…in brief

first_img Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. This week’s news in brief Permit plan halted The Home Office has withdrawn plans to change the system for overseasexecutives who want to extend work permits or apply for residency (News, 4September). After pressure from the Immigration Law Practitioners Associationand Personnel Today, the Home Office will suspend any changes until a bettersystem is developed. Generation X aim high Three-quarters of HR professionals claim that Generation X staff havedifferent expectations for their working lives to older employees. Research bylaw firm Charles Russell released today shows that half of those who noticed adifference claimed staff are particularly looking for a better work-lifebalance. Over 100 HR professionals of FTSE 500 companies were surveyed. www.charlesrussell.co.ukBenefits hide jobless The UK’s low unemployment rate could be much higher if the large number ofunemployed claiming sickness benefit instead of unemployment benefit was addedto the total. A study by David Webster, a former labour economist at the LondonSchool of Economics, shows that up to 7 per cent of Britain’s workforce iseconomically inactive because of long-term sickness. www.the-ba.netChange angers CBI Employers’ body the CBI is unhappy with reports that the Government isbacking away from plans to charge staff for applying to employment tribunals.The initiative was one of a number of DTI proposals announced last month totackle the steady increase in the number of employment tribunals. www.cbi.org.ukHR network launch A network for those involved in strategic HR has been launched by Roffey Park,aimed at building effective organisations. The Strategic Human ResourcesNetwork will provide a forum for members to network both virtually andface-to-face, as well as learn from colleagues in leading-edge HR. Related posts:No related photos. …in briefOn 11 Sep 2001 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

Oxford’s first case of swine flu

first_imgElsewhere, pupils at South Hampstead High School, North London, and Alleyn’s School, Dulwich, saw school cancelled for several days after pupils at both schools, both of whom who had also been on holiday in Mexico, contracted the illness. There have been thirty-two confirmed cases of Swine Flu in the UK, but no deaths have been reported. Cases have been reported in nineteen countries, and some British tourists remain in quarantine abroad, most notably in Hong Kong.Oxford University is currently in the ‘Amber 2 Pandemic Phase’, which, according to the university website, is proportionate to large clusters of human-to-human spread and a substantial pandemic risk. The World Health Organisation pandemic phase is phase 5, one stage before an actual pandemic. The university formed a committee at the end of last week in response to Swine Flu.Dr Ian Brown, Director of Occupational Health at the University, issued a statement to members of the University on May 1st .“All staff or students who have returned from Mexico within the last seven days should inform the Occupational Health Department of the University on their return even if they are well,” it read.“The University of Oxford has comprehensive and detailed plans in place for this contingency: the University’s pandemic flu planning document is available on this website and further guidance has been issued to Colleges and departments.”On Wednesday, Roger Harrabin, Environmental analyst at the BBC, urged the ‘need for perspective’ on Swine Flu. He compared it to the huge scares during the BSE, SARS and Avian Flu crises, when in each case it was reported that hundreds of thousands could die. In fact, total deaths worldwide from the three ‘pandemics’ combined came to just over one thousand.Simon Jenkins was another journalist who urged the need for a proportionate response, and slammed virologist John Oxford for referring to a Swine Flu ‘Armageddon’.Recent reports suggest the virus is past its peak, but England’s chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, warned against complacency because flu viruses could change character “very rapidly”. A six year old Oxfordshire schoolgirl has been diagnosed with swine flu.The girl, a pupil at Sandhills primary school, East Oxford, allegedly caught the disease while holidaying in Mexico. She is reported to have attended school for only one day before falling ill. The school was closed for several days as a precautionary measure. However, health officials have urged the public not to panic.Dr Noel McCarthy, of Thames Valley Health Protection Unit, told the BBC the case had been “contained”, and it is reported that the girl has made a full recovery.McCarthy praised her family’s “quick and sensible response”, and reassured the public that the girl’s family and everyone else who had been in contact with her had been approached and offered treatment to prevent possible infection.“The child was in no way ill when she was at school or around that time so there is no risk to anybody at the school,” he added.“Having said this, the county council and the head of the school are, and will be continuing to contact those in the school to give clear information but mainly to reassure people rather than to say that they need to do anything special.”Some students, however, have voiced concern. “I know the best thing to do is to keep a stiff upper lip, but its hard not to be worried when a disease which spreads so fast and can kill so quickly comes so close to Oxford,” said one Oriel first-year.Others disagreed. One New College postgraduate said “the overreaction to swine flu is actually dangerous. It’ll be like the boy who cried wolf – people won’t be as worried as they should be when a really deadly pandemic comes along”.Andrew Smith, MP for Oxford East, said: “The most important thing here is that the little girl concerned is recovering well, which is great news. We must also thank the health professionals for what by all accounts is good handling of the situation.” He also praised the local media for what he called a “balanced and responsible” response to the situation.No further cases of the infection have been reported in Oxfordshire.last_img read more

