Friday, September 29, 2006

Found another decent blawg

Check out the-twentysomethings blog - some great graphics and content, definitely knows how to use an image editor. Just starting out on a career in law (I hope I got that right)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Turkey Twizzlers - Jamie was right about the ingredients

Had a claim passed to me today - propsective client was a little cranky demanding s senior guy etc etc.

His claim involved his son nearly chocking on a turkey twizzler. Now my first impression was that this being a child of 6 years of age, its possible for them to choke on a grain of rice let alone a whole god damn twizzler (have you seen these things - theyre similar to lightly spiced innards). But then the guy dropped the bombshell that his son spat out a 2 inch length of wire.

The kid was ok and quite honestly the claim has no potential for us to win any costs so we couldnt take it on. I gave the guy some advice on the right way to complain and how to kick ass with a bit of bad publicity for the company concerned.

You can forgive the odd quality control mishap which this undoubdetly was but you cant forgive the fact that this product is a disgusting twisted hunk of junk that even your dog would refuse to eat. Metal wire or no - its the worse food on the planet.

When I was a kid we only ate quality food like steak n kidney pie, liver and onions, black pudding, mashed turnip - all washed down with a large glass of full fat milk.

Kids nowadays dont know what they're missin!!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Monday, September 25, 2006

A client you can call a friend

Or maybe that should be EX friend.

Why friends and acqaintances do not make good clients

If a friend or acquaintance (worse still an old colleague) asks you to handle a case for them - take my advice gently tell them to take their business elsewhere. Dont fall foul of the "client you can call a friend"

This rant relates to PI claims in the main but you can apply the thought process to any legal sector.

Heres the scenario
The pal approaches you and says "Ive had a bump in my car - your an accident lawyer - please help"

You are indeed a lawyer - (cant really be arsed with an RTA but...) you think you know best and can help the poor guy.

He's guy you think like and you dont want to let him down, even though you dont know him too well. The last thing you want is him saying to people that you fobbed him off or worse still were clueless and couldnt help him "That guy knows shit....." etc

So you play the legal eagle and wax lyrical about his right to certain head of damage he never even knew about and already youve raised the bar of expectation. First mistake

But it looks a simple case and you think yep I'll walk thru this and take my predictable fee

Then you get your first bad vibe - the client is pushy and rings you twice a day every day. Now remember its a predictable fee Im getting here so that means there'as about £1250 ish to the firm and 30% to me. Not exactly a retirement fund, but still he's in your face twice a day asking the same things over and over - is he trying to trick me you wonder to see if I give a different answer? Or is he just being a "client you can call a friend"

Youre not sure but you are annoyed and slightly worried

Then liability is disputed - shit! Its like IVE denied negligence not some insurance claims monkey (see rant below) somehow its my fault that he was on a roundabout and that two cars bumped. I warned him of the risk of an issue but no - its down to me.

3 months later youve pulled it from the fire and got the full admission that the guy expected anyway. You didnt really work for it in his eyes - he damn well deserved it and your his pal so a 100% admission is the least he would expect. Remember - hes a "client you can call a friend"

Then we get to quantum - the supposedly fun bit of the job. Now because he's youre pal - he wants not just top dollar but a bit extra. After all I know him and so should use every trick in the book to get an EXTREMELY GOOD settlement. Well f*ck that, by now Im so pissed at him I just want rid because:

a) There's never been a damn thing wrong with him and to call this an injury claim is an insult to every decent insurance claim monkey out there

b) He's confirmed my initial view by now that he is a complete money grabbing, low paid, low grade plodder who never worked a minute past 5pm in his entire life

c) Remember im getting peanuts for a fee in this claim and like most honest grafters, time is money and when you record time that you know you aint going to see again you always feel flat and somehow cheated. But I cant whinge because its part of the job and remember - he's a "client you can call a friend"

Anyway you finally get to the end game - part 36's to and fro and then a stalemate. Now the pal thinks hey didnt you promise me that you would get me minimum £3k for the injury (that never was)? Well actually no I didnt but he'd checked on the web and spotted a daft figure for a two month whippy on a crap legal site and thats where he pitched his settlement.

