Monday, December 21, 2009

Legal Spy Predictions for 2010

This being the time of year for reflection I thought I would set out my thoughts and predictions for 2010. In many ways it is going to be a BIG year for the industry and for the country.

MOJ Fast track RTA reforms will crash and burn
The insurers wont cope with the new regime, plain and simple. There will be a roll out of a revised version of the new process by the autumn

HIPs (Home Information Packs) will die a quick death once the Conservatives win their landslide victory
The system isnt working and every conveyancer / solicitors in the industry knows it. Now that the sales surge following the hibernation period during 2008 is over, the slump will return.

50% of legal work and instructions will begin online.
This year we are reliably informed that up to 38% of legal services readily available to the public were initiated online. This can only increase and long may it continue to do so. The web levels the playing field between the smaller firms and the big firms.

More jobs will go
Think we are out of the recession? If you work in law - think again. Many sectors are going to suffer in 2010. Not least in the RTA personal injury field as the MOJ reforms kick in and the pre-lit process becomes automated. Conveyancing will continue to stagnate. Divorce and Family Law may be the safest bet for an aspiring newcomer.

But here's some good news.....

The Conservatives will win the election
How the hell can they lose it?

England will get to the final of the world cup in the summer
What a fantastic summer it is going to be!

Ed Miliband will become the next leader of the Labour Party
Thats right, Ed not his Mekon like brother David. Ed went down a storm at the Recent Copenhagen Summit and God bless him for trying to save the world if nothing else.

Have a Great Christmas readers.
Its been a tough year but the worst may well be behind us.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The New Road Accident Claims Process 2010 - MOJ

Huge changes are on the way for lawyers who deal with road traffic accident (RTA) claims. From April 2010 the beloved MOJ are introducing a new claims process which will radically alter the way these claims are dealt with.

Check this baby out

A few key points from legal spy:

The new process is geared towards reducing time and costs.

If insurers can keep up with the timetables and get rid of claims during stage 1 (nice juicy pre med offers etc) they will save a packet

Claimant lawyers will do what they can to get a case bounced out of the process, make no mistake about that

Clever claimant law firms who can automate the process in house, de-skill and reduce the wage bill to save costs, will also make a packet

The days of claimant lawyers litigating to increase revenues are over

The days of defendant lawyers doing very well indeed on the back of the litigation process are also over (if you work in a def dept - start looking for a job now because by the time the run off happens in 2011-12 you will be stuffed)

What with this and Jackson round the corner, we are going to be faced with many challenges in the industry during the coming years.

Hold on to your hats PI lawyers, its going to be a rough ride!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Medical negligence claims

A pal of mine works in the grim world of clinical / medical negligence claims. He has asked me to plug his site which I unashamedly am more than happy to do.

I used to work in med claims many years ago and have disturbing memories about the cock ups and generally poor attitude of some of the professional people who work in the NHS.

The NHS is an extremely tough environment and I seriously admire anyone who commits to such a vocational life. The problems lie with the beaurocracy, the snobbishness and laziness of some of the consultants who are more than happy to golf on Fridays rather than do their job because they dont want to screw their weekend. But also in the fact that we in the UK expect everything for nothing.

We should contribute more to our healthcare system and I hope the next government will revisit their long buried plans to seek part paid medical services for those that can afford it. For now they are blustering about other things such as getting elected.

More here from the incoming prime minister:

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Showing your age in the you know you are getting old

Legal Spy is getting a little long in the tooth. Whilst I still feel sprightly and have no worries about reaching middle age, there are times when you wonder whether you are leaving the rest of the world behind.

Top 5 reasons why you can be made to feel OLD in the workplace in 2009:

1) Not Twittering
Dont get it - dont want to get it.

2) Facebook
See reason 1

3) Trainees look like teenagers
Theyre not - usually they are aged 23-25 but they just look like kids nowadays. They also use comments like "cool" when a simple yes would suffice

4) Daft questions
eg: Did you have colour Tvs when you were young?; Did they have driving tests in your day?; Did you need a degree to become a lawyer in the 60s? (bearing in mind I was born in 1966!)

5) Celebs and trendsetters Ive never heard of
Ive always liked a chinwag with my staff and as such like to keep abreast of all things "hip and trendy". But I am seriously losing my grip. I dont know who they are talking about half the time. For example, who the heck is Hannah Montana? Who is Lindsay Lohan and why is she such a bad girl? Then there's La Roux, Lily Allen and a whole list of other names / slebs of which I know nothing.

There is a lot to be said for growing old gracefully and perhaps thats exactly what I need to be doing. Bring back "Top of the Pops" thats what I say

Monday, March 09, 2009

The Sunday Times Top 100 Best Companies list - Would you believe 10% of the firms are law practices!

This really did surprise me. The ST list which is based primarily on in depth research contributed to by employees contains more than 10 legal practices or related companies.

Some big hitters are in there such as Pannones, Mills & Reeve and Freeth Cartwright. However there are quite a few firms notable by their absence. No DLA, Irwins, Beachcrofts, Eversheds, Clifford Chance [cough]

Such omissions will not go down very well at the top table of the top firms let me tell you! I can almost visualise the round robin email to senior partners conducting the inquest.

Monday, January 19, 2009

More people accessing legal services through the web

Our friends at the Gazette have published research that suggests more people are using the web to find solicitors, rather than traditional means.

Such people are known as "internet-empowered consumers of legal services" apparently.

Whilst this research has been compiled by a firm jumping on the "go compare" bandwagon, it does raise an interesting point.

10 years ago most clients didnt have a mobile phone or an email address, let alone internet access. Now I almost never come across anyone who doesnt have all three, irrespective of age / background / capabilities / intelligence etc.

The modern consumer really is a different animal and like it or not the legal industry must adapt to meet their needs.

Most large law firms and some smaller more cutting edge firms realise this: but there are many well established and very prominent firms who just dont get it.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Why dont solicitors write blogs?

Ive blogged about this years ago so forgive any obvious recycling but this is an anomaly that remarkably still prevails and furthermore raises an interesting point about the differences in mentality between solicitors and barristers.

At the our last partners meeting we discussed the merits of writing a blog for the practice.

Our reasons for doing so follow a fairly typical pattern. Senior partner stumbles across nice legal blog on the web - decides we really should have one - but how does one go about it, do we have the "skills" to do it and what if any, are the benefits?

Naturally Ive played dumb throughout this process so as not to draw too much attention to my long standing clandestine blog shame. But thinking about it - I mean seriously thinking about it - why are there so few blogs out there from actual law firms??

Around 80% of "blawgs" I read are written by barristers or wannabe's blogging like their life - or career - depended on it.

When you think about it, perhaps thats exactly it!

Our barristerial brethern are invariably self employed or have a contractual arrangement that is very reliant upon a need to create a reputation and deliver volumes of work. Barristers develop a hunter / gatherer mentality from an early age.

Whereas most solicitors are placed in a high chair and spoon fed the minute they walk through the door.

Perhaps we can learn a lot from this.

Some firms push for rainmakers rather than plodders. Perhaps blogging and the awareness of the benefits of blogging, could be a very good thing for aspiring solicitors to consider. Learn how to create, develop and maintain a blog and you will open doors for yourself.

Imagine turning up at an interview and throwing that into the ring. How many other candidates for the job would bring those skills to the table.

"Get a blog to get a job" - its the future Im telling ya!