After a truly magnificent dinner at Exeter Cathedral on the 4th April Stephen Mahoney has passed the reins over to me.
I was very proud to accept Chris Hart’s kind invitation two years ago to be nominated as Deputy Vice President of this Society. As a past President of Plymouth Law Society I knew the strength in depth this Society has. After a personal career move that took me up the A38 from Plymouth to Exeter I have practised now in Devon’s county town for almost 5 years. Over the last 2 years, since I accepted this honour to be your President, I have been immersing myself in the ways of this Society.
I must thank Monique Bertoni and Tony Steiner, ably assisted by Harry Martin, for all their help at Aston Court. The figureheads of this Society, Honorary Secretary Chris Hart and Honorary Treasurer Richard Adams, have also made me most welcome. I am sure I speak for the Society en masse in saying how glad we are to see Chris fit and well again and back in harness.
It is also reassuring to know that there are the members of the main Committee diligently working to represent the interests of the wide variety of specialisms of the membership and maintain links with our associated twin bars around Europe. If only this Society had handled the Brexit negotiations all would be settled by now I am sure. Also, in the case of the Social Sub-Committee, considerable work has taken place to ensure that there are opportunities for us all to keep in touch and have fun at the same time.
I am pleased to have been able to work with Paul Kelly this past year after he became the incoming Vice President. A warm welcome to Adrian Richards, Practice Director at Boyce Hatton, who takes over as the Society’s Deputy Vice President. I am pleased to see that the future of our Society going forward will be in good hands.
Returning to the recent Annual Dinner, I would like to congratulate Stephen on a magnificent year in office. He has gathered a few air ...
Congratulations to Arnold Harding who elevated me to ‘Master of the Rolls’ in the last edition’s caption competition. It is of course a tissue of lies. Arnold was not the only entrant to suggest this caption and so a prize draw was initiated for the fizz. There were several good entries including one from our Honorary Secretary; “No, no Tony, I said we need 144 chocolate rolls, not toilet rolls …….”. We look forward to your entries from this month’s photo of the Dean of Exeter Cathedral; I gather he is keen to see the suggestions!
So, what’s happening at DASLS I hear you ask – well even if you didn’t I shall tell you anyway.
Our Environmental Sustainability working group have met recently and following their survey of firms have produced an infographic illustrating the results (shown below). It appears there is an ambition in the profession to do more to reduce our impact on the environment, but it is proving more difficult to translate this into action. We will help you; if you have someone in your organisation that is keen to drive this then please make sure we are in touch with them.
Planning for our autumn Conferences is underway. Last year’s Family Law Conference was addressed by Sir Nicholas Mostyn and his speech to us about Spousal Maintenance was reported in Family Law Week - https://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed199496. Our Practice Management Conference will be on Wednesday 20 November; we already have some exciting speakers for this year’s event. Speakers for our In-House Lawyers’ Conference are being lined up to cover a diverse range of topics from the new SRA Handbook to Crisis Management.
We will shortly start work on the 2020 Legal Awards and it will be a challenge to exceed the spectacle of 2019. However, we will be working hard to deliver another stunning programme that showcases the excellent legal services that are offered in our two counties.
The Joint Professions’ Networking ...
Why did you join Devon & Somerset Law Society?
Sue Aggett - DASLS Past President and my training principal, gently persuaded me to.
What is your dream job?
I am fascinated by anything medical and love the theory of medicine, however I would never be able to deal with the reality as I have got more squeamish as I get older.
Which sort of work gives you the most job satisfaction?
Any occasion on which I have worked closely with a client department, as a team and have gone on to achieve a satisfactory outcome for the Council. As an in house lawyer I really enjoy having the relationship that I have with my client officers, you get to know each other and understand each other’s ways of working. Often even when the pressure is on, the case is complicated and time isn’t on your side, because of the familiarity you find time to laugh.
What gets you up in the morning?
It used to be my alarm but now I wake up most days at the same time without one.
What do you do in your spare time?
