Christina Blacklaws, Blacklaws Davis, London I read Nicola Laver’s article ‘Virtual firms thrive in the downturn’ (see  Gazette, 23 July, 12) with interest. As a firm we have embraced a hybrid model, which combines physical locations with virtual working. This has helped us grow to be the largest specialist family firm in the country. In my role as a Law Society Council member for child care I am very aware of the challenges facing family lawyers, particularly those handling both private and public funded work. High street firms are under immense pressure and we have found many experienced sole practitioners and teams within firms electing to join us. With the right technology, we have found that a person can be as productive (and much happier) working from their home as they would be in an office. Nonetheless, those who wish to establish virtual firms should never underestimate the amount of support that needs to be provided to their consultants. There are demanding operational and human resources issues to be tackled. One particular area that needs to be addressed is the culture. Working from home can be a lonely experience and, after the initial excitement has died down, solicitors need continued support to prevent feelings of isolation. It is these cultural issues that will determine whether virtual or semi-virtual firms are successful. With the right approach, however, I am confident they will provide a model that can successfully compete with new entrants into the legal market.
Meanwhile, he notes that for those wishing to sharpen up their skills, or get a new employee up-to-speed with all that is important in the world of heavy lift and project forwarding, a professional training course will run alongside the BreakBulk China 2013 event from March 12-13 – The Project Forwarding Certificate – organised by the Project Professionals Group. The development course is tailored to offer advice, knowledge and skills that will enable staff to tackle super-sized cargoes. It is open to all project forwarders, over-dimensional tender managers and industry partners. The two-day course is also being offered during BreakBulk Europe 2013, taking place in Antwerp, Belgium, May 13-14.The International Transport Intermediaries Club (ITIC) – a specialist insurance provider for the transport industry – has claimed that P&I correspondents are coming under increasing pressure from clubs and third parties to ensure that they have taken out professional indemnity insurance. In its latest newsletter – The Wire – ITIC states that it has become aware that at least one international group P&I club will ask all of its members to obtain professional indemnity cover – and it anticipates the floodgates to open with a number of other clubs following suit.At a recent meeting of the International Chamber of Shipping’s board of directors in London, there were discussions on some of the key issues affecting ship owners and the maritime industry. A main concern raised by the board was Italy’s failure to submit a full maritime casualty report to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), following the ‘Costa Concordia’ cruise ship tragedy. Other topics discussed were the best means of reducing carbon dioxide emissions from sea faring vessels, which included proposals from the US and European Commission concerning the formation of a mandatory system of CO2 monitoring, reporting and verification; and that the IMO convention on Ship Recycling – designed to improveship recycling standards across the world – is in danger of being undermined by new regional measures under discussion by the European Union.www.itic-insure.comwww.marisec.orgwww.logwin-logistics.com
According to Samson, the enhanced website provides more detailed product specifications, a wider range of technical resources and is easier to navigate.www.samsonrope.com
Alister Cryan, Williams & Co, Edgware, Middlesex You will have to excuse me for not sharing the optimism of the Kingsley Napley partners about the Children and Families Bill in their article ‘Changing perceptions’. It was published a week after your magazine carried a front-page article: ‘Unpaid overtime costs lawyers £14k’. As Frances O’Grady said, the hours that we lawyers spend in the office detract from the quality of our family life and the social costs of this are serious. Margaret O’Brien of the University of East Anglia suggests in the 2004 edition of The Role of the Father in Child Development that far more needs to be done in the UK in the realm of paid paternity leave rather than simply shared paternity and maternity leave. Curiously, the UK’s provisions have for years been in the same category as most of Europe’s failing economies. The key question for all politicians and concerned parents is: which current policies benefit fathers and families, and which instead lead some fathers to drift out of the lives of their children? For example access to social housing, as any housing lawyer will tell you, depends upon persuading the relevant authority that your client remains the parent ‘with whom the children might reasonably be expected to reside’, and this is an adversarial right to the detriment of the other parent (usually the father). Also, where public funding will be removed for nearly all men in contact proceedings, the lack of representation will mean that ‘work/life balance’ remains just words with no real meaning. Neither the employed nor unemployed will be assisted by the law to meaningfully participate in family life. More needs to be done and a presumption of shared parenting would be a good start.
