Lawyers On Demand launches new transaction teams offering

Lawyers On Demand launches new transaction teams offering

New option uses remote lawyers managed by LOD to increase agility and lower costs on routine parts of complex transactions

 Lawyers On Demand (LOD), the alternative legal services provider from BLP, today announces the launch of its new transaction teams – an extension of its LOD On Call service offering mid-level and senior lawyers to work remotely on routine and stand-alone parts of complex client matters. LOD also offers an engagement manager to design and manage delivery.

The transaction teams vary in size depending on the assignment and use LOD’s established On Call lawyers, located across the UK and internationally. LOD’s On Call technology platform and innovative approach to remote working enables clients to quickly and cost effectively access hand-picked teams of specialist lawyers to match specific project requirements.

In its pilot phase up to today’s launch, LOD has successfully completed 12 assignments utilising its transaction teams for a range of clients, with teams now available across multiple practice areas.

Key benefits include:

·       LOD’s law firm clients can increase their profitability on transactions by minimising their fixed cost base and can flex their capability and capacity on deals according to client demand.

·       In-house teams can undertake routine work such as sales contracts or the renegotiation of supplier agreements more cost effectively without sacrificing quality.

·       Associates or in-house lawyers are freed up to focus on more complex work.

·       LOD delivery managers liaise directly with the team of remote lawyers, delivering project management and efficient reporting processes to the LOD client.

BLP Real Estate Partner, Karen Friebe, who used a team recently on a large transaction, said; “The work required of the LOD team was a significant piece of the overall project and it was essential that BLP could rely on them to deliver a quality product on time and on budget. They did not let us down. The LOD team were experienced, conscientious and hit every deadline, delivering a final product which was to a high standard, at an extremely competitive fixed cost . The project management element was also very well executed and was an essential element of the successful delivery of the project.”

LOD Co-Founder, Simon Harper, said: “Soon after we launched LOD On Call in June 2013, we were approached by clients looking to utilise our remote legal expertise as a part of larger transactions. Our new transaction teams have been designed to help both in-house teams and law firms reduce their cost base and carry out their more routine work in a more efficient and agile way, without sacrificing legal expertise or experience.  They’re a natural evolution of our existing LOD On Call service and have been developed to sit between full service law firms and the more commoditised work undertaken by LPOs.”

BLP has engaged LOD’s transaction teams as part of BLP’s recently launched ‘Integrated Client Service Model’, comprising of four elements: LOD’s transaction teams; a Legal Process Improvement (LPI) service; the use of other third party providers and a new legal services delivery team in Manchester.

The transaction teams are an evolution of LOD On Call, which was launched in June 2013 and which to date has seen over 70 individual lawyers work remotely for clients including Tesco and Thomson Reuters.  LOD On Call sits alongside LOD’s original secondment style service, LOD On Site.

For more information about LOD or their new On Call transaction teams service, visit www.lod.co.uk.

 

Examples of assignments carried out by LOD transaction teams include:

Case study 1 – BLP

After five previous successful transactions, BLP’s Real Estate department approached LOD for the use of an LOD transaction team for its largest requirement yet. They were in urgent need of a team of experienced real estate lawyers to work on a large deal involving the review of over 60 complex certificates of title on behalf of BLP’s buyer client. The transaction, which had an extremely tight deadline, was more than just a processing exercise. It required a team of lawyers with the ability and experience to analyse the certificates and highlight any key issues.

LOD quickly assembled a team of experienced real estate lawyers who would work entirely remotely with BLP on the transaction. LOD’s engagement manager project-managed the team from LOD HQ in London and liaised directly with the BLP team. Over a two month period, the LOD lawyers reviewed the certificates of title that had been produced by the seller’s lawyers, raised detailed enquiries about them and ensured that the certificates were in a form suitable for reliance upon by BLP’s buyer client and by their bankers. The team also produced an overview report on each property for the client and for their bankers, which highlighted any key issues revealed by the certificates of title.

Case study 2 – Major international law firm

In late 2013, a major City law firm approached LOD in need of additional support on a £200m+ transaction they were working on but could not resource internally. The firm had used LOD’s On Site and On Call lawyers for previous assignments, and now needed a team of skilled lawyers to work as part of a compact due diligence team acting for an institutional investor on the purchase of a portfolio of industrial properties.