I swim, I have swam competitively all my life and train with the DT’s Master Swimming Club.
What book are you reading at the moment?
I have just finished, Becoming, by Michelle Obama. She is so passionate about looking after the Youth, has been involved in the promotion of successful health campaigns and also in encouraging young women reach their full potential. It was a good read, especially having an inside peep into life inside the White House.
What is the most recent film you have seen?
A Star Is Born, although I remember the Barbara Streisand version of the film, although I must have watched it years after it first came out.
What are your favourite food / restaurant?
Probably Italian, However I love “good food” of any variety. I dislike fish and seafood.
Where is your favourite holiday destination?
Florida, is my favourite and I have travelled to many parts of the USA. I love to travel. I have just returned from Ro...
hello SRA Standards and Regulations!
The SRA has finally set a launch date for the SRA Standards and Regulations. On 25 November 2019, the Standards and Regulations will replace the current SRA Handbook. We will be expected to hit the ground running, so time is of the essence in terms of preparing for what lies ahead. In this article, I’d like to share with you some personal observations of the changes which are likely to have an impact on your work with some suggestions as to how to introduce them into your workplace.
In some ways, the new Standards and Regulations are introducing quite radical and/or revolutionary regulatory concepts. For example, SRA-authorised law firms will co-exist with freelance solicitors and solicitors providing certain legal services from within unauthorised businesses. This has the potential to increase competition in the market place with consumers having more variety of legal services providers to choose from. It also, insofar as the right to provide certain services from unauthorised businesses, begs the question as to whether this is a freedom that your business should be considering.
Some questions you should be asking:
Would you want to hive off legal services into an unauthorised entity?
Even, perhaps, and this very much depends on what types of services you offer, do you need to be authorised at all?
What do you need to consider where you find yourself with a freelancer or an unauthorised provider on the other side of a transaction?
In other ways, the regulatory content is less revolutionary and more fundamental. My reading of the SRA Standards and Regulations is that there is a reconfiguration of regulatory priorities, so that basic ethical duties are given back their rightful centre-stage place. This was not the case with the SRA Handbook; when this was launched in 2011 there was an urgent need to emphasise the change of regulatory style and the way in which law firms would...
We are inviting members to contribute to a series of articles about a day in the life of a Solicitor. You may be a Family Practitioner, Residential Conveyancer, Private Client Lawyer or Commercial Solicitor.
The purpose of the articles is to demonstrate the value and work that solicitors provide. It is not necessary for all the experiences and activity to actually occur in one day, just that they are the type of things that do occur in a working day and can be presented in a thought provoking but light and entertaining manner.
Each article should be concise not exceeding 500 words.
We plan to publish the best articles through social media and our website to promote the image of the profession by giving an understanding of what solicitors do.
We will offer a bottle of fizz to each author that we publish.
Submit your article to DASLS office - firstname.lastname@example.org
Mediation Panel Member Charles Pugsley looks at the many similarities between civil and community mediation:
Both are voluntary, private and confidential and the mediator is impartial and does not act as a judge or an advisor. The resolution is as decided by the parties and must be acceptable to all. A mediation can be set up at short notice at a time and place convenient to the parties.
In contrast to civil mediations, however, community mediations are usually conducted by co-mediators and the mediators see each party separately and usually in their own homes to ascertain the facts and before a decision by the parties as to whether to proceed with a joint meeting.
Community mediations last up to 2 hours; civil mediations can last anything from 1 hour up to 8 hours and longer depending on the type of case involved and the pockets of the parties.
The parties in community mediation are encouraged to have a joint meeting in the same room although, on rare occasions, if they refuse to be in the same room as the other party they can be in adjoining rooms with the mediator shuttling between them.
Community mediations may or may not reach a resolution, which may or may not be written and is not legally binding. The parties can decide whether a written agreement can be disclosed to the referring authority or whether they would prefer it to be between themselves only with notice that a settlement has been reached, or not, going to the referring authority.
