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Showing posts from 2013

12 days of Christmas updated for modern times

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From Mashable 24/12/13:

It was all going so well until “1 creepy elf on a shelf”. What’s that all about?

Personal Injury Compensation Claims – be aware of the time limits or risk losing out

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Guest PostIn the UK, there is a general time limit of three years in which a personal injury claim for compensation must be made. If proceedings are not started in a court within this time frame, then the case becomes statute-barred and cannot be pursued. Usually, the three year timeline starts either from the date of the accident or from the date that the person becomes aware that the injury is linked to the original incident. This is referred to as ‘the date of knowledge’. This ‘date of knowledge’ can be extremely useful for cases that involve exposure to a toxic substance, such as asbestos which may not reveal itself until decades later. However, there are some variations about when the time limitation is set. For example, in fatal cases, the three year limitation begins from the date of death or from the date the death was linked to the original incident, be it an accident or exposure to a toxic substance. In addition, if a person dies part way through making a claim for compens…

How to Budget for a Court Case

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Guest PostOn the 1st of August 2013, High Court judge Master McCloud cut to the root of the issue regarding budgeting for civil litigation with these words. “Budgeting is something which all solicitors by now ought to know is intended to be integral to the process from the start, and it ought not to be especially onerous to prepare a final budget for a CMC (Case Management Conference) even at relatively short notice if proper planning has been done. The court must now, as part of dealing with cases justly, ensure that cases are dealt with at proportionate cost and so as to ensure compliance with rules, orders and practice direction. The stricter approach under the Jackson reforms have been central to this judgment.”Following the new funding rules implemented by Lord Justice Jackson on the 1st of April 2013, civil procedures follow new guidelines and requirements regarding funding. These new guidelines and procedures essentially state that: 1. Each party involved in civil litigation…

Goodwill to all: charity volunteer assaulted over Christmas greeting

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From Las Vegas CBS Central 17/12/13: A Salvation Army bell ringer claims she was assaulted by a woman for saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” outside of a Walmart. Kristina Vindiola was ringing a bell outside of a Phoenix-area Walmart when she said “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” to a woman. “The lady looked at me,” Vindiola explained to KNXV. “I thought she was going to put money in the kettle. She came up to me and said, ‘Do you believe in God?’ And she says, ‘You’re supposed to say Merry Christmas,’ and that’s when she hit me.” What the woman did next caught Vindiola by surprise. She told KNXV that the woman hit her in the arm and proceeded to go inside the store to shop. Vindiola told a manager who called the police. The surveillance video didn’t have enough evidence for Phoenix police to arrest the woman accused in the assault. However, Vindiola said she plans to take legal action.As a non-American, I’ve always found the expression ‘Happy Holid…

Festive Makeovers and Choosing Christmas Trees

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Law Actually has been given its annual festive makeover today. I made a conscious decision to try and keep the design at the minimalist end of the spectrum, steering well clear of my usual tendency to use a hotchpotch of ill-suited colours and elements.Quite where it ranks in the all-time list of Law Actually headers is anyone’s guess but it’ll do.The house decorations are proving more of a headache. Rather unwisely, we decided to head out to B&Q* yesterday evening to pick up our Christmas tree. It was dark, blowing a gale and bucketing it down – hardly conducive to picking the perfect tree.In all the circumstances, I thought we’d done a pretty good job of selecting a nice looking and well-proportioned specimen. Having successfully manhandled it in and out of the car, we duly plonked the tree in the shed overnight (without a bucket of water I might add – it, like us, was wet enough already). Anyhow, I had quite a shock this afternoon when I took it out of the shed to erect the fin…

