Society's News


Corporate Members 2022

3PB Albion Chambers Ashfords Barcan + Kirby Beale & Co Bevan Brittan BLM Burges Salmon Clarke Willmott CMS CMNO DAC Beachcroft The Family Law Practice Foot Anstey (including Enable Law) Freeths Fussell Wright GL Law Guildhall Chambers Irwin Mitchell Solicitors Lyons Davidson Marc White & Co Meade King Osborne Clarke Paragon Costs Solutions Queen Square Chambers Royds Withy King Simmons … more


BLS features in Bristol Post oldest thriving companies in Bristol

Excerpt from the article: How Bristol’s oldest companies are still thriving after more than 100 years in business They include the city’s last-surviving chocolate maker a wine merchant and a tannery. Why do some companies struggle to survive beyond a year while others flourish for hundreds? Although more than 90 per cent of small companies in Britain will survive one … more


No 12, The Meeting Rooms – Conference, Meeting and Mediation Rooms for Hire

Please note that the BLS office is shut to members at present as we continue to work from home during the pandemic.  Bristol Law Society’s suite of conference and meeting rooms including a suite of mediation rooms are conveniently located in the centre between the Waterfront Area and the Old City in a modern building situated on the corner of … more


News


Responding to the criminal legal aid consultation

The Law Society will be responding to the Government’s ongoing consultation and are encouraging all solicitors to put their views forward as well. You can respond here – the consultation will be open until 7 June.

After 25 years of cuts, our criminal justice system is in crisis. The Government must not miss this opportunity to put it on a stable footing and secure the future of criminal legal aid.

Responding to the criminal legal aid consultation | The Law Society


Pro Bono Legal Help For Ukrainian Refugees – can you help?

Are you a lawyer willing to offer pro bono support to Ukrainian refugees?

The UA.SUPPORT initiative at https://ua.support helps to match refugees from the Ukraine who ask for legal help with lawyers in various countries that can provide pro bono advice. Since launching on  28/2/2022, they have managed to solve about 200 pro bono requests for Ukrainians refugees with some 150 lawyers from 20 mostly European countries.

At the moment, there is an urgent need for Danish, UK and Swiss lawyers to get registered and respond to the requests of refugees.  The best way to register is to fill out a form on their website  https://www.ua.support/contact-lawyer/ or write to info@ua.support


LAWCARE EXTENDS ONLINE CHAT SERVICE

Legal mental health charity LawCare has extended its online chat service for legal professionals from one to four days a week from today, Tuesday 10th May.

The charity, which offers free, confidential, emotional support to anyone working in the law, has been operating a helpline and peer support programme since 1997 and has supported over 10,000 people in the profession to date. It introduced online chat in July 2019 and has been running the service every Wednesday. Online chat will now be available every week Tuesday-Friday 9am-5pm and will be staffed by 10 new specially trained volunteers all of whom work in, or have worked in, the law as well as the LawCare staff team.

Elizabeth Rimmer, Chief Executive of LawCare, said: “We recognise that many people can’t or won’t pick up the phone to call us for a variety of reasons so we wanted to make it easier for people to reach out and get help with whatever is concerning them. We are keen to support anyone going through a tough time, even if they just need to let off steam or talk through a situation, we’re here anytime they need to talk. We don’t ask for roll numbers or details of workplace and people don’t have to give their name.”

Anyone working in the law including support staff can contact LawCare for free, confidential, emotional support. Online chat is available at www.lawcare.org.uk . You can also call 0800 279 6888 or email support@lawcare.org.uk . The charity also has a team of peer supporters , people who work in, or have worked in, the legal profession who may have been through difficult times themselves and can offer one-to-one support, friendship and mentoring over 2/3 telephone calls to those who need it.

 


Research project on special measures decision-making – criminal law barrister participants

Dr Samantha Fairclough of Birmingham University, whose research focuses on the rules of evidence as they apply in Crown Court trials, is starting some funded research into special measures decision-making. This builds on a small empirical study she undertook in 2016.

As part of this project, she is seeking to interview practising criminal barristers to gain an insight into the factors relevant to decision-making around vulnerable witnesses (and defendants), special measures applications, and other appropriate trial adjustments. The barristers can be of mixed practice, or solely prosecute/defend. The interviews are expected to last for 45mins-1hour, and can be conducted face-to-face or via Zoom/Microsoft Teams. Samantha is keen to get these interviews underway, and so hopes to find barristers available for interview in June, July or August of this year.

Participation from practising lawyers enables our academics to conduct impactful and cutting edge research which benefits all those involved in the criminal justice process. If you think any of your members might be willing to be interviewed, please could you encourage them or their clerks to contact Samantha (s.fairclough@bham.ac.uk) to arrange a convenient time?


Bristol Legal Sector Community Engagement Group – Ukraine Fundraiser! 19th May!

DONATE HERE>>

Please let us know if your firm will be supporting the #BLSblueandyellow day info@bristollawsociety.com

Click to enlarge


The Law Society – Practicing Certificate Fee consultation

As a member of the Law Society, you are a part of a community of over 200,000 solicitors across England and Wales. As your professional body, the Law Society have been proud to represent the interests of solicitors for almost 200 years.

Collectively, the legal profession contributes £60bn to the UK economy and facilitates trillions of pounds of transactions globally, upholding the law and delivering justice. Our job is to champion, protect and support your interests, as well as to promote access to justice and defend the rule of law both domestically and internationally. The fees you pay as an individual, or that your firm pays on your behalf, are the main source of income for the Law Society. The income from these fees determines what we can plan and undertake for you, the profession, and wider society.

We have progressed with developing our next Corporate Strategy for the period from November 2022 until October 2025, setting out our new vision, objectives, and beneficial outcomes for the forthcoming three years. This vision has the full support of our Council and Board, and they have urged us to be ambitious in our plans to maximise the impact and value we give to our members. We need the funding to support this ambition and ensure we have the necessary resources to achieve it in the challenging times ahead.

This is the first year in several years that we are seeking an increase in the income we receive from the PC fee after taking a £3million (10%) cut during the pandemic in 2020 which was sustained in 2021 too. Whilst we know an increase is not desirable for members, we believe that the rationale and data we have shared through the consultation will help members understand why an increase is necessary. We want to be able to effectively support, promote and protect the profession and need appropriate resources to achieve that. This is coupled with the efforts we have already been making to become more efficient and driving our commercial income too.

We are encouraging our members to complete a survey to help shape our direction for the next three years. This is a key opportunity to share your views and let us know what you think we should prioritise, and the level of ambition you want us to have.

The survey should take 10 minutes to complete, and all responses are completely anonymous. The survey will close on Friday 27 May 2022.

  • The survey should take 10 minutes to complete and all responses are completely anonymous
  • The survey will close on Friday 27 May 2022
  • All those who complete the survey shall be entered into a draw to win a £100 Amazon gift card
  • Take part in the survey

 

 


Reducing Client costs, financial risks and generating cashflow for law firms pursuing litigation

 

Major obstacles to any individual or business in pursuing a dispute through the courts are cost and risk: The cost of funding your own legal team and then the risk of losing and having to pay your opponent’s costs too.