Legal representatives are more likely in civil mediations being there to advise their respective clients and to help draft the agreement which will be legally binding.
The mediator in civil mediation is paid by the parties. Community mediation is carried on by volunteer mediators acting for a charity and although there are some self funders, most of the funding comes from organisations such as police, local authority or housing authority. To the parties the mediation is free.
In 2018 the trustees revisited the criteria of the award to keep pace with the ever changing process of how candidates qualify to be solicitors. Traditionally and in the case of larger firms, individuals still qualify through university degree and training contract as well as the LPC and PSC from the SRA. It is increasingly common with smaller firms and Local Authorities that people qualify as solicitors through a more vocational route. For example qualification through conversion from CILEx meaning that while individuals have no law degree and did not undertake a training contract in the traditional sense, they have nonetheless undertaken an academic training and received very considerable practical experience in the law such as to satisfy the exacting standards of the SRA in qualifying as a solicitor. In addition, in future years there will be solicitors who qualify through the apprenticeship route. Often such potential candidates will have achieved solicitor status while combining study with work and families and deserve recognition.
Given the original charitable purposes of these trusts, the Trustees want to make sure they do not overlook such candidates, some of whom may come from backgrounds where they might have needed to work from school rather than pursue academia.
Candidates for this year’s Prize must have been admitted to the Roll during the 12 month period ending on 31 May 2019 and nominated no later than 30th June 2019.
The definition of Somerset for the purposes of the prize, includes Sherborne and the local government administrative areas of Bath and NE Somerset, North Somerset and, of course, Somerset.
Please give full details of the person whom you are nominating and confirm that they are content for their details to be publicised by DASLS including photographs, should they be successful.
Please submit your name and work contact details, title and why you are nominating this person.
Exeter Cathedral was the setting for this year's Legal Awards Ceremony which was hosted by Alexis Bowater.
Click here to see the full gallery of photos of the evening including all the Awards presentations courtesy of Nick Hook Photography.
The SRA has announced that their new SRA Standards and Regulations (STARs) will come into effect on 25 November 2019. The STARs will replace the 2011 Handbook. Under the STARs the only way will be ethics, but which way is ethics? How should you prepare to adapt to the changes?
Central to the new regime will be a new emphasis on solicitors and law firms thinking, acting and demonstrating an ethical approach in everything they do. The ethical agenda arises out of the new SRA Principles and then grows through the two Codes of Conduct which will be brought into force.
What will the STARs mean for you and your firm? Key changes include:
7 Principles to underpin your ethical approach to everything you and your firm does;
2 Codes of Conduct! The STARs create separate codes of conduct for firms and individuals;
simpler accounts rules;
permitting solicitors to carry out non-reserved legal work from within a business not regulated by a legal services regulator; and
allowing solicitors to provide reserved legal services on a freelance basis.
These five key changes will impact on every law firm in the country. Firms and law firm leaders should be reviewing their policies and procedures against the new Standards and Regulations ahead of the changes so DASLS https://www.dasls.com/training/perma/1485691200/article/sra-toolkit.html has arranged for Professional Regulation Solicitor Paul Bennett of Bennett Briegal LLP to talk to us. Paul has appeared in a number of the leading cases on professional disciplinary involving solicitors. Paul’s latest book is about the new SRA regime.
The changes are subtle, yet seismic – your approach should change but how will you reverse 40 odd years of compliance thinking to start thinking from an ethical perspective? The expectations on those in managerial and supervisory roles will change – the SRA want all managers to be clearer on their need to take responsibility, so the reforms aim to eliminate the o...
Working as a lawyer can provide a rewarding career.
You may find, however, you are challenged to the limits of your potential and still be expected to deliver an outstanding service to clients.
In 2013, The Law Society surveyed over 2,200 solicitors and more than 95% said their stress was extreme or severe.
Having worked as a solicitor for over 25 years, this result does not surprise me.
Being a lawyer can be very demanding on mental health, which is why I work with fellow lawyers now, as a mind coach.
