Thursday, 27 June 2013

Thoughts on Digg Reader

Digg ReaderI finally got my grubby mitts on the eagerly awaited Digg Reader today. And just in time, too, as Google are turning Google Reader’s lights out on Sunday night. Sob, sob.

First things first, the import process (from Google Reader) works well; it retained the folder structure and the arrangement of RSS feeds within folders. My preference is to have folders stacked in an order which suits me and for the individual subscriptions within those folders to be sorted alphabetically. The fact all this was carried over intact from Google Reader was an unexpected surprise. Good show.

Perhaps most importantly, Digg have kept to their brief. They have made something very lightweight and utilitarian, that does a few things very well (resisting the temptation to turn it into a kitchen-sink type of web app). Less is definitely more when it comes to RSS aggregators.

Overall performance is surprisingly good. It seems slightly more responsive than Google Reader and, quite frankly, it’s nice to have a new interface to live with for a while. Let’s face it: Google Reader has been neglected for far too long.

Ok, I grant you, Digg Reader is still a bit buggy, but that’s only to be expected at this stage. The few bugs I’ve encountered, though, have been relatively minor. For instance, I’ve noticed some of my previously deleted subscriptions have been strangely resurrected in the transfer and I’ve found myself needing to click twice (sometime three times) on a subscription to view the content.

In any case, Digg have always stressed this is by no means the finished product. It was vital they got version 1.0 out of the door before Google turned the lights out on Reader on 1st July. It’s important to keep a sense of perspective too; for Digg to have put together what they have in such a short time is a testament to their engineering prowess. Well done, I say.

So, overall, I’m impressed with Digg Reader after a full day of use and I’m looking forward to the updates to come. If you’re a current Google Reader user, you should give it a go, too.

As an aside, going through my RSS subscriptions made me realise to what extent the once vibrant blawgosphere has dwindled. It really is a sad state of affairs from the heyday of 2008 to 2010.

Nevertheless, for those of us who remain, the show must go on

And Digg Reader is going to make it that bit easier.

iPop – Woman’s fake boob explodes after lying on floor to play phone game

botched boob jobThat thing exploded I tell you.  EXPLODED!

Story at: NY Daily News 26/06/13:

A Chinese woman's breast implant exploded after she lay on her stomach playing an iPhone game for four hours, it's claimed.

Doctors think the poor quality of the fake boob, combined with the pressure placed on them for such a long time, caused it to rupture.

This should come as a stark warning to gamers (or anyone sporting a silicon-enhanced chest): you need to take care of those sweater puppies when lying on hard floors. Surely your surgeon warned you…

The woman had been playing "Dragon Summoner" in bed when she felt a searing pain in her chest.

I hope the paramedics gave the woman her phone back on the way to hospital. Why let a medical emergency get in the way of gaining extra ‘achievement unlocked’ points?

I wonder if any claim-snouting ambulance-chasing lawyers were in hot pursuit. After all, there’s a potential medical negligence claim in there somewhere (besides the smell of burst silicone, of course).

So if you’ve suffered a breast implant explosion (whether a result of gaming, paintballing or otherwise), rest assured there are lawyers out there who can help. 

Be right back

Let’s hope she’s back on the game soon.  You know, I mean playing the game.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Digg Reader to launch next week. A heaven-sent gift to bloggers?

RSS for BloggersFrom the Guardian 18/06/13:

The Google Reader RSS aggregator service shuts down on 1 July, leaving many of its users scrambling to choose and migrate to a suitable replacement. One of the candidates, Digg Reader, is now confirmed to launch next week.

Make that the only potentially viable replacement, subject to the world, you know, actually seeing it.

It's the work of a five-person team within Digg, which is enjoying its second lease of life as part of startup incubator Betaworks, which acquired the social news website in July 2012.

Digg announced plans to build a Google Reader replacement in March 2013, promising to rebuild that service's best features "but also advance them to fit the Internet of 2013". It proceeded to survey more than 18,000 people on their wishlists for the new product.

