As my September report suggested, the pace of Presidential duties has picked up again after a brief summer lull. October kicked off with the Joint Professions’ Networking Group meeting at the Mercure Rougemont Hotel, where Exeter City Council Chief Executive and Growth Director Karime Hassan gave an entertaining presentation on his role in the redevelopment of the city centre, from modest beginnings in Queen Street providing the template for the granite pavements and stainless steel seating of the Princesshay Shopping Centre.
At the Admissions Ceremony held at the Guildhall in Exeter on 8th October, 17 of our two counties’ newly qualified solicitors received Certificates of Congratulations presented by His Honour Judge Erik Salomonsen and took the DASLS Hippocratic oath. I was delighted that we were joined by District Judges Clare Maunder, Richard Griffiths and Penny Ireland, Deputy Vice President Paul Kelly, several DASLS Past Presidents, the Chairs of three of our Sub-Committees, as well as justifiably proud members of the families of those receiving their Certificates. I was grateful to Honorary Secretary Chris Hart announcing the names of the recipients as they came up to meet HHJ Salomonsen and for an official photograph with him, and to Law Society Council Member Rod Mole for speaking about the work that goes on at Chancery Lane. In my welcome address, I made the point that the qualification of our newest solicitors is a big deal for them and a big deal for DASLS. They are the future of our profession and of our local Law Society.
Balancing the dual roles of President of DASLS and of the Association of South Western Law Societies (ASWLS) as evenly as possible, I was delighted to attend the Plymouth Law Society Annual Dinner on 5th October. It was held at the Duke of Cornwall Hotel and attended by approximately 130 lawyers. President Rhodri Davey and those who helped him stage the dinner did a fantastic job in providing an enjoyable and entertaini...
Why did you join Devon & Somerset Law Society?
It is a great opportunity to meet others within the profession and play an active role within the Society. Having been the Chair of the Social Sub-Committee for a few years now, I see first-hand how playing an active part of the Society really helps with understanding the profession and the different experiences and areas that people deal with on a daily basis.
What is your dream job?
I would love to have a sanctuary for stray dogs to be cared for. A set up similar to the final scene of the film 101 Dalmatians where there is a vast mansion and sprawling grounds!
What has been the most embarrassing moment during your professional career?
Spilling coffee down my crisp white shirt just before going into Court when I was newly qualified. I was already nervous so this just added to my anxiety!
Which sort of work gives you the most job satisfaction?
Knowing that I have supported my clients through their transaction. The feedback I receive is incredible and I can never fully explain to them how appreciative I am to know I made the process easier for them.
What gets you up in the morning?
The alarm doesn’t seem to do the job most of the time so it is the knowledge that there are three dogs waiting downstairs for their breakfast!
What do you do in your spare time?
When I am not in the office, as Chair of the Social Sub-Committee I am either meeting with my fellow committee members to discuss the next event, or taking part in one of our events with the Challenge Cup. It is always a lot of fun and I encourage anyone who would like to attend one of the events or be a part of the Sub-Committee to come along!
When I am not undertaking my DASLS duties, I try and go to the gym around three to four times a week. It is a great stress reliever and helps you to feel better mentally and physically. Otherwise I am normally being a social butterfly keeping in to...
By Emma Mitcham, Chair, International Relations Sub-Committee
I found myself in an unseasonably arid Warsaw in mid-September for the intermediate meeting of the Federation des Barreaux d’Europe (FBE). Given the current issues with the erosion of judicial independence in Poland, it was cruelly ironic to be in that city 86% of which was destroyed by the Nazis and the Red Army in 1944. A city where the struggle for independence was waged by Polish insurgents and the civilians embroiled in it. That same quest being quelled by pillage and mass murder. But as the phoenix that lived in the desert for 500 years and consumed itself by fire, so too did Warsaw rise again. Renewed from its ashes.
After the Second World war, the human rights mandate was given to the Council of Europe with the Convention on Human Rights; the development of the human rights monitoring process and eventually, the European Court of Human Rights. The FBE consists of 250-member bars from countries who are members states of the Council of Europe and which represents some 800,000 lawyers. The general and intermediate congresses may be the FBE’s showcase, but the nitty gritty of the FBE happens in its commissions. It happens by e-mail; by Skype and by meetings between the congresses. There are thirteen commissions in the FBE and they range from arbitration, ethics and new technologies to the future of the legal profession. Being involved and taking a collaborative approach means that we have a unique opportunity to cross pollinate ideas across jurisdictions. DASLS is one of only four English law societies who benefit from contributing in this way.
