‘The Law of Legal Services’ by John Gould of Russell-Cooke solicitors

Brought to you by our friends at Russell-Cooke solicitors

The Law of Legal Services is an authoritative yet accessible work that looks at the issues and complexities of the current legal system. It provides insight into many of the questions that crop up in modern practice and will help lawyers mitigate the growing number of risks they face in their profession.

Written by leading regulatory expert John Gould, Senior Partner of London firm Russell-Cooke, the work covers areas such as regulation, lawyers’ legal duties and the ‘business of law’. With a focus on issues such as misconduct and tribunals, obligations to clients, negligence and indemnity insurance, The Law of Legal Services delivers authoritative legal analysis as well as practical guidance for practitioners.

This is an essential work for all lawyers, whatever their specialisation. In his preface, Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court, describes it as containing “all that a professional lawyer needs to know and much of which it may not have occurred to him or her to ask” highlighting that “the function of lawyers is to deal with legal issues, and they therefore have nowhere much to hide if they fail to know of or observe their own regulatory rules.” 

Available from Amazon.

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Five ways to give your start-up a boost

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If you have that entrepreneurial flair, you should never let someone or something stop you from reaching your goal. Whether that’s an eCommerce empire or a brand new app destined to go viral – in the digital age, anything is possible.

While it has never been easier to start up a business from scratch, that doesn’t mean that starting a business is easy. Here are my top five ways to give your start-up a boost, and point you firmly in the right direction.

1. Create a social media presence

I probably don’t need to tell you about the power of social media, but for start-ups in particular there are huge benefits to becoming a proficient user. I’d recommend setting up different accounts for your business and yourself. The personal account can be used for self-promotion within your field, while the business account can be used to shout about what you have going on. As the business grows, you can use it to support your brand, reach new customers and engage with them over customer service. 

It’s important to know which platforms to use though, as your customers will probably have a preference. You can find more information on how to build a strategy here, but joining LinkedIn is a must, as you’ll be able to join communities and connect with people from your industry.

2. Start a blog

If you really know what you’re talking about within your field and want to become known as an expert, starting a blog is the perfect way to go about it. Whether you want to talk about the trials and tribulations of starting out in business, or talk about handmade fashion items because that’s what you sell, a blog will help to develop your voice within the community, as well as a valued customer base who start out as followers. Above all, it’s a great place to showcase your entrepreneurial efforts.

3. Look at professional qualifications

You might want to learn more about the area of industry you’re passionate about, and professional qualifications will expand your knowledge whilst giving you the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals. You don’t just have to take business management either; you can specialise in whatever area is going to add to your skill set and boost your start-up, like a fashion design degree or a technology course. Plus, it will give you that first taste of networking with students and tutors.

4. Consider scholarships 

If you want to enhance your skill-set but money is an issue, there are tonnes of scholarships out there that are designed to give budding entrepreneurs that chance. The Reuben Singh scholarship is one such example, offering up to £9,000 towards tuition fees for students. If you can demonstrate entrepreneurial initiative, and why your business brain is the best of the bunch, why not apply?

I hope these thoughts give you the push your start-up needs. Do you have any more tips? 

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How to Get the Right Name for Your Business

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So it’s time to finally commit to a name for your new business? You probably have a number of different ideas spinning around your head right now. Narrowing them down to the best choice is rarely an easy task though. You’ll want something that sticks with your customers, but not for the wrong reasons.

Looking Towards the Future

You won’t make many choices that will have as long-lasting an impact as this decision. This is why keeping one eye on the future is critical to making a decision you won’t regret down the road. After all, not only does this affect branding and marketing in your own country, but you’ll also need to take into account how other cultures might perceive your name if you decide to ever advertise to a global market. There’s also the consideration of modern digital marketing techniques, most notably search engine optimization, and how your name will scale to this. While no-one can predict the future, as a business owner it’s your responsibility to be aware of the emerging changes in your industry.

Getting the Name You Want

Making sure you get the domain could be one of the critical factors towards choosing the name of your business. Remember you aren’t limited to simply .com domains, there are a number of unique registrations you can now choose from. This includes domains specific to your country or unique to your industry. If your preferred choice is taken, you may be able to purchase the address from the current owner. If you can’t contact the owner yourself, you can do this by contacting a third-party to handle the transaction for you. Use websites like www.siteprice.org to get an idea about how much a domain is worth in the current market.

Considering Your Options

One of the most common methods of naming a business is to name it directly after the founder. This could be from one person’s family name or an acronym of several co-founders surnames. For something a little more creative, you may want to think about the greater meaning of your choice of words. Korean manufacturer Hyundai’s name translates to “the modern age,” or “modernity,” in the firm’s native language. The company was founded in 1967, much later than many other large Asian car manufacturers, like Honda, Nissan, or Toyota, and soon capitalized on the newfound interest in foreign cars in overseas markets. Today, Hyundai is the fourth largest vehicle manufacturer in the world.

Whichever name you end up deciding on, make sure you commit to something you can stand by. After all, this could be your first opportunity to impress with your new business.

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How HR Software Could Help Your Business

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When you are in business, there is a lot to think about and do. Often if feels like there are just not enough hours in the day, and this certainly applies when it comes to HR tasks.

When you employ people looking after them all and staying within the law is not easy. You have to ensure that you comply with a raft of regulations and make sure that day-to-day tasks like managing absenteeism and making sure that everyone is paid correctly and on time are taking care of.