String maze goes up at Magdalen

first_imgStudents at Magdalen College have created a String Maze on the college grounds. The game involves racing along ropes with karabiners.Matthew Shribman, the creator of the Maze said, “I built the maze with the hope of creating the greatest string maze that the world had ever seen.” He intends to challenge Magdalen’s senior dean in the race.The Maze has had a mixed response from students.Nathan Rawle, a Magdalen first year said, “It was hilarious. Try doing it army style by crawling under all the strings.” Nick Clinch added, “It’s stringtastic!”However, another second year commented, “I don’t think does anything to enhance the beauty of Batwillow Meadow, looking as it does like the web of some kind of mid-90s rave spider.”last_img

Sign up now for bakery trends webinar

first_imgTime is running out to sign up for British Baker’s exclusive webinar on the current trends in bakery retail. The web event will feature a number of influential and knowledgeable speakers to inspire bakers and help them move their businesses forward in 2015 and beyond. Register here for the event, which will be held at 2pm on Thursday 26 March. It marks the launch of the Bakery Market Report 2015, which is sponsored by Rank Hovis and Unox.Speakers include Stephen Brown, local sourcing and diversification manager for Scotmid Co-operative Foods, who will discuss the reasons behind the c-store chain’s decision to join up with craft bakery chains in Scotland.Tracy Faulkner, client director at him! will look at customer drivers when shopping for bakery and Mark McCulloch, chief executive of WE ARE Spectacular, who has previously worked with Pret A Manger, will look at how bakery chains can market themselves via social media.Patrick McGuigan, lead researcher on the project, will also be on hand for information and questioning.Martyn Leek, editor of British Baker, said: “The way that bakery products are sold via retail is changing – and the successful partnership by Scotmid shows this. Our latest web event will discuss what is prompting the new strategic partnerships within bakery retail and also discuss what the bakery shopper is looking for along with the important digital realm – where more and more bakers are capitalising on social media to garner extra sales.”The Bakery Market Report will be launched this Thursday 26 March. To order an early bird copy for £175 click here.L-R: Mark McCulloch, Patrick McGuigan, Tracy Faulkner, Stephen Brownlast_img read more

