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If you find you’re reluctant or anxious about taking a holiday, a little preparation can help. Discuss your workload and obligations with colleagues; find out who will be covering your work and how they plan to do so. You may like to inform clients that you will be away and let them know who they should ask for in your absence. (To avoid overloading colleagues, it’s best to pass your work over to several people.)
Plan and book your holiday as far in advance as possible. If you have children you might want to take your holiday during the school breaks and find yourself competing with every other parent on your team for those precious few weeks.
Use the last day or two before your holiday to clear the decks and put ongoing work into a holding pattern. Let your firm know whether you can be contacted, and under what circumstances. You might want to put a return date on your answerphone and out-of-office which is actually a day to two after you get back to give you time to catch up and ensure you’re not inundated with phone calls on your first day back.
Once on holiday, don’t fill every moment. Make sure that for every day you are visiting the sights or enjoying the theme parks you have a day just relaxing round the pool or strolling round the shops. If you insist on trying to pack too much into your week away you will return to work needing another holiday to get over the first one.
A survey by Glassdoor's found that 44% of employees reported doing some work while on holiday. If you’ve told your firm that you’ll check your work emails only every other day, try to stick to that resolve. Trust your colleagues to handle things in your absence.
The return to work is often the most difficult part of a holiday. Calls to LawCare’s free and confidential helpline tend to peak in January and September when lawyers return to the cold reality of the office. This is a good time to review your working practices, and analyse how your colleagues handled things without you. If they managed poorly, then review what can be done differently. Try to focus on what you love about your job, and congratulate yourself for what you achieve during those first few days back, and how quickly you’re back up to speed and settled in.
Then, book your next holiday. Even if it’s only a long weekend it could pay dividends in revitalising you and your family.
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President's Charity HOW A RAINBOW OF COLOUR CAN HELP THE HOSPICE PROVIDE CARE AT HOME North Devon Hospice has been named as charity of the year for the Devon & Somerset Law Society, as nominated by new President Mark Roome. One of the biggest challenges faced by the hospice is explaining to the public the scale of the care provided, and how much support is available to patients and their loved ones. One of the hospice’s newest services is called Hospice to Home, which offers care in someone’s own home right around the clock. This can be in place for when symptoms become more severe and the person’s main carer may be struggling to cope. Stephen Roberts, Chief Executive of North Devon Hospice, said it was care like this that goes on unseen, and is therefore difficult to communicate to the public. “So much of our care takes place in people’s own homes and that is quite rightly because that’s where most people want to be. Therefore, our aim over the last few years has been to take even more of our support out in to the community. It is so important to our patients and their families because we cover the largest geographical area of any hospice in the country.” He added, “Hospice to Home is a great example of us doing this, and it has more benefits than people might initially think. As well as being cared for by a professional and experienced hospice nurse in your own home, this service also avoids unnecessary admissions to hospital, usually via A&E. Not only does this cost the NHS a fortune, but it is distressing for the patient and their family, while the discharge process can also take a long time. But thanks to the intervention of the Hospice to Home team, we are able to make sure the person is cared for in their own home without that unnecessary rigmarole.” Services like Hospice to Home are only made possible thanks to the generosity of the local public, and Stephen Roberts encouraged all members of DASLS to show their support by taking part in their upcoming fundraising event called Colour Me Happy on Sunday 4thSeptember. “We rely on the support of the community and events like this are a great way to get involved. Colour Me Happy is an amazing experience, which involves a 3km route round Barnstaple’s Rock Park were you will be showered in a kaleidoscope of coloured powder. It truly is an event for all the family to take part in together, so come along and join us for this amazing celebration of colour, all in aid of North Devon Hospice. The funds raised will help us care for local people with our services such as Hospice to Home. So not only will you enjoy a truly unique day out, you will be making a real difference to people who really need us.” To sign up to Colour Me Happy on 4th September, visitwww.northdevonhospice.org.uk. ...