I sit on the Human Rights commission and these are testing times when the rule of law is being fundamentally challenged. The rule of law may seem an ambiguous concept consigned to the yellowing pages of an antique textbook, but the tragedy is that it can only be understood by the consequences of failing to uphold it and worrying trends are ...
One of the only known certainties is change and the legal profession continues to experience its fair share with the SRA’s new rules to promote price transparency by requiring firms to publish fees on their website. The SRA have issued guidance at https://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/guidance/ethics-guidance/price-transparency.page. DASLS member Trevor Hellawell has produced his own templates for each practice area that the SRA require publication. An order form is available at https://www.dasls.com/uploads/template-order-form.pdf
The SRA’s changes to the training rules are now well established although they have had little impact on our autumn training programme which has been very well supported – thank you. We have commenced planning for 2019; please do tell us if there are speakers or topics that you would like included in the programme.
Continuing a theme of change our 2018 Practice Management Conference is setting the scene for the future by looking at the challenges of Artificial Intelligence, Environmental Sustainability in Practice and various people management topics including the Gender Pay Gap. Following the Conference we plan to set up an Environmental Sustainability working group to identify and source products and services that can help firms reduce their carbon footprint. If you are interested in this please let me know.
Arrangements for the Legal Awards 2019 are progressing quickly and now is the time to be submitting your nominations. With the support of our new media partner, Grow Marketing, the event will be hosted at Exeter Cathedral. Only a few events are permitted each year so this will be a very prestigious occasion that I am sure you will wish to be a part of. For more details see www.dalslegalawards.co.uk.
And finally a challenge; if you have read this tell me:
Are you entering the Legal Awards?
Do you read Buzz?
Do you support the services and events that DASLS offer; are they useful?
Do you participate...
It is again the time of year when we invite members of the Society to help DASLS by seeking to join the main Committee and help with the Committee’s work.
The main Committee is at the heart of the work and decision making of the Society and also helps to co-ordinate the important work of the many Sub-Committees. As a result membership of the main Committee can make a real difference to the Society and to the working life of solicitors across our two counties.
The Committee is made up of the Officers of the Society together with (see Articles §7.1.5) “not less than 10 or more than 40 elected members”.
In order to continue the effective work of the Committee new members are needed, and therefore nominations are requested.
If you would like any further information please do not hesitate to contact the Honorary Secretary Chris Hart.
If you would like to either be nominated or nominate someone for election please complete the form below. This form should please be returned to the Honorary Secretary Chris Hart by no later than 5.30pm on 31 January 2019. The election will take place at the 30th April 2019 AGM at the Exeter Golf & Country Club.
TO: Chris Hart
DASLS Honorary Secretary
Aston Court, Pynes Hill, Exeter EX2 5AZ [DX 8361 Exeter]
I wish to nominate
Full name ……………………………………………………………………………………..
for election to the main Committee and I confirm that the nominee is willing for his/her name to go forward.
Year of Admission of Nominee ………………………..
My greatest achievement during my Presidency in 2002/3 was I think the creation of the Small Claims Mediation Scheme which was closed by the MoJ in 2008 with a settlement rate of 60%. The scheme was designed by the late District Judge Jill Wainwright and was I believe unique.
A couple of years ago I heard from Lord Justice Briggs that he was revisiting mediation as part of his review of the Courts and at his request I gave him details of the old scheme and his adoption of the idea that such a scheme should be re-created is a recommendation in his final report.
DASLS Mediation were then asked by the MoJ to take part in a pilot project, as were London and Manchester County Courts, which has run for the last 12 months. DASLS Mediation have now been asked to extend the pilot, maybe because of timetable issues which prevented a lot of cases going to mediation.
Well, how did we do?
Remarkably our mediators recorded a settlement rate of 66% over the previous year which compare very well with the London County Court settlement rate which seemed to be about 45% in previous reviews. The success or otherwise of Manchester County Court is as yet unknown.
What sort of cases have been involved?
I personally dealt with 2 cases involving leases where the amount of the claims were at or potentially over the Small Claims limit and involved quite complex legal issues and which fully justified the input of a qualified mediator.
It seems that more and more cases which are being run by LIP’s do involve issues of law. I had one recently which involved Trespass, party walls, Nuisance, Limitation etc. and was clearly manifestly unsuitable for lay parties, and I’m sure it was not unusual in its complexity.
