BLS & Milsted Langdon Survey on users exeperience of virtual hearings
BLS and the Forensic team at Milsted Langdon have compiled a survey to gauge ALL users experience of virtual court hearings. Whether you are a Solicitor, Barrister, Judge, LiP or Expert Witness etc. we would love to hear what your experience is so we can publish the results and feed it back in to the courts.
The survey takes only a few minutes to complete. Deadline 31st May 2020.
Please do share amongst contacts.
Take the survey here
LawCare released data on all COVID-19 related contacts
Legal mental health charity LawCare has released data on all COVID-19 related contacts it has received to date for Mental Health Awareness Week (18-24 May). Forty eight legal professionals have contacted the charity with issues related to COVID-19 since 10th March, making up over a third (37%) of all contacts to their support service.
The top three issues concerning legal professionals are not being permitted to work from home, financial issues due to furlough/pay cuts or lack of work, and worsening of existing mental health conditions. Other problems have included relationship strain, childcare issues and being asked to work whilst on furlough.
Chief Executive Elizabeth Rimmer said: “We feel this is very much the tip of the iceberg and anticipate in the coming weeks more and more legal professionals will contact us as the emotional and financial impact of the pandemic begins to really hit home. We would like to remind all legal professionals, including support staff, they can contact us for free, in confidence, to discuss anything that is bothering them. Talking through your problems with one of our trained staff and volunteers, who have all worked in the law themselves, can really help.”
In response to the pandemic LawCare has developed a COVID-19 hub full of information and resources at www.lawcare.org.uk, where you can also access emotional support via email, webchat and LawCare’s peer support service. The helpline number is 0800 279 6888 (1800 991 801 in Ireland).
The charity is also asking legal professionals to share moments in their legal career when someone showed them kindness for Mental Health Awareness Week. You can share yours using #momentofkindness and tagging @LawCareLtd on Twitter, or LawCare on Facebook and Linkedin.
LawCare has received 130 contacts (helpline calls, emails, webchats) from legal professionals since 10th March with 48 of those (37%) related to COVID-19
Reasons for contact:
Not being permitted or enabled to work from home: 9
Worsening of existing mental health issues: 8
Financial issues due to furloughing/pay cut/lack of work: 9
Practical issues caused by measures (e.g. childcare problems, house move, transport): 5
Relationship strain or domestic abuse: 3
Postponement of needed review/exams/other: 3
Being asked to work while furloughed: 3
Overloaded with work due to colleagues being furloughed: 2
Distressed and unreasonable clients: 2
Emotional distress/isolation/boredom: 2
Struggling to adapt to working from home: 1
Worried about financial future of firm (employee): 1
Legal Walks Update and the Community Justice Fund
The Legal community across the nation were due to start raising funds during the spring Legal Walks this month. The Access to Justice Foundation hope for the Legal Walks 2020 programme to make a return this Autumn. However, as they continue to monitor government advice around social distancing, they will provide you with updates as soon as possible.
In the meantime, you can act now and protect our crucial free legal advice sector through the COVID-19 crisis.
The Access to Justice Foundation and the London Legal Support Trust have launched the Emergency Advice Appeal. The appeal will support the Community Justice Fund which is now live and application process is now open.
The fund was created in partnership with leading social justice organisations, who stressed the need for urgent, decisive action and maximum flexibility in how funding can be used.
Funders include the Access to Justice Foundation, Therium Access, Legal Education Foundation, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, AB Charitable Trust and Indigo Trust plus contributions from Law Society, Linklaters, Allen and Overy and London Legal Support Trust. The Community Justice Fund will be hosted by the Access to Justice Foundation and opens with over £5m, including contributions from Ministry of Justice.
With great thanks to all who have donated, the appeal has raised over £370,000! There is still time to donate and make an impact on access to justice.
Many specialist advice agencies will close over the next 6 months with risk of permanent closure unless they receive immediate extra support. Any donation you make to the Emergency Advice Appeal will be doubled and enable more advice services to continue to help the people most in need.
TO DONATE PLEASE VISIT OUR APPEAL PAGE https://atjf.org.uk/donate/emergencyappeal
If you have any questions about giving or how you could support further please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
COVID-19 testing extended to those solicitors who are key workers.
The Ministry of Justice has confirmed that those solicitors who are recognised as key workers (as set out on The Law Society’s website here) are eligible for COVID-19 testing. The Government portal is available here. All firms that are registering as employers via the portal must indicate that they employ some essential staff who are working with the MoJ to support the operation and delivery of the justice system.
BLS and the national Law Society would welcome feedback from those firms that register staff for testing in this way on how it works in practice.
Abrahams Dresden streamlines Legal Accounts management with Insight Legal Software support
BLS is delighted to announce our new supporter relationship with Insight Legal Software. Insight Legal provide award winning software for solicitors.
This case study gives an insight into their services and capability. Read the full case study here:
Ben Holt, BLS President, Legal Life May Update
We are now a month into lockdown and after the initial focus by firms on re-adjusting to the whole workforce remote working, the focus is firmly back on business and how we operate effectively within the confines of the lockdown rules. BLS have been liaising on a weekly basis with other large law societies and the national Law Society, ensuring that updates across the legal profession are disseminated to members and that member issues are being raised and addressed where possible on a regional and national platform.