News from the Devon & Somerset Junior Lawyers' Division A sojourn to Strasbourg and the European Court of Human Rights by Emilie Haine, Secretary of D&SJLD A lot of people think that training at a South West firm must be a little, well... insular. Stuck down in Devon, with perhaps the chance to venture up as far as Bristol if you're lucky. This is certainly not true of my experience, with regular trips to London throughout my training contract, but a few weeks back I got the chance for a more European perspective with a trip across the Channel. My destination was Strasbourg, to attend the General Congress of the European Bars Federation (the FBE) at the European Court of Human Rights. The FBE is a group of 250 member bars from cities across Europe, bringing together lawyers from across the EU to discuss the challenges affecting the profession and to share information and expertise. The Devon and Somerset Law Society is a member and, when they offered the chance for a junior lawyer to attend, I was delighted to get the chance to go. The theme of the congress (unsurprisingly given the venue) was human rights. We heard from some intimidatingly accomplished people, including several former presidents of the ECHR and current judges of the court. A whole range of issues were discussed, including the right to legal representation while detained at a police station (Salduz), the role of the lawyer in ensuring a fair trial and considerations for lawyers when dealing with the media. So, all very interesting you might say, but not especially relevant to life at a commercial firm? Before I went, I was chatting to someone who asked about the topic of the congress. When I said human rights, the response was raised eyebrows and a sarcastic 'hmmm.... well that will be useful for your future career at Michelmores....' I admit I could see their point, but on thinking over my (so far very short) legal career, I can already see how human rights have influenced so many areas of law, including that practiced at a commercial firm like this. For instance, a key ECHR case discussed at the congress was Michaud, concerning a challenge by a French lawyer to anti-money laundering legislation. His argument is that the obligation to report suspicions of money laundering is incompatible with the principles of protecting lawyer-client relations and respect for professional confidentiality. This issue is of particular concern to corporate and property lawyers. My last seat was employment, an area where human rights has a massive impact, from discrimination claims to issues over employee privacy. The latter is particularly topical given a recent ECHR decision on whether employers should be able to monitor employees' communications at work (Barbulescu). In my current seat (clinical negligence), several of our claims involve inquests into deaths in hospital. Verdicts given at such inquests are usually 'narrative' verdicts, allowing the coroner to examine the wider issues around the circumstances of the death, not just the immediate cause. Such inquests only came about because of the Human Rights Act and the right to life. It is not just in discreet areas that human rights have an impact. There was lots of debate at the congress about client confidentiality and legal professional privilege, with concerns that this is being threatened with lawyers' offices being searched and phones tapped. This impacts on all lawyers, whatever their practice area. The congress was a great reminder that the legal profession is hugely important for protecting rights and freedoms. The final day's session (which I could not attend) involved discussion of a project to send lawyers to Lesbos to advise Syrian refugees. I'm told that this involved an impassioned speech in support of the initiative by Michele Bénichou, the president of the CCBE (The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe). He asked what the role of the lawye...