It stands to reason those lawyers who solve these problems for clients will likely secure more business and be more successful, and there are various retainer, insurance and funding products in the market that allow clients to mitigate cost and risk.

Flexible retainer options can include fixed fees, perhaps split into phases of a dispute, conditional fee agreements (CFAs) or damages-based agreements (DBAs). There are also various hybrids such as discounted-CFAs where a client pays a lower rate during a dispute but can recover a higher rate from the paying party upon successful conclusion of a claim (this is different to non-recoverable success fees).

Insurance can be used to cost-effectively reduce adverse costs risk, defeat security for costs applications or provide cross-undertakings for injunctions, as well as many other scenarios. Premiums are no longer recoverable inter partes but it is still common for premiums to be deferred until the successful conclusion of a claim, thereby making them a valuable tool that doesn’t require large upfront investment by clients.

Non-recourse funding provided by third parties is another way to reduce the costs and risks of a dispute for clients, whilst providing cash-flow for law firms and allowing cases to proceed at pace (rather than being hampered by a lack of funds). Contrary to popular belief, there are scores of funders in the market, and they invest in everything from disbursement funding (sometimes just court fees) all the way to huge investments in complex disputes. We’ve handled cases worth hundreds of thousands in damages all the way to multi-billion-pound disputes.

As part of the onboarding process for clients in can be useful to present them with options about funding and insurance so that they can make an informed choice about how best to proceed, and this ensure that solicitors are meeting their professional obligations to clients, as well as increasing the likelihood that a client can and will proceed with a case.

Annecto Legal are one of the UK’s leading ATE and Litigation Funding Brokers. Annecto provides no-obligation consultations around new cases and existing claims so that you can provide your client with clear advice around on potential funding and insurance options on any dispute. Annecto also offer in-house ATE and Litigation Funding training at no cost.

Should you wish to discuss a case or wish to arrange in-house ATE and Funding training please contact:

David Law (t) 07540 303035 (e) david.law@annectolegal.co.uk


Landmark Information Group Climate Change Survey in association with BLS

 

Landmark Information have a been supporting Bristol Law Society and its’ members for a number of years. Together this year, we both want to focus our efforts in providing practical solutions to support law firms on their journey towards net zero and engagement with the issues presented by climate change both internally, for clients and in the supply chain.

In the coming months, together again with Landmark Information, we plan to hold discussions via a dedicated roundtable. Before we do that, we invite you to complete a quick 2 min survey so that we can understand your views, what type of support you feel would be most useful for your firm as well as your clients and the status of your current net zero/climate change journey. You may simply want to understand what it’s all about and how it affects you as a firm or for your clients. This information will help us deliver the right level of discussion and support across all firms and benefit your practices particular needs  Thank you for your support – to start the survey please Click here now


Approved Judgment of Sir Andrew McFarlane – Somerset Council v NHS

HHJ Wildblood has asked that the following Judgment be shared:

Somerset-Council-v-NHS-judgment-130422


Pro-bono Clinics – still going strong and as vital as ever!

Continue reading the full article here (2 pages)


2022 Bristol Legal Walk – Save The Date

We are delighted to announce that the legal sector supporting your community is coming together to bring justice to those most in need on Thursday 16th June at the 2022 Bristol Legal Walk.

The walk is an opportunity to raise funds for the Access to Justice Foundation’s local branch the South West Legal Support Trust and help generate new grants for the frontline legal advice charities that support marginalised individuals, families, and groups across the UK.

This is a chance to enjoy some fresh air with your colleagues, friends, and family members (both human and canine) at your own pace and do something that helps truly change lives for the better. We can’t do it without your support!

For more information and to register team Bristol Law Society please click here

Twitter @southwestlst

Facebook  @SouthWestLST

instagram @swlstuk

 


LawCare – Supporting the Legal Community for 25 years!

 

 

 

 

 

LawCare is the mental wellbeing charity for the legal profession. We offer free, confidential, emotional support, peer support, and resources to those working in the law in the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man. We promote mental health and wellbeing best practice in legal workplaces and drive culture change in education, training and practice. We’ve been supporting legal professionals for over 25 years and we understand life in the law.

Our support service offers a safe place to talk without judgement. We’re here to listen, with helpline calls, emails and online chats answered in confidence by trained staff and volunteers who have first-hand experience of working in the law.

We are here to help all branches of the legal profession and our support spans the legal life from student to retirement.

Whether you’re a barrister feeling burnt out, a young trainee experiencing sexual harassment, an HR professional struggling with the workload, support staff worrying about a mistake you’ve made, a senior lawyer feeling like you’re being pushed out-we’re here to help.

If you need support contact our helpline on 0800 279 6888, email support@lawcare.org.uk  or access online chat and other resources at www.lawcare.org.uk

LawCare won’t ask for your roll number or details of your workplace, you don’t have to give your name, and they are independent of professional bodies and regulators.

Did you know that all those at LawCare answering calls, emails and online chats have experience of working in the legal profession and are keen to support anyone going through a tough time. They’d rather people contacted LawCare early, when they just need to let off steam or talk through a situation; they want everyone to know that they don’t have to wait until things have escalated, LawCare are here anytime they need to talk.

You can also find resources here>>

And sign up to their newsletters here>>

 


Colleges mark launch of collaboration project Bristol Talent

A collaborative project between two of Bristol’s biggest colleges which hopes to bridge the skills gap and future-proof the workforce celebrated its official launch last week.

City of Bristol College and South Gloucestershire and Stroud College (SGS) came together to mark end of National Apprenticeship Week with the launch of their joint project, Bristol Talent.

The event was the last in a string of celebrations City of Bristol College hosted during the national week, with apprentices sharing their backgrounds and experiences on social media.

Bristol Talent is a unique partnership between the two further education providers to support employers with a next-generation workforce. Employers who join the project will be able to work with both colleges to engage with more than 7,000 vocational learners and 12,000 adult learners, which in-turn will create a more experienced and employable workforce.

The launch event on Friday was well attended, with employer partners from both colleges in attendance as well as members of the press. Guests to the event heard talks from the Project Manager, Donna Kenny, and both college’s principals, Richard Harris and Sara-Jane Watkins.

The event then ended with a talk from employer partner, Jane Cordier from Bell Group, who shared her successful experiences of working with the college, saying it was ‘really interesting’ to watch young people grow and prepare for the real working world.

Jane, who works in partnerships with SGS, also spoke about the work they have been doing in the Painting & Decorating Academy, which stemmed from their student engagement. Bell has been able to work with the programme learners and develop their skills ready for that next step onto an apprentice.

Donna Kenny said: Bristol Talent is the key to providing greater connectivity between our major employers and the college’s vocational students. This will be achieved through activities such as work experience, master classes/guest lecturers, career talks and much more. Providing our students with a greater awareness of progression pathways within the region and ensuring that our students are apprenticeship/employer ready in order to make that positive next step. Critically, the employers engaged in Bristol Talent will be involved in curriculum planning, ensuring that the college programmes are tailored to their future workforce development.”

Guests enjoyed tours of City of Bristol’s Motor Vehicle Technology Centre and SGS’ new Brunel building.
The project launch came at the perfect time, in-line with both National Apprenticeship Week which celebrates and promotes apprenticeships as a viable career path as well as the loosening of Covid-19 restrictions.