Whilst our events have taken a back seat this last month, we are looking at new ways to engage with our members and in our representative capacity we have met with local Managing Partners to discuss the impact of the crisis and plan more virtual roundtables with HR and IT teams amongst others.
Our work on Community Engagement continues with a cross firm meeting held last week and a discussion about how firms can continue their work and collaborations in the current climate when the need is perhaps never greater.
I also hosted a very useful and well attended meeting organised by BLS with HHJs Cotter, Russen and Matthews for local litigators earlier this month ago to encourage a two-way discussion of court practices and procedures during this difficult time. You can read the salient points here
In the meantime if there are any issues that members wish to raise with us please do not hesitate to contact us via President@bristollawsociety.com or via our Head of Operations, Helen Read at email@example.com
Best wishes Ben Holt, President, BLS
COVID-19 Personal Hardship Fund for Solicitors – SBA
The Solicitors’ Charity has developed a unique COVID-19 Personal Hardship Fund to support solicitors who find themselves in personal hardship caused by the pandemic. The charity has committed to initial funding of £1,000,000. The fund will help solicitors that find themselves financially in need due to COVID-19. Full details on the fund and how to apply can be found on the charity’s website.
In addition, you can access the COVID-19 Support Hub. Here you can find up to date information and resources to support you during the outbreak.
Please pass this on to any person who you feel will benefit from the support on offer.
REGISTRATION NOW OPEN: New Combined Qualifying Test for Deputy District Judge and Fee-Paid Judge of the First-tier and Employment Tribunals
The Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) has now opened its registration for its new Combined Qualifying Test (CQT) which will take place in June 2020. The test is the first stage of three large selection exercises for fee-paid judges:
- Deputy District Judge
- Fee-paid Judge of the First Tier Tribunal
- Fee-paid Judge of the Employment Tribunal
In a change to the process used last year, the CQT will take place before candidates fill in their full application form. If you wish to apply for one or more of these roles, you will need to register for the CQT between 14 April and 5 May 2020, and express which role(s) you are interested in applying for. You may apply for all three. The JAC will not run another qualifying test for these roles until 2021, so if you are interested in any of the three roles, please make sure you register by 5 May. If you do not register for this test, you will not be able to apply for any of the above roles this year.
To find out the latest information on the CQT and to get reminders to register, please sign up to alerts here.
COVID-19 Business & VCSE weekly webinar – Mayor of Bristol
First session: Thursday 9 April 2020, 16:00-17:15
Online Zoom conference
Register your place on Eventbrite
During the webinar key city partners from business, public health and the voluntary sector will share updates and take questions on what they are doing, hearing and seeing, as follows:
1. Business – Updates 25 mins + 5 mins Q&A
2. Public Health – Updates 10 mins + 5 mins Q&A
3. VCSE sector – Updates 25 mins + 5 mins Q&A
If there are any questions you would like to raise ahead of time for this webinar or future events, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. To help manage the session, questions can be asked during the session via specific individuals and these will be shared on the day.
If you haven’t already, please check out the Council’s guidance on Covid-19, which is updated daily.
Register your place on Eventbrite here. Please note that spaces for the webinar are free and reserved on a first-come-first-served basis. The link to the Zoom conference will be shared with those who have a ticket in advance of the call.
Mayor of Bristol
t: +44 (0) 117 922 2420
Update from Bristol Law Centre re its pro-bono clinics and volunteering
Bristol Law Centre is currently continuing with its pro-bono clinics in Family, Civil Litigation and Employment. We are particularly inundated with Family enquiries which we are currently unable to manage the volume of enquiries.
Anyone who specialises in these areas of law and is 2 years PQE+ and holds a practising certificate, can volunteer for the Law Centre. As the client is a client of the Law Centre, insurance cover is provided by the Law Centre. Appointments are conducted over the phone with the client, they are one off and last between 30 -45 minutes.
If you are on furlough, you are allowed to volunteer your services to another organisation, although you should check with your firm first.
If you are interested in undertaking any volunteering, please contact Evi Economou at email@example.com
We have been contacted by the family of Raymond Kennedy, formerly of 5 Elliott Avenue, Frenchay, Bristol, BS16 1PB. Mr Kennedy died on 8 March 2020 and the family cannot find a Will in his affairs although they believe he had made one. Please could you check your Will databases and let Clair Ponting (firstname.lastname@example.org) know if you hold Mr Kennedy’s Will and we will put you in touch with his family. Many thanks.
The human factor – How your people can help to protect your organisation from cyber threats
Covid-19 has brought about a seismic change in the way that our businesses operate. Remote working and increased activity on customer-facing networks and online services are now the norm. Yet these new ways of working have opened up a wealth of cyber security vulnerabilities that cybercriminals have been working hard to exploit.
In mid-March the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) warned of new cyber threats as a result of Covid-19. Less than two weeks later, the sheer scale of such activity was made clear in a Telegraph article, which reported that phishing “attacks have increased 667pc since the end of February”. Yet it is not just an increase in phishing that is being widely reported, cyber security weaknesses are also being exploited to launch a wide range of cyber attacks, including ransomware and other forms of malware.
What you can do to help
Often regarded as a security weakness, our experience tells us that as employees we can actually help to strengthen cyber security defences. With the right support and guidance, we can work together to detect and mitigate cyber threats, protecting our organisations from the financial, reputational and brand damage that they can inflict.