Victim of tragic paddling pool horseplay stunt has claim dismissed

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From the Huffington Post 06/12/13:A student who was left tetraplegic after horseplay in a paddling pool has lost his damages claim against one of the UK's leading drama schools, which he said was to blame for the accident.Andrew Risk had reached the last day of his second year of a scenic arts degree at Rose Bruford College in Sidcup, south east London, when he took a long run at a large paddling pool filled with water to a depth of about two-and-a-half feet and dived in, hitting his head on the ground.Mr Risk, 25, […] suffered immediate loss of sensation, was unable to move, and had to be supported by fellow students to enable him to breathe until he could be taken to hospital.Now in a wheelchair and needing 24-hour care, he claimed his injury in June 2009 was caused by a breach of duty of care or negligence on the part of the college, which denied liability.Today, Mr Justice Jay said that Mr Risk had not succeeded and, even if he had, he would have found him 75% to blame for the…

High Court Judge Blasted After Comments on Marriage

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From the London Evening Standard 09/12/13:A high Court judge who said people wanting children should get married had his comments dismissed today as “patronising irrelevance”.Labour MP Graham Stringer said the comments by Sir Paul Coleridge were not helpful for young people thinking about how to plan their lives.His attack came after Sir Paul said people had “no right to have children” but only “responsibilities”. The truth hurts, but it doesn’t do to shy away from it.Mr Stringer said people should not automatically equate marriage with stability and added: “Telling young people whether they should marry or not doesn’t help — it’s patronising irrelevance.”Granted, marriage isn’t a panacea, but the statistics speak for themselves. And whilst children can be successfully brought up in family units of all shapes and sizes, I think there’s still a lot to be said for the conventional structure.But regardless of your views on marriage or how best to bring up children, anything which gets po…

‘Spike Away’ vest turns commuters into hazardous porcupines

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From the Huffington Post 04/12/13:Sick of your face being shmooshed into someone's armpit? Your head being used as a book rest? Feeling violated before you've even got into work?Err, yes, yes and yes.  On a daily basis.Cramped commuters of the world rejoice, a young designer has come up with the perfect solution.Siew Ming Cheng has evidently had enough of rush hour on the Singapore subway.Those space-invading commuters have brushed up against, knocked and pushed her one too many times, and now the young creative is declaring war on space snatchers with special body armour: the Spike Away vest.Explaining her idea she said: "A quick brainstorming leads to a everyday situation. Trains are usually crowded during peak hours. Everybody will push each other to try and get onto the train."How can I protect my personal space? The idea was then conceived. 'What if I wear a vest that is full of spikes?'"Yikes. That really could have someone’s eye out!  Just look at…

Why law schools should teach humility

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Because otherwise they might churn out graduates capable off this type of nauseating display of pomposity. I’m assuming it’s a law student in private accommodation. Please don’t tell me it’s a trainee solicitor!The full, painful text is as follows:Dear Neighbours,My name is [blank] and I live in Flat [blank] on the [blank] floor of [blank]. As Saturday is St Andrew’s Day, I will be throwing a small party at my place to celebrate the day with friends. My guests are expected to arrive soon after 20:00 and leave before midnight. I will do my best to keep the noise levels down, but, as accommodating to everyone’s idea of what noise levels should be during a party is not always possible, I apologise in advance for any disruption that may be caused.If any problem arises during that time (or if you think I should be kicked out of the block straight away), please do not hesitate to:(a) Contact me directly on [blank] as I will do my best to solve it immediately.(b) (i) As people expected to tu…

PCSO takes a tumble and sues

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From the Metro 29/11/13: A police community support officer (PCSO) is suing the owner of a derelict school building after she tripped and injured her knee while responding to a report of a break-in. Pauline Harrison, 53, […] sent a letter to landowner Lightflask Ltd alleging that the firm failed to display warning signs outside the property […]. She says she suffered ‘soft tissue damage’ to her right knee when she fell over the 3ft high wooden fence in 2009 and is also claiming for a £14 prescription and £102 physiotherapy charge.That’s not a prescription for spectacles, right? Just kidding. But perhaps the biggest question in all this is exactly how a person is able to fall over a 3 foot high fence in the first place. That’s quite an achievement. Merseyside Police said they did not approve of the claim but that it was a private matter for the individual. A spokesman for Lightflask Ltd has warned that this could set a dangerous precedent. ‘I don’t think people expect to be sued by som…

Stupid article headline of the week goes to…

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the Guardian.
I understand the need for the media to come up with provocative, inflammatory headlines to drive readership, but when it crosses over into stupidity, it rankles a bit. Yes, there are key human rights issues involved in deciding whether or not to let people smoke on hospital premises.  Yes, there might even be some limited merit to the argument that the short-term benefits of an occasional fag in stressful situations might somewhat mitigate the long term adverse effects. But let’s not kid ourselves: the consequences to smokers’ health and, more perhaps more importantly, the very real harm caused by passive smoking (yes – even outside), far outweigh those considerations. Sometimes people need more stick than carrot when it comes to helping themselves. I think this is one of those occasions.