Three months later, version one of the Digg Reader has a launch date – 26 June – and the promise that it will be fast, simple and focused on the keenest users of Google Reader as they look for a new home.

Like everyone who relies heavily on Google Reader, I was dismayed when Google announced earlier this year it would be retiring its RSS aggregator.

As a blogger, I use Google Reader extensively to keep track of the posts of other bloggers out there and it’s been invaluable in allowing me to monitor developments in the blawgoshere. Rather than having to check a long list of blogs for new posts, any blog featuring a new post is flagged up automatically in my Google Reader list. It’s been an absolute Godsend.

But over the past couple of years, I’ve found myself using it increasingly for work purposes, too, keeping up with legal content, industry developments, Ofcom’s latest consultations and so on.

I’ve tried other RSS aggregators, but like so many others, Google’s no-nonsense utilitarian style suited me perfectly. The rest (up until now at least) don’t even come close.

And I’ve only got about 10 days left to enjoy Google Reader before the lights go out permanently.

So I’m praying Digg’s new offering is up to scratch from the get-go. I have relatively simple needs from an RSS reader but I really hope Digg Reader is able to fill the void that’s going to be left by Google exiting the market.

I’m itching to give it a go next week when it goes live. 

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Are Courts Finally Beginning to See Fathers as Equal Parents?

Guest PostFathers' RightsWhen a couple separates or files for divorce, their first thoughts should be about how to create the best possible situation for their children. Studies have shown that children can be greatly affected by their parents’ divorce- the results include a drop in grades, changes in attitudes or behaviour, or even depression.

In an ideal situation, both parents would come to an amicable decision which would result in both parents having equal responsibilities and time with the kids. Unfortunately, this is not the case in many divorces or separations; and often both parties cannot reach an agreement on temporary custody of the kids. This is when the court steps in.

The Family Law Act states that “each parent has parental responsibility for each of their children until aged 18”. The law acknowledges the importance of the parental responsibilities of both the mother and the father to their children. The court encourages both parents to come to an agreement with the best interest of their children in mind. Separation of the parents will greatly affect the overall well-being of the child so it is vital that the parents establish a relatively conflict-free parenting relationship. However as mentioned, if they cannot agree on certain arrangements, the court makes orders about parental responsibilities.

There are four types of parenting orders that are issued by the Family Court: Orders about parental responsibility and decision making, orders about with whom the child will live, child maintenance or child support orders and orders about the communication and time spent with the parent the child does not live with. When issuing these orders, the Family Court does so in the best interest of the child.

However, in a report on Channel Ten’s The Project, they concluded that the social perception of divorced couples is that fathers have been cast as the ‘secondary parent’ while the mothers assume the primary parenting role. Fathers say that there is a discrimination against men when it comes to granting parenting orders and that the mothers always end up in a better situation as far as the children are concerned. They also say that “there is no equality and no equal balance between men and women in court”.

This inequality between parents in court, where mothers were seen as the primary parent, appears to be changing, particularly in the last few years. Family consultants are now being brought in to determine what is best for the child/children. Other important factors are also considered, such as the physical and mental health of the parent, the willingness of the parent to support and facilitate the child’s on-going relationship with the other parent, the ability of the parent to provide the basic necessities of the child, the ability of the parent to send the child to school/provide good education as well which parent is able to provide the best guidance for the child. The judge also takes into account the plan of the parent for their child and the permanence and stability of the family unit in which the child is proposed to live. They also consider reports of domestic violence, abuse and neglect if there has been any. In consideration, courts have begun to weigh up all these factors to determine which parent should be the primary caregiver of the child, as opposed to simply favouring the mother.

This post was contributed by the team at Aitken Partners Law Firm.