Developing human sensors
With cyber threats constantly evolving and increasing, it’s vital that we become ‘human sensors’, that can detect and mitigate cyber attacks before they can be exploited. To help us achieve this, our organisations need to build a cyber security aware culture that:
- Encourages and rewards reporting and sharing of attempted cyber attacks
- Offers interactive cyber awareness training that is tailored to the department and/or organisation
- Reminds us of the dangers of cyber security workarounds and the consequences of successful cyber attacks
- Confirms how, who and when important updates will be issued by the organisation (to ensure that phishing emails purporting to be from credible internal sources are discredited).
The human aspect of incident response
An increase in cybercriminal activity coupled with fundamental changes to the way that our organisations work, means that it’s more important than ever that incident response plans are fit for purpose. Yet a successful incident response relies on having the right people in place to co-ordinate and implement the plan, but with a distributed workforce and potentially key staff unavailable this can be a significant challenge. Organisations should therefore ask:
How would we respond to a cyber attack with a distributed team, not all of whom may be available?
- Are we adequately testing and rehearsing our plans?
- Are we ‘wargaming’ different scenarios?
- Should new vulnerability assessments be run to identify new weaknesses?
- Does our response plan cover remote working and increased use of online services?
If you would like to learn more about how you can build resilience to cyber threats during these uncertain times, then please contact Al Sweet at Warner McCall Resilience on email@example.com or (0)7778 322230.
Contacting Bristol Crown Court – 31/3/20
Due to Bristol Crown Court having only a skeleton level of staff working from the building it is not possible to deal swiftly with the present volume of non-urgent communications (email and telephone) being received. Our staff are prioritizing their work so as to deal with matters in the lists up to a week in advance. Your understanding of this situation would be much appreciated as we adapt to new ways of working.
HHJ Blair QC, Resident Judge
BLS Covid-19 update and useful links for members
In respect of the recent Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak we would like to reassure our members that we are closely monitoring the situation and adhering to the latest government guidelines with regards to all our activities.
At present we have cancelled all events in March, April and May and will keep the situation under review.
In light of the ongoing Coronavirus epidemic, the BLS office is currently closed and all our staff are home-working with full access to our systems and can be contacted in the usual way during office hours. The closure will kept under review in line with Public Health advice.
In our representative role, please do contact us if you identify any issues which may require our support in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime we send our best wishes to all our members, supporters, their businesses and families.
For more advice, useful links and a list of the top priorities for business the following links may be helpful –
World Health Organisation
Ministry of Justice
The Law Society
If you have any queries or wish to discuss this matter further please do not hesitate to contact our Head of Operations, Helen Read on 0117 945 8486 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Reconnecting Assets with their Rightful Owners – Landmark Legal
Probate professionals have a number of important obligations to fulfil whether they are acting as an executor or are assisting the personal representatives. One vital aspect is to identify any assets that are in the name of the deceased and so need to be considered, as part of the deceased’s overall estate.
When administering an estate, we often see that cases typically fall into two differing camps: the first are those individuals who have every asset and account fully documented, perhaps as part of an official will. Then, there are those who haven’t gathered any financial affairs into any orderly system. The latter often provides a great deal of angst to those left behind, who may feel daunted by the prospect of hunting for related paperwork, in order to try and uncover clues that uncover the full picture of their loved ones’ financial affairs.
In fact, in a recent poll by YouGov, it found that almost half of UK adults said that they would not know how to find the details of a loved one’s total financial assets upon their death.
Research from Farewill has also reported that more than 30 million UK citizens do not have an active will in place. And, then when you start looking at the potential financial figures involved, lost or dormant accounts are far more common than you would think. It has been said that over £15bn of unclaimed financial assets are held in various old bank accounts, pensions, life assurance and investments.
Since 2011, the UK’s 30 largest banks and building societies have been voluntarily transferring money left in dormant accounts to charity and other notable causes. Recent figures from the Independent Commission on Dormant Assets said that in the time this has been in place, over £600m has been redistributed to charitable causes.
In addition, the Independent Commission has since estimated that there may be a further £2bn sitting unclaimed in dormant insurance policies or from proceeds of sales of shares or unit trusts in stockbroker or investment accounts.
So what is the answer? The use of an asset reunification service would benefit anyone who believes they may be entitled to a share of the money, yet has been unable to locate any related documentation or perhaps believes a deceased loved one may have been eligible.
The legal profession is in the best position to take advantage of asset reunification services to connect unclaimed assets to individuals after a family member has passed away and may not have updated the most recent asset information in their will.
At the end of the day, a ‘lost’ asset can occur for a number of reasons, such as a marriage breakdown, changed circumstances, a family member not disclosing details of the asset, or perhaps a house move where the financial institution in question wasn’t notified of such changes.
The mystery of unclaimed assets can however be quickly rectified via one single search that probate professionals can undertake for their clients when administering an estate. Such asset reunification searches, such as Landmark’s Financial Asset Search, quickly help to identify potentially dormant, unknown or lost financial assets via one, online search service. This includes everything from pensions, life policies or unit trusts through to bank accounts, savings or shares.
A tracing service such as this centralises the arduous task of locating current, lost or forgotten financial assets by enabling probate lawyers to input the person’s information just once. Searches are then underway at multiple financial institutions from one single order. This can include identifying personal pension plans, life policies, occupational pension accounts, unit trusts, investment trusts, investment bonds, National Savings & Investments, Building Societies and Banks dormant accounts and even FTSE100 shares. As an additional advantage, registered wills are also discovered via the officially-recognised national wills register.
