Shropshire Lawyer October 2022

Page 1

LAWYER SHROPSHIRE

PRESIDENT’S DINNER

WORKPLACE STRESS

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

AUTUMN 2022 THE OFFICIAL JOURNAL OF THE SHROPSHIRE LAW SOCIETY

THOUGHTS ON MEDIATION SHROP SHIR EL AWYER XX


INTRODUCTION

President’s Foreword Autumn 2022

T

his is the last edition of the magazine which I will oversee. I hope that you have found the first three issues interesting and engaging. From our original meeting with the editors of the magazine a number of months ago, having no concept of what the end product would look like or what material we might have to fill it, I am incredibly proud of what we have produced. A magazine is only made successful by its contributors, and this has been a revelation. Who knew that there were so many incredible stories and such literary talent rolling around the Shropshire Hills? If you are interested in contributing to the magazine in the future either as a one off or as a regular feature writer, please do let us know at info@shropshirelawsociety.com. In this edition of the magazine we have writeups of our recent events including the Shropshire Legal Walk up the Wrekin in aid of the Access to Justice Foundation, and the President’s Dinner held on 6th October where our guest speaker was Nazir Afzal OBE. There is useful advice for all of us in a great article by Marguerite Elcock on managing workplace stress. Marguerite used to work for the CPS and also served as deputy coroner for Worcestershire, so she can clearly empathise with the day to day struggles of stress management. We also feature a valuable insight into mediation by Peter McLoughlin, including tips on how you can help to prepare your client even before the first meeting.

Gemma Hughes

Finally there is a wonderful picture of Nigel Redfern who worked for GHP Legal for many years and who recently sadly passed away. Our colleagues are always much more than colleagues and I’m sure the lovely picture painted by Chris Scott will be widely appreciated by his co-workers at GHP as well as Nigel’s family. Whilst lawyers are often caricatured in the press as fat cats and ambulance chasers, and attacked by the government as lefty activists, undertaking this job has shown me that the legal profession is, above all, a caring profession both for our clients and for our colleagues. With all best wishes, Gemma Hughes President

2 SH ROP SH IR E L AW YER


CONTENTS

PUBLISHER Benham Publishing Aintree Building, Aintree Way, Aintree Business Park, Liverpool L9 5AQ Tel: 0151 236 4141 Fax: 0151 236 0440 Email: admin@benhampublishing.com Web: www.benhampublishing.com ACCOUNTS DIRECTOR Joanne Casey

CONTENTS 02 President’s Foreword

SALES DIRECTOR Karen Hall

04 Your Committee

STUDIO MANAGER Lee Finney MEDIA No. 1993 PUBLISHED Autumn 2022 © The Shropshire Law Society Benham Publishing Ltd. LEGAL NOTICE © Benham Publishing. None of the editorial or photographs may be reproduced without prior written permission from the publishers. Benham Publishing would like to point out that all editorial comment and articles are the responsibility of the originators and may or may not reflect the opinions of Benham Publishing. No responsibility can be accepted for any inaccuracies that may occur, correct at time of going to press. Benham Publishing cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies in web or email links supplied to us.

06

08 Thoughts on mediation 10 Workplace Stress 13 Diary of a baby lawyer

DISCLAIMER The Shropshire Law Society welcomes all persons eligible for membership regardless of sex, race, religion, age or sexual orientation. All views expressed in this publication are the views of the individual writers and not the society unless specifically stated to be otherwise. All statements as to the law are for discussion between members and should not be relied upon as an accurate statement of the law, are of a general nature and do not constitute advice in any particular case or circumstance.

06 A portrait of Nigel

08 10

14 Brief Encounters 15 One month and counting…

16 The President, the

Members of the public should not seek to rely on anything published in this magazine in court but seek qualified Legal Advice.

Prosecutor and popping for charity

COVER INFORMATION Photo supplied by Shropshire Law Society.

NEXT ISSUES JANUARY 2023 APRIL 2023 Advertising Anyone wishing to advertise in the Shropshire Lawyer please contact Catherine McCarthy before the copy deadline. 0151 236 4141 catherine@benhampublishing.com Editorial Anyone wishing to submit editorial for publication in the Shropshire Lawyer please contact info@shropshirelawsociety.com.

16

20 Tim’s Top Tips 22 News 29 Legal Twitter 31 Interest

www.shropshirelawsociety.com info@shropshirelawsociety.com

@ShropLawsoc

SHROP SHIR EL AWYER 3


COMMITTEE

Your Committee Hannah Lowe TREASURER Terry Jones Solicitors, Abbey House, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury, SY2 6BH Hannahl@terry-jones.co.uk Jennifer Richards HONORARY SECRETARY PCB Solicitors, Trevithick House, Stafford Park 4, Telford, TF3 3BA Jennifer.Richards@pcblaw.co.uk Robert Adams Wace Morgan Solicitors, 21 St Mary’s Street, Shrewsbury, SY1 1ED robert.adams@wmlaw.co.uk David Raymont MFG Solicitors Padmore House, Hall Park Way, Telford david.raymont@mfgsolicitors.com Jenny Bromwich Shropshire Family Law, 47 Whitehall Street, Shrewsbury, SY2 5AD j.bromwich@shropshirefamilylaw.com Mark Turner Aaron and Partners, Lakeside House, Oxon Business Park, Shrewsbury, SY3 5HJ Mark.Turner@aaronandpartners.com Samantha Roberts FBC Manby Bowdler, Juneau House, Sitka Drive, Shrewsbury Business Park, Shrewsbury, SY2 6LG samantha.roberts@fbcmb.co.uk Danny Smith PCB Solicitors, Cypress Centre, Shrewsbury Business Park, Shrewsbury danny.smith@pcblaw.co.uk Samantha Millea PCB Solicitors, Trevithick House, Stafford Park 4, Telford, TF3 3BA samantha.millea@pcblaw.co.uk Charlotte Nutting Roy Thornes Solicitors, Crossway, 156 Great Charles Street, Queensway, Birmingham, B3 3HN CharlotteNutting@roythornes.co.uk

4 SH ROP SH IR E L AW YER

Lucy Speed Lanyon Bowdler Solicitors, Chapter House North, Abbey Lawn, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury, SY2 5DE lucy.speed@lblaw.co.uk Gemma Williams Lanyon Bowdler Solicitors, The Business Quarter, Eco Park Road, Ludlow, SY8 1FD Gemma.Williams2@lblaw.co.uk Victoria Pugh Hatchers Solicitors, Welsh Bridge1, Frankwell, Shrewsbury, SY3 8JY, v.pugh@hatchers.co.uk Christine Rimmer Hatchers Solicitors, Welsh Bridge1, Frankwell, Shrewsbury, SY3 8JY C.Rimmer@hatchers.co.uk Hannah Harrison NFU Mutual, Mutual House, Shrewsbury Business Park, Sitka Drive, Shrewsbury Hannah.Harrison@nfu.org.uk Zoe Smith Terry Jones Solicitors, Abbey House, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury, SY2 6BH Zoe.Smith@terry-jones.co.uk Katie Hughes-Beddows Aaron and Partners, Lakeside House, Oxon Business Park, Shrewsbury, SY3 5HJ Katie.Hughes-Beddows@aaronandpartners.com Hannah Fynn Aaron and Partners, Lakeside House, Oxon Business Park, Shrewsbury, SY3 5HJ Hannah.Fynn@aaronandpartners.com Nicola Davies Agri Advisor, Glynton House, Henfaes Lane, Trallwng, Powys, SY21 7BE Nicola@agriadvisor.co.uk


COMMITTEE

Meet your Committee Mark Turner Career highlight (so far)? Getting planning permission on appeal for a ‘Grand Designs’ style house using a rarely used national planning policy which says that permission can only be granted for new isolated dwellings if their design is of exceptional quality, is truly outstanding, and would help to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas. Not surprisingly, these sorts of permissions are rare, and the houses incredibly expensive to build, and therefore often don’t end up being built. Favourite quote “don’t sweat the small stuff”. Favourite movie I can’t choose one. Favourites include The Departed, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, and The Shawshank Redemption. Dream dinner guests Robin Williams, Barack Obama, Peter Kay.

Mark Turner What do you enjoy most about your job? I like the variety that specialising in planning and environmental matters brings, particularly the mix of contentious and non-contentious work. In the space of a day, I can be working on a High Court judicial review of a Council’s decision to grant planning permission for a supermarket, negotiating a legal agreement (known as a ‘section 106’) with a Council which they require to grant planning permission for a housing development, and preparing objections to an application for a new public footpath. How did you end up where you are? I knew that I wanted to go to University but wasn’t sure what I wanted to study. I’d watched various legal TV shows and films and thought that being a lawyer would be exciting! I’d also done a few work placements in solicitors’ offices and enjoyed that. So I did a law degree at Cardiff. A local firm then recruited me as a trainee, and needed somebody in their planning team. I qualified there, and after almost a decade, moved to Aaron & Partners earlier this year.

