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SPRING 2016

BRIEFLY

LEGAL THE WATSON BURTON MAGAZINE

The innovation issUE Future vision The North East LEP’s Hans Möller interviewed

News Features Advice


“They are proactive, understand the issues and they give good commercial, pragmatic advice” Chambers & Partners 2016

“Watson Burton LLP is fantastic to deal with” Legal 500, 2015


WELCOME ...to the latest edition of our new and improved Briefly Legal magazine. A real celebration of innovation in the North East, this issue contains news stories, articles and opinion pieces from individuals and companies that are thinking outside of the box, striving for improvement and driving change in our region. It’s very fitting to have Hans Möller, the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s first innovation director, as our cover star for this issue. In the article ‘Laying the Foundations for Change’ he sets out his plans for the region, and encourages us all to question traditional constraints, break down barriers and drive innovation. I’m pleased to see a variety of our clients included in the magazine. As a firm we work hard to build relationships to help them achieve their business goals and innovation is a key part of this. Our team ensure that clients have the best possible options available to them, but we also regularly look internally at our own business, working to be as efficient and innovative as possible to ensure we’re always offering the best service. Over the past couple of years we have established ourselves as one of the go-to law firms for technology companies in the North East. We’re very proud of this reputation and this year we’ll be launching a research report with the North East Chamber of Commerce to identify barriers for technology and IT businesses in the region, and ways in which we can work together to break those barriers down. So what does innovation mean to you? It’s a question we should all be asking ourselves regularly to encourage progress and growth. For me, it’s taking a risk to actually do something differently rather than just thinking about it. You can be the smartest person in the world, but you will always be outdone by someone who is braver than you if you aren’t willing to take a risk. Patrick Harwood, chief executive officer of Watson Burton

WELCOME PATRICK HARWOOD

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CONTENTS

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06 NEWS

What’s happening in the world of Watson Burton and beyond…

09 INTRODUCING

Introducing the latest additions to the Watson Burton team

10 Forging careers in law

Our graduate trainees provide an insight into their careers

12 MY EUREKA MOMENT

We find out what inspired Sara Davies, founder of Crafter’s Companion

13 How vulnerable is your confidential data?

Watson Burton Newcastle office 1 St James’ Gate Newcastle upon Tyne NE99 1YQ Leeds office 1 City Square Leeds LS1 2ES London office New Broad Street House 35 New Broad Street London EC2M 1NH Tel: 0345 901 2100 www.watsonburton.com

Associate Anthony Rance on countering the threat of cybercrime… and how businesses can best protect themselves

14 BRIEF ENCOUNTER

What happens when a cyber attack succeeds? Christopher Graham, partner at Watson Burton, examines some recent cases

16 ON THE UP

We profile Bal Manak, associate in Watson Burton’s construction team

17 Pathway to success

Robin Byrne, our director of customer engagement, on his pioneering Measurable Management programme… and why he has returned to his roots

18 COVER STORY

The North East LEP’s innovation director, Hans Möller, on harnessing skills, supporting visionary businesses and fostering a spirit of collaboration

22 Breaking down barriers

How we are working to support the digital sector

24 Making light work of it Cover photo: Hans Möller, The North East LEP’s innovation director, by Chris Owens.

From automotive excellence to advanced LED technology, County Durham is thriving, as Dr Simon Goon, managing director of Business Durham, explains

26 One vision

The story of Newcastle start-up, One Utility Bill, from co-founder Chris Dawson

Selected images used on pages 6, 13, 14, 15 and 22 courtesy of shutterstock.com

28 WEEK IN THE LIFE

Additional photography by Dan Bolam and Chris Owens

Copyright Watson Burton 2016.

Richard Palmer, head of Watson Burton’s Professions and Insurance Group, talks us through his working week

30 Charity focus

We find out more about Watson Burton’s work with the Alzheimer’s Society

CONTENTS

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News From watson burton

Construction team advise Clancy Docwra on contract for pioneering project The construction team at Watson Burton has advised Clancy Docwra Limited in negotiating a contract for a pioneering project with Gateshead Council. The project – which is to provide a new district heating and private wire network from the proposed Energy Centre at Quarryfield Road in Gateshead – will serve a number of customers in Gateshead town centre including Gateshead Housing Company, the Civic Centre, The Sage Gateshead and Gateshead College. The scheme is part of Gateshead Council’s efforts to attract new business to the area, reduce emissions and cut energy bills. It is expected to be fully self-financing, with the construction and operating costs for Gateshead Council being repaid over the life of the project via energy sales. Bal Manak, associate at Watson Burton, negotiated a NEC3 Engineering and Construction Contract with Gateshead Council as well as professional appointments that Clancy has entered into with D3 Associates Limited and Hydraulic Analysis Limited for consultancy services. Bal said: “This is a great opportunity for Clancy Docwra and it is envisaged that the network connections required will increase as the project develops. This will help to further cut bills and reduce carbon emissions, which is a key priority in the construction industry right now.” Colin Wilkinson, director of Clancy Docwra, said: “Clancy Docwra are proud to be part of this ground-breaking challenge.”

Duncan Reid, who has been named as one the top 50 lawyers in the North East by Legal 500.

Lawyers in the Chambers spotlight Nine lawyers from Watson Burton were recognised in this year’s Chambers and Partners. Construction was ranked Band 2 with Sarah Wilson recognised in the guide for the first time, described as “very knowledgeable and understands the industry and its practices”. Richard Palmer is ranked Band 1 for Professional Negligence in the North East & Yorkshire, with clients saying “he is excellent and really stands out”. Partner Anne-Marie Knight is ranked as a Band 2 individual. In the Corporate team, Duncan Reid was described as “a very safe pair of hands” and “good to have on our side”. Paul Wigham is an “associate to watch” with one client saying: “You can trust him to deliver”.

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The Sage Gateshead, one of the sites which will be served by Gateshead Council’s new scheme.


Legal 500 results demonstrate Watson Burton’s strength Watson Burton has increased its number of recommended lawyers in the Legal 500. In total 19 of Watson Burton’s lawyers were recommended across all of its practice. Altitude Angel promises to revolutionise air traffic management for drones.

Air traffic management platform takes off A revolutionary platform which will provide air traffic control and automation services for drones in all airspace across the world launched at the end of 2015, thanks to a six-figure funding boost by North East investors. The brainchild of innovator and entrepreneur Richard Parker, Altitude Angel or, The Internet of Flying Things™ will effectively solve the problem facing global governments which air traffic services and even NASA have been working to find a solution to in recent years. The £210,000 seed funding round was facilitated by corporate associate Paul Wigham. He said: “It’s clear that drones are rapidly becoming part of our future, so we were very pleased to be involved in this high-profile, innovative project. Months ago Richard began working on a solution to a problem which many people didn’t know would ever exist. His foresight means that this traffic management system can be implemented just as drones are starting to become more popular, ensuring that their usage is controlled and remains safe.”

