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 Plymo...
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.
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 the...
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 ...
Employment Status: Employed or Self-employed advice for Engagers by Sponsor Francis Clark
Employment Status: Employed or Self-employed advice for Engagers Status is not a matter of choice... . Francis Clark LLP
The facts surrounding a working relationship will determine whether the worker is an employee or self-employed. However, the working relationship between the worker and the engager IS a matter of choice.
Getting the employment status position wrong can have serious financial consequences for an engager. If HMRC reviews the engager’s or employer’s records and considers that the consultant was not genuinely self-employed but rather the terms and conditions were that of an employee, the engager or employer will be liable for the PAYE tax and national insurance contributions (NIC) considered due in respect of the payments made. HMRC can look to go back a number of years to recover the tax and NIC considered due. In addition to the tax and NIC liabilities, interest and penalties will also be due.
Therefore it is crucial that the correct employment status is established at the start of the engagement and that clarification is sought in areas of concern as this should help to prevent disputes with HMRC at a later date.
The law does not define ‘self-employment’ or ‘employment’ so it is the terms and conditions of the particular engagement that determine whether the contract is one of employment or self-employment. If the individual is engaged under ‘a contract of service’ then they will be an employee and PAYE would apply. Only genuine self-employed consultants should be paid outside of the PAYE payroll system.
The onus is on the engager or employer to ensure that they are applying the correct employment status. The fact that an individual may say they are self-employed or that they have worked previously as a self-employed consultant is irrelevant in determining their employment status as the decision must be made on the cur...
Apportioning Costs by Sponsor bSquared
Apportioning Costs by Sponsor bSquared
The general rule for civil litigation costs is “the loser pays”. That is to say, the losing party is liable for all of the winning party’s costs, subject to the usual test of reasonableness and proportionality. However, there are certain circumstances in which the costs award does not follow the general rule and issues can arise as to what costs are recoverable. Specific examples include:
If a party succeeds with a counter claim, irrespective of the outcome of the original claim, they will more than likely be awarded their costs in respect of that counter claim. But what costs can be recovered?
The leading case is Medway Oil & Storage v Continental Contractors  AC 88 in which it was held that the costs of a counter claim should be treated as if the claim stood alone and that there should be no apportionment of common costs. The practical effect of this is that when a party receives the costs of a counter claim, they are likely to be minimal as the vast majority of costs would have been incurred in the main action in any event, irrespective of whether there was a counter claim or not.
However, Medway Oil did state that the Court has the power to order that common costs be apportioned but, in the absence of such an order, the scope for recovering costs of a counter claim are greatly reduced.
Claimant successful against some, but not all Defendants
There are two leading cases which deal with what costs may be recovered when the Claimant is not successful against all Defendants.
In Hay v Szterbin  EWHC 1967 the Claimant was successful against the third of three Defendants. The parties agreed that costs relating specifically to the third Defendant could be recovered whereas costs relating specifically to the first and second Defendants could not. However, no agreement could be reached over common co...
Psychology - the art of the scam by Sponsor Barclays
Psychology - the art of the scam
Social engineering scams have come more into focus through the Take Five campaigns run by Financial Fraud Action UK, and industry participants and regulators. They typically focus on the warning signs to look out for, rather than explaining why they continue to work. As a behavioural economist, Dr. Peter Brooks, Head of Behavioural Finance Barclays Wealth and Investments, has an interest in the tactics the scammers use to defraud an organisation. Social engineering scams are effective because they recognise that the weakest point in a security procedure is often human psychology. The study of behavioural economics has many demonstrations of how our decisions can be manipulated. In this article, he looks at why social engineering can be so effective by examining the CEO fraud scam. In this scam someone claiming to be the CEO unexpectedly approaches a colleague in the finance department to make a prioritised payment. This pulls three psychological levers which can lower our defences against the scammers: authority, urgency and consequence. When combined, they create an effective way to defraud an individual. In the 1960s psychologist Stanley Milgram conducted experiments into how individuals respond to orders from someone in a position of authority. The rather uncomfortable (and somewhat controversial) experiment involved a participant trying to teach pairs of words to a fellow participant. If the ‘learner’ got the pair wrong then the ‘teacher’ would have to administer larger and larger electric shocks. In fact, the learner was an actor and there were no electric shocks involved. However, the experiments found that many individuals would continue to apply the electric shocks even after the actor had stopped describing the pain of each shock and had fallen quiet. When questioned, the experimenter just informed the teacher to continue the experiment. In the CEO fraud sca...