Personal injury lawyers are likely to find out next month whether the government is minded to revise the discount rate applied to damages awards. In a House of Lords debate last month, Conservative peer Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts said the Ministry of Justice will respond to its consultation on the issue by 3 August.Hodgson tabled a motion of regret at then-lord chancellor Liz Truss’ decision to amend the rate from 2.5% to -0.75% before the consultation had even started. He said the action was ‘draconian’ and a sign that Truss did not understand, or was not briefed on, the full impact of the decision.It was revealed during the debate that 135 responses were made to the consultation, which closed in May, but justice minister Lord Keen of Elie gave little away about the government’s response.’Underlying the consultation was the wish of the government to make sure that the way the rate is set is put on the firmest possible footing in future, so that we have a better and fairer system for claimants and defendants, and, in so doing, keeping true to the 100% principle—namely, that claimants are paid no more but no less than they should be,’ said Keen.’An announcement of the government’s conclusions will be made at the earliest possible opportunity. Of course, the interests of all parties concerned will be considered, and there will be an impact assessment.’Keen insisted Truss acted correctly by changing the rate before consulting, saying this was her legal obligation. To fail to act, he suggested, would be to have ‘knowingly maintained an inappropriate rate for what might have been a considerable period of time’.Hodgson urged the government to act decisively on what he called a ‘running sore’ and insisted it was ‘extraordinary’ for the lord chancellor to change the rate now when none of her predecessors had felt the need to do so since 2001.Speaking in the debate, former justice minister Lord Faulks said the position is now ‘profoundly unsatisfactory’ and he urged the rate be decided by a panel of experts rather than the lord chancellor.He added: ‘The situation that we now have is not fair to defendants; it is going to fall on those who have to pay increased premiums—often young and elderly motorists—and the NHS and government departments.’
The third European Shipping Week in Brussels is now less than a fortnight away. From Monday to Wednesday, themed events will take place. The theme on Monday, 17 February will be Trade and Competitiveness, whilst on Tuesday, 18 February it will be Safe and Social Shipping. An event looking at enhancing the participation of women in the European shipping industry will be moderated by the Director of the Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB), Kathryn Neilson, whilst the CEO of Red Funnel Ferries, Fran Collins, will be among the presenters. (Image Courtesy: UK Chamber of Shipping) There will also be an event with presentations and a panel discussion on seafarer travel and shore leave and the effects of new Visa Code and Smart Border Package. Attendance at the events on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday is free of charge. More details can be found at http://europeanshippingweek.eu/events/2020-02/ On Wednesday, 19 February the focus will be on Shipping and the Environment. The flagship conference will take place on Thursday, 20 February. A visit to the Port of Antwerp is being organised for Friday, 21 February. The UK Chamber has assisted with four of the Safe and Social Shipping events. An event to showcase the EU Maritime Growth Plan for Sustainable Maritime Jobs and Competitiveness, following on from the plan’s launch in October last year, will be held. At the same time there will be an event to consider future-proofing of skills and improvements to on-board working environments to meet the challenges of increased digitalisation and automation and the new environmental requirements that the shipping industry will need to meet. The Chamber’s Robert Carington will be one of the speakers. Sea News, February 5 Author: Baibhav Mishra
Semtech will be presenting a keynote at the Internet of Things (IoT) and Sensor Innovation Forum event in Shanghai on September 10. Vice President of China for Semtech, Mike Wong will focus on the key benefits and capabilities of LoRa devices and wireless radio frequency technology (LoRa Technology).Mr. Wong’s expert insights on LoRa Technology will cite the unique features which makes it the best technology for low power IoT networks. With its key capabilities, including long range, low power, LoRa is positioned to be the DNA (Devices, Network, Applications) of IoT. The keynote will discuss LoRa Technology’s position in filling a technology gap and the complementary features compared to current IoT solutions offered. According to business information provider IHS Markit, more than 40% of all low power wide area (LPWAN) public network connections are expected to be LoRa-based devices and represent the premiere LPWAN solution in 2019.Semtech’s LoRa devices and wireless radio frequency technology is a widely adopted long-range, low-power solution for IoT that gives telecom companies, IoT application makers and system integrators the feature set necessary to deploy low-cost, interoperable IoT networks, gateways, sensors, module products, and IoT services worldwide. IoT networks based on the LoRaWAN specification have been deployed in 100 countries and Semtech is a founding member of the LoRa Alliance, the fastest growing IoT Alliance for Low Power Wide Area Network applications.
