Clark’s own dedicated legal sector division, headed up by Andrew Allen, has strengthened the firm’s expertise in the legal sector with a wider range of training and consultancy now provided.
This has been further enhanced with a joint venture with Taylor Mowbray LLP to provide additional consultancy and services – helping PKF Francis Clark clients to increase their profitability, improve cashflow and pricing, and benefit from better time and people management.
Why PKF Francis Clark?
Janet has known Andrew Allen for many years, and has worked alongside him on various legal advisory groups. Janet explains that she was actually running some training for the PKF Francis Clark team when her “off the cuff remark” about “looking to move to the South West and go back into practice” started discussions that eventually resulted in a move from London to Dorset, and an in-house role with PKF Francis Clark.
“PKF Francis Clark is a firm that I have known and respected for many years. They are unusual as accountancy practices go because they have a specialist legal division and a large number of clients in the legal sector – they really understand solicitors and have a long track record with law practice clients nationwide, as well as locally. My experience has all dovetailed quite neatly.”
Since joining the legal team, Janet has been focused on internal training and updating compliance policies and proce...
Today I take a look at the fast-evolving cyber-crime landscape and how professional services firms can protect themselves from attack.
Cyber Crime Today
Professional Services firms operate in an increasingly data-driven, online world. Data has become critical to the way firms operate and more and more of it is being stored digitally.
As firms continue to operate online and store information in the cloud, the threat of cyber-crime continues to grow.
Cyber attacks against organisations have reached an unprecedented scale and frequency. For example, new variants of global ransomware and wiper attacks have toppled international companies.
Data breaches are also growing exponentially: 10 billion records were reportedly stolen in 2018 and that figure increased to 12 billion for the first half of 2019 alone.
With 72% of large businesses suffering a cyber-breach or attack during 2018, it’s clear that all firms are at risk.
As the technology firms use evolves, cyber attacks become more sophisticated. The integration of 5G and move to cloud infrastructure open different avenues for cyber criminals' to steal data, while recent advances in quantum fusion may render existing encryption methods obsolete within a matter of years.
The impact of cyber crime can be enormous: firms that fall victim to attacks not only face substantial financial losses and regulatory fines, but client confidence is undermined.
Firms therefore need to understand the scale of the cyber economy, how they could potentially be exposed to an attack, and what they should do to protect themselves.
The changing Cyber Economy
The term ‘digital underground’ might bring to mind an image of criminals sitting at computers in dark rooms, using complicated code to hack into systems, but that’s no longer the reality. These days, the digital underground – or dark web as it’s sometimes called – isn’t that far underground.
Crime as a service
Tony Rollason, Regional Manager, Landmark Information
People in Great Britain are still not checking the flood risk of their homes, in spite of increased incidents of flood events across the country.
62% of respondents to a YouGov survey, which was commissioned by property data company Landmark Information Group, stated that they have never checked the flood risk level of their home.
The survey found that people in Scotland are the least likely to have carried out any checks with 77% confirming they had never researched their flood risk. This was followed by those in London (71%), 65% of those in the North West of England and 63% in Yorkshire and Humber. In the South West, 57% of people said they had never checked their flood risk.
The survey also found that just 5% of people in the South West have a flood plan and would know how to put it into action if a flood was to occur. More than a third (38%) admitted that they do not have a flood plan and wouldn’t know what to do if they were to experience a flood, while almost half (49%) said they didn’t have a flood plan, yet felt they would know what to do in the event of a flood.
The survey identifies that the public is not necessarily making flood checks part of the research they conduct when moving into a new home; just over a quarter (26%) of respondents from the South West said they checked the flood risk of their home before moving in, with 14% saying they checked afterwards.
People in the East of England are some of the most diligent with 28% suggesting they looked into the risk ahead of moving and a further 17% did so after they had moved into their home. This compares to just 14% of those living in London who said they checked ahead of moving into their home.
The results of the survey show a worrying disconnect. The majority of people across the country – 88% – believe their property is not located in an area considered ‘at risk’ of fl...
In this article, Wayne Shinn, Business Development Executive for specialist unoccupied property insurance provider Unoccupied Direct, shares his tips on checking a property that has been standing empty over the Christmas holidays.
It’s January. Welcome back to work. Your brain feels foggy, you’ve had far too many mince pies and naps by the fire. Nothing on your desk has moved since last year, your inbox counter has reached triple figures.
It’s tempting to begin the trawl through those emails, but it’s not just your office that has been stood empty since the last decade. Spare a thought for the empty properties that your clients have entrusted you to look after. Especially during the winter months, any one of a number of problems could have arisen with nobody around to keep an eye on the situation.
Whilst other insurers may require you to make regular checks on unoccupied property, we don’t, but that’s not to say it’s not a good idea regardless. Your clients will appreciate their solicitor going the extra mile. Plus, noticing a problem before it has a chance to take hold will save a lot of misery down the road.
If you decide to be proactive and check on an empty property after Christmas, here are the top things to watch out for:
We stipulate that unoccupied property must have the heating continuously running at 12°C between 1st November and 31st March or that the water system must be drained completely. This policy allows us to insure against burst pipes during the winter months where other providers may exclude this from their cover.
If you aren’t sure about how to drain the water system, check with your local plumber. It can often be surprisingly affordable and will use far less energy than leaving the heating running continuously over winter.
Empty property may attract burglars looking for anything left behind, and could also draw in squatters. Look out for signs of forced entry l...
Please adopt the following practice if your client wishes to keep their contact details confidential:
Applications submitted by e-mail
If you are filing an application by e-mail please send the C8 Confidential Contact Details form as a separate attachment.
Provide an alert in the e-mail that a party has confidential contact details.
Applications submitted by post
In your covering letter please provide an alert that a party has confidential contact details.
Subsequent correspondence with the court
Please ensure that any confidential contact details are redacted.
Click here for a copy of the letter from HM Courts & Tribunals Service.
3 December 2019....
As 2019 drew to a close, a new year for the Junior Lawyers' Division got off to a festive start following November's AGM and elections. November saw the election of the new JLD committee; made up of 10 representatives from 8 different law firms based across Devon & Somerset.
The elections were held during the JLD AGM, hosted by Oddfellows in Exeter. It was a well-attended and enjoyable evening. Whilst a small number of committee members return from last year's committee, it is great to welcome a high number of new committee members. You can find out more information on this year's committee on the DASLS website. At the first meeting of the new JLD committee and following a lengthy discussion the JLD’s charity of the year was unanimously decided. The JLD are very proud to announce that over the course of the year we will be supporting the Devon Freewheelers; a South-West charity that provides a free out of hours service to the NHS. The charity is a blood bike charity which couriers blood, and blood samples amongst other items. You can find out more about The Devon Freewheelers at their website.
The new JLD committee held their first event in December; a Christmas social event held at the Oddfellows Mulled Wine Tent at Exeter