People Love a Bargain - Black Friday Attacks

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From the Independent 29/11/13: Black Friday, the American holiday dedicated to discount shopping, seems to have been successfully imported into the UK, bringing with it both crowds and chaos. […] Asda seems to have been particularly affected by the frenzy, with multiple reports of hospitalizations and injuries from Asda stores across the UK. In an Asda store in west Belfast there were claims that heavily pregnant woman had been pushed and shoved and pensioners had been knocked to the ground [with one reportedly sustaining a broken arm in the process]. "It was just a free-for-all. It was frightening," said one woman who witnessed the scenes at the Westwood Centre. "People were getting trailed to the ground. [Getting what to the ground?] People were arguing with people. [At least they weren’t trying to argue with inanimate objects then!] Two of my friends were injured." The woman claimed her friend was kicked in the stomach by a shopper trying to take a TV from …

Open plan offices were devised by Satan after all

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From the Guardian (Oliver Burkeman’s Blog) 18/11/13:In case you still needed persuading that open-plan offices were devised by Satan himself in one of the deepest caverns of hell, the Harvard Business Review delves into new research showing just how frustrating people find them – and just how paltry, on the other side of the scale, are the benefits they bring. [The most bothersome aspect of open plan offices appears to be] a “lack of sound privacy” – hearing other people’s conversations, and perhaps equally crucially, knowing that other people can hear yours.We already know that open-plan offices have been associated with less persistence at challenging tasks, lower motivation, higher stress and blood pressure, and more. But Kim and Dear’s work, published in the December 2013 issue of the Journal of Environmental Psychology, puts paid to any suggestion that the benefits of easy communication between workers – effortless exchange of information, useful chance conversations sparking new…

UK Drink Driving Law: Is Enough Done To Curb Deaths?

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Guest PostWith the Christmas period quickly approaching, police forces all over the country step up their efforts to fight drink driving over concerns that too much enjoyment of the festive period (and all it brings) will inevitably lead to a rise in the crime. They’re not wrong to be concerned either – according to the Department for Transport, while deaths caused by drink driving have had a trend of steady decline in the last thirty years, last year’s statistics showed a rise of almost 30%. It comes as no surprise, then, that there have been consistent calls this past year for tougher laws and regulations against a variety of driving offences – whether it’s drug/drink driving, or just using a mobile phone. There are plans to introduce stricter ‘drug driving’ laws next year (with harsher sentencing), Scotland plans to cut their limit by almost 50%and a victim’s sister has handed a petition to Downing Street calling for an immediate ban for those arrested on suspicion of drink driving…

The Most Common Causes of Car Accidents

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Guest PostDriving is a dangerous activity as not only does it have the potential to affect your safety, but it can also affect the passengers in your car, other drivers and their passengers, and any pedestrians. There are many causes for car accidents, but there are three main ones that are extremely worrying as they all come back to driver behaviour. Driving whilst distracted, driving at high speeds and driving whilst tired are the main perpetrators. With a few adjustments, the chance of being involved in a car accident can be drastically reduced. Driving Whilst Distracted
Driving whilst distracted can be extremely dangerous as it means you do not know what is going on around you. If a child runs in front of the road, you may not have been paying attention to notice them in time or, if you did, you may have slammed on the brakes or swerved and not noticed the car behind you or the cyclist on the other side of the road. Being aware of what is going on around you at all times is importa…