Ultimately, in today’s world, where people don’t necessarily keep paper records of their financial affairs, it’s important to be able to offer clients the support in uncovering all credit and debt against the deceased person in question; in doing so it removes the need for time-consuming manual investigations.
An automated search provides confidence to legal professionals and private client customers that the most thorough due diligence has taken place to support the process of administering a deceased person’s estate.
Chris Loaring, Managing Director, Landmark Legal
Caroline Alexander, Senior Associate (FCILEx), Michelmores LLP has been using LandmarkFAS service for many years, “The fact that LandmarkFAS now includes details on active and inactive assets and debts is transformative for legal professionals. It gives me confidence that I have full coverage regarding the deceased’s financial affairs, without having to sift through mountains of paperwork. It covers everything we need to progress with probate and, in my view, is a critical service that I wouldn’t be without.”
HMCTS daily updates – Covid-19
HMCTS publishes its daily operational status update on courts and tribunals. The page provides a daily summary of the HMCTS operational position during the coronavirus pandemic.
They aim to update this page by 9am daily.
They also Tweet the status update from their corporate Twitter account.
Sign up to e-alerts here
The Law Society – Covid-19 Guidance
Dispute Resolution: How can solicitors help cash-strapped clients?
Uncertainty is always a challenge for any business owner, and we are now entering one of the most uncertain periods in modern global economic history. As much as at any time, clients will be keen to retain cash and keep any unplanned expenditure to an absolute minimum.
Of course, this will not stop disputes from arising – but it will have huge impacts on how they are resolved.
Solicitors that successfully solve the risk and cash-flow problems around dispute resolution will be far more successful in helping their clients, as well as giving themselves a major competitive advantage over those lawyers that fail to provide clients with options.
Having handy access to a full range of insurance, risk management and funding options for clients gives you the ability to pursue the best route for resolving disputes, rather than being constrained by limited resources.
There are numerous products available to help maximise inter partes costs recovery, to affordably finance issue fees, disbursement costs or the entire legal budget, and to insure either adverse costs risk, own costs risk, or both.
Whether a client needs some certainty around fees, or a completely ‘free’ package to pursue litigation, there are various options available that can defer all costs to a successful outcome in the case.
There is no reason why dispute resolution practices need to take on more risk in order to assist clients – Most products are designed to shift risk away from both the client and their solicitor, and onto the balance sheet of a major insurer of finance house that is better equipped to carry and manage such risks.
Of course, transferring risk has a price and one of the real skills in this market is assisting clients in shifting the maximum risk for the least possible cost. If done currently, the clients can significantly improve their net position by improving their settlement odds considerably without incurring large fees for funding and insurance.
How often have you heard that litigation funding is expensive, without ever actually considering the real costs of litigation for the client? Or the costs on a dispute resolution team of not being able to help clients (or potentially even being negligent in their approach to retainers, funding and insurance?).
Often, there’s a sensible, staged approach that can be taken which allows the client to pursue their case effectively, the legal team to be paid their fees, and the opponent to be put on the back foot, without great expense.
Is it worth a few minutes to discuss an ongoing case that has cash flow problems, or a potential new instruction where the client should be able to make an informed choice about their options?
Annecto Legal is a broker for litigation funding and insurance, capable of providing a clear range of options for clients either prior to embarking upon litigation, or where cash has become tight and the litigation can no longer be properly pursued without assistance.
We are available via our website: www.annectolegal.co.uk our 24 hour helpline 0800 612 6587 or contact David Law (email@example.com) or Mark Beaumont (firstname.lastname@example.org) directly.
Urgent help – can your manufacturing clients help with ventilator manufacture?
The below request has come to us via Business in the Community from CBI/BEIS via KPMG seeking companies with manufacturing capabilities which might be able to manufacture ventilators to help meet the expected huge forthcoming demand
Please can you circulate to your clients who might be able to assist and then ask them to contact BEIS directly.
Specification For RMVS Challenge
Lloyds Bank customer business advice – Covid-19
To help you understand some of the guidance that is available to you, please have a look at the dedicated Coronavirus: Help & Support section on the Lloyds Bank website, which covers a variety of topics.
There are also several external links which you may find helpful:
Are you facing a Covid-19 Cashflow crisis? Milsted Langdon provides some guidance.
If so you are not alone and you may have more options than you think. Few businesses have sufficient cash reserves to be able to survive an extended period during which their cashflows are disrupted. As business-owners around the world are starting to discover, Covid-19 is beginning to give rise to just such disruption. Read the full article here: Are you facing a Covid 19 cashflow crisis
Other things BLS Members might wish to note:
1. For most SME businesses, the most valuable support is likely to be from the Business Interruption Loan scheme which will offer viable businesses loans of up to £5m, with no interest due for the first six months. The government will provide banks with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give banks confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. We understand from our banking contacts that the banks got no advance notice of these plans, and have therefore needed to move very quickly to devise a loan product and have it approved. In order to access a Business Interruption Loan, applicants will need to contact their banks directly in the first instance but may need help preparing supporting information such as accounts and cash flow forecasts Our understanding is that relationship managers in most of the major banks should be in a position to talk about these, and how they work, today or tomorrow, and that loans should be available from next week, although this may vary from bank to bank.
