The first few months as your President have flown by and it has been a very busy time. At the beginning of May I attended the Presidents’ and Secretaries’ Conference at Chancery Lane, with our Honorary Secretary, Chris Hart. This was an extremely timely and useful couple of days and I certainly picked up some practical advice on dealing with the media, sharing learning for promoting local law societies and learning from other professions. Tony Steiner was part of the line up in a workshop which looked at engaging with in house lawyers. We will be looking at the learning as part of our ongoing organisational and strategic review. The event launched The Law Society’s “Vision for law and justice” campaign in preparation for whichever political party was returned at the General Election. I’m certain that The Law Society will lose no time in continuing to communicate with the new government the messages around maintaining legal certainty in light of Brexit, ensuring every individual has effective access to justice and safeguarding of human rights.(https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/Support-services/documents/our-vision-for-justice/)
We have since had the opportunity to meet with Robert Bourns at a well-attended round table meeting in Taunton to discuss these themes in more detail. Robert spoke passionately about The Law Society’s vision and the need for continuing strength in the solicitor brand.
Also at the beginning of May I was honoured to be a guest of Katharine Jones, President of Dorset Law Society at their annual dinner. The Law Society Vice President, Joe Egan, also attended and we had a very enjoyable evening in Dorchester.
The Federation of European Bars General Assembly in early June was in The Hague with the theme "the lawyer in dialogue with the International Criminal Court" and a day of presentations held at the ICC. It was sobering to hear of challenges facing other European countries as judicial independence and the rule of law is being undermined and brought The Law Society campaign into sharp focus as we seek to protect the rights and freedoms we enjoy in this country. In marked contrast to the glamour of these events, our Honorary Secretary Chris Hart, Executive Director Tony Steiner and I spent a June summer evening in the pouring rain and howling gales doing a 10k walk around Exeter to support the South West Legal Support Trust, a charity which supports vulnerable people threatened with homelessness or destitution, older people, and women and children who have been trafficked to get much needed legal help. Well done and thank you Chris and Tony. If you would like to donate it can be done HERE -https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/devonsomersetlawsociety.
The annual Legal Sunday Service also took place on 11 June at which I was represented by Stephen Mahoney, Vice President. Our European colleagues at the FBE were certainly really looking forward to the event. We hosted 20 guests from Bilbao and Logrono, Cork, Erlangen, Gdańsk, The Hague, Leiden, Leuven, Rotterdam and Verona Bar Associations plus Professor Sara Chandler QC (Hon), the President of the Federation of European Bars and her husband José. Six of those attending had not taken part in the Legal Sunday procession and service before, so it was nice to welcome new blood.
After a relaxed and very sociable dinner at Rendez-Vous in Southernhay on Saturday evening, the procession, led by the High Sheriff of Devon, Heleen Lindsay-Fynn, made its way for the first time from Rougemont Castle to Exeter Cathedral. After the service, there was a well attended lunch back at the Castle at which The Honourable Mr. Justice Dingemans spoke formally to welcome our Bar Association guests. It was an indication of the success of the lunch that so many stayed two hours or more to chat as well as eat and drink. It is clear the ceremony and grandeur of Legal Service Sunday is something of a novelty to our European friends and an event they thoroughly enjoy.
Acquaintances with several of those who were in Exeter that weekend were quickly renewed as Bilbao Bar Association hosted the Twin Bars Annual Meeting on Friday 16th June which dovetailed neatly with its Annual Bar Association lunch. Vice President Stephen Mahoney, Chair of the International Relations Sub-Committee, Emma Mitcham, and Law Society Council Member Rod Mole represented DASLS and were the fortunate recipients of some truly memorable hospitality from Ignacio Delgado (Vice President of the International Relations Commission), Nazario de Oleaga (Past President of the Federation of European Bars) and Javier Diago Elorduy (FBE Honorary Secretary General and Member of Bilbao Bar) and their colleagues.
On the Friday morning presentations were made by representatives from Verona, Rennes, Erlangen, Leuven, Gdańsk, Bilbao Bar Associations and by Emma and Steve on behalf of DASLS on a case study set by the hosts around the subject of the abolition of roaming charges for mobile phones. The presentations by some of the Bars were impressively thorough on both EU Law and that applicable to their own jurisdictions.
