Law Care - Working from home
LAWCARE HELPLINE: 0800 279 6888Open 365 days a year from 9.00 a.m. to 7.30 p.m. on weekdays,10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. weekends and bank email@example.com • www.lawcare.org.uk • Admin: 01268 771333
Studies have shown that 80% of employees consider working from home a job perk , one in four people would accept a reduction in salary if it meant we could work from home , and remote workers are 13% more productive and take fewer sick days than their office-based workers . Add in the benefits of saving time and money on the commute (for the employee) and freeing up office space (for the employer), it might seem surprising that only 14% of employees regularly work from home.
Part of the problem may be the issue of trust. Although 75% of managers claim they trust their employees to work from home , it seems that partners and supervisors who have made the effort to come into the office expect their subordinates to do the same. Phil Flaxton, chief executive of Work Wise UK, says: "The fear factor for many managers is: 'If I can't see you how do I know you are working?' Managers need training on how to assess a home-worker on their output, not their input."
Working from home isn’t for everyone, however, even where it is possible in the legal profession (and in many client-facing high-street firms it isn’t). Drawbacks include not being able to consult and brainstorm with colleagues easily, and the temptation to work when you shouldn’t, blurring the lines between work and leisure. Those with young families should also be aware that homeworking is not an alternative to competent childcare.
Many employees also worry that if they work from home they’re out of sight, out of mind: if they’re not showing up daily in the office they could be passed over for promotion, or are seen as less committed. Others thrive on social contact and the water-cooler moments which keep them connected with colleagues.
SPONSOR - PKF Francis Clark - Is your practice providing banking facilities whilst acting under a Lasting Power of Attorney / Court of Protection appointment?
Is your practice providing banking facilities whilst acting under a Lasting Power of Attorney / Court of Protection appointment?
In December 2014 the SRA issued a warning notice on the improper use of a legal firm’s client account as a banking facility.
The notice served as a reminder and provided additional clarification that a legal firm must not provide banking facilities through their client bank accounts. Whilst this requirement has in fact been in place for some time and is as stated in the SRA Accounts Rules 14.5, the issue of the warning notice generated a number of enquiries in the legal sector.
A common enquiry from the above related to firms, where a solicitor has for example been appointed under a Lasting Power of Attorney and the client has subsequently become mentally incapacitated. Alternatively the solicitor has been directly appointed as a deputy under a Court of Protection in their professional capacity.
One of the duties that can apply under these appointments through The Office of the Public Guardian for mentally incapacitated clients is to manage the client’s financial affairs to settle items such as household utility bills, etc. on their behalf.
This has led to a debate, on if it is considered acceptable for a solicitor in a law firm acting under these types of appointments, to hold the incapacitated client’s funds within the firm’s client bank accounts as part of the financial duties.
What is the proposed justification to use the firm’s client account to hold the clients funds under these appointments?
The main justification put forward, so that firms could hold such funds in their client bank account to manage the financial duties of a mentally incapacitated client, is by virtue the solicitor has been appointed to provide the service as a result o...
SPONSOR - Alchemy Turns Ransomware into Solid Gold Security
Antivirus is unable to stop advanced ‘zero-day’ Ransomware attacks so you and your clients need extra security.
Endpoint, Detection & Response Specialist IT Providers, Alchemy Systems would like to share a case study on a recent incident.
Every day you hear of a hospital, school, government department or business being attacked by Ransomware, disabling their networks by encrypting important files.
“No business is too big or too small to be targeted,” comments Nathan Mills of Alchemy Systems heading up our south east operation, “hackers will lock your network and hold your valuable data to ransom.”
Hackers no longer need to be technical whizz-kids, they can buy readymade Ransomware toolkits on the ‘dark-web’ for as little as £100, and this means more attackers and therefore more victims.
Small and Medium-sized Businesses (SMBs), who don’t have a dedicated IT Security person and sophisticated antivirus and backup solutions in place, are especially vulnerable.
This was the situation an award-winning building consultancy firm found itself in. Attacked by ransomware that their antivirus didn’t detect, it encrypted all the consultancies vital files.
The consultancy needed some specialist IT advice so they called upon Alchemy Systems, an IT solutions company who offer a full managed security service.
As the ransomware had bypassed the consultancies existing antivirus, Alchemy made use of Panda Cloud Cleaner to deep-clean the entire network and remove all traces of the infection.
“We greatly appreciate Panda Security’s channel strategy and portfolio, with their partner console
we can manage our entire client base from a single point, something no other vendor is able to provide”
While most likely that the ransomware attack was through a visit to a compromised website or an infected email, Alchemy wanted to ensure all network ...