2. Small business grant funding of £10,000 is available for all business in receipt of small business rate relief (SBRR), or rural rate relief. The government will provide additional funding for local authorities to provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to businesses currently eligible for SBRR or rural rate relief to help meet their ongoing business costs. If your business is eligible for SBRR or rural rate relief, you will be contacted by your local authority. You do not need to apply.
3. Individuals should bear in mind that now might be a good time to arrange income protection insurance. This pays out if the policyholder is unable to work as a result of ill-health.
How do you keep morale high when working remotely?
When you’re no longer seeing colleagues face to face on a daily basis, how can you make sure that their spirits aren’t suffering? As leaders, it is important to check that your staff can cope with the changes imposed on them and ensure morale remains as high as it can.
These are certainly challenging times, but there have been challenges throughout history which have been met and overcome. Optimism is your friend and optimism needs to spread now. Think about all of the courageous people carrying on with their jobs like NHS staff, the police, food supply chain workers. Morale needs to stay high.
Not having daily office contact with other people can be lonely. It is important to check in with everybody and make sure you listen to them. If you have a large organisation may be consider buddying people up for daily calls to check in on each other.
People are all different and don’t assume that everybody will respond in the same way to a sudden shift to remote working. Think about what motivates the individual and where possible use a bespoke approach to lifting their spirits. If you’ve ever done any 4D colour profiling you’ll know a bit about what makes people tick. If you haven’t maybe this is a good time to introduce it and learn more about each other.
Praise can go a long way. If somebody has produced a great piece of work make sure you acknowledge their efforts and reward them with your thanks and positive feedback. According to OfficeVibe, 82% of employees said they’d rather receive praise than a gift at work.
When you’re in the office is every single conversation about work? No. Remember how valuable non-work related communications are amongst the team. We love to chat about each other’s lives. How about starting a “guess whose front door” competition? Or a daily challenge or riddle to solve? How about a Through The Keyhole style peek at where everybody has chosen in their house to work from? Remote working is a pet’s dream come true… can you organise a virtual pet show? How about virtual after work drinks where you Skype in with a beer and catch up.
Now is the time to exercise trust in your employees. Remember why you chose them at interview stage and trust that they will deliver what you need them to. You also need to show flexibility and understanding, there will be challenges as people adapt and you need to give them time and space to do their best. You don’t want to cause them unnecessary stress.
Can you take this time to offer your team the chance to upskill through any online courses? A new skill and a welcome distraction would be a good morale boost. Get them to share their learnings amongst the team and offer to do a Q&A.
Share positive stories. If something lifts your own spirits it may have that effect on your team too. If you’ve discovered a great new film or programme share it with your team. If you’ve heard a positive or funny story pass it on. If you’ve received some inspirational words elsewhere make sure you let everyone know.
As Change Management experts we know that bringing people along with any change is crucial to your business’s success. This is even more true if it is a change that nobody requested! So motivate, cherish and support your team over the coming weeks. The WHO have issued this guide to supporting mental health which may be a useful resource.
If you have any questions about Nine Feet Tall and our ways of working, please contact Esther McMorris (email@example.com).
Helping you work safely during Covid-19 – Cyber security guidance for remote working
In these challenging times, it’s sad to learn that cyber criminals are only increasing their activity as they look to capitalise on the Covid-19 crisis. With the NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre) issuing warnings of such activity on a daily basis, it’s important that we all work to protect our organisations from the damage of cybercrime. Whether we are an administration assistant, lawyer or managing partner we all have our role to play.
As many of us move to working from home, the opportunity for cyber attacks only increases, so it’s vital that we work together with our IT and security teams to adopt good cyber health practices:
1. Only work on secure networks
If you are working from home, you should only be using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) or a secure home network with strong end-to-end encryption; e.g. Office 365 SSL session. Don’t be tempted to use public wifi, as hackers can position themselves between you and the access point.
2. Beware Phishing emails
Phishing is a disguised email, that aims to hook the recipient into clicking a link or attachment that enables a cyber-attack to take place. Attackers masquerade as a trusted entity of some kind, so it’s important to be extra vigilant:
- Don’t click on links in emails from people that you don’t know.
- Don’t open emails purporting to contain important updates from your organisation, especially those that ask you to validate your credentials or install additional software to permit remote connectivity.
- Check the grammar, punctuation and spelling of the email – in many cases, these are clear signs of a phishing email.
- Don’t open emails relating to Covid-19, purporting to be from bodies such as HMRC or the World Health Organisation as these are known phishing tactics.
If you are at all in doubt, then the advice is to call the sender to verify the details.
3. Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA)
Weak security credentials are easy targets for cyber criminals, so if you have not yet set-up multi-factor authentication for access to your organisation’s systems, then now is the time to do so.
4. Make personal devices secure
If your organisation has sanctioned the use of personal devices, then it’s important that you implement anti-virus software and make sure that any software and operating systems that you are using are up-to-date. Outdated software is easy for cyber criminals to exploit.
5. Adopt secure working practices
Don’t be tempted to make life easier by forwarding information to personal accounts or cloud storage accounts, which are more vulnerable to cyber-attack. Locking your computer when it’s not in use, ensures that other family members don’t accidentally open your device to malware or phishing attempts.
If you would like to learn more about how to build your resilience to cyber threats during these uncertain times, then please contact Isabel Thompson, Commercial Director at Warner McCall Resilience. Isabel can be contacted at Isabel.firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07824 498 591.