Watson Burton named as second most active legal advisors Watson Burton was ranked as the second most active legal advisor in the North East during 2015 in a report issued by Experian. A total of 16 deals were recorded for the firm. Ward Hadaway was third with 13 deals, and Square One Law was fourth with nine deals. A total of 181 transactions were recorded in the region, representing a 21 per cent upturn over 2014’s total of 150 transactions.

Head of corporate Duncan Reid was named as one of the top 50 leading lawyers in the north. Three practice areas – Insurance, Property Litigation and Debt Recovery – maintained Tier 1 status, whilst the Employment team moved up from Tier 3 to Tier 2. The firm’s litigation department was recognised as being “deeply knowledgeable and technically proficient, bringing commercial sensibility where appropriate”. Construction partners Sarah Wilson and David Spires were both recommended for their broad expertise, spanning both contentious and non-contentious issues, whilst the practice area was described as “fantastic to deal with”. The corporate and commercial team was recognised for its solid track record in the technology and leisure sectors, with partner Andrew Francey recommended.

Bal Manak – recently promoted to associate.

Bal Manak promoted to associate One of Watson Burton’s talented lawyers has been promoted from solicitor to associate. Bal Manak, part of the firm’s construction team, has worked at Watson Burton for more than three years after joining from Sintons LLP. She said: “Watson Burton’s construction department is one of the most successful in the north – it’s a great team to be part of. I am delighted to have been offered a promotion which I feel will further strengthen the firm’s non-contentious offering.” Bal will work closely with the contentious team to ensure that clients are provided with a fully comprehensive service to deal with projects from inception to completion, and thereafter deal with any disputes that may arise. Sarah Wilson, construction partner at Watson Burton, said: “As a firm we take great pride in recognising the hard work of our staff and investing in their professional development. Bal’s promotion is well-deserved, and we look forward to the added benefit her promotion will bring to our service offering.” NEWS

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NEWS A Canny start-up A young Newcastle-based entrepreneur has got his business off to a canny start, taking his range of clean milkshakes from concept to shop shelves in less than a year. Twenty-six year old Liam Watson is already celebrating success. Since launching the Canny brand in October he has secured four wholesalers and has international distribution. Targeting a primary market of 18-34 year olds, Liam is hoping to appeal to a generation which is increasingly concerned about what they put in their bodies. After working as a herbalist for a number of years, Liam decided to experiment using natural products to produce great tasting drinks. The Canny milkshake range, which includes Chocolate, Strawberry and Banana flavours, are naturally produced, using fruit as flavouring, vegetables to provide colour and a plant derivative as a thickening agent.

It was through Northstar that Liam met start-up legal expert Paul Wigham, associate at Watson Burton.

Liam said: “I set up Canny in response to a lack of clean, great tasting milkshake products on the market. It took ages to get right but it was a labour of love that I really wanted to see through. I’m looking to build a sustainable business, really connecting with our customers and listening to them through our social media platforms to ensure we’re giving them the products they want.”

Richard Charnley, investment manager at Northstar Ventures, added: “Liam is an individual with an insatiable appetite (and the ability) to seek out advice from some of the best entrepreneurs in the country. He is complemented by a great team and we are looking forward to working closely with them over the coming years as the company continues to grow.”

Liam secured funding through the Finance for Business North East Proof of Concept Fund, managed by regional

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venture capital firm Northstar Ventures. A self-confessed lover of the North East, he has found the support from the region’s business community invaluable, in particular that of his mentor, CEO of Sage UK and Ireland Brendan Flattery. So what does innovation mean to Liam? “Improving what is already out there and not just accepting that something is the best it’s ever going to be.”

NEWS

Paul said: “Liam has fantastic energy and a genuine enthusiasm for his product, which are two of the main attributes needed for a successful startup. After seeing initial success in the North East, Liam already has his sights set on international distribution to India. It was a pleasure to work with Liam on this transaction, and I look forward to working with him further.”

For more information, visit www.wearecanny.uk, twitter.com/wearecanny and www.facebook.com/wearecanny

Trainee wins prestigious Newcastle prize Watson Burton trainee Jayne Moyle has been awarded a prestigious prize by the Newcastle upon Tyne Law Society. The Newcastle Prize – which has been in existence since 1922 – is awarded to the candidate who gained a distinction and the highest overall mark on any Legal Practice Course (LPC) between July 2014 and June 2015. Law firms from across the organisation’s constituency, from Berwick down to Durham and across to Haltwhistle, entered trainees into the competition, with Jayne taking the top spot.


Introducing‌

Robin Byrne

New appointments at Watson Burton Robin Byrne

Director of customer engagement With many years of sales and management experience, Robin ran the sales operation for Xerox UK in Newcastle before launching his own company and developing the Measurable Management programme. The programme helps companies to translate strategy into measurable outcomes and initiate profitable and sustainable changes. For the past 15 years he has lived in the USA, delivering Measurable Management with organisations including American Airlines and the US Air Force. He will be working with Watson Burton to further develop its customer-focused culture, internally and externally.

Chris Jackson Associate

Chris trained with London firm Fieldfisher, moving to Eversheds in Birmingham for a year after qualifying. He moved back to the City in 2004 and has since worked for one of the largest specialist property groups in London at Forsters. The department has a reputation for working with high profile clients on high value work. Chris also has experience of dealing with more general commercial property including Landlord & Tenant and development work. Chris recently relocated to the North East, and we are very pleased that he has chosen to join our property team.

Dawn Walton and Jane Jubb Property paralegals

Dawn and Jane have joined our property department to provide additional support. Both are experienced property paralegals, having previously worked for Optima Legal. Watson Burton’s property department is currently the largest team in the firm, working for clients including Bellway Plc, Lloyds Bank and the University of Sunderland.

Rebecca Joy Solicitor

Rebecca previously worked at Optima Legal for 11 years after joining the company as a paralegal in 2004 and completing her Training Contract with the firm. She has a background in property law and banking finance, and will be working closely with associate Sarah Willshire and the rest of the lending team. She brings existing good relationships with our banking clients, who have recognised Rebecca for her expertise.

Chris Jackson

Dawn Walton and Jane Jubb

Megan Irons

Corporate paralegal After securing a training contract to start in 2017, Megan has been appointed as a corporate paralegal during the interim period before her training commences. Megan assists on a wide range of corporate transactions and is involved in managing data rooms, undertaking research and drafting and reviewing documents.

Rebecca Joy

She provides support to our corporate team and also deals with day-to-day company business for our clients.

Chloe Whillis

Administration clerk

Megan Irons

Chloe has recently joined Watson Burton’s administration department, assisting the team in providing administrative support. This includes a variety of office tasks including photocopying, filing, processing post and preparing documents for events. Her appointment meets a growing demand from the firm as additional focus is placed on client engagement and communication.

