Monday, 29 October 2007

No Return to "Life on Mars" for Bosses

gene hunt say's:-
Originally uploaded by SmartAlex
I briefly covered the subject of Life on Mars and Employment Law, here

Basically, take one look at Life on Mars and you'll see why changes in employment law were brought about.

I'm a great fan of Life on Mars and even downloaded one of Gene Hunt's quotes for use as text alert

If you don't answer this phone i'm gonna come round your houses and stamp on all your toys

It has since been deleted as it's quite long and I received some very strange/wary glances!

Nick Poole, one of our Partners at Latimer Hinks has written a press article Life on Mars and Employment Law. No Return to Life on Mars

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Anne Robinson - Weakest Link will be Litigation

Judiths Divorce Blog made a comment on Anne Robinson (of the Weakest Link).

Latimer Hinks have since released a press story encouraging divorcing couples to reach amicable decisions BEFORE divorce proceedings start.

Litigation is the Weakest Link in Divorce Disputes

Tuesday, 23 October 2007


...and lots of them.

Charity Balls - they kill two birds with one stone. Firstly they provide a great networking opportunity and secondly by supporting the event worthy causes within the local community greatly benefit.

It seems to be Ball season at the moment. In October we have arranged to be at:

St Teresa's Hospice Ball - Hospice at Home, Day Care and In-patient Care for people across South Durham and North Yorkshire

The Darlington Mayors Ball - is in aid of Darlington Coronary Care Support Group and Tracheo Oesophageal Fistula Support, which provides support to families of children born with rare congenital conditions.

The Masquerade Ball - in aid of Redcar & Cleveland's Women Aid

All proceeds from the Balls go to their nominated charites. Next year will be Latimer Hinks turn to hold a Ball. Organised every two years the event is always a great success. Last year alone we raised £9,200 with the help of generous Clients, friends and family.

In 2008 we aim to increase this, but until then.. as you can see from the pic, it's a hard life.... !

Judith Middleton, Partner at Latimer Hinks attended the Mayors Ball and this is what she has to say about it!

Thursday, 18 October 2007

The Tale of 1000 Emails - we have an explanation

Problem is now solved, thank goodness - here is the explanation and a copy of my letter to the affected referrers.

Re: Latimer Hinks Client Alert Email
The Tale of a thousand emails… and more

Wednesday 10th October I sent to you a Client Alert relating to Inheritance Tax and the transferability of the nil rate band allowance. Please believe me when I say I sent out the email once only!

Due to a technical problem which is explained below, you may have received hundreds, if not thousands of the same email. Not surprisingly (but very sensibly) you have probably blocked my address. This email address is now “safe” so please feel free to unblock me.

Following is an explanation from a customer relations representative at Demon:

“there were issues with another demon customer and the system that they use to collect and relay e-mails. This caused them to bounce e-mails back to Latimer Hinks as undeliverable, and started an e-mail loop. Whilst all clients would have seen this as originated by Latimer Hinks, this was not the case, as investigation showed it was linked to an addressee on the original e-mail.
After speaking with our Network Abuse team and the customer in question, it was confirmed that there was an issue with their system (Microsoft SBS2000), and they needed to either use an alternative mail system, or upgrade their system.
Further investigation has shown that no further looped e-mails are appearing, and it appears that this matter has been resolved.”

I hope that you found the first Client Alert of interest. Latimer Hinks do try to keep Clients/referrers informed of changes relevant to them – however we generally prefer a subtler approach to marketing which does not include the bombardment of email addresses.

If you do not wish to receive further Client Alerts, please let me know.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Undeliverable, Undeliverable....

So, Tuesday came - exactly 6 days after the Client Alert was despatched from my Latimer Hinks email system (see here) and as you can see, the bounce backs keep coming in.

A little headway has been made. Demon "kind of" admitted it could be their fault. BUT numerous calls later to India and I don't have a direct contact to speak to or a direct line to call.

Apparently they are "looking into it" and "something strange is happening". When I mention that a few of the recipients network systems have crashed they say " we will escalate our response"

6 hours later, no escalation, no calls and no fix.

We manage to speak to a "Demon respresentative" (great job title) in the UK and are given a contact name and contact number. He will personally handle the problem.