The DASLS presentation was undoubtedly the briefest but seemed to go down well as it got some laughs and escaped any tricky follow-up questions. The Bar Association lunch lasted late into Friday night, to be followed on Saturday morning by a boat trip along the Ria de Bilbao, another leisurely lunch hosted by the Bar Association President Carlos and his wife and then dinner at the Sociedad Bilbaina (a venue based upon an English Gentleman’s Club of the 19th Century) at which Bilbao was formally accepted as a member of the Twin Bars Association. For those with any stamina left around Midnight, Bilbao itself was awash with the White Night Celebrations, commemorating the signing of the municipal Charter in June 1300 which led to the founding of the City. On Sunday, there was time to visit the Catedral de Santiago to watch the post service Corpus Christie procession and a final dose of Basque hospitality with a visit to one of the numerous bars for pintxos and drinks before taxis to the airport.
Closer to home I attended the AGM of the Association of South Western Law Societies (ASWLS) where Anthony Earl was elected as President for the forthcoming year. This provided a further opportunity for exchanging views between local law societies and to have a collective voice when approaching Chancery Lane and Westminster. We also met with Cheshire & North Wales, Kent, Leicestershire, Newcastle and Surrey law societies at the beginning of July to take forward a conversation about joint working with them, another opportunity to strengthen our ties with other local law societies, giving greater national voice on issues of importance and collective learning.
Work has started in earnest in preparing for our annual dinner and legal awards to be held at Sandy Park, Exeter on 1 March 2018. We are very fortunate to continue our partnership with DC Media for another year to provide this spectacular event and an impressive line-up of Judges most of whom are keen to work with us for another year.
I hope you enjoy a fabulous summer and look forward to updating you further in the September Newsletter.
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DASLS Newly Qualified Solicitors Admissions Ceremony Monday 9th October 2017 at 5.30pm for 6pm at Exeter Guildhall — by invitation only! Did you / will you qualify between 1st September 2016 and 30th September 2017? If so, please contact Monique Bertoni at DASLS office to make sure that you receive your personal invitation. Email: Monique@dasls.com or call 01392 366333 Devon & Somerset Law Society would like to congratulate all NQ Solicitors from Member Firms in DASLS area. Below photo of the 2016 Admissions Ceremony...
Devon Air Ambulance delighted to be chosen as the President’s chosen Charity Devon Air Ambulance (DAA) are delighted to have been chosen, alongside Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance (DSAA), as Devon and Somerset Law Society’s President’s chosen Charity/ies for the years 2017/19. Business support is an essential and integral part of DAA’s fundraising. DAA are immensely proud and excited to be celebrating 25 years of service this year and it is due to the fantastic support DAA receives from the people, businesses and communities of Devon that they have reached this impressive milestone. DAA have continued to grow and develop the service they provide and today they own two Eurocopter EC135 helicopters which operate seven days a week. In 2016 DAA assisted 843 patients who had suffered either life threatening or life changing incidents. It costs £5.5million every year to keep Devon’s Air Ambulances flying and they are extremely proud to be independent of Government and National Lottery Funding; this safeguards the service for the long-term and ensures they can deliver what the people of Devon tell them they want from their Air Ambulance. With one helicopter based in Exeter and one in North Devon they can get to most of Devon within 10 minutes and the whole of Devon within 15. The speed of DAA’s service ensures patients receive treatment within the critical period immediately following acute illness or an accident before they are conveyed to the appropriate specialist treatment centre; in 2016 29% of DAA’s missions bypassed the nearest hospital to ensure patients were taken to the hospital most appropriate for their needs. This ensures all airlifted patients receive the best possible care and have the best chance of survival. In addition, DAA has substantially improved patient care through the creation of a ground breaking Master’s Degree for air paramedics aimed at making them amongst the highest qualified in the profession. Working with Plymouth University, DAA has created a qualification which will put Devon on the map as a centre of excellence for pre-hospital critical care. In November 2016 DAA extended their service to operate until midnight, meaning they can help even more people. To enable their night flying they approached local communities to get involved to create a network of Community Landing Sites all over Devon. These surveyed, flood lit landing sites are funded and managed by the communities themselves and ensure DAA can land safely after dark. DAA are delighted that over 160 communities are now involved in setting up their own Community Landing Site. As one of only five Air Ambulances in the UK flying at night, DAA are very proud that the culmination of several years planning and preparation carried out by the operations team, pilots, paramedics and Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) dispatchers, means they can respond to emergencies until midnight every day. At the heart of all that DAA do is their patients. Through their 25 years of service they’ve helped over 24,000 patients, but they only know of around 1,200 of these. Many people are unaware, but due to patient confidentiality DAA don’t know who they airlift unless the patients contact them. DAA love to hear from the people they’ve helped and pass on news to the aircrew of how their patients are recovering. If you or anyone you know has been airlifted and would like to make contact, please get in touch with their Patient Liaison Officer Debbie via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01392 466666. DAA’s Fundraising Director Caroline Creer added “We are so grateful to the Devon and Somerset Law Society to have selected us as one of their chosen charities, alongside Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance. Whilst we are a separate charity to DSAA we have a great relationship with them and when required we have crossed borders and airlifted patients from Dorset and Somerset. We look forward to building a strong working rel...