Bristol Talent is the foundation to a ‘bounce-back Bristol’ with an aim to advance social cohesion and sustainable employment while promoting inclusivity and widening student participation within apprenticeships.

City of Bristol College employer partner Magnox has a number of students working as apprentices with them, including Thomas Jones and Chas Creed who spoke about their apprenticeships on BBC Radio Bristol earlier in the day on Friday.

Thomas said: “I prefer the hands-on work and I don’t like sitting exams so when I applied for the Magnox position and got in, it was so much better. It was more fun that what I would imagine university to be like. It is not all paperwork and theory, you get hands-on, practical skills which I can use in everyday life.

To find out more about Bristol Talent and how you can get involved, visit the City of Bristol College or SGS College website. Or if you are intrigued as to how Bristol Talent can support you and want to find out more, contact Donna at info@bristoltalent.org.uk


Eat Share Love – ’91 Ways’ fundraising cook book

Eat, Share, Love is a unique collection of recipes from Bristol’s 91 language communities, celebrating the city’s diversity by giving voice to Bristol home cooks who share their heartfelt and intimate personal stories behind their favourite dishes.

Food author and campaigner Kalpna Woolf founded 91Ways to Build A Global City in 2015 to break down barriers and unite Bristol’s communities using the power of food.

All proceeds from the book will go to the 91Ways charity.

Read the full press release here>>Eat Share Love Bristol Press Release

Click to enlarge


3PB invests in Bristol Facilities

3PB Barristers is investing in a refurbishment and upgrade to its office space in Royal Talbot House, opposite Bristol Family and Civil Courts, in the heart of Bristol’s professional services centre.

3PB has had a base in Bristol since 2010; home to 30 local barristers, it is the largest chambers on the Western Circuit with offices also in Bournemouth and Winchester covering the South West and South Coast as well as having centres further afield in Oxford, Birmingham and London.

Working with its landlords, Boultbee Brooks, the refurbishment project focuses on the changing way in which legal services are delivered……>> Click here to read the full article

 


Discounted BLS offer for Anything Goes at Bristol Hippodrome

The production for 2022 will star Multi-Award-Winner Kerry Ellis (Wicked/We Will Rock You) as Reno Sweeney and Olivier Award Winner Denis Lawson (Bleak House/Star Wars) as Moonface Martin. Joining them is Olivier Award Winner Simon Callow (Christmas Carol/Midsomer Murders) as Elisha Whitney and Musical Theatre Royalty Bonnie Langford (EastEnders/9 to 5) as Evangeline Harcourt.

Featuring a 50-strong cast and ensemble of the finest we to offer (including tap dancing sailors!) and a full-sized live orchestra, this heart-warming and hilarious production of Anything Goes sold out during its last run at the Barbican.

Directed by the Multi-Award-Winning Broadway director and choreographer Kathleen Marshall, this production features farcical fun and spectacular show stopping dance routines, all set to Cole Porter’ joyful score, including ‘I Get A Kick Out of You’, ‘You’re the Top’ and the show stopping ‘Anything Goes’.

We would like to offer you and your members an exclusive discounted rate for tickets for our performances between 11th April – 15th April, which you can share with your network using the promo code ‘PARTNEROFFER’ of using the direct link below:

https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/anything-goes/bristol-hippodrome/calendar/?pc=PARTNEROFFER&days=1,2,3,4,5

 


BLS Statement on Ukraine inc. local legal fundraising initiatives

Bristol Law Society endorses the words of I. Stephanie Boyce, President of The Law Society and we too, “stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people, the Ukrainian National Bar Association and the Ukrainian Bar Association. We also stand with the people of the world, who oppose the Russian government’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, in particular, the Russian people and lawyers who are defending the rule of law in the region.

We condemn the actions of the Russian Federation, which are in contravention of international law. There is no doubt that these actions are a direct threat to the rule of law.”

We extend our sympathies to all those affected by this humanitarian tragedy.

We remind any of our members affected by this crisis that they can seek support from LawCare, which offers free, confidential, emotional support to anyone working in the law.

Anyone who is looking to help refugees affected by this crisis, can donate via The Disasters Emergency Committee or the Help Ukraine Emergency Appeal organised by the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain:

Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal | Disasters Emergency Committee (dec.org.uk)

Local members are also undertaking fundraising efforts and if you would like to share any of your initiatives with us, we will post them below.

St John’s Chambers

Over the next 3-weeks members and staff of St John’s Chambers will be walking, running and cycling the equivalent distance of our Bristol office to Mariinskyi Palace (the official residence of the Ukrainian President) in the centre of Kyiv. In total, the team will cover 2303.4km or 1431.26 miles as the crow flies to raise vital funds for Ukraine. We aim to average at least 478 miles a week to raise money for the Disasters Emergency Committee’s Ukraine Appeal –  setting ourselves a target of £5,000, which we hope to beat! Read more here.

If you would like to sponsor our team, here is a link to our fundraising page:www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sjcraisevitalfundsforukraine 

 


Will Search

We should be grateful if you would check your Will Bank for a Will of:

Robert Vernon McCARTHY, formerly of 37 Cottrell Road, Bristol, BS5 6TJ who died on 7 October 2021.  If you have any information regarding the Will of Mr McCarthy, please contact Clair at the BLS office on 0117 9458486 or by email at info@bristollawsociety.com

Many thanks.


SRA survey- In-house solicitors – have your say.

The SRA are running a survey as part of a thematic review on in-house solicitors who provide legal services to their employer. They want to hear about the work you do and the challenges you may face. The survey should take no more than ten minutes to complete, and should be submitted by 18 March.

Read more about: In-house solicitors – have your say

 


Property conveyancers accelerate digitisation strategies in fear of falling behind competitors

Survey by Landmark Information identifies that 88% of conveyancers believe paper and manual processes will have ‘all but gone’ by 2025

Landmark Information Group commissioned an independent market research project to understand what impact the past 18 months has had on the residential property market, and to uncover what legal professionals believe is possible by 2025.

We explored:

  • The impact of the pandemic on residential conveyancing
  • The challenges and opportunities faced by those who embraced automation
  • The evolution of the residential transaction

We surveyed one hundred solicitors and specialist conveyancing practices including fee earners, heads of department, solicitors, partners and directors.

The report highlights:

The increasing importance of technology

The pandemic was a powerful instrument for technological advancement and the entire legal sector changed longstanding, traditional working practices within weeks.

Of those conveyancing professionals who embraced digitisation, two-thirds experienced less business interruption.

The rise of automation

The benefits of software and technology gave an edge to those who embraced them.

79% of property lawyers and conveyancers thought those who had yet to incorporate digitisation risked falling behind.

Uncovering the key to powering up property transactions

Our report revealed what legal professionals felt about the impact of getting more property data earlier. And how the profitability of the entire sector rests on automating a few crucial tasks.

Automation and risk management

Will automation and AI help legal professionals manage risk or increase exposure? The answer surprised us and demonstrated the complex nature of this question. However, a significant majority of respondents agree increased digitisation is coming to the land and property sectors.