It's now Wednesday. One week from the start of this disaster. The emails have stopped pouring in. I have received no further calls from the recipients of the email. The recipients i have spoken to say that the emails have also stopped for them.

GREAT - but what went wrong!?

I am waiting for a reason from Demon as to what the problem was. I will let you know the outcome. In the meantime I can now get on with some work - although I am reticent of sending further emails to more than one contact at the same time.

The Tale of a Thousand Emails.. and counting!

What a week!

On Wednesday, just before I left work I sent a Client Alert to 55 Clients/referrers detailing INHERITANCE TAX and transferability of the nil rate band allowance.

I was so pleased to have managed to:

  • print the Alert as a presentable document for posting
  • create a letter to go with the printed Alert
  • add the Alert to the website
  • bookmark the Alert
  • inform staff of the Alert
  • email all relevant Clients/referrers

and all within two hours. I was now ready to leave the office and relax until Thursday morning.

BUT, Li'l Monster took poorly overnight, Dramaqueen demanded the same attention and Hubby was working nights. I had very little sleep and L'il Monster was no better the next day.

So I called work to say I was taking a days holiday to look after L'il Monster.

Reception immediately informed me that they had been inundated with phone calls regarding the Client Alert. GREAT thought I, the information must have been of great interest to them.

Sadly this was not so, the contacts had received the email hundreds and thousands of times.

Not good. Now that work knew I was taking a holiday the matter was passed on.

What had I done? Nothing out of the ordinary - just sent the same email to a number of contacts.

Well, I returned to work on Monday with fingers crossed that everthing had been sorted, but no! 922 bounce back emails greeted me from one day alone.

Apparently this is what was happening... the email left Latimer Hinks, travelled to Demon then to despatch. Something seems to have happened between Demon and despatch.

The Clients are receiving the Alert but a message is bouncing back to me to say Undeliverable. The computer is then resending and resending.

On Monday 2 of the contacts had a system overload and their networks crashed.

No-one is admiiting liability. Our IT guys say Latimer Hinks have not caused the problem. Demon say we have a virus. Whilst those two providers are arguing it out the emails keep on coming.

Obviously I've had quite a few calls asking me to STOP sending the emails. On the whole the recipients of the thousands of emails have been very understanding - many thanks to them for their professional attitude.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

It's never too early to organise Christmas events for our team of staff.

1) The first event for me to organise was of course, the Christmas Party. Fewer businesses these days travel the route of Christmas parties, there are so many pitfalls to avoid - they'd rather become a Scrooge than face the responsibilities of an office party.

Check out this article from last year - Avoid the Pitfalls of an Office Party

The party was organised in June - yes June! Latimer Hinks have a staff of 50 and require sole use of a venue/suitable room (with a bar!) on a Friday evening in December - it's not so easy trying to find a venue to fit this criteria - unless you want to pay a small fortune!

But, I eventually managed and Maxines Bar and Restaurant is where it's all happening in 2007

2) Christmas Gifts - Latimer Hinks staff are provided with a hamper on the penultimate day that we break up for Christmas. We've been extremely lucky with our allocated Christmas Break. The last day of work is 21st December (the Christma Party is on the evening) and we don't return until 2nd January. Everyone can relax and make the most of the party as there is no work the next day.

The hampers are bespoke, different every year and require thoughtful planning as to what goes in other than the obligatory red and white wine and chocolates.

Bountiful Baskets provide the hampers to our sepcifications and deliver to the Latimer Hinks office. The taste session in July is a treat - they come along with different cakes, biscuit, sweets etc for us to try. On one hand it's extremely beneficial to taste the produce, on the other there in invariably an increase to the old waist measurement! It's great to see the hampers on every desk in the office - it certainly feels festive and the handpackaging ensures they also look fantastic.

3) Christmas Cards - not all departments send out Christmas cards to Clients. We generally donate to a local charity. Staff can do the same, rather than send every member of staff a card a "global card" is placed in our postroom. Everyone can sign it and donate £1. The money collected is passed on to a local charity (also saves on paper wastage).