SPONSOR - Aon - Cyber risks; protecting your firm and your clients
Cyber risks; protecting your firm and your clients
The media has recognised the newsworthiness of financial crime and, in particular, criminals’ attraction to law firms and their client accounts. As a consequence, TV time and column inches have been dedicated to the plight of solicitors falling victim to scams. Banks are also playing their part through prominent TV advertising campaigns alerting their customers to the risk of financial crime.Insurers welcome the increased awareness generated by this publicity but, unfortunately, ongoing claims notifications demonstrate that the profession is still firmly in the fraudsters crosshairs. It’s all too easy to assume that fraud is yesterday’s problem and that fraudsters will have moved on to different victims, perhaps even in different countries but this is not the case.
To put the enduring nature of this problem into context, one Participating Insurer has recently announced its exit from the Solicitors’ Professional Indemnity market citing client account fraud as one of its key motivators and predicting that this type of fraud is unlikely to abate.
One only has to look at the scale of cyber-crime in the UK to empathise with the pessimistic views that are being expressed. BBC’s Moneybox reported there were 7.6 million reports of cybercrime in the last 12 months. In the first 6 months of 2015, financial crime in the UK rose by 6% to £325m, with losses arising from telephone fraud rising by 95% to £14.4m in the same period according to Financial Fraud Action UK. Property-related man-in-the-middle attacks have cost firms and their clients £10m over recent months warns the Telegraph.Law firms hold significant sums of money in their client accounts, particularly if they handle property, estate administration, trusts or high value personal injury and clinical negligence claims. Those sums are very attractive to fraudsters.
NORTH DEVON HOSPICE PROUD TO BE DASLS CHARITY OF THE YEAR
It is with great pride that North Devon Hospice has been named as charity of the year for the Devon & Somerset Law Society, as nominated by new President Mark Roome.
Mark is a big personal supporter of the charity and recently took part in their Mission:Unbreakable fundraising event, a grueling obstacle challenge in which he had to tackle 10km of mud, water, fire and ice! But he and the rest of the team at Toller Beattie pushed themselves through this in order to support a cause that he is passionate about.
North Devon Hospice’s Chief Executive, Stephen Roberts, says that many people have misconceptions about hospice care. “A lot of people hear the word ‘hospice’ and think that it’s the end, but in fact, we are all about living life to the full.” He said. “We believe that the important thing is the life that you have in your days, not the days you have in your life. So we do everything we can to help our patients and families deal with the impact of illnesses such as cancer, allowing them to live the fullest life possible.”
Stephen added that the hospice provides a multitude of care, all tailored to suit the needs of each individual. “We like to get involved from the moment someone is diagnosed with a life-limiting illness. When someone is diagnosed with a terminal illnesses, it’s not just their lives that change forever it’s also their loved ones. Hence we believe in being there for all of the family. Whilst Our Community Nurses Specialists offer care and expertise in patient’s own homes, we have a whole care team that look after the emotional well-being of the entire family including children. When symptoms become more complex we have a Hospice to Home team that provide care round the clock, plus a purpose-built Bedded Unit where our doctors and nurses are on hand 24/7. People often describe our care as like walking in to a big hug, a...
What's on @DASLS
By Tony Steiner, DASLS Executive Director
There have been comings and goings at Aston Court. As many will already know our Executive Assistant Hetty Rizman left DASLS at the beginning of April to pursue a career in accountancy. We wish her every success. Fortunately with support from ETS (Education + Training Skills), Exeter we had already recruited our apprentice Zoey Ravensdale who has done a great job of getting up to speed with the admin for our training courses.
We have also recruited a second apprentice, Ella Baker, who will, by the time this newsletter has been published, have joined our team. This additional resource will allow more time for Monique and I to engage with the new PR and other activities that have grown in recent years.
Part of our PR strategy is to drive more public enquiries to our website where all member firms are listed. Every firm has its own page where some information about their services and logo can be displayed. So far only a few firms have taken up this opportunity. Please check your listing and, if you haven’t already, email me your logo and a brief summary of the services you offer.
Behind the glamour of the new Newsletter and Buzz, our usual activities have continued as usual; most of our Sub-Committees have met and there has been a full programme of training and ongoing support for firms looking to recruit. The mediation panel has had a little flurry of activity with several mediations being booked. DASLS is accredited by the Civil Mediation Council and our mediators specialise in time limited mediation offering a cost effective form of ADR.
You may have spotted that DASLS website now includes summaries of The Law Society Council meetings as well as the CEO and President’s report. Click here if you want to keep up with events at Chancery Lane.