Chloe Whillis

NEW APPOINTMENTS

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Forging careers in law...

At Watson Burton, we make a big deal out of our graduate trainees. Here, four trainees provide an insight into their working lives with the firm…

Vinaya Jigajinni Second year trainee “I initially undertook a Biomedical Science Degree at Newcastle University, from which I graduated in 2005, but then decided to move into law. Following my LPC at Northumbria University, I began working with Watson Burton as a paralegal, before becoming a trainee. “As a trainee at Watson Burton, you don’t feel like just a ‘number’ – you’re treated as part of the team. The firm wants you to have the best training possible and to be the best you can be. “Some law firms can be quite intimidating but Watson Burton is different. The staff here make a real effort to make you feel included. They are very approachable. “Also, we like to have fun here and there’s a great work/life balance. And as someone who has now lived in Newcastle for more than 12 years, I can say that it’s a great city to live and work in.

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“My role involves undertaking a variety of tasks, including reviewing potential documents for disclosure and helping fee-earners prepare for trials and mediations. I also help on non-contentious elements such as reviewing contracts. “In addition, I am heavily involved in the organisation of our bi-annual Young Professionals networking event. This has drummed into me the importance of making and maintaining contacts throughout your career and the associated benefits as you progress alongside your peers in different sectors. “This, together with my role in the Graduate Recruitment Evening, has showed me how important trainees are to Watson Burton and how we can help shape the firm.” Want to know more about our graduate training programme? Visit www.watsonburtongraduates.com


AMIR HUSSAIN FIRST YEAR TRAINEE “YOU ARE CHALLENGED INTELLECTUALLY “Why choose Watson Burton? AND ALSOits reputation – In aYOU’RE nutshell, which it has built up over more NURTURED”

Amir HussAin First Year Trainee

than 200 years, the hands-on experience you’ll gain here and the fantastic support environment the firm provides. Here, you are challenged intellectually and you’re also nurtured.”

Rebecca Noble First Year Trainee “At Watson Burton, you’re part of the team as soon as you start. I’ve been assisting with cases and getting involved with client correspondence, attending client meetings and meeting expert witnesses. Watson Burton doesn’t just develop your career though, the firm takes an interest in your personal development too.”

Callum Reveley First year trainee “The experience of working across a wide range of clients in a variety of sectors has been fantastic and means you are never doing the same thing every day. At Watson Burton, you’ll get to see the ‘big picture’ – how what you are doing fits into the wider work of the firm.”

TRAINEE FOCUS

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MY EUREKA MOMENT ...with Sara Davies, founder of Crafter’s Companion Sara Davies launched North Eastbased Crafter’s Companion – which designs, manufactures and supplies craft-related products – in 2005. Since then she has grown her workforce to more than 60 staff, with a projected £15 million turnover this year and a substantial presence in the United States. Here, Sara reveals what inspired her to launch her business – and talks about the challenges she’s faced while building a successful company.

What was your ‘eureka moment’? My love for paper-crafting originated when I was on placement at a small craft business while at the University of York. After getting an insight into the market and consumer, I spotted a gap in a fast-growing market for card-making enthusiasts. I realised customers would spend a great deal on various different products and as I saw all these people making cards, it struck me that people didn’t have envelopes for the cards. So along with my dad (Frank), who is an engineer by trade, we created our first product – the Enveloper.

Who influenced or inspired you in those early days? My parents. For years they have run a successful decorating business, so while growing up, this is what I experienced day-in-day-out. I grew up living, sleeping and breathing our family businesses so from around the age of 16, I felt that I wanted to follow in the family footsteps and go into business.

What challenges did you face when commercialising your ideas? Designing and creating a patented product for the first time, without much resource, is a really tough learning curve. Over the years, we’ve developed several

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INTERVIEW

new products, bringing ideas from concept to market. And although it gets a little easier with time and experience, we now face fierce competition in our markets on a global scale, so it’s all about being first to market with our new innovations.

What do you feel have been your biggest achievements? Good question! We’ve gone from a local start-up to becoming a £15 million plus global manufacturing and retail business, which is an incredible achievement. For me, the thing I’m proudest of is the people and culture of the business. From two people to 60 plus, everyone in our business has an incredible work ethic.

Why did you choose Watson Burton as your law firm? For a long time we had managed our legal affairs in-house or using personal contacts, but once we reached a certain size it was clear that we needed the support of a larger commercial law firm, who could support us with our expansion plans. We were introduced to the team at Watson Burton by their then senior partner, Gillian Hall. I met with Duncan Reid and was impressed with the firm’s commitment to service delivery, as well as its reputation for providing high quality advice, which we’ve been very pleased with so far. At the moment I’m spending a lot of time between the UK and the US, and Watson Burton has been excellent at maintaining momentum and keeping me up-to-date.

How has Watson Burton helped you grow the business? From the first meeting, the firm’s head of corporate, Duncan Reid, was heavily involved. He really took the time to get to know our business and understand our objectives. We’ve got a lot going on in the business at the

moment so it’s important to us to work with advisers that we know and trust. Watson Burton’s partner-led approach, supported by a highly capable team, is really refreshing. We rest assured knowing that the team understands our goals and work with us to achieve them.

What does the future hold? Over the last year, we have upped our game in lots of different ways to help drive domestic sales. The US will be the major driver of retail growth in the future. Using the UK model as a blueprint, we have the potential to build the company in the same way in the US and take a chunk of the huge market. We secured a major supply contract with the biggest craft store retailer in North America last year, leading to the biggest ever single order in the company’s history. So the future is very bright. For more information, visit www.crafterscompanion.co.uk


How vulnerable is your confidential data? Cyberattacks on companies are becoming increasingly frequent. Whether an internal attack from an employee who is stealing data, or an external attack from hackers, the effects can be equally as devastating. Here, Anthony Rance, associate at Watson Burton, outlines what can be done to counter the threat. You might take cold comfort from the fact that many businesses across the country have suffered cyberattacks at one time or another, since data theft can be alarmingly easy to perpetrate. There are, however, several simple steps you can take to protect your company’s confidential data from falling into the wrong hands… First, assess your IT systems and understand where there may be risks and vulnerabilities. How valuable, sensitive or confidential is the data within it and what damage could be caused to your business in the event of a security breach? It is important to have a clear handle on the answers to these questions before deciding on the most appropriate security measures to deploy. Make sure your employees are all signed up to written employment contracts, which contain a clear and robust definition of what constitutes the company’s ‘Confidential Information’. In addition, consider whether any further

contractual restrictions are necessary for those employees in a senior role, or with access to particularly sensitive data. People rarely take the time to focus on the fine print until it is too late. Invest in employee training and awareness. A thorough and well communicated set of company policies and procedures should let your employees know what their roles and responsibilities are and what they can and cannot do. For example, policies may lay down guidelines for accessing company IT systems remotely or for working on confidential documents whilst on the move. Consider who needs access to the company’s data and set permissions accordingly. For example, an employee in your company’s sales team may not need access to financial information about the whole company. An admin clerk is unlikely to need access to the company’s client list. Each user should also have their own username and password, which should be regularly changed and updated.

to a portable device or by logging into company systems after they have left. You should therefore ensure that you disable access to computers, servers and databases for ex-employees as soon as possible. If the worst happens and you suspect or are faced with a data theft incident, employing the correct practices at the outset is crucial. A small investment in knowledge and understanding could make all the difference between getting it right (and catching the culprit and retrieving your data) and getting it wrong. In particular, consider whether legal advice is necessary (it usually helps!) and also specialist forensic assistance. These measures are by no means bulletproof and rogue employees will always try and devise new ways to beat the system and get the upper hand. Anthony Rance, associate at Watson Burton.