Lending and Borrowing Laws for Loans

Guest PostLending and Borrowing LawIf you’re considering taking out a loan, it’s important to be aware of your rights beforehand. This means becoming acquainted with the laws which govern lending and borrowing terms in the UK. Doing so will ensure that you are fully aware of the risks of taking out a loan, and will help you to understand how best to manage the financial repercussions of doing so – including what may happen if you can’t make your repayments.

Taking Out a Loan

When you take out a loan you will always be asked to sign an agreement. This agreement will set out the terms of your loan, and by signing it you will be indicating that you are both aware of and in agreement with these terms. In the UK, most lending and borrowing agreements are regulated by the Consumer Credit Act. This Act gives rights to borrowers, and dictates the terms under which lenders can provide loans. If a lending agreement is governed by the Consumer Credit Act, you will receive a written copy of your agreement which clearly defines:

  • How much you will be required to repay for your loan.
  • What type of loan it is.
  • The terms and dates of your payments.
  • What will happen if your loan is cancelled, or if you pay it off early.

Not all lending companies adhere to the Consumer Credit Act, and some even operate illegally. Therefore, if you are considering taking a loan from a company which offers loans outside of the CCA, it’s important to find out whether or not they are FSA approved. A reputable company, such as, will display this information clearly, but if not you are free to request it before signing a loan agreement.

Cancelling Lending Agreements

Everyone has the right to cancel a lending agreement, providing you do so within 14 days of the agreement being agreed upon. However a lending agreement cannot be cancelled if you have already signed the agreement document, and there are certain types of loans – including mortgages – which cannot be cancelled once agreed to.

Checking the Terms and Conditions

Before you agree to a loan, whether verbally or in writing, it’s always a good idea to thoroughly check the terms and conditions of the loan agreement. This is because an agreement of this nature is legally binding and you may incur a penalty for backing out early. If in doubt, always talk to your credit provider. They are obliged to advise you in full about every point of your agreement, before you sign.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Tax Tips for Small Businesses

Guest Post tax tips for small businessesFor a small business owner, dealing with the ins and outs of tax can be a confusing and intimidating matter. Here are seven top tips to help you navigate the subject and maximise your profits

1: Classify Your Business Correctly

Different tax rules apply to different business structures, so small business owners should think carefully about how they intend to operate, be it a partnership, sole trader or limited company. This initial decision can have huge implications on the amount of tax and national insurance a business will pay, so it is vital to research and take advice on this question before starting your small business.

2: Keep Precise Records

By keeping track of all your receipts and invoices, and making sure all of the paperwork relating to your business is kept in a secure place, you can ensure you are paying the correct amount of tax and avoid the penalties that are incurred as a result of inaccurate or incomplete records.

3: Be Aware of Allowable Deductions

There are many deductions that businesses are able to claim relief for in order to deduct costs from the gross income of a business, and being conscious of what they are means that gross profits can be maximised. For example, as well as general allowable expenses, small businesses that are run from home are entitled to deduct a percentage of household expenditure for tax purposes.

4: Submit Tax Returns on Time

If your Self Assessment Tax Return is not submitted on time, you face an automatic one-hundred pound fine as well as daily penalties. Whether or not your accountant is tasked with submitting your tax return, it is ultimately the responsibility of the director(s) of the business if the deadline is missed or mistakes have been made.

5. Pay Your Salary Correctly

Depending on what type of business you are registered as, the way you take money out for your earnings will be different, and will influence how much tax and national insurance you pay. Be sure to be familiar with these differences in order to stay completely in compliance with the legal position on these types of return.

6: Pay Your Employees' Salaries Correctly

If your business is large enough that you are able to employ others, it is essential to understand how to manage Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and National Insurance Contributions when paying your employees. This will ensure that the correct amount of tax is deducted from employee's weekly or monthly pay.