What do you do when you’re not working? I love travelling and exploring new places. I’m going to New Zealand for 3 weeks over Christmas/New Year. In the past few years I’ve been to Australia, and travelled from Bangkok down to Singapore. I also like shorter breaks closer to home; coming up is a weekend in Basel, Switzerland; and earlier this year I ended up in Bilbao, Spain when a trip to Slovakia was postponed. Mark is a Partner in the Planning, Environmental, Energy and Regulatory Team at Aaron & Partners LLP, and advises clients including national housebuilders, developers, landowners and farmers on a range of matters including planning applications and appeals, Lawfulness issues, High Court challenges and Judicial Reviews, enforcement, s106 agreements, highways (s38/s278) and drainage (s104) agreements, footpath and other rights of way issues, village greens, compulsory purchase, and the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).

What did you want to be when you were younger? Some sort of driver; I liked the idea of being on the road all day with the radio on and nobody bothering me! In reality it’s probably quite lonely, and I enjoy working with others. Luckily, there’s a fun team at Aaron’s. SHROP SHIR EL AWYER 5


MOVING PICTURE

A PORTRAIT OF NIGEL Nigel Redfern by Chris Scott

N

igel Redfern, who was the IT guy (and so much more) at GHP Legal for many years, died last year after a short illness. Everybody at GHP loved Nigel. He was kind and humorous and was always – always – willing to help when you were in trouble. He was one of those colleagues who make it a pleasure to come to work. After Nigel passed away, Consultant Solicitor Chris Scott decided to try to depict him in oils, and the result is this vibrant portrait which beautifully captures Nigel’s lopsided grin and twinkle of mischief. Shropshire Lawyer talked to Chris to find out more. SL: How long did you know Nigel? CS: I think we first met in around 1999. He dealt with the first of many office moves. I was a sole practitioner at the time with an office in Ellesmere and was in the process of joining Brown & Lloyd. Nigel was employed by Brown & Lloyd as a general factotum. …basically anything that anyone couldn’t or didn’t know what or how to do was left to Nigel. I think I might be right in saying that I’ve ended up working at every office the firm has had over the years including Ellesmere, Shrewsbury, Oswestry (Willow St) and Oswestry (The Cross), and Llangollen and Nigel moved and set me up every time. 6 SH ROP SH IR E L AW YER

SL: Do you have a particular memory of him that sticks in your mind? CS: I have hundreds of great memories of Nigel. One particular memory that springs to mind is when I was based at the Shrewsbury office. Basically the office existed because of the requirement to have an office within a mile or so of Shrewsbury Court and police station in order to qualify the respective Rotas. Our office was situated on the third floor of a building which was down a quiet street that no-one could ever find, and to get to it you had to go through two sets of locked doors. To say the office was quiet would be an understatement. Nigel loved the occasional trip out to the office to do ‘IT Maintenance’ or whatever, and often he’d turn up in shorts and a colourful shirt. During the day he would pop out fairly regularly for his little treats which consisted largely of sweets and coca cola. His needs were pretty meagre but doing this he was as happy as Larry…! The situation was not greatly dissimilar in Llangollen (except he was rather partial to the ice creams there), and of course he travelled around everywhere on public transport.


EVENT

SL: Were you asked to do a portrait or was it a spontaneous urge? CS: It was really something I wanted to have a go at without any clear objective. I find that it helps in the process of coming to terms with what has happened. Obviously I had to rely mainly on photos and a little bit of memory but good photos of him were surprisingly thin on the ground. The one I used mainly was I think taken during the annual Movember ritual when he had grown a Mexican bandit-type moustache. SL: What was your process? CS: I must have made twenty or more attempts all of which ended up getting scraped off (they were in oils). Some of the attempts ended up with Nigel looking more like Homer Simpson. On one attempt however a cheeky little grin (which was characteristic of him) appeared from somewhere. I don’t think it was anything I tried to do consciously. At that point I pretty much just left the picture as it was. So to be honest what you see now ended up more by luck than judgement.

SL: What’s your art background? Have you trained or do you make it up as you go along? Or a bit of both? CS: Painting and drawing has been a hobby of mine for about 20 years or so. In my case if you do enough paintings you occasionally end up with something half-decent. My father painted a bit and I think that is where I first became interested in art. In recent years I have benefitted from YouTube where there are countless tutorial videos. I guess this is my main source of training. I tend to lean more towards landscapes or cityscapes. In terms of subjects I like to attempt to concentrate on ordinary / everyday day scenes and attempt to make them interesting. I would like to be able paint plein air (ie outside from life rather than from a studio) but haven’t yet got the self-confidence although I’m working on it. SL: Thanks for taking the time and congratulations on a really lovely portrait.

BE PART OF PRO BONO WEEK 2022

P

ro Bono Week takes place this year from 7th to 11th November. Through events and comms it is an opportunity to recognise, showcase and discuss the voluntary contribution of the UK legal profession in giving free legal help to those in need. For the latest updates follow @ProBonoWeekUK on Twitter and Linked In. Events There is still time to arrange an event to take place in or around Pro Bono Week. For exam pie, panel discussions, receptions or launch events, especially jointly with others such as a partner charity. Visit www.probonoweek.org.uk for suggested themes for discussion, and event resources and tips. Once your event is set up, please let laura@ probonoweek.org.uk know. To participate in events organised by others, visit the calendar closer to the time at www.probonoweek.org. uk/events.

Alternatively, arrange an internal seminar at your firm, in order to showcase your pro bona work to colleagues and to encourage them to volunteer. Comms Pro Bono Week is a great time to showcase your firm’s pro bona commitment, and to celebrate your lawyers’ volunteering. ■O n social media or your website, highlight your pro bona work either generally, or with case studies of people/charities/causes helped by your lawyers (use hashtags #WeDoProBono #ProBonoWeek). ■ Post photos/selfies of your lawyers holding the “I Do Pro Bono” poster, or videos talking about why they do pro bono. ■ Join the Great Legal Bake and post photos of your bake sale, and raise money for local advice charities. ■ It’s also a chance for internal messages to inform your colleagues about your pro bona work and encourage them to sign up, or to conduct an internal survey. Volunteering If your firm is not yet involved in a pro bona scheme, Pro Bono Week is a great opportunity to sign up, details are at www.probonoweek.org.uk/volunteering. ■

SHROP SHIR EL AWYER 7


ARTICLE

THOUGHTS ON MEDIATION

PART 1: GETTING TO THE MEDIATION DAY

T

his article is based on the writer’s own experiences and thoughts arising out of a combination of practicing as a mediator for over 15 years and a litigator for depressingly longer than that. Doubtless some readers will have their own views on what follows based on personal experience and their own sphere of practice, particularly those engaged in matrimonial law. However it is hoped that this may be of some interest and use to practitioners, offering as it does views from both sides of mediation practice.

same extent of preparation and particularity). It is seldom the case that an unsuccessful mediation is a complete waste of time and money, as it affords a valuable opportunity to probe the case of the other party. For example, an inability to answer reasonable requests for information might speak volumes as to a party’s ability or resolve to see its own case through to trial, might facilitate effective post-mediation ADR (many cases settle soon after an unsuccessful mediation day), and should certainly assist in any subsequent placing of a Part 36 offer.

The article comes in two parts. This first part covers the steps leading up to attending a mediation, and the second part will cover the mediation day itself.

The debate continues to wax and wain as to the benefits of compulsory mediation, and there are valid arguments both ways. However it may be said that a preponderance of appellate decisions concern parties with deep pockets, and where an unsuccessful mediation does not have the same impact on the litigation budget as it does with those of more modest means. In addition the fundamental starting point in voluntary mediation is the fact that, despite all that has gone before, the parties have now consented to come together in an attempt to resolve their differences: a powerful starting point. There is a material risk of the process being diminished by real cynicism where parties are forced to mediate against their will. Understandably the mediation profession itself relishes compulsory mediation as leading to a material uptick in work.

When to mediate Whilst there can be no doubt that the use of Protocols and other pre-action requirements have emphasised the value of early ADR (in particular mediation) this is not as clear cut an issue as might first appear. There can be no doubt that successful early mediation affords a considerable saving in client time, stress, and costs, but it is unlikely that it will succeed in a vacuum: that is, a situation where either or both parties feel that there is a lacuna in their knowledge of their own and/or the opponent’s case. Prominent reasons for that usually include an unparticularised claim or counterclaim being alluded to, the absence of critical documentation, and the absence of expert evidence. What is clear is that the parties should mediate as soon as they reasonably can (bearing in mind of course that a mediation is not a trial, and therefore does not require the 8 SH ROP SH IR E L AW YER

Being the first to propose mediation should never be regarded as a sign of weakness. It can and should be projected as confidence in a client’s case such as to invite the other party to meet and explain their own case.