Be wary of departing employees. Whilst this is not to say that you should overlook the contribution they may have made to your business, the fact remains that they no longer have a vested interest in its success. Common ways that departing employees take confidential information is by sending data to their personal e-mail accounts before they leave, downloading data

TECHNOLOGY FOCUS

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Brief encounter The cyberattack on Ashley Madison in 2015 further proves that organisations need to use the latest security measures to stay one step ahead of hackers, as Christopher Graham, partner at Watson Burton, explains.

Hackers are increasingly using the latest technology to carry out good old fashioned blackmail. In 2015 a hacker, or hackers, calling themselves The Impact Team completely compromised databases, financial records and other information relating to users held by Ashley Madison and AdultFriendFinder. Online user data of millions of accounts have been leaked along with maps of internal company servers, employee network account information, bank account data and salary information. This followed a demand by The Impact Team that the owners of these services close them down permanently, describing subscribers as “cheating dirt bags”. Leaving aside expressions of moral outrage, the position has worsened for both Avid Life Media, which runs these websites and some of its subscribers. When all of this personal data was made available the demands began. Enclosing a link to a site where bit coins can be purchased, using a credit card, numerous individuals or organisations began demanding around £300 if subscribers did not want their personal details

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published more widely on the internet, using social media such as Facebook to inform the subscriber’s partner or employer. Unlike the hackers, these demands were motivated by financial reward. The size and scale of this cyberattack is quite staggering. Equally, this type of activity is not uncommon. Recent events are simply more newsworthy than most cyberattacks. Increasingly, hackers use an insight and expert knowledge of online business to circumvent security systems. This is an emerging but common scenario involving either the theft of data or diversion of internet traffic, with casinos and online gambling platforms just as vulnerable as dating websites. Hackers use the latest technology but what they do involves simply good old fashioned blackmail. In December 2013, two Polish hackers who unleashed a cyberattack to blackmail an online casino business out of millions of pounds were jailed for five years and four months each. To avoid a mass attack on computer servers

designed to overwhelm the system, the Defendants demanded a 50 per cent stake in the company. When compared with the blackmailers using leaked details from Ashley Madison, their ambition appears to have brought about their downfall. Most blackmailers make more modest demands, with a view to avoiding investigation by the authorities as well as making a quick buck. Whilst this type of attack involves more than one criminal offence, in the context of the internet, this does not appear to involve much of a deterrent. It is likely that the solution to this type of serious problem lies partly in the technology. Organisations need to use the latest security measures to stay one step ahead of hackers. Victims also have civil remedies. In common with Ashley Madison, most cyberattacks are based on the platform of some inside knowledge of systems. The perpetrator is often a former contractor or even an employee. Our law has developed along with online technology and the High Court is now quite accustomed


“Organisations need to use the latest security measures to stay one step ahead of hackers�

to granting injunctions to prevent unauthorised disclosure and misuse together with consequential orders to police this type of restraint, we have recently obtained Orders for imaging as well as inspection. Civil proceedings enable a victim to retain control over the proceedings and the potential damage will usually justify the cost. The sanction for breach of an Order is contempt and this can include imprisonment as well as a fine. Once the victim’s position has been protected, complaint can then be made to the prosecuting authorities. Doing business online is necessary for most commercial organisations and the growing threat of cyber-attacks runs the risk of the internet appearing to operate outside the boundaries of the law. Online businesses will grow more accustomed to implementing increased measures to ensure external security but also imposing controls internally upon those who have access to systems and know their operations. Advances in technology also mean

that evidence of wrongdoing is easier to uncover and there are sanctions. Wrongful interference, theft and blackmail have been around for much longer than the internet. The Courts have adapted existing remedies such as injunctive relief to the new age of the internet. Until the risk of prosecution becomes an effective deterrent, victims of a cyberattack should consider civil remedies in the High Court. Christopher Graham, partner at Watson Burton.

TECHNOLOGY FOCUS

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ON THE UP Meet Bal Manak, a recently promoted associate in Watson Burton’s construction team…

With two children under five-years-old, a fast-paced career and several family-owned businesses in the North East, life is certainly a juggling act for Bal Manak. You might expect to see a frazzled caffeine addict, but 33-year-old Bal is in fact quite the opposite. Calm, laidback and full of energy, as a non-contentious construction lawyer Bal has a reputation for her organisation and efficiency.

What do you think is the key to your success? Getting to know clients and building a close working relationship with them and also getting involved in business development to meet new contacts and develop new relationships. Clients know that they can reach me at any time and my turnaround of work is very quick, so they know I will always meet their deadlines.

What is your career plan for the future? I hope to get well known in the construction industry for non-contentious law and develop as a solicitor at Watson Burton. In a few years’ time if the non-contentious team expands and continues to grow I will be hoping to become a partner.

What do you think about living and working in the North East? I think it is a vibrant city and has a strong commercial base. A number of London firms have a branch here and it is an ever expanding city. It has suffered from the recession like anywhere else, but there are always opportunities on the horizon. I think the city has a real regional presence which is attractive.

What advice would you give to your younger self at the start of your career? To always ask questions and speak to people at all levels to get a real understanding of how the firm works and how business is done.

What does innovation mean to you?

Keeping up to date with change and always developing to keep up with changes in the industry. It’s important to be flexible and always adapt to different circumstances to stay ahead of the game.

How do you relax out of work? I love keeping fit and baking, but mostly I’m running around after my kids – you need plenty of energy outside of work!

