Month: September 2020

Jean-Michel Darrois proposes Clementi-style reforms in France

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first_imgThe architect of Clementi-style reforms of France’s legal landscape visited Chancery Lane this week for a seminar organised by the Law Society’s international division. Jean-Michel Darrois (pictured left), a company law specialist, headed a commission of academics, business people and other non-lawyers which published a review of France’s legal profession in April. The report made more than 60 proposals, including joint training and fee sharing for all arms of the profession, and the creation of multi-disciplinary practices. French president Nicholas Sarkozy said its proposals will be ‘implemented next year’. Darrois said that Sarkozy instigated the review because ‘French lawyers are not sufficiently present abroad’, particularly in corporate work. The meeting also heard about how the reforms might affect the 264 English solicitors working in France, most of whom are in private practice. Darrois recommended a turnover-based levy on the profession to boost France’s legal aid budget, which could increase the cost of operating in France.last_img

Not going private

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first_img Peter Collis, Chief land registrar and chief executive, Land Registry Further to your article ‘Land Registry slashes one in five jobs’, published online on 22 October, I am writing to correct one of your points. You said: ‘Offices in Peterborough, Portsmouth, Croydon, Stevenage and Tunbridge Wells will close and other changes will affect staff in Plymouth and London ahead of the organisation’s planned privatisation’. I would like to point out that our announcement made no reference to the privatisation of Land Registry. The Operational Efficiency Programme report, published in April 2009, stated that the responsibility for the creation, recording and guaranteeing of title to land should remain within government. A further statement is expected in this year’s pre-budget report.last_img

Free publicity for legal services

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first_imgMarketing legal services can be difficult and expensive, so wouldn’t it be nice if there was an easy way to get some priceless publicity for free?How about a way in which you could get several column inches in your local newspaper just for doing your job? And just as an added bonus, as part of this article about you doing your job, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to say how you excel at the legal services you provide? But no newspaper is going to let you get away with that are they? Err, well actually… yes they are and, what’s more, it’s happening all the time. If you follow the business pages of most local and regional newspapers you will find numerous articles in which law firms literally get publicity just for doing their everyday work. They don’t dress it up as that, of course. The articles are all presented along the lines of ‘Law firm Smith & Jones advise WidgetsRUs on takeover deal…’ or ‘Law firm Smith & Jones helps clinch property deal for major client…’, and ‘Law firm Smith & Jones helps with merger …’. I could go on but you get the idea. These articles have long been an important part of newspaper business pages. They’re strange in a way because they’re not really news in the strictest sense. After all, the reason these law firms are helping with mergers or whatever is because that’s what they do. It’s their job and they do it every day. Generally speaking, people going about their everyday business isn’t really news, but it’s treated as such in this case. You could have a debate about whether these articles are more like adverts than news, and in the days when journalists weren’t quite as rushed off their feet as they are now, they did have such debates. Nowadays, reporters rarely have time to worry about such things. They’re just thankful to have it to fill their news-hungry pages. In any case, such issues need not concern anyone wanting to market their law firm. All that matters is that the opportunity is there, so why not make the most of it? The format of these articles is quite straightforward and easy for any firm to use. If you have been involved in a significant business deal involving local companies (or national ones for that matter), then it might be worth sending a press release about it to your local papers and business magazines. You will need approval from your clients, of course, but given that they will get some valuable publicity out of it as well, they will probably be happy for you to go ahead. In fact, you could put it to them as an added value you offer. Assuming your client is happy then your press release simply needs to cover the basics. The intro would be along the lines of examples given above. Perhaps something like, ‘Law firm Smith & Jones has advised WidgetsRUs on the takeover of three of its specialist suppliers…’, or whatever the circumstances may be. This is typically followed up by three or four paragraphs saying how the law firm steered the client through the complex negotiations before reaching an agreement that is good for all concerned. If you’re lucky, you may be able to include a quote from the client saying what a good job you did. You will probably be able to reciprocate by saying how you were delighted to be able to act for such a major company as WidgetsRUs etc. It’s also possible that you will be able to say something about how your firm excels at providing the kind of service involved in the story, whether it be advising on mergers, takeovers, funding or whatever. You will certainly be given more leeway to promote yourself in this kind of article about a business deal than you would in a think piece about a new piece of legislation. For example, you couldn’t write a piece explaining the ramifications of the Equality Act and then slip in a sentence about how good your firm is at dealing with the issues involved. However, you are likely to be able to do so in an article about how you carried out some work for another local company. If anyone thinks this is too good to be true then I would urge them to take a close look at the business pages in their local newspapers and magazines. They will find several examples of this approach. A quick look at the Birmingham Post over the last few weeks will show you what I mean. You may well find you are knocking on an open door when you produce these articles. Many business editors like them because they regard them as reflecting local business life and therefore of interest to local businesses. You’ll find few better ways of getting free publicity. Nick Kehoe is a former television and newspaper journalist. He is now managing director at law marketing firm Media Coverage Visit the Gazette's blogs page for more In Business blogslast_img

