Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Book Recommendation: Letters to a Law Student: A Guide to Studying Law at University by Nicholas J McBride

Letters to a Law Student relays all that a prospective law student needs to know before embarking on their studies. It provides a useful guide to those considering a law degree or conversion course and helps students prepare for what can be a daunting first year of study.

Available from Amazon

Friday, November 23, 2012

Article on House of Lords giving government's health and safety proposal a mauling

I've just done an article for a blog I write for a firm of solicitors on the extremely critical comments made in the House of Lords about the government's proposal to change the law on strict liability in civil proceedings. You can read it here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Book Recommendation: The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling

When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.
Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty facade is a town at war.
Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils... Pagford is not what it first seems.
And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?
A big novel about a small town, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling's first novel for adults. It is the work of a storyteller like no other.

Available from Amazon

Monday, November 19, 2012

Applying for a training contract?

Brought to you by our friends at Osborne Clarke 

For many students and aspiring lawyers, obtaining a training contract is a vital step in beginning your career. However, the number of students vying for training contracts, particularly at prestigious firms, means that competition is high. Applicants often need to meet certain criteria before being eligible to apply at some firms so it’s essential that potential applicants identify which firms they will be applying to and prepare themselves accordingly.

Candidates are expected to have solid grades and display a range of extra-curricular activities but this isn’t necessarily enough to secure a training contract at the firm of your choice. Firms vary considerably, both in the areas of law they practice and in location and firm culture. It’s important for potential applicants to identify the appropriate choice for them and not to simply apply to top firms without undertaking significant research into the firm. Applicants will need to justify their choice of firm in order to obtain a training contract so genuine passion for the law and firm as well as an understanding of what’s required from junior lawyers is beneficial.

When determining which firms to apply to many aspiring lawyers look at average salaries and equity shares between partners. While this can provide valuable information for qualified lawyers, they may not provide a very good indication of what it’s like to begin your career with the firm. Although difficult to find, profit-per-lawyer figures can give a better indication of the firm in relation to more junior staff.

Many trainees find themselves undertaking larger amounts of admin work when they start, with legal tasks increasing during their training. It can be long hours of unglamorous work but newly qualified solicitors generally receive good remuneration and are able to tackle more complex legal issues as their careers progress. Assessing firms on their level of trainee involvement and support can prove useful to candidates as it gives an insight into how the firm trains graduates and what your day-to-day life at the firm would be like.

There are many aspects to securing a training contract but it’s essential that prospective applicants identify the relevant firms to apply to before making any applications. By identifying the type of firms, location and firm culture most suited to you and exemplifying your reasoning behind this, applicants will increase their chances of obtaining a training contract and are more likely to be happy and successful in their new working environment.

Taking on a training contract at Osborne Clarke is not an easy option. You'll be challenged, but you'll be rewarded for it. For more information please visit

Article about government's reforms to strict liability in civil cases

I've just done an article for a blog I write for a firm of solicitors criticising the government's proposal to change the law on strict liability in civil proceedings. You can read it here.

Where to Look for Free Legal Advice

Brought to you by our friends at Coles Solicitors

Legal advice is by far and away the most important consideration for anyone intending on seeking legal proceedings, on any matter. The initial advice will clear any doubts in one’s mind regarding whether they are pursuing a worthy venture and provide some well needed clarity for people unsure on where it is they stand on certain disputes.

Now, legal advice can be a costly affair. Many lawyers will charge an hourly rate for a consultation, or others will expect a flat fee to oversee proceedings. Another, more rare option is attorneys who work on a contingency. This means they will take a cut of any compensation or pay-outs received as a result of a victory. Though, these can often-times prove to be a relatively high percentage of the winnings and can result in people paying over the odds for legal counsel.

