Friday, October 27, 2006

10 legal likes and dislikes

Ok its injury claim oriented but there again I am an injury lawyer - what did you expect!

I hate>>

1) Dithering partners
Shall we take this case on? Shall we sue now or give the other side more time? I dont want to worry you but have you considered the worst case scenario here? Confidence right when you need it most

2) Dithering clients
"I might take the offer but would like to think about it a while". "I need to ask mummy whether this sum is agreeable". "Is that all Im getting?"

3) Dithering medical experts
There are plenty out there - most experts are so keen to stay middle of the road that they fail to execute even the most basic of prognoses. Ive seen a huge rise in the usage of the term "aggravation of pre existing degenerative changes" or similar wording - in other words its possibly a permanent injury but the expert doesnt have the balls to say so.

4) Insurer claim monkeys and costs "draftsmen"
Ive mentioned these muppets before. Basically this relates to your average low paid, overworked insurer claims / costs personnel who are poorly trained, inarticulate and aged about 18. Try talking aggravation of degenerative changes with them and see how far you get! In the old days you would have some tussles with real hard nosed negotiators - its makes me almost nostaligic.

5) Defendant Solicitors.
They are on easy street. They have no one but the supervising partner to worry about and a client / principal with massively deep pockets. Lodge silly money - or if you fancy a scrap - dig in for a while and then lodge silly money. Its like civil lit for pussies.

I love>>

1) Being a claimant lawyer.
Your a tiger. The predator. You dictate the pace (most of the time), you lead rather than follow. You can plan tactics to get say a result on liability and you can prepare you can aim for the stars on quantum in the knowledge that (most) clients are happy with whatever you get them so long as they dont have to pay you any fees.

I also think that the claimant side of the fence attracts the more able people in the profession. Its tough to do well and to do well you have got to be tough.

2) The rewards
There is no way on earth that a defendant lawyer will earn more than a good claimant lawyer. Unless you reach the dizzy heights of partnership in a def firm you are in shit street pay wise most of the time (this assumes you are not a big city guy or gal who knows their onions - im generalising here for effect)

Taking home a % of your winnings is damn near perfect as an incentive. You dont get that on defendant street

3) The Clients
To be honest I like most of the people I come across. This sounds pathetic but having a nice deep authoratitive voice tends to help persuade and coerce where necessary. Dont get me wrong - Im not saying that I sound like Ian Mc Shane but perception is everything and rarely will a client disagree with me or argue against my advice. Its easy to build healthy relations when your client is passive

4) The security
There will always be a never ending supply of claims. As long as your firm can get the business (and here it is up to you to judge their effectiveness OR get off your ass and get your own work in) you will have a job for life. Good lawyers will always find work.

5) Insurer claims monkeys & costs "Draftsmen"
Theyre so bad they make great results easy to acheive more often than not. Though it can be massively frustrating dealing with them, in a perverse way they actually help you reach your targets.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Web Rage???!!!
Story doing the rounds today :

"POLICE warned internet users to protect their real identities after a man was convicted yesterday of Britain’s first “web rage” attack.
Paul Gibbons, 47, of Bermondsey, southeast London, attacked John Jones with a pickaxe handle and knife, slitting his throat, after tracing Mr Jones to his house after an argument in an online chat room.
",,20411-2409469.html (The Times)

Here we go with the latest bandwagon - some poor guy gets nailed by a fellow blogger or chatroom "pal" after they had a disagreement online. Can you believe the daft sod put his address online?

Makes you wonder whether there will be legal moves to outlaw dangerous activity on the web. I can see it now, Charlie Falconer bringing in "The Dangerous Blog Act"

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The legal perils of running a junior football team

I coach a junior soccer team and recently was asked about the benefits of setting up an accident book to cover any injuries suffered during games by our young players.

The idea was that the club could record the events and treatment provided in order to protect them if anything went wrong and a parent of an injured child became a litigation friend.

At first I thought it was a good idea but then I thought hang on - what would I do professionally with an accident book of this kind. There is no obligation to keep one but in the knowledge that there might in fact be such a book what damage could this cause? Well here's a few things that crossed my mind:

- You are creating a record that isnt legally required and yet might do untold damage if a claim is ever submitted.
- You would have to retain the record for up to 15 years or until the child reached 21 (Some kids start playing at the age of 6)

- You could potentially reveal flawed procedures or problem areas not dealt with properly by coaches or first aiders

- You might reveal a pattern of poor practice or negligence (past performance can be a feature of accident records which fall in favour of the claimant)

- What are the benefits of keeping such a book? Arse protection? If so the opposite effect might be the reality

You can probably guess that my opinion was negative when discussing this at the club committee. I sounded cynical and overly cautious but I actually meant well and said what I felt needed to be said.

They went with the idea anyway because of the fact that it looks good on the website and in club literature. Its a touchy feely kind of idea that goes down well with liberals

Lets hope the club doesnt live to regret it

Monday, October 09, 2006

Professional negligence

I have the task of setting up the prof neg unit in our firm. God awful job

I am old enough and wise enough to know that this really is the shitty end of the market as far as the legal world is concerned. Raking over the coals looking to slaughter your erstwhile bretheren for a mistake that may possibly have been one you might make yourself. No one is infallible - definitely not in this game.

You do get the odd case though where you simply stare in disbelief at the client whilst they relay the miserable story to you.

I had one like that today. Client had an employment matter and was quoted £2500 to take a case to a tribunal (low by anyones standards) only for this to increase to £15000 on the day before the hearing. The solicitor tried to shaft the client at the eleventh hour and guess what - no client care letter "estimating" costs.


I'll happily rake over these coals because the bastards deserve it