ARTICLE

Choosing the mediator The extraordinary efforts that some party representatives go in belabouring their own preferred mediator, at not inconsiderable cost to the client in terms of delay and money, never cease to depress. It is unlikely that client will be aware of the expensive and futile debate being advanced on their behalf. An alternative approach is that in the absence of an early consensus as to who to appoint, simply agree to the proposal of the other side. Provided that the suggested mediator is accredited with a Civil Mediation Council recognised training body and registered, is familiar with the subject matter of the dispute, has the requisite experience, and is not the subject of adverse comment from colleagues and associates, there is no material reason why that should not be done. Reasons for not agreeing to a proposed mediator almost inevitably stem from common sense. Personal experience for the emphatic rejection of a proposed mediator include a recently retired (and wholly unaccredited) Costs Judge who sought to command a fee of £9,000 in a solicitors’ breach of contract/costs case, and in an involved director’s misfeasance case a (again wholly unaccredited) mediator who had all the indications of being a close friend or associate of the errant director. Whether the mediation should be in person or virtual There can be little doubt but that the use of virtual mediation was advanced by the pandemic and that it is here to stay. The experience of mediators tends to be that there is little material difference in success rates between virtual and in person mediations, but it is down to the party representatives to advise as to which is suitable in the circumstances. Virtual mediation is often preferred by commercial clients (in particular insurers) where the inevitable downtime of a conventional mediation day is avoided, and they are free to carry on with other work. In person may be preferred where one or more of the attendees is not comfortable with the technology, or there is the need for face to face interaction. Mediation documentation Mediators are not enamoured to receive the result of a blanket photocopying exercise (sometimes in duplicate), in particular the historical chaff between the parties as the case progressed (‘please reply to our email of X’). It can indicate failings in case management on the part of a representative, and always puts the mediator to wasted time in having to pare out duplicate and/or immaterial communications before being able to identify the material issues between the parties.

correspondence: for example material Protocol letters and any previous offers. If complete agreement cannot be reached (it seldom is) then the parties are always free to supplement the bundle with other items (sometimes for the mediator’s eyes only). 3. Separately, their position statements. These are not skeleton arguments as for a trial or appeal, should never or rarely be more than 10 pages in length, and should be pitched at getting the mediator and the other party to understand what they regard as relevant and what they regard is needed. Prior to the mediation day A mediator should always contact the parties, usually by way of their representatives, prior to the mediation day to ascertain the extent to which the parties and/or their representatives are familiar with the mediation process, and in particular whether there are any particular sensitivities. It is always good practice to again give the assurance that anything that passes in that conversation is confidential. In particularly large and complex cases there can even be premediation meetings aimed at ensuring that progress on the day is as swift as possible. Of particular importance is confirmation: 1. That the party concerned has been advised as to the nature and content of the mediation agreement and will be prepared to sign it. 2. That the party concerned does have authority to enter into a settlement agreement or (frequently the case when dealing with insurers or large companies and there is a limit on the authority) has access to others who are able to confirm such authority. 3. Of the identity of those attending the mediation and that they will sign and be bound by the confidentiality provision. 4. Of the arrangements made for refreshments, and whether there are any material time or other restraints. As mentioned above the second part of this article will look at the dynamics of the mediation day itself. Peter McLoughlin is an experienced solicitor mediator, accredited with both CEDR and CIArb and is a member of a number of panels.

It is therefore suggested that the parties should work together to produce: 1. An agreed statement of facts: this should be wholly uncontroversial, brief, and aimed at getting the mediator up to speed on the core issues and current position in the dispute. 2. An agreed bundle: this need not be a thing of beauty, and should only contain key documents and items of SHROP SHIR EL AWYER 9


ARTICLE

WORKPLACE STRESS “Stress is one of the major reasons employees cite for their absence from work, and stressrelated absence is increasing.”

– Neenan, 2018

I

f you are reading this article, I am certain that you will have experienced workplace stress. I know that I have. The phone rings, a long urgent email arrives, there is a deadline, workload is just too much to cope with, you aren’t being supported in the workplace, the list of stressors goes on. Before I became a Psychotherapist, I had another career for over 20 years. Having gained a law degree I qualified as solicitor and joined the Crown Prosecution Service in1992. I became a District Crown Prosecutor firstly responsible or the City of Wolverhampton and then running the Magistrates Court Teams for Shropshire and Herefordshire. I was always involved in people and victim and witness focussed projects for CPS, leading in The Community Prosecutor scheme, Anti-social behaviour and Domestic Violence initiatives as well as being a youth court and rape and child abuse specialist prosecutor. In all of these roles the impact on real people was always at the core of my decision making. I had a Judicial appointment as Deputy Coroner for Worcestershire and engaged with bereaved families dealing 10 S H ROP SH IR E L AW YER

with sensitive inquests and complex issues of law. I learnt so much about the effects of grief and about professional empathy and understanding. What is stress? Dimensional models of understanding mental distress remind us that we will all face distressing experiences in our lives and that stress is our reaction to feeling threatened or under pressure. Definitions of stress typically fall into three categories. Stress as a stimulus. Stress as a response. Stress as an interaction between us and our environment. Each category is a good match for the three models of stress most often used in research. The engineering model, Suggests that external stressors (stimuli) produce a stress reaction in the individual. Stress is what happens to the person, not within the person. The physiological model focuses on what happens within the person in response to the stress. The transactional model, a blend of the other two models concerned with the relationship between the person and the environment. This article mainly focuses on the transactional model, looking at what causes workplace stress, its effects, and how we cope. That dovetails with The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines work-related stress as: ‘The adverse


ARTICLE

reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them at work’.

There are many potential Physical reactions:

astrointestinal problems G Headaches Fatigue or tiredness Elevated heart rate Psychomotor agitation (e.g., feeling fidgety or restless) Sleep difficulties.

A considerable number of psychological effects:

eightened emotions H Irritability/mood swings Feelings of helplessness or worthlessness Disconnection or withdrawal from colleagues and others Concentration / memory difficulties Problems with decision-making.

And many behavioural issues:

Fight or Flight Stress puts us in to the fight-or-flight response (also known as the acute stress response). The fight-or-flight response is triggered by the release of hormones that prepare your body to either stay and deal with a threat or to run away to safety. The term “fight-or-flight” represents the choices that our ancient ancestors had when faced with danger in their environment. They could either fight or flee. In either case, the physiological and psychological response to stress prepares the body to react to the danger. In the 1920s, American physiologist Walter Cannon was the first to describe the fight-or-flight response. Cannon realized that a chain of rapidly occurring reactions inside the body helped to mobilize the body’s resources to deal with threatening circumstances. In response to acute stress, the body’s sympathetic nervous system is activated by the sudden release of hormones. The sympathetic nervous system then stimulates the adrenal glands, triggering the release of catecholamines (including adrenaline and noradrenaline). This chain of reactions results in an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. After the threat is gone, it takes between 20 to 60 minutes for the body to return to its pre-arousal levels. Repeated fight or flight can affect is physically, psychologically, and behaviourally. We aren’t all the same Stress does not affect everyone in the same way! We need to appreciate that we aren’t all the same.

T aking frequent leave from work (absenteeism) Attending work but producing a low output (presenteeism) Procrastination Making avoidable errors at work, or performing below the usual standard Ruminating about the job outside the workplace Avoiding family/social engagements Having a short temper Tearfulness Eating too much or too little Drinking more alcohol than usual or smoking more than usual Do you recognise any of these feelings and behaviours on yourself or your team? I expect that you do. The statistics According to the National Institute of Statistics in 2019-20, 828,00 workers suffered from work-related stress, depression, and anxiety and 17.9 million working days were lost. An HSE study in 2020/21 found that stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 50% of all work-related ill health Another 2020 workplace stress survey reveals, on a weekly basis, 25-34 year olds are feeling the most work-related pressure.31% of this age group experience work-related stress on a weekly basis. A big cause for concern. As this age group are generally at the point in their working lives where they have chosen a career and are working towards their development. In terms of occupation, higher than all jobs average rate of stress, depression or anxiety were found in Professional occupations such as working in the law. One of the biggest developments in the business world between 2018 and today was the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognising ‘burnout’ as an ‘occupational phenomenon’ in April 2019.

SHROP SHIR EL AWYER 11


ARTICLE

They describe burnout as ‘a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive or prolonged stress that can leave people feeling exhausted and unable to cope with the demands of life.’

You’re shown how to change these negative patterns to improve the way you feel. Unlike some other talking treatments, CBT deals with your current problems, rather than focusing on issues from your past.

There will be people in your firm experiencing stress and burnout now. It could be you.

It looks for practical ways to improve your state of mind daily.

Lead by example if you are a manager or partner. Under UK health and safety legislation and common law, employers have a duty to take care of employees. This includes a responsibility to protect employees from stress at work by doing a risk assessment and acting on it. It’s well recognised that excessive or sustained work pressure can lead to stress. Occupational stress poses a risk to businesses and can result in higher sickness absence, lower staff engagement and reduced productivity. According to the HSE, 17.9 million working days were lost to stress, anxiety or depression in 2019/20. Identify your stress response and that of your colleagues Internally, we all respond the same way to the “fight-orflight” stress response: your blood pressure rises, your heart pumps faster, and your muscles constrict. Your body works hard and drains your immune system. Externally, however, people respond to stress in different ways. The best way to quickly relieve stress often relates to your specific stress response:

What do I do I deliver the practical guidance you need to create conditions that support resilience, and to be able to identify the signs of poor wellbeing using evidence based psychological CBT techniques. Training for partners, training for team managers, training for teams. Practical, commonsense , evidence based psychoeducation, wellbeing, resilience, and mental health focussed you to achieve individual and team stress management and resilience building. Takeaway technique “Bensons One”: The term “Relaxation Response” was coined by Dr. Herbert Benson, professor, author, cardiologist, and founder of Harvard’s Mind/Body Medical Institute. Breathe through your nose. Become aware of your breathing. As you breathe out, say the word “one” silently to yourself. For example, breathe in, and then out, and say “one”, in and out, and repeat “one.” Breathe easily and naturally. This helps to slow down the fight or flight response for a short time. Try it when the phone rings, when that email lands, as you read your case papers … it’s a very simple easy quick technique to have in your toolbox.