His Honour Judge Roderick Denyer QC
Many of you will be very sad to learn of the death over the weekend of His Honour Judge Rod Denyer QC. who was the Designated Civil Judge in Bristol from 2009 until his retirement in 2017.
Prior to his appointment as a Judge in 2002 (and after a spell as an academic) HHJ Denyer QC, was in practice in Bristol during a very successful career at the Bar and many local practitioners will wish to join judiciary and staff to pay their respects at a court hearing/meeting to mark his passing.
Unfortunately, due to restrictions introduced today, we are unable to hold this hearing for what may be some time. However you can rest assured that it will take place when restrictions are eased and notification of the date will be provided in due course.
His Honour Judge Barry Cotter QC
Designated Civil Judge for Avon, Somerset and Gloucestershire
The Law Society – Appointments to Committees
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Old copies of The Digest need re-homing – can you help?
Integreon are on the move and have an immaculate full set of The Digest (https://www.wildy.com/isbn/9780406899149/the-digest-hardback-lexisnexis-butterworths ). They haven’t been updated for a few years, but are often referred to for older cases.
Would any members be interested in these books? They need to go by the end of this month!! If so, please contact Caroline Rowlands email@example.com
Could you be a family court magistrate? Please share.
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Warner McCall Resilience appoints new Commercial Director as it expands its team
Warner McCall Resilience (WMR) is expanding its Bristol based team in response to the growing demand for its cyber security and resilience services. Isabel Thompson has been appointed as Commercial Director, after spending 14 years leading technology consulting and business development teams at KPMG. Isabel is joined by Niall Astowe, a Computer Science graduate with a passion for cyber security, who is starting his career as Junior Security Consultant.
Warner McCall Resilience are experts in their field, trusted by government departments and commercial clients to deal with a range of cyber threat actors from national states and cybercriminal organisations to individual hackers. Such experience has informed the consultancy’s approach to mitigating cyber threats, understanding that technical solutions alone are not enough and that only when an organisation considers cyber security as part of a holistic approach to risk can it become truly resilient.
Isabel comments “Each day we hear of new cyber attacks and data breaches that are impacting every size of organisation from the sole trader to the global corporate giants. It’s therefore an exciting time to be joining Warner McCall Resilience, working to help organisations build resilience to cyber threats, and to protect them from the financial, brand and reputational damage that cyber attacks can inflict”
Johnny Norris, CEO, of Warner McCall Resilience adds “We are delighted that Isabel and Niall have joined our growing team. Isabel’s commercial and consulting experience will help us further develop our offering, whilst Niall brings a thirst for knowledge that is essential in the ever-evolving cyber security space. These new appointments are part of our on-going growth strategy as we expand in response to growing demand.”
Find out more about Warner McCall Resilience by visiting their website, and by following them on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Bristol, England, March 2020
Missing Wills – can you help?
We have contacted by some family members trying to trace the wills of their recently deceased loved ones. Can you help us please? If you can, please contact Clair Ponting, firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Edward HOWARD; Date of Birth: 19/5/1937; Date of Will: unknown but thought to be between July-December 2019. Does anyone remember Mr Howard making a will with them recently?
Freda Florence Barbara MICKELWRIGHT; Date of Will: 10/3/1994; Originally made with David Johnstone & Co of 3 St Stephen Street Bristol. Does anyone have any knowledge regarding the Will banks of David Johnstone and where they may be located now.
Mary Everard ALDEN; Date of Will: 15/8/1989
Movers & Shakers
BARCAN+KIRBY MAKES SENIOR ASSOCIATE APPOINTMENT IN BISHOPSTON
Bristol law firm, Barcan+Kirby, strengthened its Wills, Trusts, and Probate team with the appointment of Helene Bryant as Senior Associate at the firm’s office in Bishopston.
Helene, who is also a Registered Trust and Estate Practitioner will lead the team in their new office in Bishopston advising clients on matters relating to Wills and probate, Powers of Attorney, Trusts, estate planning and wealth preservation.
“This is an exciting time to join Barcan+Kirby at the new Gloucester Road office. I look forward to enhancing the services offered from the Bishopston office and growing the firm’s private client practice as a trusted adviser to both new and existing clients.”
Commenting on her appointment, Bill Willcocks, Managing Partner at Barcan+Kirby said: “We are delighted to appoint Helene who brings twenty years’ worth of experience and legal expertise to the role.
“Our clients will benefit from her extensive knowledge when it comes to preparing for the future, putting in place plans tailored to individual requirements and circumstances.
“Helene and the team in Bishopston will also be able to serve clients in the local community when it comes to navigating the complexities of inheritance tax and capital gains tax.”
The Law Society Golf Club – best kept secret?!
GOLF WITH THE LAW SOCIETY
The Law Society Golf Club was established in 1962 to provide an opportunity for members of the profession (both active and retired) to meet in friendly competition on the golf course.
Today it is a thriving club with members from across the country meeting to play in competitions and matches both in the UK, across Europe and further afield (We have regular matches against the Bermuda bar and the Canadian bar).
We play some of the best courses in the country. This year our fixture list includes golf at Royal Cinque Ports, Nairn, West Hill, Worplesdon and Woking, Trevose, Ashridge, Ganton and tours to Como in the Italian Lakes and Cabot Lakes, Nova Scotia, Canada.
