East Park Communications services to local law societies

East  Park Communications are a niche legal publishing house who specialise in the production of periodical newsletters for local Law Societies. The service we provide is free of charge and we will only approach relevant, reputable organisations to advertise their services in the journals.

The newsletters  inform the solicitors in the respective regions of all the events that are happening within the forthcoming months, plus news of what’s been happening in the local area.

Local Law Societies offer a wide range services to their members which include annual programmes of training courses, networking, a large number of social events throughout the tear and a printed copy of the society magazine  is  posted to them.

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Guest Post: Understanding the Litigation Costs Reforms

Understanding the Litigation Costs Reforms

The much awaited recent reforms to UK legal costs have caused both unease and a great deal of interest among industry professions. On April 1st 2013, the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) became law, after Lord Justice Jackson’s review and report of 2010.

Despite this, many people within the legal community are unaware of the changes that have been made.

In this article, we look at the opinions and thoughts of legal professionals about the reforms to determine what they mean for the industry.

Damage-Based Agreements

One of the biggest reforms is the introduction of damage-based agreements, which are also known as DBAs. In a damage-based agreement, clients pay a percentage of the damages they’re awarded to their lawyer.

In exchange for this, their lawyer takes on the risk of being withheld payment if the case is not successful. As the fee depends on the damages awarded in the case, many legal experts believe that commercial law firms will avoid these cases due to a lack of commercial viability.

There also remains a great deal of confusion and concern regarding damage-based agreements. Counsel’s fees, disbursements and value-added tax, and protection for consumers from mis-selling remain important topics of discussion.

Costs Budgeting

Arguably the most popular aspect of the reforms is the change to budgeting that is now in effect. Solicitors are now required to budget overall costs at the beginning of their cases and update their budgets as the trial progresses.

This reform ensures that clients aren’t subject to unpredictably high legal bills at the conclusion of their cases.

In the event that the costs of a case aren’t proportionate to the claim being made, the client can enjoy security as the claim can be declared unviable. Because of the latest disclosure rules, clients also enjoy greater transparency in case budgeting.

Financing Packages

Over the last five years, the number of third party funding companies operating in the UK has increased substantially. Clients now have a great deal of choice when it comes to selecting suitable third party funders for their cases.

The new reforms reiterate an important factor in selecting a third party funder: that solicitors and clients ensure funders carefully weigh the risks and benefits of taking on your case before they accept it and create a budget.

In conclusion

There remains a great deal of discussion in the legal community about the nature of the reforms and their potential benefits. Some believe that they are an opportunity for both clients and solicitors; others that they’re an obstruction.

While no one can say for certain until the rules have been implanted and observed in practice, it can be said that clients will enjoy a greater degree of transparency in budgeting for their cases.

This increased focus on better budgeting, more transparency and an improved focus on disclosure could, in many ways, be exactly what the legal industry needs over the next year.

This article was written on behalf of Vannin Capital. Visit their website to learn more about corporate litigation.

Guest Post: Divorce: How to make it amicable

Divorce: How to make it amicable 

When two married people decide that they no longer wish to live together, divorce often follows. However, when children are involved, it’s important to ensure the divorce is as amicable as possible to maintain the emotional wellbeing of everyone involved.

What is an amicable divorce?

An amicable divorce is settled outside of the courtroom in the hopes that after the proceedings the couple in question will maintain a courteous relationship. Despite settling out of court, it’s still important to invest in the services of a lawyer in order to draw up formal documents detailing things like housing arrangements, financial support, living arrangements of the children, etc.

The benefits of an amicable divorce

Aside it being a more affordable option, such a divorce will often result in a better relationship for all.  Avoiding court may also be healthier for the wellbeing of the entire family as issues over the living arrangements of children can create stress for everyone involved.

You should also bear in mind that if either parent emanates hurtful behaviour towards one and other then this could affect the long-term development and emotional wellbeing of the children. A healthy, friendly relationship between parents is of vital importance.

Money and assets

Apart from the emotional turmoil that comes with the prospect of divorce, there’s also the dividing of finances to consider. In some cases, the family home may have to be put on the market in order to divide the assets equally.

Discussions over property and financial requirements can often create the most discord. These issues can be talked through rationally with the aid of a therapist or mediator.

Custody of children

One of the most important discussions after divorce is deciding who gets the custody of the children. If international residence is involved, this discussion can become even more complex.

It’s always important to talk to your children at this point and consider where they are in their lives. An amicable divorce allows for open discussion instead of arguments to discuss what is best for them. Pulling them out of school in the height of exam season isn’t going to help them excel in their studies and realising that their needs come first is of utmost importance.

If the divorce proceedings are kept amicable, custody is often agreed on mutual terms, which means the best interests of the children are given priority.

Guest Post: Building your Online Law Presence

Building your Online Law Presence

Starting out in the law business and want to get ahead of your competitors? Read on to find out how to build a strong online presence without breaking the bank.

Branding

Before you rush into the online world all guns blazing, take a look at what your competitors are doing. Read their onsite copy, check out their social presence and analyse what is and isn’t working for them. Go beyond this, make a list of the terminology competitors use to speak to their audience and see if you can identify a gap in the market to stand out from the crowd.