The DASLS trained mediators are all locally based and used to the West Country way of doing things and have given litigators and parties stalwart service in the past and, who knows, may be part of an ongoing Court based scheme in the West Country in t...
DASLS ADMISSIONS CEREMONY 2018
Photograph below courtesy of Bridget Batchelor Photography, bridgetbatchelor.com
17 recently qualified solicitors were welcomed into the Solicitors’ Profession
on Monday 8 October at the Guildhall in Exeter when they received Certificates of Congratulations presented by His Honour Judge Erik Salomonsen.
DASLS CHRISTMAS HOURS
We will be closing at 5.30 p.m. on Friday 21 December
and reopening at 9.00 a.m. on Wednesday 2 January 2019.
We hope all our members have a lovely Christmas and New Year!
SAVE THE DATE - LEGAL SUNDAY SERVICE 2019
Will be held at Exeter Cathedral on Sunday 16 June. The procession will commence at The Castle.
Contact Monique Bertoni, Administrator at DASLS Office to receive details nearer the time.
On 29 June 2018 the Law Society launched version 6.1 of the
Lexcel Standard. This implemented major changes to version 6 made necessary by recent developments in the fields of data protection and money laundering. To give firms time to get their houses in order, assessments against the new version will start on 1 November 2018. This article will consider the main changes for legal practices in relation to money laundering.
The changes were necessitated by the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations (AML) 2017 which repealed the 2007 regulations and implemented the 4th Money Laundering Directive. These should be read in conjunction with the Legal Sector Affinity Group AML guidance that was finalised in March 2018.
If you are familiar with the 2017 regulations and have updated your procedures to meet the additional requirements, then the changes to Lexcel should not cause you any concern. However, because some of the 2007 requirements have been retained, a significant number of firms (and their MLROs) have not seen any need to attend training on the new regulations.
Those adopting such an approach tend to keep an AML folder to demonstrate that they are on top of their obligations in this area. The folder may include a copy of the Legal Sector Affinity Group guidance, and perhaps the regulations themselves. What is missing is any evidence that this folder is a useful source of reference: no flagged pages, no highlighter pen, no well-thumbed pages, no underlining. There is nothing to indicate that these are working documents, referred to when tricky points arise, as they are bound to, from time to time, in a regulated practice. For example, it is always reassuring if the MLRO understands the requirements imposed by regulations 18 and 21.
Lexcel 6.1 introduces changes to sections three and six, but those are outside the scope of this article which will focus on the ...
LLPs have become a common structure for law firms. For those that are still operating as a traditional legal partnership the following covers some key basic aspects of an LLP structure.
The key advantage of an LLP compared with a traditional partnership is that the members of the LLP are able to limit their personal liability if something goes wrong with the business, in much the same way as shareholders in a company have always been able to do. Of course anyone lending money to the LLP such as a bank may still require personal guarantees from the members, as they frequently do with directors/shareholders in a company.
Where business owners have wanted to limit their personal liability in the past, they have normally set up companies and any profits made by those companies are subject to corporation tax. Dividends paid by the companies can then be taken as income of the shareholders. LLPs are taxed quite differently in that the profits are treated as the personal income of the members as if they had run their business as a partnership.
The taxation of companies and partnerships is very different but taxation should not be the main consideration in choosing a business vehicle. However, some LLP members can be taxed as if they are employees in certain circumstances (See Tax treatment for certain LLP members).
LLPs must produce and publish financial accounts with a similar level of detail to a similar sized limited company. LLPs must submit accounts and an annual return to the Registrar of Companies each year. This publication requirement is far more demanding than the position for non-incorporated partnerships and specific accounting rules may lead to different profits from those of a normal partnership. The filing deadline is nine months after the period end. Companies House provides a useful guide to the requirements in respect of LLP accounts.
Setting up LLPs or converting an existing partnership
An LLP is set up by a legal incorporati...
As a market-unique property insurer, Unoccupied Direct has been designed to provide the best possible insurance cover for unoccupied properties. Its closely-knit team works directly with solicitors, executors and powers of attorney to provide a means of comprehensively insuring the unoccupied properties of their clients or loved ones during probate.
It can be tricky to find the right cover when it comes to unoccupied properties, as they often come with extra risks that occupied homes do not. When it comes to working with clients who might not be the owners, but are likely to be beneficiaries, executors or have power of attorney, insuring on behalf of someone who may not have the capacity to do so can result in errors. This can include not being able to find the correct information about a property during the quotation process, the homeowner not always being the policyholder, or settling for drastically reduced cover, which can ultimately result in claims not being paid, or being inadequate.