However, the Private Client department do send cards to the "little old dears" to cheer them up and wish them all the best. It's quite a challenge to choose a generic card suitable to send...until i received a sample from a company called Pop Shots Studios.
They produce a 3D Globe Card - it's fabulous - we're going to buy some for our loyal "little dears" for display on their mantlepiece!

see pic

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Innovative Farm Diversification - Latimer Hinks Advise from the Start

Crabtree Hall Business Centre is an innovative farm diversification project.

Latimer Hinks Solicitors have been involved with the project from the outset.

Because of this early involvement Latimer Hinks were able to advise pro-actively on legal issues rather than reacting to problems faced further down the line.

The full press release can be seen here

Anne Elliott and Nicola Neilson, Partners at Latimer Hinks
Stephanie Pybus, Crabtree Hall. Photo taken outside the Crabtree Hall development

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

New Lasting Powers of Attorney - an insight

My previous post warned of the end of Enduring Powers of Attorney - Deadline Looming - the end of EPA's

It's now October and Lasting Powers of Attorney are now in place. Following is an insight into why you need one and how they work for you.

If you were to be incapacitated in the future, either physically or mentally, and, as a consequence, were unable to deal with your own affairs then awful problems would arise.

A spouse and other family members would not be legally able to deal with your affairs unless an LPA (or formerly an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) signed prior to the 1st October 2007) had earlier been executed.

Firstly, it should be pointed out that LPA’s are not merely for the elderly; they can be created by anyone and are a sensible precaution against accidents, illnesses and injuries that can incapacitate a person at any age. It is for this reason that provisions should be taken to avoid any complications that may arise if an LPA is not in place.

An LPA is a formal agreement created by deed in which one person (‘the Donor’) gives another person (‘the Attorney’) authority to act in their name and on their behalf. In effect, therefore, while capable of managing your affairs you select somebody who will be responsible for managing your affairs if you subsequently become incapable.

Unlike EPAs, a person can choose to delegate decisions affecting their personal welfare – including healthcare and medical treatment decisions – as well as decisions concerning their property and financial matters to their attorney(s). This will also avoid the full expense of invoking the full jurisdiction of the Office of the Public Guardian (formerly the Court of Protection) which is part of our judicial system that deals with the affairs of those who, by virtue of mental incapacity, are unable to deal with their own affairs.

The Donor can choose whether they wish to make a property and affairs LPA or a personal welfare LPA, or both. There is a separate form for each.

For an LPA to be executed there must be at least one Attorney chosen, but if more than one is chosen then the Donor must decide whether they are able to act jointly (that is they must all act together and cannot act separately) or, jointly and severally (that is they can all act together but they can also act separately if they wish). They can also act jointly in respect of some matters and jointly and severally in respect of others.

The extent of the powers granted
A decision can also be made as to the extent of powers that the Attorney can exercise. A general power in relation to all your property and affairs means that the Attorney(s) will be able to deal with your money or property and may be able to sell your house.

In relation to a personal welfare LPA a general power will include all healthcare decisions except: giving or refusing to consent to life-sustaining treatment (unless the LPA document expressly authorizes this); where the Donor has made a valid advance decision; refusing or consenting to medical treatment for mental disorder where the Donor is detained under the Mental Health Act 1983; or where the Donor is subject to guardianship under the Mental Health Act 1983

If you do not want your Attorney(s) to have such wide powers, you can include any restrictions that you like. For example, you can include a restriction that your Attorney(s) must not act on your behalf until they have reason to believe that you are becoming mentally incapable, or a restriction as to what the Attorney may do.

Certificate Providers
A valid LPA – whether it be a property and affairs LPA or personal welfare LPA – must include a certificate completed by an independent third party known as the “certificate provider” confirming that in his or her opinion:
· The Donor understands the purpose of the LPA and the scope of the authority under it;
· No fraud or undue pressure is being used to induce the Donor to create the LPA ; and
· There is nothing else that would prevent the LPA being created.

Registration of the LPA
The LPA cannot be used until it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. It can be registered at any time after it has been completed and signed by all those who are required to sign. In the case of a Donor or an unregistered personal welfare LPA facing a medical emergency their attorneys would not be authorized to act on their behalf until the power is registered.