Looking ahead plans are in place for our annual Practice Management Conference in November. We are also planning an In-house lawyers’ ...
Court support service launches in Exeter
By District Judge John Collins
A new Exeter based support service for litigants was launched by a national charity on 19 April 2016.
The Personal Support Unit (PSU) is a charity with trained volunteers providing help to people who do not have legal representation, assisting in civil and family court cases. It operates in courts across England and Wales including its new base at Exeter Combined Court, in Southernhay Gardens. The life-changing issues PSU helps with include contact with children, divorce, eviction and money claims.
The work of the PSU is free and independent and in the last year it has helped thousands of people across England and Wales. The PSU cannot give legal advice but can help clients find out if they can get free legal advice from a solicitor.
The charity will benefit from the assistance of the University of Exeter Law School, with students signed up to volunteer their time and skills in order to help the PSU meet the demand. Student volunteers will be joined by volunteers recruited from the local community in South Devon to provide the service. Since opening on 11 January this year the charity has helped over 120 clients and it predicts these numbers will continue to rise as people find out what it does.
The Exeter office is also receiving requests for help from Barnstable, Torquay, and Plymouth, and is exploring options to make the service available across Devon. This may include offering phone and Skype appointments to help people who would otherwise face the court system alone.
PSU volunteers provide:
• quality information and support; • help people fill in court forms;• discuss settling issues without going to court;• organise court papers; • explain how the court works; • help people plan what they want to say when they go into court;• go into court with clients, • take notes and assist after hearings;• provide details of other specialist agencies.
Public Meeting with Lord Justice Briggs
on Friday 27th May 2016, Exeter Court Centre
Lord Justice Briggs published an interim report on 12th January 2016 concerning civil court structures and judicial processes as a whole.
Commissioned by the Lord Chief Justice and the Master of the Rolls in July 2015 to correspond with a courts reform programme, Briggs LJ’s initial report comes prior to a formal consultation which will be completed by the end of May this year. His review will be completed in July this year. It would not be an overstatement to suggest that the changes proposed would re-shape the landscape of civil litigation.
Lord Justice Briggs, the Deputy Head of Civil Justice will be visiting Exeter on Friday 27th May. Click on this link to his biography for your information. To read his interim report published in December 2015, click here.
His itinerary will include a Public meeting in Court 4 at Exeter Combined Court Centre between 4.30 - 6.00 p.m. Tea and coffee will be provided from 4.00 (kindly sponsored by Magdalen Chambers) and the meeting will start at 4.30 ending at 6.00 (note that there will not be much chance for over-run).
The meeting will be an opportunity for DASLS members to hear him speak and more importantly to raise issues with him and/or make representations about his proposals. It is a meeting designed for those with a civil practice; but all are welcome.
If there are any particular issues you would wish him to cover, please can these be emailed to the Exeter Operations Manager, Mandy Squire (see below).
So that the Court has an idea of numbers, please register your attendance with:- Mrs Mandy SquireOperations Manager, North and East Devon Magistrates Court, Barnstaple County Court andExeter Combined Court Centre (Crown and County)
Ethics Column: The importance of effective supervision in the workplace
Oakalls Consultancy Limited
Two disciplinary investigations have been reported this month which have led me to consider the significance of supervision in law firms and the role of supervision in supporting an ethical and regulatory-compliant workplace.
In the first report a solicitor had been struck off the Roll of Solicitors by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal on dishonesty charges. The solicitor had pretended to carry out litigation in circumstances where there were not any court proceedings and had provided her client with fictitious email updates on a case which did not exist. On leaving her job, the solicitor took steps to close the case by taking money from another client’s account, falsifying probate records in order to do so, and sending a cheque for the exact amount of the maximum damages the client had intended to claim and the court fees to the client.
In the second matter, a solicitor was rebuked and fined £2,000 by the SRA because her lack of supervision contributed to a decision that a trainee’s two years of work did not count towards her qualification. In this case the disciplined solicitor was an in-house legal consultant who had been authorised by the SRA as a training supervisor. In July 2011, a trainee was employed by the business and supervised by the solicitor. However, the supervising solicitor was on maternity leave from October 2011 to February 2013, during which time the trainee was unsupervised but continued to undertake legal work as a trainee solicitor. The wording of the regulatory settlement agreement records the finding that the supervising solicitor had not complied with her regulatory obligations.
The supervision role cannot be underestimated by law firms or those who assume the title, not least because it is frequently referenced by the SRA in their regulatory toolk...
Speakers Corner - Helping the vulnerable
By District Judge Paul Waterworth (Ret’d)
We are often told, except by those who believe they have suffered an injustice, that the British justice system is “the best in the world”. Lawyers equipped with enquiring and critical minds, essential tools to the proper professional practice of the law, whilst recognising the strengths of the delivery of justice in this country, know that there is no room for complacency.