Unoccupied Direct’s services help solicitors to enable those who need it most to insure the property for or on behalf of a loved one easily online, with a supportive team on hand to help throughout the process. To solve the problems that many solicitors, executors or powers of attorney face when insuring an unoccupied home, Unoccupied Direct’s product has:
No inspection clause (so there’s no need to spend time on endless visits to the property)
No excess to pay, on any claims
Only four pieces of information to input about the property in question, so you don’t need to spend time searching for any complex or hard to find information
Full £1m Buildings and £10k Contents cover as standard, at no extra cost to the premium
Every policy comes with a guarantee of insurance, meaning your professional indemnity insurance can be protected against potential claims against you
We’ll provide cover for any UK residential property
A range of duration...
In all companies, especially in times of uncertainty, we do not want to be having to buy new PC’s every time that someone complains that their computer is running slow. Luckily there is now a way that we can easily prologue the life of a PC or laptop for just a fraction of the cost.
SSDs are a solid choice for your PC or laptop as an upgrade or add-on because of their remarkable performance. Offering a faster, shock resistant and energy efficient solution to the traditional old-fashioned hard drives, without needing to spend significantly more on a brand-new system.
Here are just three reasons why you should consider an upgrade to your system:
Super-fast – Solid State Drives are many times faster than traditional hard drives and produce much less noise. They will help to revitalise your sluggish PC so you can enjoy greater performance and faster boot up speeds, no more having to go and make a coffee every time you start your computer!
Shock resistant – With no moving parts, there is improved longevity with no possibility of a catastrophic hard drive head crash. Hard drives have delicate moving parts and microscopic mechanical tolerances that can be vulnerable to impact and vibration. SSDs are largely immune to rough treatment. The inside of a traditional hard drive is hugely delicate, this is simply not the case with an SSD.
Energy Efficient – Solid State Drives offer a more energy efficient solution than their HDD counter parts as they consume less power. With faster load and access times they are a more energy efficient option.
In recent times the cost of these parts has made them much more of an option. Indeed, we now generally recommend to all our clients that if they are purchasing a new machine then they should only be considering one with an SSD.
We can provide a great service to help you to upgrade, from simply supplying the drive, to a full migration of data and re-installation of your machine with the new SSD fitted....
The benefits of engaging with an external party to provide the equivalent of a finance director function.
Sharon Carr Legal Sector Executive, Armstrong Watson LLP
Many law firms will undoubtedly see the benefits of having a good head of finance or finance director to oversee their finance function and for them to use the financial information to steer the firm on strategic matters. Unfortunately, many firms cannot justify the cost of employing such a person full time in their firm.
First and foremost, let’s be clear about what we mean by such a finance director (FD) function. A traditional FD will work with you to lead your finance and accounting function. In particular, they tend to focus on building systems to monitor both inputs and outputs and report to key decision makers in a clear and meaningful way in order for the firm and individual fee earners to improve both performance and culture. They use their knowledge to stimulate and drive strategic thought to improve the firm, the processes within the firm and to achieve the objectives of the owners of the business.
Examples of services they provide include annual budgets, forecasts, preparation of monthly management accounts, monthly KPIs, regular feedback and coaching to fee earners on their own performance, proactive suggestions for improvements in KPIs, general queries and proactive support to name a few. In short, the role is varied and should be bespoke to the requirements of your firm.
The benefits are clear, although there is a cost of employing a person with the skills to undertake that role effectively. Many firms end up employing a head of finance, typically at a lower cost, without the necessary skills to assist strategically and the partners then need to analyse a mass of financial information which may not be relevant to the decisions that need to be made. Firms therefore still have a cost but not the benefit. A solution that is growing in popularity in the legal s...
Thank you for your continued support of both Devon Air Ambulance and the Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance, which is very much appreciated.
We’ve been telling you about both Air Ambulances over the last year and although we are two separate charities, we do work together regularly both operational and charity wise.
We’re just two of the Air Ambulance services who are deployed by a specialist HEMS (helicopter emergency medical services) desk at South Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust together with our colleagues at Cornwall Air Ambulance, Great Western Air Ambulance and Wiltshire Air Ambulances. The HEMS desk ensures that we are deployed effectively, with patient care always being at the forefront. The great thing for our patients is that being deployed by the same desk means we know no borders. If either service is busy, it means the other is there to cover. In extreme cases you may see all aircraft at the same location.