Erlangen May 2016 by Rob Newman It used to be “Don’t mention the War!” This time we assumed the watchword would be “don’t mention the Referendum!” And accordingly the DASLS team heading for the International Lawyers’ Meeting in Germany (Mark Roome, Claire Turner and Rob Newman) spent time and effort in scrutinising their presentation, with a view to removing all those inappropriate words or comments that might cause offence to our European friends and colleagues. In the event of course we need not have worried. The Referendum was the very thing that everyone was keen to hear about. The general view was shocked disbelief at the possibility that any nation could possibly consider withdrawing from the club. And we for the most part were happy to reassure everyone that such an event could not conceivably happen; that we would naturally, when it came to it, draw back from the brink. But let’s not dwell on that too much. Despite subsequent events back home, the-pan European lawyers group remains as united as it always was. And thoughts of Brexit were far from all our thoughts as we talked, ate and drank our way through a three day-long lawyers’ legal fiesta in Erlangen in mid-May. These annual meetings have, over the last 25 years, developed a standard format, and the first day is always devoted to a specific (normally topical) legal topic, selected by the host Law Society, and structured around a case study. Each group must talk entertainingly and informatively for around twenty minutes, giving the audience an insight into the way in which a particular legal problem would be dealt with in their own jurisdiction. This time our German hosts had asked us to focus on the dangers and risks we all face as a result of the internet, and in particular, social media. We were invited to select one of three cases where the use of the internet had impacted on people’s private lives; namely in their private life, their business life, or finally by an incident of what is widely known as revenge porn. Respect for private life is a well developed area of German law. German courts are more willing than ours to restrict news items or the publication of images, particularly those taken without the consent of the subject. Michael Metzner is an Erlangen lawyer who specialises in media law and the right to privacy. He spoke interestingly and with authorityabout a number of recent cases in Germany involving well known politicians, sports people and celebrities. A difficult area, not least bearing in mind the need to balance this against the needs of a free press. The French team in their turn gave a well researched and useful outline of the relevant French law, notably the 1881 Freedom of the Press Act, and Article 1382 of the Civil Code. Members who attended the meeting of twinned Bars held in Rennes in 1991 will already be very familiar with this Article, which, as you know, provides « Tout fait quelconque de l'homme, qui cause à autrui un dommage, oblige celui par la faute duquel il est arrivé, à le réparer » In other words – you make a mess; you clean it up. So the role of Article 1382 in France seems to correspond closely, for English lawyers, to the snail in the bottle of ginger beer. The Belgian presentation was similar to the French; not surprising, as they also have an Article 1382 in their Code. (It’s something to do with Napoleon) In their case however their speakers brought immediacy and interest by giving details of a recent case in Leuven in which the dissatisfied customers of a less than competent builder published on the internet details of all his alleged shortcomings. He then sued them and – surprisingly perhaps – obtained significant compensation. For our part we decided to opt for the practical approach. From an early stage we decided to go for the revenge porn scenario, and to use the services of the Exeter Shakespeare Compa...
What's on @ DASLS By Tony Steiner, DASLS Executive Director We are very excited about the second DASLS Annual Dinner and Legal Awards evening in 2017. The organising team are working hard to make the event even more stunning than the inaugural event earlier this year. There are twelve categories of award and nominations are already being accepted via the Awards website -http://www.daslslegalawards.co.uk/ We are especially keen to receive nominations from solicitors' clients for the Legal Hero award. Our CPD training programme continues to be updated on a rolling basis and we intend this to continue. The Education & Training Sub-Committee believes that relevant courses at sensible prices will remain in demand. If there are topics that are not being included please do let us know. Our marketing and PR programme continues. Wall to Wall Sunshine have lined up a PR specialist to get some relevant positive press coverage. A recent report by the national Law Society claimed that the public think that a ‘lawyer’ is in some way more qualified than a ‘solicitor’; we have much to do! The SRA have now issued consultations about the new Code of Conduct and the Accounts Rules. DASLS Practice Management Sub-Committee will be looking at these but would welcome any views from other DASLS members. The DASLS Practice Management Conference is confirmed for 16th November, the theme being planning for growth. Our headline speaker will be one of Barclay’s senior economists who will help delegates understand the economic environment against which business is being done – I am writing this on the day after the EU referendum and I expect that his commentary will be very helpful. Our other speakers will look at the key components of business development; marketing, client experience, staff engagement and retention, management and ownership structures. We are now taking bookings – members £70 + VAT / non-members £95 + VAT – includes lunch. Just let me know if you want to book. On 14th July DASLS will take on the Junior Lawyers’ Division at Rounders. We would love to see more members get involved with this annual social. For the last two years, and perhaps to our surprise, DASLS has won convincingly. There is a BBQ supper after at The Double Locks Hotel in Exeter. Please email email@example.com if you would like to join in....
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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