We spend a lot of time focusing upon our physical health and changing the shape of our body, but how little time we spend focused upon our mental health and changing the way we think.
When people have poor mental health it adversely affects their performance at work and therefore the performance of their organisation.
According to cognitive psychologists, our thoughts affect our feelings, which in turn will affect our behaviour.
What causes us stress, starts in our head. For example, believing you don’t have enough time, enough control or enough information. But you don’t have to believe everything you think. It’s a choice.
What we think and choose to believe matters, because our brain cannot tell the difference between psychological fear and real danger.
Back in the day, a sabre-toothed tiger presented real danger, but nowadays your fight, flight or freeze response is triggered by running late for a meeting, feeling anxious or overwhelmed or simply being stuck in traffic.
As a result, we are in stress response for long continuous periods of time, which is unnatural and therefore, unhealthy. Dis-ease spells disease.
Did you know the stress response releases excess levels of cortisol, which is one of the reasons lawyers can’t sleep at night?
In addition, when you feel stressed, logical thinking is suppressed and the ability to problem solve is impaired. You are more likely to react emotionally, ...
The Exeter Legal Profession and Community Unites to Walk for Justice
The local legal profession and advice sector are joining forces on
Thursday 13 June 2019 at 5.30pm, to take part in the Exeter Legal Walk.
Two thirds of the UK population don’t know how to get legal advice and 14 million people who live in poverty can’t afford it. Vulnerable people like Sandra* have suffered the most as a result of reduced advice services.
Supported by the Devon and Somerset Law Society, The Exeter Legal Walk is an enjoyable event celebrating the work of the legal profession and advice sector in protecting people’s rights and promoting equal access to justice for all. Last year the Exeter Legal Walk raised over £2,500.
The Exeter Legal Walk, an after work sponsored 10km walk, is one of 40 Legal Walks across the country which aim to bring thousands of justice supporters together to raise funds for local legal advice charities.
To find out more about the work of the Trust or to register your team please visit
THE SRA ACCOUNTS RULES 2019 ARE ON THE WAY
The SRA has announced that new regulations regarding changes to Accounts Rules and other areas of the code of conduct will officially come into force on 25 November 2019.
Supporting guidance will be released over the coming months covering the Account Rules and the practical application of the SRA Principles.
Now that the official implementation date has been confirmed for later in the year, alongside the announcement that supporting guidance will be released, it will allow time for legal practices to prepare for the changes.
What are the Main Changes?
Overall the existing SRA Accounts Rules 2011 contain a total of 52 rules and in the 2019 reformed version there are just 13 rules.
The new rules continue to build on a principles-based regulation model and remove the perspective nature of the existing rules.
Key changes include:
Revised definitions of client money – no longer any reference to office money
No concept of professional disbursements
COFAs will be formally required to review and sign off the three way client funds reconciliations
All legal aid monies for costs can be held in office bank accounts
Clients’ own accounts will form part of the total client funds reconciliations
For firms which only receive funds in advance for costs and disbursements, there is an option not to operate a client bank account to hold these
Time limits have been removed, including the 14 day rule to transfer earmarked client funds towards issued bills of cost. Firms will now have the option to develop their own policies on specified time frames
Firms will now need to send a bill or other form of written notification to clients for disbursements paid from the office account before they can take the funds from the client account
Firms will have the option of using Third Party Managed Accounts (TPMAs) to separately hold client funds
In certain situation firms will no longer be required to send ce...
There is a new package bringing together security value across Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility ad security, in a single offering. It includes best of breed for advanced threat protection services including Microsoft Threat Protection (Azure Advanced Threat Protection (ATP), Windows Defender ATP, and Office 365 ATP including Threat Intelligence), as well as Microsoft Cloud App Security and Azure Active Directory.
When Microsoft first introduced Microsoft 365, bringing together Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS), the vision was two-fold: 1) deliver a great experience for customers to empower employee creativity and teamwork, and 2) provide the most secure and easy to manage platform for a modern workplace. The uptake amongst Microsoft clients has been huge, as customers like BP and GAP have adopted this new platform.
