Thursday, 30 October 2008

Networking Power - Ross & Brand Scandal

The Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand telephone scandal has hit the news big style.

Russell Brand has resigned and the BBC will be discussing whether Jonathan Ross should be sacked.

It all started out with prank calls to Andrew Sachs - Russell and Jonathan stepped over the line.

Initially 67 complaints were received by the BBC, but once the Daily Mail began their campaign to have the pair sacked the complaints rose to 18,000 upwards.

The power of Web 2, social networking and the press! You may not have heard the original radio show at the time, but there are links, sound bites, video and media coverage available for anyone to listen to and read.

They are then passed on through networks, word of mouth etc to a global audience - an audience that has the opportunity to complain - if that is what they wish to do.

I can see the number of complaints rocketing - time will tell.

Full story

Apology 27th October

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Web 2: RSS and Readers - their benefits

Too Many Social Networks
Originally uploaded by M. Keefe

Lawyers still consider websites and email newsletters the most appropriate way to stay up to date with current news. Many have embraced Social Networking, Facebook, LinkedIn, Blogging etc - they are trying.

However, RSS feeds and Readers will change the way lawyers use the internet - once they understand what an RSS feed is and how it can be of benefit.

I came across RSS feeds through Common Craft. They produce very straight forward videos - in plain english (which is what many lawyers are accused on NOT doing). The videos have obviously been produced with a target audience in mind - "technophobes"!

For a basic, no frills video check out RSS In Plain English and Google Reader In Plain English

I must admit, once I discovered RSS and Google Reader there was no going back! Everything I want to read is on my desktop, it saves SOOO much time. If you like an item, it can be highlighted or "starred". You can even forward the information via email, add notes etc etc.

When redesigning the Latimer Hinks website I made sure that part of the site was available to download as an RSS feed, along with our blogs of course.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Madonna's Divorce provides PR Opportunity

On The Radio.
Originally uploaded by Neuenschwander.

Here at Latimer Hinks, fee earning work is obviously a priority - easpecially in today's financial climate.

However, current affairs often provide an need for "immediate" action and the recent Madonna/Guy Ritchie secenario provided the opportunity - it will also enable Judith to show herself as an "expert" on divorce matters!

However, these opportunities can also backfire a little. Yesterday morning we had arranged for Judith Middleton, our divorce partner here at Latimer Hinks to be interviewed on Radio BBC Tees today in connection with what was initially going to be Madonna & Guy Ritchie's Split.

BUT as everybody knows, yesterday afternoon they released a statement indicating that they were to DIVORCE!

Judith's interview will now need to take a slightly different approach.

Here's the link to BBC Radio Tees

Judith will also be speaking with Alpha Radio later today.

It's all good fun!

For further divorce trivia/insight/lighthearted views see Judith's Divorce Blog

Thursday, 9 October 2008

County Durham & Tees Valley Charity Awards 2008

The awards provide an opportunity to recognise charities, and their unsung heroes for their outstanding work. This is the second year that Latimer Hinks and Horwarth Clark Whitehill have hosted/sponsored the awards.

Photo 1 - Anne Elliott - Latimer Hinks, Pauline Wilson - NASSL, Peter Rowley - Darlington Building Society, Lauren Robinson (Darlington on Disability), Peter Olsen - Horwath Clark Whitehill
Photo 2 - Heather O'Driscoll (HCW) Anne Elliott, Dawn Carney Cash for Kids, Peter Olsen (HCW)

The event took place at Middlesbrough Football Club, with nearly 200 attendees.

Local businesses, charities and individuals were represented - the event was a great success, if not somewhat emotional.
The winners were:

Durham & Tees Valley Charity Awards Podcast
Press Release - Three Darlington Charities Scoop Top Awards

Check out the Podcast here

Monday, 6 October 2008

Planning for the Future! Do's & Don'ts

[oPeN yOuR eYeS]
Originally uploaded by *Clara ~ Fermina*
Many people, even now don't like to talk about future planning with a solicitor.

People generally feel comfortable planning most events - they can talk about moving house, building an extension, booking a holiday, but when it comes to protecting their assets and the mere mention of wills - they literally quake at the knees!

Latimer Hinks held a presentation this week on Protecting your Family - planning for the future! The talk opened my eyes.

Did you know, if you and your spouse/partner have a joint account and your spouse/partner becomes unable to handle their affairs your bank can freeze the account?

In effect you would not be able to draw money or pay bills. The bank’s view is that a joint account operates with the consent of both parties so if one party cannot give that consent then the account cannot be operated.

Imagine if you and your partner/spouse have only one joint account with all of your money in and that account was frozen because one or the other of you loses capacity leaving you with no access to money?

BUT if you have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place authorizing someone (perhaps your other half) to deal with your financial affairs in the event you are not able to do so this would solve the problem.

For all those who were clever enough to make an Enduring Power of Attorney before October 2007 these documents are still valid however, no new ones can now be made and the alternative is to make a Lasting Power of Attorney instead.

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a document you sign, which enables whoever you appoint as your Attorney to deal with your financial affairs in the event of incapacity in the future (usually mental incapacity but can equally apply to physical incapacity).

Many people think that their other half would be able to deal with things for them in this circumstance but unfortunately, without a Lasting Power of Attorney (or former Enduring Power of Attorney) in place this is simply not the case.

Without the legal formality of a Lasting Power of Attorney no one would be able to gain access to your finances or pay bills on your behalf leaving your finances in a mess and your family distressed at a time when they are already going through the trauma of seeing someone they love lose their capacity.

Do you really want to leave this to chance?

Here are some do’s and don’ts tips for making Personal Affairs Lasting Powers of Attorney .

DON’T - just rely on the thought that “it won’t happen to you” or “someone else can deal with it if you can’t”. Think of an LPA as an insurance policy that you hope you never need but make anyway “just in case”.

2. DO - have the LPA registered straight away. This ensures that if the document is needed urgently you do not have to wait for the whole registration process to be completed. Having the LPA registered also gives you piece of mind that the document does not contain any errors as it is checked and approved at registration and any errors can be put right at this stage.

3. DO – appoint a second Attorney either to act with the first or as a replacement especially if your first Attorney is the same age as you. This ensures that should the first die during your lifetime there is a “back-up” to take over.

4. DO – seek advice from a Solicitor if you are considering making an LPA as LPAs can be complicated and if you attempt to do it yourself you may not know whether or not it will work until it is too late (i.e. you have lost capacity and cannot make another one).

5. DO – make an LPA if there is/are any family member(s) you really would not trust or want to look after your financial affairs as they could end up being that person if you do not choose someone yourself whilst you are capable or doing so.

6. DO – make an LPA if you are aware of animosity or conflict within your family (such as your children not get on) as leaving the decision up to them could result in them not agreeing and an independent person or solicitor could end up being appointed instead.