Once registered, a property and affairs LPA can be used while the Donor still has capacity (unless it specifies that it cannot) whilst a personal welfare LPA can only be used when the Donor no longer has capacity to make the particular decision affecting their healthcare or personal welfare.

The Donor can name up to five people to be notified when an application to register the LPA is made. An attorney of the LPA cannot be specified as a named person. If the Donor decides not to include anyone to be notified then a second person will be needed to provide an additional certificate. Including a named person is an important safeguard because if he or she lacks capacity at the time of registration they will be relying on these people to raise concerns .

If, after consideration of any objections from the named persons, the application for the registration of the LPA is accepted, then at this time the Attorney(s) has authority to administer the affairs of the Donor and notice of this authority together with a copy of the LPA should be sent to relevant people, such as the bank or building society, so that the account can be changed to enable the Attorney(s) to gain access for the purpose of looking after the Donor’s affairs (if desired).

This registration is a relatively simple and straightforward procedure and does not invoke the full jurisdiction of the Court of Protection referred to earlier, the latter being a very expensive and undesirable procedure.

We would strongly recommend that an LPA is made as soon as possible, even if this is done purely on a precautionary basis. LPA’s can be lodged in our strong room and only brought out and put into operation if necessary.
No-one knows what the future holds. An LPA will provide peace of mind in the event of incapacitation.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Why we Blog

Originally uploaded by hi-tekznologik

If you regularly read my blog, you'll know that now and again i'll update you with the progress and success of our blogs. This time it is the turn of Judith's Divorce Blog.

Judith, and other family law blog writers were recently asked to submit an article on blogging by Delia Venables, editor of Internet Newsletter for Lawyers.

Judith explained why Latimer Hinks decided to "blog"

Judith's Divorce Blog is a random collection of stories which I describe as reflections and emotions as perceived by an experienced divorce practitioner but perhaps presented from a slightly different angle.

Private practice is obviously getting to me because i've begun to experience divorce in everything i see or do. I try to intermingle press releases from Resolution within it.

It began in June when our in-house marketing guru (that's me!) approached me about a course she’d been on, highlighting the benefits of social networking. I was hardly enraptured by the idea which sounded as far removed from being sociable as I could imagine and was apparently based on a United States perspective where you join sites like Linked-In and business just happens!

Anyway I had a look at a number of these sites and suggested to her that if she wanted to network, I would assist by giving her a blog to refer to.

Initially I experimented for a few weeks on Yahoo 360 but, as interest grew, set up a page on Blogspot which clients could bookmark. Despite my initial reservations, I’ve enjoyed finding what I’d like to describe as a literary side to my nature, although I suspect that those who read my offerings may well disagree! I've also undergone a steep learning curve so far as widgets, blidgets, RSS feeds and analytics are concerned.

I only discovered the other family law blogs after beginning to publish mine, so was very relieved to discover that they all have unique angles and i hope that i'm not treading on anyones toes.

As well as the social networking which the guru is dabbling in, I’m using Feedburner to distribute entries to the Blog and one of our regional newspapers has contacted me about featuring it in a regular weekly section and on its website too (now up and running here).

Essentially I see it as a promotional tool rather than a marketing exercise in its own right.
At the moment I’m thoroughly enjoying what I regard as an experience in rediscovering my imagination and, unless I find a better outlet for my creative self, am confident that I’ll still be blogging for a long time yet.

Whilst Blogger isn't perfect, it is user friendly. There are some slight irritations but you don't get everything from a free service.

At the moment I am thoroughly enjoying what i regard as an experience in rediscovering my imagination and, unless i find a better outlet for my creative self, am confident that i'll still be blogging for a long time yet!

Latimer Hinks Blogs
Social Networking Guineapig was born in early July— as you can see, the blog chronicles the trials and tribulations of a technophobic marketing exec in her quest to promote Latimer Hinks via social networking—with a few press releases thrown in along the way.

Anne’s Tax Planning Blog also began in July—everything you need to know about tax planning and more, again with relevant press releases intermingled.

Statistics for all three of the blogs are going pretty well although Judith's Divorce Blog is the most successful and has created "spin-offs" (as mentioned above) for us to further promote the blog.