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PROFILE


Pathway to success After 15 years spent in the United States working with organisations including Toshiba, and the US Air Force, Robin Byrne is returning to his roots in Darlington. Joining Watson Burton as director of customer engagement, he talks to Briefly Legal about his mission to instil a client-focused culture across the firm. I’ve worked with hundreds of companies through my Measurable Management programme, all of varying size and focus. If there is one thing I have learned, it’s that all companies say that they are customer-focused, but very few actually are. I originally developed my Measurable Management programme in the North East, and implemented it locally with companies like Arriva, NSK Bearings and North of England Newspapers. Soon it became an international success and I moved across to Sioux Falls in South Dakota in 2001. One of the most enjoyable aspects of my job is working with companies to help them deliver their strategies. A real career highlight for me was when Measurable Management was nominated by Iowa City Fire Department for the 2011 United Nations NGO Positive

Peace Award, an initiative designed to celebrate positivity around the world. Now, after 15 years away from the North East, I’m happy to be coming back to spend more time with family. My two daughters, one a barrister and the other an actress, still live in Darlington and my wife and I are looking forward to spending more time with them and our grandchildren. I’m very pleased to have joined Watson Burton at this strategically important time for the firm. We know that our clients already value our proactive approach and we plan to raise the bar even higher. For a business to genuinely see the client’s world through the client’s eyes, helping them to achieve their objectives rather than yours, is when real growth emerges.

“We know that our clients already value our proactive approach and we plan to raise the bar even higher”

The trust that then develops is the reason that a client or customer will maintain the relationship – that goes for any organisation from professional services to manufacturing. For me, innovation is a key part of that equation. Ask yourself – what would I want to achieve if I was in my customer’s shoes?

INSIGHT

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Laying the foundations for change

Hans Möller, the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s first innovation director, sees a region brimming with opportunities, with a rich seam of expertise in technology-led sectors. Briefly Legal meets the man who’s helping to harness this potential – and shape the future of the region’s economy.

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HANS MÖLLER COVER STORY

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SPEARHEADING INNOVATION “I often get asked the question, ‘can we really do that in this region?’. But what the heck, why not? Why put constraints on ourselves?” Hans Möller knows what it takes to break down barriers, to drive innovation. During his 12 year stint as chief executive of Ideon, Sweden’s first (and largest) science park, he grew the number of companies on site from 150 to around 350, shifting its focus to start-ups in the process and drawing in research expertise from Lund University. A staunch advocate of ‘open innovation’, Hans helped Tetra Pack solve a longstanding packaging problem, through facilitating a workshop attended by designers, engineers, mathematicians… and even origami experts.

focused in companies and businesses, and also in the public sector which is sometimes forgotten about when you talk about innovation.”

During his successful tenure at Ideon, Hans was co-founder and CEO of the Ideonfonden AB venture capital fund in Sweden, investing in ICT and life science start-up businesses.

The Swede’s eyes light up when he talks about the potential residing in the region. Here’s just one example: “I visited Gateshead the other day and I met people developing virtual reality applications,” he recalls. “Gateshead is one of the world’s centres of excellence for developing virtual technology. It’s a great asset, a fantastic opportunity, so how can we use that? How can we help that new cluster to be successful in entering other industry sectors? How can we use virtual reality in the healthcare sector, in the automotive sector?”

It’s fair to say, then, that he is grasping his role as innovation director of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP) with both hands. Currently occupying the only such position across the UK’s LEPs, as innovation director Hans works with the organisation’s Innovation Board, which combines the expertise of business leaders, public sector leaders and senior academics to help create a dynamic innovation culture across the North East economy. And he’s also overseeing the delivery of more than £125 million worth of investment to create a globally competitive innovation eco-system in the region. Hans sees his role – and that of the Innovation Board – as something that brings a ‘focus’ to innovation. He says: “Innovation cannot be done by your left hand when you have some spare time or spare money, it has to be focused in the region in a systematic way. It has to be

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Part of that focus is on smart specialisation – targeting research, development and innovation support in key areas of strength. In the North East LEP’s case, passenger vehicle manufacturing; subsea and offshore; life sciences and healthcare; and creative, digital, software and technology based services, have been identified as ‘smart specialisation’ areas. The organisation’s strategy surrounding this, Hans believes, is one of the most developed in the UK.

Nissan and the supply chain around it, the research strength of the North East’s universities, the growing digital sector (now boasting more than 1500 companies), facilities such as The Cloud Innovation Centre at Newcastle University… they’re all listed by Hans as examples of the region’s assets and capabilities. But there is room for improvement. Although he praises the contribution of existing hubs such as the Digital Catapult in Sunderland and the North East Technology Park, he believes that

more can be done to see these kind of communities germinate and flourish. “Compared to Scandinavia, Germany, the Netherlands, and other countries and regions in Europe, we don’t have very many science park environments, incubator environments and start-up communities,” the innovation director explains. “So the possibility and potential here is really to make this region stronger in terms of science parks and incubators. We have set up an incubator support programme to do that.” And what of the role the legal profession can take in supporting the region’s visionaries? Hans suggests they are a vitally important part of the supply chain surrounding innovative businesses, helping for instance, to protect Intellectual Property rights and create a sustainable model for growth. However, he asserts that the legal profession shouldn’t put start-ups in a straightjacket that discourages open innovation processes, or stunts their ability to move rapidly. “It’s a balance,” he says. But it’s a balance that he feels can be struck. At Ideon, a law firm – along with a patent company, bank and marketing agency – lived side by side with start-ups, it brought professional services into everyday contact with innovators at the front line of emerging technologies, and allowed them to play an integral part in their business journeys, providing them with an invaluable insight. It’s those mutually beneficial, close relationships which he wants to see more of in the North East. On a large scale, building a more widespread spirit of collaboration is key, says Hans. The exchange of ideas between entrepreneurs and academics is one example. “If you look at the interaction between academia and business, for large corporations that’s not a problem,” he states. “They have structures in place and universities always want to work with the likes of IBM, Microsoft and Siemens, as they have financial muscle. But how do you interact with universities as an SME? I don’t think we have cracked that model and that’s what I would really like to develop in this region over the coming years.”