O verexcited stress response: If you tend to become angry, agitated, overly emotional, or keyed up under stress, you will respond best to stress relief activities that quiet you down. U nder excited stress response: If you tend to become depressed, withdrawn, or spaced out under stress, you will respond best to stress relief activities that are stimulating and energizing.

Marguerite Elcock is a Shropshire based Psychotherapist, a member of the National Council of Integrative Psychotherapists and is currently completing an MSc degree in the Psychology of Mental Health and Wellbeing. She is a trained trainer, and you can hear her very Friday on WCR101.8FM and she appears on Talk TV discussing mental health.

An evidence based wellbeing strategy An evidence based cognitive wellbeing strategy means you utilising the practical guidance you need to create conditions that support resilience, and to be able to identify the signs of poor wellbeing.

www.insynchypnotherapy.co.uk enquiries@insynchypnotherapy.co.uk 07411 313132

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is the primary treatment for work-related stress and all forms of anxiety. CBT is based on the concept that your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a vicious cycle. CBT aims to help you deal with overwhelming problems in a more positive way by breaking them down into smaller parts.

12 SH ROP SH IR E L AW YER


ARTICLE

DIARY OF A BABY LAWYER

PART TWO

I

t is fair to say that the past couple of months have been nothing short of historical. In the midst of the ongoing cost of living crisis, strikes from every angle and monumental cases such as ‘Wagatha Christie’, we have also suffered the devastating loss of our Queen and a complete change in government.

is something I love or whether the people within the team themselves make the work enjoyable. We must try and remember that a team will almost never remain the same for your entire career and it is important to still enjoy the day to day legal work we do without any external input or influences.

During this crazy time I have completed the second seat of my training contract in clinical negligence and begun my third seat within the corporate and employment departments combined. It is difficult to explain to ‘nonlawyers’ how moving from one department to another within the same firm is essentially starting a completely different job altogether; especially when moving from a contentious area to more procedural work. I had become fairly accustomed to dealing with matters that had been ongoing for several years, communicating with the opponent and remembering to use those precious words ‘without prejudice’ and expecting to wait weeks (if not months) for reports and responses. Now, I am adjusting to a much quicker turnaround pace with matters being dealt with from start to finish within a matter of days and weeks.

I also entered the legal profession with an initial goal of being a criminal barrister…what happened there I hear you ask. Well, I was constantly told throughout my studies and on various work experience opportunities within the courts that this was a bad idea, largely due to the longstanding difficulties faced by professionals within criminal law, to which I shall not go into detail, but it was enough to sway me into civil practice. As I write this, criminal barristers and solicitors continue in their strike action and protest against the government’s proposals on criminal legal aid. I hope that as 2022 comes to an end, so too shall this uncertainty and upheaval within the criminal sector and the next cohort of baby lawyers face a more positive outlook and greater support in progressing into a career in criminal law.

Any third or final seat trainee can also likely relate to that niggling reminder in the back of my brain that I have less than a year to decide on what realm of law to qualify into. Many ‘baby lawyers’ have their heart set on a department from day one but for me that decision is still pending. I think one of the most valuable aspects of a training contract, and something I hope firms will continue to encourage once the traditional qualification route is phased out in favour of the SQE, is the ability to move around into different departments and experience various areas of law you may never have considered previously. The career plans I walked in with have continued to twist and change many times since starting my training contract but most solicitors I have met along the way have reassuringly confirmed that this is completely normal. I entered the legal profession mainly because I was always told growing up that I had an answer for everything and even my own mother would give up when arguing with me…hence a love for litigation. However, the corporate world has always been of great personal interest and luckily I am now able to experience both areas and hopefully compare and contrast the pros and cons of both to come to a final decision. Another consideration trainees must have in mind, is the distinction between the work and the people of the department. When working alongside a great team, it is often difficult to decipher whether the work itself

Aside from the bi-yearly adjustments we trainees have to make, the entire legal system is now subject to change as for the first time in over 70 years, we have a King. I for one definitely underestimated the impact this would have on the legal system, even if only considered from an administrative angle. On the 9th of September I was privy to many conversations within the office whereby paperwork was being amended to reflect the immediate change from Queen to King and I think we are all still trying to remember to use KC instead of QC! I am especially intrigued to see how this new combination of monarch and government will impact the legal system going forward with changes already being announced; I am sure my property lawyer colleagues and friends are already preparing themselves for the impact of new stamp duty rules and thresholds. As I enter the second and final half of my training contract and a new year, I look forward to tackling more challenging tasks and legal issues, making more typical trainee mistakes and ultimately making that final big decision about qualification. Eleanor Howells is a Trainee Solicitor at Lanyon Bowdler solicitors.

SHROP SHIR EL AWYER 13


BRIEF ENCOUNTERS

MR. LITTLEWOOD M r Littlewood sat calmly on a straight-backed chair in his small hospital room. He was pale and gaunt and reminded me immediately of the Grail Knight from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. He looked as if he might have been waiting for me with perfect composure for several centuries.

Running across his chest and up into his left nostril was a slender tube. Seeing my eye fall on it, he explained, in a dry, matter-of-fact voice ‘It’s a naso-gastric tube. The staff bring my meals in a syringe three times a day and squirt them into me. Not an ideal arrangement but it keeps me alive, I suppose’. I wondered why he didn’t just eat? He sighed like a teacher trying to explain long division to the captain of the school rugby team. ‘I’m on hunger strike’ he said wearily. I asked him why he thought he was in a psychiatric hospital. He chuckled humourlessly. ‘Well. They say I have schizophrenia, which is obviously rubbish. I’m on no psychotropic medication, and I have no symptoms whatsoever… I suspect that I’m being held here at the behest of the U.S. Government to prevent me from continuing my work’. I knew I was going to regret it, but I had to ask: What work? ‘Synergic fusion. I can generate unlimited quantities of energy from the Earth’s magnetic field. Perfectly clean, completely free energy. I have all the calculations here…’. Half an hour later, my head spinning with impenetrable algebra, I went to the ward office to look at Mr Littlewood’s notes. At this point in history, notes were still handwritten, and entries fell into three categories: Loopy, Cuneiform and Consultant. Consultant entries looked as if someone had tied a biro to a lobster’s back leg and let it wander around for a bit; Cuneiform notes were written with a ruler (Why? Why??) so that all the letters looked the same and you were never sure if your client had drinking probs or chicken pox; Loopy writing was big and friendly and belonged on a birthday card for an eight-year-old, but you could read it. One loopy entry caught my attention: Antipsychotic Administered as Per Policy. Intrigued, I turned to the Consent to Treatment section of the notes. A person detained under section 3 can be given medication for three months whether they like it or not, even if they have capacity to choose; after three months however the hospital has to either get their consent or seek the approval of a Second Opinion Approved Doctor (SOAD), appointed by the CQC. Mr Littlewood was deemed incapable of giving valid consent, so a SOAD had approved the covert administration of antipsychotic medication ‘up to 150% 14 S H ROP SH IR E L AW YER

of the BNF maximum’. In short, Mr Littlewood was on a shedload of antipsychotics and didn’t know it. Covert medication of psychiatric patients is not uncommon on dementia wards, where patients are confused and it’s really just the path of least resistance. It’s much less common on general psychiatric wards, not least because many psychotropic drugs are available in injectable form, so unwilling patients can be restrained and medicated ‘IM’ – that is, intramuscularly. However not all medications come with a syringe option; sometimes, too, patients are too frail to be restrained safely. This was the case with Mr Littlewood: he had a heart condition which made the staff very reluctant to wrestle him to the ground in four-point restraints. But there was a dilemma here. Mr Littlewood quite logically attributed his lack of symptoms to not being schizophrenic, whereas it was actually due to 150% of the maximum dose of potent pharmaceutical coursing through his veins doing its stuff. In this circumstance, how could he be expected to have ‘insight’? How could he meaningfully consent? More pressingly, he had a Tribunal coming up and he would be the only person in the room who didn’t know the truth. The Tribunal reports were predictably marked ‘not for disclosure to the patient’. Under the Tribunal Rules, the legal representative is bound by this in the short term, but the presumption is in favour of disclosure unless it is likely to cause serious harm, and the judge on the day is quite likely to order disclosure. So if you’re the author of a report and you don’t want the patient to see something, better not to put it in. As well as the Rules, there was also case law. In RM v St Andrew’s Healthcare [2010] UKUT 119, the Upper Tribunal ruled that the patient must be told about his covert medication, even if this damaged his therapeutic relationship with the treating team. Otherwise, Judge Jacobs opined, the Tribunal hearing would be a sham – ‘a pretence of a process’. Sure enough the judge ordered that Mr Littlewood must be told. Told that the staff had been injecting antipsychotic into his stomach along with butterscotch flavoured Ensure Plus; told that the reason for his lack of symptoms was the presence of sophisticated drugs, not the absence of illness. In a cramped side-room I told him the news and waited anxiously for his reaction. He gave an arid laugh. ‘Do they expect me to believe that? Ridiculous!’. ■ Andy Howarth is a Solicitor in the Mental Health Department at GHP Legal solicitors.


