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14 June 2016

Over the past few years so much has happened to alter the shape of the legal industry – cloud-based technologies, mobile apps, advanced analytics, IBM Watson, Oratto – yet, despite this, too many law firms remain resistant or worse, oblivious, to the impact legal technologies are having on the provision and quality of legal services.

Perhaps it is because of the resistance and naivety of some firms that it is only when you scratch the service that you begin to get a feel for just how much things are changing. In fact, they may even take reassurance from the fact that the legal sector remains stagnant in terms of pure economic growth, but beneath these still waters there is a dynamic and fast-paced evolution taking place that is full of opportunities.

But, as Charles Darwin theorised, evolution can be a ruthless business and even the most powerful of behemoths can be left behind if they fail to adapt to a changing environment. This has already been proven true, and dramatically so, in recent years with the collapse of global law firms such as Howrey, Dewey & LeBoeuf, and Bingham McCutchen. It would be easy to characterise the once unimaginable failure of these firms as being a product of old-fashioned mismanagement. However, to do so would be to miss the point as these failures are at least in part attributable to a misplaced overemphasis on economic growth and profit at the expense of intelligent consideration of the changing global legal landscape; a landscape that is increasingly defined by technology and the ability of both lawyers and clients to understand its uses.

01 June 2016

Brexit as a concept has been around for a long time. But recently, and understandably, politicians have been wielding their arguments for staying or going like battering rams on the nation's consciousness.

Most of what we hear about is the likely impact on issues such as migrant's eligibility for child benefit, holidaying abroad, and the cost of living and a string of carefully contrived barbs, delivered to the masses, are designed to move us one way or another in a ruthless ‘push me-pull me' dance on the borders of Brexit/Bremain.

But what of the impact on those in other spheres? Ones not in such high relief? Sadly, they don't seem to feature in the mass marketing of the Yes or No arguments.

Wisely, a number of commercial law firms have begun to create their own advice teams ready to advise clients on strategies for dealing with an exit from the EU. Politicians, it seems, and the opinion pieces in the media, which are currently deluging into the communal headspace, can't be trusted - they all have an agenda and it's not to prioritise commercial law clients.

27 May 2016

Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2016

The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2016 (SI 2016/510) came into effect on 8 May 2016.

Key amendments to the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business Regulations 2003 are:

29 April 2016

The legal services sector has reached a critical juncture in its history and it is only those firms which proactively embrace and chase change who will survive and thrive as we move further into the twenty first century.

Patrick Susskind, IT Adviser to the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, and considered by many to be the world's leading expert in legal technology, is of this view. Simply put, in his opinion, if firms are to prosper over the next decades they are going to have to find a way to achieve "more for less".

Although, at a superficial level, this might sound like a recipe for disaster for the consumers of legal services, it is actually a response to their changing needs and demands. Old-style legal firms that are reliant on staid and stultified ways of practising, whether through a commitment to old-style paperwork and file management or through inflexible adherence to "billable hours" fee structures, are increasingly anachronistic, often to the point of becoming irrelevant.

29 April 2016

Increase of limits on tribunal compensatory awards

Increased compensation limits will apply to cases where the effective date of termination is on or after 6 April 2016.  In particular, the maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal has increased to  £78,962, and the maximum limit on a week’s pay £for the purposes of calculating the basic award has increased to £479.  Note that the increase in the limit on a week’s pay also applies to the calculation of statutory redundancy payments.

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