7: Seek Support from the Professionals

Although small businesses do not have to enlist the services of a qualified accountant, their experience and knowledge will often make the intricacies of tax laws much easier to manage. There are many benefits to using an accountant, as they can organize VAT returns and year-end accounts, give advice on tax efficiency and allowable deductions, and deal with the HMRC on your behalf

Small Business Success

By following these suggestions, small business owners can make certain that dealing with and paying tax does not become a burden, and consequently strengthen the business and increase profitability.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Pooting PC declared hero in drugs haul

pooting plodFrom the Metro 13/06/13:

A cannabis factory was sniffed out by police after they wound down their car windows to escape the smell when one officer kept breaking wind.

The team noticed a second strange scent as they sucked in the welcome fresh air, and tracked it to a house before enforcing the pong arm of the law, the Police Federation’s magazine reported.

‘They asked their colleague in the back what he had been eating, and after fits of giggles and denials, they realised the cannabis smell was in the air in the street outside,’ it said.

It’s nice to see the officers maintaining a high degree of professionalism and maturity whilst on patrol!

‘All three officers’ suspicions were raised and they left the car to get some fresh air and find the cause of the cannabis smell.

[T]he officers, following their noses, found a cannabis factory with a crop worth £12,000.

Seven people at the property in Leicester were arrested.

The officer with the wind problem had been on a high-protein diet after taking up body building.

Oooh - stink-a-rama!! I’m surprised the officer wasn’t put on a solo beat to save his colleagues from his noxious gas!

Quite lucky though; it’s got to rank up there with the most serendipitous of poots.

Maybe placing certain officers on high-protein diets should become standard practice now to help in the fight against drugs.

Be right back

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Why is there a rise in certain types of personal injury claim?

Guest Post injury claims solicitorsWhiplash claims and industrial illness have been major personal injury talking points of late, and it's vital to know what to do if you wish to make a claim.

In recent weeks, a number of stories have appeared in the mainstream media that focus on certain types of personal injury compensation claims.

Personal injury solicitors have become embroiled in a dispute with insurers over a sharp increase in accident claims, while the recent Queen's Speech could also prompt a flurry of industrial disease claims. We consider these two areas in more detail below:

Whiplash claims
At the start of this year, many GPs reported experiencing a large number of cases in which patients appeared to be seeking treatment for whiplash injuries sustained in road traffic accidents that were either greatly exaggerated, or simply did not exist.

This in turn has reportedly led to an 80% rise in motor insurance in the last five years. The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) was drawn into an argument with prominent insurance company Aviva over how whiplash claims should be handled.

Aviva asserted that, with a 32% rise in whiplash compensation claims since 2009, it would be best to let insurers of the 'at fault' driver handle these claims directly. It suggested this would take £1.5 billion off the average annual insurance amount paid by UK drivers.

APIL countered that leaving the case in the hands of representatives of the 'at fault' party would leave the victim in a vulnerable position and pose a serious risk that they would not receive adequate compensation for their injuries.

Its Whiplash Report 2012 was designed to encourage greater cooperation between both parties in these cases, and also sought to disprove the claim from insurers that solicitors are often to blame for encouraging less worthy whiplash claims. The study spoke to 4,000 claimants, and found that 28% of them were pursuing compensation on the advice of an insurer, compared with just 21% who took their cue from a personal injury solicitor.

Both sides have been strongly advised to find an amicable resolution to this debate, in order to ensure only genuine victims are put forward for whiplash compensation.

Industrial illness
At the recent state opening of Parliament, the Queen's Speech covered many areas affecting large portions of the UK population. However, the section that will have provided most interest for personal injury lawyers was the mention of a Mesothelioma Bill.

Mesothelioma is a particularly serious type of cancer that is often caused by exposure to asbestos in the workplace. The government appears to be putting measures in place to assist victims of this industrial disease, with Her Majesty announcing: "Legislation will be introduced to ensure sufferers of a certain asbestos-related cancer receive payments where no liable employer or insurer can be traced."

This will allow sufferers to be compensated for their illness even if they cannot trace the condition back to a specific employer or employer's liability insurer. The plans are set to come into force in 2014, and with any mesothelioma victim diagnosed after 25 July 2012 eligible to claim under the new Bill, it is sure to spark a great deal of interest.