Dij Rodriguez, Angelique Gervacio, Cherry Rondina and Bernadeth Pons won a bronze medal for Team Philippines in the 30th Southeast Asian Games women’s beach volleyball. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO MANILA – The Philippine women’s andmen’s beach volleyball team salvaged bronze medal finishes in the 30thSoutheast Asian Games beach volleyball over at Subic, Zambales. The men’s team of Jaron Requinton,Jude Garcia, James Buytrago, and Edmar Bonono, meanwhile, created history. Theybecame the first Philippine team to win a SEA Games medal in men’s beachvolleyball team. Negrense Bernadeth Pons and CherryRondina as well as the pairs of Angelique Gervacio and Dij Rodriguez nailed thewomen’s beach volleyball bronze by defeating the Singapore team. Rondina and Pons, still hurt withtheir defeat to Thailand last week that denied them a chance in the finals,vented their ire on Serene Ng and Ee Shan Lau for a 21-17, 21-13 straight setdomination. Gervacio and Rodriguez then followedsuit as they turned back Singapore’s Eliza Hui Hui Chong and Gladys Lee andwalked away with a 21-18, 21-16 result. This is the first time since 2005 thatthe Philippines captured a SEA Games women’s beach volleyball medal. The lastFilipinas who pulled off such a feat were Heidi Ilustre and Diane Pascua forthe bronze medal. Requinton and Garcia delivered thegoods in the “golden match,” besting Kingsley Tai and Trevis Tan in straightsets, 25-23, 21-13, to complete a 2-1 victory against Singapore./PN
No. 1 West Florida Rallies Back to Beat Mobile 17-6 Huggins went 4-6 with one run and two RBI on Tuesday against Mobile (Photo by Bill Stockland) Share PENSACOLA, Fla. – The No. 1 West Florida baseball team defeated NAIA opponent Mobile 17-6 on Tuesday at Jim Spooner Field. The Argonauts improve to 35-4, increasing their winning streak to 21 games, while the Rams fall to 25-17. The Argos were led offensively by Greg Pron (Daphne, Ala./Daphne HS) and Josh Huggins (Bay Minette, Ala./Faulkner State CC (Baldwin County HS) while eight of the nine starters recorded a hit. Pron went 2-5 with two runs and six RBI while Huggins was 4-6 with one run and two RBI.The Argos rallied back from a three run deficit to score three runs in the third to tie things and took the lead with a six run fourth. The Rams cut into West Florida’s lead crossing three runs in the sixth to make the score 9-6. The UWF offense owned the rest of the way scoring five runs in the seventh and three runs in the eight to ensure the victory 17-6.Taye Larry (Panama City, Fla./Wallace State CC-Dothan (Mosley HS) blasted his second homerun of the season going 3-5 with three runs scored and two RBI. Brandon Brewer (Apopka, Fla./Apopka HS) was 3-4 with three runs and two RBI. Korey Domenick (Festus, Mo./Mineral Area (Festus HS) had a nice day at the plate going 2-5 with a run and a RBI. Kevin Peters (4-1) (Orlando, Fla./Edgewater HS) got the start on the mound for UWF tossing three innings allowing three runs on seven hits. Zach Jadofsky (2-0) (Chipley, Fla./Enterprise State CC (Chipley HS) came on in relief and picked up the win throwing three innings allowing three runs on six hits. Dustin Brenton (1-0) (Leeds, Ala./Central Alabama CC (Victory Christian HS) and Zach North (1-0) (Miami, Fla./Nova Southeastern (Westminster Christian) combined to throw the final three innings and did not surrender a hit.The No. 1 West Florida baseball team will be back in action this Saturday at Gulf South Conference opponent Alabama-Huntsville. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m. For information on all UWF athletics visit www.GoArgos.com.Print Friendly Version
By: Tim WhelanWe are now a quarter of the way through the 2017 NFL season. Once again, the Cleveland Browns find themselves at 0-4 for the second year in a row. The Cleveland Browns will look for their first win of the season against the 2-2 New York Jets, whose starting quarterback is none other than the former Browns starting quarterback Josh McCown. Josh McCown went 1-10 as a starter in his two-year stint in Cleveland. In other news, the number one overall pick, Myles Garrett out of Texas A&M, will make his NFL debut for the Browns. The defensive end will be on a “pitch count” according to head coach Hue Jackson.A lot has gone wrong for the Browns in these first four weeks, but they were a team that had a lot of promise heading into the season with the youngest roster in the NFL. An 0-4 start has put Hue Jackson on the hot seat according to some of the fans, but whether that is true or not remains to be seen. The Jets were considered a team that could be historically bad, but so far, that is false. A 2-2 start for the team has some analysts wondering why the Jets aren’t tanking for the top pick to draft Sam Darnold, the star USC quarterback who will be the top pick if he declares for the draft this offseason. What can the Browns do to beat the Jets on Sunday? 3 Keys to a Browns victory: Get Kizer in a groove: It’s no secret that rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer has struggled out of the gate to start his career with only three touchdowns, eight interceptions and 51.4 completion percentage. The rookie quarterback will look to improve in those areas. If he can, the Browns will in a better position to win games. Play from in front: The Browns are the only team in the NFL that hasn’t had a lead yet this season, and have become notorious for getting off to slow starts. Jackson knows that they need to not only get off to better starts, but also find ways to grab the lead. If they can play from in front, we may see a different football team compared to what we’ve seen in these first four weeks.Slowing down Josh McCown: Joe Flacco, Jacoby Brissett and Andy Dalton have been very successful against the Browns pass defense the past three weeks. Will Josh McCown make it a fourth week? McCown has been very accurate with the ball this season and owns a 70.1 completion percentage and 826 yards throwing, both are which to be a career high. The Browns are currently in 23rd place in the league against the pass as a team. It will be vitally important for the Browns to get back on track against the Jets. Injury report: Browns– WR Kenny Britt (Knee/Groin, Doubtful), LB Jamie Collins Sr. (Concussion, Doubtful)Jets- DB Juston Burris (Foot, Questionable), DL Kony Ealy (Shoulder, Out), RB Matt Forte (Knee/Toe, Out), LB Josh Martin (Ankle, Out), DL Darryl Roberts (Hamstring, Out), DL Muhammad Wilkerson (Shoulder, Out)Kickoff is at 1 p.m. on Fox. Related Topics NEOSI Staff