News from the Devon & Somerset Junior Lawyers' Division This month's article has been written by the JLD's Social Secretaries, Beth Nash and Philippa Collison and the Sports Representative, Hannah McGown. Social Events Throughout the year the JLD's social secretaries have the arduous but rewarding task of organising a number of social events for young professionals across Devon and Somerset. Whether it be cocktails after a day's work, a wine and cheese tasting or themed event, the social events are always a highlight of the JLD calendar. On Friday 9 June, junior lawyers from across the region were treated to a vintage Hollywood extravaganza at the annual Devon & Somerset Junior Lawyers' Division Summer Ball. Held at Sandy Park, guests were welcomed with a glass of prosecco, before being treated to live sets from a local jazz band throughout the sumptuous three course dinner. After dinner the disco took hold with some fun group photos in the obligatory photo booth. Guests also had the opportunity to purchase raffle tickets throughout the night, with loads of prizes up for grabs including vouchers for champagne afternoon tea for two, and Exeter Chiefs goodies including a squad signed rugby ball and rugby tickets. Over the course of the night, an amazing £373 was raised for YMCA Exeter, this year's Devon & Somerset Junior Lawyers' Division Charity of the Year. They are a local organisation that aims to ensure "all young people can be equipped with the tools they need to achieve economic independence, grow in their unique skills and gifts and ultimately contribute positively to society." The Summer Ball is a key event on the Junior Lawyers' Division calendar, offering guests the chance to meet their peers from other firms around the region, and to catch up with colleagues outside of the work place, as well as taking embarrassing photos in the photo booth! The Devon and Somerset Junior Lawyers' Division would like to extend their thanks to all of the wonderful sponsors who helped to make the event a success, as well as the committee members for their hard work and organisation. For those who attended the event, a link to all of the photos from the evening will be available soon and sent out to those on the JLD mailing list. Sports The sudden change in the weather and the rise in temperature has got our minds back on summer sports and BBQs just in time for the infamous JLD v DASLS Rounders Match. Due to take place on 6 July, this year the two teams will also be joined by members of CILEX as they battle it out to score the most runs. All are welcome to play and the teams will be enjoying a delicious BBQ at the Double Locks after the game. If you are interested in playing please contact Hannah McGown (JLD) email@example.com or Francesca Hobbs (DASLS) on firstname.lastname@example.org. If football is more your game, watch this space. The JLD will soon be welcoming teams for their summer football tournament to win the coveted JLD Shield....
Emails to be avoided... by Sponsor Alchemy You know from our previous articles about phishing and spearphishing attacks and how staff are a firm’s weakest links. This time we’re detailing the different types of emails that might appear in your inbox – emails that can look genuine but which could well be from a cyber criminal; emails designed to infect your systems, hold your firm to ransom, prevent your business from operating (think WannaCry) and severely damage your reputation. Emails to be wary of An email that purports to be regarding a completion certification. In a recent phishing simulation exercise this type of email was sent to all staff in a large firm. Within 48 hours 10 people had clicked on the link, some had replied and several staff provided their username and password. An email with links to Google Drive – this could look quite genuine if you’re expecting documents from a client. A variation on the same theme is the email that requests help on a legal matter (and who doesn’t want to assist a prospective client?) with a relevant file available in Dropbox. An email containing scanned documents from a photocopier. This is a good one – invariably works like a charm in law firms where numerous documents are being scanned throughout the working week. Emails with fake invoices – another winner in firms that purchase a lot of items. A variation are emails with fake receipts from Amazon - click the link if you don’t recognise the purchase and want to know more about your supposed order. How about a fax from the government digital fax service which can appear legitimate because it includes the logo. A logo is not a sign that the fax is from a genuine source. Then there are emails from banks requesting account codes. Non-accounts staff often fall for this one. An email from Microsoft advising of unusual sign in activity on your 365 account. Have you had one of those? We get them all the time. Ignore them! And how about warnings from Microsoft that you have xx pending emails in quarantine. Tempting to sort the problem out isn’t it? After all you don’t want to miss a crucial email from a client or prospective client or from a QC that you’re waiting to hear from. These might be genuine but proceed with caution. Emails warning that your inbox is full and your email account will be suspended unless you clean up your inbox. Yes, let’s click on that link and get the overcrowded inbox cleaned up! Then there are the emails telling you your password is expiring – time to choose a new one. And that’s just some of the possibilities! When