Category Archives: Property Law

Shoosmiths launches new Bereaved Service

Access Legal, the private client arm of top national law firm Shoosmiths LLP, has launched a new service for those recently bereaved that aims to provide a thoroughly professional, seamless, integrated and empathetic approach to the legal issues associated with a death.

Commenting on the new Bereaved Service launch, David Palmer, practice group head of Access Legal Private Client said: “Aligning our proposition to satisfy our clients’ need is key to how we differentiate ourselves. While other law firms simply list their products and services under categories and headings convenient for them, this new, integrated service addresses the complex and interconnected issues people have to face after a bereavement in a way they will appreciate and relate to.”

Presenting legal services in terms that are both understandable and accessible is nothing new for Access Legal. However, the new Bereaved Service is intended to grow into a comprehensive one-stop resource providing not just technical legal advice, but all the information, support and practical guidance needed in the aftermath of bereavement with absolutely no obligation to purchase or commission any of the services on offer.

National head of clinical negligence, Richard Follis, added: “The Bereaved Service does incorporate all the discrete areas of legal expertise that many other solicitors would offer, but what is new is the approach in providing those legal services together with other advice about benefits, official responsibilities and coping with the emotional impact of bereavement. To my knowledge, no other law firm has such a holistic, integrated proposition based on the needs of the bereaved rather than the convenience of lawyers.”

Follis maintains that the service has been shaped by the fact that bereavement is not a discrete or episodic experience. A death generates many onerous official tasks and obligations for surviving family and friends at what is an emotionally difficult time so the service aims to minimise the personal stress the recently bereaved must endure.

Practicalities may dictate legal expertise that could range from power of attorney prior to a death through to representation at an inquest, challenging a will, sorting out probate issues or seeking financial compensation immediately afterwards. However, Shoosmiths has also invested heavily in training the staff who will man a dedicated bereavement helpline to provide not just advice and assistance about legal issues, but also to understand the caller’s situation and give advice and guidance about the many issues that confront any recently bereaved person.

The helpline on 03700 864 570 is available seven days a week and lines are open Monday to Friday 8 am to 8 pm, Saturday 9 am to 6 pm and Sunday 10 am to 4 pm.

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Access Legal From Shoosmiths Announces Uplift On All Compensation Awards Next Year

Access Legal from Shoosmiths has announced that a decision handed down at the Court of Appeal recently means that people awarded damages in court for all personal injury claims will get 10% more compensation from next year.

A case handled by Shoosmiths’ private client arm Access Legal (Simmons vs Castle) was successfully taken to the Court of Appeal in February of this year and has been used by the Court of Appeal judges to set guidelines on the level of general damages at 10% higher than at the present time.

Access Legal’s client, Christopher Simmons, was riding his motorbike when the defendant carried out a U turn immediately in front of him, causing Mr Simmons to collide with the vehicle. He was knocked off his bike and thrown across the bonnet, suffering a traumatic rupture of the spleen and soft tissue injury to his knee. The personal injury solicitorssuccessfully won compensation amounting to more than £24,000.00 and if Mr Simmons should develop a long term disabling illness related to his injuries which causes significant ongoing loss of earnings, he can go back to the court for further compensation.

The proposed increase in damages is intended to ensure the reforms set out in the Legal Aid, Sentencing, and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 is a package to compensate for the loss of conditional fee agreements and after the event insurance when the rules come into force in April 2013. These new rules are based on the recommendations of a 2009 report produced by Sir Rupert Jackson (who sits in the Court of Appeal as Lord Justice Jackson) which proposed abolishing the no-win-no-fee Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) system where the claimant’s lawyers recover a ‘success fee’ to compensate for those cases that are not successful and where they cannot recover their costs.

Instead, from next year, the Act means that it’s the winning claimants who will have to pay the success fee (capped at 25%of the damages they are awarded). They will also no longer be able to recover premiums paid for After the Event insurance (taken out to cover having to pay the other side’s costs in the event they lose) from the defendant. This can be seen as a positive step against the background of the new rules which penalise deserving and genuine claimants on costs. At least the 10% uplift partially ameliorates the significant negative impact of the abolition of the claimant’s right to justice; however, claimants will still lose out.