As this is the last newsletter before Christmas, albeit a little early we would like to wish you all the very best for the Christmas and New Year period. Our crews will of course be working throughout the festive season but it’s also reassuring to know that should you need us, we are there for you.
Thank you once again from everyone at Devon Air Ambulance and Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance for your continued support. It really does mean a lot!
Skate Knobs or Monkfish in a lemon sauce
Fresh skate knobs (3 per person for starter or 5 per person for main dish or 200 grams per person of fresh monkfish steaks).
I tablespoon of Soy sauce.
Large knob of butter.
Plain flour to dust.
300 Grams of Crème Fraiche.
Salt and pepper.
Garlic flakes if required.
Remove cartilage from knobs or skin and/or membrane from Monkfish, put in a ceramic dish and squeeze the lemon over the fish, add 1 tablespoon of Soy and a dessertspoon of freshly ground Ginger and a good sprinkling of garlic flakes. Cover and leave to marinate for at least 2 hours.
When you are ready to cook put a tablespoonful of plain flour with salt and pepper on a plate. Remove the fish from the marinade and dry it on kitchen paper and dip in the flour top and bottom.
Heat the butter in a frying pan and when very hot place the fish in the butter turning after about 60 seconds and removing when slightly browned top and bottom.
Pour the marinade into the pan and work it around to deglaze the pan. Reduce the heat under the pan and place 3 dessert spoons of Crème Fraiche into the cooking pan and stir until you have a creamy sauce (you can add a splash of soy sauce to add extra colour) pour the sauce over the cooked fish and serve....
The annual JLD 5-a-side football tournament took place on 13 September 2018 at the University of Exeter. The tournament was won by Ashfords, who beat Tozers on penalties in the final. All entry fees for the evening went to ELF (Exeter Leukaemia Fund).
Wine tasting and tapas
The JLD met at Pebblebed Cellar in Topsham on 4 October 2018 for wine tasting, tapas and pizza. The evening was a great opportunity for JLD members to catch up with old friends and make new connections in a relaxed and friendly environment. The knowledgeable Pebblebed team were on hand to talk the junior lawyers through their wines which comprised two English sparklings, a white, a rose and pinot noir red - all grown and produced locally over more than 20 acres of vineyards.
Thank you to Pebblebed for hosting the evening and giving such an informative introduction to tasting their wines.
JLD Elections and AGM
The JLD Elections and AGM are on 1 November 2018 at Monkey Suit in Exeter.
If you are interested in running for a position on the next committee then please email email@example.com with a few words setting out why you would be suitable for the position. You may also put yourself forward for any committee position on the night, please just inform one of Ben Thomson (current Chair) or Georgina Carter (current Vice-Chair).
As this will be the last JLD update before the elections, we would like to thank the rest of the committee for their hard work throughout the year and wish the next committee the best of luck.
Benjamin Thomson, Chair and Amelia Newman, Social Secretary
STOP PRESS - THE NEW JLD COMMITTEE 2018-2019 ELECTED AS FOLLOWS:
Family Law Co
The festive season is fast approaching, and while for many it’s the most wonderful time of year, others find it difficult. For those who have recently experienced bereavement a separation, depression or
problems with alcohol, Christmas can be a particularly challenging and often lonely time.
If you know someone who appears to be struggling, is frequently anxious, short-tempered or low and depressed, consider reaching out to them this Christmas. It is not necessary to be an expert in mental health to start a conversation with a colleague, friend or loved one.
Here are some tips that might help.
Find a suitable place, ideally outside of the office; perhaps a café or go for a walk.
The conversation could be started with a simple ‘How are you?’ Once a person knows they are being given the space and time to talk, they often will.
Actively listen to the person, and give them your undivided attention. Keep your phone switched on silent and refrain from looking at your watch.
Don’t interrupt - try to leave any questions or comments you may have until the person has finished.
Ask open questions: – What support do you have in place? What would you like to happen in this situation?”
Use positive body language, and encourage the person to continue with small verbal comments like ‘I see’ or ‘what happened next?’
Check your understanding by paraphrasing what the person has said back to them.
Respond by using empathetic statements such as: “I appreciate this must be difficult for you…”
Avoid clichés. Comments like ‘pull yourself together’ or ‘what will be, will be’ are not helpful.
Don’t make the conversation about you: avoid saying things like ‘ I know how you feel’ or ‘The same thing happened to me.’
The important thing is to listen, rather than give advice, the individual needs to be able to act for themselves.
Be reassuring and signpost them to support such as LawCare, HR, another colleague or suggest th...