His claim was worth £1250-1500 at a push but he wants £3000 and as "t' internet" said it was worth £3000 who was I to disagree.

He eventually settles for a sum in excess of my target (which was a good result) and reluctantly closes his claim. His parting shot was to ask how much of a wedge I got out of it - "no doubt double the compensation" the cheeky tw>t even asked for a cut of profit costs.

That was it for me - id held back long enough and despite inviting a possible complaint I let rip and called him a whingeing money grabbing low paid, low grade plodder who never worked a minute past 5pm in his life. Shove it pal.

I never got the complaint

But the lesson is - dont assume dealing with friends is going to be an easy ride. A "client you can call a friend" could be a client made in hell. A client who knows your friends and colleagues or god forbid your family. Delivering bad news to these people just isnt easy to do and the one thing in the legal world you cant always avoid - is bad news.

Next time refer them on to a colleague and tell them your on a project or secondment. You dont need the heat - trust me.


Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Diaries of UK Law students

There are not many decent UK law blogs around at the moment. But heres one that looks the business and reads really well. Check out

On the subject of law blogs or Blawgs if you prefer - why arent there more of them in the UK? The vast majority are US based and whilst thats entirely predictable, I am quite surprised that we dont embrace the blogosphere more in our industry.
Europe thump US in Ryder Cup

Not really a golf fan but the Ryder Cup always stirs something in me. There have been so many close finishes over the years that it is essential vieiwing for any sports enthusiast. I am half irish and so had an even keener interest in this years event.

Would the irish cock things up on such a global stage? Well you did half wonder

In the end after some awful weather - the sun shone, the irish twinkled and Europe danced to victory winning 18 and a half to 9 and a half. A record equalling win.

Watching the closing ceremony just now it all looked fantastic.

Well done Ireland and well done Europe

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Settled a claim today involving an accident at work

The insurers insisted on messing around for months on liability raising daft questions about daft issues and refusing to concede primary liability.

In the end they did but by then costs had escalated considerably.

Net result - we ended up with three times the clients damages in legal costs. I dont say this with any glee - sure you are always happy to see money coming in and a healthy cheque is all the more pleasing. However you have to say that in many of these cases, insurers are tossing around on liability with low paid poorly trained claims handlers making frivolous defences almost to justify their existence.

Well here's some tips for insurers to help them save a few bob:

1) Train your staff - make sure they deal with claims they can handle. Some of your people arent fit to deal with a windscreen claim let alone PI

2) Dont hire muppets - theyre only any good when theyve got a hand up their arse.

3) Re-learn the Protocol - do you remember this - it was quite big 7 years ago when you all thought it was flavour of the month. Then you realised how much work it involved, you got backlogged and now the only bit you remember is the PART 36 rule. I received a part 36 on a special damage claim for an excess the other day. What the f*ck*!!

4) Only argue the toss when there is an argument to be had. If you know youre beat - hold your hands up sooner rather than later.

5) The longer a claim goes on the more it costs - thats your own mantra that the ABI reel out every time they are asked about the burgeoning compensation culture (dont get me started on that) so why the hell dont you remember it.

Dont delay - just pay (I like that one - might use it next time I part 36 on liability)

Now with that off my chest Im off to watch "Lost" so that I can forget how frustrating it is to have to deal with claim monkeys.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

The compensation Bill

More and more claims management companies(CMCs) are starting to look over their shoulder regarding this piece of legislation.

Our firm has been receiving calls from CMCs looking to jump on board as an "affiliate" using our name and regulatory protection. In principle this is probably a sensible idea but the difficulty is that any CMC who hasnt got their act together at this late stage is probably not one we wish to do business with.

In all honesty I think CMCs are given a hard time by the industry. They have taught us a hell of a lot in terms of how to market your business and promote legal services. Most law firms until recently have been stuck in the mindset of hiding behind their brass plate on the wall outside the office expecting the hoi poloi to simply walk in off the street.