How Litigation Funding Aids The UK's Legal System

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Sponsored PostAs the legal profession and wider society continues to adapt to the Jackson Reforms, this infographic from Vannin Capital highlights the important role that third party litigation funding plays in the civil justice system. How Litigation Funding Aids The UK's Legal System - An infographic by the team at Vannin Capital

Co-op legal scales back training contract targets

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From Roll on Friday 18/10/13: Co-operative Legal Services has admitted that it will be unable to reach its target of providing 100 training contracts a year.Yikes. That’s a lot of training contracts (suddenly not happening). CLS, which is the legal branch of the Co-operative, announced only last year that it planned to take on more trainees than any Magic Circle firm: 100 a year within just five years. But students who signed up for expensive law courses thinking that this heralded an upturn in the grad rec market should have saved their money. Whoa. Hang on a second. Since when did the average law student become the proverbial moron in a hurry (actually, don’t answer that!)? Any law student (current or prospective) should have their eyes wide open when considering their career and they shouldn’t be mollycoddled or forgiven for naiveté if they plan on a career in law thinking it’s still the gravy-train it once was. Let’s face it: there’s plenty of doom-mongering and tales of unemploym…

A Judge, a penis pump and an unfortunately-placed banner ad

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From Roll on Friday 25/10/13:A judge who was jailed for using a penis pump in court has had his pension stopped.American County Court judge Donald D. Thompson was convicted of indecent exposure in 2006 after being caught using the device under his robes while presiding on the bench. He served 20 months in an Oklahoma prison - hardly a walk in the park for anyone, but presumably particularly grim for a judge with an enhanced penis.Ahem.Rather than make any wisecracks at this story (believe me, it was quite tough to refrain from doing so), I’ll simply post a screenshot that I took when I first saw the story.You really can’t make this stuff up.It looks like the well-endowed LexisNexis has lucked-in on some unexpected extra publicity.I guess some legal publishers fall on their feet and others just don’t.

Tubby Trick-or-Treaters Refused Treats on Weight Grounds

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From Think Progress.org 30/10/13: In North Dakota, one woman is taking the issue of childhood obesity into her own hands. If any of the trick-or-treaters that knock on her door this Halloween are “moderately obese” — at least according to her own standards — she plans to give them a letter explaining why they shouldn’t be eating candy.In an interview with local radio station […] the woman explained that she’s just trying to help encourage healthier habits. “I just want to send a message to the parents of kids that are really overweight… I think it’s just really irresponsible of parents to send them out looking for free candy just ’cause all the other kids are doing it,” she said.How about simply giving kids healthy treats, such as fruit or a nut/seed/fruit mix?  That seems a far better option than singling the tubbier trick-or-treaters out for ridicule.  Discrimination is hardly going to help someone come to terms with any weight issues they might be experiencing.  And let’s remember…

HSE uses intervention powers to inspect workplace cooling towers

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Sponsored PostIn recognition of the risk of Legionnaires’ disease associated with workplace cooling systems, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) plans to inspect around 5000 sites with such systems over the next 6 months.A cooling system may consist of a cooling tower, evaporative condenser or other cooling element, together with the associated pipe work, heat exchanger, pumps, supply tanks and pre-treatment equipment.Legionellosis is the collective name given to the pneumonia-like illness caused by legionella bacteria. This includes the most serious Legionnaires’ disease, as well as the less serious Pontiac fever and Lochgoilhead fever. Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia and everyone is susceptible to infection. However, people over 45 years of age, smokers, heavy drinkers, those suffering from chronic respiratory or kidney disease and anyone with an impaired immune system are at the greatest risk.The bacterium Legionella pneumophila and related bacteria…

Buttock-shuffle claimant gotcha’d via covert surveillance

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From the London Evening Standard 24/10/13: A grandmother who claimed she could only shuffle down stairs on her buttocks managed to trick a hospital consultant as part of a “fraudulent” bid to claim more than £750,000 in compensation, the High Court heard.Yowsa! Barbara Fari, a mother of 13 who is in her sixties, sued Homes for Haringey on the grounds her life had been “drastically altered” after she tripped on a paving stone in Hornsey in May 2008 and hurt her knee.You’ve got to watch out for those paving stones (particularly the uneven ones)! Of course, it will help your claim considerably if you actually trip over the ruddy thing and injure yourself as a result. The council-run organisation initially admitted liability and offered to settle. But it changed its mind after Mrs Fari said she needed round-the- clock care because she could no longer walk unaided and could only climb stairs by shuffling up and down on her buttocks and lodged a claim for more than £750,000. That claim …