Of course, the Bill still has a long way to go before a final version can be released, with its current wording to be scrutinised by the House of Lords, House of Commons and a government committee before it can be passed into law.

All of these debates and pieces of legislation can be confusing for victims during what is already a stressful time. The best thing to do would be to speak to experienced personal injury solicitors about your claim. They will be able to advise you on the likely success of your case, and provide professional support throughout the process to secure you the appropriate compensation.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Playground brawl between parents resolved by police with CS spray

playground fightFrom BBC News 30/05/13:

Police used CS spray to break up a fight between parents in the playground of an infants [sic] school.

The fight broke out at Penryn Infants School in Cornwall as children waited to be collected.

Devon and Cornwall Police said some people began "behaving in a disorderly way".

Officers were forced to use captor spray, a pepper-based CS spray, on a man who was allegedly assaulting a pupil's mother.

A man was arrested and has been released on bail until July, pending further inquiries.

The spray is believed to have been deployed in front of children in the school playground during the incident last Thursday.

A force spokesman confirmed that the spray was used in the playground.

Oh that’s just lovely. It’s nice to see the parents of Penryn setting such an example to their children as to how to behave in a playground. What was that about do unto others?

I wonder what happened. Did one parent push in line at the kids’ pick-up time?

I miss Cornish life sometimes. Far from being the sleepy, parochial county full of cream teas, country lanes and sweet tranquillity that it sometimes makes out, what you really get is parents fighting in school playgrounds and the occasional man chopping his own penis off in the street. It seems it’s all going on down at Penryn!

Sunday, 9 June 2013

ABS don’t smell (that) bad

(It’s just they don’t smell too good either - says ill-informed respondents to survey)

ABS tesco lawFrom the Solicitors Journal 04/06/13:

Students remain in the dark when it comes to changing legal services, says survey.

More than half of law students would not seek work with an ABS, a recent survey has reported.

According to the University of Law's 'ABS Survey', 58 per cent of students said they would not want to work for ABS.

Director of family law and head of professional practice at the Co-operative Legal Services Jenny Beck […] said: "ABS is a very significant development for the legal industry and law students need to be aware of the opportunities it brings."

Read: working as perpetual career paralegal.

Within larger ABSs, said Beck, trainee solicitors have the opportunity to develop not only their core legal skills, but also complementary business skills to further their professional development.

Oh give me strength. “Complementary business skills”? Is this the new “commercial awareness” cliché that has been wheeled out frequently to LPC students, trainees and newly qualifieds for years? I guess all clichés wear out eventually. ;-)

I understand that ABS are here and are unfortunately here to stay, but still. I’m not sure I’d fancy jumping on board just yet, but it doesn’t pay to never say never.

And would a profession chock-full of paralegals be that bad?

Actually… don’t answer that.  Be right back

Thursday, 6 June 2013

The Importance of Research in Employing a Conveyancer

Guest Postconveyancing quoteDoing your research and making sure that a solicitor or conveyancer has your best interests at heart before you employ them is very important. The quality of a conveyancer could mean the difference between your sale falling through and your sale completing quickly and easily. It could all depend on the conveyancer. There are three things you should look for in a conveyancer- the price, the quality of service and trust.

The Price
Don’t just plump for the first firm you find or for the conveyancer that your agent recommends, as this will likely mean that you’ll spend unnecessary amounts of money. Get at least three quotes from different firms, and make sure that you can compare them directly. Ask about hidden charges or any fees that might occur if the sale was to fall through. Compare conveyancing quotes easily with a comparison website like

However, a really cheap quote is usually an indication of poor service. A really cheap conveyancer is likely to have lots of work that they can’t cope with properly. On the other hand, the most expensive quote is not always the best conveyancer. Go for something in the middle.