“We have a fantastic heritage in this region that we can build on” Hans Möller He also points to cross-sector collaboration as an exciting method of sparking and fostering innovation, and says that the North East LEP can play a key role in supporting this process, bringing, for instance, businesses from the automotive sector together with subsea specialists, or healthcare professionals together with digital entrepreneurs, through an events programme. This, he feels, will build more powerful networks and sow the seeds of new partnerships. Hans elaborates: “If you have very smart people inside your organisation, you can bet that there are smarter people out there, so how do you access that? I’m not talking about meeting someone at board level or CEO level, I’m really trying to find ways to help SMEs’ employees meet other SMEs’ employees.” Delivering the North East LEP’s Innovation Strategy, Hans says, will clearly not happen overnight. Expectations need to be managed. However, the LEP is an ideal model for helping to improve the fortunes of the region, he states. “It’s about orchestrating, finding partners for delivery, designing projects and helping partners apply for funding.” Hans concludes: “It’s about putting in the right foundations. If we do this right, and see the long term strategy working and being delivered we will create thousands of jobs. I know it can be done. And let’s not forget, we have a fantastic heritage in this region that we can build on.” For more information on the North East LEP’s innovation strategy and innovation-focused activities, visit nelep.co.uk/innovation/

HANS MÖLLER COVER STORY

21


Breaking down barriers Paul Wigham, associate at Watson Burton and part of our specialist technology team, talks to Briefly Legal about the North East’s digital sector. The digital sector nationally is becoming increasingly important and as an industry it has become a particular strength of the North East. As a region we now have a higher proportion of the workforce working in technology, digital and IT than any other sector. From start-ups to corporations and government departments, our region is a technology hub. As a partner of the North East Chamber of Commerce, Watson Burton’s specialist technology team has worked closely on a joint research project to identify any barriers to entry or issues that technology businesses in this region may face, and how we can work together to break down those barriers, making it easier for businesses to grow. More than 400 technology companies were asked to complete a survey to feed into the report, with questions focused around geography, infrastructure, employment and finance. Once key issues

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have been identified, tailored seminars and workshops will be held to help businesses of all sizes to combat any problems they may face. We know that digital businesses face a number of challenges. They operate in a highly regulated environment, with data protection legislation and compliance being of particular importance. We are seeing increasingly more digital businesses looking to us for advice on compliance issues. On top of this, successful digital businesses often have to manage regulations across multiple jurisdictions – particularly those companies to whom the online economy is a central part of their business. In the North East region, employment issues are of paramount importance to digital businesses and it’s about more than finding skilled developers, but

also senior executives and marketing teams who are skilled in championing this specific type of business and understand the challenges in order to drive growth. The survey aimed to find out how easy companies have found it to recruit and retain the right employees, whether they have recruited from outside of the region to meet specific needs, and what they think could be done to help close the skills gap. Despite the fact that establishing a digital business is generally less capital intensive than other industries, access to finance remains important. This is an area where the North East is particularly strong, with a buoyant business angel investing ecosystem. We work very closely with venture capital company Northstar Ventures which invests in innovative, high growth businesses and social enterprises across the region.


In 2015, the technology team advised on one of the first investments in a UK company by a ground-breaking new investment syndicate AngelList. Taking the tech world by storm, the platform allows start-ups access to a syndicate of investors including some of the country’s leading technology entrepreneurs. Newcastle-based Fit Gurus, an online platform which allows individuals to access bespoke training plans from personal trainers and celebrities, was one of the first start-ups in the UK to receive investment from the UK syndicate, alongside investment from Northstar Ventures with help from the team at Watson Burton. The survey looked at how easily businesses have found it to access external finance, what support they have benefited from and what problems companies might have faced from lack of understanding, a lack of professional support or simply not knowing where to look.

Looking to the future One of the most exciting aspects of the North East tech industry is the sheer scope and variety of companies. Tech businesses in our region operate in a global arena, a real coup – not just for the businesses – but for people living and working in the region who increasingly have access to more and better jobs. A key outcome from this project will be the follow-up with technology and IT companies of all sizes. To me, innovation is about working together to create a better environment for business. I would be particularly keen to see policy initiatives focused on encouraging collaboration between digital businesses.

These people are passionate about growth and recognise the importance of pioneering new ideas, supporting start-up businesses and collaborating where possible to make ideas reality. We’re very proud to work with some of the most entrepreneurial and innovative companies in the North, helping them navigate through the frequently changing legislation in order to grow their businesses and seize opportunities. Visit the Watson Burton website at www.watsonburton.com for more information on the technology survey and its outcomes.

We’re lucky enough to have a network of dynamic and innovative individuals in the North East who are pivotal to our region’s success in this sector.

TECHNOLOGY FOCUS

23


Making light work of it

Just two years after taking the helm at economic development company Business Durham, Dr Simon Goon has helped to position County Durham as a vibrant part of the North East economy, with six new inward investors, joint growth projects with 77 businesses, and 2000 new jobs created in the past year alone. Here, the managing director talks about how his organisation is making a real difference…

I’ve long been an advocate of working together to achieve more. Whilst the Northern Powerhouse may well bring greater opportunity, there is still a very long way to go. North East businesses, education establishments, councils and the Local Enterprise Partnerships need to have a greater sense of alignment to achieve real success. It’s all about playing to our strengths. The primary aim of Business Durham is to establish the county as part of a successful regional economy, working in concert with our neighbouring counties. As the economic development company, we’re here to help businesses come here, stay here, grow here and diversify, to create wealth and jobs. It’s as simple as that.

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“Working together, we can make a real impact on the economy” There are 2.6 million people in the North East and Tees Valley – that’s more than Manchester. Working together, we can make a real impact on the economy. Take Newton Aycliffe, which like-for-like has more land mass than Team Valley. The town is proudly home of the groundbreaking Hitachi Rail Europe’s Intercity Express Programme, which will be capable of producing up to 35 vehicles per month, creating up to 930 jobs. The second largest private sector employer in the North East after Nissan is Newton Aycliffe’s Gestamp Tallent which employs more than 1300 people to design, develop and manufacture leading edge chassis and suspension products for the automotive industry. The industrial clustering that occurs within across the five key areas in County Durham – Newton Aycliffe, Peterlee, Drum (Chester-le-Street), Derwentside and NETPark in Sedgefield – looks set for further development and growth in the next 10 years. A whole range of businesses sit across those clusters, from food and drink to food packaging, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals. GlaxoSmithKline in Barnard Castle has a large manufacturing plant on the outskirts of the town which employs more than 1200 people. Caterpillar, the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment based in Peterlee, has created 1000 jobs. What does this prove? That County Durham is a place where business is done, and Business Durham is here to facilitate that.

NETPark

Durham is great at light

The North East Technology Park at Sedgefield has rapidly become one of the leading locations for innovative emerging science and technology in the UK, and for the commercialisation of cutting-edge research and development. For me, its purity is very important. No matter what the size of the business, the one criterion we enforce is that the business must have a science and technology focus.

2015 was the international year of light and light-based technologies.

Following its 10 year anniversary in 2014, NETPark launched a 10 year plan to expand with five new buildings, more than 120 jobs, and space for a further 10 businesses. The park is already at 95 per cent capacity so it is important for us to expand for companies which are experiencing high growth. We have businesses which want to scale up to the next level and also businesses which are waiting to move to NETPark because they have heard about its global reputation. The park offers state-of-the-art facilities, easy access to advice from Business Durham about sources of funding or business needs, and also the opportunity to share knowledge and network with the likeminded businesses they are surrounded by. We’re working hard to attract global companies who are active right at the cutting edge of technology. As part of NETPark 2025, we want to position the science park as a world-leading hub for materials integration, building on the success of businesses. What is materials integration? Well Kromek PLC is a perfect example of the concept. The company specialises in creating semi-conductor materials from Cadium Zinc Telluride, which have applications in gamma rays and X-rays. Rather than working to get these materials adopted by end users, Kromek developed a range of technology including bottle scanners for airports than can accurately classify liquids in less than 30 seconds, and a lightweight detector that can identify hazardous radiation sources in the environment. They sell the complete package, extracting real value from the market.

