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Showing posts from February, 2011

Can outsourcing work for small and medium sized legal firms?

The buzz word within the legal profession is “outsourcing”.
A lot of the larger legal practices are already beginning to save vast expense through outsourcing backend and administrative tasks. They are handing this work to legal support services either from an outside law firm or a legal support company. If the work is outsourced to an entity based in another country this practice is sometimes called “offshoring”. The outsourcing industry is increasing each year and as of April 2010 there were around 5,200 professionals working within that sector. These were mainly based in India and the Philippines.
The question is whether a small sized legal practice should particularly in an age of austerity be looking at some form of outsourcing. The area in which there seems to be some growth is in the area of typing support.
Many of the providers of transcription outsourcing are based in the UK and work not only with legal firms but also other sectors such as the NHS.
The majority of these servi…

Housing Summit - No room for lawyers?

Interesting that the one absent party from the summit meeting on what should be done to help first time buyers, held and chaired by Housing Minister Grant Shapps on 15th  of this month, was  a representative of the legal profession.   
The meeting was attended by ‘leading industry figures’ representing home builders lenders, councils and consumers.   Perhaps the Housing Minister, who of late has been preoccupied with television and radio appearances in his capacity as Local Government Minister, does not regard housing lawyers as having thoughts and ideas on what can be done to help our first time buyers. Perhaps it was a case of a simple oversight.
Yes, I know it may be more to do with availability of lower cost housing, and more affordable lending schemes, but there is clearly room for improvement in the conveyancing process that could be introduced to simplify and make less expensive the cost of purchasing.  
Lawyers working in the residential sales and purchase market day in day out…

Conveyancing - The client's role

Buying a property may not be as straight forward as you have been led to believe. Even though you have instructed a solicitor there are certain responsibilities that still rest with you and which you must keep in mind. It is important to note that your solicitor may be based outside the area in which you live and therefore may not have personal knowledge of the property you are purchasing.
Your solicitor will send to you during the conveyancing process a plan showing the boundaries of the property. It is important for you to go out and visit the property if you haven’t already done so to check that those boundaries match that shown on the title plan.
If there are any other properties adjoining the land or property which are purchasing which you consider may affect your enjoyment of your new home again it is important for you to let your solicitor know and to enable him to check the property concerned.
If you are buying a new home which is in the process of being constructed or which may…

Conveyancing and Litigation - The differences

I have had the fortune to work in various different areas of the law during my career.  I started like most young lawyers of my time treading the boards of the local Magistrates Court trying my best to represent people who in the main had little appreciation for my efforts.  I then progressed into family law, running from court to court seeking injunctions only to be running back a week later asking for the injunctions to be withdrawn.  
For the majority of my career however I have been involved in the litigation process mainly undertaking personal injury work.  I have also undertaken sport related work acting for professional footballers and boxers.  A mixed bag which has become even more extensive in recent times with my introduction to residential conveyancing.   I have always had an interest in and enjoyed contract based work and therefore found the move into this area not so daunting.
My initial experience of this field of work has proved insightful. I have always looked upon con…

Housing reviews announced

It’s taken the demolition of an industry, some of the worst trading conditions for decades but finally its seems our politicians are beginning to wake up and acknowledge that the housing market is in a complete mess and is in need of reform.
As to when it is likely we will see measures introduced it is not known, though with today’s announcement that Civil servants in the Communities and Local Government department are to carry out a review of the private housing market there is at least some glimmer of hope that change may happen sometime in the future.
The Coalition’s review will be led not by housing minister Grant Shapps but by Oliver Letwin a man whose ideology is unlikely to allow him to subscribe to any change that would involve the imposition of regulation.   
It is not known what areas the review will cover though there are reports in certain publications today that suggest it will cover house building and the state of the housing market.
At the same time it seems Labour will c…

Fixtures and Fittings are not too be overlooked when moving home

One of the most common questions that come across our conveyancing desks is what should I leave in my property and what should I expect the seller of the property I am buying to leave.  This should not come as a surprise given that fixtures and fittings is one of the most sensitive issues to arise during the transaction.  Upon a viewing of a furnished property you tend to build an impression of the property you are buying and when it comes to completion and you move in there is often a sense of disappointment.   Your expectation just does not match what you see! So legally what is the position with fixtures and fittings? Well its quiet simple the seller is not obliged to leave any items; all they have to do when completing the Fixture and Fittings form is to state what they are willing to leave. I recently moved and the seller aggrieved perhaps that he was selling undervalue decided to take all of the light fittings, the shelves that could only ever fit the alcove they were serving and …

Elton John has insider information on the new ipad?

In an interview this morning with the BBC Elton John seems to have let spill the fact he has some knowledge about the iPad2.
During the interview he told the BBC that he would be purchasing a “Skype iPad” in April this year.   This suggests that he is expecting or indeed has knowledge that Apple will be releasing its new version of the iPad with a front facing camera, and perhaps even a rear-facing camera.  
This seems to be a habbit as in an earlier interview with the Daily Telegraph he is reported to have said:
 “I’m a Luddite. I don’t have a phone, I don’t have a computer, I don’t have an iPad and I don’t have an iPod. But this is going to be a problem for me because they’re coming out with a Skype iPad in April and I’ve got to get one because I want to see my son when I’m not there — I’ll have to enter the world of technology.”
So of Elton has inside information it seems we will seeing a new version of the beloved ipad with a camera very soon.
Morgan Jones and Pett are solicitors who…

Another volume conveyancer goes into administration

One of the largest players in the Home Information Pack industry, LMS, is reported  in Inside Reporter to have gone into Administration as well as being the subject of a management ‘buy out’. 
LMS had prior to and during the HIP regime become one of the largest conveyancing panel managers in the country.
Insider Media reported on Friday that:
“About 100 jobs have been secured at Ellesmere Port conveyancer LMS Holdings after the business was bought out of administration.
It is stated that LMS has experienced a “difficult trading environment which led to a financial restructuring”.
LMS Group Holdings, which is based at Cheshire Oaks Business Park, reported sales of £54m in the year to 31 March 2009 and a pre-tax loss of £3m.
Although no one is making a direct connection it seems that the sudden and wholly unnecessary complete withdrawal of  Home Information Packs in May 2010 seem to have had some bearing on the fate of this business.
Morgan Jones and Pett are solicitors who provide legal a…

Divorce: the importance of choosing the right solicitor

Considering divorce can be a daunting experience at the best of times but when we are still coming out of a recession and may in fact be entering a second recession the thought of having to enter into ‘battle’ over the family assets is for some a major nightmare.
In some cases the only asset is the home and though there will be considerations to be taken into account if children are involved the resolution of the finances between the parties can be relatively straightforward.
However there are more complex cases involving businesses, investments, trust funds and even inheritances.  To find a solution that will meet the needs and financial goal of each party is not easy and often proves problematic as well as expensive.
The need for a good solicitor and one who can work with you to find a working solution without having to run up a large legal bill is essential.  The aim is to ensure there is full and early assessment of the value of the assets, usually with the help of specialist finan…

iPad 2 to be announced on 13th February?

There is much talk within the technology press about the possible imminent release of the iPad 2.  
The Mobile World Congress starts on the 14th February and there is good money on Apple releasing news of its launch next Sunday. This coincides with what was previously reported in Macnotes that the iPad 2 would be released at the beginning of Q2.
It is also suggested that Apple’s latest iOS operating system will be demonstrated at the same time.
Morgan Jones and Pett are solicitors who provide legal advice and services to clients based in England and Wales and who can be contacted on 01603877000 or via email at davidpett@m-j-p.co.uk

Nationwide predicts extended stagnation in property market

Property costs declined by 0.1 per cent last month, taking the average home down to £161,602, according to the latest statistics published by Nationwide,.
This is a year-on-year decrease of 1.1 per cent and means houses now cost less than in September 2009.
Nationwide chief economist Robert Gardner said that although the outlook for the year as a whole is still uncertain, "the most likely outcome is that the pattern of low transaction levels and prices moving sideways or modestly lower will continue through 2011".
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Property Ladder - Tips for moving up

Today saw an interesting article published on Money Supermarket’s website focusing on tips for those moving up the property ladder.  
It reports that recent research by Lloyds TSB has revealed that those looking to buy their first home are not the only ones struggling.  The bank found that 19% of people already living in their first home and looking to move on simply do not have enough equity to do so.
The average second home is priced at £48,216 more than the average first home, which is a hefty 32% increase.
The TIPs for those looking however to make that next step include:
Get an idea of your home's value:
Websites such as www.propertypriceadvice.co.uk provide a lower, higher and average valuation depending on confidence and activity in the market. Make sure you keep a realistic view on the value.
Be prepared to take a price cut:
If your home isn't budging, be prepared to reduce the price as this might be your only option. According to the Lloyds TSB research just 13% of people w…

Senior Judge calls for change in law to benefit cohabitees

Sir Nicholas Wall, the president of the Family Division, has today said that Unmarried couples who split up after living together should have legal rights to a possible share of property and money. He added courts would be more sympathetic to a claim where the couple had been living together for a significant amount of time.
Currently apart from when children are involved a judge has no discretion to make financial provision or adjustment in the same way as is possible when dealing with married couples.  A sixth of couples in Britain live together with the number expected to rise.
Sir Nicholas told the Times: "I am in favour of cohabitees having rights because of the injustice of the present situation. Women cohabitees, in particular, are severely disadvantaged by being unable to claim maintenance and having their property rights determined by the conventional laws of trusts."
He added: "If cohabitation has been short and the contribution minimal, judges would not be sympa…

Google Streetview and Museums

A new Google resource has today come on line. Google has extended its Streetview facility to enable some of the world's greatest museums and institutions to become visible through its 360° photo project. The institutions include the New York MOMA, the Uffizi in Florence and the Tate Modern in London. They can also be seen on a dedicated website that Google has created specifically for this project. 


Morgan Jones and Pett are solicitors who provide legal advice and services to clients based in England and Wales and who can be contacted on 01603877000 or via email at davidpett@m-j-p.co.uk

Conveyancing Quality Scheme - another Law Society 'White Elephant'?

The Law Society is now actively promoting  its new residential conveyancing quality scheme.
The Conveyancing Quality Scheme, which is supported by the Council of Mortgage Lenders, will provide a recognised quality standard for residential conveyancing practices.
No details of the benefits of the scheme are known, though the Law Society is planning to publish these at the beginning in April to coincide with the Easter house-hunting surge.
It is reported that Law Society president Linda Lee is claiming that over the past three years, the society had led consumer PR campaigns encouraging the public to use a solicitor rather than other legal providers – all of which had been successful.
This campaign it seems was rather low key as reports from some solicitors claim that the Law Society has not done enough to promote the profession and that a large section of the public has now resigned itself to be led by cost rather than quality.  
Linda Lee is reported to have said: “We now plan to do the sa…