LOD was able to quickly pull together a team of seven experienced real estate lawyers. They worked remotely over a two month period on tasks including the review and reporting on a range of occupational leases, ensuring that any material issues were highlighted with the in-house law firm team as soon as possible.

Guest Post: Unwanted social media comments could render employers liable for unlawful harassment

Unwanted social media comments could render employers liable for unlawful harassment

The case of Otomewo v Carphone Warehouse Ltd, ET/2330554/2011 demonstrates that employers may be liable for unlawful harassment under the Equality Act 2010 if employees bully a colleague because of a protected characteristic on social media.

In the case of Otomewo v Carphone Warehouse Ltd, ET/2330554/2011 Mr Otomewo, who was a manager at a Carphone Warehouse store, had his mobile phone taken by two employees, who posted a comment on his Facebook status update as follows: “Finally came out of the closet. I am gay and proud.”

Mr Otomewo subsequently complained about the Facebook comment and was later dismissed by Carphone Warehouse because of (unrelated) allegations of sexual harassment that had been made against him. He subsequently brought an Employment Tribunal claim for sexual orientation harassment, direct sexual orientation discrimination, direct sex discrimination, and unfair dismissal.

Mr Otomewo – who is not gay and whose colleagues knew he was not gay – gave evidence at the Employment Tribunal merits hearing that he had been “embarrassed” and “distressed” by the Facebook comment as it could be seen by his family and friends. The Tribunal, in its Judgment, described the actions of Mr Otomewo’s colleagues as an “unnecessary and unwarranted intrusion into his private life on public space”.

The Employment Tribunal found that Mr Otomewo had been harassed on the grounds of his sexual orientation harassment as he had been subjected to unwanted comments related to sexual orientation which had (the Employment Tribunal accepted) the effect of humiliating him. Following on from the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Edwards v Thomas Sanderson Blinds Limited [2009] IRLR 206 CA, protection from harassment extended to persons who were not, and were not believed to be, of a particular sexual orientation where the vehicle for bullying that person was sexual orientation as the purpose of the relevant legislation was to protect persons being harassed on the grounds of sexual orientation (whether this was imaginary or not).

The Tribunal also found that Carphone Warehouse were liable for the harassing actions of Mr Otomewo’s colleagues as Facebook status comment had been made by his colleagues in the course of their employment (as it had taken place at work, during working hours, and involved Carphone Warehouse’s management staff).

Analysis

The case of Otomewo v Carphone Warehouse Ltd, ET/2330554/2011 shows that employers can be liable for acts of unlawful harassment under the Equality Act 2010 by their employees on Facebook or other social media (if that harassment relates to another employee, and is communicated at work during work hours). Although policing employees’ use of social media at work may seem to be a potentially administratively burdensome for employers, employers can protect themselves from liability for harassment through a “s.109 defence” – by implementing social media and equality policies at work, and training their employees in those policies. Employers should also take swift action to investigate any complaints of harassment that are made in the workplace and to produce quick and fair outcomes to these (as employers risk potential constructive dismissal claims if they fail to do so).

Summary and recommendations:

  • Sexual orientation harassment can occur even if those carrying out the harassment know that the victim is not gay
  • Employers should ensure that they have a comprehensive and effective social media policy that makes it clear that bullying through social media could result in disciplinary action
  • Employers should thoroughly train their employees in their equal opportunities policies

Employers should make it clear that discrimination on the grounds of a protected characteristic (such as race, religious belief etc.) could occur even if the victim does not have the protected characteristic alleged by the perpetrator, and the perpetrator knows this

Chris Hadrill is a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans Solicitors and the creator of www.settlementagreementuk.com

Guest Post: Hit by an Uninsured Driver? Follow These 5 Steps for Making a Claim

Hit by an Uninsured Driver? Follow These 5 Steps for Making a Claim

March 2014

According to the Institute for Advanced Motorists (IAM), more than 200,000 drivers on British roads have points on their licence for driving without proper insurance, a figure which equates to 1 in every 200 road users.

The figures, obtained by the IAM under the Freedom of Information Act, highlights the widespread problem and representatives stress how vulnerable it makes law-abiding road users and pedestrians to footing the bill for property repairs or personal injury costs.

Chief Executive of IAM, Simon Best said that “These findings are shocking. Those 200,000 individuals who drive whilst uninsured place the burden back on those who abide by the law through higher premiums and potentially the cost of vehicle repair.”