A big driver of customer adoption of Microsoft 365 is the need for security and compliance solutions in an age of increasingly sophisticated cybersecurity threats, as well as complex information protection needs due to regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). To help address these needs, Microsoft are introducing two new Microsoft 365 security and compliance offerings that are now available to purchase through Alchemy Systems as we are Microsoft accredited CSP suppliers.
Identity & Threat Protection — this new package brings together security value across Office 365, Windows 10, and EMS in a single offering. It includes best of breed for advanced threat protection services including Microsoft Threat Protection (Azure Advanced Threat Protection (ATP), Windows Defender ATP, and Office 365 ATP including Threat Intelligence), as well as Microsoft Cloud App Security and Azure Active Directory. This offer will be available for £9.00 per user per month.
Information Protection & Compliance —this new package combines Office 365 Advanced Compliance and...
With spring in the air, it’s a little easier to look after an unoccupied property on behalf of a client than it can be in the winter months.
At Unoccupied Direct, we’ve tailored our Unoccupied Home Insurance for the wills and probate sector, to enable solicitors and their clients to adequately protect an empty property during the process.
For this reason, we have included a wide range of specialist covers that our experience has taught us are needed to protect unoccupied properties. For instance, our Unoccupied Home Insurance includes cover for malicious damage to the property, theft, flood, subsidence and storm, plus a whole lot more.
We believe that offering specialist cover for empty homes will bring peace of mind to your clients - as well as yourselves - during what can often be a difficult and stressful time.
In addition, all quotes and policies can be arranged online, while we offer a helpful LiveChat feature on our website for you to speak with one of our advisors, at www.unoccupieddirect.co.uk, or you can call us on 0800 015 2211.
Unoccupied Direct is a trading name of Unoccupied Direct Limited. Unoccupied Direct Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Firm Reference Number: 797627. Registered Office: The Walbrook Building, 25 Walbrook, London EC4N 8AW. Registered in England & Wales. Company Number: 10621712. Unoccupied Direct Limited is part of the Gallagher group of companies....
Having committed to walking the 210 miles of the South West Coast Path to raise funds for the Air Ambulance covering Devin and Somerset by our AGM I suddenly thought “what have I done, how will I do it, who will I do it with”? I then took a deep breath, joined the Coast Path Association and started walking, with a first “test walk” last autumn from Seaton to Sidmouth - still one of the most challenging walks I have done.
With about 30 miles left to do as I write this, I’ve reflected on my adventure. It’s been amazing.
I’ve seen miles and miles of stunning scenery and walked through parts of Devon and Somerset I didn’t know existed. I’ve walked from Plymouth to Lyme Regis and from the start of the coast path in Minehead through Somerset and a large part of the north Devon coast In addition to walking, I’ve travelled by bus, boat, train, private car and taxi. I’ve climbed over 30,000 feet (Mount Everest is just over 29,000 ft!) walked through beautiful bluebell woods, across shingle ridges, through rocky crags scarily close to the sheer cliffs, over moorland bright with gorse, and through bogs and marshes. I’ve seen the sea every shade from grey to azure blue. It’s difficult to describe the beauty of our coastline and I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to undertake this challenge.
Tony Mason with Sue Aggett
Rocking those hats!!!
Rebecca Parkman and Stephen Mahoney
with Sue Aggett
East Portlemouth to East Prawle walk
I’m hugely grateful to my family, friends and colleagues for their company on my walks with a special mention to Past Presidents Tony Mason and Rebecca Parkman, current President Stephen Mahoney and Almy & Thomas Director Flis Cotton.
I’m enormously grateful for your generosity in sponsoring me and the donations are still rolling in. Here is the link if you would like to make a contribution.
Step One is delighted to have been chosen as the President’s Charity of the Year for 2019-20. We’re looking forward to a fantastic year in partnership together.