Access Legal partner Rose Donoghue commented: “Although the 10% uplift on personal injury claims is a step in the right direction, we must not lose sight that the new rules may, because of the financial risks, deter those the individuals who have suffered serious injuries, from pursuing genuine claims.”

The package of measures introduced by the government to reform civil litigation costs emphasises why it’s now even more crucial that any solicitors appointed to represent a client in any personal injury claim is experienced, qualified and professional. No matter how credible and convincing the case may be, those involved are now exposed to a greater element of financial risk, so a solicitor who can give an accurate and realistic assessment of the chance of success based entirely on the merits of the case to ensure that any the damages due are retained is more important than ever.

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Access Legal From Shoosmiths Wins Compensation For Former Prison Officer

Access Legal from Shoosmiths has reported a significant compensation win for a former prison officer diagnosed with mesothelioma.

The 63 year old, who was diagnosed with the fatal illness in June 2011, sought advice from Access Legal from Shoosmiths, concerned to ensure his wife would be adequately provided for in the event of his inevitable death. The Yorkshire man had worked for the prison service in the 1990’s up until the early 2000’s. It was during this period that he was exposed to asbestos when he was required to inspect the prison boiler houses, roofs and cellars which contained asbestos and were in a poor state of repair.

The prison authorities also arranged for asbestos removal in parts of the prison and, while the contractors actually carrying out the work took precautions, his employers did not make provision to ensure he was adequately protected during the times when he came into contact with the asbestos. Nor did they give him any training on the dangers of asbestos in the course of carrying out his normal duties to ensure the security of the prison, which inevitably required him to enter areas where removal work was being carried out. It was therefore while conducting his normal and expected work as a prison officer that he was exposed to the hazardous dust.

After receiving instructions from the client, Sara Hunt, Access Legal partner and asbestos specialist, began to assemble all the medical evidence required for the case. Mesothelioma is a malignant and sadly incurable illness. Once contracted, all medical intervention can hope to achieve is to relieve the symptoms and pain and marginally increase life expectancy. Mesothelioma can be caused by one single asbestos fibre and can take as long as 40-60 years before someone exposed to asbestos will develop the illness. Despite his pessimistic prognosis, the former prison officer insisted that Access Legal pursue the mesothelioma claim so that his wife would be adequately provided for.

Sara Hunt, partner and asbestos specialist commented: “Compensation can never replace someone’s good health but in this case we could at least ensure that his wife would be financially secure for the future which was our client’s main objective.”

On settlement Access Legal’s client said: “A heartfelt thanks from my wife and me for your attentiveness and professionalism. Thank you to you, your staff and colleagues in pursuit of my claim.”

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Time Is Running Out to Use The Lifetime Gifting Rules That Can Really Help Family Businesses

The president signed a new tax law back in December of 2010 giving the owners of family businesses probably the biggest tax break to come in several years.

However, that tax break, the lifetime gift exemption, $5 Million ($10 Million for a married couple), is in effect for only two years (2011 & 2012).

While the estate tax exemption amount had been increasing year to year, the lifetime gift exemption had stayed at $1 Million over the past 10 years.

But, the current law “sunsets” on December 31, 2012, and on January 1, 2013, the lifetime gift exclusion amount and the estate tax exemption will both decrease to $1 Million.

Even if you had previously used up your $1 Million lifetime gift tax exemption in prior years, you still have time to shift an additional $4 Million out of your estate to your family.

This two year window allows the owners of family businesses to transfer the stock of their closely held companies to the children or other family members and reduce the size of their estates, all tax free up to the exemption amount.

This strategy raises difficult questions for those now in charge as to how to maintain control and/or stream of income from the company they currently work in and manage. How do they protect their interests and maintain their retirement while passing wealth down to the family?

Experienced estate planning lawyers can develop “salary continuation plans”, “consulting agreements”, and other legal mechanisms to protect the owner’s financial stake in the family company.

Other difficult questions include how to treat other beneficiaries fairly when only one of the beneficiaries is going to eventually lead the business.

This may mean an amendment to the estate plan. The timing, nature and size of the gifts have to be considered in the context of the overall estate plan.

Time is of the essence in view of the fact that the $5 Million lifetime gift exclusion will disappear at the end of 2012, and go back to $1 Million.

“It is wise to consult with your estate planning attorney before making any kind of gift transfer” said Orange County Estate Planning Attorney Dwight E. Tompkins.

