The Official Journal of THE SURREY LAW SOCIETY
The New SRA Transparency Rules see Pages 22 Inside this issue:
■ COMMERCIAL CONVEYANCING ■ SOFTWARE ■ MARKETING ■ 2019 CPD ■ NEWS
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Contents PUBLISHER Benham Publishing Limited Aintree Building, Aintree Way, Aintree Business Park Liverpool L9 5AQ Tel: 0151 236 4141 Facsimile: 0151 236 0440 email: firstname.lastname@example.org web: www.benhampublishing.com
List of Officers President’s Jottings & Tribute SLS CPD PROGRAMME 2018 CEO Report
Local Issues Spotlight On 15
Young Surrey Lawyers
STUDIO MANAGER John Barry
18 19 20-21
Council Member’s Report Law Society Report SLS CONVEYANCING & LAND LAW CONFERENCE 2018 –
PUBLISHED December 2018 © The Surrey Law Society - Benham Publishing
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The New SRA Transparency Rules The Solicitors Qualifying Exam – An Overview 7½ tips to make sure your law firms website is ready for 2019 and beyond Transforming patients’ lives with Royal Surrey County Hospital Charity Law Firm Marketing - The Case for Video A Busy Time for Statutory Instruments and Quick Changes
Benham Publishing cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies in web or email links supplied to us.
Luqmani Thompson Becoming Digital by Default with Quill’s Interactive Documents
The Surrey 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 member 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.
Update on Commercial Conveyancing – The View From the Top Interaction is key to getting the most out of your CPD Japanese Knotweed – The Plant that Can Cost your Clients Thousands Commercial Development: Opening up Brownfield Land Opportunity
Commercial Property 36
Members of the public should not seek to rely on anything published in this magazine in court but seek qualified Legal Advice.
REVEALED: London is the city with the most number of commercial properties to let
COVER INFORMATION The cover image: The New SRA Transparency Rules
SLS Insight- Maddie Gooding
Junior Lawyers Division
ADVERTISING AND FEATURES EDITOR
© 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.
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LAW SOCIETY COUNCIL MEMBERS
Kingston Smith LLP
SUSHILA ABRAHAM S Abraham Solicitors 290A Ewell Road, Surbiton KT6 7AQ Tel: 020 8390 0044 Email: email@example.com
Stowe Family Law LLP
60 Goswell Road,
103, High Street
London, EC1M 7AD
Esher, KT10 9QE
Tel: 01372 571126
JOHN PERRY Palmers Solicitors
Email: Victoria.Clarke@stowefamilylaw.co.uk MUMTAZ HUSSAIN
89-91 Clarence Street
The Legal Consultant
Kingston upon Thames, KT1 1QY
M: 07983 488 351
DX 31524 Kingston upon Thames
Tel: 020 8549 7444
MARALYN HUTCHINSON Kagan Moss & Co 22 The Causeway Teddington TW11 0HF Tel: 020 8977 6633 Fax: 020 8977 0183 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fax: 020 8547 2117
TWM Solicitors LLP 65 Woodbridge Road, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4RD Tel : 01483 752742 Email: Nick.Ball@twmsolicitors.com
Deputy Vice President MADELEINE GOODING TWM Solicitors LLP 65 Woodbridge Road, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4RD Tel : 01483 752742 Email : madeleine.gooding@TWMSolicitors.com
Interim Chief Executive & Magazine Editor HILARY UNDERWOOD Surrey Law Society c/o Russell-Cooke Solicitors, Bishop's Palace House, Kingston Bridge, Kingston-upon-Thames, KT1 1QN
GLORIA MCDERMOTT Surrey Law Society, c/o Russell-Cooke Solicitors, Bishop's Palace House, Kingston Bridge, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey KT1 1QN DX 94652 Virginia Water Email: email@example.com
Web: www.surreylawsociety.org.uk Tel: 0333 577 3830 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
SUB COMMITTEES CONVEYANCING & LAND LAW Gloria McDermott
Hon Secretary KIERAN BOWE Russell-Cooke Solicitors Bishops Palace House, Kingston Bridge, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, KT1 1QN
GERARD SANDERS Hart Brown Resolution House, Riverview, Walnut Tree Close, Guildford, GU1 4UX DX 2403 Guildford 1 Tel: 01483 887704 Fax: 01483 887758 Email: email@example.com
DX 31546 Kingston upon Thames
Maralyn Hutchinson STRATEGIC PLANNING & FINANCE Kieran Bowe Nick Ball Daniel Church James Scozzi SOCIAL
Tel: 020 8541 2041 Fax: 020 8541 2009
IAN WILKINSON The Castle Partnership
2 Wey Court, Mary Road, Guildford,
Daniel Church (Chair) Gloria McDermott
Surrey GU1 4QU
John Perry* *Non-Committee Member.
Tel: 01483 300905
Hon Treasurer NICK BALL Howell Jones Solicitors 75 Surbiton Road, Kingston upon Thames,
YOUNG SURREY LAWYERS
Madeleine Gooding (Chair)
Elite Law Solicitors
1 Fetter Lane
Surrey, KT1 2AF
Will De Fazio-Saunders
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DX: 14 London Chancery Lane
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To apply for membership please contact: Hilary Underwood, Chief Executive Surrey Law Society, c/o Russell-Cook Solicitors, Bishop's Palace House, Kingston Bridge, Kingston-upon-Thames, KT1 1QN Web: www.surreylawsociety.org.uk Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 0333 577 3830
President’s Jottings Winter 2018 Welcome to my first opportunity to write to you all as President of the Surrey Law Society. I have taken on this mantel with great pride, and I am excited about the next year and what it will bring.
irstly I would like to say thank you to James Scozzi for leaving the society in such good order. James was integral in the success of our first annual Legal Awards and Gala Dinner, which I felt was a brilliant modernisation of a long tradition. Needless to say, we will be hosting another year of the awards in September 2019 and we look forward to seeing you all there. James was an excellent President and I hope I can live up to his example. With a new presidential year comes a new charity. James had chosen the Princess Alice Hospice and was able to raise £1,042.19 for them. This year, I felt it would be appropriate for us to honour the work Paul Marsh did for the Law Society and for Surrey Law Society, and so we have chosen to raise money for the St Luke’s Cancer Centre at the Royal Surrey Hospital, which helped Paul this year after he was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. Sadly we lost Paul earlier this year, but we are so thankful for everything he did for us and hope we can raise money over the next 12 months to give further support to the centre that helped him. We were fortunate to hear from a
representative from the Royal Surrey Hospital Charity at our AGM in November, where we learnt about the many ways our money will help patients in the centre. Over the next year, I am looking forward to working with the committee to bring you a variety of training events for Surrey lawyers as well as our second Legal Awards. This year we will (of course) be having a Family Law Award, but we will also be looking at honouring support staff with their own award and there may be a few other changes as well – stay tuned! We are always looking for committee members, so if anyone is interested in taking part then please do contact us and come along to a committee meeting to see what we are all about. I am really looking forward to the next year, and representing Surrey across the country. ■
Victoria Clarke SLS President 2018
A Tribute to the late Paul Marsh It is with enormous sadness, but also with a great deal of pride, that we remember and pay tribute to the late Paul Marsh, highly esteemed member of the Surrey Law Society for many years and President of the Law Society of England and Wales in 2008/09, who sadly passed away in the summer of 2018.
fter attending Guildford College of Law, Paul became an articled clerk with Bells Solicitors in Kingston and was admitted as a solicitor in 1972. In 1973, he became a partner in Bells, becoming senior partner in 1986, a role he maintained until 2006. Throughout his career, Paul practiced as a conveyancing solicitor and passionately contributed much to the profession. He was awarded an honorary doctorate in Law by Kingston University in 2007 for his services to the legal profession and was once listed in the Times as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in England. Amongst his many achievements was his chairing of the Solicitors Indemnity Fund for several years and his service upon the Society’s Conveyancing and Land Law committee, which he also chaired for two years.
The success of the CQS owes much to Paul’s contribution and in 2012, he was appointed to the first board of the Solicitors Regulation Authority. On top of all that, he was a member of a number of government working parties looking at conveyancing, leasehold enfranchisement and house buying and worked latterly as a consultant to Downs Solicitors. Outside of his work, Paul was a keen gardener who loved the great outdoors and spectacular views which are a part of Surrey life. Vintage cars were another one of his passions in life, encouraged by the surrounding country lanes! He also loved the theatre, cinema or simply relaxing over a meal with friends. Of course, we know that Paul himself would say that both his greatest love and achievement in
life were his wonderful marriage to his wife, Sheila, whom he married in 1972, his 3 children and his grandchildren. We continue to hold all of Paul’s family in our thoughts at this very difficult time. We were privileged to have such a great man in our midst, a man who set the standard of professional excellence in our county. We honour him and, in his memory, President Victoria Clarke has chosen to raise money throughout her term of office for the RSCH Charity see page 26, who cared for Paul during his illness. ■
SURREY LAWYER 5
S L S
C P D P R O G R A M M E 2 0 1 9
All half-day courses will be held at Denbies Wine Estate, London Road, Dorking RH5 6AA from 2.00pm - 5.15pm (But please note that the venue may be subject to change.)
DAY, DATE & TIME
Wed 16th January 2019 (pm)
Residential Conveyancing Update & Dealing with Tricky Conveyancing Problems 2019
Wed 23rd January 2019 (pm)
Private Client Tax Planning Update 2019
John Bunker Irwin Mitchell
Wed 6th February 2019 (pm)
Legal Marketing & Business Development for Lawyers
HFS Orion Legal Marketing Milbourne
Wed 13th March 2019 (pm)
One Year On - Data Protection & GDPR
Wed 27th March 2019 (pm)
Contentious Probate Update 2019
Wed 3rd April 2019 (pm)
Cyber Security & Best Practice for Defence
Wed 15th May 2019 (pm)
Residential Landlord & Tenant Update 2019
Wed 29th May 2019 (pm)
Restrictive & Positive Covenants in Freehold Land
Wed 5th June 2019 (pm)
Company & Commercial Law Update 2019
Wed 3rd July 2019 (pm)
The Toolkit for Managing a Successful Conveyancing Team
Wed 10th July 2019 (pm)
Focus on Family Law – A Review of the Year
How to get more clients and Wed 25th September 2019 (pm) increase profits without working more hours!
Wed 9th October 2019 (pm)
MLRO Masterclass/AML Essential Compliance Update
Wed 23rd October 2019 (pm)
Will Drafting Masterclass
David Keighley Training
Ben Wootton Pritchetts Law Richard Land
Owen White & Caplin LLP
Peter Wright DigitalLawUk
David Smith Anthony Gold
Keith Lewington Excello Law Tom Horrocks Boiled Frog Ltd
Elissa Da CostaWaldman
New Court Chambers
The Business Instructor
Amy Bell Teal Compliance
HFS Milbourne HFS Milbourne
Prof Lesley King
2019 CONFERENCE DATES
PRIVATE CLIENT CONFERENCE – THURSDAY, 26th SEPTEMBER 2019 G-LIVE, GUILDFORD – 6 HOURS CPD
Some of the great feedback from the previous year’s courses
Very informative and certainly gave me a lot to think about Useful & interactive Excellent speaker, plenty of information, lots of practical detail Excellent presentation of very interesting subject Compelling speaker, excellent notes A complex subject made to seem easy 6 SURREY LAWYER
CONVEYANCING & LAND LAW CONFERENCE – TUESDAY, 22nd OCTOBER 2019 G-LIVE, GUILDFORD – 6 HOURS CPD
CPD Programme 2020
Is there a particular topic that you would like to be included in our CPD programme next year? Is there a specific speaker that you would like to hear present? Topics could cover a particular area of law, new legislation or a variety of soft skills. Please send your suggestions to
CEO ReportWinter 2018 It has been an enormous pleasure and privilege to step temporarily into the shoes of your CEO, Helen Opie, whilst she is away on her maternity leave. I sincerely hope that I can do her justice and continue to look after the Surrey Law Society as well and ably as she does!