ABS: retrograde step?

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first_imgMay I add to the ruminations of Peter Jones concerning alternative business structures? Some 47 years in private practice has engendered within me but one confidently held opinion, which is that the law is vastly more complex than it ever was, and becomes more so by the day. While this perception doubtless arises in part from my own inevitable decline in mental capacity, I pray in aid that generalists are as legal dinosaurs, almost every lawyer now having to specialise to stay on top of his or her game. Even so, experienced solicitors are often challenged by their work and it is hard to imagine it any easier for those less qualified.ABSs might ultimately prove a retrograde experiment, giving rise to increasing recourse to an already under-funded and dysfunctional justice system. Nevertheless, some very positive opportunities are on the way, which many of us will doubtless embrace with confidence and enthusiasm. Chris Kite, Kite Griffin Solicitors, Bracknelllast_img

Luton solicitor’s campaign set to change road safety law

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first_imgA Luton solicitor has been instrumental in an apparently successful attempt to change road safety laws. Mark Wardrop, partner and head of litigation at Pictons in Luton, campaigned for the creation of a new offence of ‘causing death by dangerous or reckless cycling’ after acting for clients whose daughter was killed by being hit by a cyclist. At present the maximum penalty for an offence of dangerous cycling is £2,200. Wardrop lobbied his MP, Andrea Leadsom, on behalf of his clients. She secured a ten minute rule bill last month which proposed that deaths caused by cyclists should be treated similarly to other road traffic deaths. While such a procedure is normally used to highlight issues and does not result in legislation, transport minister Mike Penning has told Wardrop the proposed new offence will be included in a future transport bill, with other measures to update road traffic offences.last_img

SRA reports rise in allegations of abandoned firms

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first_imgThe Solicitors Regulation Authority has seen a ‘marked increase’ in reports that solicitors’ practices have been abandoned, with abandonment reports at their highest level since 2008. The regulator’s latest figures show that its risk unit received 94 reports that a law firm had been abandoned from legal complaints bodies, members of the public and other sources in the three months to 31 March this year. This represents a 45% increase on the number received in the same quarter last year. The figures also show a rise in the number of ‘allegations’ its risk unit received relating to bankruptcy and dishonoured office account cheques at law firms, compared to the same time last year. However, there was a fall in the number of reports made to the SRA relating to the legal and administrative competence of practices. Figures for interventions show that the SRA intervened in significantly fewer firms in the 12 months to 31 March 2011; just 59 firms, compared to 92 in the previous 12 months. However, sole practitioners still comprised around three-quarters of the firms intervened in, and firms with two to five partners accounted for 24%. Although the overall number of firms intervened in fell, the number of interventions on grounds of bankruptcy rose slightly, to nine firms in the 12 months to 31 March 2010, compared to seven in the previous 12 months. In relation to disciplinary proceedings against solicitors, there was a 16% fall in the overall number of orders made by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal in the past 12 months. However, while there was a 5% drop in the number of solicitors struck off the roll (86), and a 32% decrease in the number fined (122), the number of solicitors who were suspended increased by 15%, to 55.last_img

Promises, promises

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The sound of fiddles

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Everybody wins

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The arrangement

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