The Scottish Paralegal Association

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13 Aug

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Switching off on holiday

Have a proper break this summer

Many of us will find it difficult to leave the office for our summer holiday and it can be very difficult to switch off, especially when technology has made it so easy for us to stay connected. Here’s our tips to make your break as relaxing as possible.

Prepare

Discuss your workload with colleagues; find out who will be covering your work – it might be best to pass your work over to several people. Let clients know as early as possible that you are taking some time off and who they should ask for in your absence. 

Set expectations

Use the last day or two before your holiday to clear the decks, put ongoing work into a holding pattern, update clients on the progress of their matter. Let your colleagues know whether you can be contacted, and under what circumstances – don’t say you will be checking email if you don’t want to, or will be unable to. We suggest leaving your work phone and laptop at home so the temptation isn’t there.  It’s not a break if you are mentally still in the office, and you will be better at your job if you return to work refreshed and well rested. 

Checking email 

If you must check email whilst away, disable email notifications so you don’t pick up your phone every few minutes, and don’t carry your work phone around with you. You could ask a colleague to forward anything really urgent to your personal email address so you don’t need to look at all the other emails, or set certain times aside to check your inbox. Remember there may not be Wi-Fi or 4G where you are going, and different time zones may make it difficult replying to emails.  

Out of office

Set an out of office and voicemail while you are on holiday– if you are worried about an avalanche of emails ask for important emails to be resent after you get back, or you might want to say you will be back a day or two later than you actually are to give you time to catch up.

Returning to work

You might want to book in something in the first week to look forward to, a yoga class or lunch with a colleague for example. This is also a good time to review your working practices, and analyse how your colleagues handled things without you. Try to focus on what you love about your job and congratulate yourself for what you achieve during those first few days back. If the holiday blues don’t dissipate after a few days it might be time to think about your work life and whether it is making you unhappy. Perhaps you need to make some changes, or even look for a new role.

LawCare provides emotional support to anyone working the legal profession. Our support service offers a safe place to talk without judgement. We’re here to help, with helpline calls, emails and webchats answered in confidence by trained staff and volunteers who have first-hand experience of working in the law. We also have a network of peer supporters. Call the helpline on 0800 279 6888 or visit www.lawcare.org.uk

Additional information, resources and factsheets are available at 

23 Jul
SPA Conference 2019

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Scottish Paralegal Association Autumn Conference 2019

Scottish Paralegal Conference
Autumn Conference 2019

Thursday 19th September 2019
Apex Hotel, Dundee

Full day event covering Conveyancing, Family Law, Debt Recovery and Private Client.

The timetable will be published soon.

Tickets are limited and can be purchased here:



Should you have any queries please contact info@scottish-paralegal.org.uk.

18 Jun

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Spa at Blythswood Square Offer

The Spa at Blythswood Square is offering SPA members a 50% discount on their spa treatments. To book your spa appointment and to learn more you can either call on 0141 240 1622 or email via spa@kimptonblythswoodsquare.com.

Kimpton Blythswood Square Hotel, 11 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4AD

The offer is valid between now and 31st August 2019 and subject to availability.

17 May

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Powers of Attorney – a vital safeguard for your business

Discussions around Powers of Attorney (PoA), which don’t top anyone’s list of interesting conversation topics, tend to focus on elderly relatives and planning for old age. But this association risks other people overlooking them – with disastrous consequences.

Top of this list is anyone who runs their own business. Let’s suppose you’re a sole trader or run a small company. If you were suddenly incapacitated by serious illness or injury, who would pay suppliers, manage the bank account, deal with contracts or insurance, file VAT returns or generally keep customers happy?

If your business bank accounts are in your name and you have no PoA in place, no one would be able to take over managing the finances. This could be catastrophic for your credit record, business relationships and reputation, as well as for dependants relying on your income.

Any relative or colleague who wanted to take up the reins would have to apply to the courts for ‘Guardianship’ – a process which can take six months or more. Few businesses could survive such a hiatus.

Worst of all, this would be happening when family and friends are already struggling with other practical and emotional issues around your illness or injury.

A simple way to protect against situations like these is to set up a business PoA. It’s similar to a ‘personal’ PoA in that you authorise a chosen person to make decisions on your behalf, but it applies to the business only. The business attorney doesn’t have to be the same person as your personal attorney – in many cases, different people will be better suited for each task.

How you set up a business PoA depends on whether you operate as a sole trader or have a company or partnership. Existing partnership agreements or company articles of association may well have provisions for what happens if a partner or director becomes incapacitated, so a power of attorney must not conflict with these. Advice is therefore important.