Photograph: Helen Opie and baby Liljana
elen gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Liljana, on 3rd November and both she and baby are doing well! My first few weeks with you all seem to have flown by, with lots going on, which you can read about in the pages that follow. October saw us draw to the conclusion of our CPD year for 2018 with two excellent sessions from Peter Scott and Matt Moore. We have been very busy here at HQ putting the plans in place for our exciting 2019 Training & Development Programme, the details of which you can find in this edition. We look forward to welcoming as many of you as possible to our courses, which cover a range of black letter law but also practice management and regulatory issues, suitable for fee earners and managers alike, designed to help your firms remain compliant and efficient. In edition to this, we will also be running our ever popular full-day Private Client and Conveyancing & Land Law Conferences. 30th October saw us running our very successful annual Conveyancing & Land Law Conference at GLIve in Guildford. This was kindly sponsored by Index Property Information and Kevin Johnson, who chaired the day for us, has written an extremely informative review of the day in this edition. Here at Surrey Law Society, we are very proud to support the excellent teaching establishments within our County and the many law students who pass through their doors. They are the aspiring lawyers of the future and deserving of our help and encouragement. As part of this support, we have been involved with two events in recent weeks. On 8th November 2018, we were proud to attend the University of Law Guildford Awards Evening where we presented prizes to Helena Edmundson and Grace Miller, joint winners of the Surrey Law Society Prize for highest results in June examinations on the Graduate Diploma in Law course. On 24th November, we were also proud to sponsor and support the annual Interviewing Competition which takes place between The University of Surrey, Royal Holloway and the University of Law and you can read more about this later. On 22nd November, we were pleased to welcome many of you to our AGM which was kindly hosted by TWM Solicitors in Guildford. We enjoyed hearing from our outgoing President, James Scozzi, with a review of his year in office and, of course, welcomed in our new President (Surrey’s youngest ever President!) Victoria Clarke, more of which later. A report was provided to the members by our Honorary Secretary Kieran Bowe,
who also kindly stepped into the helm to provide a report on behalf of Nick Ball, our Treasurer, who sadly could not make it that evening. John Perry provided a report on Law Society Council and you can read more about this work from Sushila Abraham later in this edition. There followed plenty of food, drink and networking and it was a most enjoyable evening, giving me the opportunity to meet many of you for the first time. We also organised something a little bit different for you this year, when on 14th November, we cohosted a free Professionals Networking Event, along with Metrobank and the ICAEW. The Kingston branch of Metrobank kindly hosted us for an evening entitled 'Is Your Business Safe? Key Points on Cyber Security & Anti-Money Laundering’. As well as providing a fabulous opportunity for networking across the professions, the evening also provided some invaluable training on these key safety issues for businesses. The evening was a great success with excellent feedback and so we hope to plan similar events in the future. As well as looking ahead to the very exciting 2019 Surrey Law Society Awards & Gala Dinner, we are also planning some other fun social events, which give us all the chance to mix a little business with pleasure! In May 2019, you will have the opportunity to grab driving gloves and a crash helmet and head to Daytona Sandown Park for an evening of karting – watch this space for more details! For those foodies amongst you, we will also be planning a ‘Meet the President’ lunch a little later in the year, and for the brainboxes, the annual Legal Brain of Surrey Quiz! So there is much to look forward to as we approach 2019. Here at SLS HQ, we want to support you both as individuals and as firms, so that Surrey continues to be seen and recognised as a County of excellence within the legal profession. Do please let us know your ideas as to how we can do this better and what else you would like to be receiving from us. To stay in touch, do follow us on our social media pages and feel free to share our posts, or email and call me. Details of our accounts and my contact details can be found below. Finally, I would like to wish you all a healthy and prosperous 2019, not just professionally but personally too! ■
Hilary Underwood Interim Chief Executive & magazine editor t: 0333 577 3830 e: email@example.com @SurreyLawSoc @surreylawsociety Hilary Underwood (Interim Chief Executive at Surrey Law Society)
SURREY LAWYER 7
Photograph: Left guests at the National Law Societies Conference. Top: The Richard III Visitors and Conference Centre
National Local Law Societies Conference hosted by Leicestershire Law Society
On the weekend of 16th – 17th November 2018, SLS President Victoria Clarke and Interim CEO, Hilary Underwood, headed to Leicester for the 2018 Annual National Local Law Societies Conference, kindly hosted by the Leicestershire Law Society at the historic Richard III Visitors and Conference Centre.
he weekend provided the opportunity to meet with many other Presidents, Secretaries and CEO’s from Local Law Societies across England & Wales and together to exchange ideas, learn from one another and develop strategies to ensure that we are serving our members in the best possible way. The weekend highlighted the enormous amount of time and energy that solicitors across the country are willing to voluntarily put into their local law society and demonstrated that local law societies are the backbone of the profession. We are most grateful for the warm welcome and hospitality shown to us by Leicestershire Law Society and very much look forward to next year’s conference which will be hosted by Hampshire Law Society in Portsmouth.
Photograph: (Left) Helena Edmundson, prize winner, and Interim CEO Hilary Underwood
Photograph: (Right) Grace Miller, prize winner, and Interim CEO Hilary Underwood
University of Law Awards Evening On 8th November 2018, we were proud to attend the University of Law Guildford Awards Evening where we presented prizes to Helena Edmundson and Grace Miller, joint winners of the Surrey Law Society Prize for highest results in June examinations on the Graduate Diploma in Law course. 8 SURREY LAWYER
Grace and Helena achieved a rounded average mark overall of 76% which is distinction level. Helena and Grace’s tutors commented that they were both “ excellent students, well prepared for workshops, always participated in class exercises and discussions, were not afraid to ask questions and could take the subject further and think about the law in context. ” We are so pleased that their hard work and commitment has been reflected in their results and we wish them both all the very best in their future careers.
Photograph: Professional Networking Event
Professionals Networking Event co-hosted by Metrobank, Kingston and ICAEW
The Kingston Branch of Metrobank saw SLS cohosting a Professionals Networking Event with them, alongside ICAEW.
he theme 'Is Your Business Safe? Key Points on Cyber Security & Anti-Money Launderingâ€™ is, of course, highly relevant across the professions and it was useful to look at those issues together and exchange views and ideas, whilst also forming new connections and friendships. We would love to welcome you to similar events in the future.
22nd November 2018 The SLS AGM was held on 22nd November, kindly hosted by TWM Solicitors in Guildford.
s we listened to the report given by James Scozzi as he reviewed his year in office, we were reminded of just how hard our Presidents have to work during their term, much of this done in their own time and at the expense of their personal lives, in order to serve SLS with commitment.
James did SLS proud during his year, one his many significant achievements being the introduction of the inaugural SLS Legal Awards 2018. We are enormously grateful to James for his massive contribution and legacy to SLS, with the awards now being a firm annual fixture in the SLS calendar. We also welcomed in Victoria Clarke, as SLSâ€™s youngest ever President and we know she will continue to build upon the excellent foundations laid by those who have gone before her. Victoria has great vision and passion for the Society and we look forward to supporting her throughout the coming year.
Photograph: Departing President James Scozzi and New President Victoria Clarke
SURREY LAWYER 9
Barlow Robbins LLP accredited
with Customer Service Excellence Standard
Government-backed benchmark recognises the firm’s commitment to quality, transparency and professionalism 23 November 2018: Leading Surrey law firm Barlow Robbins has been officially accredited with the Customer Service Excellence Standard, in recognition of its commitment to clients and dedication to quality. The Customer Service Excellence Standard is a nationally recognised, government-backed assessment which rigorously tests various aspects of customer service, with particular focus on delivery, timeliness, information, professionalism, quality, staff attitude, user experience and measurement. Among the attributes that stood out for the firm in pursuing the assessment were its engagement with client feedback and culture of transparency, as well as its clear communication of service offering. The firm’s corporate social responsibility efforts were also significant, particularly the team’s efforts in helping vulnerable and disadvantaged individuals in society. As well as achieving the Customer Service Excellence Standard, Barlow Robbins has also been accredited since 2008 by Lexcel, the Law Society's legal practice quality mark for practice management and client care.
Commenting on the achievement, Barlow Robbins Facilities & Business Operations Manager Andre Botha said: “This award demonstrates to clients our ongoing commitment to delivering a high-quality service. Barlow Robbins has and will always put clients at the heart of its business, so we are delighted that this has been officially recognised on a national scale.” Ray Black, Partner and Chief Executive at Barlow Robbins, added: “This accreditation was a great opportunity for us to evidence what we do as a firm when it comes to striving to achieve service excellence and to provide the framework for continual improvement. In an increasingly more competitive marketplace, it is more important than ever that we differentiate ourselves through a commitment to quality and excellence.” For further information on an opportunity to speak to the team at Barlow Robbins, contact Scott Addison / Naomi Bryer / Hannah Simpson at Infinite Global on 020 7269 1430 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Morrisons Solicitors’ growth continues with acquisition of Harrops & Hepburn Solicitors Morrisons Solicitors LLP is pleased to announce that it has acquired Oxted based firm, Harrops & Hepburn Solicitors.
arrops & Hepburn Solicitors is one of the leading legal practices in Oxted, with a presence in the town stretching back over 100 years. It provides both private clients and businesses with expert advice and a highly personalised service. Peter and Virginia Harrop, who have run the practice since 2011, commented “We are delighted to join the Morrisons Group at what is an exciting moment for Harrops & Hepburn. Joining Morrisons allows us to continue to deliver the same personal service to our clients, whilst also giving both our private and business clients access to a greater depth and range of services and resources. We have got to know some of the
Morrisons team very well over the last few months and are looking forward to working closely with them.” Paul Harvey, Managing Partner of Morrisons Solicitors, commented “the Harrops & Hepburn practice is an excellent addition to our firm. It extends our reach across Surrey and consolidates our position as one of the leading regional firms. Harrops & Hepburn’s culture, values, approach to client service, and dedication to legal excellence matches ours, and we welcome Peter, Virginia and their entire team into the Morrisons Group.” Morrisons will continue to trade under the Harrops & Hepburn Solicitors name in Oxted. ■
DMH Stallard announce major partner hire Top 100 law firm DMH Stallard has announced the head of corporate finance at asb law will join its expanding regional M&A team.
elen Mead is one of the most highly regarded lawyers in the south east mergers and acquisitions sector and will be based at the DMH Stallard Guildford office when she concludes an agreed notice period with asb in the new year. Jonathan Grant (pictured), Partner at DMH Stallard and Head of Corporate, said: “I have worked with Helen in the past and know how good she is, not just as an excellent M&A lawyer, but also as a client and team manager. Having someone of Helen’s experience join our senior team in Guildford is a huge step forward for us and I am absolutely delighted. “I know it has been a difficult decision for Helen who was reluctant to leave asb, where she had
10 SURREY LAWYER
qualified and become a senior partner, but she wanted to balance the demands of an M&A partner with those of her young family.” Helen was previously Corporate Lawyer of the Year at the Insider Dealmakers Awards and has received a number of nominations for this and other awards. Jonathan added: “Our regional M&A partner team includes Abigail Owen, Danos Athanasi and Kate Norgett who leads our M&A practice in Guildford, working alongside Bernd Ratzke. We are ambitious to grow our Surrey practice rapidly over the next few years to match the fast growth we have seen in Sussex over the last two years.” ■
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Dr Solicitors wins Legal Service
Provider of the Year at General Practice Awards Healthcare specialist law firm DR Solicitors is celebrating after being named Legal Service Provider of the Year at this year’s General Practice Awards 2018.
he announcement was made at a ceremony held at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, on November 30. This event marked the 10th anniversary of the General Practice Awards, which celebrate the best examples of innovation, dedication, and leadership taking place in primary care throughout the UK. The national title of Legal Service Provider of the Year recognises law practices who spe-cialise in advising primary care providers and for the first time this year was judged partly by public vote, as well as by a panel of highly regarded medical professionals.
Daphne added: “We are pretty unique in recognising that our clients really need solutions which cut across multiple legal disciplines to resolve their complex primary care problems. Our team is fantastic at figuring out how to deliver those solutions “Winning Legal Service Provider of the Year and I’m proud of the way they are always 2018 is such a tribute, not only to our prepared to work so very, very hard for our expert team of healthcare lawyers but also to our loyal following of primary care clients clients.” For more information about DR Solicitors who are a never-ending source of inspiration to us – without them this would and the company’s services, call 01483 511555, email email@example.com or not have been possible,” commented visit www.drsolicitors.com. Daphne. DR Solicitors’ senior partner Daphne Robertson was also recently presented with The Surrey Law Society’s Lawyer of the Year award in October.
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Established in Guildford by Daphne Robertson and Nils Christiansen in 2003, Dr Solicitors is a specialist law firm that works exclusively with healthcare clients including NHS GP Prac-tices, dentists, consultants and other medical professionals within the primary healthcare sector. The firm prides itself on professionalism, industry expertise and ‘speaking the lan-guage’ of their clients.
WE HAVE HAVE MOVED. VED We are looking forward to maintaining and growing our valued relationships within the thriving Surrey community out of our new location 400 Dashwood Lang Road, Weybridge, Surrey KT15 2HJ
Making the law work for you.
www.mundays.co.uk -ÕÀÀiÞ"vwVi | Mundays LLP, LLP, 400 Dashwood Lang Road, Weybridge, Surrey KT15 2HJ | +44 (0)1932 590500 `"vwVi | Mundays LLP LLP,, 2-3 Conduit Street, Mayfair, Mayfair, London W1S 2XB | +44 (0)20 7123 5890
Photograph: (L-R: Elizabeth Larkin, Hart Brown; Joy Poulter, organiser of Proms in the Park; Vivien Gillman, Harry, Anthony, Sharon Powell, Partner Hart Brown Greg Bleach, General Manager from Skillway; Dylan and Cameron).
Hart Brown Supporting “Proms in the Park” Hart Brown has been supporting the Godalming “Proms in the Park”, a GO Godalming Initiative, for ten years, so it was fitting that 2018 saw the largest sum of money raised to date.
Skillway, a Godalming charity, raises the self-confidence and motivation of teenagers through apprentice-style teaching of manual skills in their workshops by skilled craftsmen. Students come from schools around the Godalming area and usually spend one day a week there for an academic year. Hart Brown is the sole sponsor of the event, so members of staff were tasked with spending the day selling Pimm’s, alongside the organisers who sold raffle tickets. Between them £456.76 was raised, which has now been presented to the Skillway team.