Tone of voice is key to developing a strong online presence and used correctly can become the bread and butter of your marketing. Make sure that whoever is in charge of the writing has a strong flair for the written word because copywriters are essentially invisible salespeople. Food for thought.

Target Market

Once you’ve figured out exactly what your USP is, it’s time to decide on a target market. This will be easy if you are already doing regular business as you can create personas based on your current demographic. Compile persona’s based on age, occupation, budget, goals and trusted sources.

If you don’t have an existing customer base yet, use your competitors as a jumping off point to identify your target market. The more specific your target market is, the more targeted your marketing needs to be. Conversely, if your service appeals to a large variety of people, emulate this in your marketing.

Onsite Blog

It’s all very well claiming that your law firm is the cat’s pyjamas, but without a regularly updated onsite blog to go alongside your web page copy, it’s going to be pretty hard to prove it. Onsite blogs are the place where you can brag about that award show you got invited to, showcase exceptional client feedback or even put together advice pieces to prove that you really do know what you’re talking about.

The truth is, any business worth their salt needs an online blog to strengthen brand identity, gain the trust of potential clients and rank favourably in search engine results. Come up with a content strategy and aim to update your blog at least once a week.

Social Media 

It’s a common myth that all social media is good social media – there’s no point in creating an Instagram account – which is targeted at 16-25 year olds – if you specialise in divorce settlements. Twitter is a strong social media choice for the law industry as it doesn’t require any flashy images or videos, just a terrific command of the English language.

The basic rules of Twitter are to be generous with other people’s content, follow your target market, develop a tone of voice, be consistent with content and optimise your tweets for search. Follow these 5 golden rules and you won’t go far wrong.

Strategy

Strategy is important. Just as you wouldn’t run before you could walk, be sure to map out exactly where you want to be in 6 months’ time and exactly how you’re going to get there. Don’t attempt to wing it.

Legal PR is tricky to get right, but the more you prepare, the more likely you are to succeed. Be realistic in your expectations, don’t expect to be featured on the front page of Google or get a shout out from The Guardian in the initial months. From establishing a presence on social media to gaining blog traffic, remember Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Author Note: Byfield Consultancy are a group of established reputation management consultants situated in London. Specialising in legal PR and media skills training, this well-respected PR firm work behind the scenes to raise the profile of businesses using a variety of innovative techniques. For more information or to make an enquiry call 0207 092 3999.

Guest Post: The Employers Guide – Avoiding Workplace Discrimination

The Employers Guide – Avoiding Workplace Discrimination

An employer’s duty of care to its employees includes ensuring that they aren’t discriminated against on the basis of protected human characteristics. Whether it’s related to career advancement, selection for redundancy or day to day communication, discrimination in the workplace is against the law, and it could result in you or your company being taken to an employment tribunal.

Unfortunately, too many businesses have discriminatory practices and cultures in place without management even realising it, and it makes them susceptible to potentially costly claims from disgruntled employees. By taking some specific steps to combat discrimination in your organisation, as well as seeking employment law advice, you can minimise the risk of action being taken against you and your company.

How to avoid an employment tribunal claim

As an employer, you can mount a defence against alleged discrimination by ensuring you have taken ‘all reasonable steps’ to prevent discrimination in the workplace. There are a number of ways you can fulfil that obligation.

  • Formulate a company equal opportunities policy with the help of employment lawyers
  • Communicate the policy to all your employees
  • Schedule regular reviews of the policy
  • Ensure an equal opportunities training scheme is in place – preferably as part of an employee’s induction
  • Deal with complaints quickly, impartially and sympathetically

Of course, you may already have an equal opportunities policy in a company handbook, but that alone may not be considered by a tribunal judge as having taken ‘all reasonable steps’ to prevent discrimination. You must communicate the policy on a regular basis and update it as required.

Understanding the Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 defined certain human characteristics as having legal protection against discrimination from employers and employers. They are:

  • An employee’s age
  • An employee’s disability
  • An employee’s sexual orientation
  • An employee’s pregnancy or maternity
  • An employee’s race
  • An employee’s religion or belief
  • An employee’s sex
  • An employee’s martial or civil partnership status

 

The Equality Act also provides protection from discrimination for people who are contemplating, are undergoing or have undergone gender reassignment.

Defending a claim of discrimination at a tribunal

If you and your legal representatives believe that a claim for discrimination made against your company has credence, it may be worth negotiating a settlement before the case reaches a tribunal. Not only will this course of action avoid many of the associated legal costs, it will stop your company’s good name being sullied in the public domain.

Your employment lawyers may ask for a pre-hearing review of the case, particularly if they believe the claim to be spurious. Your former employee may be warned that their case stands little chance of success, and they may also be asked to provide a large deposit – up to £1,000 – in order to demonstrate their commitment to the process. The complainant must also pay an upfront registration fee – something designed to stop spurious claims from getting to employment tribunals. Your legal representatives can now, in certain circumstances, seek legal costs where a failed claim is deemed unreasonable or misconceived.

Employment law is there to provide protection from unscrupulous employers, but there are also provisions for defending unwarranted discrimination claims from disgruntled employees. If you put a stringent and comprehensive anti-discrimination policy in place, and seek employment law advice from experts, you can protect your company from the costs and bad press associated with employment tribunals.