ARTICLE

ONE MONTH AND COUNTING…

MY FIRST MONTH AS A TRAINEE SOLICITOR

B

ecoming a trainee solicitor is something I have been dreaming of since I submitted my initial UCAS applications for University back in 2016. Despite years of textbooks, reading cases and answering problem questions, I don’t think anything can truly prepare you for entering the world of work and fulfilling that dream. I was very fortunate that upon securing my training contract, I was asked to paralegal with my firm, MFG Solicitors LLP, in the year leading up to the start of my training contract. On my first day as a trainee, this really helped to calm the ‘first day nerves’ with our induction meeting taking place in a meeting room where I myself have met with numerous clients during my paralegal year. This year, the 1st September actually fell on a Thursday which gave a nice two day induction period before the hard work really began. The induction days provided a great opportunity to meet the other trainees, share our history and bond over a particularly fancy pub meal at a local pub. These days were also used to give us an overview of the firm, provide us with a roadmap of what we could expect over the next two years and allowed the current trainees to share their top tips with us (something we were all exceptionally grateful for). Following our induction days we were placed in our respective teams. I was fortunate enough to remain in the Commercial Property team, with whom I had worked for the past year. This meant I have been able to focus on developing new skills such as my time recording along with developing existing skills including client communication and drafting.

I have been attending client meetings and taking a very ‘hands on’ approach to the matters which has already proved invaluable in preparing me for qualification. Notably during my first month I have been involved in orchestrating three large re-mortgages for an existing client along with preparing a number of smaller scale commercial leases. My first month as a trainee has also been spent trying to immerse myself in the various opportunities which come with working in the legal sector. On Friday 2nd September, the Shropshire Junior Lawyers Division held a networking event at the Peach Tree in Shrewsbury. Being on the committee I was involved in organising this event and ensuring everything went smoothly on the night. I have also been involved in some fundraising activities, in particular, myself and a group of colleagues from the firms’ Telford office participated in the Shropshire Legal Walk to raise money for The Access to Justice Foundation. The variety of work I have been given, as well as the support from my team has been amazing and my first month has absolutely flown by. Between networking, drafting and meetings I can’t believe it is almost October. I am incredibly excited for the remainder of the seat and the opportunities which being a trainee will continue to offer. Rachel Dear is a Trainee solicitor at MFG Solicitors.

SHROP SHIR EL AWYER 15


FEATURE

The President, the Prosecutor and popping for charity

‘T

he BNP wanted me deported and sent home. I’m from Birmingham ladies and gentlemen – please don’t make me go back there.’

Thus Nazir Afzal OBE addressed the 160-plus attendees at the annual President’s Dinner in Telford on 6th October. Nazir’s inspiring speech recounted a long career combatting racism, child exploitation and violence against women, and was one of the many highlights of the evening. Earlier, after a drinks reception and welcome by compere Carl Jones, diners had heard Kate Connor from Shropshire Domestic Abuse Service tell us about the many and varied services they offer to support and safeguard victims of domestic abuse and violence. It was a timely reminder of why we were all there, and encouraged us to dig deep for the balloon raffle and heads & tails games. For those not familiar with the concept of the balloon raffle, players enter by purchasing a pin, with which, at a signal from the compere, they must pop a helium-filled balloon to reveal a ticket on which is written either the name of their prize or the deflating words ‘Bad Luck’. (An early prototype of the game featured tickets with or symbols, but this idea did not survive contact with reality). Disappointingly, the sudden release of 160 bursts of helium did not have the whole room talking like Alvin and the Chipmunks, but there was nevertheless a good deal of hilarity as tickets ricocheted across tables and into glasses of Prosecco.

 

16 S H ROP SH IR E L AW YER

Once everybody had calmed down, President Gemma Hughes took to the mic to sum up the last two years from the perspective of Shropshire Law Society. We hadn’t been able to meet like this since April 2019, she reminded us; and during the long hiatus much had changed. Remote hearings, virtual bundles and working from home had all become routine as we found ways to deliver the same first-class service by new and different means. While politicians vilified us as ‘lefty’ or ‘activist’ lawyers, we carried on with the work of helping our clients and making difficult times less difficult. After the speeches it was time for dancing. Five-piece band Dexter had an unerring knack for playing songs which would get people up and moving. They were brilliant, and by popular demand played what must have been the longest encore since Norris McWhirter was in short trousers. The evening was an absolute delight, and the President and committee would like to thank our generous sponsor TM Group www.tmgroup.co.uk; the many wonderful raffle prize donors; Kate from SDAS; Nazir Afzal; compere Carl Jones; photographer Cliff Parker; and the staff of the Mercure Hotel for making the whole event run like clockwork, long past the stroke of midnight. As one eminent solicitor, leaning heavily on a colleague as they boarded the bus, was heard to comment: ‘we should have an annual dinner every year!’


FEATURE

SHROP SHIR EL AWYER 17


XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Compliance audits & PII:

Hi,I'm Kate

Advice & practical solutions are on your doorstep In a highly competitive world, we think it’s vital to regularly scrutinise our service and look at ways we can give our clients more value, beyond our best-in-class portfolio of digital solutions for conveyancers. In this edition, I’d like to share how strong client relationships, industry connections, and excellent partnerships with regulators has helped Index understand and address two of the major challenges now facing law firm conveyancers.

Index in Shropshire As many of you know, our Index set up of local offices with property information and technology specialists across every region has enabled us to build strong and mutually understanding relationships with our clients and contacts across Shropshire and the West Midlands. This closeness and a regular two-way dialogue gives us a deep, first-hand knowledge of the issues our clients and contacts are facing.

18 S H ROP SH IR E L AW YER

Kate Bould Managing Director Index PI West Midlands

Complete Compliance Solution Every practice has unique challenges but for some time we’ve heard identical major concerns about CQS compliance audits and PII being voiced, by firms of all shapes and sizes. That’s why, just over a year ago, we used our ability, agility, and connections to investigate and understand these common major concerns, to then create our Index Complete Compliance Solution, which in most instances (100% to date) we’re able to provide firms for FREE! If you haven’t spoken to us about this service yet, I urge you to do so, but first, let me tell you how this service came about…

Investigating & Understanding Firstly, we spoke to insurance brokers about increasing PII premiums. They told us this was down to conveyancing being behind other sectors for technology and cyber security, fewer insurers in the market, and higher numbers and values of claims. To put the brakes on further increases, the brokers advised us, firms need to present themselves as lower risk by utilising risk management support, implementing robust AML policies and procedures and cyber security measures. Our next step was to contact The Law Society to understand why the CQS was changing, the answer was simple; pressure from lenders, the SRA, HM Land Registry and PI providers meant CQS compliance needed to be more rigorously tested and independent audits were the answer. From May 1 2022, onsite CQS audits started and all Law Society CQS-accredited practices must meet the Core Practice Management Standards (CPMS).

The Obvious Conclusion It was clear the two major concerns for firms were linked. Implementing best practice across policies and procedures would enable firms to pass audits and benefit their PII.


XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The Law Society & Index Knowing we work with all the regulatory bodies and liking our business set up, The Law Society realised our expertise could help the CQS achieve its goals of driving and improving standards. Index was invited to be a formal partner on the CQS programme, supporting firms to meet and maintain the standards, by providing a pre-emptive service & solution.

Client Case Study Service:

Index Complete Compliance Solution

Date:

October 2021

Actions:

Following the firm’s Free Compliance Health Check, the report recommended the implementation of Digital AML (Credas) and Source of Funds (Armalytix) solutions, which we implemented.

Outcome:

Free Compliance Health Check Working with the CQS Lead Assessor, our CQS Compliance Health Check service provides the advice, guidance, and practical solutions law firms need for CQS accreditation.

In April 2022, the client saved 9% on their PII renewal (nearly £7,000) versus their previous year’s premium. Achieved as a direct result of the Index Complete Compliance Solution service. A great result all round!

It measures your business against all 40 Core Practice Management Standards (CPMS May 2022 version). During the Health Check, the assessor liaises with your staff, conducts file reviews over the course of a day, before producing a report with recommendations.

Ongoing Advice & Support We then continue to provide ongoing support, starting with help to implement the assessor’s recommendations. This might include: An AML solution to HM Land Registry’s Digital ID Standard to give you ‘Safe Harbour’ from recourse by Land Registry; Advice and support for you to attain cyber security accreditations; And advanced notification of any compliance and regulatory changes.

Your Benefits

Until Next Time… If you’d like to talk to me about our Index Complete Compliance Solution service and how we can make it free for you and your firm, contact me directly: e. katebould@indexpi.co.uk t. 0121 546 0377

Implementing this solution will help mitigate against rises in your PI insurance premiums

I look forward to speaking to you soon.