For more information about the club and how to join, please visit our website at:
www.lawsocietygc.co.uk or contact our secretary, David Barker at: email@example.com
Whatever your handicap or age and whether you sign up for only one or more events, all new members will be most welcome.
Captain, The Law Society Golf Club
Cyber security guidance and certification options – Warner McCall Resilience
Click here to enlarge
In this cyber security update we look at the SRA’s information and cyber security guidance and how that aligns with cyber security certification options.
In October last year we saw the SRA provide Information and cyber security guidance on their website, after listing it as one of their priority risks. As well as information on ‘Why this risk matters’ and ‘What we are doing’ they include a section entitled ‘We recommend’, which covers a range of advice including:
Many of the SRA’s technical recommendations link to the five technical controls covered by the Cyber Essentials scheme:
1. Secure your Internet connection
2. Secure your devices and software
3. Control access to your data and services
4. Protect from viruses and other malware
5. Keep your devices and software up to date
As recent statistics indicate that ……….To read/download the rest of the article please click here
History – do you know what became of Henry Pomeroy & Sons?
Does anyone know of Arnold Kilburn who previously worked for Henry Pomeroy & Sons? A member of the public is interested as they wish to find out who may have taken over the records of the above named solicitors as they have found these names on some very interesting family papers dating back to the 1930s and wanted to see if any records from those times might still exist.
Is your Innovation Programme delivering real value?
On Wednesday 12th February top law firms gathered in Bristol for Nine Feet Tall’s innovation workshop in association with Bristol Law Society (BLS).
The workshop was focused on the challenge of creating value from legal innovation programmes and how firms can capture that value.
The session covered:
- What do we mean by value?
- Examples of how this is done well and how it is done poorly in some organisations
- The challenges around value creation and value capture in firms
- supporting structures and processes firms need to have in place in order to maximise both
- Practical tips and strategies to support value creation and value capture in firms
Tiggy Robinson, Partner at Nine Feet Tall said “The session was very enjoyable with lots of lively debate and discussion. Firms are all facing similar challenges when it comes to capturing and communicating the value of innovations programmes. We rounded off the session with some proven strategies and practical tips that delegates can take back to their respective firms.”
The workshop was the first of a series in partnership with Bristol Law Society. Details of future workshops can be found below:
To further information, please click the links above. To book your place please email Clair Ponting at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about innovation for law firms, please contact Tiggy Robinson email@example.com.
The Law Society – Contribution of the UK Legal Services Sector to the UK Economy
Please see the full report here
ELA – Gender Diversity at the Bar – Monitoring your firm’s instructions to Counsel – Can you help?
Please see below link to the Employment Lawyers Association employment law Counsel Instructions Monitoring Scheme to help ELA to promote equitable briefing of counsel.
You can find full details of the scheme and how you can assist here
Helping the legal sector build resilience to cyber threats – WMR Report on recent event
Helping BLS members protect their clients, brand and reputation from the damage caused by cybercrime
Helping the legal sector build resilience to cyber threats
It was great to meet BLS members at our first cyber security and resilience event of the year. The workshop, titled ‘How to comply with the SRA cyber security recommendations’ looked at the evolving cyber threat landscape, and the advice from both the SRA and Warner McCall Resilience, on how those in the legal profession can build resilience to cyber threats.
The SRA’s Risk Outlook for 2019/2020 includes the stark warning that “Everyone is at risk… We have seen attacks and successful breaches from every area of the market.” Yet, attendees at the event commented that the majority of organisations in the legal sector were not taking the threat seriously.
It was also felt that that many regional law firms may continue to turn a blind eye to the problem, at least until a regional law firm cyber security incident hits the headlines. This is despite the National Cyber Security Centre recently advising “1 in 3 UK businesses will experience a cyber breach, so it’s important to be prepared…”
In reviewing the SRA cyber security recommendations we noted that they are aligned with the Cyber Essentials (CE) and Cyber Essentials Plus (CE+) certification requirements. CE and CE+ are often seen as a first step in building resilience to common cyber threats, yet regional take up remains low, with only nine Bristol Law Society members having gained this certification according to the Cyber Essentials website.
Another simple step we debated at the workshop is the need for regular cyber security training as, unsurprisingly, a significant proportion of data breaches are caused by human error. Building awareness through training is a simple step you can take to strengthen your ‘human firewall’.
Finally, we also discussed the importance of incident management planning, looking at examples including Travelex and Norsk Hydro. What was clear, is that having a thorough, well-practiced incident response plan is essential in helping reduce financial and reputational damage, as well as potentially reducing fines from the ICO.
For further information on how you can build resilience to cyber threats, please contact Isabel Thompson, Commercial Director at Warner McCall Resilience. Isabel has recently joined WMR from KPMG and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07824 498 591.
You can also find WMR on Twitter at WMR-Cyber, LinkedIn at warner-mccall-resilience and on our website at wmr.co.uk
This Doesn’t Look Like Justice – The parlous state of criminal justice in the South West.
The Leader of the Western Circuit, Kate Brunner QC, has, alongside Anna Midgley and Holly Rust compiled a report, This Doesn’t Look Like Justice, showing how justice is being denied to victims and their families, as well as all other users of the criminal justice system. CLICK HERE FOR FULL REPORT
Their report provides evidence of a wider national problem: cuts to court sitting days have led to complainants abandoning trials, cases being delayed so they are heard years after arrests and massive upheaval to everyone whose lives are affected by the court system.