No political point is made but it is the reality that the virtual elimination of legal aid for family and civil proceedings and the inability or unwillingness of individuals and many businesses to afford the perceived high costs of legal representation, are two of the catalysts that have led to the now well known phenomenon of the large increase in self-representation, both in court and in non-contentious legal business e.g. probate.
It is no coincidence that the judiciary, the legal professions and administrators and help organisations, particularly from the charity sector, have turned their attention to how the provision of legal services can be improved to make the system more accessible and user friendly to those not represented by a lawyer. From being seen as an irritant, a presence which does nothing but slow the progress of justice, the apparent unstoppable rise of those without legal representation in many legal transactions, is now viewed as a factor that must be addressed if justice is still to be achieved and viewed as being fair to all.
The justice system in a democracy espousing the primacy of the rule of law must be fit for that purpose. Any such system which is shrouded in incomprehension in its procedures and which too often results in anxiety and apprehension in its use, is a system which has failed and which will soon lose respect.
Therein, of course, lies the rub. The law is often complicated. Even those parts of the law with which people come into contact the most...
DASLS Officers 2016 / 2017
At the Society’s AGM on 26 April, Officers were elected as follows:
President: Mark Roome, Toller Beattie, Barnstaple
Vice-President and Local Government Representative: Sue Aggett, Teignbridge District Council
Deputy Vice-President: Stephen Mahoney, Porter Dodson, Wellington
Honorary Secretary: Chris Hart, Wollen Michelmore, Torquay
Honorary Treasurer: Richard Adams, Crosse & Crosse, Exeter
Immediate Past President: Will Michelmore, Michelmores, Exeter
Law Society Council Member: Rod Mole, Wollen Michelmore, Bideford
Sub-Committees Chairs of:
Contentious Business - Christopher Tagg, Cartridges Law, Exeter
In-house Lawyers - TBA
International Relations - Rebecca Parkman, Wards, Weston-super-Mare
Mediation - Kathy Trist, Dunn & Baker, Exeter
Non Contentious Business - Steven Came, Dunn & Baker, Exeter
Practice Management - Adrian Richards, Trowers & Hamlins incorporating Stones, Exeter
Social - Sam Thompson, WBW, Newton Abbot
Education & Training - Tony Steiner, DASLS Executive Director (Acting Chair)
Crown Prosecution Service Representative – vacant
SBA The Solicitors’ Charity Representatives – for Devon Jeremy Lee, Gilbert Stephens, Creditonfor Somerset Rebecca Parkman, Wards, Weston-super-Mare
Co-opted / Elected Members
Patricia Durham Hall, Taunton
Kenneth Woodier, Pennon Group Plc, Exeter
Paul Dyson, Scott Richards, Teignmouth
Tony Mason, Ashfords, Taunton
Michael Cosgrave, Wollen Michelmore, Newton Abbot
From left to right:
Sue Aggett, Vice President
Mark Roome, President
Stephen Mahoney, Deputy Vice President
The President's Review
First, thank you for electing me as your President! It is truly an honour.
In my presidential year I will do my very best to support, represent and promote the members in both counties, and to continue the fantastic work that is already undertaken by the DASLS team.
During the time I have been involved with DASLS, I have been struck by the enthusiasm and commitment of the various Committees, and the staff at Pynes Hill, and their desire to do the very best for the membership. It is no wonder that our Society is so well regarding nationally, and internationally.
The standing of our Society, and its membership, is certainly on the rise, and this is in no small part due to the efforts of my predecessor, Will Michelmore. He has given his time unwaveringly and has guided DASLS through a busy year, which saw the Magna Carta celebrations, and our truly fantastic inaugural Legal Awards Dinner in March, to name but two events.It has been a great pleasure to work with Will over the past two years, and I would like to thank him for all his support and guidance, which has always been delivered with dignity and humour.
I hope to emulate the enthusiasm and hard work that has guided DASLS on to a path that sees membership numbers up, and exciting times ahead with the involvement of our new marketing partner, Wall to Wall Sunshine, and the continuing collaboration with DC Media for next year’s Dinner and Awards, which is sure to be another spectacular event.
You will see the new and improved Newsletter, and the contribution that Wall to Wall Sunshine have already made. We will see their further input in the months to come through the promotion of the solicitor brand throughout Devon and Somerset, which should enhance the profile of members generally, and compliment the wider campaign of The Law Society.
I plan to attend as many events as possible during my presidential year, including those involving the youn...