Taking Client Care Letters to the next Level by Sponsor Aon
Taking client care letters to the next level
The client care letter is the bedrock of the client relationship, or at least it should be. The difficulty is that it has become so standardised that there are real concerns that it does not meet the needs of clients. Indeed, for many clients it is such an irrelevance that they do not read to the end. Often the crucial information that clients expect to see is missing, or only dealt with in passing. Instructing a solicitor is an emotionally charged event for many clients regardless of the nature of the instructions. If it relates to a house purchase, where the underlying event is positive, the process can still be very stressful. Accordingly, even if there has been a telephone call or meeting first, clients often look forward to the first letter only to be disappointed when it arrives. Rather than seeing it as tailored to their needs, many see it as being more for the solicitor’s benefit. Research jointly commissioned by all frontline legal regulators (including the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), although the results have not been published on its website) and the Legal Services Consumer Panel (LSCP) was published in November 2016. The study was prompted by concerns that the language used in Client Care Letters (CCLs) is often a barrier to effective communication and engagement. The findings show that CCLs are often not as effective as they should be in making sure that clients understand the work that is being carried out on their behalf or in outlining what is required of them. Up until 2011, the SRA was a firm advocate of the CCL but since implementation of its 2011 handbook, the requirements that must be communicated in writing at the outset are really quite modest. Accordingly, it was unfortunate that the press release publicising the research stated that all regulated legal professionals are required to send CCLs. Happily, the report’s ...
FBE International Contract Competition
FBE International Contract Competition 12-14 May 2017 DASLS Team: Benjamin Thomson and Laura Britton
Ben Thomson and Laura Britton
The competition, created and hosted by the Warsaw Bar Association, was organised by the Fédération des Barreaux d'Europe (FBE) and took place from the 12th to the 14th of May. Teams from Poland, Belgium, Bulgaria, Romania, Spain and the UK took part in the competition, which aimed to encourage cooperation between different member bars, give us the opportunity to practise and hone our negotiation and drafting skills and meet lawyers (trainees and associates) from other member bars. We were given two case studies 30 days before the competition with the aim being to negotiate a distribution and supply agreement with a team from another European country. We acted for the supplier in both cases; on the first day acting for a company selling gardening items and on the second acting for a company that manufactured and sold cosmetics and personal care products. As all of the competitors represented real companies it was important to research both ours and the other side’s companies. This included their accounts and filing history which could then be used as tools in the negotiations. The competition rewarded careful research and thorough preparation, as well as the ability to be collaborative in negotiations and draft a clear and concise contract. The Warsaw Bar Association hosted dinner on both Friday and Saturday, serving local food and drink at different locations in the city. The Bar also gave us time between the negotiations and dinner in the evenings to explore the city and sightsee. We finished in 3rd place, with framed certificates to show for it! We hope to keep in touch with the other participants and members of the host bar who were warm, welcoming and extremely enthusiastic to discuss and share their approach to practicing law and to encourage cooperation between different me...
The (Past) President who fell to Earth
Immediate Past President, Mark Roome, discusses his recent skydive in aid of North Devon Hospice
Ben Thomson, Tozers, all dressed up and ready to go
Wikipedia describes it as “a method of transiting from a high point to Earth with the aid of gravity”. I prefer to call it skydiving… so much simpler!
Although I passed over the presidential mantle in April - and you’ve probably already forgotten about that - hopefully you haven’t forgotten about the constant badgering to sponsor my jump from a perfectly sound light aircraft.
Well, that has now happened (finally!), and I live to tell the tale.
