Useful Keyboard Shortcuts in Windows

Keyboard ShortcutsEvery regular windows user will be familiar with the combination of keys: CTRL+ALT+DEL. This magic combination is used to lock the screen, log in or more often than not force an unresponsive application to close. Other commonly used key combos are CTRL+C and CTRL+V for copying and pasting or F5 to refresh a page in your Internet browser. These common shortcuts are incredibly useful and improve productivity by making tasks that would usually require some pointing and clicking possible with only a few keystrokes.

These are not the only key combos around that can improve your productivity and make your working day a few minutes shorter; in fact there are a lot more. Here are some of the more useful ones:

Make a Good Impression and Have a Successful Career

Good ImpressionWhether you have secured a new job or have been working at the same company for some time, understanding how you can make a good impression will be of great benefit to you.  Your new position could be the start of a fantastic new career, or if you have been feeling unenthusiastic in your current role, you still have the chance to change your perspective and impress your employers.  Your role affects the success of the company, so take the time to think about your contribution.

Information Resources

There are many aspects of your role that you need to learn about, so it is worth doing as much research as possible.  Start by visiting the company’s website to find out about its history, aims and structure.  The site may have details on key members of staff so you can learn who your colleagues and superiors are.  Read any marketing material that the company distributes to get a feel for its image and what image it likes to project.  Make notes on what you have learnt so far and get a good overall picture of what your role involves.


Judges Ready to Throw Their Weight Around

JudgesA final update before the new Supreme Court replaces the House of Lords

On 30 July the current highest Court in the land, the House of Lords, made its last decision in the Debbie Purdy case. The Court heard Mrs Purdy’s plea for clarity in the law on assisted suicide. Because of the Law Lords’ decision, new guidelines will be published on 23 September regarding the prosecution of people who help others to commit suicide. Following this case the Law Lords have now passed into history. From October the new Supreme Court will make decisions on difficult areas of law. The change has been justified as a necessary modernisation, but there is some concern that this new Court may use its more extensive powers to oppose the will of Parliament.

Some of the most senior judges in the land have expressed doubts about the possibility of judges gaining greater power than they have now. Take Lord Turnbull, one of Tony Blair’s most senior advisors when the then prime minister announced the reforms to the British Constitution in 2003. He has accepted that the new Supreme Court Justices might become more assertive and more difficult for a future government to manage.

ILSPA, Here I Come!

ILSPA here I come!I wish to start by commending The Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs for setting up this high professional standard. The course is expertly structured and the materials intelligently written to encourage practical knowledge acquisition. Unlike normal text books, one cannot excel in this course without a painstaking and thorough study of the comprehensive pack, stemming from the way it is deliberately and/or consciously structured, a strategy I strongly believe was aimed at giving the Legal Secretary and PA quality training worth its weight in gold. The course is obviously tasking but very interesting. I said tasking because the achievement test sessions are technically prepared and one just has to unavoidably read each unit over and over again to get there. Patience! Patience! Patience it has taught me.

Book Review - Conveyancing Forms and Procedures, 4th Edition

bookAnnette Goss, Lorraine Richardson and Michael Taylor.  Published by The Law Society.  ISBN-13: 978-1-85328-938-5.

This is an excellent book written by a District Land Registrar, a practicing Solicitor and an Assistant District Land Registrar, respectively.

It was specifically written to provide Legal Secretaries and support staff in Solicitor’s offices with practical information and guidance in the completion of conveyancing forms and other conveyancing documents, which it does clearly and concisely.  One of the authors, apart from being a practicing Solicitor, has a wealth of legal training experience, and this shows in the way in which the book takes each part of each form and document in turn and shows exactly how it should be completed.

Divided into six parts, it follows the usual sequence of a conveyancing transaction, i.e., Introduction, Pre-exchange, Pre-completion, Completion and Post-completion, followed by a useful glossary Appendix.

Especially useful is the CD that comes with the book, which contains the addresses of all Local Authorities and Land Registry offices, useful websites, sample HIP and copies of all the Land Registry Transaction Forms, amongst many other things.

Are ‘Retention of Title’ Clauses a Good Choice for Businesses?

Retention of TitleAs we are currently experiencing one of the worst recessions for many years, most companies are finding it hard to deal with the everyday decisions and financial hardship that seem to be part and package of these times. Much of the financial hardship appears to be as a result of other companies encountering difficulties over settling their bills, and this can even lead to the companies becoming insolvent. In turn, companies who had released goods to these companies on credit terms find that they are out of pocket when the company becomes insolvent.

It is a sad truth that most companies will be looking for some sort of contingency plan that may attempt to address these all too common problems, and this is why ‘Retention of Title’ clauses can provide the perfect assurance. However, such additional clauses to any contract must be handled in a very specific manner if they are ever going to get past an Insolvency Practitioner, who will always do his or her very best to go against it in the interest of retaining as much of an insolvency estate as possible.

Proud to be a Legal Secretary in the USA

Proud to be a Legal SecretaryA voice on the telephone recently asked me, "Are you his Secretary, or do you prefer to be called his Administrative Assistant?" I told him, "I am his Secretary and very proud of it." You could hear the relief in his voice as he replied, "Thank goodness I can deal with a real person, the one who really runs things and I don't have to deal with a prima donna who takes offence at the least little thing!" Now, I'm serious. This really happened. And I think he voiced a common feeling, because people know that a Secretary, especially a Legal Secretary, is close to the boss, can be trusted with information, and will handle all matters correctly. (But we know who really runs things and it's not the Secretary.)

The United States of America is the leader of the free world and its President is the most powerful individual in the world. And what are the President's cabinet members called? Secretaries!

Confidential Communications

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.

As women started becoming more independent, their confidence within the workplace grew.  More women began to enter the legal profession working in various different roles, and becoming a Legal Secretary was seen as a good start to an interesting legal career.  Legal Secretaries were predominantly female for some time, but we are now seeing Legal Secretaries of both sexes and with different levels of experience and qualifications starting their careers in this field.

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”.

2. Proofread from a hard copy, not just from the computer screen. and preferably in double spacing.   It’s one of the laws that we can read and read from the screen and not find any errors.  But when we print it, lo and behold, we’ve missed a typo or two!

3. Avoid distractions.  Try to proofread in a quiet environment, with no disturbances such as phone, conversation, background chatter and so on.

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.

Luckily, but in no way thanks to the Government, the abolition of legal aid for personal injury claims has actually had quite a positive impact on this area of law. This is not to say that the system is completely perfect; far from it!