Monday, 31 March 2008
There are two ideas. Just cut to two months or make it 6 weeks extensible to three. The latter is closer to my idea but what do other people think? A representative of a very non-solo firm told me she was against because their watch service did not always get them the watch notices on time. I was a bit surprised about that for UK marks. I'd change my watch service.
Sunday, 30 March 2008
Friday, 28 March 2008
"Solicitor Sole Practitioners is one of eight Law Society recognised groups which represent particular sectors of the profession. The others are the Young Solicitors Group, Association of Women Solicitors, Commerce and Industry Group, the Local Government Group, Group for Solicitors with Disabilities, the Black Solicitors Network and the Trainee Solicitors Group".While I'm sure that the SPG is totally worthy in all respects, this defining statement makes it sound as though being a sole practitioner, a legal spinster as it were, is a sort of handicap that really brave people can overcome by attending the Law Society's analogue of a singles club.
A good thing about the SOLO IP group is that it is much more driven by a positive commitment to the subject-matter than by a negative support-group mentality. We also have the advantage that we span different professions -- solicitors, barristers, patent attorneys, trade mark attorneys, independent consultants -- and therefore encompass a wider range of skills, interests and training requirements than a group that is as homogeneous as the SPG.
Friday, 21 March 2008
I, too, share my co-bloggers respect for Richard Susskind and I trust he will be earning lots of money from Lyceum Capital promoting the gospel of commoditisation. It was announced that he had been appointed a consultant to them to advise them on how to invest in law firms on March 9. It's a fair bet he won't be investing in any solos but I don't think Azright is going to remain solo for a very long judging by the scope of its recently advertised trademark application .
The opportunity that this approach creates for solo experts is that we can focus on solutions and bring to bear the full weight of our experience and knowledge. The UK IPO already offers a pretty good commodity trademark application product but clients also need insight into how to manage their branding protection and conduct any disputes. These are not issues you can automate - so wise heads will always be in demand.
Thursday, 20 March 2008
Naturally I am always interested to read other books by Richard Susskind, and will be buying 'The End of Lawyers?' when it is published later this year. I have read the series of 6 articles he has written about the book for Times Online here In these he develops his theme of standardisation and commoditisation, and expresses the view that what lawyers currently do can be undertaken more quickly, more conveniently and less expensively, and in a less forbidding way, by systems than by conventional work. He mentions document assembly, personalised alerting, online dispute resolution, and open-sourcing as examples of “disruptive legal technologies” in that they do not support or complement current legal practices, but challenge and replace them.
Another theme he picks up is that of the Legal Services Act provisions which will allow non-lawyers to invest in law firms. Such investors are not going to be committed to the ways of the past. They are likely to be introducing call centres, outsourcing to India, online legal services, the automatic generation of documents, and more. The delivery of legal services will be a very different business when financed and managed by these non-lawyers. It is improbable that investors would choose to put cash into the traditional business model of most law firms – hourly billing, expensive premises, pyramidic organisational structures, and the rest.
His conclusion is that the market is increasingly unlikely to tolerate expensive lawyers for tasks (guiding, advising, drafting, researching, problem-solving and more) that can equally or better be discharged, directly or indirectly, by smart systems and processes. It follows that the jobs of many traditional lawyers will be substantially eroded and often eliminated. At the same time, he foresees new law jobs emerging which may be highly rewarding, even if very different from those of today. Any views on these thoughts anyone?
Wednesday, 19 March 2008
It was just the insight I needed to understand a threatening letter I was dealing with for a client. I knew the writer was a trained mediator and the letter positively dripped with mediation cliches, but the legal basis for the claim was dubious and poorly articulated. I realised that mediation organisations were amongst the first to offer training to patent and trademark attorneys and these opportunities were taken up to fill the gap in the patent attorneys' formation for legal and litigation skills.
"Set Aside Your Legal Skills to Become an Effective Mediator
A recent article by Sir Henry Brooke, dealing with his new career as a mediator set me thinking about the different skill sets that mediators and lawyers need to do their jobs effectively.
Sir Henry Brooke is a retired Judge and became a Lord Justice of Appeal in 1996 and Vice-President of the Civil Division of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales in 2003. In the article he wrote about his personal perceptions and experiences:
"The advocate’s skills are to conquer the details of a dispute, to give clients high quality dispassionate advice about the pros and cons of pre-trial settlement offers, and if settlement fails, to place their case clearly and persuasively before the court or tribunal, whether in written or oral submissions.
The skills of a judge, on the other hand, are to conquer the details of a dispute, to read or listen attentively to the arguments on both sides, and then to deliver a judgment, whether orally or in writing, which shows that one understands what the dispute is about and is giving clear reasons for preferring one side’s case rather than the other.
A mediator’s skills are different. Of course he or she also must conquer the details of a dispute in order to secure the trust of both parties. But there the similarities end."
Sir Henry Brooke raises an important point. It’s not a natural switch for someone trained in the law, as a judge or a lawyer, to adopt the completely new stance of a mediator."
I question whether mediation training is an effective substitute for litigation training. A fully trained litigator may benefit from mediation training. Certainly most major law firm litigators advertise the mediation qualifications of their members but I wonder how many of them use these skills in the initial assertive stages of litigation. Fortunately the legal training organisations are now making formal training in litigation skills more widely available.
Thursday, 13 March 2008
The SOLO IP team would like to provide a little more content, however. To this end, we are asking if any of our regular readers would like to join us in writing and posting items and articles on this weblog. If this appeals to you, email Filemot and/or Shireen and tell them why -- and you could find yourself blogging within a fairly short time.
Monday, 10 March 2008
Sunday, 9 March 2008
Thursday, 6 March 2008
It suggests that his motives may have been similar to ours in seeking out support and co-operation from his equals. Barristers are of course the very epitome of SOLO independent IP practitioners and quite a number have expressed interest in the organisation. They are extremely welcome to contribute.
Does co-operation work best, I wondered when the parties are of equal standing.
Unfortunately the CIPA Journal does not publish its content online so if you follow the link, you will get the Times obituary not Simon Thorley's.