An attachment? For me? How kind…

An attachment? For me? How kind…
By Stuart of MultiTask Computing

The first Word macro virus was released into the wild 20 years ago. In 2000, the ILoveYou (or LoveLetter) virus, one of the most damaging of its time, spread like wildfire, using social engineering as a vector.

So why, after all this time do viruses still arrive in your inbox, hidden in attachments, ready to do harm to your system? Why are the criminals still using the same methods as they were at the turn of the century?

Because they work. Curiosity didn’t just kill the cat, it also encrypted all your files, stole your bank details, and hacked into your social media.

Over and over, employees and the public are warned to be wary of unsolicited attachments. Yet, day after day, millions of these emails are sent out, because someone will *always* open them.

Don’t be that someone.

Spam filters are by their very nature, reactive. They can only work based on a set of algorithms derived from historic emails. So, if it’s a new pattern that doesn’t match the algorithm it finds its way into your inbox.

Only one filtering system remains at that point – you.

8 Habits of Highly Defective Contracts

8 Habits of Highly Defective Contracts

Sarah Fox

www.500words.co.uk

 

Steven Covey’s 7 Habits are principles to help you become highly effective. His book became a classic of personal and business development. But I realised the astonishing parallels with my specialist area of law – contracts.

In brief, the first six of Steven Covey’s habits can be summarised as “make and keep a promise” and “involve others and work out a solution together”. If only …

My experience is that most businesses fall into the 8 habits of highly defective contracts. They make promises they don’t intend to keep, and they don’t solve their problems with their clients but through lawyers. The response from Talk Talk to its hacking scandal and the Adidas/IAAF dispute over sponsorship deal amply demonstrate our highly defective approach to contracts.

Of course, if you want to create effective contracts, you just have to do the opposite of these habits:

1. Use Contracts Lazily

As a contract is a tool to help you do business, why do most businesses get embarrassed about their contracts and treat them like a hurdle to be overcome? Why copy them from the internet, or hide them in a drawer? Effective contracts help you sell your business, your products/services, your skills, and your passion to those who need them.

Tip: Be proactive with your contracts and create contracts that work for your business.

2. Begin with a Bad End in Mind

Many terms in defective contracts focus solely on what will happen when things go wrong – how disputes will be resolved, complaints handled, liability limited, or risks insured. Of course your business needs protection, but the best protection is to begin by knowing what a successful project looks like.  Unclear expectations about what success looks like will result in disputes.

Tip: Use your contract to define what a successful ‘end’ looks like for you and your client.

3. Put First Things Last

Defective contracts focus 80% of their content on the minutiae of transactions – definitions, addresses, notices and so on – rather than spending 80% of their content on the important things. What your client really wants to know is what you are doing, why, how, when and for how much money. If your client can’t read your contact and understand it within seconds, then your focus is wrong.

Tip: Start your contract with the most important aspects for your client.

4. Think Win/Lose

For the last 150 years, the English courts have intervened in contracts to redress the balance when merchants started to take advantage of naïve consumers. Regrettably, this is still happening today. Defective contracts read like the instructions for winning a battle, not the map for a journey to be travelled together. But collaboration and trust is the key to successful contracting.

Tip: For each clause, decide if it builds trust or breaks trust. You should aim for 95% trust building.

5. Seek Misunderstanding

Too many contracts are excessively long and irredeemably complex. They are written by (or copied off) lawyers to be read by lawyers (or misread by non-lawyers). If your contract cannot be understood then it cannot be effective as no-one can carry it out. You need to see your contract through your client’s eyes.

Tip: Write your contract in plain language to avoid misunderstandings.

6. Silo-ize

Defective contracts assume that there are ‘sides’ and each ‘side’ has to protect its own interests. Effective contracts combine the strengths of both sides to produce an even better result. They involve clients in deciding the solution to their own problem, rather than imposing your ideas.

Tip: Treat your contract as a partnership for a project and work as a team to achieve agreed aims.

7. Blunt the Saw

Defective contracts seek short-term profits at the expense of long-term relationships. They stoke mistrust, create conflict and are unsustainable. An effective contract grows with the partners and the project, encouraging them to share ideas and improve the project for both their benefit.

Tip: Focus on results not the methods as this provides room for improvement as you learn.

8. Shout About You

Those who enter into, seek and enforce contracts for their own selfish aims are not clients you should do business with. Their defective contracts do not help you, they merely help your ‘partner’. But contracts are, and should be, about inspiring and helping each other. What people say about you (your brand) depends not just on how you write your contract, but how you use it.

Tip: Treat your contract as a way to inspire or help someone else.

As the book says “Trust is the highest form of human motivation. It brings out the very best in people.” That is why an effective contract is about trust, not terms.

Is it Time for Blame Free Divorce?

Is it Time for Blame Free Divorce?

Divorce is usually an extremely difficult time for a family and having to attribute blame for the marriage falling apart can intensify, or even create, acrimony between a parting couple. Richard Bacon, the Conservative MP for South Norfolk, has put forward a Private Member’s Bill that proposes to introduce an additional “no fault” divorce option. The Bill has received widespread praise and is expected to have its second reading on Friday 11 March 2016.