Legal Software Suppliers Association (LSSA) issues data conversion white paper The LSSA has published a white paper on data conversion which provides guidance for law firms and users of legal software considering or undertaking a data conversion from one software system to another. It details how data conversions may vary, what should be expected of a new system supplier and the responsibilities of system suppliers.
ypically, a law firm will have a large amount of client, matter, accounting and document history relating to the cases it has worked on and the firm’s own accounts. When a firm takes on a new Practice Management, Case Management or Legal Accounting system it is usually necessary to migrate some or all data from one or more existing systems to a new system. The scope of a data conversion will vary from firm to firm and from system to system. Data conversions are often complex and timeconsuming, requiring input from the old system supplier, the new supplier and the customer. LSSA Chair Julian Bryan comments: “This comprehensive guide will help law firms approach the complex issue of data conversion. Together with the recently updated LSSA Code of Conduct this adds to the growing reputation of the LSSA as the leading organisation 14 SURREY LAWYER
protecting the interests of UK law firms. Data conversion has occasionally been used as a blocker by some legal technology providers to prevent law firms from moving suppliers. By publishing clear guidelines on data conversion the LSSA is helping prevent law firms being held to ransom by unscrupulous technology suppliers.” The data conversion white paper is issued on behalf of the 23 LSSA member firms, all of which agree to abide by these guidelines, thus protecting the interests of law firms. This white paper compliments the recently issued LSSA Code of Conduct. The full data conversion white paper can be seen on the LSSA website https://www.lssa.co.uk/data-transfer-white-paper/ The LSSA Code of Conduct can be seen on the LSSA website https://www.lssa.co.uk/code-of-practice/
SLS Insight We're delighted in this issue to feature our Deputy Vice President, Maddie Gooding
Photograph: Maddie Gooding
What position do you hold within the SLS? Deputy Vice President.
to sign their Will. We also see cases where someone who has died has no family or friends, and it falls to us as their executors to arrange the funeral.
Why did you join the SLS Committee? I am the Chair of Young Surrey Lawyers which is the junior division of Surrey Law Society which meant I would sit in on SLS meetings and then joined the Committee itself.
What are the biggest challenges facing the legal profession in the next 10 years? In some areas of law, it is being made easier for clients to undertake the work themselves in order to save costs, which in some ways is a great thing. However, I think the challenge here is effectively identifying and communicating where there is value in the work that we do. We have seen clients come unstuck having undertaken seemingly simple tasks without taking advice, which in the long run has ended up costing them more to untangle.
What do you enjoy most about being on the Committee? I enjoy reviewing consultations and forming a response on behalf of Surrey Law Society. What are you looking for in new Committee Members? Interest and a willingness to commit time to attending meetings and events. When & why did you become interested in the law? I decided on a career in law mid-way through my degree in Psychology and Criminology. Doing a very subjective degree made me want to pursue something more objective, and law felt like the right fit.
What's your favourite film? Love Actually - any time of year.
What firm do you work at and what is your role there? I work at TWM Solicitors as a Private Client Solicitor.
If you were CEO of a company name one thing you would make compulsory in the office? '"Eco-bricks" - collecting and compressing single-use plastic in bottles, which can then be used as building materials.
What is a typical day for you at work? The nature of Private Client means that there is a lot of client contact. I generally try to arrange my meetings so that one day I will have back-toback client meetings, and the following day I will keep my diary clear, to get my head down and deal with the follow-up work. It doesn't always work like that though! What is the most enjoyable part of your role? I like dealing with people, and helping in ways that are important to them. Often we are helping people when they are at their most vulnerable, whether that is through facing the death or illness of a family member, or their own mortality or lack of capacity. This is the most challenging part as well as being the most rewarding. I like that Private Client work is technical and mentally challenging but also has the more human side to it as well. What's been your most memorable career highlight to date? I am relatively early in my career, but I have been lucky to work with some notable solicitors as my colleagues. In particular Adrian O'Loughlin, who has now retired, so I am grateful that I was able to benefit from his knowledge during my training.
What did you want to be when you grew up? A marine biologist.
If you could have dinner with anyone from history, who would it be? Spike Milligan. I think we would share the same sense of humour. What's a great book you've read recently? Leaving Time - Jodi Picoult. If you could be an olympic athlete, in what sport would you compete and why? It would be a winter sport, like Skeleton or Luge. I like the cold! What do you think is the greatest invention of all time and why? Paper, because most other great inventions probably started on a piece of paper. What is your favourite day of the week and why? Friday. Everyone is in a good mood and it's the start of the weekend â– .
What's been the hardest challenge career-wise? The hardest challenge has been dealing with bereavement, particularly where the circumstances are especially difficult. For example, dealing with parents who have lost a child, or attending a terminally ill client in hospital Would you be interested in joining the Surrey Law Society Committee? We meet approximately 4 times a year, alternating between Guildford and Kingston, plus the AGM in November. The main role of the Committee is to oversee the strategic and practical management of the Society. The Officers and Members of the Board work together with the Interim CEO, Hilary Underwood to deliver a programme of CPD and Social Events throughout the year. The Board is responsible for responding to consultations and for lobbying on behalf of the wider Surrey membership. We provide support for members experiencing problems, help them with job searches and assist with complaints.
There are also a number of Sub Committees that report to the Board including: Quo Vadis Strategy Group, Conveyancing & Land Law, Financial and Social. You do not have to be a full Committee member to serve on a Sub Committee. To find out how you can get involved and how you might contribute to the work of the Society, we invite you to come along as an observer to 2 meetings before making any decisions. If you would like to find out more about the work of the Committee or the Society, please do not hesitate to contact Hilary Underwood at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the application form overleaf.
SURREY LAWYER 15
JUNIOR LAWYERS DIVISION
Young Surrey LawyersA look back at 2018 2018 has been a successful year for Young Surrey Lawyers. Our partnership with Chadwick Nott has allowed us to host a variety of great events with our members, and we have also expanded our membership.
e started with an informative Careers Seminar at TWM Solicitors in Guildford. This was presented by Chadwick Nott and focused on approaching qualification, how to choose your practice area as well as advice for life as an NQ. In July we made the most of the heatwave with a barbecue at Morrisons’ fantastic offices in Redhill. With plenty of food and drink there was a great atmosphere and a good time was had by all. We welcomed the new trainee intake in October with a cocktail making evening at ‘Komo’ in Guildford and were able to offer a small number of free student places. We have also been attending student events at the
University of Law with a view to engaging aspiring lawyers early in their career, in the hope that we can be a support to them as they develop their careers.■
Maddie Gooding Chair of Young Surrey Lawyers Email: email@example.com Twitter: @YSL_Live LinkedIn: linkedin.com/groups/4515609
Photograph: Judges Graham Guerin, Sarah Thomas, Victoria Clarke, Bethany Rickerby, Hilary Underwood and Winners Megan Bingley, Samantha Eynon, Simranjeet Arora, Sophie Griffiths, Charlotte Gunn and Katharine Whittingham
Client Interviewing Competition On 24th November, we were proud to sponsor and support the annual Interviewing Competition which takes place between The University of Surrey, Royal Holloway and the University of Law.
tudent teams from all three universities gathered together on Saturday morning at The University of Law, Guildford, along with members of Surrey Law Society who had kindly volunteered to give up their time to join President, Victoria Clarke, in taking part. We are enormously grateful to Sarah Thomas, Mumtaz Hussain, Bethany Rickerby and Graham Guerin who not only judged the competition fairly, but also provided a lot of encouragement and support to all those taking part. The standard of entrants was exceedingly high and it was a challenging task to choose winners! ‘ Sarah Thomas says “It was well worth getting up early on a Saturday morning (quite an effort for this semi-retired conveyancer and Notary Public), to take part...All three teams who “appeared” before me were well prepared, I was very impressed. " Mumtaz Hussain adds “As a law student many years ago, it was always hugely interesting to hear from qualified solicitors about life as a practitioner. Now as a qualified solicitor, I’m continuing that spirit of contribution by sharing aspects of my own experiences as a solicitor, business owner and SLS committee member with today’s students. Being one of the judges was a great honour and I was extremely impressed with the high standard of the entrants. They delivered the correct legal advice, while developing and maintaining a good rapport with their fictional client. The transition from being an academic to a practitioner is quite a big leap and the students all embraced the challenge very well and demonstrated their excellent abilities. They responded well to feedback and I wish them all the best in their future careers.”
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Graham Guerin says " The students take the competition extremely seriously,and prepare earnestly for it.The overall standard is high.......Surrey Law Society provides generous cash prizes for the top three teams,so competition is keen....When you add to the mix the enthusiasm of the students, judges, clients and organisers, it makes for a thoroughly enjoyable Saturday morning.....I must add the overall standard of the competition is an absolute credit to the tutors and lecturers of the three participating faculties. " Student competitor Brenda Ukah, from Royal Holloway, says “ Considering that I was a first-time competitor, I was looking forward to practically applying everything I had learned in my training sessions. I had made the decision to compete because I am currently working towards a career as a solicitor and client interviewing is a key skill required for this field. Going into it, I had hoped to be able to gain constructive criticism on my skills as a client interviewer, and practical advice on how to build and improve on these skills. By the end of the day, I found that my expectations had been fully fulfilled. I especially appreciated the time the judges took to properly critique us and not only praise us or our strengths, but thoroughly went through how to improve on our weakness. My experience at this competition has left me encouraged to partake in more of this nature and continue to build on my skills. I really enjoyed the day.” The competition will be running again in 2019 and we hope that as many of you as possible will get involved – you’ll have a thoroughly enjoyable morning!
Premium Residential <0.25Ha
Environmental | Flood | Ground Stability | Energy & Infrastructure
Grid Reference: E: 123456 | N: 123456
Professional Opinion 1.ENVIRONMENTAL
4.ENERGY & INFRASTRUCTURE
No further recommendations
No further recommendations
No further recommendations
4.20 Power Stations
Air Quality Index: Some Polluted Areas (See 1.25)
This page should always be read in conjunction with the full report. The Professional Opinion indicates the potential risks and any other potential issues associated with the property. The results should be disclosed to client and/or lender and/or insurer as appropriate. A ‘Pass’ is given if no potential property specific risk has been identified. A ‘Pass with Considerations’ is given where there are potential hazards in the locality to bear in mind, or if there are features nearby which some clients might consider could affect them. A ‘Further Action’ is given if there is a potential property specific risk and a further action is advised.
In the event of a request to review the Professional Opinion based on additional information, or if there are any technical queries, the professional advisor who ordered the report should contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us on 01732 755 180.
Regulated by RICS If you re require assistance, please contact your Search Provider or alternatively contact FCI directly with your Report ID. Tel: 01732 755 180 | Email: email@example.com | Web: www.futureclimateinfo.com
Council Member’s Report – I would firstly like to say a huge congratulations to our new incoming President, Victoria Clarke. I wish her every success in her term of office and look forward to supporting her. Photograph: Sushila Abraham
ust as we approach the end of 2018 we
see a number of changes imposed on the profession and the uncertainties brought about by Brexit. The LSB has approved the SRA rule change application to allow solicitors to practice in unregulated entities and to operate as freelancers. This has been opposed by the Law Society on grounds of public interest but it seems to have fallen on deaf ears. We will also see the increase in Probate Court fees, price transparency and the short lead up time for implementation. I hope this link will help you with the information required by the SRA https://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/resources/ transparency.page. The Law Society has also produced a Practice Note to support firms as they implement the requirements in the SRA Rules.
(https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/support -services/advice/practice-notes-andservices-transperacny) As all of you will have been informed, CQS is re-launching the way that members will be accredited. On 30th October 2018, The Law Society published an overview of the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) to assist those wanting to become a solicitor as well as employers, providers of legal education and many other organisations who offer training in deciding what they can do to prepare for this. You will have all noticed that the Law Society website has also been updated with the new branding as part of Shaping Our Future and members experience. The new Board structure is working well and I am a member on the Membership and Communications Committee. The Law
Society continues to strive to promote the profession as honest and honourable, approachable and accessible, experts in their field and delivering value to clients. As John has said in his last report, I am also in my last year as Council member and if anybody would like to talk to us about being a Council member and what the role involves, then please do not hesitate to contact John or myself. As usual, if you have any matters that you wish to raise with the Law Society then please do not hesitate to contact myself or John. In the meantime, and as we approach the Christmas season, I would like to take the opportunity of wishing all of you a very prosperous 2019. ■
Sushila Abraham Council Member
Surrey Law Society Application Form for Committee or Board Membership
If you would like to apply to join the SLS Board and/or one of our Sub Committees we would be delighted to receive your completed application form (below). Please send to Hilary Underwood, Surrey Law Society, c/o Russell Cooke Solicitors, Bishop’s Palace House, Kingston Bridge, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 1QN or scan and email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Name
Firm’s Name Postcode
Qualification (solicitor, Legal Executive)* Specialism(s)
Year of Qualification
Are You a member of SLS?**
Do you want to join the Board as a Director or serve on a Sub Committee? (please indicate) What area of SLS’s work/which committee(s) particularly interest you? (see Guidance Notes) What particular skills, qualities and experience could you bring to that committee? Whilst it is not essential to know an existing member, do you know anyone on the Board or a Sub Committee? Please provide the emails and/or telephone numbers of two current members of the SLS with whom we may discuss your application.