Remembering Levon Helm On The Anniversary Of His Unfortunate Death

first_imgFive years ago today, the world lost a great one, as beloved drummer Levon Helm lost a lengthy battle with cancer on April 19th, 2012. One of the most iconic vocalists to ever grace the stage, Helm was a driving force behind some of The Band’s greatest music.Helm was inspired by bluegrass legend Bill Monroe to become a musician at the age of six, and his family fortunately supported that decision. He would join Ronnie Hawkins’ backing band in the late 1950s at the age of 18, splitting time between performances and high school. By bringing in folks like Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel and more, Helm’s musical universe greatly expanded. When Bob Dylan asked the band to back him, his universe expanded even wider.It would be another few years before The Band officially formed, as a number of lineup changes and Dylan’s retraction from the public eye forced his backing musicians to regroup. When they released Music From The Big Pink in 1968, The Band became an overnight sensation. They would go on to release 10 albums in their career, but perhaps none of their work is more recognizable than their final performance, The Last Waltz.With guest appearances from Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Muddy Waters, Dr. John, Van Morrison, Paul Butterfield and more, The Last Waltz would be the final performance from the original configuration of the Band. Helm maintained an active musical career throughout his entire life thereafter, even winning a couple of Grammy awards in the 2000’s for work on his solo and live albums.With Levon Helm on our mind, we hope you can sit back, relax, and enjoy some pristine footage from The Band’s The Last Waltz, below:Setlist:0:00:00 – Introduction / Up on Cripple Creek0:05:54 – Shape I’m In0:10:15 – It Makes No Difference0:17:28 – Life Is A Carnival0:22:50 – This Wheel’s On Fire0:27:24 – The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show0:31:18 – Georgia On My Mind0:35:02 – Ophelia0:39:15 – King Harvest (Has Surely Come)0:43:24 – The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down0:48:13 – Rag Mama Rag0:52:33 – Introduction / Who Do You Love (with Ronnie Hawkins)0:57:47 – Such A Night (with Dr. John)1:03:01 – Down South in New Orleans (with Dr. John)1:06:34 – Mystery Train (with Paul Butterfield)1:13:29 – Caledonia (with Muddy Waters)1:21:20 – Mannish Boy (with Muddy Waters)1:28:00 – All Our Past Times (with Eric Clapton)1:33:35 – Further On Up The Road (with Eric Clapton)1:39:10 – Helpless (with Neil Young)1:46:00 – Four Strong Winds (with Neil Young)1:50:24 – Coyote (with Joni Mitchell)1:57:01 – Shadows And Light (with Joni Mitchell)2:02:36 – Furry Sings The Blues (with Joni Mitchell)2:07:46 – Dry Your Eyes (with Neil Diamond)2:12:08 – Tura Lura Lural (with Van Morrison)2:16:13 – Caravan (with Van Morrison)2:22:05 – Acadian Driftwood (with Joni Mitchell and Neil Young)2:29:18 – Poem (Emmett Grogan)2:30:19 – Poem (Hell’s Angel Sweet William)2:34:05 – JOY! (Lenore Kandel)2:35:27 – Prologue to The Canterbury Tales (Michael McClure)2:36:55 – Get Yer Cut Throat Off My Knife / Revolutionary Letter #4 (Diane DiPrima)2:39:51 – Transgressing The Real (Robert Duncan)2:41:44 – Poem (Freewheelin Frank Reynolds)2:42:55 – The Lord’s Prayer (Lawrence Ferlinghetti)2:44:05 – Genetic Method2:51:04 – Chest Fever2:56:28 – The Last Waltz Suite: Evangeline3:02:30 – The Weight3:07:23 – Baby Let Me Follow You Down (with Bob Dylan)3:10:36 – Hazel (with Bob Dylan)3:14:32 – I Don’t Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met) (with Bob Dylan)3:19:29 – Forever Young (with Bob Dylan)3:25:09 – Baby Let Me Follow You Down (Reprise) (with Bob Dylan)3:28:35 – Everyone Comes Onstage3:31:41 – I Shall Be Released (with Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr & Ron Wood)3:36:27 – Instrumental Jam 1 (The Band with friends)3:47:50 – Instrumental Jam 2 (The Band with friends)4:05:49 – Don’t Do It4:12:51 – Bill Graham OutroPersonnel:The Band:Rick Danko – bass, fiddle, vocals / Levon Helm – drums, mandolin, vocals / Garth Hudson – organ, piano, accordion, synthesizers, soprano saxophone, violin / Richard Manuel – piano, organ, drums, clavinet, dobro, vocals / Robbie Robertson – guitar, piano, vocalsHorn Section:Richard Cooper – trumpet, flugelhorn / James Gordon – flute, tenor saxophone, clarinet / Jerry Hay – trumpet, flugelhorn / Howard Johnson – tuba, baritone saxophone, flugelhorn, bass clarinet / Charlie Keagle – clarinet, flute, saxophone / Tom Malone – trombone, euphonium, alto flute[Video/Setlist courtesy of The Band On MV/YouTube]last_img read more

Dweezil Zappa Announces 2019 U.K. Tour Dates

first_imgOn Tuesday, Dweezil Zappa, son of the illustrious guitarist, composer, and bandleader Frank Zappa, announced a batch of late-2019 U.K. tour dates.Dweezil Zappa will bring his Hot Rats Live! act across the pond beginning with a show at London’s Royal Festival Hall on December 4th, followed by stops at Manchester’s Palace Theatre (12/5); Southampton’s O2 Guildhall (12/6); Oxford’s New Theatre (12/8); Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall (12/9); Leeds’s Town Hall (12/10); and Birmingham’s Town Hall on December 11th.Tickets for Dweezil Zappa’s newly announced U.K. dates go on sale this Friday, April 26th here.For a full list of Dweezil Zappa’s upcoming tour dates and ticketing information, head to his website here.Dweezil Zappa 2019 U.K. Tour Dates:12/4/19 – London – Royal Festival Hall12/5/19 – Manchester – Palace Theatre12/6/19 – Southampton – O2 Guildhall12/8/19 – Oxford – New Theatre12/9/19 – Glasgow – Royal Concert Hall12/10/19 – Leeds – Town Hall12/11/19 – Birmingham – Town HallView Tour Dateslast_img read more

