Negotiate to Win

Do you feel you are a negotiator in your role at work? You may have answered ‘no’, however, I feel the answer is most definitely ‘YES’! Although we associate negotiating with salespeople, we are all salespeople at some time. We often have to negotiate deadlines that need changing, tasks that we can or can’t do, or responsibilities that others want us to take on. We are always negotiating. So here are the top 10 tips to help you reach ‘win-win’ situations.

Five Important Updates in Employment Law

Employment LawAnybody that works in the world of employment law will be the first to appreciate just how fast-moving this area of the legal industry really can be. If a smaller company cannot afford the services of a trained human resources manager, it can be such a difficult job to stay abreast of all of the regulatory changes and obligations that it faces.

Equally, the average employee will be hard pressed to keep a mental note of every single amendment that may affect his or her working life. These are two good reasons why employment law practitioners are likely to be kept exceptionally busy for the foreseeable future. 

In this article, rather than tackling one specific issue that is due to come into effect in employment law, it seems more prudent to take on five of them. This way we can learn a little bit more through the same article. 

Additional Maternity and Paternity Leave Entitlement

Do Some Childhood Laws Need to Be Different?

Childhood LawsThis is a very awkward subject to handle at the best of times, one that will always conjure up mixed emotions from different sections of society, and there is not a person in this country that will not be able to offer a strong opinion on the debate that rages over specific childhood laws.

When we use the term ‘specific’ here, we really mean the fact that in law, it is acceptable to use ‘reasonable punishment’ on a child when it would be totally illegal to do so on an adult. Indeed, if a person used the same level of force on another adult, this would probably come under s. 47 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. 

Although not clearly defined at the time of implementation, s. 58 of the Children Act 1989 does state that it is unlawful for a parent or caretaker to smack a child, except where this may be seen as reasonable punishment. Reasonable punishment has now been clarified as meaning that any such smack administered should never leave a mark on the body of the child. 

The National Association of Licensed Paralegal's 23rd Anniversary and Awards Ceremony

NALP AwardsOn 11 March 2010, the National Association of Licensed Paralegals held a special event at the House of Commons to mark their 23rd anniversary and to present awards to their highest achieving Students of the year. Since 1987, the National Association of Licensed Paralegals has dedicated itself to the promoting the status of Paralegals and paralegal training in the United Kingdom and abroad. NALP is recognised as an awarding organisation by Ofqual, the regulator of qualifications in England, and has accredited our courses.

ILSPA were delighted to attend the event. We were greeted with a lovely champagne and canapés reception and had the opportunity to mingle with NALP and its Students before the awards ceremony took place. The House of Commons is a breathtaking building. The body evolved in the 14th century to serve as the political power base and voice for the free subjects of the realm, originally selected from the business and merchant classes of each local area to represent all the Sovereign’s subjects who were not Lords.

Amanda Hamilton, Chief Executive of NALP and the Senior Tutor for ILSPA, led the event together with Fabien Hamilton, Labour MP. They gave interesting talks about the progression of NALP over the years and how the organisation has helped people with their Paralegal careers, at various different levels.

The Introduction of a New Level of Membership - Affiliate

LEgal Secretary LogoWe are pleased to announce the introduction of a new level of Membership – Affiliate. This is open to those who have qualified with the Legal Secretaries Diploma from the Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs or have an equivalent Legal Secretary qualification.

Law graduates are also eligible to apply for this level of Membership, especially if they are interested in studying the Legal Secretaries Diploma course so that they can gain the practical skills required to work in a law firm.

Some of our Students have been very keen to continue their Membership with us after they have qualified, and we felt it important for them to be able to progress to a higher level of Membership. Previously, Students were able to progress to Associate Membership only when they had gained at least one year’s experience as a Legal Secretary.

If you have passed the Legal Secretaries Diploma course and would like to upgrade your Membership to Affiliate status, please contact us.

