Sunday 29 June 2008
Thursday 26 June 2008
This looks like a good topic for discussion, since there would seem to be plenty of ways in which this package of goodies can be deployed -- and plenty of opportunities for lawyers on the other side to exploit their adversaries' strength. Thoughts, anyone?
"a cutting edge approach to funding civil litigation which reduces the cost of disputes and provides clients with more financial control and certainty during disputes than ever before". The cutting edge turns out to be conditional fee agreements, after-the-event insurance and third party funding (or a combination of all three), thus enabling their clients to be placed fully in control of the amount of risk they take. The firm adds: "We can reduce the day-to-day cost of running disputes; we can reduce (or eliminate entirely) the amount of our client's costs and expenses (including opponents' costs) if the client loses, and we can give our clients financial certainty in an inherently uncertain area.
Right: The Joys of Google Image -- search for "control freak" and on the first page of results you end up with Keira Knightly
The litigation landscape is changing dramatically ..., especially for clients who might have had a good case in the past, but ruled out making a claim because of uncertainty and potentially high costs. Our approach is very different to the standard approach by other law firms and represents a great value proposition for clients. By standing shoulder to shoulder with them, backing our judgement and sharing the risk we're demonstrating more commitment to clients than ever before".
Sunday 22 June 2008
Friday 13 June 2008
Sunday 8 June 2008
Several times recently I have been told by a prospective SOLO that their quote for professional indemnity insurance premiums was lower than they expected. Given an attractive quote based on an anticipated turnover, the temptation is to take it and not ask questions about the method of calculation. After all we must be able to trust the insurance world to play fair. Newvertheless it is wise to ask how the premium is computed before you get on the escalator. One way they do it is to apply a rate to the average fee income over the preceding N years. This is great in year 1 as there is no income but then comes year 2 and the premium rises and so on until you have completed N years.
Now for a policy that pays on a claims-made basis -which means if the claim is made during the policy year, you are covered even if it was for work done last year or the year before - this is quite sensible when you think about it. When you first open the doors chances are you won't receive a claim in that first year at all but the risk increases the longer you have been in practice and so does the premium which can be a surprise and an embarrassment if your income is not on such a steep escalator.
Solicitors, of course, must choose from an approved list of providers as required by the SRA but for the unregulated freelance there are alternatives. Professional insurance is available from a wide range of sources. The cover will never be as all-embracing as the gold plated SRA policy terms but may be adequate. In my travels I discovered this interesting page . Comments very welcome. UK and Irish patent attornies have a mutual insurance association PAMIA. They also consider trademark specialists. For them N is 3.
Tuesday 3 June 2008
You may remember that we met at the last Solo event in London.
My reasons for going 'Solo' are similar yours in that I was looking for flexibility in my working hours (for family reasons) but I also wanted to undertake good quality IP work without commuting to London (I am based in Oxford). (I have written briefly about my experience in an article published in the May issue of the LES Newsexchange.)
Although I was an Equity Partner at a couple of firms, now that I have experienced the freedom of working for myself I think it would be hard to relinquish it!
Having said that, I don't think the benefits of operating a Solo practice are just for the practitioner. I believe that clients can receive better value and support from sole practitioners than they might from larger firms because we can be more flexible in meeting client needs and more adaptable to changing circumstances.
I am a great fan of Solo and, like you, believe that we can all benefit from sharing with one another our knowledge and experiences of running Solo. With that in mind I would be interested to hear what accounts software Solo practitioners are using and whether they would recommend it.
Dr Belinda Isaac
Monday 2 June 2008
Everyone in the whole world can read the blog and anyone with a RSS reader can receive the posts but if you want to receive them directly to your e-mail then you can join the group and all the posts will arrive. You will also be able to send messages to the other members of the group. For example, if you wanted to get a friendly recommendation for a lawyer in Australia you could ask the group.
This is the reason I wanted to make the group closed so that you would know that if you sent such a message it would go to like-minded Solo practitioners or sympathetic real IP professionals. We all have to cope with a lot of spam but I would prefer that the group wasn't responsible for generating any more. Therefore, if you are trying to join the group, there is apoint where you will see a free text box. The idea is that you spend a few minutes to me that indicates you are seriously interested in IP. It easy for those of you who are and surprisingly difficult for those just looking to harvest e-mail addresses.
Sunday 1 June 2008
The reason I myself set up alone was the lack of flexible working options when I wanted to return to work after more than 5 years out of the workplace. Having no family living nearby, and after a year or so of unsatisfactory childcare solutions when I worked part time at Reuters after the birth of my first daughter, I decided to just focus on raising my two daughters. Little did I know how difficult it would be to get back into a suitable job.
Setting up my own firm seemed the way to use my legal skills while having enough flexibility to be around for my daughters who were by then 10 and 12. But I was completely clueless about what would be involved in running a law firm, and having my own firm has been a massive learning curve. For example, if only someone had warned me not to have a client account! I reckon I now spend more than £5,000 a year complying with the requirements of the Solicitors Client Account Rules.
In the process of developing Azrights I have become employable judging by the one or two offers I have had to enter discussions about joining existing firms. I also suspect that now I would be able to work flexibily too, because firms would realise that working flexibly does not mean I work part time hours - far from it.