If you are not careful things can easily be missed and you can end up losing control of your workforce and potentially also breaking the law. When that happens a firm ends up with productivity issues and runs the risk of being prosecuted or fined for not complying with the regulations that surround employment.

Fortunately, you can easily avoid most of these potential issues by using good quality HR systems and software. These systems provide a structured set of processes that you need to follow to comply with the law and keep everyone in your organisation safe and properly trained.

To help you to understand more let’s look at a few examples.

Payroll

A good quality payroll system will calculate all of the taxes you need to pay and do so automatically. It will also work out sickness or maternity pay for each employee.

This ensures that all employee taxes are paid on time and that each employee’s right to basic benefits like maternity leave are administered properly. Firms that get this type of thing right avoid being pursued by the tax authorities or being sued by an employee when their employment rights are not respected.

Managing training

For any business, their workforce is vitally important. Without a good workforce, it is impossible for a company to be successful.

Firms that look after their employees well and continually update their skills are the ones that do the best. Providing ongoing training for staff makes them more efficient and helps with retention too.

Keeping track of who has been trained and who has not can be tricky especially when you have a big workforce. A good quality HR system will take care of all of this. It makes it super easy for you to keep track of everyone and identify those who need more help and training. This kind of software can also help you to make sure that assessments are carried out on a regular basis as well as record the results of those one on one training and development interviews.

To manage absenteeism

For many firms absenteeism is a big issue. High levels of absenteeism can soon turn a profitable firm into a money losing concern.

A good HR system will monitor and analyse absenteeism across your firm. On a weekly basis, you can interrogate the data and quickly identify any department where absenteeism is becoming an issue. This allows you to investigate what is happening and to come up with ways to reduce sickness levels within that department before it is too late.

There are more ways good quality HR software can help you to manage your staff more efficiently, but those outlined above are the most important.

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Five Ways to Impress with your New Business

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Anyone who is planning to start a new business at this moment will no doubt be struggling to cope with the amount of well-intentioned advice that is coming their way. It’s a sad yet inevitable fact that many pieces of this advice will be doing more harm than good if the entrepreneur should listen, so great care needs to be taken.

Any new venture needs to hit the ground running in the most positive way, because this momentum will help to achieve goals at the crucial early stage. For this reason more than any other, those first few weeks are vital. Here are five ways to make sure your start-up stands a good chance of success. As always, it’s all about the planning.

Know your target market

While the phrase ‘build it and they will come’ worked well in Field of Dreams, it’s far too vague to apply to new businesses. This isn’t the movies, this is real life, and you need to be realistic about what you can achieve. Therefore, do as much research as possible about the type of people you hope will be using your goods and services.

Make sure your products are just right

Whether you are letting holiday homes in Turkey, selling fresh fish in a market or providing business services to the financial district, you have to make sure your products match the needs of the consumer. Compromising on quality at this stage could have disastrous long-term consequences, so always be careful.

Surround yourself with experts

There will be aspects of your business which, to put it bluntly, will be best left to those in the know. You don’t need to be an expert on every matter, so make sure you have the right people on board. For issues such as payroll services, health and safety and marketing, specialist assistance could make all the difference.

Recruit the right people at the right time

Even if you are planning to run a one-person company at the start, there may be a time in the future when you want to take on new members of the team. To this end, always use a specialist recruitment agency which has plenty of links with the local business community. This will prove to be a very sensible decision in the long term.

Don’t aim too high at the start

There is nothing at all wrong with having ambition, and with wanting to reach for the stars. This type of enthusiasm needs to be encouraged, of course, but it should be pointed out that it is more important at the very beginning to make sure you are going in the right direction. Those early steps are what will determine later success.

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Special Educational Needs – Introducing the Children and Families Act 2014

Brought to you by our friends at Tees Law

The Old Regime

Since 1981 Local authorities (LA) have played a pivotal role in the provision of services for children with special educational needs (SEN). Unfortunately, because of a lack of any formal statutory arrangement between the LA and other agencies, parents were regularly left confused (as were some LAs) as to which agency was responsible for delivering the services to a child with a statement of SEN. What’s more, at the age of 16 (or in some circumstances, 18) a child would lose the right to the Statement or Learning Difficulty Assessment altogether, and, any provision already in place fell away.

This left little room for aspiration, much room for doubt and a black hole for frustration. The time had come for change and for a new, child-centric, parent focussed system.

A New Hope?

On 1 September 2014, the Children and Families Act 2014 (“the 2014 Act”) introduced a new statutory framework for SEN. What makes this framework so different? Education isstill the ‘spine’ of the procedure but the 2014 Act imposes statutory obligations on not only the LA but also on Health and Social Care in the coordinated provision of services for SEN.

The LAmust have regard to the views of the child, young person or parent and the regime is outcome focused with high aspirations for each child, as an individual.

Key changes:

Bespoke ‘SEN Support’ replaces School Action and School Action Plus.

0-25 years Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and EHC Assessment, replaces statement (coordinated approach by all three agencies)

LAs must consult on and publish aLocal Offer, to provide clear, comprehensive, accessible and up-to-date information about the available provision for SEND.

Personal Budgets –An amount of money identified by the LA to deliver provision for SEN set out in the EHCP where the parent or young person is involved in securing the provision.

A new procedure for dispute resolution.

Transitional arrangements have been put in place for those children already with a Statement of SEN; all children to be transferred to a new EHCP by 2018 (date for transfer depends on individual circumstances).

For further information and advice on Education Law please contact Polly Mead on 01279 710637; Visit www.teeslaw.co.uk. Follow us on Twitter at @TeesEducation

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