For additional information on the latest estate planning law contact Attorney Dwight E. Tompkins or visit www.Tompkins-law.com.

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Access Legal From Shoosmiths Announces £10.8m Payout For 11-Year-Old Left Disabled From Birth

Access Legal from Shoosmiths has announced that Milly Evans, an 11-year-old-girl left severely disabled from birth, was awarded £10.8 million compensation.

The national law firm Access Legal and its team of medical negligence solicitors helped secure the amount – believed to be one of the largest ever in the UK – at a High Court hearing.

The injury to Milly happened during her birth at Lincoln County Hospital. Milly’s mother, Kate Evans, was already in established labour when she was admitted to hospital at 7pm on 1 March 2001. Her baby’s heart was initially monitored, but later heart rate monitoring was totally inadequate. By 10pm it was discovered that the baby had an abnormal heart rate and was suffering fetal distress.

Milly was born at 10.20pm and transferred to the neo-natal unit, where she underwent resuscitation and suffered a seizure. Mrs Evans said that if the baby’s heart had been properly monitored, the midwife would have spotted the fetal distress sooner and Milly would have been delivered earlier and not suffered catastrophic injury.

After many years, United Lincolnshire Hospital NHS Trust, which runs Lincoln County Hospital, eventually admitted liability for its mistakes, but national law firm Access Legal from Shoosmiths had to fight to secure adequate compensation for Milly.

Milly suffers from cerebral palsy and requires 24-hour care. In addition to being confined to a wheelchair, she is unable to speak and is dependent on others for all daily activities. Milly’s intellect has remained fairly well intact, and she communicates through an eye-gaze system.

Milly’s parents will use the money to pay for past and future full-time carers, plus ongoing treatment, education, special equipment, transport, and loss of future earnings. Additionally, the compensation amount takes into account general damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity.

Mr and Mrs Evans have had to make many sacrifices for their daughter over the last 11years. Milly’s father, Andy, was an RAF Squadron Leader and a former member of the famous Red Arrows display team. He was not able to continue with his career as a consequence of Milly’s disabilities.

Milly will now be able to have a specially-adapted home featuring hoists and a hydrotherapy pool, and it will be big enough for Milly to access all rooms in her wheelchair.

Mrs Evans said: “We’ve all been through a very difficult time. The money will never make up for the mistake that condemned Milly to a lifetime of dependency on others. However, it will ensure that Milly is provided with full-time care and equipment throughout her life. We now want to build a loving and secure life for Milly in a new adapted home.”

Access Legal partner and medical negligence specialist Denise Stephens said: “Milly is an amazing girl, with a beautiful smile and a sense of humour. She requires round-the-clock care and attention, and will do so for the rest of her life. It was crucial, therefore, that we were able to secure a compensation award of this size to provide for Milly’s needs.”

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Access Legal from Shoosmiths announces that it will provide free wills for Marie Cure Cancer Care charity

Access Legal from Shoosmiths has announced that it will become the national free wills provider for end of life care charity Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Access Legal will support Marie Curie’s Free Wills Scheme by writing wills for anyone over the age of 55. The service will be provided with the hope that some people will include a gift in their wills to the Marie Curie Cancer Care charity; however, there is no obligation to do so.

In addition to Access Legal from Shoosmiths, other law firms and will-writing providers will continue to work for the charity as well.

Tevor George, Partner and Head of Access Legal’s Wills, Family and Wealth Team said: “We feel privileged and very proud to be associated with such a highly respected UK charity in this way.

“We’ll work closely with Marie Curie Cancer Care to ensure that both the charity and its supporters benefit from the free Will writing service our knowledgeable legal advisers are able to provide.

“This is a new and exciting relationship, and one we hope will last for many years to come.”

Marie Curie Cancer Care is dedicated to providing quality end of life care to patients and their family members. In addition to its home nursing service and nine hospices, it also supports terminally ill patients with more logistical advance care planning- often with the help of its partners. Advance care planning may include making advanced funeral arrangements, setting up an advance directive and writing a living will.

Access Legal is highly qualified to take on this charitable endeavour, as it devotes a large portion of its consumer services to wills, family and wealth. It offers legal advice on probate, making a will, contesting a will, inheritance tax and estate administration. The Access Legal website features will-related case studies, useful legal guides and an extensive FAQ section on wills and family law.