After abortive attempts – due to low cloud - I eventually made it down to Dunkeswell Airfield on a cloudy Friday morning ready, willing, and able to jump.
I’d picked up intrepid Ben Thomson (trainee at Tozers) on the way, and after the initial check-in and briefing (which we’d both heard before) we were asked to wait in the holding area (also more commonly known as the café) until there was a break in the weather.
One coffee, then two, and I had a sinking feeling that yet again we would have a frustrating day of freeze-dried beverages and intermittent mobile reception. But hang on a moment, what’s this, clear skies.
The call came, and we were shuffled into the “dressing room”, where we were trussed up like turkeys, and made to wear silly hats, as you’ll see from Ben’s picture.
Then out to the plane and up we go. No messing around this time.
Ten minutes later and at 15,000 feet I’m being told to move down the bench. By now, I’m strapped to Chris my instructor, so there isn’t much else to do other than what he says. “Arch your back, and lift your legs off the floor”. Yep, I can do that. A couple of the other lemmings had already jumped before me. I look out of the gaping hole in the side of the plane, and see vague shapes three miles bel...
Why would SMEs Mediate?
Kathy Trist, Chair DASLS Mediation Sub-Committee considers the benefits of SMEs of using Mediation
If a business is in dispute over any issue this costs the Company not only in terms of money but in management time in dealing with the issue. Court proceedings are lengthy and expensive whereas mediation gives those involved the opportunity of exploring the issues that they face, identifying where they can reach agreement and taking steps to resolve the dispute at an early stage. The Company will not want to devote all its time and effort to a dispute, they will want to concentrate on building and ensuring their business remains profitable. The sooner a resolution is reached, so far as your client Company is concerned, the better.
Mediation can be set up quickly and is very affordable and money well spent if it achieves the desired aim which is settlement. Devon and Somerset Law Society Panel of Mediators are trained particularly in time limited mediation and in some circumstances we can even assist with offering a venue for the mediation to take place. Even if initially your clients look to you for advice on the merits of their case, mediation should be considered a real alternative to court and be explored by you with your clients. An early mediation is a method of achieving the aim of your clients which ultimately will be a resolution of the dispute they are involved in. Devon and Somerset Law Society offer an affordable alternative which can achieve a resolution – please see the fee structure below.
Speed of Result
If you go to mediation early a decision will hopefully be reached that all parties will be satisfied with. The alternative, as we all know is a long and drawn out process governed by timelines given by the Court as to when and how matters are to be determined by a Judge where by at that point there can be no guarantee of success. The earlier you mediate ...
Joined Up Compliance: Considering Forthcoming Legal and Regulatory Challenges
Oakalls Consultancy Limited
It’s important to remember that law firm compliance requires a consideration of both legal and regulatory standards and that these often overlap. Whilst we are waiting for the SRA to publish further consultations on regulatory policy changes and their review of the Handbook, law-based matters will keep compliance practitioners busy this summer. We are of course talking about the changes in anti-money laundering related legislation which no one in a compliance role, whatever specific title or function they hold, can ignore. Not only does the legal/regulatory overlap become explicit with the COLP’s oversight of compliance with the law but quite often conversations about AML provoke cross references with the SRA Accounts Rules and the COFA function to ensure that client money is safe. These topics are of great concern to the SRA who have them in mind when considering their own risk management priorities. When things go wrong in terms of a solicitor’s or law firm’s response, then the regulator takes speedy action. A recent case which illustrates this point is the disciplinary ruling made against Clyde and Co, and published in April, in respect of breaches of AML duties and the SRA Accounts Rules. In a nutshell, the firm has been fined £50,000 and three partners have been fined £10,000 each in respect of incidents dating back to 2013. The issues were as follows: the client account had been used for banking purposes in circumstances when there was no underlying legal transaction; the firm had failed to comply with client due diligence procedures in the Money Laundering Regulations 2007; had failed to take account of Law Society warning notices on money laundering and fraudulent financial arrangements; and had not dealt with aged residual balances holding more th...