In the midst of all the paperwork that faces business owners, few will have an appetite for more legal advice and documents. But as with many areas of law and business, it’s cheaper to think ahead than have the business paralysed by legal disputes or problems later on. In this sense, a PoA can be seen as similar to insurance – something you hope not to use but are relieved to have if disaster strikes.

While we’re on the subject of safeguarding your business against things going wrong, some other simple legal planning could be useful.

With family businesses in particular, the personal and the commercial cannot be treated in isolation. Events from divorce to someone dying without a Will can jeopardise the future of the business, or land it with expensive legal and accountancy bills.

Take Wills. It’s estimated that around six out of ten people in Scotland die without a Will, which means that who inherits their estate is determined by Scotland’s intestacy rules. This can lead to problems and undesirable outcomes in any situation, and particularly with family businesses.

With a Will in place, there can be a planned and pragmatic succession plan about who’s best to take over the business (though as with POAs, advice will be needed to ensure the Will doesn’t conflict with partnership agreements or articles of association).

Without a Will, the intestacy rules will determine who inherits. In some cases, this could mean very young children or a distant relative inheriting control of a family firm – with poor consequences for staff and other family members.

Divorce too can be protected against. A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can ringfence a family business from being included in divorce or separation settlements, and safeguard its financial stability.

All this matters not only to families, but to other businesses and Scotland’s economy too. Around 98 per cent of businesses in Scotland are small (with 0-49 staff), and if you’re not part of one yourself, you probably have them among your key suppliers, clients or customers.

Assuming we all want them around for the future, a few more conversations around PoAs (and Wills) should probably be on your agenda. Not great chat, to be sure, but important nonetheless.

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03 May

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CPD & Networking Event – May & June 2019 – Free to attend

We are delighted to announce two upcoming CPD & Networking events.

22nd May 2019 – 5.30 to 7.30 pm
Glasgow Faculty, Nelson Mandela Square, Glasgow

Please join us on the above date to hear Brendan Kelly of Callan Taxation Services give  a presentation on PROCEDURES FOR TAXATION OF ESTATES.

The event is FREE and is open to members and non-members and will count towards your CPD.

Places are limited so please reserve your place today.

Register here!

19th June 2019 – 5.30 to 7.30 pm
Lindsay, 19A Canning Street, Edinburgh

We are delighted that Central Law Training have arranged for Niall Hassard of TLT to give a presentation called Licensing – Theory -v- Practice. 

The event is FREE and is open to members and non-members and will count towards your CPD.

Places are limited so please reserve your place today.

Register here!

24 Apr

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Coal Authority – CON29M Report – CPD Event

Following the launch of the Coal Authority’s new industry leading official CON29M report, we will be hosting seven free to attend CPD events across Britain during April and May. Come and join our experts at The Trades Hall of Glasgow on 30 April 2019 where we can talk you through the new report, and how this can support you and your clients.

On the day we will:

• discuss our industry leading official CON29M coal mining report

• talk through the changes and improvements in our CON29M report

• explain how our data expertise supports our reports

• demonstrate how the new CON29M report can support you and your clients

In addition to providing insight into the new report, this event will include a session from John Logan, Country Manager for Scotland from Stewart Title will also be talking you through Title Indemnity – Mines, Minerals and Miscellaneous Matters.

Sandra Reid, President of the Scottish Paralegal Association will also be at the event to give an update.

Refreshments will supplied throughout the day, including lunch (if you have any dietary requirements, please let us know at the earliest opportunity).

This event has limited spaces available, so please register now to avoid disappointment.  


08 Apr
SPA Conference 2019

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SPA Annual Conference Timetable 2019

Scottish Paralegal Conference
Annual Conference 2019

Thursday 18th April 2019

Our 2018 Annual Conference was an undeniable success with over 130 paralegals in attendance, enjoying CPD verifiable presentations on Conveyancing, Executry, Criminal, Licensing, Civil and Debt Recovery.

The conference schedule can be seen here:

We will announce the Paralegal of the Year at the conference.

27 Mar

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FPSG, specialist recruitment

Check out the adverts on our website by FPSG, specialist recruitment.

Our expert knowledge of the Legal sector, long established personal and business relationships within the industry and proven track record make FPSG an excellent choice to work in partnership with.

We take pride in our deeply held commitment to deliver a superior client service and it is on this basis that we successfully source and place high calibre candidates in a wide variety of roles.

Michelle Beaumont
Head of Legal

10 Mar

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Could employee ownership work for your business?

Employee ownership offers diverse benefits, such as resilience, staff retention, tax breaks and a smooth exit strategy. Plus there is plenty of flexibility over the extent, pace and structure of the deal.

As a result of these benefits, employee ownership is expected to surge over the next years. A recent article in the Herald newspaper (30 June 2017) suggested that up to 5% of all Scottish businesses could end up being employee-owned.