Area of work:
Skills: Qualities: Experience:
❑ Yes ❑ No If yes please tell us their names(s): Name 1:
*Legal Executives are eligible to sit on sub-committees
Please Print name:
18 SURREY LAWYER
Sub Committee Only (Please state)
**You must be a full SLS member to join the Board Date:
Board & Sub Committee
Law Society Report December 2018
Photograph: Bhavni Fowler
As I was writing my update for you today, I note that it is also the date the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) Transparency Rules come into force.
n a press release, we (The Law Society) have advised consumers: “…to make decisions about the legal services you use based on a balance of considerations. Price is of course important, but so also are the range and quality of services you get for your money, and the client protections offered by the provider.” I am sure that you will all have made good stead in complying with the new rules. If you are looking for best practice and ways in which you can refine your compliance, we have made available a number of resources, including: • Price & service transparency practice note https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/supportservices/advice/practice-notes/price-andservice-transparency/ • Podcast: A practical guide to price transparency https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/supportservices/risk-compliance/price-andservice-transparency/articles/a-practicalguide-to-price-transparency/ • Article: Price and service transparency – how you can comply https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/supportservices/advice/articles/price-and-servicetransparency-how-you-can-comply/ • Podcast: Price transparency – is anybody ready for it? https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/supportservices/risk-compliance/price-andservice-transparency/articles/pricetransparency-is-anybody-ready-for-it/ • Webinar: Price and service transparency – how you can comply https://tls.csod.com/LMS/LoDetails/Details Lo.aspx?loid=828f7f4a-a5c2-4440-9e9b2e2aa9e4979b#t=1 We are interested in hearing about your experiences with the implementation of the new rules, both positive and negative. This will help us to develop more useful and relevant guidance and understand the impact of the new rules for any future review. Case studies of your experiences or other feedback can be sent to email@example.com.
Calling all conveyancers! I wanted to make all property practitioners aware that we have created a new home for property on our website. To save you time, we’ve put all the important resources for your conveyancing needs in one useful place. The Property Centre is a brand new page featuring services and support to help you quickly and efficiently complete your conveyancing work. Alongside tools to help you grow your business and resources to develop your career, you can visit the property centre to
keep up-to-date on the latest property news and legal conveyancing developments. Don’t miss out - bookmark the page today: www.lawsociety.org.uk/property-centre Resources available include: • Practice notes • Anti-Money Laundering for conveyancers – top tips • Q&A’s from our Practice Advice Service relating to the most popular conveyancing questions they receive • Guide to forms • Consultation responses • News
Support for all litigators! Finally, I wanted to make members aware of our Civil Litigation Section which is the community for civil litigators and mediators. The section provides specific support and guidance in relation to this practice area. Each month an article is available to all nonsection members and in this edition, it is entitled: “Civil Litigation Section: Costs and professional negligence: more claims coming? – it is the second in a series on how to avoid professional negligence claims, where PJ Kirby QC stresses the importance of getting your costs budgeting right.” You can access the full article here http://communities.lawsociety.org.uk/civillitigation/news-and-features/civil-litigationfeatures-and-comment/costs-andprofessional-negligence-more-claimscoming/5065694.article All the Civil Litigation Section podcasts, covering all areas of dispute resolution, are also available to all our members to listen to for free. Recently uploaded podcasts address the following areas: - Litigants in person: developments in the case of Barton v Wright Hassall. - Relief from sanctions: advice and top tips on applying the relief from sanctions test. Stay up-to-date and listen for free now http://communities.lawsociety.org.uk/civillitigation/podcasts/ If you would like further information on the activities mentioned above, or any other areas of interest, please do not hesitate in contacting me.
I wish you all the very best for 2019! ■
Bhavni Fowler Relationship Manager, The Law Society Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel - 07773 254 543 SURREY LAWYER 19
SLS CONVEYANCING & LAND LAW CONFERENCE 2018 – Index Property Information has been sponsoring the Surrey Law Society for a number of years now and one of the benefits of doing so is the annual invitation to Chair the Conveyancing and Land Law Conference which, this year, took place at GLive on Tuesday 30th October. 20 SURREY LAWYER
t’s a role that I thoroughly look forward to and enjoy; it’s a great opportunity for Surrey based conveyancing professionals to catch up on the latest news, share knowledge and experience and come together around common causes. Surrey Law Society clearly put on a proper event though as, this year, there were also delegates from other parts of the country that have heard of our reputation for finding the very best speakers and dealing with the topical, and sometimes challenging, issues in the industry. There is no question that as well as learning many new things and cementing knowledge in other areas, there was some pretty lively debate – of which, more later! First taxi off the rank this year was Rob Hailstone founder of the Bold Legal Group. Conceived in 2010, BLG is designed to enable conveyancing solicitors to remain as well informed as possible, in an environment
that is constantly changing and doing so rapidly. The timely sharing of information through a regular news bulletin provides the conveyancer with a 24/7 ‘eyes and ears’ service but, more than this, it also acts as a forum for difficult questions to be raised and answered. As to be expected, Rob dealt with many of the topical issues of the day and engaged the audience in debate on some of the thornier problems. As was the case throughout the day, it was during the interactive phases of Rob’s presentation that best value was to be found. The BLG concept is a good one but it does rely on two-way participation and I’m sure that Rob will have taken away as much useful knowledge and information as he imparted. When it comes to matters of tax and, particularly, Stamp Duty Land Tax, Paul Clark is the ‘go-to’ guy! Paul’s background is commercial property law but he has made
taxation a core skill; he is a member of the Stamp Taxes Practitioners Group and regularly lectures on the subject. Latterly at Linklaters (12 years) and DJ Freeman (18 years and head of property), his passion is for plain language in the law.
It would seem to be enough for them to address transactions of an unexceptional nature, as long as it is made clear that this is the position and that additional charges would be made for non-routine cases or transactions.
In the case of SDLT, which replaced stamp duty in 2003, its complexities, and the challenges created by HMRC’s interpretation of the relevant legislation, have only grown over time. On 25 November 2015 the Chancellor announced a 3% surcharge on additional homes and on all dwellings bought by non-human buyers, such as companies. Paul brought light to the darkness for our audience on this subject and also dealt effectively with the other compelling topic, first Time Buyer Relief. Clearly there’s a dichotomy between plain language and all matters ‘tax’ but Paul’s insight was extraordinarily valuable and he got his messages across in an easily digestible form!
No doubt some imaginative solutions will be found to this challenge but it strikes me, and everyone that was in the room, that this particular governance initiative was aimed at the wrong target!
Also easily digested was a very pleasant lunch that we enjoyed on the Mezzanine Level at GLive where conversation and debate continued. Coffee and petit fours didn’t hold up proceedings though and whilst the next speakers topic could easily have brought on indigestion, instead he brought humour and insight into cyber crime.
Last but not least was the inimitable Richard Snape. As usual, without slides but with pathos, anecdotes and humour he delivered an hour’s worth of gold dust. On this occasion he dealt with ground rent, service charge & estate rent charge issues in conveyancing. Richard enjoys a national reputation for lecturing on a range of property law topics. He has trained the legal and estates staff of clients, including institutions, corporates and developers, and is praised for his ability to explain complex property concepts in a straightforward and entertaining way that is tailored to the needs of his audience. He didn’t disappoint. At the end of a thoroughly insightful day, it merely remained for me to wrap up, thank the speakers and put away the tables and chairs until next year when, again, Surrey Law Society is sure to put on another popular, relevant and well-attended conference. ■
Robin Yellow has been developing systems and processes for some of the biggest names in UK industry since 1995 and his knowledge Kevin Johnson of the increasingly sophisticated tactics deployed by national, Index Property Information international, amateur and professional thieves is remarkable. He offered insights into Phishing (including Whaling!), Vishing, Smishing and WannaCry – by the end of the presentation, many wanted to do just that but at least they understood why! Cyber Crime is probably one of the biggest threats in our industry but with experts like Robin able to share their knowledge and experience, we all become better informed and, perhaps, just a little more switched on and savvy. The penultimate presentation was, by some considerable margin, the liveliest of the day as both the SRA and The Law Society tried to explain the rationale behind new rules governing pricing and transparency in the industry. Effective 6th December 2018, the rules require all regulated law firms, and individual freelance solicitors who market their business services, to publish information on the prices they charge for certain defined services. The rules have been been designed to make sure consumers have the information they need to make an informed choice of legal services provider, including understanding what the costs may be. Now this is all very laudable but as the collective demonstrated to both the SRA and the Law Society – it’s just not quite as simple as it sounds! C
We all like to pay the lowest possible price for the best possible goods and services, that’s an understandable human trait. The problem with conveyancing matters is that the scope of work can’t possibly be understood without all the facts and there are myriad scenarios that will affect the cost of delivering the right outcome. If a customer believes that they have a ‘fixed’ price then, irrespective, that’s what they will expect to pay… and any that are challenged on this will feel aggrieved and the number of complaints will inevitably increase. This isn’t a situation that will help with anybody’s blood pressure! CY
QC opinion points to SRA guidance that the rules do not require solicitors to publish information addressing each and every possible scenario and so might discharge their obligations either by stating a range of costs, or an average, or an average plus a starting point. SURREY LAWYER 21
The New SRA Transparency Rules T
The SRA Transparency Rules duly took effect on the 6th December. It is early days for this particular element of the SRA’s developing regime with further fundamental changes ahead in 2019 and the planned revision of the entire Handbook, but the Transparency Rules are seen as a core aspect of their current reforms and so it would be as well to take heed of the new provisions and not play “wait and see”.
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he rules may have been greeted as an unwelcome burden by most firms but are justified by the regulator on the basis of their muchpublicised market research which shows that the profession is seen as being unapproachable by most individuals and small businesses, and that the access to justice which the Legal Services Act 2007 obliges all legal regulators to promote is currently proving to be unsatisfactory. Their view is that better price and service provision information should help to address the problem. The SRA issued guidance on how it expects the rules to be addressed in October with some slight amendments having then been made in early November. The publication can to a certain extent be viewed as “best practice”, but as with all SRA guidance if it is not followed it will be necessary to explain how compliance was achieved in other ways. The guidance also provides templates for firms to adapt to their particular circumstances in relation to the specified services. For most firms the main concerns have been the requirements on price information. The rules relate to a list of services that are likely now to be familiar to most firms. For those determined not to have to provide the information the need arises not so much because the firm undertakes such services but rather if it “publishes” the availability of those services “as part of its usual business”. For members of the public the listed services are residential conveyancing, probate, motoring offences, employment tribunals and immigration. The requirements for businesses are for debt recovery, employment tribunals and licensing applications. It is important to note that the restriction for these to be for “small” businesses only was removed in the November update, so that the rules now apply to businesses regardless of size. In all cases the wording should be checked in the rules as the precise requirements are more detailed than can be set out in the available space in this article. Note, however, that although the rules do not clarify what form of licensing is envisaged by the rules the earlier discussion documents referred to liquor licensing only. There is likewise a long list of the required information to be included such as the total cost of the service or, where not practicable, the average cost or range of costs and the basis for the charges, including any hourly rates or fixed fees. There must be information on foreseeable disbursements and also the impact of VAT, along with a breakdown of the key stages of the work and the likely timescale. Finally, there will need to be profiles of those doing the work and their supervisors.
Costs information published under this rule must be clear and accessible and must appear in a prominent place on a firm’s website. It is already a requirement at Outcome 1.13 of the Code of Conduct for clients to be provided with the best possible information about the overall costs of a matter but the Transparency Rules do go further than this. They require specific figures for the overall cost to be provided, the only wriggle room being that the average cost, or a range of costs, could be provided as an alternative. However, if a firm publishes a range of costs, it will need to set out the basis for its charges, including any hourly rates and the types of factors that will determine what the final price will be. Other additional information which must now be provided on a firm’s website will, of course, also need to feature in client retainer letters and it is important that there are no obvious discrepancies between the two sources of information. The required fee earner profiles might be provided through your usual “about us” web profiles in any event. As to the other practical steps to take you should also conduct a review of your various retainer precedents in use across the firm to ensure that the website information tallies with the more detailed proposals then made to clients when instructions are received. This is likely also to require a stricter control on the mandatory use of standard and approved retainers than is currently the case in many firms. Complaints and SRA references Although the emphasis has inevitably been on the issues of fees and the personal details of the advisers where the firm does provide any of the listed services rule 2.1 also requires some rudimentary information to be provided on the availability of a complaints handling process to include the roles of the SRA and the Ombudsman. It is important to stress that this applies regardless of whether any pricing information is required within that firm . In addition, whereas Outcome 8.5 of the Code requires either the firm’s SRA registration number or its LLP or company number to be shown on its “letterhead, website and emails” rule 4.1 of the Transparency Rules makes it clear that the SRA registration number must also appear regardless of the legal status of the firm. ■
Matthew Moore Solicitor specialising in compliance issues within the legal profession.
SECTION ARTICLE HEADER
The Solicitors Qualifying Exam – An Overview The Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) is set to be the biggest shake up of legal education and training in many years, replacing current routes to entry and introducing two stages of centralised assessments.
