Handling Difficult Callers

Difficult CallersWe recognise these calls pretty quickly, don't we?  The callers with high-pitched speech, sighs, long pauses, terse answers and increasing volume.  Telling them to "take it easy" or "stay calm" will probably make it worse.  So before your call turns abusive, here are top ten tips to help you handle a difficult caller:

Does the Defence of Provocation Go Far Enough?

ProvocationIf you have never studied criminal law, you may well be under the impression that provocation could be used as a defence to mitigate a number of different charges. For example, if someone is charged with an assault, surely they may have been provoked into committing that offence? However, with the defence of provocation, this could not be further from the truth. This is because this specific defence is only available for a person who has been charged with murder; it is not possible to rely on this defence in the case of manslaughter.

Why Worrying Well Is Good for You

It is often said that we ought not to worry. In fact, this is far from the case, provided we ‘worry well’. Our brains thrive on being stretched and on finding solutions to difficulties. When we worry well, we engage both our higher intelligence and our innate creativity, which not only reduces stress but also gives us a sense of competence and achievement. So worrying well is good for you and is a skill we can all usefully cultivate.

Worrying well involves engaging, perhaps with a sense of curiosity, with a problem to see if we can do anything about it (and then taking action) or, if we can’t do anything about it, figuring out whether we need to change our reaction to it and then working on changing that reaction. Some people find it useful to use what is called a worry decision tree. Here it is:

Why I Applied for the Legal Secretaries Diploma Course

I started working as an office junior in November 1999, aged 17 years.  I had actually wanted to be a Travel Agent, but upon gaining one day’s work experience with a local firm I decided this career was not for me, mainly because they put me in a back office to file invoices all day.  I really believe that if you are trying to sell a position to someone, they need to experience it properly in order to make an informed decision.

Three weeks later I found myself still unemployed and getting desperate to stand on my own two feet, which is when I came across an advertisement in the jobs section of the local newspaper for an Office Junior in a City Centre Solicitors firm.  At this point I didn’t have any office experience, but as they were advertising for a junior I thought, “How much experience could they want from me?”

Evidence Matters

A review of the rules on appointing expert witnesses and an outline of best practices when instructing an expert

This is the sixth article in a series focusing on specialist skills and knowledge in Civil Litigation. Expert witness evidence can be crucial to winning a case, so choosing the right expert and instructing him or her properly is an important task. As a legal secretary, you would not normally be expected to choose the actual expert in a case, but that does not mean you do not have a role in the process.

Like nearly everything else nowadays, there are sometimes too many choices, so being in a position to narrow down the options is valuable to a fee earner as it will save him or her time. If you are asked to compile contact details for appropriate experts, there are a number of places you can look.

Calls for Reform of the Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991

Dangerous Dogs ActFollowing an unusually high number of serious dog attacks in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the government at the time felt compelled to pass the Dangerous Dogs Act in 1991. This statute aimed to control some of the breeds of dogs that seemed to be featured in the news most prominently at the time, with the Pit Bull Terrier being particularly targeted.

Legal Secretaries Diploma Course Students

LSD CourseWe are delighted to have received a record number of enrolments for our Legal Secretaries Diploma course this September. The good reputation of the Institute is growing year by year and many of our enrolments are from word of mouth. The course is of great worth and the proof is in the pudding as Students have gained a variety of excellent positions on the strength of the qualification.

Disclosure in Legal Proceedings

Disclosure in Legal ProceedingsA summary of the rules of disclosure and an update on the expanding use of electronic disclosure

This is the fifth article in a series focusing on specialist skills and knowledge in civil litigation. We have previously considered the skills needed to prepare court bundles (February 2009); without prejudice correspondence (March 2010); pre-action protocols (June 2010); and legal costs in litigation (August 2010).

When we considered pre-action protocols it was noted that any case rests on the evidence. In particular, the importance of exchanging evidence early was highlighted. What was not considered was exactly how parties disclose evidence.

Parties usually have to disclose information in the following circumstances:

Confidentiality: A Serious Business

ConfidentialityWe live in an era when freedom of information is being vigorously pursued by all and sundry. Though we might have constitutional rights to demand certain information, sometimes we won’t so easily have access to this information. Just as we need access to certain information, people also have their reasons for needing confidentiality and their rights to such cannot be violated. According to the International Organization for Standardisation (ISO), confidentiality is simply “ensuring that information is accessible only to those authorised to have access.” Conversely, information lacks confidentiality to the extent that it is available or when it is disclosed to unauthorized persons or processes.