 

Digitisation and the future of conveyancing

The law firm of the future looks likely to be a vastly different place. Our respondents believe automation will change the role of legal professionals and free them up from administerial tasks.

Responding to a changing marketplace

The message from our survey was clear: embracing change is critical to the future of conveyancing.

 

While the industry has had to overcome various significant hurdles in the last 12-18 months, there is an overwhelming appreciation that PropTech has played – and will continue to play – a hugely important role in enhancing the residential conveyancing process across the industry.

 

What is clear from the survey findings is that conveyancers believe PropTech adoption is inevitable and will deliver a more transparent, efficient and faster process for their clients, while also helping them to differentiate, increase profitability and, importantly, improve risk management. The full survey findings and commentary are available in a comprehensive report, which is available to download for free.

To download a copy of the Residential Conveyancing Trends: 2021-2025 report, visit https://go.landmark.co.uk/residential-research-report

 

 


Recognise your efforts with The Access to Justice Foundation Award 2022

 

 

To members of Association of Bristol Law Society

Working in partnership with the LawWorks & Attorney General Student Pro Bono Awards 2022, The Access to Justice Foundation is delighted to announce that nominations for the Access to Justice Foundation Award 2022 are now open!

The Foundation

The Access to Justice Foundation is a national charity which works to increase the availability of free legal advice. It does this by raising funds and distributing them to organisations that provide free specialist legal support to communities who are most in need and at risk.

Our work means that thousands of people across the country are diverted from crisis, able to keep a roof over their head, remain in paid employment, avoid mental health crisis, and experience positive life changes.

The Award

This award recognises the vital importance of the support that free legal advice agencies receive from future legal professionals and their training providers. The Foundation is proud to celebrate the hard work of students and academics in support of access to justice.

We welcome nominations from legal educational providers, law students (including undergraduates, postgraduates, CILEX, trainee costs lawyers and legal apprentices) or those who are on vocational placements who have made significant contributions to the promotion and delivery of access to justice.

Nominations and deadlines

You can nominate yourself, a fellow student, a training provider, or student group/ society.

For more information including nominations and judging, please visit –https://bit.ly/ATJFAwardinfo2022

Submission deadline: Thursday 17th March 2022 at midnight. Please note that under no circumstances can we accept late entries.

Those shortlisted will be invited to attend the eleventh annual LawWorks & Attorney General’s Student Pro Bono Awards where the Award winner will be presented with an award by the Attorney General The Rt Hon Suella Braverman QC MP. The ceremony will take place in May 2022 (date TBC). For further details please visit – LawWorks and Attorney General Student Pro Bono Awards 2022 | LawWorks


What’s going on with solicitors’ PII? Uncover the latest in Howden’s Market Report

 

 

Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) is fundamental to the success and stability of every law firm. As specialist brokers for the legal profession, Howden understand the importance of keeping the profession informed so that firms can plan for your next Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) renewal – you don’t want any surprises when it comes to the cover you need to stay in business.

A discussion regarding PII cover for work undertaken abroad or involving foreign law or overseas-based clients will be of interest to a number of you and if you are a solicitor with the responsibility for supervising junior lawyers, we include an article you can share with them on the basics of PII. Wellbeing within law firms is currently a hot topic for the SRA and should be on every law firm’s agenda. We are pleased to reveal some important insights from our specialist Employee and Benefits team on this important issue.

In our latest Market Report Howden examines the outcome of the October 2021 solicitors’ PII renewal and provides insight into what your firm can expect from the market in 2022. We also share with you some recent claims stats and offer the inside track on issues currently on your underwriter’s radar so you can consider what you might need to do in advance of your 2022 renewal.

There are a number of SRA-related issues currently circulating worthy of an update, including “silent cyber” and the current consultations regarding post six-year run-off cover and the SRA’s proposal to increase the fines it can levy against the profession.

The Market Report is available here: https://view.publitas.com/howden-uk-group/solicitors-market-report-january-2022/page/1

In the meantime, you may be interested in the following Employee Benefits content which has recently been published:

News:

Resources:

 


LAWCARE HITS MILESTONE NUMBER OF PEOPLE HELPED

Charity celebrates 25th anniversary this year

Legal mental health charity LawCare has helped over 10,000 legal professionals and support staff since it began in 1997.

The charity, which was initially set up to help solicitors with alcohol problems, has grown to support everyone working in the legal profession on a range of issues from stress to bullying.

Elizabeth Rimmer, Chief Executive of LawCare, said: ‘We are very proud that we have supported over 10,000 people in the legal community since we began 25 years ago, with a small office space in the corner of our first employee Barry Pritchard’s kitchen and a grant from The Law Society of England and Wales. It’s been a difficult couple of years for us all and we continue to offer free, confidential, emotional support to anyone that needs us in the profession, on any issue that is worrying them, no matter how small.  In our 25th anniversary year we plan to extend our advocacy work to help change the culture in the law, making it a healthier and happier place to work.’

Table of number of professionals contacting LawCare by year

 

Last year LawCare provided support to 667 people via 662 phone calls, 119 emails and 50 online chats including providing ongoing peer support to 64 people and funding counselling for 14 people. The most common problems cited were stress (33%), anxiety (13%), depression (10%), bullying (8%) and worries about career development (8%).  The number of people contacting LawCare experiencing stress has seen the biggest increase – from 170 people in 2020 to 211 last year – a rise of 24%.

The majority of those who contacted the support service were women (69%). 63% were trainees/pupils, or had been qualified less than five years, and a further 5% were law students.

Impact report PDF Infographic

For LawCare’s full 2021 impact report visit www.lawcare.org.uk/impact

Anyone working in the law including support staff can contact LawCare for free, confidential, emotional support on 0800 279 6888, email support@lawcare.org.uk or visit www.lawcare.org.uk


Bristol One City Boards – expressions of interest invited

The One City Homes and Communities, Economy and Skills, Transport and Children and Young People’s Boards are being refreshed, following a process of consultation with existing members, and new members are being invited to join through an Expressions of Interest process (open now and closing on 14 February). The Environment Board is following the same process for one new member. Please visit Board Membership Roles and Responsibilities – Bristol One City for more information and how to apply

 

 


Mediation Research in Bristol Courts

Following a recent visit to Bristol in late 2012, the Law Society President John Wotton remarked on the excellence of Bristol as a legal centre, describing it as “a very forward-looking, innovative and competitive legal market”. (Bristol Law Society news). If he had visited more recently, he might have commented on other specific legal developments – no, not the jury-led acquittal of the Colston Four (though that dispute would have been an interesting one to mediate!) but the new direction to mediate that is being issued out of the Bristol Courts in Multi-track cases deemed suitable.  It reads:

“The claim is stayed until [2] months from date of issue of order to enable mediation to take place.

Any party may apply to extend the stay to enable completion of the mediation provided such application is made no later than 7 days before expiry of the current stay.”

How has this arisen?

Does mediation save time and money?

Most experienced mediators can tell you stories of disputes which seemed intractable, but which have settled through mediation. However, there is still a surprising lack of qualitative and quantitative evidence of the real impact mediation has on parties and their advisers not to mention the significant savings of costs for the parties and the court system.