The provisional assessment fees also announced by the SRA in early November, of between £3,000 - £4,500 for both SQE1 and SQE2 stages, represent a great deal of money. There are currently no funding mechanisms available to provide loans for the SQE assessments, so any fees will Whilst there is much that the Solicitors have to be self-funded by candidates or Regulatory Authority (SRA) is still firms, which would disadvantage students developing, particularly in the detail of the with less financial means. In the current scheme, there are also many points that system candidates can get a loan to take have been finalised and approved by the the Legal Practice Course (LPC), so whilst Legal Services Board. The Law Society has put together a straight forward, informative it is more expensive than the new fees guide to the SQE to enable stakeholders to proposed, it does not represent a financial look at what they can do to prepare for the barrier in the same way. A similar solution introduction of the SQE. It is important that must be found for the SQE so that all candidates, regardless of background, can those affected begin thinking about how qualify as a solicitor. It should also be the SQE may impact on them and/or their noted that these fees are for the business and consider any changes they assessments only, and do not account for may need to make. This document any fees associated with preparatory contains the facts. They have been checked by the SRA for accuracy and they courses that many aspiring solicitors may wish to utilise. represent a comprehensive round-up of The Law Society has been representing the everything we currently know. profession's views as the SQE policy has The development of the SQE is a long been created and continues to engage process, which we are only part-way with the profession, and with the SRA on through. More information on key aspects behalf of the profession, as the the assessment detail and finalised costs assessments are developed. The Law in particular - will be forthcoming as the Society is also supporting the profession assessments are developed and the SRA with this change by providing clear complete further work. This document will information and taking forward any be updated as further information is comments it receives. Maintaining high made available. professional standards and ensuring the The SRA announced at the start of diversity of the solicitors’ profession have November that the date of implementation been top priorities for the Law Society from has been moved to September 2021. This the very start of the SQE process. We want gives aspiring solicitors, employers, to enable potential entrants to the providers of legal education and other profession to make informed choices organisations offering training more time to about which route may be best for them decide what they wish to do and to and we hope this overview is valuable to prepare for this change. The Law Society is schools, universities and careers advisers. keen for the SRA to take the time it needs The SQE Overview is available on the Law to get the SQE right as the SQE is of fundamental importance to the profession Society’s website.■ hese will set the standard for entry to the profession and will sit alongside requirements for a degree level qualification, two-years of qualifying work experience and a character and suitability test.
and to everyone seeking legal advice. If more time is needed to ensure that the SRA have made all necessary checks on the assessments and that the profession and education providers have been given adequate time to prepare, then deferring the introduction is a sensible step.
Alan East Chair, Education and Training Committee, The Law Society of England and Wales
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7½ tips to make sure your law firms website is ready for 2019 and beyond There are 650 million active websites on the internet but I can tell you now, most aren’t fit for purpose. And when you’ve got that much competition, it is important you do everything possible to make sure your law firm’s website does what it needs to.
o here are my essential points that every legal website should have for it to effectively help you maintain and grow your business by attracting prospects and turning them into paying clients. 1. Get the basics right. Contact details top right. Logo top left. Key words throughout your text. Links. Basic SEO. It doesn’t take much to transform a poor website into an optimised one. These are basic website rules that not only make a site instantly look credible but can help search engines like Google to find your website amongst the 649 million other ones. 2. Explain what you do upfront. If someone finds your website, they shouldn't have to do investigative work to figure out what it is that you do. Tell people this is the website that they have been searching for by clearly stating who you are, what you do and the benefits you provide on your home page. You have about 3 seconds before a visitor will click onto another website and if you haven’t clearly explained succinctly that you are the law firm that can solve their problem you have let another client walk out of your online business door. 3.Maintain a secure website by installing an SSL Certificate. Implementing an SSL certificate on your law firm website changes your URL from http:// to https://. This adds the little lock icon next to your URL in the prospective client’s browser too. Having a secure site is a positive ranking factor for Google and consumers know to look for the lock icon, therefore it provides a secure feeling to prospective clients to reassure them that all form data entered by them on your website is encrypted and private. 4. Make things easy to find. Marketing people talk about ‘the user journey’. Basically, all the key information on your website should be no more than two clicks away. You need to order things logically, make sure your navigation makes sense and ensure the important pages with key information are easy to find. 5. Mobile Friendly. 0ver 50 per cent of web traffic originates from mobile devices such as phones and tablets and this figure is growing. Google ranks its search results based on the mobile version of websites, even for listings that are shown to desktop users. So basically, it is almost suicidal not to have your website mobile friendly, meaning that your site will automatically adapt and rearrange when viewed on mobile devices. 6. Easy on the eye. Uncluttered, clear content, use of colours, readable size font, images and space that engages with your visitor. You need to design your website from a visitor’s eye so that it resonates and has a positive influence on them. Are your calls to action really clear – is it clear that for them to progress they need to call or email you? 7. Keep it up to date. Copyright 2011. Last article April 2015. Come to our next event on 24 February 2017! If your website looks dated, so do you. Keep content fresh. 7.5 Be compliant. I’ll call this a half point because unlike the others, it’s not a particularly fun part of website design, but it is an essential one. There is key information that must be on your website according to The Law Society and SRA. "Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority". A firm's registered/licensed name and number. And from December 2018 you need to ensure you have complied with the SRA’s new Price Transparency rules if you provide certain legal services to individuals.
As a lawyer you have to juggle many things, so it is important your website constantly works hard for you 24/7, providing you with an open door to a whole new set of clients and referrers. Your website is one of the most effective tools you can use to build your personal brand so that you become the go-to person on legal matters in your area of law. Make sure it is working effectively, so that you can spend more time with clients and earning fees. For a free 30 minute telephone consultation to assess your law firms website , please feel free to contact me on 0118 380 5980 or email email@example.com or visit https://www.orionlegalmarketing.co.uk
Rachel Tombs Legal Marketing/Business Development Specialist, LinkedIn Coach and Solicitor (Non-Practising) Orion Legal Marketing
SURREY LAWYER 25
Transforming patients’ lives with Royal Surrey County Hospital Charity Surrey Law Society is pleased to be supporting Royal Surrey County Hospital Charity as its charity of the year for 2019.
he charity funds projects that make the biggest impact on the 260,000 people the hospital treats each year – people like Debbie, 46, who was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago. She found a lump after a friend with breast cancer encouraged her to check. Debbie said: “I cannot tell you how incredible the breast cancer team at Royal Surrey were during that time. “They have the whole process so finely tuned and they are so brilliant at it. They know how to feed you the information: they’re empathetic as well as sympathetic; they just got it so right. I felt cocooned in a nest of support and that made me incredibly positive and allowed me not to worry.” Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford serves a population of 330,000 people across South West Surrey, and delivers specialist cancer support to a population of two million people. The charity provides state of the art equipment, redevelops wards to make the hospital more welcoming for patients, invests in staff development and funds innovative research. In the last year, projects the charity has funded include: • Specialist ultrasound machine to support women who are experiencing problems in early pregnancy. • Chemotherapy chairs and reclining armchairs for people being treated at leading cancer centre, St Luke’s. • Peer support groups for teenagers and young adults with cancer. • A DNA sequencer, which allows for cancer patients to receive tailored treatment plans – the process analyses the genetic make-up of a patient’s tumour to determine how best it can be treated. The test will be expanded to other areas; for example, to ensure those with depression or anxiety are treated with the most effective drugs. Analiese Doctrove, Head of Fundraising at Royal Surrey County Hospital Charity, said: “We are thrilled to have the support of Surrey Law Society for the next year. Our work simply would not be possible without people like you; thank you. “There’s so much more we can do to enhance the hospital experience for patients in Surrey, but we need your help. To find out more or to get involved, please get in touch – we’d love to hear from you.”
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Ways you can support There are lots of ways you can support Royal Surrey County Hospital Charity. Give Make a single or regular donation to the charity and help change and save lives in your local community. To donate online, visit: www.rschcharity.org.uk/donate Challenge yourself Now’s the perfect time to take on a challenge while raising money for a good cause. The charity has places in the following events for 2019: Surrey Half Marathon – 10 March Brighton Marathon – 14 April Prudential Ride London – 4 August Surrey 5 Peaks Hikeathon – 16 September Royal Parks Half Marathon – 13 October Great South Run – 20 October To register your interest for any of these events, please contact the charity on the details below. If you’re already registered for an event, why not consider fundraising for Royal Surrey County Hospital Charity? Help raise awareness Take to social media to help spread the word about the charity’s work and how you’re supporting. Follow the charity: Facebook and Instagram: @royalsurreycharity Twitter: @RSCHCharity Volunteer Join the charity’s team of dedicated volunteers – whether you’re interested in helping to organise and run events or hold bucket collections, your time will make a big difference to the work the charity can achieve. To find out more about Royal Surrey County Hospital Charity and how your support can make a difference, please visit www.rschcharity.org.uk or call the fundraising team on 01483 464146.
SECTION ARTICLE HEADER
Law Firm Marketing The Case for Video T
Video is still touted as the ‘next big thing’ and ‘must-do’ on every marketer’s list. But, does the hype stand up to scrutiny, and what is the relevance of video marketing for lawyers?
he case for video marketing is too strong to be overlooked by any law firm and it is no passing fad. Video is getting a lot of (well-deserved) publicity now that it has become increasingly affordable and practical for firms to produce video content. Law firms can access the help of dedicated outsourced video agencies or a combination of in-house resources and expert consultation and editing. WHY IS VIDEO MARKETING BECOMING SO POPULAR WITH LAWYERS? The popularity of video marketing is largely down to its flexibility. Videos can easily be bespoke; suiting the needs of a law firm and its audience. The style, look and feel can be adapted to the desired audience and can also be animated. Therefore the presentation of content can be tailored to the nature of the content itself. It is also hard to argue against statistics like: 1. Currently, video counts for 69% of all consumer internet traffic (data source: Cisco) Rather than having to set aside time to read through swathes of text, videos can easily fit into business decision makers’ busy schedules. 2. 55% of people watch online videos every day (data source: Animoto) Videos are the best way of condensing information and so video marketing is ideal for lawyers; it allows legal firms to convert dry legal jargon into engaging and essential information on their products and services helping viewers to easily appreciate the benefits of working with the firm. 3. Four times as many people would rather watch a video about a product or service than read about it (data source: MWP Digital Media) Growing each day, this figure shows the size of the potential audience for legal marketing videos and the presence that videos have in the online world. SO, WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF VIDEO MARKETING FOR A LAW FIRM? Video marketing and video blogging provides lawyers with a fresh approach to communication. Videos will help to grow awareness of your brand and what your brand stands for. It adds personality, bringing dry topics to life and can simplify complex subjects. Video is the differentiator in a competitive marketplace Law firms that feature video on their homepage, introducing the people and the company, can start to build trust and a relationship with the viewer before even meeting them, in a way that text or stock images simply can’t. Likening a website to a shopfront on the high street, a homepage video is a door held open with a welcoming smile and an offer of a friendly tour. The online world means that consumer options are far wider than their local high street; meaning competition amongst legal service providers is fiercer than ever. However, video can provide the differentiator.
Video has the ability to put the needs of the clients first and engage them more fully. Even if older clients are not fully engaging in digital output; millennials and the clients of the future are. It’s true that Google loves video, as websites with video content are more prevalent in the top spots of search results, so video marketing doesn’t just engage your audience but it will also support your SEO strategy and help people find your website. Plus, video keeps visitors to your website looking at your website for longer. This means that you have longer to communicate with them and demonstrate your value to them. Video marketing lessens the burden of explanation on your front office staff. Video works 24 hours a day, it communicates with your audience clearly and consistently every time… .this can also lighten the load for those with the responsibility of explaining what the firm does. All of this means that those consuming your content are more likely to contact you. Relevant video content that provides value to your viewers is key. With a consistent and strategic output of video content, the mere-exposure effect comes into play. After a certain amount of exposure to a firm’s branded content, this psychological phenomenon means that someone feels comfortable enough with your brand and are more likely to get in touch. Video is believed to produce the best marketing budget ROI Adobe claims that, globally, 51.9% of marketing professionals rate video as producing the best return on investment (ROI) over all other forms of content. This more engaging format allows your audience to absorb your content with ease and retain the key messages. Videos posted on social media can also make your legal services become much more accessible to consumers. Rather than seeking out a specific solution to their problem, your audience will become accustomed to feeling a legal service is simply an everyday aspect of life. Video doesn’t need to be expensive. A considered, consistent video marketing strategy can bring considerable savings over a piecemeal approach. Video content should also pay for itself many times over. If you have clients who quibble over price and are focused purely on cost, then demonstrating your value can lift the perception of your firm above the competition. Quite often, when people have their attention drawn away from price towards value, they are happy to pay the premium, knowing the value they will get in return. ■
Ed Chinn Eagle & Beagle - Bespoke Video Creation www.eagleandbeagle.co.uk Tel : 01444 657 007 Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
SURREY LAWYER 27
A busy time for Statutory Instruments and quick changes T
It used to be considered that Private Client work continued steadily with changes to the law and procedure being comparatively rare, and changes happening on a more piecemeal and protracted basis over time.
his can no longer be said, particularly if November is anything to go by; suddenly we have changes upon us with very little notice. Firstly, the amendments to the Non-Contentious Probate Rules and secondly the re-introduction of the increase in probate fees, both by way of Statutory Instruments. Statutory Instrument 1137/18 to the Non Contentious Probate Rules 1987 came into force on 27 November 2018 with very little warning, and as a bit of a surprise, not least to the district probate registries who have been inundated with requests for guidance and precedents.
The flat fee to date for personal applications is £215 and for solicitor applications £155, with an additional 50p per each sealed copy From this date, there is no longer a requested. The system proposed from April requirement to submit an oath with an 2019 of a banded system dependent on the application for a Grant of Representation, value of the estate (while slightly lower than instead it is necessary to submit a those proposed in 2017) results in an statement of truth signed by the applicant. increase of over 2,700% for estates worth Further, it is no longer necessary for the applicant to sign the original Will, bringing to over £2million, which will attract a fee of £6,000. At the other end of the scale, an end a very historic and established estates with a value of up to £50,000 will process. The Statutory Instrument also bear no fee. The government are keen to enables online applications to be made by emphasise this change, highlighting that as personal applicants, extends time limits in a result, 25,000 estates each year will be the caveat process, allows caveat exempt from paying a fee altogether. applications and standing searches to be Explaining this to an Executor of a typical made electronically, extends the powers of district probate registrars, and make further Surrey estate is going to be slightly challenging. ■ provision for the issue of directions in relation to hearings. Although a fairly big change in procedure for Private Client practitioners, it is unlikely that our clients will be particularly affected. What will be felt though is the increase in Probate Fees that it seems that the government is determined to press ahead with. After the furore in 2017 when the subject was first raised, it is somewhat surprising that the re-introduction has again been made by way of Statutory Instrument. The justification for the increase is to fund an effective and modern courts and tribunal service to ensure and protect access to justice. The modernisation, we are informed, will include enabling online applications for Grants of Representation,
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provision for access to digital support for those that need it and increasing the ability for applications to be made personally rather than through a solicitor (and therefore saving the applicant costs). The reality is that the bereaved client is going to face a significant increase in fees, which will be calculated by reference to the value of the estate. For higher value estates the cost could be argued to be disproportionate, as of course the Probate Registry carries out the same work for each estate regardless of its value.
Senior Associate in Private Client, TWN Solicitors
SECTION SOFTWARE HEADER
Luqmani Thompson becoming digital by default with Quill’s Interactive Documents North London immigration and public law specialists, Luqmani Thompson and Partners, are no strangers to cloud- and electronic-working. Having used Quill’s Interactive software for almost 20 years, the practice is accustomed to accessing its core systems remotely via the internet and using advanced technology to run its business more efficiently.
Photograph: Jawald Luqmani
awaid Luqmani, Partner at Luqmani Thompson, explains how his firm benefits from Quill’s ongoing commitment to software development: “Quill’s investment in developing Interactive directly results in savings for us. Every task we perform in the software, be it setting up a new matter, logging disbursements, communicating with clients or anything else, is so simple that even I can do it!
“We aim to store everything in Interactive – emails, letters, attendance notes, time recordings and their associated financials. Both outgoing and inbound communications are sent, scanned and stored electronically so they’re instant, less likely to get lost, cost nothing in comparison to rising postage costs and can be saved straight to case. Liaising with external bodies has never been easier.”
“In fact, it’s harder trying not to use the software properly. We’ve grown used to its ease of use and many time-saving features to such an extent that we’ve streamlined our support staff structure, reducing overheads in the process.
Having recently introduced an array of new and enhanced functionality to Interactive Documents, Jawaid describes one of these – the ability to email PDF and ZIP files to third parties: “Using PDF and ZIP formats has become increasingly important for two main reasons. First, they can’t be altered so it’s more secure which is welcome news with cybercrime on the up. Second, groups of documents comprising some 150+ pages aren’t unusual for court or counsel bundles. These can be compressed in order to become more portable. With courts progressively moving digital, Quill’s solutions are actually ahead of the curve because they already support digital submission.
“Interactive’s an extra brain working alongside us. Although there are inevitably different levels of usage throughout our company, we have no computer Luddites because everyone’s au fait with Interactive. Whenever new functionality is introduced, we can immediately see the advantages to end users and, with Quill making software enhancements easy to pick up, our staff adjust to these improvements effortlessly, without resistance.” As well as utilising Interactive to manage its matters and process its accounts, Luqmani Thompson handles all case-related documents by subscribing to Interactive Documents. These are add-in tools within Word and Outlook which closely link Interactive with the Microsoft Office suite. In Word, the top toolbar hosts additional options to ‘Open’, ‘Save’ or perform ‘Actions’ from Quill. Similarly, in Outlook there are ‘New Quill Email’, ‘Save to Case’ and ‘Login’ buttons located in the top toolbar. “Interactive’s so well integrated with Word and Outlook”, continues Jawaid. “We’ve created over 40 templates in Word for various stages of case workflow, and subdivided into immigration and public law. These templates cover all manner of common communications from bundles sent to court and client care letters to cost revisions relating to live matters and terms of business. “All of these templates display our logo and branding, so our own collateral works hand-inglove with Interactive. This essentially means we have full case workflow assistance, being able to produce key documents from these regularly reviewed templates in next-to-no time.
“The absolute beauty of Interactive Documents is you can now attach-and-send files as PDFs and ZIPs even if you haven’t previously converted documents to this type of format. Interactive does it all for you at the click of a button.” Commenting on the wider benefits of e-working, Jawaid concludes: “The brave new world is towards paperless storage. In a traditional paperheavy environment, it’s a notorious pain retrieving files from archive. The other issue is the waste of valuable office space which, let’s face it, doesn’t come cheap anywhere these days. By freeing up this space, it can be put to alternative uses and your money better spent. “At Luqmani Thompson, we’re on a mission to go fully digital. We certainly encourage other firms we speak to, to get on board the train too before it leaves the tracks. Where our business is concerned, it’s Quill and Interactive Documents powering the engine.” ■
By Jawaid Luqmani Partner at Luqmani Thompson and Partners
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Update on Commercial Conveyancing – The View From the Top I
n light of the Dreamvar case The Law Society has been looking at enhancing the National Conveyancing Protocol, which it is of course mandatory for CQS accredited firms to follow, and of revising the CQS scheme in general including the Code for Completion by post.
There are a quite a number of recent developments in the conveyancing world that are bubbling under at the moment and which will have an effect on practioners of the (black?) art during the course of 2019.
The length of time they take to complete new lease registrations is also bordering on the unconscionable, methinks.
A new protocol has been drafted together with new CQS requirements, and the Core I would be interested to learn of other Practice Management Standards are being people’s experiences with them. upgraded, to include new provisions about On the commercial front there is a PII insurance for accredited firms. consultation out about waste All of these are currently in a nice tin box management, and also a consultation which is being polished up and the details taking place on the adoption of roads by will be published in the near future, so the Dept of Transport. watch this space and the bulletins from The Law Society Conveyancing & Land The Law Society. Law Committee has produced some Following on from the media furore arising specimen lease templates which are for from the practice of selling houses on a general use and can be accessed via lease with large escalating ground rents, TLS website. the Law Commission has been The latest one is for an office or part of a undertaking a review of Leasehold law commercial building and is pretty darnn generally. They have ben holding public useful, I think. consultations and The Law Society If anyone has any issues in respect of submitted its own response in late property law and conveyancing I would be November. delighted to assist to the best of my One particular bugbear that I know many humble ability ■ lawyers have is the large amount charged by managing agents for the provision of David Steed basic information, the cost of which can Consultant Solicitor vary widely. A lawyer of my acquaintance Council Member of The Law Society of was forced to pay (or more correctly, his England & Wales – Commercial Property client was) something like £1,550 in email@example.com respect of a London flat. It his hoped that H M Government may take some steps to regulate this. Coupled with Leasehold reform is Commonhold reform – the commission has issued a consultation paper (486 pages) which if you have a spare week or so can be read at the Law Commissions website project ‘Commonhold’ https://www.lawcom.gov.uk/project/commo nhold/ Land Registry – friend or foe ? Years ago I was of the opinion that the Land Registry was helpful and friendly – I was even given a HMLR tie in a sickly yellow / green colour on one visit to Durham DLR !
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Now I am not so sure. It seems that they raise requisitions etc on every minor point, whereas in the “good old days” they would simply pick up the phone to resolve small issues.
Bringing together all your commercial requirements
Conveyancing can be complex and even more so when looking at commercial transactions. Thames Water Property Searches endeavour to make this process as seamless as possible, whether it’s: • Acquisitions • Commercial leases, or • Development We aim to keep you informed along the way, assisting you in solving the problems as they may appear. appear.
Sharing our expertise.
CPD from Geodesys. All you need to know. Geodesys offers a range of conveyancing CPD options including housing industry updates, regional housing analysis, legislation updates and product training. Look out for our regional events and donâ€™t forget that we also organise in-house training to suit the needs of your team. Find out more: call Geodesys customer services on 0800 085 8050.
Interaction is key to getting the most out of your CPD A
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is an integral part of any conveyancer’s progression and aptitude, as well as being an effective way to sharing expertise and best practice. Regulatory bodies such as the Council for Licensed Conveyancers and Solicitors Regulation Authority expect property practitioners to undertake CPD activities, as well as reflect on their learning and apply to their day-to-day working life.
ny approach to gaining CPD points is valid so long as the legal professional can demonstrate that it contributes to the service they are offering. Today, participants are overwhelmed with choice as there are a host of activities to choose from, including webinars, coaching / mentoring, courses, research and events – so how best can a solicitor invest their time in CPD? Geodesys – part of Anglian Water and a leading provider of conveyancing searches for residential and commercial properties throughout England and Wales – regularly hosts a series of complimentary CPD events for conveyancers across the country.
about the industry, legislation and products available to them. • Real-life scenarios and case studies are an excellent way to apply learning back in the workplace and show what solutions are available for particular situations. • Event takeaways. Event organisers usually give participants a copy of the presentations and examples discussed to help embed learning when back in the office. • Networking. Events provide the opportunity for delegates to network with one another as well as the presenters, extending the learning potential. • Mix it up. Cover a number of areas and topics in one fell swoop by attending a CPD event which features a mix of different topics.
Worth three CPD points, the popular, interactive events feature industry experts like property market analyst and commentator Kate Faulkner and provide highly informative seminars looking at a mixture of topics such as the threats the modern conveyancer is exposed to and the best tools for remaining compliant. Jane Moir, Associate Solicitor for Sprake and Kingsley claimed one of the events to be: “The best CPD event I’ve attended!”
Conveyancers are extremely busy individuals so it’s important their time is used wisely when investing in CPD training. Events are a powerful way to interact and learn from many different professionals as well as boosting networks, confidence and knowledge.
“Taking time out of the office is often considered an inconvenience for busy professionals, but actually stepping away from the desk away from distractions, mingling with peers and being in a learning environment, means our events offer a wealth of benefits,” says Jonny Davey, Conveyancing Product Manager for Geodesys and regular presenter at events.
Geodesys offers a range of conveyancing CPD options including housing industry updates, regional housing analysis, legislation updates and product training. Look out for their regional events and don’t forget they also organise in-house training to suit the needs of your team. Find out more by calling their customer services team on 0800 085 8050.
• Interaction. Delegates are encouraged to contribute to discussions which helps them benefit from shared knowledge
SURREY LAWYER 33
Japanese Knotweed – The Plant that Can Cost your Clients Thousands
The chances are you already know everything there is to know about ‘Japanese Knotweed’, given the regular news coverage it seems to receive. The main reason: Japanese Knotweed is a highly destructive plant that is difficult to kill and can cause thousands of pounds worth of property damage.
iven its fearful reputation, would you be surprised to hear that figures suggest only 1/5th of people can correctly identify it! What is Japanese Knotweed? Japanese Knotweed was introduced to Britain in the 1800s by Victorians, who used it as an ornamental garden plant, oblivious to the risks we now know. It is an invasive perennial plant that if left to grow and spread, can cause major structural damage to property. Growing up to 2m in just one season, its roots can also spread to 7m underground. Why is it so dangerous for property? Japanese Knotweed can grow through gaps in houses (floors/cracks in walls/concrete) and into drains, causing significant damage to properties. The presence of Japanese Knotweed may not only reduce the value of a property but can also lead to enforcement of remediation works being carried out for the treatment and removal of the plant. Whilst it is not against the law for the plant to grow within your property/land, it is against the law to plant or cause Japanese Knotweed to grow in the wild. If a property owner allows the plant to
spread and cause a nuisance to somebody else’s property, they can be prosecuted or given a community protection order. A property owner can be served a notice under one or more of the following: -The Environmental Protection Act 1990 -The Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Police Act 2014 -The Infrastructure Act 2015 How can a GCS Legal Indemnity Policy help your clients? Our ‘Japanese Knotweed’ Policy has been specifically designed for the situation where a residential property may be served one or more of the notices mentioned above concerning the presence of the plant and the subsequent remediation works that may follow. The premium for this policy is just £40 (incl. IPT) for £20,000 Limit of Indemnity. This policy is available exclusively through GCS Online. Head to gcsonline.gcs-title.co.uk to register and start issuing today. All our Online policies can be issued within minutes and cover can start immediately. ■
gcs-title.co.uk 01435 868050 firstname.lastname@example.org
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COMMERCIAL SECTION CONVEYANCING HEADER
Commercial Development: Opening up Brownfield Land Opportunity The Government has announced new funding to speed up the house building process, aiming to overcome the roadblocks from potential contamination on brownfield land.