Tickets for This Is Our Youth Now On Sale

first_img This Is Our Youth chronicles 48 hours in the lives of spoiled, drugged-out, rich kids living in Manhattan in the 1980s. Cera will play Warren, a depressed 19-year-old who has stolen $15,000 from his tycoon Dad, while Culkin will play his drug-dealer friend Dennis and Gevinson will appear as Jessica, a perceptive fashion student. The production will feature original music by Grammy winner Rostam Batmanglij. While the Chicago production is staged in-the-round, the play will be restaged for a proscenium theater on Broadway. Originally produced off-Broadway by The New Group, This Is Our Youth opened at the INTAR Theatre in October 1996. The play later opened at the Douglas Fairbanks Theatre in November 1998, starring Mark Ruffalo, Josh Hamilton and Missy Yager. The 2002 West End production of This Is Our Youth starred Hayden Christensen, Jake Gyllenhaal and Anna Paquin. Other actors to subsequently appear in the London version include Matt Damon, Casey Affleck, Summer Phoenix and Culkin. Related Shows View Commentscenter_img Tickets are now on sale for Kenneth Lonergan’s This Is Our Youth, starring Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin and Tavi Gevinson in their Broadway debuts. The production, under the direction of Anna D. Shapiro, will play the Cort Theatre beginning August 18 following its run at the Steppenwolf Upstairs Theatre in Chicago. Opening night is scheduled for September 11. This Is Our Youth Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 4, 2015last_img read more

World Welcomes 4-H’ers

first_img“For high school and college age 4-H’ers, applications are due now for 4-Hinternational exchanges this summer,” says Greg Price. He directs these programsthrough the University of Georgia Extension Service. College-age 4-H’ers may apply for the three- to six-month IFYE Representativeprogram. The six-week IFYE Ambassador program or the month-long LABO programto Japan are for high school 4-H’ers. But there’s no time to delay. All applications aredue now. Virtual reality has its appeal. But nothing takes the place of being there. Just ask thosewho dreamed of the Olympics and finally came to Atlanta last summer. Doing beatsdreaming any day. “These programs help you learn about life,” Price says. “An international experiencecan be extremely valuable for an international career. It helps you develop abilities,including language skills. You can increase your knowledge and global awareness. Andyou can pursue your own study goals and career training.” That’s why Georgia 4-H’ers who dream about world travel need to do something abouttheir dreams. And they better do it fast. International 4-H programs offer exchanges from six weeks to six months. You cantravel to almost 30 countries. The list includes Australia, Botswana, Estonia andLatvia, India, Jamaica, Japan, Paraguay, Switzerland and Ukraine. “International programs have always been a strong part of Georgia 4-H,” he says. “Aninternational experience is an educational opportunity that’s equal to none. That’s truewhether you’re the traveler or the host family.” Families who would like to host a young international guest for a week or more shouldcontact their county agent. They have until March 15 to apply. Youths can apply to travel or to host an international visitor next summer through thecounty extension office.last_img read more