What is particularly telling is that the court system currently has no means of monitoring the impact of mediation on their caseload. If a case settles prior to trial the court may be asked to seal a Tomlin Order, but the court staff have no means of knowing whether the settlement was achieved through mediation or by other means.

For more than a year, leading members of the Association of South West Mediators (ASWM) have been working with the Ministry of Justice and the Bristol Courts to explore ways of collecting evidence which might help to shed light on this issue. As a result, the MOJ has designed a research project which encourages parties and their solicitors to give feedback on how the mediation process has worked for them in referrals made through ASWM.

If you have a case where you are considering mediation and want to take part in the research, please contact enquiries@aswm.org.uk

What next

There is ongoing debate about whether mediation should be made compulsory in a higher proportion of cases. The recent CJC report concluded that such a system would not be unlawful but there still appears to be a lack of confidence is some judicial quarters that mediation can deliver the justice the parties are seeking.

The hope is that if those in a position to influence the use of mediation can see the tangible benefits that the mediators see, then parties, lawyers and even judges will feel more confident in taking part.

 

 


Getting Blood out of a Stone – handling the uncooperative ex-spouse.

Sadly this is not an uncommon scenario; following hotly contested divorce proceedings, an order is made that requires one spouse (for arguments sake, the husband) to make financial payments over a period of time to the other.

Everyone breathes a sigh of relief that the worst of it is behind them, and the parties can start to build their new lives.

But then the first payment doesn’t materialise, so legal advisors are re-engaged, and strongly worded letters sent. These are met with one (or a sometimes all) of the following; denial, claims of impecuniosity, claims of appeal (outside any permissible timescale), or a paltry part-payment.

Discussions are then had about what steps can be taken to force or coerce the ex-husband to comply. After all, it is a court order – people are supposed to do what they dictate.

Often the affairs of the ex-husband are complex, some might say purposefully opaque. If the wealth was merely a large pile of cash in a bank account there would have been no need for delayed, staged payments. In the cases we often deal with there will be a privately owned and operated business, which the experts in the divorce proceedings valued at significant sums, but now that we look at enforcement there is no easy way to realise it.

This is where a Court Appointed Receiver can help. The Court has the power, in relation to any debt, to appoint a Receiver over a debtor’s affairs where a judgement has not been complied with. This is a very draconian step and the Court recognises this by only making such appointments where it is content that to do so will not provide disproportionate damage to the debtor or any
other stakeholders.

However, if you can satisfy the Court of proportionality, the advantage is that it is a very flexible weapon in your armoury. Firstly, it sounds dreadful, so often the threat alone brings about payments. Secondly, it falls outside the regime of the Insolvency Act 1986 and its many revisions. This means there is a huge amount of discretion available to the Court (and therefore the applicant) in respect of the powers and reach of the Receiver.

For example, it is possible to only appoint a receiver over certain assets. This can be helpful where you perceive that a defence levied against the application on the grounds of proportionality might have merit. If in fact one or two of ex-husband’s high-value assets would be sufficient to meet the payments required, you can limit the order to those and ease any potential concerns
about over-reaction.

At the other-end of the scale, it is possible to grant the receiver power over all assets of the ex-husband. This can be particularly useful where the most valuable asset of the ex-husband is his shares in a private limited company. The reality may be that selling those shares out from under him will be hard and realise minimal value but those same shares provide the power to appoint and dismiss directors and hold the board to account over the payment of dividends etc. All of which tends to focus the mind.

Another fringe benefit is that the Receiver is an Officer of the Court and therefore has a position of impartiality when dealing with both sides which can be tremendously helpful to unlock
tricky situations.

We find that this is often the crucial part. For example, in a recent case, whilst we were appointed over all of the ex-husband’s assets, we never actually sold any of them as the reality of our appointment and the effect that it would have on ex-husband’s life and business was sufficient for him to make payment of all outstanding awards, costs and interest direct to the wife, just to get rid of us!

Simon Lowe, Partner

Milsted Langdon


Howden’s December Newsletter and PII articles

December 2021 Newsletter

Premium Matters_ Latest Issues Affecting the Legal Sector

Previous articles and newsletters

Solicitors: PII Renewed? What next?

Solicitors’ PII Quotations: Pre-Acceptance Checklist


The Big Give – Be a LawCare star this Christmas

 

From noon on November 30  to noon on December 7, any donation you make to LawCare via their page on the Big Give website will be doubled from a matched pot of funding they have already secured. One donation, double the impact!

 

LawCare have recently published the largest study on legal mental health in the UK,  Life in the Law , which shows that legal professionals are under strain and at significant risk of burnout. Living and working during the pandemic has also had an impact on mental wellbeing with 59% of respondents indicating they were worried about the additional pressures on their work life balance.

“LawCare have significantly helped in my recovery from depression. I believe I experienced mental health issues almost solely as a result of working in an unhappy environment within law. Thanks to LawCare, I am in a much better place in my journey to recovery and hope that my new role is much better for the new me.”

LawCare want this research to be the catalyst for us to come together as a profession to create change. They want to challenge the stigma that surrounds speaking up about mental health and prevents people from accessing the support that LawCare and others provide.  They want to create a culture in law that puts the law’s greatest asset – it’s people – first.

“As a Solicitor you are almost expected to have the answers.  When I called LawCare I was at a complete loss as to who to turn to and I certainly had none of the answers.  I was overworked, stressed and spent every morning dreading waking up.  I had asked for annual leave which had been refused on the basis of us being too busy despite me regularly working 16 hour days.  I spent my entire first year as a newly qualified Solicitor wondering why I was putting myself through a Training Contract.   The person I spoke to at LawCare took the time to calm me down as I cried down the phone, they explained my options.  When I called LawCare I had seriously thought about committing suicide.  Within minutes of my call LawCare explained that the position I was in was completely unreasonable and suddenly I begun to feel like I had choices and I did not have to put up with the situation I was dealing with nor should I have to suffer for my job.  My only criticism of LawCare is that I did not know they existed sooner.  I truly believe I would not be alive now had I not been able to pick up the phone and speak to LawCare when I did. I am now in regular therapy, working at an understanding, caring firm and I recommend LawCare to everyone I know.” 

Please help LawCare to provide much needed support to legal professionals.

  • £25 can help train a helpline volunteer
  • £40 provides emotional support to one legal professional in need
  • £50 pays for a one hour counselling session
  • £120 provides ongoing peer support to a legal professional in need

You can donate by card here https://donate.thebiggive.org.uk/campaign/a056900001txPKqAAM . LawCare acknowledge donations on their social media channels and send donors social media tiles that they can use to publicise that they have supported the campaign. I

LawCare have been providing emotional support to the legal community since 1997 – and in the lead up to our 25th anniversary next year, they are working on an ambitious strategy to turn the research findings into action to improve the culture in law and expand the support they provide,  be part of making that happen, by being a LawCare star this Christmas and donating to the Big Give campaign.

 


BLS AGM bids farewell to Ben Holt and welcomes Co-Presidents Erin Sawyer and Edd Thompson in progressive move

The BLS AGM was held on 16th November and in a move reflecting that both Erin Sawyer and Edd Thompson will have very young family responsibilities over the coming two years, the two will share the role and responsibilities of President over the two year term. BLS is delighted to be able to support such a progressive change in our 251 year history and we very much look forward to supporting and working with them both in the next two years.