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PLS Secures Law Society Quality Mark

Cheshire-based law firm PLS Solicitors has been granted membership to the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS), having been adjudged to have met a number of standards as laid out by the Society.

The CQS was established to provide consumers with a guide of quality for residential home-buying practices, thereby reducing fraud and driving up standards by enabling consumers to make more informed decisions when entering into the conveyance process. Law Society president John Wotton explained that with so many solicitors offering conveyancing services, it can sometimes be difficult for consumers to find a suitable firm.

“CQS improves efficiency with common, consistent standards and service levels and enables consumers to recognise practices that provide a quality residential conveyancing service,” he said. “Buying a home is one of the largest purchases anyone will make in their lifetime, so it is essential that it is done to the highest standard by a solicitor.”

Aashim Dhand, Managing Partner of PLS Solicitors welcomed the development, citing it as evidence to his company’s commitment to providing would-be homebuyers with a consistently high standard of service and helping to ensure that property transactions pass through as smoothly as possible. He also noted the difference quality conveyancing can make to alleviate much of the stress that so often goes with buying property.

Solicitors have to undergo a strict assessment in order to earn CQS accreditation – which is only open to members of the Law Society – and the initiative is backed by bodies including the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the Association of British Insurers, the Legal Ombudsman and the Building Societies Association. Compulsory training, random audits and self-assessments are all essential elements of securing CQS status, and must also undergo annual reviews in order to maintain it.

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Cheshire Solicitors Proud To Be Awarded Conveyancing Mark Of Quality

Hale, Cheshire-based solicitors’ practice PLS Solicitors is proud to announce that it has been granted membership of the Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS).

The scheme is an initiative overseen by The Law Society, the main regulatory body which oversees and enforces standards of practice in all aspects of the legal profession. It is designed to help anyone selling a house to find a conveyancing solicitor who knows their area and whose work they can trust.

The Law Society itself says that the CQS is intended to “create a trusted community which year on year will drive up standards.”

Aashim Dhand, Managing Partner of PLS Solicitors, says his company’s admission to the CQS is an endorsement of the high standards which he and his colleagues in the company’s residential conveyancing department always aim to meet.

“A conveyancing solicitor plays a small, but absolutely vital, part in ensuring that any property transaction is conducted according to prescribed rules,” he said.

“But more importantly, the quality of their work and processes can make a big difference to how smoothly such transactions run.

“While buying property is still considered one of the most stressful things people do in their lives, sympathetic and thorough conveyancing solicitors can do a great deal to guide people through the maze of options associated with any property transaction, including equity release and lease options for purchases of properties with this type of tenure,” Mr Dhand added.

As a company proud of its standing as part of a select network of Manchester solicitors whose services are endorsed by the Law Society, PLS Solicitors is hoping that this approval will be seen as a sign of the trust they can have in getting the best possible service, no matter what the nature of their customers’ property law needs.

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PLS Solicitors begins work with Twenty Ten equity fund

Well-known law firm PLS Solicitors has announced plans to become a preferred supplier for the private equity fund Twenty Ten Capital LLP. PLS Solicitors provides many legal services, including residential conveyancingcompromise agreements and employment law advice.

Twenty Ten works with up-and-coming businesses and helps them to create value, as well as providing support for companies that are facing stressful situations and challenging environments. The company invests in all manner of sectors and has a number of high-profile portfolio companies.

As a supplier for Twenty Ten, PLS Solicitors will work alongside its portfolio companies and will help in providing advice and support in the area of employment law. The solicitors in Manchester will provide guidance with employment handbooks, service contracts and all other employment related issues for Twenty Ten’s businesses.

PLS Solicitors has already started working with one of Twenty Ten’s biggest clients, the Metropolis Group, to great effect.

“We have been impressed with the attitude shown by PLS Solicitors to date,” said Parminder Basran, Managing Partner of Twenty Ten Capital LLP “Our businesses have received good commercial advice on areas of concern so far and we see PLS Solicitors as an integral operational partner for our business going forward.

“Twenty Ten, like PLS Solicitors, are a driven and highly commercial organisation and we are pleased to surround ourselves with likeminded partners.”

Meanwhile, Adam Pavey, Partner at PLS Solicitors, has said: “We are really excited about the prospect of working with Twenty Ten Capital and their businesses. We have found them an extremely savvy and commercially aware fund – they are really going places and we hope as one of their preferred suppliers we can grow with them.