Paraguay Participates in NCO Expert Exchange Program with the United States

first_imgBy Marcos Ommati/Diálogo July 22, 2016 On a typically cold and clear winter day in the Southern Hemisphere, our group began a day filled with visits to Paraguayan Military institutions as part of a week-long period of events, workshops, conferences, and presentations comprising an exchange program between Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) from the United States and Paraguay. The first stop was a visit to the Peacekeeping Joint Operations Training Center, in Asuncion, where General Oscar Luis González, commander of the Paraguayan Army led the opening ceremony together with U.S. Army Colonel Barbara Fick, Liaison Officer with the Office of Security Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy-Paraguay. The U.S. NCOs also visited other institutions throughout the week, among which were the Logistics Command, the Military Academic Institute Command (CIME, for its Spanish acronym), the Engineering and Communications Command, and the NCO Training School of the Paraguayan Navy. Together with other partner nations inLatin America, Paraguay is taking part in a program focused on professionalizingand empowering the work of NCOs in the national armies. The program issponsored by U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) and has been in development sincethe beginning of 2016, under the direction of U.S. Army Sergeant Major KarimMella. Changing the Way of Thinking As in the case of partner nations such asEl Salvador and the Dominican Republic, where the NCO professionalizationprogram is already underway, Paraguay is on its way to adapt the current mindsetabout NCOs and the relationship between officers, sergeants, and future NCOs. “We must change the mindset amongstofficers, mainly, and among them, commanders in particular. From there, we mustcontinue to work to engrain the concept I am trying to instill in the officers’minds. An officer’s first responsibilityis taking care of the personnel under his command. Having said that, it isworth noting Paraguay has no differences other than financial resources. Socialand cultural conditions are very homogeneous among the population, and that isreflected in the Armed Forces. Paraguayan officers do not discriminate againstNCOs for any other reason than the different ranks. This is due to disciplineand the vertical nature of the hierarchies in every army and which must bemaintained. In that regard, and to begin with, we have that advantage, becauseI understand that in other countries this is not so,” said General Gonzálezto Diálogo. SM Mella considered it would be appropriate to conduct an exchange program where NCOs from the three services in the U.S. Military could meet their counterparts from Paraguay to better explain the change in mindset that took place in the United States over 200 years ago. “It’s not only important, it’s vital. More and more joint and combined operations and training are taking place throughout the Western Hemisphere. Also, consider a natural disaster, for example, the devastating earthquake in Haiti or the most recent event in Ecuador where multiple countries came together. When two or more nations come together to provide support, enlisted members naturally gravitate toward each other. By having the same attributes of professionalism, this group can align themselves more quickly, organize effectively, develop plans, and execute their mission,” said U.S. Air Force Sergeant Major Heriberto G. Diaz Jr., Superintendent at the Inter-American Air Forces Academy, located within Lackland Air Force Base in Joint Base San Antonio. For the U.S. NCOs that participated inthe exchange program, it was clear that in addition to contributing, they alsogrew personally with the experience. “I learned the importance of the NCOCorps within the Paraguayan Armed Forces and the high-level of professionalismin which they operate. The capability of their respective NCO Corps was trulyimpressive. I also learned that Paraguayans are truly gracious hosts and thatthey truly value friendships and partnerships,” commented U.S. Army CommandSergeant Major Anthony S. Torres, from the 470th Military Intelligence Brigade. But maybe the most appropriate person totalk about the topic of similarities and differences among NCOs from differentcountries is U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Cesar Infante. His perspective in theexchange was illuminating because, with a Peruvian-American background, heserved in the Peruvian Armed Forces before moving to the United States, wherehe is now serving as chief of supplies at U.S. Marine Corps Forces, South.”I believe the level of professionalism of the NCOs from Latin Americancountries still has a way to go, because in many places, the NCO position isrelatively new. Currently, the armed forces of many countries are on their wayto becoming professionals, and I would say they are on the right path toachieving that goal.” Joint Work Just like their U.S. counterparts, theParaguayan NCOs that participated in the exchange program are members of allthe services. “Any relationship with servicemen from other countries isbeneficial, especially when it has to do with education,” said NCO AntonioDuarte from the 1st Air Force Brigade of Paraguay.” We have thisvision of improving the quality of education, from the beginning, with NCOs andsergeants, to the end of the curriculum. As soon as theycan have a training course for command NCOs, it will be a very valuableachievement,” said Command NCO Victor Alcaldes, from the Paraguayan Navy. It is also important to conduct expert exchangesin the United States so the program can be more comprehensive. For that reason,there are currently Paraguayan NCOs attending courses in the United States. “Iam a guest NCO at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC),in Fort Benning, Georgia. I know enough about the relationship between officersand NCOs in the United States. With this experience, I believe NCOs in Paraguayhave to have the opportunity to lead a platoon or a group to carry out theirduties, and have officers trust that they have what’s necessary and are readyto perform as such. They need that space so they can develop based oneducation. Education is vital for an individual’s development, and thereforefor institutions,” said Cavalry NCO of the Paraguayan Army Digno Galeano. Next Steps Continuity is very important for thesuccess of the partner nation NCO professionalization program. Specificallyregarding Paraguay, “the very next step is maintaining the information flowwith the Paraguayan Armed Forces and tracking their process,” said U.S. ArmyMaster Sergeant Luis O. Perez, Sergeant Major of Operations at WHINSEC. “We must maintain these open lines ofcommunication, and conduct a follow-up with our counterparts as soon aspossible in order to help them in the future.” All participants agree that the world haschanged, and the military service members from every country must adapt to facenew threats in the best possible way, therefore having a better prepared NCOcorps is a must. “Our enemies are not in front of us or behind us, but ina line. We now have missions in which small armed or unarmed groups causedamages everywhere. Having a dynamic NCO force that is prepared and isprofessional would help us reach further and carry out our missions in a moreprecise manner,” concluded Sgt. Major Mella.last_img read more