We would also like to say a thank you to Ben Holt, who gamely took on the President’s role for two back-to-back terms during the pandemic – not an easy task or one he anticipated but it allows him to be the only consecutively twice appointed President in our history – an unprecented move or twice- presidented move as he likes to say!

Thanks also to former President Nick Lee who finishes his time on Council after many years of service and also to Jonathan Peacock, our Treasurer who has also stepped down. We thanks them both for their time and effort in supporting BLS over the last few years. We simply could not do it without our volunteer lawyers.

Welcome to our new officers, Rachel Fisher who comes in as Treasurer and Stuart Henry who joins us as Junior Vice President.

You can read Ben Holt’s AGM speech here providing his overview of the last year and  Erin Sawyer and Edd Thompson speeches setting out briefly their hopes for their co-presidency.

L to R Coralie McKeivor, Hon Sec; Stuart Henry, Junior Vice President; Edd Thompson and Erin Sawyer, Co-Presidents; Ben Holt, Immediate Past President; Rachel Fisher, Treasurer

 


Bristol Drug Project – BLS Presidents’ Charity of the Year

BDP opened its doors in the city in 1986, delivering services to individuals, families and communities affected by drugs and  alcohol, which reduce harm, maximise individuals’ potential and promote independence from drugs and alcohol.

BDP has been at the forefront of harm reduction for 35 years in Bristol and nationally, operating one of the first needle exchanges in England, supporting people through detox  and  developing support for a new generation of young people using heroin in the early 90’s before Youth Offending Teams and specialist Child & Mental Health Services were developed.

They remain  committed to meeting the needs of different populations e.g. running  groups for women, older people and people identifying as LBGTQ+ and developing new initiatives to reduce harm including a drug education programme which offers young people arrested in possession of any drug an alternative to a criminal justice disposal. Despite the challenges of Covid, BDP supported 2,807 individual adults and young people during 2020/21, maintaining face-to-face support wherever safe to do so.

https://www.facebook.com/Bristoldrugsproject / https://twitter.com/bdpROADS

“Maximising People’s Potential: Promoting Independence from Drugs & Alcohol”


Bristol Old Vic are reaching out to the legal community to help them realise their upcoming show, The Meaning of Zong.

The Meaning of Zong is the debut play by Olivier Award-winner Giles Terera (Hamilton), an exploration of a watershed moment in the campaign to abolish the Transatlantic Slave Trade which shines a light on modern day Britain.

For a pivotal moment in the play, set during a trial hearing at the King’s Bench in Westminter Hall, writer-director Giles Terera and designer Jean Chan have imagined an incredibly ambitious piece of set design, in which the stage will transform in front of the audiences’ eyes, creating one of the most technically brilliant and emotionally powerful transformations ever conjured on Bristol Old Vic’s stage.

To deliver this moment, Bristol Old Vic need to raise £15,000, and we would love to say that this moment has been made possible thanks to the support of Bristol’s legal sector.

There is a long-standing relationship between our theatre and members of the legal profession in Bristol, and we believe this is a fantastic opportunity for a group of dedicated supporters to gain unique insight the creation of this show, and be part of what promises to be a historic production.

We would love to hear from firms or individuals interested in supporting this production, and in return for support we can offer some unique experiences around the production, example benefits may include:

  • Tickets to a performance of The Meaning of Zong, including an opportunity to meet some of the cast and creative team
  • The opportunity to attend either a dress or technical rehearsal of the production
  • An invitation to be part of the Directors’ Circle
  • Supporters crediting in-print or online as appropriate

To find out more about this exciting opportunity, please contact doug.middling@bristololdvic.org.uk

 


Wessex Searches – Streamlining our commercial offering

click here to enlarge


BLS Awards 2021 – Winners Announced!

Congratulations to all those shortlisted nominees who attended our dinner last night but our most particular congratulations to the winners of the awards!

We hope all our guests had an enjoyable evening and thank you again for all your support of Bristol Law Society in its 250th year!

 


Thomson Reuters 2021 UK Small and Medium Law Firm Market (UKSMLF) report

Author; Gilly Grant, Director, Thomson Reuters Legal Europe

 

Identifying opportunities and embracing challenges for small UK law firms

The last eighteen months have been a tumultuous time for law firms in the United Kingdom (UK). In a profession that is typically office-based, firms had to adjust their standard operational practices and remote working became unavoidable. The regular business of running a law firm changed overnight.

Despite the considerable disruptions to standard law firm operations, many small UK law firms have made progress to overcome some obstacles. However, on the horizon, key issues remain that will need longer-term solutions for these firms to compete.

Five key challenges for small law firms in the market today, are:

  1. Market and revenue expectations;
  2. Increase in client expectations;
  3. Practice area demands and business development;
  4. Technology; and,
  5. Attracting and retaining talent.

Data from the Thomson Reuters 2021 UK Small and Medium Law Firm Market (UKSMLF) report holds insights into these challenges

Market and revenue expectations

According to the UKSMLF report, “the pandemic has caused challenges around ‘uncertainty’ and adapting to new ways of working — from dealing with challenges around IT infrastructure — to seeing fluctuation in workload and challenges with cash flow”. These issues are in addition to themes that flow from last year, such as managing expenses and the impact of regulatory change in the market. Though the competitive landscape remains tough, the biggest threat to law firms is online legal service providers (53%), according to the survey.

Increase in client expectations

Client demands on their law firms are on the rise as clients themselves become increasingly legally aware and business savvy. Over a third surveyed for the UKSMLF report indicate that client expectations are higher over the last year. Under increased pressure, too, from the pandemic — clients are seeking additional support from their external counsel. The respondents of the UKSMLF survey note that clients expect their lawyers to work out of hours, causing the line to be blurred between home and office — and faster response speed is also expected.

Change in practice area demands and business development

The pandemic has brought about some unexpected changes in practice area demand. One of the top areas experiencing a surge is employment law. This was primarily brought on by the UK Government furlough scheme with advice on employment contracts. Other areas that law firm leaders expect higher demands are ligation / dispute resolution; private client; commercial transactions; and, residential, according to the UKSMLF Report. Though, an increase in new practice area demands can off-set the decline in other areas. Agile law firms with access to up-to-date knowhow and research tools can take advantage of the surge in alternative practice areas and keep a competitive edge.

Technology

The increased competition from online legal service providers is seen as the number one commercial threat to small law firms, and medium law firms deem it in their top three. Conversely, only 18% of respondents for small law firms indicate an objective of ‘improving technology infrastructure and security’, with medium law firms slightly higher at 36% and noted as their third most important objective in the next 12 months. There is huge opportunity to promote firm growth with legal technology. By automating some of the more repetitive tasks, reducing research time — this leaves more time for client care and business development. Unsurprisingly, 75% of the survey respondents believe that technology will help them address many of the concerns law firms have in the current market climate.