Chris Taylor, from Future Climate Info, is one of only a small number of SiLCs (Specialists in Land Condition) in the UK. He provides an assessment on how this renewed focus on brownfield incentives will extend to commercial property due diligence. What funds have been announced? Barclays Bank has announced that they are working in partnership with the Government to offer finance to small and medium-sized housing developers. The £1 billion Housing Delivery Fund aims to support developers to make confident choices on site viability. Homes England, which is committing £125m to the funding pot, will administer the scheme and provide funding between £5m and £100m for new homes, including social housing, retirement living and apartments to rent. The funds form part of the promise to deliver 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s. In addition, the £1.3 billion Land Assembly Fund will be also used to acquire land that needs work and prepare it for the market. The £630 million Small Sites Fund is designed to get the right infrastructure in place to help public landowners and local authorities that are struggling to build on land in their area. Approaching Brownfield with More Confidence James Brokenshire, the new Housing Minister, recognises that developers face many perceived obstacles when it comes to seeking permission to develop on brownfield sites. The aim is to de-risk the viability concerns from potential historic contamination. Brownfield Land has been a priority in land use zoning by Local planning Authorities (LPAs) for a number of years, but it has been boosted by reinforced guidance within the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) earlier this year. There are strong economic and social arguments for revitalising urban centres and placing higher density affordable dwellings for residents that can walk to work or use public transport to minimise traffic and pollution loads on cities. These initiatives are all to be welcomed, as they prevent sprawl and make good use of sites that can often be over-hyped in terms of their potential contaminative risk. With renewed funding vigour, commercial property lawyers and their developer or investor clients, should approach site viability on the basis of what can be achieved, rather than what can’t.
Combining Risk Data with Solutions This means an even handed approach to land quality due diligence ahead of site acquisition to fully understand a site’s historic use. But it also means a realistic assessment of how significant any contaminative risk really is, its proximity to sensitive receptors and the level of remedial work which may be necessary. A combination of desktop risk assessment and options for more detailed investigation including soil testing and gas monitoring is a good starting point. However, as sites get more complex, contaminated land insurance can be used to provide greater certainty to the transaction, helping the client to make an informed decision. In the event, that remediation is required, some companies can now use data and insurance to provide fixed fees, thus taking the uncertainty away from open ended contracts. We know that Government funding will not be a blank cheque for remediation, whatever the situation. Developers need assurance that other mechanisms like tailored contaminated land insurance, built on specific site risk assessment, is there to support when they them when they need it. Future Climate Info’s commercial environmental reports provide a comprehensive, yet concise and clear assessment of site history, potential for contamination and, as a result, follow-on options for more detailed testing or insurance provision. There are very few SILCs (Specialist in Land Condition) in the UK, but property professional including commercial property lawyers and their clients may find direct access to this expertise invaluable in unlocking the true potential of brownfield sites. The Government is seeking imaginative solutions to overcome obstacles in the planning and financing of brownfield projects. We are all about matching this with easy, intelligent commercial environmental risk solutions that keep the transaction going and provide support to unlock funding and planning consent quicker. For more information on Future Climate Info’s Commercial Environmental Risk Reports, Site Survey and Insurance Solutions, visit www.futureclimateinfo.com contact us on 01732 755 180 or email us at email@example.com
SURREY LAWYER 35
REVEALED: London is the city with the
most number of commercial properties to let
• The cities with the highest number of commercial properties to let in November 2018 on Zoopla were: London (6,137), Derby (822), Birmingham (724), Manchester (501) and Leeds (481). • The cities with the lowest number of commercial properties to let in November 2018 were: Preston (153), Coventry (145), Belfast (145), Edinburgh (133) and Newport (128).
igures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show a monthly decline in the number of new UK commercial construction work undertaken by the private sector, since December 2017. Looking at the overall picture, the results of the British referendum have been detrimental to the commercial property sector with the number of constructions continually decreasing. When it comes to the capital, the estate advisory organisation Colliers claims that 90% of London office availability is constituted by second-hand product, while new/refurbished availability is down by over a third in the past year. As a result, commercial property experts Savoystewart.co.uk analysed the number of commercial properties available to let in 20 of the biggest cities in the UK. The figures were extracted from property website Zoopla for the month of November 2018. The cities were then ordered from highest to lowest. The cities with the highest number of commercial properties to let in November 2018 were: London (6,137), Derby (822), Birmingham (724), Manchester (501) and Leeds (481). As expected, the city with the highest number of commercial properties to let was England’s capital city London, which showcased a whopping 6,137 properties in November 2018 available for businesses to rent. This comes as no surprise giving the reputation London has as one of the world’s leading financial centres and as the “city of opportunity” according to recent analysis by PwC. Simultaneously, the cities with the lowest number of commercial properties to let across major cities in the UK in November 2018 were: 36 SURREY LAWYER
Preston (153), Coventry (145), Belfast (145), Edinburgh (133) and Newport (128). Surprisingly, Scotland’s capital city Edinburgh illustrated the second lowest number of commercial properties on the market to let (133). And although Edinburgh’s figures seem to be less intriguing than anticipated, it seems Scottish commercial real estate has experienced a bounce back, with a total return of 1.7% in the third quarter of 2018; a 1.4% rebound in the second quarter. https://www.savoystewart.co.uk/
Emoov’ed to tears by ‘online’? Dial 0800 Index and speak to a someone that cares...! by Kevin Johnson
Tuesday 27th November was our busiest day ever for orders; week 48 was the most prolific that we've ever had and November 2018 was our best month on record; we are 77% up on 2017.
e also received this comment that says so much more than mere statistics: “Your team at Index have been the best search providers I have ever worked with and I have been a solicitor for over 25 years so I know a thing or two about it.” I’ve banged on a lot in previous articles about the importance of shared values, personal service and commitment to delivering to exceed expectations. We all face a pretty uncertain future, for all sorts of reasons, and 2019 will be a pivotal year whatever happens (or doesn’t) on 29th March. But it strikes me, more than ever, that we will continue to thrive through partnership and friendship. This year brought artificial intelligence into the mainstream, showed big data in a bad light and called upon blockchain (somebody please explain it to me in a language that I can understand!!) to provide a solution to all of our problems – if only! Blockchain has been hailed as the solution to Brexit, Russian election meddling, counterfeiting and falling revenue in the music industry. However, if the price of a Bitcoin is any indication, a year on since prices peaked at around $19,000; the blockchain hype might be starting to die down. Yet, while blockchain might not revolutionise everything as many previously predicted, businesses could well start to see its full potential in 2019, with technology helping to streamline transactional, ordering, invoicing, payment and stocking processes, particularly for those operating business-to-business. And yet, for all the promise of improved processes, speed of transaction, efficiency and cost reduction, there are still so many aspects of business that rely on the personal interface and the ‘empathy’ that machines simply can’t do quite as well as we mere humans. The High Street is dying out and everyone wants to bash the estate agent but home sellers fear they will be left hundreds of pounds out-of-pocket after online estate agency Emoov went into administration - just months after merging with TV property star Sarah Beeny's Tepilo. Emoov currently has around 5,000 properties listed for sale or sold subject to contract. Most of those vendors will have paid fees up front in order to sell through the agent, and yet not one of them will have ever met a representative of Emoov. In today’s world of automation, our expectation is that we will get a recorded message when we call a business. At Index, our customers are our business; we want to hear from them and have a conversation. We reassure our clients that our business relationship is important; that we want to meet our customers’ needs as quickly and efficiently as possible. And, in this simple philosophy, we build our clients’ trust and their loyalty. No maze of
buttons to press or getting lost in the shuffle of departments at Index. Every member of our team ‘owns the problem’ and we ensure that it’s solved to the very best of our ability. In the current marketplace, where customer competition is ferocious, the relationship we have with our customers is a key differentiator with our competitors. And our customers become advocates of our business. Going back to statistics, the one that holds more power in the market than any other is the knowledge that it is more affordable to retain customers than to secure new ones. As we look forward to 2019 in the property sector, it’s clear that house price growth has slowed and the outcome of Brexit remains uncertain but many still predict that property values in all British regions will continue to rise, albeit at differing rates depending on where you are. And whilst many buyers are choosing to stay put, demand still outstrips supply because the rate of new building is not expected to gather enough momentum over the next two years to keep up with prior years’ shortfall. As conveyancing solicitors grapple with market and economic turbulence; the need to comply with ill thought out price transparency requirements; interest rates and tax; streamlining the buying and selling process; Land Registry digital transformation and burgeoning technology changes (and myriad choices) one thing will always remain constant, the irrefutable need for all of us to remember that there is a customer relying on us for guidance and advice. Treat them well and they will return and recommend us to others; that can only be good for business. At the grand old age of 54, I don’t have the same need for material goods but we all like to be praised and the greatest gift to me, and my team in 2018, are the thanks that we receive for work well done. I’ll share with you one other recent testimonial: “I would like to thank you so very much for your fantastic service. I’ve been a conveyancer for over 20 years and have “been through” many search providers. Some experiences have been good and some horrendous, as you may well appreciate. The personal touch that you and your team delivers has been beyond exceptional.” If you would like to hear more about how we work differently and our expectations for 2019 then please feel free to contact us; we always answer the phone and I guarantee that it won’t be a recorded message! ■
Kevin Johnson Index Property Information
SURREY LAWYER 37
A lesson learned... S
he had always been a charitable person and while her story did not work out for her let it be a lesson to us all.
Pic: L-R Matthew Brennan and Ken Brennan (My Paper Vault)
Peter Baker found himself in a position where he had to look after his mother’s estate. She had a short illness and was not able to finalise all her affairs before she passed on.
Peter and his mother had a few years previously sat down and had a chat about her passing on one day and subsequently wrote a will together. Peter had a copy of the will, but when it came to search for the original, he struggled to find it. After turning his mother’s house upside down he found her will. However it appears that in previous years, one of his kids had found it, and drawn all over it. Worse yet had torn the bottom of the page off destroying the signatures on the will. Peter understood that the threshold of his mother’s estate was £325 000 pounds which is tax exempt, the remainder of the estate was £175 000 which was subject to tax. His mother wanted to leave a donation to a local care home, “because not all elderly people are as well off as I am”, She used to say regularly. The copy of her will listed her donation as £100 000 and this would drop her Inheritance tax down to 36%. The donation would be tax exempt and so her final Inheritance Tax bill should have been £27 000. However because her will was destroyed, the care home as per the laws of intestacy received nothing and the full amount of £125 000 above the threshold was charged at 40%, which meant her inheritance tax bill was £70 000. It took Peter months to sort out and there were hidden costs all along the way. What galled Peter the most was knowing his mother’s final wishes were not respected. The law must be applied fairly across the board and this is where My Paper Vault comes in so handy.
We offer a fully insured and comprehensively protected storage facility for wills and all life documents. We make a copy of these documents available online, that can be changed and edited online as needed. We have a clear policy on how these documents can be accessed after death, so no one is left uncertain. We also send out a notification to the executors reminding them bi-annually of their responsibilities as executors. Our online facilities have a top-notch security algorithm that is often tested to protect your information and offer you peace of mind.
*This is a fictitious story based on how Intestacy works. Peter and his mother are fictitious characters but the law is real.
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A love that lasts forever Every year, we care for around 15,000 dogs at our 20 rehoming centres across the UK. It’s only with the help of our wonderful supporters that we can give these dogs the love, care and attention they deserve while finding them the right home.
their married life rescuing and caring for neglected and unwanted dogs.
A third of our funds come from gifts included in supporters Wills. One such supporter, Dr Thomas Preston, has very kindly pledged to leave a legacy to Dogs Trust in his Will. He and his beloved wife, Pat spent 40 years of
Pat had always had a strong bond with dogs, having lived with them for much of her life. She couldn’t bear to see them injured or illtreated. Sadly she passed away in 2014, leaving behind Tom and her darling dogs. It was their shared belief that every dog deserves a long, happy life that led to her making the incredibly generous decision to leave us a gift in her Will. Dogs Trust promises to never put down a healthy dog. Please help us keep this promise by considering leaving us a gift in your will. ■
oviding expert veterinary care, specialist rehabilitation equipment and training facilities doesn’t come cheap. Not to mention all the vital everyday necessities like food, bedding and heating. Dogs Trust receives no government funding, which means we wouldn’t be able to run our 20 state-of-the-art rehoming centres without the generous donations from our supporters.
SURREY LAWYER 39
SU P E R CHARGE
YO UR U R WORKLOAD Ta ake off time. Lots of time. Slash the time it takes to do post- completion tasks to just five minutes, thanks to supercharged InfoTrack technology that pre -populates data fields and submits and manages results for SDLTs and AP1s. It’s intuitive. It’s easy to use. And your workload? Yo You’ll charge through it.