Solicitor wins top Translation Award
Solicitor Claire Turner wins top translation award
Legal consultant and translator Claire Turner has received a prestigious translation award from the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI). She was named winner in the Best Newcomer - Freelancing class at the Institute’s international conference and gala dinner in Cardiff, Wales, on 19 May. This award recognises outstanding progress in individuals who have been freelance translators for two years or less. It considers achievement in business planning, marketing, development of client relationships and systems, networking and personal professional development. Claire worked as an in-house solicitor for a number of years prior to starting her combined legal consultancy and legal translation business. Her research prior to setting up her business suggested that relatively few legal translators were also practising solicitors – a USP for her as a translation professional. Claire is the first-ever winner of this award, as part of a new, expanded awards programme the Institute has launched to recognise the best in translation and interpreting and to set a benchmark for what quality and professionalism should look like in the sector. Awards Chair Catherine Park commented: ‘Many congratulations to Claire for her success in what was a very competitive class. It is heartening to see so many new freelancers coming through with a good understanding of how to achieve business success in today’s markets. ‘Translation today isn’t about sitting in a room working on a text in isolation. It’s about understanding your markets and your clients, and fully grasping and delivering on business needs. The ITI judges were very impressed by Claire’s meticulous business planning, combined with extensive continuing professional development and language training and commitment to exploring all opportunities to develop her network.’...
Family Law Company score Hat Trick at DASLS Legal Awards
L-R Grace Bradley, Rachel Buckley and Gemma Sparks
As a firm with our heart in the South West region, The Family Law Company was keen to enter the 2017 DASLS Awards. These are local awards in our industry and we felt the categories were very relevant to our company. Not all awards have as much relevance to our business, and our judgement was that winning a DASLS award would mean something to our staff, clients, and our peers. At the first awards, we won the Team of the Year, so we were aware that a DASLS award provides excellent recognition, particularly for staff who are doing well. We received excellent publicity and being involved in the event helped to raise awareness of what The Family Law Company does. The award provided a real boost for everyone, so we were inspired to enter more categories this year. This time round, we opted to enter four categories, including Solicitor of the Year with Grace Bradley. We chose Grace as she has been frequently recognised by counsel and clients for her remarkable commitment and dedication, handling gruelling cases involving Honour Based Violence, Domestic Violence and Child Abduction in England and overseas. She successfully juggles her career and family life, and still finds time to volunteer at a Child Contact Centre in Exeter. For Leader/Law Manager of the Year we put forward Business Development Director, Rachel Buckley. Rachel is pivotal to the ongoing success of The Family Law Company, and this was her tenth year with the firm. As a bubbly and outgoing leader who directs, manages, inspires and rewards using creative methods, we thought hers would be an outstanding submission. Our entry for Support Team Member of the Year had to be Gemma Sparks. Gemma is a Chartered Legal Executive, and she uses her own personal experiences to bring a unique and unmatchable understanding of family law issues. Gemma has trained in British Sign Language and was pivotal in set...
Raising the Profile: A Call to Action
Raising the profile of solicitors continues to be a DASLS theme. Our Legal Awards partnership with DC Media / Trinity Mirror is helping us achieve this and has greatly helped us develop our media contacts.
We have had preliminary discussions with some of the local papers in the region about a regular legal page. To take this forward we will need membership support both in terms of firms that would be willing to advertise and also people who would be able to provide interesting and current editorial.
From time to time we receive requests from the media for solicitors to comment or be interviewed about legal issues in the news. We have already started compiling a list of members but more volunteers are needed.
If there are any budding Joshua Rozenberg’s in DASLS membership it would be great to be more proactive by preparing commentary about the legal issues surrounding current news stories. For example: as and when Julian Assange leaves the Ecuadorian Embassy, and assuming he is arrested, an article about the law surrounding his arrest would be of interest. These can be fed to the local press and of course published on DASLS website.
What to do next: Contact me! firstname.lastname@example.org / 01392 366444
I need to know whether there is any enthusiasm for a DASLS led legal page in the local press – will you support it through advertising?
I also need volunteers; if any of this appeals to you please let me know. It would be great to have a few DASLS members involved with this work.
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 coun...