Jimmy Savile Zombie pulled from Amazon

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From Breaking News.ie 21/10/2013: Yes, that's right - online retail giant Amazon have been forced to withdraw a Jimmy Savile Zombie Halloween costume from sale after a flurry of complaints. […] Jimmy Savile, the late UK TV presenter alleged to have sexually abused hundreds of young girls in the 1970s and 80s. The costume, which had been available on Amazon for £14.99, included a metallic blue shell suit, pink glasses, medallion, fake cigar, platinum wig, face paint and a bottle of blood. It was described on the site as "perfect for bad taste parties, dead celebrities and Halloween". However the outfit was heavily criticised by children's charities and is now listed as 'currently unavailable'.After all of the revelations of 2012, I think it would take a ‘special’ kind of person to wear a Jimmy Savile outfit – irrespective of the occasion. In fact, anybody who ever felt the need to dress up as him was probably making some kind of cry for help. While I gue…

LLB students – ignore your first year at your peril

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Sponsored PostThe early stages of your university career can often seem unimportant at the time, but the content covered in the early months can be just as important as that dealt with in years two and three. While it won’t count towards your degree classification directly, that early ground can be vital in giving you a good grasp of broader legal principles which can help make studying law that much more manageable. And what’s more, those early lessons have a habit of proving unexpectedly useful (yes, even in practice), and usually it’s when you least expect it.For the majority of law students, the first few weeks at university are spent in an alcohol-fuelled haze as they explore their newly-found sense of independence having finally flown the family nest. As freshers’ week gives way to lectures, seminars and the onset of academic work, the majority of first year students keep having a good time firmly at the top of their list of priorities.While any student’s university experience s…

Nope, it’s not coffee: students’ laundry defaced by ‘poopetrator’

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From the Huffington Post 03/10/13: Yale University students are being terrorized by what some students are referring to as a "poopetrator." The university is tightening security in the residence halls in response to someone defecating in the laundry room of an on campus residence, the New Haven Register reports (emphasis added).Holy cow! You don’t see that on the Ariel ad, do you? I guess if the blonde had been studying at Yale, she’d be asking mummy to send down an extra box of detergent. Ahem. What is that? Coffee, right? Wrong. Very wrong!The Yale Daily News writes that "it took the physical delivery of the excrement to the Saybrook Master's Office to catch administrators' attention." At least four such incidents have occurred in the laundry room of the Saybrook College. [Saybrook College advised] students not to leave their laundry unattended, [and explained] the affected machines have been thoroughly disinfected, and [the college were] actively seek…

Blogging in a barren landscape

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No comments are the ‘new normal’.The diversity of social media options now available means that people don’t have the attention span, time or energy to typically comment on blogs.As the habits of internet users have changed, the modern blogger has had to adjust to the changing landscape and not get too downbeat at the tumbleweed blowing past.I remember in the early days of blogging, over on my F1 blog, I was able to garner a few commenting readers quite quickly.At Law Actually, I’d been blogging about 6 months when a friendly reader called Law Minx introduced herself via the comments feed. As 2008 dawned, the law student/graduate blawgosphere quickly established itself and the rest, as they say, is history. Looking back, I can honestly say that I was privileged to have experienced and been involved with that community.Speaking of history, that’s exactly what that rich, vibrant community of bloggers is now. For a whole host of reasons, the blawgosphere has slowly receded to the point o…

Is Placing Defibrillators In Public Places Legally Right?