Resolution, an organisation of legal professionals dedicated to non-confrontational family law, commented, “If MPs are serious about reducing family conflict and the trauma that can be caused by divorce, I would urge them to support the bill as a welcome step towards removing the requirement of fault from divorce… a civilised society deserves a civilised divorce process.”

Divorcing in the UK

The current options available to a separating couple can make it impossible to avoid blaming one another. The only “no blame” option for demonstrating “irretrievable breakdown” is non-cohabitation. However, in England and Wales a couple will need to live apart for two years to use this option. The situation is slightly better in Scotland as only one year’s non-cohabitation is necessary.

Having to wait one or two years to finalise a divorce may prove too long for a separating couple who want to gain closure, settle their finances and move on with their lives. This may prompt couples to opt for the one of the other options that require them to blame their spouse’s adultery or unreasonable behaviour for the divorce.

How Does Blame Hinder Collaborative Divorce?

When a couple separate, they often do so on good terms and would be able to work together in a harmonious fashion to settle matters, such as, who will live in the home they shared, what will happen to any debts or savings and what the living arrangements will be for their children.

However, the current system does not allow divorces to be wrapped up quickly. Separations are usually painful and emotional and over time a relationship can sour, making it impossible for former partners to work together in a constructive manner. This can increase the need for court involvement and can lead to expensive legal fees.

The relationship can be further damaged by having to delve into, and present evidence on, what the other partner did to contribute to the breakdown of a marriage. If this involves something as sensitive as adultery or unreasonable behaviour it could intensify the resentment each party feels. The spouse who is being blamed may feel that the failure of the marriage is not all their fault and might want to express how the other party was also responsible.

This can lead to arguments and ill feeling between a separating couple that can be very upsetting for any children who are involved.

It is clear that this unnecessary mudslinging can make a divorce even more difficult and can undermine any attempts to have a good natured and amicable separation. The time has come for a no fault divorce option.

You can find out more about divorce from the contributors of this article from http://www.familylawliverpool.co.uk/ and http://www.familylawaberdeen.co.uk/

Serious Brain Injury: Causes & Compensation

Serious Brain Injury: Causes & Compensation

Serious mistakes that cause other people to suffer head injuries and brain damage are particularly tragic. Serious brain injuries often make living hard for the victim, as well as their family and friends. These injuries can significantly impact quality of life, leaving those injured unable to do basic tasks, and in some cases also causing drastic changes in personality and behaviour. Often, those who suffer serious brain injuries require permanent care from medical staff and support workers, as well as practical and mental support from their loved ones.

Although no amount of compensation can truly make up for the permanent and life-altering impact of serious brain injuries, the law is there to hold those responsible to account and award victims an amount of compensation to help them deal with the consequences.

Causes of Serious Brain Injuries – Recent High Profile Cases

Many serious brain injuries follow trauma to the head. Any trauma to the head poses the risk of significant and life-altering brain damage. Take, for example, an incident that took place a few months ago in Canada, where a 34-year-old had to undergo surgery to relieve pressure and remove some of his brain tissue after being punched, unprovoked, once in the head.

Closer to home, a man recently died of the head injuries he sustained 16 years ago in a road traffic accident in the UK. In 1999, a car accident caused by a lorry left him with permanent and serious brain injuries, including epilepsy and black outs. His catastrophic head injury meant he required full-time care for the rest of his life. In November 2015, he was taken to hospital after suffering a seizure and heart attack, where he died shortly after. The senior coroner concluded that the cause of death was road traffic collision, due to the bronchial pneumonia that resulted from the brain injury he had suffered over a decade and a half earlier.

Serious brain injuries can also be sustained before, during or just after birth. Unfortunately, this type of permanent brain damage commonly occurs where a medical professional has failed to meet the standard expected of them. For example, a failure to give a newly born boy the right treatment for jaundice at the right time left him with cerebral palsy and blindness. Another young boy was also the victim of mistakes by hospital staff. A failure to spot his low sugar levels two days after his birth caused him to suffer hypoglycaemic brain damage, resulting in epilepsy and learning difficulties. The family were recently awarded £6 million in compensation to pay for his life-long care.

Brain Injury Compensation

When someone suffers a serious brain injury with catastrophic and enduring impact, it is important to hold those responsible to account. Personal injury claims for head injuries and brain damage that result in grave and permanent physical disability, psychological conditions and mental illness, are treated very seriously and likely to result in an especially large compensation award. This is because these drastic and catastrophic brain injuries attract enormous sympathy – not just from society, but also from the law and the courts.

As the above examples show, serious brain injuries can occur in many different circumstances, but their impact is often significantly damaging to the quality of the lives of those who suffer them. While no amount of compensation can truly make up for the loss a serious brain injury will cause, it can at least, in a small way, help relieve some of the burdens victims and their families have shouldered as a result of another person’s negligence.

Contribution from Accident Claims Web, a useful personal injury law resource in the UK. Find out more about brain injury compensation claims here: http://www.accidentclaimsweb.co.uk/personal-injury/brain-injury-compensation or if claiming for head injuries in Scotland, visit https://www.unlockthelaw.co.uk/head-injuries.html