Free Consultations Increasingly, however, many attorneys will provide a free initial consultation. This means you not only receive the highest quality, trustworthy, professional advice, but will save you hundreds of dollars in the process. For this reason; it’s definitely worth shopping around to find attorneys which offer this service. It is worth bearing in mind, however, that depending on the case and its level of complexity, it may be difficult to find attorneys offering free consultations for certain matters. Though, for personal injuries, compensation claims and other related cases you shouldn’t find it too difficult to find an attorney offering free consultations.

Online The internet is also a wealth of legal counsel, and the only cost often required, is that of your laptop and broadband connection. There are dozens of websites offering free-legal advice. (A simple Google search will return dozens of reputable sources). Many of these simply require your e-mail address and some minor details, or for you to sign up to their service. Now, we cannot claim the legitimacy of every website, as fundamentally anybody could be replying to your question. Though most have strict regimes ensuring they only allow accredited attorneys the ability to submit responses. As with everything on the web, it’s best not to take everything as gospel and simply use the services to weigh up whether it is worth seeking further counsel.

Pro Bono A venture certainly worth investigating is that of pro bono legal counsel. This is a service offered by lawyers and other such professionals, giving free or substantially cheaper services to particular members of society. Those who cannot afford expensive legal fees should be applicable to achieve the legal help they need free of charge via these services. An accepted quota is that pro bono is available to those earning under approximately 125 per cent of the federal poverty level. Also, pro bono services have been offered on ethical grounds since the start of the legal profession in the USA and are almost obligatory for many attorneys. The American Bar Association (ABA) encourages lawyers to contribute at least 50 hours per year to pro bono legal cases, though this figure is contested due to changes from state to state.  For example, the New York Bar Association recommends just 20 hours per year so it’s worth investigating to what extent your state advocate’s pro bono legal counsel.
The advice you receive before proceeding with any legal case is integral to the future of your fight. It is essential to ensure your cause is a worthy one, and that there is ample chance of victory. Quite frankly, it is also fundamentally foolish to pay over the odds for a legal consultation that you could get for free elsewhere.  However, whatever you decide ensures you know all of your rights and that you are completely familiar with your entitlements.

Author Bio: This post is by David Williamson who works as content writer.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Book Recommendation: A Possible Life by Sebastian Faulks

Terrified, a young prisoner in the Second World War closes his eyes and pictures himself going out to bat on a sunlit cricket ground in Hampshire.
Across the courtyard in a Victorian workhouse, a father too ashamed to acknowledge his son.
A skinny girl steps out of a Chevy with a guitar; her voice sends shivers through the skull.
Soldiers and lovers, parents and children, scientists and musicians risk their bodies and hearts in search of connection - some key to understanding what makes us the people we become.
Provocative and profound, Sebastian Faulks's dazzling novel journeys across continents and time to explore the chaos created by love, separation and missed opportunities. From the pain and drama of these highly particular lives emerges a mysterious consolation: the chance to feel your heart beat in someone else's life.

Available from Amazon

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Quality Solicitors - Not Faceless Solicitors

Brought to you by our friends at Quality Solicitors

QualitySolicitors is a group of modern, progressive law firms providing the highest standards of legal advice for individuals and businesses. They offer same-day response, initial free over-the-phone advice and will make clear all costs from the start. The brand is built upon providing clients with the highest standards of legal expertise combined with exceptional customer service, and believe that this is the only way forward in the legal market. Excellent customer service and a well-established reputation, backed by a recognised brand is a worthwhile investment.

QualitySolicitors also offer expert advice in over 400 locations across the UK. For more information visit So if you're in need of legal advice - don't use a faceless solicitor, use a Quality Solicitor. Check out their quirky video from the latest campaign below:

Book Recommendation: The Racketeer by John Grisham

Heads up for another fantastic read from John Grisham who takes a prisoner and the murder of a judge and manages to weave a story which leaves you turning the pages right through to the end. It is available from Amazon.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The SRA, referral fees and alternative business structures

I've just done an article for a blog I write for a firm of solicitors about the SRA seeming to change its tune when it comes to dealing with Alternative Business Structures in the context of the referral fee ban. You can read it here.