Faster and Smarter
Free your mind... it's time to think more objectively about structured products ‘‘I’m trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it. You have to let it all go. Fear, doubt, and disbelief. Free your mind.’’: Morpheus, The Matrix, 1999.
recently had a thought-provoking chat with Chris Taylor, global head of structured products at new provider Tempo, about the fundamental differences between mutual funds and structured products, including the unique merits and efficacy of ‘best of breed’ structured products and their ability to add value within investor portfolios. Chris has a background in asset management, including active and passive funds, and is one of the UK’s ‘go to’ experts in the structured products sector, so he has a good understanding of the full investment landscape. It was hard to disagree with much of what he had to say, but, as he also said, it does seem to require some wealth managers and independent professional advisers, and investors, to ‘free their minds’ in order to engage objectively on the facts. The fundamental fact that interested me was his explanation that active fund management is built around ‘aims and objectives’, that actually are simply ‘hopes’, or even just ‘wishful thinking’. The bottom line is that there are no obligations on fund managers to actually deliver anything that they ‘promise’. If / when fund managers fail to achieve their stated aims and objectives, they know that they can simply provide an explanation to investors, usually blaming their performance on markets, perhaps offer an apology, promise to try harder next time, and suggest that investors just need to be patient and remain invested. The bottom line is that the risks of active fund management are borne by investors, not the fund managers, and it is this that is fundamentally different from structured products. Structured products are based on contractual legal obligations. As with active fund management, investors in structured products access marketing materials, for example a plan brochure, detailing what the structured product has been designed to provide, and the conditions and parameters for both returns and risks. However, unlike active fund management, structured products marketing creates contractual, legal obligations upon the investment bank standing behind the product, as the issuer / counterparty, to deliver what they stated.
Structured products allow investors to abdicate from various risks including market risk and fund management process risk, delegating these risks to investment banks / counterparties, who must deliver the terms of the bonds that they issue that back their products, with no wriggle room, no explanations, and no apologies, unless they are bust. This is a significant USP benefit of structured products, that can serve investors well, in diversified and balanced portfolios. This is a compelling and unique feature of structured products, and one that really needs to be understood and appreciated. Particularly as an increasing number of wealth managers, professional advisers and investors believe that the decade ahead may present a more challenging investment environment than the decade now behind us. The investment environment ahead of us, in which the world moves from Quantitative Easing to Quantitative Tightening etc., is likely to see professional advisers, and their clients, wanting and needing to work their portfolios harder, including considering different types of investments for better portfolio diversification, instead of restricting their portfolio diversification planning to just asset class and geography. Structured products can present a compelling portfolio option that can potentially add value alongside other funds, for objectively minded professional advisers and their clients, not least because there are some things that passive and active fund management just cannot do. Structured products can help fill that gap, notably offering the potential for positive returns in range bound, possibly flat and / or falling markets, in addition to reducing and controlling exposure to downside market risk. We think it is time (and timely) to think carefully about and understand the differences between active fund management and structured products and to recognise the merits and attributes of best of breed structured products. Many investors may be served well with the inclusion of structured products within their portfolios. ■
Tim McKechnie Investment Director – S4 Financial Limited
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Why we don’t require you to carry out any property inspections…
ue to the particularly niche nature of our insurance, we’re aware that our customers do not always know the full extent of the information regarding the property - particularly as solicitors, executors, attorneys or deputies. As such, we have created our product with ease of use in mind, with just four questions being asked about the property to be covered: Photo: Wayne Shinn
Our product is designed so that it’s easier for solicitors and executors to insure unoccupied properties on behalf of their clients. It’s also suitable for clients to insure their homes through us directly when moving into care or back in with family members.
• Postcode • Approximate year of construction • Number of bedrooms • Type of property (closest match) We’re different from many other unoccupied home insurance providers, in that we don’t require any proof of inspections to provide cover for a property. It can be highly inconvenient to have to return periodically to a property, particularly when, as the solicitor or executor, you may not be located near to the property being covered, or have to arrange for someone else to carry out the inspections. Many standard home insurance policies will cover the property for around 30 to 60 days before the cover becomes void or reduced. As
our product is designed for properties that may be unoccupied for longer periods of time, the cover can last for 3, 6, 9 or 12 months, whichever is most suitable. With this in mind, we felt it was unnecessary to ask our customers to keep checking back to the property - particularly at a time when they’ve got much bigger concerns on their minds, such as moving a beloved family member into care, or during probate. Not requiring inspections simply means that more time is spent on more important things. We’re also aware that circumstances change, which is why we offer pro-rata returns on 9 and 12 month policies. As usual, terms and conditions apply, and you can find more information, including all the details of our product at: www.unoccupieddirect.co.uk. Alternatively, send an email to one of our team members, and we’ll be more than happy to help with any queries: firstname.lastname@example.org. ■
Wayne Shinn Business Development Executive
Really, there’s no inspection requirement With our Unoccupied Property Insurance, we don’t require you to visit the home - even during winter
VISIT www.unoccupieddirect.co.uk 42 SURREY LAWYER
Don’t let compliance result in chaos A
s of 6 December 2018, all regulated law firms must disclose price and service information online for common services.
What prices do I need to disclose?
The new SRA transparency requirements are now in full force and will affect all solicitors and law firms throughout the UK.
For individuals: conveyancing, probate, motoring offences, employment tribunals (claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal) and immigration (excluding asylum). For small businesses: debt recovery (up to £100k), employment tribunals (defending claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal) and licensing applications for business premises. The new regulations also require firms to provide typical timescales for quoted services, information about their firm’s complaint handling process, and details on qualifications and experience of staff. It is important to note that compliance with these new rules: 1. Is not as simple as one might expect it to be 2. The solution need not be as costly as it seems 3. There is an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage Now is the time to go beyond maintaining compliance and use compliance as a lever to differentiate your firm. The new regulations give visitors the opportunity to compare based on price alone; representing your services and prices in the most favourable light is your responsibility.
An easy way to comply with SRA requirements The good news is compliance with the new rules does not need to be daunting - you do not need to overhaul your website and you can have the flexibility to update your approach as it matures from initial compliance to compelling persuasion. You can turn this event into a competitive advantage at a fraction of the price of any other compliance approach. With a Zaliet Service Portal, you can comply with the regulations in an attractive userfriendly manner. Along with providing price lists, a Service Portal allows your clients to request appointments, securely and safely collaborate on documents, complete Matter Instruction Forms online, and capture enquiries and automatically transfer the details into LEAP once you decide to accept instructions.
Increase your market share by publishing your prices The SRA found when law firms publish prices their likely market share increases compared to professions who do not publish this information. Additionally, the perceived cost of using a solicitor falls by almost a quarter when prices are published. A potential client would probably be put off if you only provided pricing details in some areas, and there were no other details in the area where the client was looking for help.
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For those who run a solo or small firm, often you get clients walking in with problems you have never encountered before. You need to make sure your price transparency covers this as well.
Give clients the information they need to choose you When you consider that 42 per cent of small businesses shop around online when in need of professional legal support and 75 per cent would do this even more if more information was available on firms’ websites, you can see why providing prices in all areas of law practised, not just the prescribed areas, would extend your competitive advantage across the whole firm. So how should firms publish their prices? The SRA does not prescribe exactly how to disclose prices, as long as you include the fees you charge, applicable disbursements as well as VAT. The overall proviso is that you are fully transparent and accurate in your representations. However, you want to ensure that prices are displayed in a way that attracts clients, not chases them away. It is crucial to display prices in a way that is easy for potential clients to understand. The simplified design of a Zaliet Service Portal enables you to maintain and improve your price list as it changes over time without great expense.
Cost-effective compliance with a Zaliet Service Portal A Zaliet Service Portal can help you cost-effectively comply and build your firm. Prospective clients can easily access your prices and make an enquiry, all in one place. In addition to price, a Service Portal can help you comply with disclosing the experience and qualifications of your professionals carrying out the work and of their supervisors. To address complaint handling, Zaliet has added a “Complaints” button at the footer of the Service Portal for a quick and easy way to upload your complaints handling process.
Available stand-alone or as part of your website All of the features in the Service Portal will help you comply without the need to update the design and content on your website. A Service Portal is available as a stand-alone or replacement page for the Contact page on your website. Your clients can easily access the Service Portal from a button on your website or via your email signature. Don’t let compliance become chaos - get in contact with the team at Zaliet today to discover how you can build your firm and cost-effectively comply today. For more information, email email@example.com or call us on 0203 510 0856. ■
Productivity Improvement in the Legal Sector
common approach to productivity improvement is tried and tested in many sectors and is based on Operational Excellence, i.e. the ability to run an effective â€˜operationâ€™ (function or department). It success needs employees to have simple tools and techniques to make problems visible, encourage people to continuously â€˜fixâ€™ them and to address issues that cross departments and internal teams without the silos of reporting lines and departmental structure from hampering creative solutions. Systems and technology can help this but the way we arrange resources (people, process and systems) together can limit the productivity output we might have been able to achieve if we donâ€™t understand process, behaviours and technology and redesign how they work as a â€˜systemâ€™. Simple ways to create the culture of continuous productivity improvement: â€¢ Process map the â€˜one best wayâ€™ of performing a process and standardising on the best customer outcome â€¢ Define what we mean by rework (failure demand â€“ extra work created because of something we didnâ€™t do right the first time or neglected to do), measure it and reduce it. â€¢ Workload management of daily, weekly and monthly tasks/cases so it is visible, the team communicate regularly to track, allocate and reprioritise the work to ensure staff with the right skills are matched to the right type and priority of work. â€¢ Organise the people around the work rather than the organisation chart. Multiskilled, multifunctional teams of people supporting specialist skilled â€˜expertsâ€™ (lawyers). Pooled skills, level workloads and flexibility to match resource to customer demand. Productivity improvement, getting more output per hour worked without increased human effort, can be achieved through: â€¢ Better work design and resource organisation â€¢ Process redesign, quality feedback loops, better controls and improved standardisation on the one best way â€¢ Staff training in wider skills, increasing employee engagement and motivation â€¢ Higher staff utilisation through elimination of non-value-adding activities â€¢ Automation, improved use of technology and software supporting the operational design Combined, they lead to better customer experience, reduced operational costs and increased profit. ChangeWise has experience in all aspects of service productivity improvement and has developed a comprehensive operational assessment approach that quickly identifies the key factors that enable an efficient and effective operation. By examining critical business and support functions, processes, company policies, organisational structure, culture and key performance metrics we can identify your company's strengths and weaknesses, provide insight, pinpoint priority areas and make recommendations for improvement. â– Call Mike Williams on 07866 537 580 to find out more.
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SURREY LAWYER 45
SECTIONCARE HEALTH HEADER
Our live-in care service offers clients independence, companionship and an exceptional level of care
Promedica24 wants to raise awareness to individuals, their families and professionals that live-in care is a genuine and practical alternative to residential care and home care visits.
ost individuals would prefer to remain in their own home as long as possible so they retain their independence and continue living within their own community. Families want the same as long as their loved ones are safe and happy. Live-in care enables this as it means a carefully selected care worker lives in the home, providing excellent care and companionship at all times. Promedica24 will carry out a free care assessment in the home. We then tailor a care plan to suit the client's needs and propose a care worker. Once agreed, care can usually start within the week. Our care team are always on hand to ensure that the care provided meets the individual’s needs at all times. All our care is regulated by the Care Quality Commission and we are proud to have a Good rating.
“Live-in care is about choice and independence, it’s being able to have a bacon sandwich at 8pm, because the kitchen is always open. It’s about staying at home with a lifetime of memories, not moving to a room in a home. It’s not having to live separately from my partner because I cannot cope anymore. It means my family are not worried about me all the time and can visit any time they want. It allows them to spend time with me and not tidying, doing the washing and cleaning my home. It’s about choosing when I go to bed and knowing the person helping me will not change every day. It is knowing someone will go to the park with me so I can feed the ducks, get my newspaper and helping me get to the pub, my clubs and other social occasions. Also having someone that will recognise I might be getting unwell or not eating as normal”. Client of Promedica24
Offer er y your clients clien the choice oice of quality live-in live-in car care Our expert car caree work workers ers live in yo your ur h hom omee as a companion an om and d frien friend d Promedica24’s live-in care service can ensure you can remain in the home you love, with care and support from a carefully chosen and trained live-in care worker er.. Our service is a genuine and affor affordable alternative to a residential care home, which gives you the choice to live your life life as you please in your familiar familiar surroundings and community. Our care workers build strong relationships with their clients and soon understand just what makes them happy, and our care team are there to ensure that we tailor our services to meet the individuals needs at all times. We can care for for couples, and also those with dementia and other conditions. We also offer offer respite care to give home carers a well earned break.
Our live-in companionship and care packages start from £695 per week
To find out mor ore e about our tailored care packages call 0800 086 8686 or visit www.pr .prom omedica24.co.uk 46 SURREY LAWYER
Stay in the home you love Short and long term care available Affor Aff ordable person centred care Stay close to loved ones and pets Advanced care needs supported Care can be quickly provided Tailored to your individual needs
80% of doctors surveyed surveyed wo would uld recomm recomm ecommen end en d being bein g cared cared ffor or in yo your ur h hom ome* om e* *The National Institutes of Health
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The Surrey Law Society Winter 2018 Law magazine for the Surrey Law Society.