Attracting and retaining talent

One consequence of the pandemic is what has been termed ‘The Great Resignation’ with a flood of people leaving their job. According to the 2021 State of the Legal Market UK report, 86% of the standout lawyers would like to change the way they work moving forward to embrace more flexible working practices. Most notable is that one-third of the respondent lawyers indicated they would leave their firm within two years if their firm doesn’t adopt more flexible working practices.

The trend seems to be moving away from primarily office-based and paper research tools. The use of legal technology assists with flexible working — and offers benefits from promoting greater efficiency, increased productivity, and improved client response time. Ultimately, the use of legal technology will help keep a firm attractive to the top candidates — and increase retention rates.

 Conclusion

Despite the significant changes in the legal industry, there are opportunities for small law firms to grow and thrive. Traditional business models should be reviewed, updated, and changes implemented to stay competitive in a challenging landscape. Seizing the opportunity to expand practice areas will require investment in on demand and current legal information for your legal professionals. Moreover, staying competitive is paramount with the increase in demand for legal services that is predicted for 2021 and beyond.

You can read the online digital version on Thomson Reuters website here


NEW RESEARCH INTO LAWYER WELLBEING MAKES CASE FOR PROFESSION-WIDE CHANGE

Legal professionals at high risk of burnout, 69% have experienced mental ill-health, 1 in 5 bullied, harassed or discriminated against at work

Legal mental health charity LawCare has today released the findings of its research study Life in the Law. The research into wellbeing in the profession captured data between October 2020 and January 2021 from over 1,700 legal professionals in the UK, Republic of Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey, and Isle of Man. The aim of the research was to take a snapshot of mental health and wellbeing in the legal profession to help inform future steps the profession must collectively take to improve wellbeing in the sector.

The study questioned legal professionals on a range of areas, including work intensity (workload and working hours), and used three recognised academic scales for burnout (disengagement and exhaustion), autonomy (ability to control what, where, how, and with whom, work is done), and psychological safety (ability to speak up with ideas and questions, raise concerns or admit mistakes).

Mental ill-health
The majority of participants (69%) had experienced mental ill-health (whether clinically or self-diagnosed) in the 12 months before completing the survey.
Most common experiences of mental ill-health, experienced often to all of the time, included anxiety, low mood, and depression. Of those who had experienced mental ill-health, only 56% said they had talked about it at work. The most common reason for not disclosing mental ill-health at work was the fear of stigma that would attach, resulting career implications, and financial and reputational consequences.

Burnout

Data from the study suggests legal professionals are at a high risk of burnout with participants aged between 26 and 35 displaying the highest burnout scores, and also reporting the lowest autonomy, lowest psychological safety, and highest work intensity score. Female legal professionals, those from ethnic minorities, and those with a disability also scored higher than average for burnout and lower for autonomy and psychological safety at work. Participants with lower autonomy at work and lower psychological safety at work displayed higher burnout.

Negative effects of current working culture and practices
Being exposed to high levels of work intensity (having a high workload and working long hours) was associated with higher burnout, regardless of how much autonomy a person had, or how psychologically safe their work environment was. 28% of participants either agreed or strongly agreed that their work required them to be available to clients 24/7 and 65% said they checked emails outside of work hours to keep up with their workload.

Sleep
The study suggests that many legal professionals are getting less than the recommended amount of sleep (7-9 hours a night) with just over a third of participants (35%) estimating they had slept between 6 to 7 hours a night over the 2 weeks before completing the survey, a quarter (25%) averaging 5 to 6 hours, and over one in ten (12%) indicating they had less than 5 hours a night. As the number of hours slept per night decreased, levels of burnout increased.

 COVID-19
Most participants were not furloughed (88%) and only 2% were made redundant because of the pandemic. Nonetheless, almost half expressed concern about their job security and 58% were more concerned about their finances during COVID-19. 59% reported being more concerned about increased pressures around work-life balance.

 Bullying, harassment, or discrimination at work
Just over one in five participants (22%) said they had experienced bullying, harassment or discrimination in the workplace in the 12 months before completing the survey. These individuals displayed higher burnout levels, lower autonomy, and lower psychological safety at work, and reported higher levels of work intensity.

What makes a difference to wellbeing?
The most commonly provided workplace support measures were regular catch-ups or appraisals, mental health policies, mental health and wellbeing training, and signposting to external support. Of these, regular catch-ups or appraisals were reported to be the most helpful. Having these in place helped to bolster confidence in personal development and reduce anxiety. Despite this only 48% of those in a position of management or supervisory capacity had received leadership, management, or supervisory training.

Elizabeth Rimmer, CEO of LawCare said: “This research, the first of its kind in this country, provides robust evidence that the legal profession is stressed, tired, anxious, at high risk of burnout and that those working practices in the law that undermine mental health need to change. We want this research to be the catalyst for us to come together as a profession to create that change, to create a culture in law that puts the law’s greatest asset – it’s people – first. The experience of living and working through a global pandemic has had a profound effect on us all and presents an opportunity like no other to reimagine the future and make it happen.”

Full report available at www.lawcare.org.uk/lifeinthelaw

 


HMCTS – Family Public Law Service Mandation

Please see attached letter dated 14th September for full details: FPL Digital Service_External Mandation Letter_v1.0


BLS Annual Awards Dinner 2021 – Shortlist announced!

Congratulations to all the individuals, teams and organisations that were nominated this year with particular congratulations to those who were shortlisted by our judging panel.  The outstanding quality of the nominations, made for some lively discussion and tough decisions for the panel!

Our thanks to the Judging Panel:

Nick Lee, Immediate Past President BLS; Erin Sawyer, Senior Vice President BLS; Sheldon Carlisle, Hays; Roger Isaacs, Milsted Langdon; Matthew Baker, Howden; Zara Nanu, Gapsquare, and HHJ Paul Matthews

Good Luck to all shortlisted candidates on 14th October! We look forward to celebrating with you!

You can download the shortlist here

Law Student of the Year
Sarah Barnes, University of the West of England
Laura Meredith and Eleanor Lewis (Joint), University of Bristol Law Clinic Inquest Team

Support Team Member of the Year
Siobhan Fagan, Senior Digital Marketing Executive, Barcan+Kirby
Catherine Smith, Head of Facilities, TLT

Diversity, Inclusion and Wellbeing Award
Foot Anstey
IP Inclusive
Womble Bond Dickinson

Junior Lawyer of the Year
Sophie Brown, Cook Corporate
Grace Humphries, TLT
India Jenkins, Burges Salmon
Stephanie Pugh, Barcan+Kirby

Legal Innovators Award
Burges Salmon
Osborne Clarke

Chambers of the Year
3PB Barristers
Albion Chambers
Guildhall Chambers

Lawyer of the Year
Robin Denford, Bristol City Council
Joanna Newton, Stowe Family Law
Heledd Wyn, GL Law

Team of the Year
Property Team, GL Law
Stowe Family Law, Bristol
VWV approach/NET

Community Engagement Law Firm of the Year
Burges Salmon
DAC Beachcroft
Irwin Mitchell
Womble Bond Dickinson

Sustainable Business of the Year
Burges Salmon
Womble Bond Dickinson

Law Firm of the Year (Up to 20 Partners)
Barcan+Kirby
Cook Corporate
GL Law

Law Firm of the Year (Over 20 Partners)
Bevan Brittan
DAC Beachcroft
VWV

President’s Outstanding Achievement Award

To be awarded on the night


Insight Legal wins the ILFM Solicitors’ Software Users Award 2021

 

Insight Legal are proud and delighted to announce that we have again been awarded the Solicitors’ Software Users Award from the Institute of Legal Finance and Management (ILFM), a title we’ve had the immense pleasure of winning in previous years.