The Quality
The quality of the conveyancer is the most important part of your research, as it could make or break your sale. See if they have testimonials on their website, or ask for references when you ring them, as well as searching for them online, if they aren’t very good you’ll be able to find it. If possible, leave a message and see how long it takes for them to get back to you. If it’s more than two days then they may be inefficient and slow. Nevertheless, you don’t want someone who is rushed, inexperienced or who has lots of other cases on their hands. You should also make sure that the firm you’re dealing with is either a licensed conveyancer or a specialist conveyancing solicitor, registered either with the Council for Licensed Conveyancers or the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Whether you decide to go for a local conveyancer or an online one, it is vital that you feel like you can trust the person dealing with the legal side of your house buying transaction. If you feel uneasy dealing with someone then they will likely pick up on it and perhaps not have your best interests in mind.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Making the Law Accessible

Guest Postaccessible lawBefore the internet, legal service and the law itself was complicated, confusing and inaccessible. It still can be complicated and confusing, but through various schemes and technology like the internet, people no longer have to have access to the physical volumes of the law itself to gain knowledge or understanding of the law.

The Internet and Online Lawyers
The dawn of the internet has revolutionised the way that people are able to access the law. Now, instead of having to seek out the places that have physical copies of the law as well as having to organise how to get there, most people are just a click or two away from things like the Human Rights Act. There are also sites that help people to create their own legal documents too, making the process simpler and easier to understand.

Not only can they now find the law itself within easy reach, but access to lawyers and solicitors has vastly improved too. This means that the cost of legal services is also reduced. The improved access means that the competition in the market is increased, as people are no longer restricted to their local area. Technology such as video messaging means that it is no longer necessary for people and their legal aid to meet face to face. Online Conveyancing from In Deed, for example, offer an exclusive price promise that means that if the transaction doesn’t complete, you don’t have to pay. Deals like this exist because of good market competition.

Improving Awareness
There are also a variety of schemes that aim to help people develop their awareness and understanding of the law. This opens up the law to those who haven’t necessarily had access to it before, such as people with disabilities, young people and those who are disadvantaged. Charities such as Law for Life, Lawyers in Schools and LawWorks all aim to equip the general public with the confidence to deal with the law and law related issues, as well as offering free legal help. Charities that deal with young people and children are particularly good as they can help to change prejudices and help empower those who think that they have no rights.

Accessible Law
In an ideal world, the law would be rewritten to make it more understandable and clearer for those who don’t have legal training. However, as it took more than ten years to have the tax code rewritten, it may take far more time and resources than anyone has. For now, making the law accessible to the public through internet lawyers and charities is the best way forward.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Cambridge criminal law exam – what’s all the fuss about

I saw this piece of overblown stupidity was doing the rounds earlier. Everywhere.

horrific question in law exam

cambridge law exam question

What’s all the fuss about?

As an undergraduate, I don’t remember answering a question on sexual offences (despite it being on the syllabus) but I do remember that some of the questions around murder / offences against the person on the exam paper I sat were quite graphically worded. Not jaw-dropping, mind you, just the kind to trigger a supressed grin. We’ve all had that reaction sitting an exam, right?

But here’s the point: any law student studying criminal law has already been subjected to far worse material detailing graphic injuries, mutilations, extremely ripe language and all the rest - simply by virtue of reading case law. (Seriously, I’ve read stuff in law reports that would make a whore blush).

It goes with the territory, sadly. And besides – give them a little credit. Law students are made of tougher stuff than people seem to think; they aren’t going to be scarred for life from an exam question reflecting life in the real world. Heck, they were probably up to worse themselves the night before the exam anyway in those lewd frat houses that plague all UK universities. (Some of the sounds that used to come from the room above me when I stayed in halls as a first year undergraduate were VERY suspicious!!).

As for the argument that such a question “misrepresents university societies”, we all know bizarre initiation rituals go on (it’s called turning a blind eye). Personally, some of the exploits you hear from an average Freshers’ Week are far worse than any sadomasochistic rituals that that can be dreamt up for an exam paper.