If we look closely enough, the application of light in communications, healthcare, energy and entertainment is far reaching. Its application ranges from smartphones to laptops, the internet to medical instruments. Photonics, the science of generating, controlling and detecting light is something for which County Durham businesses are particularly well recognised – we have the single largest industrial cluster of light-using businesses. In Stanley, Orcalight uses advanced LED technology to design and develop some of the best lighting systems in the world for deep sea professional and recreational divers. Global company Thorn Lighting has been manufacturing lightbulbs in Spennymoor since 1951, and medical pioneers PolyPhotonix are using light to treat macular and retinal eye disease, saving the NHS an estimated £1 billion a year. In 2016, Compound Photonics in Newton Aycliffe is developing a new generation of 4K projectors, for use in the home and office, and also projectors which plug into the end of a smartphone to project high definition images onto any surface. We’re very proud of our stories and our Future Business Magnates (FBM) programme which had light as its theme last year. The 12-month programme links teams of Year 8 schoolchildren with a County Durhambased business. The students complete a series of challenges to create their own business starting with team building through to idea generation, cash flow, product ideas, pitching and finally a celebratory business dinner. It’s a great opportunity to celebrate the success of the businesses based in County Durham, and also work with our future business leaders and entrepreneurs. For more information on Business Durham, visit www.businessdurham.co.uk Pictured left: Dr Simon Goon and NETPark, Sedgefield.

REGIONAL FOCUS

25


ONE VISION Chris Dawson and Dale Knight (centre) with members of the One Utility Bill team.

An idea which germinated in a student house is helping a Newcastlebased start-up transform the rental market. Briefly Legal gets the inside story on One Utility Bill… and finds out how Watson Burton has supported the company in its business journey.

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Like many students, Chris Dawson found the task of collecting money from his housemates for their utility bills “a nightmare”. So annoying, in fact, that he decided to do something about it. After being frustrated by the lack of alternative options for a simpler, more organised way of paying bills, Chris started working on a solution. Fast forward less than two years, and he’s running a highly successful start-up, One Utility Bill, with co-founder and chief technology officer Dale Knight, a company with a seven-strong team and clients from across the UK.

packages with their properties. It helps to save tenants money by sourcing the best value deals, helps landlords ensure that bills are paid and adds value to properties, with some clients even seeing the package as a ‘selling point’. One Utility Bill – which is built on a software platform developed by Dale and his development team – charges transparent management fees to landlords and letting agents based on their requirements. It also offers a ‘notification’ service, a platform which enables letting agents to notify utility providers about changes in tenancy, and pays commission on introductions too.

The firm, which was founded in September 2014, simplifies utility bill organisation and payment for tenants in rented accommodation, and works with landlords and letting agents to help them offer all-inclusive utility bills

Chris, who graduated from Newcastle University in June 2014 with a degree in Town Planning, says: “The market – especially the student market – is moving towards all-inclusive bills. Yet a lot of landlords are reluctant to embrace


“Watson Burton has helped us to push forward” Chris Dawson

that because it means more hassle. But by using One Utility Bill, they can embrace that change and generate additional revenue, meaning landlords can keep the rent costs down.” It hasn’t all been plain sailing. An embryonic version of the firm took shape after Chris took part in Newcastle University’s Foundership Programme, which offers a six month support package for graduate entrepreneurs. He speaks of the programme very highly, but believes his initial focus on targeting student tenants (rather than landlords and letting agents) with the ‘one utility bill’ concept was a “categorical failure”. He recalls: “We couldn’t get the customers on board. What we learned very quickly was that it was very expensive, very time consuming and not very effective to target students directly through marketing because the bottom line was that they didn’t care. They liked the idea of having one utility bill, but not enough to go out of their way to sign up for it. We launched the business too early and were trying to grow it in the wrong way.” It was time to change tack. After completing the Foundership Programme, Chris and Dale embarked on Ignite, an angel-led accelerator programme based at Campus North in Newcastle. This helped to shape the future of One Utility Bill, pushing the start-up to move from a business to consumer to business to business model – “the best thing that we did”, claims Chris, who adds that the

strategic switch moved them from five customers to ‘hundreds’ in the space of just three months. Partnerships with letting agents were developed, relationships formed and a clear road ahead mapped out – a road that included dealing with letting agents in the professionals market, as well as student specialists. And Ignite proved a catalyst for One Utility Bill’s recent expansion, positioning it to raise a £150,000 investment round, led by venture capital firm Northstar Ventures, with additional backing from angel investors. This has enabled One Utility Bill to bolster its team with the recruitment of an additional developer, plus sales and support staff. Chris sees it as the company’s biggest achievement. “Dale and I are very young and the investment is a reflection on the investors who want to back young entrepreneurs in the North East,” suggests the 22-year-old, who is originally from York. “There’s a growing community around Ignite and Campus North of young technology entrepreneurs who are shaping the region’s economy.”

“I’ve known Chris and the team since they first joined the Ignite programme. It’s great to be able to support the progress of a forward-thinking company from its inception at university, through an accelerator programme and now a successful funding round.” Paul Wigham, associate at Watson Burton

Watson Burton played a key role in helping to secure this investment for One Utility Bill, with the corporate team advising Chris and Dale on the deal. Chris believes that Watson Burton’s experience in working with both investors and start-ups “on both sides of the table” was crucial. “Watson Burton has helped us to push forward. The firm represented us very well.” So what’s next? “We are looking to aggressively grow,” Chris reveals. “We’ll continue to develop our partnerships with letting agents and landlords. Towards the summer we might look at raising another round of investment to grow the team even further.” And while the managing director perceives One Utility Bill as a national business, he has no intention of moving the company away from its roots. “We are very grateful to our earliest clients who supported us. They liked what we were doing so much that they took a chance on us. Our core will always stay in Newcastle.” For more information on One Utility Bill, visit oneutilitybill.co

“Chris and Dale have developed a service that has the potential to completely disrupt the process of paying bills in rented accommodation, and the company has seen significant interest from letting agencies and landlords since it began trading.” Rebecca Roberts, investment manager at Northstar Ventures

START-UP FOCUS

27


A WEEK in the life... ...of Richard Palmer, head of Watson Burton’s Professions and Insurance Group

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Monday

Wednesday

First task of the week – completing my weekly planner. This is more than just a ‘to do’ list and includes both daily and weekly goals. I meet with my fellow partner, Anne-Marie, to discuss the week ahead. The main focus of this week is to progress two Letters of Response on claims against an engineer and a contractor. Both are due in the next couple of weeks.

