The Evolving Role of Legal Secretaries

Evolving Role of a Legal SecretaryThe role of the Legal Secretary used to be seen as a humble position, and women were first employed in offices during the First World War when the men went off to fight.  It was then that people started to realise that women were capable of working efficiently and resourcefully within the secretarial role, and when the war finished, many women carried on in this line of work.  However, in those days it was rare for women to work until retirement, as they usually gave up their jobs to get married or have children.

Proofreading Tips

Proof Reading for Legal SecretariesProofreading is the final, key, stage of writing.  You will have spent time planing, writing and re-writing your document so make sure you also invest he time in profreading.  A silly spelling eror or missing apostrophe could change the meaning of your message and it will definately give the wrong impression of you an you firm.  Use the ten tip’s blow to help you proof-read letters’, reports, documents and even emails to make sure you dont have the mistakes that youv’e noticed in this paragraph!!

1. Be methodical when proofreading.  When you finish a document, run a spell check, print it off and leave it for as long as possible before proofreading it.  This way, you have a greater chance of reading the document with “fresh eyes”.

Personal Injury Law: Since the Abolition of Legal Aid

Personal Injury LawIn 1998, a decision was made that was seen as very controversial at the time – to abolish the right to legal aid in personal injury law cases. This eventually came into effect in 2000. The main reason this cut-off was deemed necessary was because an average of 700,000 claimants a year in this area of law alone meant that the cost to the public purse was soaring out of control.

Bureaucracy seemed to have a role to play in this abolition too, with many successful claimants finding that once they had covered the statutory payments that were required to settle all costs, there was very little in the way of compensation left for them. It would seem that the claimant was getting a far better deal if they lost, as in these circumstances legal aid would cover all applicable costs. Moreover, this scheme was seen as being completely inflexible.

Negligence – If You Thought You Have Had a Bad Day!

NegligenceWhen you think of serious negligence cases, you might consider road traffic accidents, accidents at work or careless professional advice. What would not necessarily come to mind would be someone tripping on his or her shoelaces and causing a spectacular amount of damage.

Nick Flynn, who admitted to having a “Norman Wisdom moment”, managed to bump into three 17th century vases, reducing them to a jumble of broken porcelain. The accident occurred at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. The antique vases were from the Qing dynasty, and the largest of the three was 32 inches tall and weighed nearly 100 pounds. With an estimated value of between £200,000 and £300,000, this was a serious incident by anyone’s standards.

More Clarity for Assisted Suicide Law

Suicide LawEarlier this year we covered the law surrounding assisted suicide, and at that time we did state that more definite clarity was required for people who wanted their loved ones to accompany them on trips abroad. The Suicide Act 1961 already clearly states that if anyone aids, abets, counsels or procures someone else’s suicide, they could face a term of imprisonment of up to 14 years. Therefore we are all aware of how the law works with regards to this country; however, it was how this Act of Parliament would extend to cover people travelling to the Dignitas Clinic in Switzerland that everyone was keen to ascertain.

Five Tips to Improve Your Internet Research Skills

Internet Research SkillsConducting research on the Internet can prove to be either a gold mine, rich with nuggets of knowledge and information, or a mine field littered with stretched truths and dead ends. Which of these two you experience depends on how you go about your research, where and how you look for information, and how you organise it when you find it.

Here are five top tips to make your research easier, more accurate and more effective.

1. Know your sources.

Dealing with Complaints

Dealing with complaintsWhile we all like to think that we meet our clients' needs and that our quality of service is tip-top, there are still occasions when our clients disagree!  In the current climate, clients have become very choosy, and feel more confident to say when they are not happy with something.  So before it gets to the stage where we start to look foolish, lose our clients or they take matters further, here are some helpful tips for dealing with complaints:

1. Let the client have their say.  When someone is angry or upset it is helpful for them to have the opportunity to "let off steam".  It also indicates to the client that you are willing to take the time to listen.

Where There is a Will, There is a Way

A review of recent problems in relation to wills, succession and inheritance

In recent years a number of concerning trends have developed in the area of wills and probate. In this article we will consider the latest figures on estate planning in England and Wales. We will also look at the impact untrained and unregulated will writers are having on this area of legal practice.

Will and Estate Planning

The people of England and Wales are surprisingly complacent about the importance of making a will. A recent survey revealed that only 41 percent of the adult population have an up-to-date will. In addition, about one-third of people who responded to the survey said they had no intention of ever making a will. Fiona Woolf, former president of the Law Society, neatly summed up the importance of making a will:

The Twitter Phenomenon

TwitterEvery year it seems some new technology emerges from the depths of the Internet and spreads through our culture like some great bushfire. The late nineties saw the birth of services such as Geocities, Hotmail, Google and eBay, followed by the noughties and the web 2.0 social networking explosion. Suddenly everyone became a blogger, and switched-on, web-savvy youth became micro-celebrities on MySpace. MySpace has now taken a backseat to the mighty Facebook, where people are able to connect friends and family in a way that had never been done before. Long-awaited reunions are no longer left to chance, because sooner or later lost loves and old school friends can be found and added to your Facebook friends list.

The Right to Remain Silent

The Right to Remain SilentBefore the mid-nineties, when suspects were being questioned by the police in relation to an offence, they had a definite right to remain silent. However, this was changed somewhat with the introduction of s.34 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. Although this statutory provision does not usurp this right altogether, it does set out some fundamental criteria that can be relied upon by a magistrate or jury when they may feel that a defendant should have been more cooperative at the time of the police interview. As a consequence, they can then go on to draw adverse inferences from this silence.