Whenever you are out on the roads, it is advisable to follow these five steps to protect yourself from uninsured drivers:

  1. If you are involved in a traffic accident, the law states that you must stop if there is any damage, no matter how minor, caused to personal property, vehicles, or street furniture like bollards or street lamps, or, if there are any injuries caused to other drivers, pedestrians or animals, regardless of who was responsible for causing the accident.

If you are involved in an accident with a vehicle which does not stop, do your best to note the registration, make, model and colour of the car and if possible, any details about the driver or passengers.

  1. When you stop after an accident, each party involved must exchange contact details with one another, including a name, address, details of the vehicle owner if that is not the person driving and insurance details.

If someone refuses to give you any of this information, you must report it to police within 24 hours and note down the crime reference number they give you.

  1. If anyone witnessed your accident, including passengers in your vehicle but in particular, passers-by or other road users who have also stopped, take a name and contact phone number from them. When it comes to making a claim, it helps to have as much evidence of the events as possible.
  2. When involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, you need to inform your own insurer and then make contact with the Motor Insurers’ Bureau. This organisation specialises in dealing with claims against uninsured drivers.

In simple cases where there is damage to property only, the service provided by MIB should be sufficient. However, if you or any of your passengers have suffered a personal injury, then your case becomes far more complex and it is wise to seek advice from a solicitor who can help to manage your case, both while putting a claim together and in court if necessary.

  1. Seek advice from a legal professional who specialises in road traffic law and personal injury claims who can manage your case and recover any costs caused by your accident. This includes property repairs or replacements, and compensation for personal injuries or a loss of any earnings caused by them.

The professional team at Accident Compensation 4U understand that being in an accident can be distressing, particularly when a claim is complicated by dealing with an uninsured driver.

Contact them for free expert advice and the legal support you need to successfully claim the much needed compensation you are entitled to.


Guest Post: Police Among Claimants Seeking Compensation for Workplace Hearing Loss

Police Among Claimants Seeking Compensation for Workplace Hearing Loss

February 2014

Research carried out by the Health and Safety Executive showed that more than 20,000 people across the UK reported suffering from varying levels of hearing loss after being exposed to excessive levels of noise at work.

Despite the fact that specific laws were introduced in 2006 under the Control of Noise at Work Regulations (2005) Act, which makes employers legally responsible for protecting the hearing of their employees, hundreds of new cases still continue to be reported according to medical specialists.

As an example of employer negligence, the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) based in Northern Ireland, the only armed police force in the UK, is currently compensating thousands of its own police officers for failing to protect them with suitable ear protection when working with firearms. To date, the bill for compensation and court costs exceeds £135 million and is expected to rise as more former police officers wait for their workplace injury cases to be settled.

Ears are incredibly sensitive to noise, and when it is excessively loud or lasts for a long period of time, it can cause damage to the inner ear and result in varied levels of hearing loss or tinnitus. This kind of damage is known as Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) and is unfortunately permanent in most cases. The sensitive cells in the ear cannot heal or be medically repaired, although some treatments and hearing aids are available to manage the difficulties that hearing loss and tinnitus can present.

Sufferers of NIHL report experiencing difficulty hearing in one or both ears and describe sound as being muffled, only audible when they are of a particular volume or pitch, or in the worst cases, complete deafness.

The sense of hearing is precious and the loss of it can be absolutely devastating. Aside from coping with the physical symptoms, sufferers also describe feelings of depression and a loss of confidence, of difficulties staying in employment and of the stress caused by trying to survive financially while adjusting to these challenges.

Whilst it’s not possible to stop the workplace from being noisy, NIHL is completely preventable. By law, all employers have an obligation to protect you from workplace injuries and if you have experienced any form of tinnitus or occupational deafness in the workplace, you are entitled to be compensated for it.

Because hearing loss is usually a lifelong condition, it could mean considerable, long-term financial costs to you. This could include paying for specialist medical support and treatment, hearing aids and other equipment designed to alleviate the symptoms of tinnitus, not to mention the loss of earnings you may experience as a result of your workplace injuries.

If you have experienced occupational hearing loss, a personal injury lawyer can help you to calculate the amount of compensation you are entitled to. At Accident Compensation 4 UK, we offer free advice and guidance on the amount you are owed and if you decide to proceed with your compensation claim, we operate on a No Win No Fee basis so you don’t have the added worry of legal costs to deal with.