I catch the 7.04am train to Kings Cross and after a short tube ride, I am sitting in our London office by 10am. It really is a convenient journey and enables me to easily keep in touch with our London-based clients and to see them face to face, even at short notice.

By the end of today, one is ready to be forwarded to the Insured and our expert for their comments – the other is just in the planning stage and so I give some thought to the structure of the letter and how I am going to address the issues. As a treat, I have a lunchtime run to look forward to! This afternoon, I call a broker, who has recently referred a new case to me – a claim against a technology company. We have worked together on other matters and he knows our approach to client service. His company is part of a large network of brokers and he suggests I speak about professional indemnity insurance at their next conference.

Tuesday I receive a call from a client who has an insurance issue on a claim that is being brought against them. They have received a letter from their insurers, raising a number of queries and they want to know how best to respond. I share my thoughts and ask them to let me have some further documentation. I have a discussion with a prospective expert on a matter regarding a quote and the terms of business he has provided. He has also asked for some further information I will need to seek from my client. We have a team meeting this afternoon to talk about current cases, capacity of the team members and business development activities. Tonight, I listen to my football team, Middlesbrough FC, play an away match. Things are going well but I know from bitter experience not to get too carried away!

At 10.30am, I meet our brokers, Lockton, who have arranged a meeting for me with a prospective insurer client. I pitch to him the advantages of using our team (which includes two of the top four ranked specialists in the whole of the North East and Yorkshire region). The meeting goes well and I am confident that we will be given an opportunity to impress. That is followed by lunch at the top of the Gherkin with two contacts from another insurer, which has recently started to instruct us. It is really helpful to get to know them. We talk about a current claim and how it might best be resolved, as well as outside interests. I learn that one of them has walked to the North Pole, which makes my life seem distinctly ordinary! On the journey home, I work on the second Letter of Response, using every available moment to be able to progress matters on behalf of clients.

Thursday This morning I get the train to York to see one of our key insurer clients, Hiscox. I am given a guided tour of their fantastic new Customer Experience Office (including the huge decommissioned rocket that greets me in the atrium!).

the Insured and a minor comment from my expert on the first Letter of Response and so this is now sent to insurers for their approval, before it is sent to the Claimant’s solicitors. Accompanying the draft is some advice on strategy and whether the Letter should be accompanied by an offer.

“As a former trainee at the firm myself, I think that is important to spend time with the trainees”

Friday This morning, I meet Caroline, an associate in the team, who would like to discuss strategy on three matters she is dealing with. We talk through the issues, discuss the options and settle on an agreed way forward. I also meet with Rebecca, a trainee, who feeds back with some information and research that I have asked her to provide. As a former trainee at the firm myself, I think that is important to spend time with the trainees, who will hopefully in due course become the future of the firm.

I meet the various claims handlers for a series of case reviews and agree next steps/ tactics. There is no substitute for meeting clients face to face and working as a team with them in this way.

My draft Letter of Response on one of the matters is approved by Insurers and they agree to this being accompanied by an offer in the terms I have recommended. The draft on the other matter is now complete and can be sent to the Insured for their comments.

On the return train journey, I see that I have received approval from

This evening, I am going to the cinema - a good way to end the week!

PEOPLE

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“We are passionate about giving back to the communities in which we live and work” Patrick Harwood

Staff fundraising exceeds £2000 target Watson Burton has exceeded its fundraising goal of £2000 for its charity of the year, the Alzheimer’s Society.

Each year the firm supports one charity which is close to the hearts of its people. The Alzheimer’s Society was chosen as the result of a staff vote after it was nominated by an employee. More than 120 lawyers and business support staff across the firm’s offices in Newcastle, Leeds and London have fundraised to raise money for the society, which is the leading support and research charity for people living with dementia and their families. Staff also had the opportunity to become a Dementia Friend – an Alzheimer’s Society initiative to increase understanding of dementia. The short session taught participants how to support people living with dementia in their local communities, with small actions such as communicating more clearly over a telephone, or having patience at till points when shopping. Watson Burton CEO, Patrick Harwood, said: “As a firm we are enthusiastic about fundraising, and passionate about giving back to the communities in which we live and work. With more

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CHARITY FOCUS

than 85,000 people currently living in the UK with dementia, it is a cause that resonates with our employees – all of us will be affected by dementia either directly or indirectly at some point in our lives.” Hazel Cuthbertson, Alzheimer’s Society regional operations manager, said: “It really feels like an honour to be Watson Burton’s Charity of the Year, and this partnership with a prestigious law firm means that we will be able to take another significant step forwards in the fight against dementia. “The benefits will be invaluable, because not only has the Watson Burton team raised money to help us provide services for people with dementia and fund research, but they have also helped us to raise awareness of the disease across the regions in which they operate.”

For more information on the Alzheimer’s Society, visit www.alzheimers.org.uk


EVENTS DIARY APRIL

25th

GROWING A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS IN THE TECHNOLOGY SECTOR Watson Burton Newcastle, 6.30pm – 8pm Jointly hosted with Nigel Wright Recruitment, this event will provide insight into the challenges faced by technology companies in an evolving market. Our guest speaker for the evening is Darren Jobling of Eutechnyx and Zerolight.

27th

PROPERTY LITIGATION SEMINAR Crowne Plaza Newcastle, 8am – 9.45am This breakfast seminar deals with ‘reasonableness’ in the landlord/tenant relationship. A must for surveyors, tenants and landlords.

MAY

5th

WATSON BURTON / BUSINESS INVESTORS GROUP DINNER Crowne Plaza Newcastle, 6.30pm – 9pm Hosted by Watson Burton and business angel network Business Investors Group, we are delighted to welcome guest speaker John Myers, creator of Smooth Radio, Century and Real Radio and now chairman of teamrock.com. John will give guests an insight into how he has founded and made a success of several businesses.

6th

FIRST FRIDAY CLUB Crowne Plaza Newcastle, 12.30pm – 2.30pm The North East’s leading networking event for the construction and built environment. Held in conjunction with Constructing Excellence in the North East.

JUNE

3rd

FIRST FRIDAY CLUB Crowne Plaza Newcastle, 12.30pm – 2.30pm The North East’s leading networking event for the construction and built environment. Held in conjunction with Constructing Excellence in the North East.

JULY

1st

FIRST FRIDAY CLUB Crowne Plaza Newcastle, 12.30pm – 2.30pm The North East’s leading networking event for the construction and built environment. Held in conjunction with Constructing Excellence in the North East. Dates may be subject to change. For further information on events or to register visit www.watsonburton.com or contact Victoria Myerscough at victoria.myerscough@watsonburton.com


www.watsonburton.com

Watson Burton Briefly Legal Spring 2016 Edition  
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