And at least the characters in the question weren’t based on characters from popular TV programmes. When I sat my contract law exam, nearly ten years ago now, I remember one of the questions concerned a chap called Phil Mitchell, one called Ian Beale and some other cockney urchin from that fictitious segment of the East End.

Now that’s “horrific”.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Judge compares lawyers to airline pilots and an F1 pit crew

In a speech delivered to SJ Live conference delegates, District Judge Monty Trent drew a number of interesting analogies between solicitors and other jobs – airline pilots and an F1 pit crew.

No, the fit isn’t an obviously natural one, is it?

And wolf packs have to go. Teams of 5, 10, 15 lawyers, throwing emails around between themselves and other lawyers; they have got to go. They're not going to be allowed on grounds of proportionality. I have nothing against teams but they should be used more efficiently. Watch a Formula 1 racing team changing tyres; there are about 16 people running around, but each one has one specific task and one task only, and it's all choreographed so that it's all played exactly in the right way. They rush in, rush out, and in less than a minute the car has new tyres.

red bull pitstop

I don’t think DJ Monty has watched an F1 race in a while; it takes a LOT less than a minute to change a car’s tyres. Prior to 2010, when refuelling was still permitted, a car was stationary in the pit box in a regular F1 pitstop for no more than 10 – 12 seconds – often considerably less (you know – those “splash ‘n’ dash” stops we all used to love). Since refuelling has been banned, a 3 second pit stop has become the norm with sub-three second pit stops being increasingly seen.

But I think the point still stands. ;-)

Now for the pilot comparison; DJ Monty was actually referring to the use of checklists.

I also believe not enough use is made of checklists. We should be like pilots. You wouldn't dream of getting on a plane where the pilot hasn't been through a checklist and ticked every single item he needs to tick before pressing the starter button.

“Starter button”. I love it.

Airbus A340 cockpit (Small)It’s a valid point though. Checklists are useful to lawyers and he’s right in saying less should be left to chance with routine work.

But actually, I think the aviation – law connection goes further.

As a big fan of documentaries such as Air Crash Investigation and Seconds From Disaster and Mayday (there are dozens and dozens on YouTube and they make great bedtime viewing) I’ve long thought there are lessons from that sphere which the legal profession can take on board and prosper from.

Flight crews and airlines have learnt the hard way that effective teamwork isn’t just crucial – lives depend on it.

During the 60s, 70s and 80s many airline accidents were attributable to flight crews not working together effectively enough and missing the obvious, getting caught up with trivialities or, worst of all in my opinion, junior pilots fastidiously observing etiquette and deference to their older and higher-ranking captains – even though the latter may have been a bumbling buffoon whose actions were directly hastening the onset of death for everyone on board.

Airlines had to find a way to get junior and senior pilots to work together more effectively. Juniors had to feel they could challenge their seniors without the fear that it would be tantamount to career suicide and senior pilots needed to be able to take constructive criticism and assistance without their pride or egos getting in the way.

First implemented by United Airlines, the answer was a programme called Crew Resource Management (CRM) and I think the spirit of CRM can be usefully applied in law firms, too.

CRM training encompasses a wide range of knowledge, skills and attitudes including communications, situational awareness, problem solving, decision making, and teamwork; together with all the attendant sub-disciplines which each of these areas entails. CRM can be defined as a management system which makes optimum use of all available resources - equipment, procedures and people - to promote safety and enhance the efficiency of operations.

Breaking those barriers between junior and senior is an important principle that allows lawyers to perform better and provide an improved level of service to their clients. I’d like to think that most trainee solicitors would have no qualms about going to any partner in their firm to ask for help or to ask what might be regarded (by some) as a silly question without fearing their career would never be the same again. Equally, no partner (or any fee earner for that matter) regardless their experience, should feel they are beyond question.

No matter what your career, colleagues make a great sounding board.