Cuts made by the Ministry of Justice to the number of days that courts are allowed to be open have led to the courts being “…more over-loaded than ever before” with “Courts never seem[ing] to have enough days for the trials they have”. Court users are finding that “trial with vulnerable witnesses are [postponed], in favour of less serious trials” with one judge observing that “It is difficult for vulnerable witnesses to understand why their case is not being heard for at least six months”.
The long term effect of witnesses refusing to co-operate with the prosecution after adjournments or of complainants having to find travel to court centres 75 miles away from where their cases were supposed to be heard demonstrate the unintended consequences cuts to the justice system are now having.
A detailed survey carried out by the authors at Gloucester Crown Court in November and December 2019 demonstrates just how poorly the criminal justice system is serving the residents of Gloucestershire. The report recommends:
- An urgent increase in the number of court sitting days;
- No reduction in available courtrooms in small court centres;
- The Ministry of Justice publish statistics showing the current delays being experienced for trials;
- Current statistics should be kept up to date and more accurately reflect the delays from the start of the court process, not just once cases reach the Crown Courts;
- The Ministry of Justice should take greater account of what resident judges, and listings officers, who work day to day in their own court centres, are saying about the effect of closed courtrooms;
- In reaching decisions about how many days for which courtrooms should be kept open, the effect on all court users, and not simply a numerical calculation of a backlog, should be taken into account.
These recommendations, and the problems that have led to them, are merely symptomatic of a wider national problem. Justice delayed is justice denied. Justice is currently being denied to many vulnerable people in our criminal courts.
LAWCARE 2019 FIGURES: MORE LAWYERS SEEKING HELP AND CALLS ABOUT BULLYING CONTINUE TO RISE
The number of legal professionals contacting the charity LawCare for emotional support continues to rise year on year, with 677 people seeking help in 2019.
The charity, which runs a helpline, webchat, email and peer support service for the legal profession received over 900 contacts in 2019 and saw an 8% rise in the number of people seeking help compared to 2018.
The most common problems cited were stress (26%) and depression (12%). The number of lawyers contacting the charity about bullying continues to increase, from 47 callers in 2018 to 80 last year – now accounting for 12% of all contacts. 66% of those who contacted LawCare about this issue said they were being bullied by a manager or superior.
The majority of callers to the helpline were women (67%). 53% of all callers were trainees/pupils, or had been qualified less than five years, and a further 5% were law students.
Elizabeth Rimmer, CEO of LawCare, said: ‘We spent 304 hours providing support on the phone last year, answering a call every 2 ½ hours. Last year also saw the launch of our new webchat service enabling us to provide support to more people. The biggest trend we’ve noticed is the number of people contacting us about bullying and harassment which is now one of the top three issues people contact us about, possibly because of a lot more attention on this issue in the media over the past couple of years. We will be undertaking more detailed research later this year to discover exactly how the culture of law is impacting on wellbeing and mental health, and we hope to use this to drive change in legal workplaces.’
For support call the helpline on 0800 279 6888 in the UK and 1800 991 801 in Ireland, or for more information visit www.lawcare.org.uk or www.lawcare.ie
LAWCARE AND ACADEMICS LAUNCH ‘FIT FOR LAW’ TO COMBAT STRESS IN THE LEGAL PROFESSION
Legal mental health and wellbeing charity LawCare and academics at the University of Sheffield and The Open University launch a new free online resource on emotional competency and professional resilience for the legal community today.
The interactive resource, called Fit for Law, is part of an on-going project to promote psychologically and emotionally healthier ways of working within law and was developed based on evidence from focus groups with legal professionals across the UK and Ireland. The course takes 2-4 hours in total to complete but is broken down into smaller sections, and includes videos from legal professionals discussing wellbeing issues as well as a range of interactive activities.
Elizabeth Rimmer, CEO of LawCare, said: “We know from our work in supporting lawyers for over 20 years how difficult it is for lawyers to admit they are struggling with the pressures of work – which often leads them to seek help when they are nearing crisis. We want to change this. Providing legal professionals with resources to enable them to understand and develop key emotional competencies such as emotional self-awareness, self-reflection and better strategies for emotional self-regulation will equip them more effectively for practice, enhance their wellbeing and potentially reduce levels of stress, anxiety and depression.”
Dr Emma Jones, Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Sheffield said: “ The course being launched focuses on ‘Managing and Understanding Yourself’ and offers legal professionals practical tips, based on sound evidence, to assist them in developing healthier working practices to enhance their wellbeing. We are also developing a further course on ‘Working with Others’ and a tool kit for employers, to encourage positive organisational and cultural change in the legal workplace.”
The resources are available to everyone studying law or working in the legal profession in the UK and Ireland and could be used as CPD in some jurisdictions. For more information visit www.fitforlaw.org.uk
• LawCare is an independent charity offering emotional support, information and training to the legal community in the UK and Ireland. We work to promote good mental health and wellbeing in legal workplaces.
• We’re here to help through our confidential helpline, email, webchat and one-to-one peer support network. The helpline number is 0800 279 6888 (1800 991 801 in Ireland) and you can access other support, information and resources at www.lawcare.org.uk (www.lawcare.ie)
• We help all branches of the legal profession: solicitors, barristers, barrister’s clerks, judges, Chartered Legal Executives, paralegals, trade mark attorneys, patent attorneys, costs lawyers, and their staff and families.
• Our support spans the legal life from student to training to practice and retirement.