UK Law Firm Takes Part in Will Aid Campaign

Who says solicitors only cared about profit? The staff at Slee Blackwell, a North Devon law firm, proved that’s not the case when they waived their will-writing fee in exchange for a donation to the national will-writing scheme, Will Aid.

Old-Fashioned Will And TestamentThe firm, which is participating in the scheme for the 6th consecutive year, has announced they’ve raised a total sum of £21,727, including £8,500 just last year. The scheme has already helped peak at £1.75million this year alone, and the money will now be split between nine high profile charities.

Emily Hockin, an associate solicitor at the law firm, recently commented: “We think it is good for our clients to see their solicitors looking outwards and doing something for charity rather than profit. We are extremely proud of being able to use our professional skills to write wills for people and, as a result, raise such a sum for the Will Aid charities.”

The next Will Aid scheme will being in November later this year. Visit the website: www.willaid.org.uk/ to find out how your law firm can take part or to make a will.

NHS to Clamp Down on Excessive Legal Bills

02I21239The NHS has announced plans to tighten up control of excessive legal bills, by challenging them in court. The news comes as one legal firm, Rapid Response Solicitors, repeatedly billed the national health service with a compensation payout that was worth over 80 times the value of the awarded amount.

The UK law firm submitted a £83,000 bill, despite the fact their client had only received £1,000 compensation. It has also been reported that the solicitors billed the NHS for £53,000, when their client had only been awarded £2,500 due to being scolded by a hot drink.

The NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) have stated Rapid Solicitors are one of the worst offenders for claiming excessive fees, even though they deal with 10,000 cases per year for hospital trusts. The firm is believed to have billed the NHS with £2 million in costs for 47 claims in a period of just three years, but accepted £539,563 in costs.

Catherine Dixon, NHSLA Chief Executive, recently commented: “Those costs are outrageous. When they are seeking to charge such excessive amounts they are taking money away from NHS care, and that is wrong.”

With an annual spend of £1.3 billion in litigation costs, the new move could potentially free up millions of pounds of NHS money, which could be used towards patient care.

10 Social Media Legal Tips

In a world that now seems to revolve around the internet, it is so easy for companies to land themselves in hot water. While social media is an effective tool for businesses all over the world, it can also be their undoing. For this reason, we’re offering 10 top tips to help companies stay out of trouble.

1. Data Protection

Never reveal information about another person if you haven’t received their consent. Whilst it shouldn’t need saying, you should never reveal the name of a victim of rape or sexual assault – as this is a criminal offence.

03B867532. Introduce a Social Media Policy

You should introduce a social media policy that each and every one of your employees must adhere to. This will set the tone for the posts your produce, and will ensure your members of staff are aware of the dangers of posting outside of the policy.

3. Think Before You Type

Whilst the perfect opportunity might arise to offer a witty retort or funny put-down, think twice. What you might find funny, others might not. People have different sense of humours – and whilst some people might laugh, others could be offended.

4. Don’t Stalk

You should be wary of stalking your followers. While your intentions may be to casually interact with a social media member, they may class your actions as stalking. Avoid over-commenting, retweeting or sharing.

5. Don’t Compete Too Hard

We all want to be better than our competition, but you need to ensure that it is healthy. The last thing a company will want is to stand out from the crowd for all the wrong reasons. You should therefore think twice before ridiculing the competition on social media – or you could face a libel claim that will significantly damage your company.

6. Take a Breath

We all read things online that we don’t like, and it’s bound to feel even more personal if it’s directed at your company. However, it is essential you take a step back and breathe. Retaliation could come across as threatening, which could have dire consequence for your company and could damage your brand.

7. Be You

You should never open a fake account on Twitter, Facebook or another social media website. Inaccurate or misleading representations can lead to fraud claims made against you, landing you in serious hot water with the law. Be yourself.

18. Advertising Regulations

Every industry has to adhere to certain regulations; therefore, it is essential you bare these rules in mind when sending out a viral post. For example, if your an alcohol brand, your tweets should encourage responsible drinking – or you could end up in trouble with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

9. Don’t Copy

No-one like s a copy cat, and the laws of copyright ensure it is illegal to reproduce another person’s work without their prior consent. Create unique, interesting posts of your own that others will want to read.

10. Avoid Competing Hashtags

While a competitor’s hashtag might be trending, you shouldn’t jump on the bandwagon. Not only will this confuse customers but it could be seen as trademark infringement.

 

An SRA Study Finds Many Solicitors are Facing Hardship Due to Unpaid Debts

According to new research from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), failure to pay debt is one of the biggest distresses for law firms facing financial difficulty. The study, which surveyed 76 firms, found that there are many dangers for firms who undertook mergers and acquisitions, with many misusing their clients’ money.

Five Pound note (sterling).82% of the law firms stated they struggled to sustain high levels of debt from borrowing, despite low interest rates. The financial hardship therefore often results in undertaking unfamiliar markets or relying on a single work category.

The SRA recently commented on the survey: “We have observed a shift in the chasing of debt, with companies and organisations pursuing solicitor firms more vigorously for ever-decreasing sums of money.”

The study also found that many senior managers and partners were in denial of a company’s economic situation, as they had yet to identify their debt problems or continued with work in the hope the problem would resolve itself. Partners would then draw further money, unaware the firm is heaped in debt.

One case study found a firm had borrowed a large sum of money to pay for several acquisitions. As a result, the soliciting firm became vulnerable to changes in some key markets, such as legal aid and conveyancing. Unfortunately, the firm was unable to adjust to the new conditions.

The SRA Director of Supervision, Mike Haley, stated: “Tough economic times can sometimes lead ethical and upstanding solicitors to stray from the straight and narrow. They think that because they are breaking the rules for the best of intentions – to keep the firm afloat – that this is somehow acceptable. That is simply not the case.”