Well in todays world - that just isnt enough. You have look elsewhere for niches, tap into mediums that previously you would have completely ignored.

On the one hand I welcome the Compensation Bill because it is well overdue and the demise of some of the lesser advanced and capable CMCs will not be something to grieve over. On the other hand these firms have taught us an awful lot about business promotion and we should (begrudgingly) have some gratitude for that.

Now bring on the Bill and lest nail the sonsabitches.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Wonderful Wonderful Wonderful www

My niche - in case you havent worked it out - is the ever controversial world of Personal Injury Law.

Its the one area of law that has really embraced the web in terms of adapting to it as a new medium and marketing platform. A few years ago most law firms had no concept of the power that the web can bring to a (savvy) business. It doesnt matter what field / business or niche you work in the web can make or break you and if you get it right - there are rich pickings.

In the PI world most firms have now had their lightbulb moment and switched on to the business volumes available on the net. There are websites galore offering all kinds of free advice and NO WIN NO FEE contracts.

My firm has long since dipped its toe into the fast flowing river of personal injury online custom - if any of you mugs out there havent done so you and your management team want a check up from the neck up (copyright Peter Jones Dragons Den)

Here's a few tips:

Get a website (believe it or not some firms dont have even a corporate touchy feely website)

Make it user friendly and make sure you have a staff IT guy who can upload changes and page content. Dont have a staff IT guy? Get one and preferably one who knows a little about the web.

Make your site content rich - ie lots and lots of info and plain speaking advice pages. A site can still look good with a little detail on it. DONT just do a fancy graphics based site. It will bomb

Get some links to the site - use all your legal contacts - links equal authority on the web (although this is now subject to much debate following the new google rules which devalue reciprocal links to a degree). Try your damndest to get some high quality links from heavy hitting legal directories and affiliates.

Make sure there is a good "contact" facility on the site - leave space for an enquiry form or a FREE helpline tel number.

Get traffic - you wont get any web visitors "naturally" for a while so instead PAY for your traffic. Learn about Google Adwords and Yahoo online ad products. Be prepared to spend at least £1000 a month to start with.

The PI business online is huge. But so are other areas of law (employment law being the most voluminous in my opinion)

If you are a senior partner in a firm with no website WAKE UP to the reality that you are out of touch and falling further and further behind the competition

If you are a budding assoc or low ranking partner - make a suggestion to your supervising partner in time for the next partners meeting.

You wont be the first to arrive at the party but better a late arrival than a non attendee

Just got this weeks email from

Is there ever anything for them to "reveal" other than stage managed press released merger and acquisition nonesense that I read each week.

These kind of issues dont mean diddly to your average hardworking lawman. We'd rather hear about sex, scandals (particularly those involving senior staff), drugs and rock and roll. Now we all know there's plenty of that going on, dont we chaps.
First let me give you a little background

I love Law
Law has been good to me providing a job for life and a decent salary from the very start of my career.
Law provides comfort and protection for each and everyone of us
Law deserves its place at the very heart of society
Law really is KING as far as I am concerned.

So why am I starting a blog with the intention of spilling the beans on the profession giving the world a view of the legal profession from the inside? What beans could there possibly be to spill and why do they need spilling?

The only answer I can give is pure mischief! This legal world of ours is far too fluffy and perfect. Everything has its place and never is a word said or written without careful consideration and checking by your common or garden senior partner.

Well nothing in life is perfect and lets be honest the Law in the UK certainly aint.

So rather than publish earnestly profound and extremely meaningful debate on the various challenges and issues facing the legal profession - I thought sod it, there's enough crap like that in the Gazette. Ive been around long enough to form my own opinion on life behind the legal (iron) curtain and its about time that there was a law blog out there that people actually found interesting to read and one that poked a stick in the eyes of convention.

All Ive got to do now is think of some controversial comments to fulfil my own hype.

Well here goes........................