FEBRUARY 2023 – ARTICLES & ITEMS OF INTEREST
The Legal Quality Standard of Ireland
FEBRUARY 2023 – ARTICLES & ITEMS OF INTEREST
2023 CPD CYCLE
On the 14 February 2023, it was stated on the Law Society of Ireland’s website that new CPD regulations were adopted by the Law Society Council in late 2022 and are in the process of being implemented.
It states “Following a comprehensive review of Continuing Professional Development, at its November 2022 meeting, the Council of the Law Society of Ireland approved a new CPD regime for 2023.
The adjustments must also be approved by the Department of Justice, and the Society has been interacting with the Department in that respect for the past few months. Presupposing the new CPD regime for 2023 is approved, the following are the key provisions:
- Solicitors must complete 25 hours of CPD;
- Up to 80% (twenty hours) may be undertaken online;
- At least 20% (five hours) must be undertaken in-person;
- At least 3 hours shall be in the category of Client Care and Professional Standards;
- At least 5 hours shall be in the category of Professional Development and Solicitor Wellbeing;
- Senior practitioners must complete a minimum of eight hours, being the eight designated minimum hours in the categories of Client Care and Professional Standards/Professional Development and Solicitor Wellbeing.
When the process with the Department is concluded a further update will issue. In the interim, those who wish to attend to their CPD early in the year should consider proceeding on the basis of the anticipated CPD regime for 2023.”
To view this on the Law Society website see https://www.lawsociety.ie/Solicitors/rules-legislation/CPD-Scheme/2023-cycle/?filters=&location=&category=&area=
WELLBEING – ADVISES ON BURNOUT
On the 14 February 2023, the Law Society of Scotland published a blog relating to ‘Tips dealing with burnout, especially when you have a high workload and feel like you cannot afford to not be productive’. Nicola Rylatt as member of the Lawscot Wellbeing Steering Group and Solicitor at Glasgow City Council offers her advises.
She speaks about how burnout has been brought into public consciousness recently by the resignation of Jacinda Ardern, the 42-year-old Prime Minister of New Zealand, who on the 19 January declared she no longer has enough “in the tank” to do her job.
Burnout can result in physical and mental exhaustion, anxiety, depression, actual physical pain, disrupted sleep and physical illness. It occurs when your mind and body can take no more and is begging for a break. If the break isn’t taken, burnout can cause heart disease, serious depression and myriad of other physical and mental conditions.
Nicola Rylatt asks and offers replies to “So how can we prevent burnout getting to this stage?”
Some of her advises and comments include:-
- Firms and workplaces need to create safe and pro-mental health environments that allow for these types of discussions to take place.
- Employers have a duty of care to protect the wellbeing of their staff.
- Train mental health first aiders to look out for signs of burnout and conduct stress risk assessments.
- Make time for yourself and
- Talk, talk, talk.
To view this wellbeing blog see https://www.lawscot.org.uk/news-and-events/blogs-opinions/burnout-prevention-is-always-better-than-cure/
WELLBEING – IBA RENEWS FOCUS ON WELLBEING FOR LAWYERS
On the 7 February 2023 the Law Society of Ireland published an article stating the International Bar Association (IBA) has announced the creation of the Professional Wellbeing Commission – a new, permanent body within the IBA dedicated to improving the wellbeing of lawyers and legal professionals around the world.
The commission has several key objectives, including:
- Promoting the importance of wellbeing as a core issue and priority for the global legal community,
- Identifying, coordinating, and organising various global stakeholders in changing or modifying the culture and mind-set of the legal profession,
- Raising awareness of the challenges and stigma surrounding discussions of wellbeing, while keeping in mind the cultural differences needed when engaging with this issue,
- Highlighting the ways in which wellbeing issues, needs, and responses vary between different demographic groups,
- Promoting and sharing policies and working practices that help to promote positive and sustainable wellbeing within the legal profession, and
- Making recommendations to change or modify the practical and regulatory environment of the legal profession at all levels, where possible.
