MAY 2022 – ARTICLES & ITEMS OF INTEREST
The Legal Quality Standard of Ireland
MAY 2022 – ARTICLES & ITEMS OF INTEREST
On the 13 May 2022 on the Law Society UK website, Vijay Parikh, managing partner of Harold Benjamin,London, wrote a practice management article on resigning and succession planning. In this article, he talks about his own personal journey and the handover to him as managing partner.
He states the questions managing partners need to ask themselves are (1) when they should step down and hand over the reins and the more pressing question (one that is thought about even less) is not when to resign, but rather how.
He also states, “While succession-planning is not something on many senior partners’ agenda, it is an absolute necessity, like any other future planning for a successful business. Many firms approach this too late, which can cause serious issues later down the line. In ageing partnerships, the bright team of individuals who have been promised for years that they are the future of the firm get despondent and leave.
Having a clear map for the future, and being transparent with your team about your visions for what the future holds, are vital for ensuring staff feel secure and can see opportunities for their growth. It gives everybody a clear future to work towards. There is also the obvious risk-mitigation element to succession-planning. As with anything in law, it is vital to think ahead and plan accordingly for any eventuality in case things go wrong.”
To view this article in full see https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/practice-management/resigning-focus-on-how-not-just-when/5112536.article
UK SURVEY REVEALS HEALTH AND WELLBEING HAVE BECOME THE BIGGEST ISSUE FACING THE LEGAL PROFESSION
In the UK Law Society Gazette on the 20 May 2022, John Hyde has reported on a recent survey of more than 100 practising lawyers conducted by YouGov. The poll found that nine in 10 lawyers have experienced stress or burnout at work – with more than a quarter suffering on a daily basis and that mental health and wellbeing have become the biggest issue facing the legal profession.
It is reported in the article “Almost two-thirds of lawyers feel their job has had a negative impact on their mental and physical health, but less than 25% feel supported by their firm when they are stressed or burnt out. More than half suggested that their firms need to offer more support.
The biggest issues contributing to stress are a high workload and the work done not being recognised – this was cited as the main reason for half of those who are considering their future.”
The article also states, “Many firms are already acting to address staff wellbeing and reduce the likelihood of burnout. Policies requiring emails to be turned off after a certain time, or sent on a time delay so they are received in the morning, are increasingly common. Top 50 firms’ Pinsent Masons and Addleshaw Goddard were among the firms to have founded the Mindful Business Charter, which encourages businesses to commit to making positive changes and eradicate negative working practices.”
Practitioners are reminded of the Legal Quality Standard of Ireland (LQSI) spring wellness series available in the LQSI members’ area and the LQSI template policies available to members in this area, including our Stress and Wellbeing policy and Out of Hours Email policy.
DOES YOUR FIRM HAVE GENDER PAY GAP REPORTING OBLIGATIONS?
The Gender Pay Gap Information Act 2021 requires organisations to report on their hourly gender pay gap across a range of metrics.
On 10 May 2022, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth published guidance for employers on how to calculate their gender pay gap metrics.
The Guidance sets out a “suggested approach” to calculating GPG metrics to facilitate relevant employers’ compliance preparations ahead of the first reporting deadline in December 2022.
Employers with over 250 relevant employees on the snapshot date will be required to report on their GPG in December 2022. GPG reporting obligations will extend to employers with over 150 employees from 2024 and to employers with over 50 employees from 2025.
The Guidance suggests employers choose a “snapshot date” in June 2022 and report on relevant employees employed on that date. The GPG reporting deadline for relevant employers will be six months after the organisation’s chosen snapshot date, namely sometime in December 2022, and the first reporting period will be the 12-month period immediately preceding and including the chosen snapshot date.
EXAMPLE: The organisation chooses Friday 24 June 2022 as its snapshot date. Its reporting deadline is 24 December 2022. Its reporting period is 25 June 2021 to 24 June 2022.
To view the guidance see https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/0cb29-gender-pay-gap-information-act-2021/
For more information on this, the DSBA Spring edition of The Parchment also contains a detailed article on Gender Pay Gap Reporting Obligations https://issuu.com/256media/docs/parchment_spring_2022-flipbook?fr=sM2FlZDQxOTYxNTc
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS – THE IMPLICATIONS OF SMITH V CUNNINGHAM
In the spring edition of the DSBA Parchment, Shane Neville and Laura Finn review a recent decision of the Court of Appeal, which provides useful guidance and clarity on how the Statute of Limitations should be interpreted in professional liability cases.
The article discusses the case of Smith v Cunningham, setting out the circumstances of the case.
The crux of the issues to be considered by the Court of Appeal was whether time began to run from the date in 2006 when the purchase completed or whether it should be delayed until the date in 2008 when the planning problems were discovered and the purchaser pulled out. If time began to run in 2006 then the claim is statute barred.
The court of appeal overturned the earlier judgement of the High Court. In finding in favour of the firm and holding the plaintiffs claim against the firm was ‘statute barred’. Mr. Justice Collins formed the view that the course of action accrued in 2006 when the plaintiff and his then wife purchased the house with the planning problems.
They state, “The main conclusion to be drawn from the case is that a plaintiff’s date of knowledge or whether a problem is reasonably discoverable are not relevant to cases involving the purchase of property.”
To view this article in full see https://issuu.com/256media/docs/parchment_spring_2022-flipbook?fr=sM2FlZDQxOTYxNTc
EU TO WIDEN SCOPE OF CYBER-SECURITY RULES
In the Irish Law Society Gazette top stories, they have a news article titled “EU to widen the scope of cyber-security rules”.
It states, “EU leaders and the European Parliament have reached agreement on a new directive that aims to strengthen the union’s common defences against cyber-threats.
The NIS 2 Directive was proposed by the European Commission in late 2020, and obliges more organisations to take measures aimed at reducing the risks of cyber-attacks.
The directive also strengthens the cyber-security requirements imposed on the companies, and introduces accountability of top management for non-compliance with cyber-security obligations.”
Thierry Breton (Commissioner for the Internal Market) said, “In today’s cyber-security landscape, cooperation and rapid information-sharing are of paramount importance. With the agreement of NIS2, we modernise rules to secure more critical services for society and economy”.
Once published in the Official Journal, the directive will enter into force 20 days after publication. Member states will then have 21 months to transpose the new elements of the directive into national law.
To read this article in full see https://www.lawsociety.ie/gazette/top-stories/2022/eu-to-widen-scope-of-cyber-security-rules
ICO ISSUES £7,552,800 FINE
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined Clearview AI Inc. £7,552,800 for using images of people in the UK, and elsewhere, and has also issued an enforcement notice, ordering the company to stop obtaining and using the personal data of UK residents that is publicly available on the internet, and to delete the data of UK residents from its systems.
John Edwards, UK Information Commissioner, said:
“Clearview AI Inc. has collected multiple images of people all over the world, including in the UK, from a variety of websites and social media platforms, creating a database with more than 20 billion images. The company not only enables identification of those people, but effectively monitors their behaviour and offers it as a commercial service. That is unacceptable. That is why we have acted to protect people in the UK by both fining the company and issuing an enforcement notice.”