Our consultancy partners will help you demonstrate compliance to your insurers

Best regards

This solution ensures your firm poses the lowest possible risk of attracting a claim by implementing the highest recommended standards

You’ll increase your confidence and the probability of your firm passing the official audit when it inevitably comes around

Follow us

linkedin.com/company/index-wm twitter.com/indexpi_wm

www.indexpi.co.uk

d l u o B e Kat

Best regards

linkedin.com/company/index-wm

d l u o B e at K

SERVICE, TECHNOLOGY & COMPLIANCE

SHROP SHIR EL AWYER 19


ARTICLE

TIM’S

TOP TIPS TIM WILDERSPIN, HEAD GARDENER AT TERRY JONES SOLICITORS, LOCAL HISTORIAN AND INEXHAUSTIBLE FOUNT OF FACTS, ANSWERS READERS’ QUERIES ON GARDENING AND ANYTHING ELSE THAT ARRIVES IN HIS POSTBAG. YOUR SAVINGS MAY BE AT RISK IF YOU FOLLOW HIS RACING SELECTIONS.

20 SH ROP SH IR E L AW YER


ARTICLE

Dear Tim, Should I cut my lawn in winter? Mo Mowlem, Craven Arms Yes you certainly can cut your lawn in winter. As long as it’s a dry and frost free day you can whip over your lawn on a high cut without doing any harm and it will make your neighbours green with envy. Keep off the lawn in times of frost and wet weather but by all means get ahead of the game and mow when dry. Dear Tim, What are the best plants for pots? Herbie Bush, Asterley Pots are a great way to add instant impact to a garden. They can be displayed on different levels, moved around, or be more permanent features. Hebes, skimmia, yucca and euonymus plants are all evergreen but don’t forget all the beautiful vibrant coloured bedding plants that will give you a spectacular display, you’ll be the envy of your neighbours. Alternatively grow herbs in pots and play at being James Martin by throwing them on your bbq offerings. Hostas are another great pot plant, dormant in winter but boy do they make a great impact bursting into life in spring giving joy until autumn. Try adding heucheras and bleeding heart to make a stunning combination but be careful, filled pots can be extremely heavy, you don’t want to do yourself a mischief! Dear Tim, I want to plant a tree for the late HM Queen. Can you recommend something appropriate? Roy Alwood, Acton Burnell

you start cutting you realese that beautiful calming lavender smell. This is a job often ignored and if it is, you will find your lavender will become woody and ungainly, flowering sparsely and looking tatty next summer. Trim them annually in late summer just after flowering, remove all spent flower stalks and about 1 inch of leaf growth, this will keep it in good stead for next year’s flowering. Lavender is also known as the 'herb of love,' and was used by women to entice men long before the times of bottled fragrances! It was also used in ancient times in mummification process so if you’re thinking of mummifying your budgie give lavender a go. Dear Tim, Is it true that the Royal bees were told of the Queens death? Hector Nectar, Ackleton “Telling the bees” is a rather strange and ancient tradition, apparently if bees are not told about important family news such as births, deaths, and marriage, it is said bees could stop producing honey, desert their hives, or even die. Following the Queen’s death, it was reported that Royal beekeeper John Chapple went to Buckingham Palace and Clarence House where the Queen’s hives are kept to inform the bees of her death. He also asked the bees to be good for their new master, King Charles III. Let’s hope this ancient tradition continues to bee!!! ■

What a fabulous idea. Planting a tree to celebrate the life and reign of our late Queen. I would suggest a Mountain Ash as they provide beautiful May blossom and produce colourful and spectacular berries like jewels that hang on the tree long after the leaves have fallen allowing birds an abundant feast. And what about a crab apple? Again beautiful blossom with an array of coloured fruit. These are good for small gardens however the Queen unlike us was not restricted by size. How I would love to plant a large oak in my garden but my neighbours would not!! Another great tree for small gardens is the tree of life itself that Old Testament favourite the olive tree so popular now in Britain with our mild winters. Plant in ground or in a pot. Dear Tim, When is the time to cut lavender? Prue Nearly, Much Wenlock Wow great question this is one of my favourite jobs and probably one of the most relaxing in the garden as when SHROP SHIR EL AWYER 21


NEWS

Did you hear about the Wrekin Wramblers?

S

he counted them all out, and she counted them all back. Well actually not back. In fact the President was in the Huntsman pub halfway through her lasagne before she said ‘Do you think everyone got down all right?’ By that time it was dark and drizzly and the thought of going back up the Wrekin with torches and tracker dogs didn’t hold as much appeal as another drink and maybe a look at the dessert menu. We began in bright sunshine and brighter spirits, gathered in the Wrekin car park for a pep talk by Jackie from Shropshire CAB. Jackie told us about the CAB’s work of advising people on vital issues like benefits and housing, and how the Access to Justice Foundation funds this work where Legal Aid and Local Authority funding fall short. Only 11-12% of CAB work nationally is covered by Legal Aid, so there’s a massive gap to be filled. Inspired by this thought, we set off. Jackie, 23 lawyers and a dog named Boo. The thing about the Wrekin is that, as Winnie the Pooh would say, it’s very up. You start off confidently striding and thinking ‘this isn’t too bad’, and by the time you get to the first turn you’re thinking ‘My sweet God will this never end?’ And then to add insult to personal injury, as you toil wheezing step by tortured step towards the ever-receding summit, fit young mountain-bikers with calves like brioche keep zooming past, spraying gravel at your knees. Nevertheless, we persisted, and when we did eventually straggle to the top, the view was glorious. The clouds were

22 SH ROP SH IR E L AW YER

by Metro Goldwyn-Meyer, shafts of evening sun burnished the golden fields and the Shropshire hills shone blue in the limpid distance. You half expected the Mike Sammes singers to strike up a hymn and Charlton Heston to emerge from behind a rock holding the Ten Commandments. Sadly the only tablets we had were some ibuprofen and a couple of paracetamol, so we chugged them down with our bottled water and teetered back down the hill, wincing as a whole new set of muscles protested. While we crunched and skidded on the treacherous gravel, evening began to turn to night. The shadows deepened and a thin drizzle fell. We trudged on through the damp existential gloom with only one sustaining thought: The Pub. As any real athlete will tell you, the ‘warm-down’ is an important part of training, so once we reached level ground, we followed the most up-to-date medical advice by repairing to the Huntsman for hot food and brimming pint glasses of muscle-relaxant. It may seem curious that the warm-down actually lasted twice as long as the walk but, hey, you can’t argue with science. Now for my Radox bath and some more of those paracetamols. At the time of writing, we have raised over £850 for the Access to Justice Foundation with MFG Solicitors being crowned the top fundraising team. Thanks to everyone who sponsored us and everyone who took part. Freakin’ Wrekin heroes one and all.


NEWS

Jemma Land

Rebecca Beaman

Law firm boosts Contentious Trusts and Probate team with two new hires

A

aron & Partners has appointed Jemma Land and Rebecca Beaman in response to growing demand. The Contested Wills, Trusts and Estates team at Shrewsbury-based Aaron & Partners has strengthened its department with two new hires. Solicitors Jemma Land and Rebecca Beaman join the team – which has been recognised as one of the UK’s best – and will focus primarily on matters related to trust and probate disputes following increasing demand from clients. Jemma joins Aaron & Partners with more than 10 years’ experience in the industry. She’s an associate member of The Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS) having completed the specialist diploma and has previously worked with law firms Lanyon Bowdler and PCB Solicitors, specialising in trust and probate dispute as well as broader commercial dispute resolution. Rebecca links up with the firm after spending more than five years with Hatchers Solicitors. She brings a range of experience in trust and probate dispute work as well as general litigation and is now enrolled with ACTAPS to take on its three-year qualification. Jemma said: “The quality of work and the quality of service is something that really attracted me to Aaron & Partners. The solicitors here are very highly regarded, and this is a brilliant opportunity for me to build on my experience so far, working with some of the best professionals in the country”. “Having grown up in a farming family I also have first-hand knowledge of some of the issues that can affect those working

in agriculture. Shropshire is a region where that’s especially relevant with significant farming interests, so I want to ensure I can use my experience to help those clients as well as others”. Rebecca added: “I’m delighted to join Aaron & Partners. I’ve been aware of the firm for some time, and it felt like the right moment in my career to embark on a new challenge. “I’ve always been particularly interested in trust and probate dispute work as I think it’s a fascinating area of law, and with this new role I’m looking forward to further specialising and supporting clients.” Aaron & Partners is highly regarded for its work around contentious trust and probate matters. Earlier this year the 17-strong Wills, Trusts and Tax team earned a ‘Band One’ rank for the second consecutive year from Chambers and Partners, with partner James Wallace and Senior Associate Vlad Macdonald-Munteanu both listed in its coveted High Net Worth Guide. James Wallace said: “Both Rebecca and Jemma are wonderful additions to our team, each bringing different experiences and perspective to the department that will really benefit our clients. “We continue to see growing demand for services around trust and probate disputes, so it was important for us strategically to ensure we continue to meet that and deliver the same best-inclass service we’ve built our reputation on”. “We’re expecting that demand to continue increasing as more people seek professional support to manage complex probate issues around trusts and estate management.” SHROP SHIR EL AWYER 23


ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE

Leap appoints Gareth Walker as UK CEO – Gareth discusses the opportunities and challenges involved in his first six months, leading Leap UK