Prenuptial Agreement Laws in England

Prenuptial AgreementsIt is quite common when you hear the term “prenuptial agreement” to think of Hollywood celebrity couples embroiled in a bitter divorce suit. Hardly ever does this phrase conjure up the image of the ordinary man and woman in Britain battling for his ’n’ her assets after a marriage breaks down – so why is this the case?

Well, the main reason is the fact that prenuptial agreements (also commonly known as premarital agreements) are largely dismissed by the courts and have little bearing on who “wins” the kids, the house or the dog. The law states that prenuptial agreements have absolutely no legal standing whatsoever and it is down to the judge’s discretion in any divorce case in England (and in Wales) as to whether the agreement is upheld or not.

Many ordinary citizens and slightly wealthy people in the country may be nonchalant about prenuptial agreements. Indeed, it is estimated that one in three marriages currently ends in divorce, but the majority of them are settled without disputes and long-winded court cases. Even so, it is best to be aware that there is an increased chance of the tide turning in this area of English law.

Participating in Meetings

Participating in MeetingsMeetings often fail because participants haven’t prepared enough. Consequently, meetings drag on and decisions cannot be made. To make sure you are better prepared for your next meeting, and to present a more professional image to your colleagues, follow the checklist below.

1.    Be prepared. Preparation is vital. Spend time looking at the following: the agenda, attached papers and previous minutes. Think about what questions or comments you may be asked. Will there be any contentious issues?

2.    Consider who will be there. What sort of common ground will there be between you and the other participants?

3.    Plan what you want to say or present. To present effectively, state your idea; give a balanced picture by showing positives/advantages and a couple of opposing views; state benefits and possible consequences of not adopting it; add any evidence that will support your idea or give examples of previous success; then restate it.

Essential Confidence Skills

Confidence SkillsWhat is confidence? The word comes from the Latin for “with trust or faith” in a person or thing.


There are various myths about confidence. Here are a few of them:

“Either you have it or you don’t” – actually confidence is a set of skills which can be learned. Any difficulty is because you haven’t learned how to do it yet. As a human being, you are a learning organism which can co-ordinate movements, understand and communicate, read and write, and do a thousand other complex things.

“If your confidence has been shaken once, you can never get it back” – it may take a greater leap of faith to start building it back, but once there, you will be much stronger than before and less likely to have it shaken again.

“I’ll know I’m confident when I can be sure I’ll succeed” – confidence is much more about tolerating uncertainty and being relaxed and ok with not knowing what is going to happen (apart from knowing that you will be doing your best).

Where does a lack of confidence come from?

Endangered Wildlife in Britain

Endangered Wildlife in BrtitainWildlife conservation isn’t just about the rainforests of Brazil or the jungles of the Amazon, it relates to our countryside too. There are many animals in Britain which are becoming endangered, such as certain species of owls and voles, as well as bumblebees, due to our changing lifestyles, garden makeovers and declining habitats.

Hedgehogs are facing a danger of extinction within the next 20 years. There is increasing competition for resources and more threat of attack from larger animals. One of our Members, Margaret Holland FILS, is very keen to help our wildlife and has kindly written an article on how we can help encourage hedgehogs into our gardens, providing them with a place of safety.

The Arrival of Hedgehogs in the Spring

At this time of the year, hedgehogs will be waking up from their hibernation and exploring for food and water.


Assertive Communication

Assertive communicationWe usually know deep down what we need and what infringes our needs even if we don’t recognise it on a conscious level. Being able to stand back, making this a conscious process and then cultivating the skill to communicate what we need to others is assertive communication. It is not to do with being forceful, selfish or insensitive – instead it is communication which is firm, balanced, clear, and more than anything else, it is congruent with our individual needs (and I emphasise needs as distinct from wants: we may want to win the lottery but our need is to have a sense of financial security and financial balance).

By committing to a particular task or project, are we accepting too much pressure on our time and resources and perhaps limiting the opportunity to meet our need for privacy (to reflect and consolidate) by having too little downtime or jeopardising our need for a sense of status and achievement by attempting to achieve too much in too short a time frame?

So, what are the basic principles here in addition to recognising and respecting your own needs?

We have a right and duty both personally and professionally to: