It seems that client generation websites are multiplying faster than a boat full of rabbit sailors enjoying a period of extended shore leave. Notwithstanding the significant doubt surrounding whether leporine society actually boasts a merchant navy, it does seem that these types of websites are launching with greater regularity. They all promise to attract pretty much the same thing: sensible clients with the ability to pay for legal services.
The problem these sites are facing in persuading lawyers aboard in significant numbers, however, is that previous versions have been spectacularly unsuccessful. Unless the current models represent a significant departure from the ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ platforms of the past, they too are heading for the dustbin.
Someone once said that being a salesman is either the easiest and best paid job ever or the hardest and worst paid job in the world. Whichever category you find yourself in depends, in part, on your customer. And if your customer is a lawyer, then you need to be prepared for regular periods of bread and dripping.
Let’s face it, selling anything into the legal profession is not for beginners. It is a task which Sisyphus would have regarded as thankless. Solicitors are programmed to be sceptical and immune to the grand claims of sales people. Every day legal practices are bombarded with emails and telephone calls from people trying to sell them everything from photocopy paper to the latest software innovation.
Update on apprenticeships
The government has recently confirmed that the apprenticeship levy will be implemented from April 2017 as originally proposed.
The only certainty following the referendum is that exiting the EU will substantially alter the legal landscape from a recovery and insolvency viewpoint.
Over the past few years the various EU members have been working hard to eradicate or minimise inconsistencies between the individual regulations which have led not only to confusion but also to “forum shopping” by those facing insolvency. The idea is to provide a level playing field so that businesses in particular know where they stand should a company in another country get into trouble.
The reciprocity that has been established will need to be addressed in some manner to prevent conflicts arising between jurisdictions. The Association of Business Recovery Professionals (R3) has stated that it will be working closely with experts to understand the implications of leaving the EU and shall voice any concerns to the government.
It is a key aspect of due diligence, for potential trading partners, that the ability to pursue debt is considered and that, at the outset of the contract or engagement, the "what if" scenario of subsequent insolvency is considered.
It remains to be seen what changes will be brought into our insolvency legislation to compensate for the withdrawal from the EU to address this.
A printing company based in Eastbourne has had two employees sentenced to prison terms following an SFO investigation into bribes paid in return for the award of contracts to the company.
The chairman and sale director were sentenced to 18 months' and three years' imprisonment respectively for corruptly agreeing to make payments, contrary to section 1(1) of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906. The company itself was also convicted of the same three offences and fined £2.2million. Both men were also disqualified from acting as company directors for six years. The payments were made for the award of printing contracts in Kenya and Mauritania.
This was the first conviction against a company for foreign bribery and highlights the reach of the legislation into activity carried out by UK companies in the developing world. Local expectation and standards of doing business in the developing world can sometimes conflict with the obligations on UK business, and directors should be aware that their legal responsibilities travel with them overseas.
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