“To be working with high profile companies such as the Metropolis Group really excites us – especially as the companies are based in London and, as you are aware, we are seeking to move into this market next year by opening our first office there.”

To find out more about PLS Solicitors visit www.proplegal.co.uk now. For more information on Twenty Ten Capital visit www.twentytencapital.eu.

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Property Legal aids in Manchester Law Society twinning

Property Legal partner Adam Pavey has aided in the twinning of the Manchester Law Society and the Italian Padua Law Society, with hopes that the two societies will be able to encourage international links.

Manchester and Padua have many similarities, with both cities being cultural and economic centres, and the new twinning agreement has been designed to help young lawyers to train in Manchester and Padua. The agreement will also highlight the many solicitors in Manchester and will allow it to gain more attention.

Adam Pavey, who orchestrated the agreement, said: “We want to create links with business and give Manchester a higher profile in Europe, rather than London taking all the limelight.”

Mr Pavey, an international officer for the Manchester Law Society, explained that though the two cities have very different legal systems, there are high hopes for the agreement.

It is to include an exchange programme between Manchester University and Padua University to help law students and recently qualified lawyers to gain valuable experience. According to the Manchester Law Society, many Italian lawyers have already said they hope to begin work at Manchester firms, with a focus being put on corporate lawyers hoping to deal with international issues.

John Dunn, president of the Manchester Law Society, said: “In these difficult economic times it is all the more important to build ties between countries. We need a strong Europe to help the economic framework that allows people to live in peace and prosper.

The president of the Padua Law Society, Lorenzo Locatelli, said: “I am sure that our work and cooperation can be successful, especially for young lawyers. My hope is that young Italian and English lawyers in our beautiful profession can work together.”

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Property Legal Solicitors gears up for rebrand

Commercial and residential property specialist Property Legal Solicitors is to re-brand to PLS Solicitors, following impressive expansion in the years since the firm was first set up in October 2008.

Originally established by Aashim Dhand and Robert Thomas, PLS Solicitors is based in Hale, Greater Manchester, and is well-known for providing clients with a trustworthy and focused service that yields successful results. The upcoming rebrand, which is set for February 2012, will see the solicitors moving towards being known as a full service law firm.

Currently, PLS Solicitors practices property law and is able to lend its services to all aspects of residential and commercial conveyancing, including equity release, remortgaging, property lease options and bridging loans. In July 2011 Adam Pavey joined as the firm’s litigation and employment partner. Aside from rebranding, PLS Solicitors will now being practicing dispute and employment law, with its new services helping clients to claim compensation with regards to redundancy, unfair dismissal and harassment at work.

PLS Solicitors will also offer services for litigation, debt recovery, intellectual property protection, compromise agreements, personal injury claims and work accident compensation, as well as many others. The firm is also happy to provide prospective clients with employment law advice and works throughout the Greater Manchester area.

Aashim Dhand, Managing Partner of PLS Solicitors, said: “Our rebrand will take PLS Solicitors in a new direction and will help us to attract more corporate clients to our ever-growing client book. We also have plans to establish a second office in London by 2013, which we are very confident about.

“We have big plans for PLS Solicitors and are already one of the foremost solicitors in Manchester, but the decision to rebrand will take us much further. At PLS Solicitors we always put the client first and work with them to get the best result, and we know that it is this that will carry us forward in the future.”

To find out more about PLS Solicitors, visit www.proplegal.co.uk now.

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Property Legal Helps Ensure Record Entries For Manchester Legal Awards 2012

Hale-based commercial and residential property law specialist Property Legal has helped to ensure a record number of entries for this year’s Manchester Legal Awards.

It is the first time that Property Legal has submitted an entry and there are strong hopes that the company will be selected to go through to the second round of the competition later this month. From its beginnings trading from the back office of an estate agency, the business has grown into an established and respected law firm with 18 members of staff in just over three years.

Managing partner Aashim Dhand said the speed with which the business has grown has been astonishing and that concentrating on a niche sector and providing a trusted and reliable service to clients has paid dividends.

He said: “We’re thrilled to have entered this year’s competition and everyone at Property Legal is crossing their fingers in the hope that we can progress in the Small Law Firm of the Year category. We have taken a keen interest in the Manchester Legal Awards over the past two years and are very excited to be taking part.

“The competition will no doubt be extremely strong once again from solicitors in Manchester, but hopefully the judges will be impressed by the growth Property Legal has enjoyed since being established just over three years ago. Setting up at the end of 2008 when the global recession really began to kick in was extremely tough, but hard work has seen the business prosper.”

Nominations for the awards have now closed and the competition judges are busy deciding which entries will make it through to the final shortlist. The companies that have been selected to proceed to the second round will be announced on December 22. Shortlisted firms will be interviewed in late January, ahead of the awards ceremony which is due to be held at Manchester’s Midland Hotel on March 1.

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Access Legal Helps To Launch New Pro Bono Law Clinic

Access Legal, the consumer brand of national law firm Shoosmiths, has helped launch a pro bono law clinic in Northampton. The joint venture, called the Northampton and District Citizens Advice Bureau pro bono clinic, provides clients with free legal advice from Access Legal experts.

The new clinic is the result of a joint effort between Access Legal, Northampton and District CAB, the University of Northampton Law School and LawWorks, all of whom recognised the immense public value of free legal services. These organisations understand that many people across the UK cannot afford to hire solicitors despite urgently needing legal advice.

More than 30 attendees joined Access Legal and the other organisations involved in the pro bono clinic to celebrate its official launch during National Pro Bono Week.

Paul Morrison, Partner at Access Legal, said: “We’re delighted to have had the opportunity to be involved with such an excellent cause.

“The opportunity to work alongside well respected and dedicated groups such as the CAB, the University of Northampton Law School, and LawWorks has been fantastic; it’s given us the chance to use our professional knowledge and expertise for the benefit of those in the community who find it hard to otherwise access legal advice.”

Together, Access Legal and its partners at the clinic will provide members of the community with legal services that are completely free of charge. Some of the legal services provided by Access Legal’s experts include: legal advice on employment disputes, landlord and tenant issues and consumer rights.

The chief executive of the Northampton and Distract CAB, Martin Lord, echoed Paul Morrison’s sentiments, saying: “This is a significant development for us. It ushers in what we hope will be a new era of cooperation with the legal community.”

Lord went on to say that all of the bro bono support involved in establishing the clinic represents an untapped resource for the community. He expressed his gratitude to the University of Northampton Law School, LawWorks and Access Legal for their efforts in developing the clinic and setting a positive tone of collaboration for the future.

The pro bono clinic is one of many charitable endeavours that Access Legal has taken part in. The company also recently raised more than £30,000 for one of its charity partners, Aspire, which provides practical support for individuals with spinal cord injuries.

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Access Legal Contributes To ‘Aspire’ Charity

Access Legal, the consumer brand of national law firm Shoosmiths, has raised more than £30,000 for Aspire, a charity that provides practical support for individuals suffering spinal cord injuries. The charity is one of the firm’s 2010 nominated charity partners.

Access Legal had originally pledged to raise £25,000 for Aspire, but exceeded its initial pledge by an additional £5,000. This donation will allow Aspire to pursue its mission to help people with spinal cord injuries live their life in as happy a manner as possible.

The fundraising effort involved a variety of events, including challenges that the Access Legal staff underwent in exchange for sponsorship from friends, family and co-workers. Some staff members went sky diving to raise money for the cause, while others participated in a 10k fun run.

One of the most difficult challenges completed by Access Legal staff was a sponsored swim across the English Channel. Additionally, employees of Access Legal took part in a rugby game against the London Wheelchair Rugby team and some staff members underwent the 177-mile Offa’s Dyke challenge.

The Aspire charity’s mission ties in closely with the Access Legal brand, which provides personal injury claim services for people who have suffered spinal cord injuries.

At the opening of Aspire’s newest specialist home for those paralysed through spinal injury, members of Access Legal’s staff were in attendance to show the support for the charity’s cause. The staff members who attended the opening event for Aspire’s Buckingham House included: catastrophic injuries expert Chris McKinney, mixed liability department head Sarah Lake, trainee solicitor Oliver Spicer and campaign assistant Georgia Baillieu.

Every year people across the UK suffer from spinal cord injuries, which can cause partial or full paralysis. Such injuries are often caused by road traffic accidents, but may also be a result of falls or sport-related contact. Access Legal from Shoosmith is determined to offer the victims of spinal injuries the legal services they deserve and to help its charity partner, Aspire, provide them with specialist living facilities.

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Access Legal From Shoosmiths Secures Law Society CQS Status

Access Legal from Shoosmiths has secured the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS), making it the largest law firm in England and Wales to do so.

The Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) requires practices to undergo a strict assessment, compulsory training, self-reporting, random audits and annual reviews in order to maintain CQS status. It is open only to members of the Law Society who meet the demanding standards set by the scheme, and has the support of the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the Building Societies’ Association, Legal Ombudsman, and the Association of British Insurers.

Desmond Hudson, Chief Executive at the Law Society said: “Access Legal from Shoosmiths’ accreditation illustrates that CQS is an initiative that is suitable for firms of all sizes.

“Firms that have gone through the CQS application and assessment process have gained the quality mark in recognition of the high standards they have met in residential conveyancing. CQS is the benchmark for the conveyancing sector, and Access Legal from Shoosmiths’ commitment to securing it is further acknowledgement of the high standards the scheme embodies.”

David Parton, partner at Access Legal from Shoosmiths added: “We’re delighted to have secured CQS accreditation, which is recognition that this particular consumer service meets the benchmark for conveyancing set by the Law Society.

“It enables our current and future residential conveyancing clients to identify the excellent service level we provide, at what is often a stressful time for many people.

“Our clients receive a reliable, efficient service, which is at the heart of our ethos and the CQS standard.”

Access Legal from Shoosmiths assists clients in preparing to move house and provide legal advice for whatever issues they may encounter. Its solicitors are experts in the conveyancing process and its services are available on a no-move no-fee basis.

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Osbornes Solicitors LLP Receives Quality Mark From Law Society’s Quality Conveyancing Scheme

Osbornes solicitors, based in Pratt Street in Camden, is pleased to announce that our application to become a member of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme has been successful. The Law Society’s Transaction Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) is a quality standard for residential conveyancing practices.

The Conveyancing Quality Scheme was launched in January 2011, since when over 900 law firms have applied for the quality mark. Out of these firms fewer than 300 have been admitted thus far.

The CQS is a scheme designed to give clients (buyers, sellers and lenders) confidence in the standard of conveyancing work they will receive by providing a recognisable kitemark for accredited conveyancing firms. It is based on a new Law Society Protocol which aims to achieve consistent standards across the sector in order to speed up the conveyancing process and provide more certainty for buyers and sellers.

Jan Atkinson, Partner and Head of the property law Department at Osbornes commented:

“Receiving this quality mark from the Law Society strengthens the existing reputation that our property team has of providing high quality advice and service to its clients. This independent quality mark from the Law Society demonstrates that the members of the property team at Osbornes provide an expert service to their clients.”

For further information about this quality mark and to find out what property services we offer clients please contact Maria Elliot or Justine Simms on 0207 485 8811. Alternatively you can e-mail on mariaelliot@osbornes.net or justinesimms@osbornes.net. You can also visit our website at www.osbornes.net.

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Shoosmiths Appoints David Palmer as New Head of Access Legal

Shoosmiths has announced it has appointed David Palmer has the new head of its consumer legal services operation Access Legal. David has been appointed to drive Access Legal forward after a successful first 18 months.

David will be taking over from the current head of consumer services, Judith Dorkins, who has worked for Shoosmiths for 20 years, and spent months helping to develop and launch Access Legal.

Judith Dorkins, who is retiring to pursue other interests, commented on David taking over from her: “David is an experienced business leader who had developed success across a wide range of sectors and for some of the most challenging and innovative international companies.

“He has just the skills we were looking for to take Access Legal to the next level in the journey to become a leading and trusted provider of high quality legal services to consumers.”

David Palmer, new head of consumer services, Access Legal, commented: “This is a wonderful challenge at what is an exciting time for the consumer legal services market. To be the leading player as we intend in this brave new world we must offer legal expertise coupled with traditional service values, delivered in a modern way that deploys the best practices from other fast-moving consumer sectors. I’m looking forward to making this happen.”

Before moving to Access Legal, David has enjoyed a wide ranging career, including roles such as director of the UK personal cards business of Citigroup, international marketing head for US private equity and investment banking group Robert W Baird, and head of personal customer marketing for Royal Bank of Scotland’s card division.

Access Legal was first launched in February 2010, and marked its first year anniversary at the start of 2011 with an impressive set of launch-year statistics.

It recorded a 178% increase in direct enquiries, saw web enquiries up more than 100%, staff referrals and member claims climbed from 1% to 11% and it experienced 25 times more enquiries through recommendations.

Via EPR Network
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Access Legal from Shoosmiths joins the Institute of Customer Service

Access Legal from Shoosmiths has announced it has joined the Institute of Customer Service, making it the first top 30 legal services firm to do so.

The national law firm believes that becoming a member of the Institute of Customer Service will help support its key strategic aim of delivering the highest levels of client and customer service.

Access Legal provides a variety of services including personal injury claims, and considers customer service to be extremely important. The team at Access Legal aim to be friendly, supportive and caring and treat each client as a real person rather than a ‘case’.

Claire Rowe, chief executive of Shoosmiths, commented: “One of Shoosmiths’ central tenets is that only the very best customer service is good enough.

“And while we’re proud of the service levels we’ve already achieved, we’re the first to acknowledge that there’s always room for improvement.

“We must make sure everyone at the firm is committed to delivering great customer service all the time, which is why we’re rolling out an Institute-associated people development programme, to ensure client service is understood at all levels of the firm.

“One of the reasons we chose to join the Institute is because it’s recognised as the leading body in its field by so many of our clients. And it would be wonderful to think that as the first top 30 law firm to join it, we might just be setting a new benchmark for the legal industry.”

The Institute of Customer Service is an independent, professional membership body for customer service. It aims to be the first port of call for every aspect of customer service, so that its customers can improve their business performance and their overall customer experience.

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Access Legal Announces Appointment Of Nicholas Tubb To Medical Negligence Team

Access Legal from Shoosmiths, the national consumer legal services provider, has announced it has hired Nicholas Tubb as its new partner in the medical negligence team.

Tubb has joined Access Legal from Challinors’ clinical negligence department and will be based in Access Legal’s Birmingham office.

Tubb has considerable experience in the sector and has specialised in medical negligence claims on behalf of patients and their families for more than 10 years, with a particular interest in complex cases and a wide experience of claims involving surgical errors and deaths following treatment. He also has a keen interest in getting answers for patients and their families.

A partner since 2005, Tubb has successfully pursued complex birth injury, brain and spinal injury claims for clients, securing a number of multi-million pound awards.

He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, the Professional Negligence Lawyers Association, and is a panel member of AvMA (Action Against Medical Accidents).

The team at Access Legal from Shoosmiths is growing and Nicholas Tubb will strengthen its medical negligence offering.

Richard Follis, partner and national head of medical negligence, Access Legal, said: “Ours is a growing team at a time when there’s a worrying rise in the number of patients receiving inadequate or negligent care at the hands of health professionals.

“Nick’s knowledge in this highly specialised area, plus his excellent contacts and connections in the city and the wider region, will undoubtedly bolster our already strong team.”

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Access Legal Announces Sponsorship of Leon Hunt

Access Legal, the consumer legal services provider, has announced it will be sponsoring motorcycle racer Leon Hunt in this season’s Metzeler National Superstock Championship.

Access Legal will be backing the 22-year-old from Brighton in all 12 rounds of the series, which began at Easter, at Brands Hatch. This is the first time that Access Legal has sponsored a rider.

Leon is racing for Lincoln-based team AP Kawasaki in the Superstock 1000cc class, which supports the popular MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship. He will be riding a brand new Kawasaki ZX-10R.

Leon began racing at the end of 2003, and has been successful on 125cc machines through to Superstock bikes. He won a 125 series and had podium positions in the British Championship, where he also enjoyed several top five finishes.

Access Legal also has a motoring law team, which is run by bikers and provides a service to bikers and other members of the public who have a motoring law question.

Simon Richards, team leader (legal executive) at Access Legal, said: “Being bikers ourselves, we follow the Superstock series avidly, and have known Leon for a couple of years. We’re excited to be able to get involved and we’re confident he’ll do well on the new ZX-10R. We wish him the best of luck for the series.”

Leon Hunt commented: “I really enjoyed my first year in the Superstock 1000cc class last year,” he said “but we had a little bit of bad luck and I had to train harder to get used to the longer races. I feel confident this season, and hope to be at the sharp end.”

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