Showing posts from May, 2012

Guest Post: Creating the perfect legal CV

A CV is the first opportunity to show a potential employer that you are qualified for a role and getting it wrong can mean the difference between a job offer and not even making it to an interview. While there are many specifics to consider when writing a CV for a legal role, there are general points which should be kept in mind – it sounds simple, but making sure any contact details given on a CV are correct is key. You don’t want a wrong phone number or email address to mean an interview offer is given to another candidate, so check, double check and then check again. As well as this, remember that it is your responsibility to present information about yourself in the best way possible. By putting something at the top of your CV you are telling a potential employer that this is the most important thing about you – so make sure it is something like experience relevant to the role, and not the fact you have a GCSE in Art! When writing your CV you should also make sure that you can …

Fighting back against the PI claims scandal

The personal injury niche generally comes in for a lot of bad press – deservedly so at times. As well as the infamous ambulance-chasing antics, sketchy client care and extortionate success fees, the dubious business of cross-referrals can badly impact the credibility of firms which work in this area.Perhaps most pernicious of all is the practice of insurance companies selling potential claims to the firm of solicitors with the highest bid. (Think of it as exploiting claimants via e-Bay). 
In response to some of the more dubious practices exhibited by their peers, Spencers solicitors have decided it’s time to bring these antics out into the open and have set up a dedicated site along with an eBay page.Look at ‘im…. poor sod“The bidding is open to you to claim your share of compensation from this man's horrific plight. The odds of a large and successful claim are virtually guaranteed, so don't miss the boat. Get bidding on this man today. Remember, the highest bidder wins!”...Oo…

Solve wasted heat and office greenery in one

From How to Geek: I can’t exactly recall when the idea came to me, but at some point I started wanting to use the heat from a computer as a way to warm the soil and help with germination/growth.  I became hooked on the idea of using computer heat as a way to control the soil temperature of some sort of living plant life. The result is a rather clever design that uses acrylic cylinders filled with soil to draw heat up to to the planter in the top of the case. Hit up the link below for a very detailed run down of the project including results from various temperature tests.Most office workers have desktop PCs churning away all day every day (well, throughout the working week, anyway) which brings office temperatures to the high seventies by mid-afternoon. Equally, most office workers (particularly solicitors it seems) like to be surrounded by greenery, plants and other nick-nacks better suited to a greenhouse. Personally, I’ve never seen the attraction with indoor plants; I couldn’t …

Hitting back at the text-walkers

From the Metro 15/05/12: People texting while walking in Fort Lee, New Jersey, could be slapped with an $85 (£53) fine after police decided to clamp down on the activity.It’s better than me slapping them I suppose. The Fort Lee Police Department has issued 117 tickets for reckless walking in the past month, with offenders being forced to pay the penalty. Officers pointed out at least 20 pedestrians who had been hit by cars while texting and walking to justify the fine. Police chief Thomas Ripoli said: 'Pedestrians aren't watching where they're walking, they're not aware.' However, people have only been fined if they are ignoring traffic signs or jaywalking because they are too busy looking at their phones, with walking along the sidewalk apparently still above the law.Remember this? Sometimes falling into an open sewer just isn’t deterrent enough. I’m still astounded at the number of people I’ve personally witnessed walk head-on into obstacles, crash into other peo…

Best exam advice ever

Judging from the stats on my blog at the moment, there are a lot of students (and not just law students) who are desperate (I mean really desperate!!) to find some kind of magic answer to: how to revise super-effectively and craft great answers in exams; knowing what’s going to come up in their exams; fluking their exams with or without any revisions if all else fails; and ending the months (years?) of studying torment because, you know, it’s all got a bit too much.Hmm - must be that time of year or something! This year, there's been a big focus on question spotting for some reason. Trying to question spot and limiting your preparation is always a dangerous practice. I didn’t do it for any of my LLB, LLM or LPC exams and I’m still thankful I had the sense not to try.  I remember my biology teacher at A level bizarrely boasting that “we’re in the business of question spotting” (I think he fancied himself as a bit of an expert at it). Sadly he proved to be wildly myopic (and I …

Stock photos – the generic face of today’s law firm

I’m no branding expert, but I know when something’s wrong. And I see a lot of things wrong with the websites of law firms out there.When you want to stand out, it’s counterintuitive to plaster your website and promotional materials with the same default stock image of a lawyer or other professional in a fricking dark suit.But it happens ALL … THE … TIME.There’s nothing quite like a sea of generic looking websites all selling legal services that look so similar you can’t tell them apart. Firms (or their web designers) seem to have a love of insipid, lifeless and inaccessibly corporate stock photos (usually one of the brunettes above) plastered across their sites as though it’s a badge of honour.I saw an ad in the Metro the other day (yes, the Metro!!) for a firm whose strapline was, “no ordinary law firm”. Naturally it featured a generic stock photo of (you guessed) that same brunette in a dark suit. Ordinary?  Ordinary? Well, maybe their legal services aren’t, but their ads certainly …

Coffee trips, slips and spillages

There’s nothing worse than a soggy bourbon!
(Most) lawyers love coffee. In fact, I have heard it said there is a direct correlation between the greatness of a lawyer and the blend of coffee he or she drinks. I’m not so sure about that, but anecdotally at least, I think it’s a fair statement that the majority of lawyers love their coffee.I’m sure we’ve all had a mug miscalculation at work which results in stained trousers and a damp crouch for the rest of the afternoon. Ahem. Well, I know I have.  Walking back to your desk with hot mug of something can be hazardous too (and not just for the office carpet).  Thankfully, a new scientific study may help to reduce the risks (I’m glad the UK taxpayer hasn’t forked out for this wondrous insight, though). From 09/05/12: Ever wondered why it's so hard to walk with a cup of coffee without spilling? It just so happens that the human stride has almost exactly the right frequency to drive the natural oscillations of coffee, when the…

It’s getting kind of quiet around here…

I’ve just been clearing out / sorting some more of my Google Reader subscriptions.  What the hell has happened to the ‘blawgosphere’?  The legal bloggers who I always regarded as ‘old timers’ are looking a bit thin on the ground suddenly, and those who are still about, haven’t updated in a while.I’m scared to speak too loudly in case it echoes!  You’ll be telling me there’s tumbleweed rolling down the road next…Ah – crap!

Clinton Cards - Another one bites the dust

From the Telegraph 09/05/12: In 2009 it made a pre-tax profit of £24.1m on sales of £345m, an operating profit margin of 7pc. Last year it made a loss of £10.6m on sales of £364m. The change in its fortunes has been swift. But it has been building up for a while. The company for too long was dismissive of the threat from email and e-cards, claiming most people enjoy sending and receiving real cards through the post. That may have been true a few years ago, but with high quality smart phones and slick competition from upstart rivals like Moon Pig, Clintons was in trouble. Who really wants to take a trip to an out of town retail park to buy a birthday card?Actually, on sales of £364m, an awful lot of people, apparently. The company reacted by launching its own e-card business. Maureen Hinton at Verdict, a retail analyst, said it was too little, too late. Clintons has also found its business model – plastering the high street with its shops and buying up its rival Birthdays – to be c…

Lee Mack and Magic Eye chins

As a kid I could never “see” Magic Eye prints (I mean, random dot autostereograms).  Then again, I kept failing my colour blindness tests at school because I got it into my head I was looking for a tiny little black number somewhere in the big multi-coloured circle of dots.  Once I knew what I was looking for, I passed with flying (ahem) colours.Yep, I wasn’t very observant, but I like to think I’ve improved on that front.My girlfriend’s take on that story is that I was stupid, not colour blind.  Charming.  Quite possibly true, too.  Anyway, I stumbled across the following picture on Digg under the heading “Attention to Detail”.  I’m not sure what kind of person spots these things just watching a show, but I know I wouldn’t have spotted it Think of a number: what’s Lee got on his mind?

A Jury of Your Pyrs

I’ve found StatCounter to be an excellent way of discovering new content in the past. Sometimes a site links to Law Actually totally unbeknownst to me and when a visitor swings by via that link, it’s logged in my stats, so I take a quick look.Earlier in the week, I spotted a few people had dropped by via My Muse Calls which, it turns out, is a fascinating blog of a hobby artist.Anyhow, it seems that the author, Judy, was doing some research into her latest work – a legally themed masterpiece and stumbled across Law Actually. I see that the “Daddy of the Blawgosphere”, Charon QC, was mentioned as well, who, coincidentally, is quite the artist himself.  (Who could forget his legendary F**kART series?!?).Lord Alverstone, Sir James Eyre, Rumpole and Kavanagh all featured in Judy’s research; happily, she stopped short of Judge John Deed. That would’ve really been scraping the barrel for legal inspiration!The fruits of Judy’s researches (and labours) is brilliant.A Jury of Your Pyrs:  The V…

iJudges and practising law the Apple way

From the New York Post 29/04/12:It’s an order from the court — send me an iPad!New York City judges are gobbling up Apple iPads, iPhones and computers with taxpayer cash.Not another expenses scandal?!  The Apple gadgets were the favorite purchases of judges who enjoy a $10,000-a-year allowance, according to a review of 2011 reimbursement records obtained by The Post.Judges also used the money for Internet service at their homes — and sometimes vacation homes, for newspaper deliveries, cellphone costs and travel to conferences as far away as California and Puerto Rico. They bought GPS navigation systems, judicial license plates and water coolers and refrigerators for their chambers and charged it to taxpayers.Some judges, like Manhattan Civil Court Judge Jennifer Schecter, spent every last penny. Schecter bought a $1,785.83 Apple laptop, a $106.95 printer from the Apple store and a $889.51 Apple iPad with a protection plan and case. She was reimbursed for just $517.51 of the iPad costs…