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Guest PostEvery year, around 270,000 people suffer a heart attack in the UK, many of these sudden and unprovoked. Being able to act quickly, safely and most importantly, effectively, can quite literally be the difference between life and death.Keeping calm and collected is key to not becoming overwhelmed, and with sufficient training, first aiders are taught how to keep calm under pressure and follow the required procedures. In the business world, detailed and well-rehearsed strategies are put in place to ensure that should the event of a sudden cardiac arrest, a trained first aider has the equipment and know-how to act accordingly.How Would You Act?
However, whilst it’s all well and good distributing defibrillators in commercial institutes, can you really do the same in public places? In any business there will be an individual or team of first aiders who are trained in defibrillator application, but can you really expect a member of the public to carry out such a task?In Februar…

New Personal Injury Law may drive up quality of care

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Guest PostEarlier this year there was a drastic change in the law concerning personal injury claims. The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) was introduced in April 2013 and now represents a profound change in aspects of Legal Aid.. There are winners and losers with this new act but the reason it had to be done has a sound basis. It was basically to combat the many fraudulent claims being made in ‘crash for cash’ illegal groups who arrange ‘accidents’ just to claim and also the surprising amount of legal companies who were making money from this.Before the New Act:
Previously a personal injury claim was done on a ‘No Win No Fee’ basis and nobody could fail to notice the intense media advertisement of the companies handling these claims. If you were injured you would actually receive the full amount of compensation due with no personal cost at all. The solicitor handling your claim would rake back any costs involved, e.g. medical reports and expenses, fees…

Pre-Approved Free Speech

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Guest PostIt seems that around the United States, 1 out of every 6 major colleges have designated areas where students are "allowed" their Constitutional right for free speech. In these colleges, exercising your right to free speech requires a permission slip at least a couple of days in advance, as well as having the administration approve the contents of a student's speech.A prime example of this hilarity recently took place at a California Junior College. As UCLA LAW Professor Stephen Bainbridge reported, “a student found his exercise of free speech shut down" on none other than Constitution day, quite possibly the worst and/or most ironic day of the year for a college to make such a bold restriction.

Law graduates lose out in the early salary stakes

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Sponsored PostDespite having a reputation for rewarding its professionals with high salaries, new research suggests that law may not be the most lucrative subject to study – at least in the early years following graduation. New research from the Higher Education Statistics Agency revealed that law graduates typically earn less than the average salary of their peers.Indeed, even those graduating with degrees in social studies (long regarded – unfairly or otherwise – as being less demanding subjects compared with many traditional subjects) earn more than their counterparts who opted to study law. This is unlikely to be welcome news to current law students studying in London or elsewhere.Figures from the class of 2008/09 show that law graduates earned an average of £26,000 in November 2012, £1,500 less than the overall average of that year’s graduates. Social studies graduates earned an average of £3,000 more than their peers who studied law.[1]On the flip side, however, law has one of t…

Even lawyers need a break from the day job

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According to the ABA Technology Survey (which the Lawyerist blogged about here) only 41% of lawyers claim to read the terms of service for cloud computing services. Note the words “claim to”. I think the percentage of lawyers who actually read the terms they claim to read is more likely to be 4.1%!  In my experience, lawyers are the least likely to read contract terms when purchasing things online for themselves. And that applies to practising lawyers right through to those in academia! After all, there’s only so much of that stuff that anyone can stomach. Everyone needs a break from the day-job. Put it another way: how many restaurant chefs do you think go home and cook for themselves at the end of a tough night’s service?

Working with Legal Interpreters: 6 Things Every Lawyer Needs to Know

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Legal interpreters are crucial within the legal field. They work with lawyers in helping them communicate with clients as well as represent parties in court, tribunals and the like. Without interpreters, one could argue, there would be no justice whenever a language barrier exists. Working with interpreters, to get the best out of their expertise, is something every lawyer should know, no matter their status or position. This guide offer 6 points every lawyer needs to know about legal interpreters. 1.  Set ground rules
Legal interpreters work in a highly pressurized environment; so planning is key to effective communication. Before you begin working with an interpreter, it is useful to agree some ground rules. For example, you may want to agree in advance where the interpreter will sit, how parties will be introduced, when the interpreter should translate and how sensitive subjects should be approached. It’s always useful to provide a written confirmation of the rules you require adhe…