Step One is a Devon based charity working with people to manage their own wellbeing and live fulfilling lives. Our services range from crisis mental health to community-based support and learning. We work with approximately 800 local people every year to build hope, connections, a sense of their own strengths, resources, resilience and potential. We deliver commissioned and charitably funded services within the health, social care, community, and criminal justice sectors.
Our fundraising activities this year are focused on supporting our Mental Wellbeing Community Learning Hub Daybreak in Torbay, which supports people to build resilience, social connection and resources to effectively manage their mental health and wellbeing; reducing stigma and the escalation of mental health crisis.
Daybreak is based in the centre of Paignton and is free and open to anyone who wishes to build their resources and skills to manage their mental health and wellbeing.
We involve people with life experience of mental health challenges in everything we do at Daybreak, and offer opportunities for people to share their learning and experience with others through co-designing and co-delivering workshop and groups.
We run a wide range of mental wellbeing workshops and groups including:
Coping with Loss and Grief
Dealing with Change
“Daybreak is better than all the medications put together”
Paul is volunteering at our Daybreak centre where he can support himself and others to manage mental health issues.
“I have depression and anxiety from a break up from a few years ago, and have been on anti-depressants for a long time. Daybreak is better than all the medications put together. Coming here has made a big difference in my life.
On 21st March, the JLD hosted a seminar for trainee solicitors titled 'What to Consider when Approaching Qualification'. The event was hosted at Michelmores and featured brief speeches from legal recruiters as well as an in-house graduate recruiter and a recruitment manager. We enjoyed pizza kindly provided by Domino's, whilst receiving an up to date forecast on the buoyancy of different sectors in the legal job market, interview tips and an understanding of what to expect in the qualification process.
JLD members attended a seminar on 25th March, kindly organised by DASLS, which focussed on commercial acumen. The event was well-attended and provided some invaluable tips on the challenges of running a profitable law firm.
The JLD is very excited to be working with 'Pathways to Law' this year. This popular and prestigious programme is offered at 12 universities (including the University of Exeter), run by the Sutton Trust and funded by the Legal Education Foundation. Aimed at bright students in state schools and colleges who will be the first generation in their family to attend university, the programme provides help and support to build their skills and confidence to pursue a career in law.
On 27th March, Holly Crook (JLD Diversity Representative) and Hannah Porter (JLD Co-chair) attended the 2019 Pathways to Law Graduation Ceremony. This fantastic event demonstrated the hard work that young people put in to reaching their full potential through this programme.
Lydia Robinson – Education Representative
Holly Crook – Diversity Representative...
At LawCare, the charity offering emotional support to legal professionals, we have listened to thousands of people tell us about the stress, anxiety and depression they are experiencing, which is often caused or exacerbated by a difficult working environment.
Lack of support or supervision, an overly critical manager, being undermined after a career break, an unreasonably heavy workload, long hours and sleep deprivation are all very common issues.
Firms need to do their best to create a healthy and happy place to work, not only because it is the right thing to do, but because there is a strong proven business case for it. Happy employees lead to greater productivity, better morale, better retention of valued and experienced staff, and reduced sickness absence.
Here are our tips for creating a mentally healthy workplace:
Wellbeing is a leadership duty. Getting senior leaders on board shows staff that wellbeing matters.
Training senior managers in leadership and mental health - making staff wellbeing part of their job role - is the best way to begin to change the culture of an organisation.
Introduce mental health days or personal days as well as sick days – people will feel they can take a day off if they are struggling and this means they may be less likely to go off sick later.
Encourage colleagues to treat each other with respect, say hello, say thank you, not raise their voice or threaten each other. Make sure there are clear and effective systems in place for reporting bullying.
Encourage sharing of stories from people within the firm or invite a speaker to talk, lived experiences can help break down stigma and stereotypes. It is vital people at all levels talk open about mental health.
Use existing internal communications channels to talk about wellbeing.
Sign the Time to Change pledge – this sends a clear message that it’s okay to talk about mental health.