For more than 15 years the ILFM’s members have been asked for their feedback on their day-to-day use of software and asked to choose their award winners based on a set of questions. Members are asked to give their honest views of their legal accounts software package and how it helps to carry out their duties.

The ILFM currently has over two thousand of members and the range of designations from the award’s survey answers is a mixture of legal cashiers, practice managers, COFAs, senior partners, and sole practitioners.

From the 30 different software packages put forward, Insight Legal were crowned winners with excellent feedback from users in these areas; our team being approachable and exceptional with communication; straightforward use of the software; an outstanding satisfaction rating for quality of helpdesk/support calls/tickets handling; top marks for how the software helps users carry out their role in a compliant way; effective for meeting the regulator’s requirements; and overall satisfaction for the software and the Insight Legal team meeting the day-to-day needs of a user.

On behalf of everyone at Insight Legal, I am absolutely delighted that we have again been announced as winners of the Solicitors’ Software Users Award from the ILFM.

 The ILFM is an organisation that we hold in very high regard, and it means so much to us that the award is voted by the Institute’s members. All of our staff take great pride in knowing that the software we work hard to develop and the service that we provide are well received, and most importantly that we are making a difference for our users.

We are very grateful to have also been winners of the award in past years (2016-2019 – we don’t talk about 2020!) and it’s always been a source of great pride. This year, knowing that the users were surveyed not just on the functionality of their software, but also the quality of the support and their trust in their supplier, makes this year’s award an even greater achievement.

 Deborah Witkiss, Chief Operating Officer, Insight Legal Software Ltd

The Solicitors’ Software Users Award winners are voted by the ILFM’s members, each of whom are asked several questions about the software and supplier they use. The ILFM remains strictly impartial and no recommendations or advice are ever imparted to the members. The ILFM produce a Software Suppliers’ Guide focusing on legal accounts and administration systems and services to all its members as part of its yearly fee.  The aim of the guide is to assist all ILFM members with insights from the research which it carries out; independent and impartial data and information is then collated into the guide, which then operates to help ILFM members choose the software package that best suits them and their teams.

The award will be presented by ILFM Chief Executive Tim Kidd in September 2021.
This highly respected and sought-after award is presented to show that the winners have earned the title “the ILFM Solicitors Software Users Award 2021” based on actual users’ feedback.

Insight Legal is a software firm specialising in Legal Accounts, Practice Management and Case Management system. The software is specifically designed to meet the needs of UK and Irish Law Firms. As a team Insight Legal design, develop, deploy, train, service and support the Insight Legal system for all the firms who use it. The software is entirely its own and we are proudly independent.

www.insightlegal.co.uk

 


BLS’ new Annual Dinner Sponsor LCR provides 5 reasons to Mediate Costs Disputes

 

  1. Resolve costs disputes quicker and cheaper for your clients
  2. Avoid the uncertainty of the Courts
  3. Avoid costs sanctions
  4. You can pick the Mediator
  5. Mediation is confidential

 

            “£250,000 Fixed Fee Arrangement found to be unreasonable and set aside”

Achara Tripipatkul v WH Lawrence Limited [2021] EWHC B13)

            “CFAs unenforceable in High Court critical ruling”

            Global Energy Horizons Corporation v The Winros Partnership [2020] EWHC B27 (Costs)

            “Retainer must state if invoices are intended to be final statute bills”

Iwuanyawu v Ratcliffes Solicitors [2020] EWHC B25 (Costs)

These are three of the recent headlines you will find on our website. Retainers and funding arrangements continue to be challenged, solicitor and client disputes are increasing, there are conflicting authorities on proportionality, and nobody knows what hourly rates will be recoverable.

Costs litigation is probably one of the most unpredictable areas of litigation. The ramifications of your CFA or Retainer being ruled unenforceable do not stop with the matter in dispute. Firms have written-off hundreds of thousands of pounds where a dispute has arisen in respect of their funding arrangements or costs.

Costs disputes can be expensive and time-consuming. Let’s be honest, most Solicitors do not enjoy dealing with costs and would rather be dealing with their own area of expertise. Whatever your issue, and regardless of the size of the dispute, there is an ADR solution which will save time and money.

The sales bit. Our panel of highly experienced costs lawyers and barristers have a wealth of experience and knowledge. We have conducted high value and complex costs litigation across the courts and tribunals for many years. We are experienced in dealing with technical points of law relating to retainers, proportionality, hourly rates and costs management. Whilst we enjoy advocacy and have had much success with the detailed assessment procedure, the modern world requires a modern approach.

What if ADR is not for you? Here are a few more headlines from our website:

            Claimant awarded costs on the indemnity basis after Defendant refuses ADR

BXB v Watch Tower and Bible Tract Society of Pennsylvannia and Trustees of the Barry     Congregation of Jehovah’s Witness [2020] EWHC 656 (Admin)

DSN v Blackpool Football Club Limited [2020] EWCH 670 (QB)

Various Claimants v Mirror Group Newspapers SCCO 4 October 2016

            Defendant deprived of their costs for refusing to engage in ADR

Wales (t/a Selective Investment Services) v CBRE Managed Services Ltd & Anor [2020] EWHC            1050 (Comm)

PGF II SA v OMFS Company and Another [2012] 3 Costs LO 404

Laporte v The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2015] 3 Costs LR 471

The consequences of refusing ADR are significant. It is not in the client’s interests to refuse ADR. The solicitor must act in the client’s bests interest. It will be a matter of time before their retainers are challenged, and negligence claims are brought because solicitors have not properly advised their clients about the benefits of ADR.

ADR includes mediation, expert determinations and early neutral evaluations. If you don’t want us to resolve your disputes, then maybe we can just point you all in the right direction.

Legal costs are a consequence of a dispute and should not be the focus of the dispute. Often there are one or two sticking points which prevent a settlement. These issues can often be resolved through ADR.

Legal Costs Resolutions provides an alternative to resolving costs disputes by way of detailed assessment. Our range of services is designed to eliminate issues between the parties and help achieve a quicker, less expensive and more efficient resolution than would be achieved through a traditional detailed assessment.

Click for ADR

Click for Budgets and Bills

LCR is delighted to be sponsoring Team of the Year at the 2021 BLS Annual Awards Dinner. We wish all nominees the best of luck and look forward to seeing you all on the night.

LCR can offer BLS Corporate members 50% off their first mediation. Its like Dr Pepper- what’s the worst that can happen?

Save the date- Mock Mediation on 16 November. Details to follow.


Bristol City Council – Consultation on priorities deadline 26th Sept

We’re consulting on a new draft Corporate Strategy 2022 to 2027. Tell us what you think about our priorities: https://bristol.citizenspace.com/bristol-city-council/corporate-strategy-2021/