A PERFORMANCE BOOST

There are numerous studies and statistics showing how employee-owned businesses outperform other businesses. For example, during the recession, employee-owned companies grew sales by 11%, while traditionally structured businesses managed an increase of just 0.6%. The positive figures in terms of productivity, absenteeism and growth for employee-owned companies are often referred to as ‘the John Lewis effect’, after the UK’s highest-profile employee-owned business.

Moreover, employee ownership can be used in many situations – from starting a business to exiting one – and you can choose what share of the business is owned by employees. It could certainly be a useful option for the 16,000 or so businesses which, according to the Herald article, will be seeking to transfer ownership in the next five years.

Already in Scotland, there are numerous successful examples in sectors from food and drink to engineering. An added incentive is that the Scottish Government provides feasibility and transition support for businesses that take this route.

THE POSSIBLE BENEFITS

In addition to the performance benefits referred to above, there are also advantages for owners and employees.

Taxation: Owners who sell more than 50% of the company to employees directly or to an employee ownership trust receive valuable capital gains tax relief on the sale. This can increase their overall gains from the sale or enable them to offer a lower price to the buying employees.

Phased and planned succession: The option for staged buyouts can reduce risk for businesses and employees, and allow vendors to control their pace of exit. For example, some successful buyouts in Scotland have included arrangements for the loan repayments to be phased over a decade

Employees: Gaining a stake in a business is an excellent incentive for staff to stick around and perform well. In addition, staff at an employee-owned business can receive a tax-free annual bonus of up to £3,600

STRUCTURING THE DEAL

Once it has been decided that employee ownership is a good course for you and your business, there are three main aspects to think about:

Financial – including value of the business, raising finance, tax and timescales

People – including employee engagement and governance

Legal – including ownership structure, assets and protections.

Ownership structure is a key point here, since some of the options are specific to employee-owned companies. In summary, there are three choices:

  • direct employee ownership, where employees become individual shareholders
  • indirect employee ownership, where shares are held collectively on behalf of employees, normally through an employee ownership trust
  • hybrid ownership, combining the two options above.

Each of these choices has its pros and cons, and will be more or less attractive in different scenarios.

Those pros and cons show why you need good legal support from experienced advisers in this area. You want a team who not only have expertise in the specific structures available but can also view them in the wider context of funding, tax, employment law, governance and the issues around succession in family-owned businesses.

WHY ISN’T IT MORE POPULAR?

Employee-owned companies in the UK already turn over around £30 billion annually and the popularity of employee ownership is growing.

However, moving to employee ownership is a specialist area. Many professional advisers don’t have experience of it, and therefore do not (or cannot) guide their clients through it.

There are also various misconceptions around it – for example, that it may mean losing out on a better sale price in the open market; or that finance can be hard to raise. These may deter businesses and families from looking into it.

Such fears are either unfounded or easily handled. Having worked on successful employee ownership deals, including advising on the recent transition to this structure for Harvey Map Services as well as with organisations such as Capital for Colleagues, which invest in employee-owned businesses, we see huge potential in this area for our business clients.

If you wish to discuss how employee-ownership could benefit your business then please contact Douglas Roberts in our Corporate and Technology team.

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26 Feb

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Broaden your horizons


Exciting opportunity in Brussels for trainee solicitors/newly
qualified solicitors/paralegals.


The Brussels Office of the three Law Societies (England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) acts as the voice of the Solicitors’ profession in Europe. Situated in the heart of the EU district we are well placed to represent the interests and views of the legal profession to key decision makers and legislators.

We are currently offering trainee solicitors, newly qualified solicitors and
paralegals from the UK, a unique opportunity to undertake a three to six-month secondment in the Brussels Office commencing in April/May 2019.

There has never been a better time to be in Brussels; you will be at the centre of the biggest political change of this century, which has momentous constitutional and legal implications.

Your role will be to assist the Brussels team in actively monitoring EU legal
developments that range from competition law to criminal justice, public procurement to private international law. Specific tasks will include: preparing and writing the Brussels Agenda as well as drafting legislative updates highlighting developments in the corporate client and private client areas. You will also attend European Parliament hearings and high level conferences offering the opportunity to develop contacts with MEPs, key Commission officials and UK Government departments.

Anybody interested in applying will need to provide a letter from their firm/employer confirming that it will continue to pay their salary during the secondment.

Candidates are invited to send their application, which should comprise a CV and covering letter and confirmation from your firm/employer of consent to the secondment to Antonella Verde, antonella.verde@lawsociety.org.uk.

The closing date for applications is Sunday 3rd March and interviews will take place the week of 4 March (telephone interviews are possible).

If you require an information note or would like to discuss the secondment, please contact antonella.verde@lawsociety.org.uk.

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