did YOU last click on a link or respond to an email that maybe… wasn’t genuine? And the solution is? check the source of the email check for typos, dodgy grammar and syntax if in doubt do nothing but report the matter straight away to the person tasked with cyber security – better safe than sorry. never send login details never send bank account details include information on dubious emails in internal newsletters to staff and suppliers provide regular staff awareness training regularly perform phishing simulations to check on how vigilant your staff are and then feedback to them Does your firm provide cyber awareness training? Alchemy Systems have 20 years of IT systems experience and are a Microsoft Partner. Alchemy Systems Designs, Supplies, Installs, Supports and Protects clients’ IT systems. The legal sector has always been a strategic focus. Our staff are experienced in the specific needs and challenges of law firms from service desk to strategy to protection and also provide cyber awareness training. Tel. 0330-043-0801 email. email@example.com www.alchemysys.co.uk...
Dear All, 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 individually before I look forward to catching up with you at the 2020 DASLS Legal Awards and Annual Dinner in April. With very best wishes Nigel Lyons President 2019-2020...
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 staff members with the majority based over three floors at the Cube. The next meeting of the County Societies Group will be in the summer and we also plan a Parliamentary Liaison event at Westminster later in the year. I am pleased to announce that DASLS has two new Partners; Moneypenny who look after your telephone calls when you are not available and Dictate Now who offer Dictation Systems and outsourced document preparation. They join our current Partners: Alchemy; PKF Francis Clark; Landmark; Lockton; Unoccupied Direct; WebBoss and Wessex Searches. We are thankful for the support our partners give us and encourage you to use them where you can. Depending when you read this our joint event with the Legal Sustainability Alliance on 5th March will be about to take place or will have passed. Regular readers will know that the Society has formed a small working party to encourage and identify how firms can improve their sustainability. The main Committee have suggested that this forms a Sub-Committee. We will arrange a meeting of the working party after the event on the 5th March with a view to progressing this. Anyone who is interested in this please let me know. Tony Steiner, Executive Director DASLS....
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 treatment of a group can result from the use of an algorithm to support decision making whether that decision relates to criminal sentencing, loan applications or self-driving cars. The language of AI is undoubtedly complex, but it is drastically changing the way we live. Understanding AI and its implications in the context of its growth is important so that we are all better placed to push companies to develop new technologies both ethically and responsibly. If you would like to receive more information once the June 2020 programme is finalised, please contact Monique Bertoni at DASLS office – email@example.com . Emma Mitcham Chair, International Relations Sub-Committee...
New AML Regulations and the pursuit of the beneficial owner. Introduction 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. The Policy 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. The Regulations The Regulations provide that we must, as part of our CDD procedures Identify the client – this means coming to know who they are, by name and some other characteristic, e.g. address, date of birth, date of incorporation Verify that identity – by means of reliable and independent data and documentation Identify the beneficial owner (if the client is an entity) – though not necessarily verifying that identity Identify and verify the identity of the person actually instructing us (if not already done). What this means for us When acting for a COMPANY (that is not a listed company) the Regulations require us to obtain Details of the company as registered (which must be proven by a copy of the register entries available from Companies House or equivalent registry) – name, number, registered office address, principal place of business the law to which it is subject details of its governing documentation (its memorandum) names of the directors. Names of any beneficial owners, and the identity of any individual owners of legal entities which own the client Names and verification of the persons instructing us on behalf of the company, and their authority to do so. Note that we cannot rely on the information provided by the company under the PSC Regulations but we must undertake our own research in order to fulfil our CDD duties. Further, if as part of that research, we discover that the Companies House data on PSC’s is incorrect, then we are now under a further obligation to notify the Registrar of Companies of this fact. We also need to establish that PEPs and Sanctions checks are also undertaken. If genuinely positive entries are revealed in response we should undertake enhanced CDD steps or cease to act, accordingly. Electronic searches are a permissible avenue to use provided the search provider can offer us the necessary assurances that the person actually claiming an identity is IN FACT that person. Check also whether ...
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