To view this article in detail see https://www.lawsociety.ie/gazette/top-stories/2023/february/iba-commission-renews-focus-on-wellbeing-for-lawyers
40% OF DIRECTORS HAVE EXPERIENCED A CYBER-ATTACK
An article appearing in the Top Stories section of the Law Society of Ireland’s website on the 2 February 2023, stated that research carried out by the Institute of Directors (IoD) in Ireland, found just over 40% of business leaders state that their organisation had experienced a cyber-attack.
The survey found, 36% of Directors said that cyber-security was on the agenda at every board meeting, another 27% said the issue came up a board level on a quarterly basis. Just over 80% of Directors said their organisation has a cyber-security incident-response plan in place.
To view this article in full see https://www.lawsociety.ie/gazette/top-stories/2023/february/40-of-directors-have-experienced-cyber-attack
NOTE: This article highlights the importance of the continual monitoring of cyber-security and having a cyber-security incident-response plan in place.
UK SOLICITOR FINED £30,000 FOR MISCONDUCT
Last month we reported on ‘Work Events involving alcohol – the risks and how to minimise them’.
On the 23 February 2023 on the UK Law Society website it was reported how “Daniel Paul Hugh Hutchings, admitted in 2010, attended a lunch hosted by the Society of Construction Lawyers and went on to a Mayfair club where he approached ‘person A’, who was unknown to him. The tribunal heard that he touched person A by placing one or more of his hands on her waist area and ignored person ‘A’s attempts both in words and contact to make clear that his actions were unwanted.”
Making submissions on sanctions, Gregory Treverton-Jones KC, for Hutchings “….He is absolutely mortified about what he did in February 2020 when he was in drink. He knows it must have been upsetting and annoying to the people involved………”
The tribunal heard that the incident had ‘devastating financial and career consequences’. Hutchings ‘lost his chance of promotion then lost his job, though the firm was initially supportive they stopped being supportive and a consensual termination was arrived at.’
The tribunal ruled that Hutchings’ misconduct was ‘significantly serious…but not so serious as to result in an order of suspension or strike off’. Hutchings was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £18,000.
To view this article see https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/handsy-solicitor-fined-30000-for-misconduct/5115225.article
DATA PROTECTION COMPLIANCE – SEVEN KEY QUESTIONS TO ASK
The Information Commissioners office has published a news article calling for “Accountants to play their role in SMEs data protection compliance”. This is a useful article as it sets out seven key questions for accountants to ask SME clients to ensure they get data protection compliance right and provides feedback on these questions and useful links. The questions are set out below with extracts taken from the replies.
- How much does your client know about data protection compliance and the ICO?Have they heard of the legislation and have they given any thought to how they will apply it to their own business?
- What types of personal information will they collect on a day-to-day basis?Ask your client to make a list of the personal information they already have or are likely to be collecting as part of their business operations – they will need to account for it all.
- Encourage them to ask ‘why’ they are holding this personal information? If they’re holding or using people’s personal information, it must always be fair, as well as lawful.
- What security measures do they have in place?Check their security lines up with the sensitivity of the information they hold. Clients should put stronger measures in place if the data poses a higher risk or is sensitive.
- Do they have a privacy notice?It’s essential to tell people: why you hold information about them; what you’ll do with it; and how long you’ll keep it before safely disposing of it.
- Do they know what a subject access request (SAR) is?Customers and the general public have the legal right to ask your client what personal information they hold about them
- Do they know what to do if their business has a personal data breach? A data breach action plan is essential.
This news article also has several useful links in relation to Data Breaches, Privacy Statements and Subject Access Requests.
To view this article and the replies in full see https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/media-centre/news-and-blogs/2023/02/information-commissioners-office-calls-for-accountants-to-play-their-role-in-smes-data-protection-compliance/
UPDATE ON DATA BREACH CLAIMS
On the 7 February 2023 in the Irish Legal News, Mark D. Finan B.L. and Rose Caroline McGrath B.L. explore a new development in litigation seeking damages arising from data breaches in Ireland pursuant to Article 82 of the GDPR and s117 Data Protection Act 2018.
To view this article see https://www.irishlegal.com/articles/analysis-a-stay-a-novel-defence-tactic-in-data-protection-claims