L

eap, the largest independent provider of software to law firms worldwide, has recently appointed Gareth Walker as CEO of Leap in the UK and Ireland. Previously Chief Operating Officer of Leap for five years, Gareth has extensive experience of the Leap business and the industry. He has worked in legal software for over 15 years and has been with Leap since they opened their first office in Twickenham, London. He has seen the business grow from the inside and has experienced firsthand the market changes over the years. Gareth’s first months as CEO have come at a turbulent time for the profession. Law firms are juggling the challenges of hybrid working and retaining and attracting talent in a competitive recruitment market. All this whilst maintaining an affordable yet profitable service. Gareth is, however, very positive about the future for the law firms Leap serves. Gareth comments: “The current business challenges faced by law firms, such as the scarcity of talent in the market, the rise in global costs and the need to adapt successfully to hybrid working are very much supported by Leap solutions. By automating daily tasks, improving cash flow and mitigating risk, Leap enables law firms to be more profitable and productive without the need for more staff or impacting customer standards. Using the right technology partner will support law firms to future-proof their practice, counter the effects of inflation and help to grow the business.” He adds, “Law firms are incredibly resilient through tough times. When things are tough, law firms need to embrace software even more. This enables them to continue delivering the same level of services with lower overheads as well as using less people. For us this means driving innovation in everything we do. We are passionate about how we do that.” In terms of the business landscape, the market and the importance of technology, Gareth has seen some key changes in his time at Leap and notes important constants. “I’ve been with Leap since we arrived in the UK in December 2013 and it has been an incredible journey. There have been many changes.” Gareth shares the following thoughts and observations as CEO: On the business landscape, the market and the importance of technology and of constantly innovating: In terms of the business landscape, we are faced with global political, economic and societal challenges caused by the war in Ukraine and Covid, however we’re continuing to grow rapidly. Law firms are resilient in tough times and turn to software to provide solutions to business challenges. There is an understanding that you’ve got to continue to drive and improve to survive and thrive in a challenging business climate.

It’s well known in the industry that we invest every year in the innovation of what is already the most widely used product in the market. There are always opportunities, and these will come from continuing to drive development. We drive innovation in terms of investing in our products and innovation in our services, thinking about new ways that we can help our clients. Our customer success team constantly questions how we can improve. On the changes, opportunities and challenges facing law firms and the importance of a partnership approach: Law firms’ adoption of technology has developed significantly in the last 15 years. The firms have a lot more knowledge when they go out to market now. The options are numerous, but law firms know there is more guidance available. Many years ago law firms would reluctantly accept the use of technology, now they want to embrace it. That’s probably one of the biggest things I’ve seen. This makes the onboarding process easier, however customers are quite rightly more demanding of their technology partners. The relationship is not just as a supplier but as a partner now and therefore the role of our Leap Practice Productivity Advisors is so crucial. The Leap partnership approach and the development and evolution of Leap Practice Productivity Advisors is critical to ongoing success. If we understand our law firms and their business processes and what they’re trying to achieve, then we can train their people in the right way. Once trained, we help them manage their staff training and processes. Our customer service plays a key role in this. It’s not just training individuals, it’s working with a law firm, top down, to help them embed those processes and skills and being able to do that in a remote working setting. We proactively want to spend time with our customers to see how they are using the software and suggest how to adapt business processes for maximum effect. We are a very proactive business. Ultimately, it’s about supporting law firms to use technology to mitigate challenges and achieve business success. On the Leap innovation ethos and future proofing for ongoing success: Innovation for us is a state of mind. We really have an evolution ethos here. We continually strive to be the best. The moment you stand still and you stop, you fall behind. And for us, it is about continually driving improvement in every single area of the business and every single aspect of what we do. We have a day one mentality. Today is day one. What do we know today? And what do we do to move forward? That’s something we drive a lot, and our business structures are fully designed around making sure that we do that. Gareth is confident of the continued success of Leap and of the law firms that Leap serves.

Effective use of cloud-based technology provides solutions to current business challenges, facilitating vital remote and hybrid working practices for law firms and reducing the headcount needs, overcoming the current skills gap caused by a scarcity of talent.

“We will survive and thrive because of our problem-solving approach. Our focus on technology development and our partnership approach to working with law firms helps future proof Leap and the businesses we serve, ensuring continued evolution, relevance and value in an ever-changing world.”

We have seen amazing advancements in the technology available in the market, and Leap has been a clear driver in that. The technology now available to law firms is just incredible. There are new players and innovations emerging constantly.

About Leap Leap Legal Software has been helping small to mid-sized law firms to become more efficient and profitable globally for more than 25 years. www.Leap.co.uk

24 S H ROP SH IR E L AW YER


NEWS

Paddling lawyers raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support

Aaron & Partners staff braved the waters of the River Severn in support of Macmillan at this year’s Coracle World Championship.

H

undreds of pounds were raised for the charity as leading Shrewsbury law firm Aaron & Partners participated in the Coracle World Championship.

Staff from leading Shrewsbury law firm Aaron & Partners braved the waters of the River Severn in support of cancer charity, Macmillan, at this year’s Coracle World Championship. The event saw the four-strong Alice in Wonderland-inspired ‘Aarons in Wonderland’ team paddle bravely in the annual relay race, which returned after a two-year COVID-enforced break, raising over £565 in sponsorship. Trish Randles, a Real Estate Partner at the firm, boosted the fundraising effort after supplying colleagues and clients with bags of homemade dog biscuits, adding another £150 to the final total. With 48 teams consisting of four people each, the annual fundraiser makes a significant contribution to Macmillan’s work across the UK and attracted plenty of spectators on its return this year. During the event, every team must paddle a traditional coracle boat, in a relay race across the river, with the winners crowned world champions.

“As a law firm with a focus on supporting our local community, we are proud to be involved in the event and have competed many times now. Our staff really enjoy taking part and it was fantastic to see so many teams getting involved and turning out to support the charity.” Zoe Lloyd, an Associate in the Corporate and Commercial team; Lauren Sanders, a Paralegal in the Family team; Phoebe Bishton, a Paralegal in the Corporate and Commercial team, and Jonny Edwards, Marketing Manager at the firm, made up the ‘Aarons in Wonderland’ team who took part in the race. Despite taking an early lead in their heat, unfortunately, any chances of victory were scuppered during the first relay when one of the team was accidentally bumped off their raft and into the water by another competitor. “This event is all about having fun so despite us not coming close to winning, we all had a brilliant day,” said Zoe. “Raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support is what this is all about and we’re pleased to have raised more than £700. After a two-year gap, it was lovely to see the event back and so many people out to support it.”

Stuart Haynes, who heads up the Shrewsbury office at Aaron & Partners, said: “The Macmillan Coracle World Championship is an excellent way to raise money for a very good cause, but it’s also great fun for competitors as well as spectators. SHROP SHIR EL AWYER 25


NEWS

Lanyon Bowdler solicitors

W

e congratulate three of our employees who have qualified as solicitors. Former trainees Abi Croft, Emma Cousins, and Laura Jones qualified as solicitors in September. All three have stayed with the firm on qualification: Abi has taken up a role in Corporate & Commercial, Emma in Residential Property, and Laura with the Family team. Well done to the three of you, we look forward to seeing your careers develop and blossom in your new roles within the firm. We have a newly appointed partner within the firm. With effect from 1 October 2022, Phil Roberts become a partner. Phil works as a solicitor in the Personal Injury team at our Hereford office. He qualified in August 2004 and joined us in September 2017, as our first Hereford based personal injury lawyer. Phil has become a valued and respected member of the team and we congratulate him on his promotion. Congratulations to Toni Reeves on qualifying as a Solicitor. Toni has worked within our Court of Protection Department since February 2020, she joined us as a Legal Support Assistant, going on to qualify as a Chartered Legal Executive in July 2022 and was admitted as a solicitor in August. Toni specialises in Court of Protection and mental capacity matters and her experience includes both lay and professional property and affairs deputyship applications, lay health and welfare deputyship applications, creating Personal Injury Trusts and supporting senior members of the team with the ongoing management of professional deputyships.

26 SH ROP SH IR E L AW YER

Welcome to our five new trainees In September we welcomed five new trainees to the firm as they start the next stage of the legal careers. Sarah Gallagher whose first seat will be in Clinical Negligence. Stephanie Merrill moves from her role as a medical legal assistant to take up a training contract, with her first seat being in Clinical Negligence. Afsarah Haque-Hassan and Leanne Jones both join the Private Client team for their first seats. Emily Mouland changes from her previous role with us as a paralegal and takes her first seat with the Court of Protection team. They join Alys Bratch, Eleanor Howells, Miriam Homer, Rachel Tomley, Savhan Lyall and Sophie Burgoyne who are already training to be solicitors at Lanyon Bowdler. Very best wishes to Andrew Evans for his retirement Andrew retired completely from the firm on 30 September 2022. We congratulate Andrew on his very long and exemplary service, he joined the firm on 11 September 1989, 33 years ago. His association with the firm as it is now goes back even further; he started his career as an article clerk with Morgans back in 1978 and after that was with Beaumont Smith & Davies for 7 years, becoming a salaried partner there, before leaving to join Lanyon Bowdler. Andrew has been a partner for 30 years and has been department head, board member, and senior partner. He has contributed so much to the firm in those roles, as well as in his legal work. He is widely respected by his clients, by the members of the legal profession who know him and by allied professionals as a superb commercial property lawyer.


ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE

PI Awards We are thrilled to announce that we’ve been shortlisted for two categories at the upcoming Personal Injury Awards 2022. Clinical Negligence Team of the Year and Beth Heath has been shortlisted for Clinical Negligence Lawyer of the Year. The Personal Injury Awards is the pinnacle of professional excellence, showcasing the best and brightest law firms, lawyers and service providers that the sector has to offer. The event has been honouring excellence within the personal injury sector for 15 years and it is a superb achievement to be recognised as a finalist. The awards ceremony takes place on 24 November in Manchester.

It is good news for the Employment team who have moved up to Tier Three and all other departments have kept their previous rankings. We’re pleased to see that, for the first time, Court of Protection is ranked as a separate discipline, this is a national ranking so represents a great achievement for the team. The complete summary of all our departments can be viewed here. Podcasts The Legal Lounge continues to be a very busy place, after two successful seasons we are now on season three. If you have not visited yet you can do so here: The Legal Lounge (lblaw.co.uk), we talk about many aspects of law in England and Wales. The episodes will focus on human stories and scenarios that could affect us all. The Legal Lounge is interactive and allows for you to request subjects or scenarios to be discussed. We'll be covering family law, personal injury, clinical negligence and plenty more.

The Legal 500 Following the results of The Legal 500 2023 edition, we are delighted to have maintained our Tier One ranking for Agriculture & Estates in the West Midlands and Tier Three in Wales, our Clinical Negligence team also stay in Tier One.

Shropshire Legal Walk. We were delighted to be involved with The Legal Walk which took place on 15 September. Fifteen members of staff from Lanyon Bowdler joined the Shropshire Legal Walk on The Wrekin, in aid of the Access to Justice Foundation.

Silver decoration for Quill’s software in ILFM’s 2022 awards

L

aw firm professionals have spoken out about their legal accounts software, earning Manchesterheadquartered cashiering experts Quill the esteemed accolade of ‘ILFM Law Firm Software Users Silver Award 2022’.

Tom Wormald, Quill’s Managing Director, comments: “Everyone at Quill is delighted to retain our ‘silver’ status for 2022. Being based totally on the views of actual software users, it’s reallife evidence that our software development focus is worth the continued concerted effort and ongoing financial commitment.

In its 16th year, the Institute of Legal Finance & Management (ILFM) once again invited its 2,000-strong membership to feed back on how their legal accounts system helps day-today performance.

“From an accounting perspective, there have been many notable enhancements and additions in recent times. To quote just a few examples, our software now hosts bank account and soft code verification, an online payment portal and two-factor authentication, all designed to strengthen financial security, accelerate cash flow and protect client monies. There’s nothing more important to heavily regulated law firms than that.”

Legal cashiers, practice managers, compliance officers, senior partners and sole practitioners answered a series of software-related questions, honestly and confidentially, on topics spanning compliance and efficiency features to supplier support and third-party integrations. Impartially, the ILFM then selected its podium winners based on results.

For more information on Quill’s legal accounts software, please visit: www.quill.co.uk/legal-software/legalaccounts-software.

SHROP SHIR EL AWYER 27


ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE

Digital AP1s herald a new era for conveyancing industry

K

eeping up to date with changes in practice as well as the law often feels like a full-time role for conveyancers. This month, digital AP1s become mandatory and, while some may not have embraced this enforced digitalisation, I believe it heralds what should be a new era of digitalisation for the industry. X-Press Legal Services is at the forefront of digital advances. While personal relationships are key to ensuring we fully understand the needs of our clients, product digitalisation is crucial to helping them stay on top of industry changes, streamlining workloads and freeing up precious time to strengthen client relationships. This, combined with rising criminal targeting of legal transactions, is why we recommend conveyancers utilise digital tools, not just for AP1s at the end of a property transfer, but throughout the entire transaction process. Our Intelligent Conveyancing Online System (ICOS) provides clients with an online ordering platform accessible 24/7. It provides a wraparound service including residential and commercial searches, pre and post completion services, plus due diligence and compliance products. What’s more, the entire system is protected by the highest levels of cyber security, ensuring all data remains secure throughout.

28 S H ROP SH IR E L AW YER

For us, this is the future of the industry, making the completion of efficient and accurate property transactions easier than ever before. Our clients enjoy the best of both worlds – the knowledge that we are always just a phone call away for local expertise, and the peace of mind that every transaction is securely processed online. Regular training seminars, both online and face to face, are another way in which we support our clients. These provide vital overviews of industry changes and the tools available to manage them. We look forward to seeing everyone who has booked onto our next event on 2 November at Hencote Vineyard with Stephen Desmond, contributing editor to Butterworths Property Law Services.

Hencote

For future training events, take a look at the X-Press website: xpresslegal.co.uk/events. ■ David Mermod X-Press Legal Services DavidM.1365@xpresslegal.uk 0330 159 5365


LEGAL TWITTER

LEGAL TWITTER

SHROP SHIR EL AWYER 29


ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE

Poppy’s second chance at love

P

oppy’s owner first contacted her local rehoming centre and said she needed to hand Poppy, a four year old Chihuahua cross, over to us as she had sadly recently been given a diagnosis that she had a terminal illness. She was advised to apply for a free Canine Care Card and nominate a Dog Guardian; someone she trusts to sign over the care of Poppy to Dogs Trust should she need it. She’d then be able to spend the most time possible with Poppy and feel reassured that she’d be given the best possible care at Dogs Trust when they could no longer be together. When Poppy’s Dog Guardian contacted us to advise that her owner was now receiving palliative care and that they needed to activate her Canine Care Card, Poppy was collected by Dogs Trust the very next day. After a vet and behavioural assessment we decided the best place for Poppy would be a loving foster home. We were able to advise the foster carers of all the information we’d been given by Poppy’s owner regarding her life, diet and routine to enable us to make this transitional period as stress-free as possible for Poppy. Within almost no time, we were able to find very affectionate Poppy a lovely new home for her second chance at love. Poppy’s story is one of many we come across at Dogs Trust.

Many owners are growing increasingly worried about gradually losing their independence or their health deteriorating. Dogs Trust want to offer owners peace of mind that we will be there at this difficult time to care for and rehome their four legged friends should the worst happen. Therefore we’re pleased to announce that we have extended our Canine Care Card service. Dogs Trust will care for your dog should you move into a care home, become seriously ill or pass away. For more information on our Canine Care Card service and how to register your dog please type in this link www.dogstrust.org.uk/ccc where you will find our online application form and more information on our free service. If you have any queries regarding the Canine Care Card please email CCC@dogstrust.org.uk or call 020 7837 0006 and we will be happy to help. ■

Who’ll keep her happy when your client’s gone? We will – as long as your client has a Canine Care Card. It’s a FREE service from Dogs Trust that guarantees their dog a second chance a life. At Dogs Trust, we never put down a healthy dog. We’ll care for them at one of our 21 rehoming centres, located around the UK. One in every four of your clients has a canine companion. Naturally they’ll want to make provision for their faithful friend. And now you can help them at absolutely no cost. So contact us today for your FREE pack of Canine Care Card leaflets – and make a dog-lover happy.

E-mail ccc@dogstrust.org.uk Or call 020 7837 0006

Or write to: FREEPOST DOGSTRUSTL (No stamp required) Please quote “334975” All information will be treated as strictly confidential. Service only available for residents of the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands & Isle of Man.

A dog is for life, not just for Christmas®

Registered charity numbers: 227523 & SC037843

30 SH ROP SH IR E L AW YER

dogstrust.org.uk

© Dogs Trust 2021


INTEREST

Lex Latina SEARCH FOR A FORTIORI AD HOMINEM AD LITEM BONA VACANTIA DECREE NISI EX PARTE GRAVAMEN LOCUS STANDI MANDAMUS MENS REA OBITER DICTA PER CURIAM PRO BONO QUANTUM SINE DIE SUB JUDICE ULTRA VIRES

Cryptic Crossword No.2 Answers Across: 1. Plug; 4. Art History; 9. Uglier; 10. Clueless; 11. Old Money; 12. KGB Spy; 13 Your Lunch Break; 16. National Anthem; 22. Vacating; 25 Finery; 26 Persecutes; 27 Exam.

YAY! ns tulatio Congra e! Vinc

Down: 2,20A. Legally Blonde; 3. Grimm; 4 Adrenalin; 5. Tachyon; 6. I Suck; 7. Till Birth; 8,24. Res Ipsa Loquitur; 14. Union Dues; 15. Handcuffs; 17. All Gone; 18. Love Rat; 19. Mens Rea; 21. Estoc; 23. Tense. The sender of the first correct solution received was Vince Singleton who won a bottle of Hencote sparking wine!

SHROP SHIR EL AWYER 31


XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The Legal Practice Productivity Solution

bl

ge

i

in g

me

Pu

nt

L e g al sh

Le g nting cou Ac al

Do c & M um a

mbly Asse t en gement na

P r a c tic e

n Ma

a

LEAP offers cutting-edge, integrated legal technology expanding beyond traditional practice management software.

Visit: leap.co.uk

32 SH ROP SH IR E L AW YER