Learning the business side of practicing law

first_img September 1, 2001 Jan Pudlow Associate Editor Regular News Learning the business side of practicing law Learning the business side of practicing law Associate Editor True confession from Hollywood attorney Alan Steven Bernstein: “I am not the most organized man in the world.” So when a client questioned the amount of his bill, Bernstein didn’t have the black-and-white facts to prove he was correct. “I knew I’d put the time in, but it was a question of how I ran the books,” recalled Bernstein, a solo practitioner handling mostly drunken-driver defense work. After the client filed a complaint with the Bar, Bernstein was ordered to undergo an evaluation of his office systems and procedures from The Florida Bar’s Law Office Management Assistance Service (LOMAS). The resulting recommendations, including an investment in time-management software, are paying off, he said, as he continues to learn to be better at the business side of legal practice. “Unfortunately, I was focusing so much on practicing law that I was delegating too much about the business of my law practice. And I used to take whatever came through the door. I learned you have to screen clients. [LOMAS] helped me a lot and gave me perspective. Did they teach me these things in law school? Not at all. I was really unprepared to work on the business side,” Bernstein said, of graduating from Nova Southeastern University’s Shepard Broad Law Center in 1981. These days, Nova does offer a non-credit, four-week workshop to second-year and third-year law students called “Small Firm Practice/Management.” Students do a detailed business plan, plan a law office, learn about trust accounting, and general survival techniques, including how to advertise without breaking any rules. The debate has rumbled for decades: Whose duty is it to prepare law students for the business side of running a practice? Law schools? The Bar? Both? “It’s an old-school attitude,” said Nova law professor Debra Moss Curtis, of law schools’ general reluctance to get into teaching the practical, non-theory side of being a lawyer as part of the curriculum. She pushed to create the workshop at Nova when the dean wanted to create a series of career development workshops, such as “Spanish for professionals.” “I’ve often heard the quote: ‘This is law school, not lawyer school. This is an academic pursuit, not a vocational pursuit.’ But the reality is that this law school is a vocational school, too. If we don’t teach it to them, they won’t learn it,” Curtis said. “We have an obligation to provide it. We’re not breeding people to sit in law libraries. We are sending them out in the world to be business people.” Curtis has watched her non-credit workshop at Nova grow from two students in 1997 to more than 60 students this year. “What I think my students find most shocking is how many hats you have to wear in small firms. You have to decide everything from what kind of computers to who’s going to buy the legal pads. I think they are confounded by the depth of trust accounting rules.” While philosophies differ on whose duty it is to teach law students practical nuts-and-bolts business sense, there’s no question that too many lawyers have learned their lessons the hard way. “When we break the statistics down, we believe that well over 50 percent of Bar disciplinary complaints emanate from poor business practices and have nothing to do with the legal essence of being a lawyer. And malpractice statistics related to poor business practices are even higher, ” said J.R. Phelps, a legal administrator hired by the Bar 21 years ago to begin LOMAS. It was the first such Bar program in the country, and since then 18 other states have followed Florida’s lead. It was the late Sam Smith, 1981 president of the Bar, who convinced the Board of Governors in 1979 to add the LOMAS position, when the discussion centered on adding more prosecutors. “LOMAS should be the ounce of prevention that prevents this expensive pound of cure,” Smith liked to say. For two decades, LOMAS has been offering services to lawyers who ask for help voluntarily, as well as those involved in disciplinary proceedings. In his role conducting LOMAS disciplinary consultations, RJon Robins has seen “a grown man and woman shut the door and break down in front of me over the heartache and feelings of inadequacy and failure they have secretly harbored because no one ever taught them how to keep track of a calendar or tickler system. Or because they never really understood what their staff does for their law firm until the secretary called in sick for a week and the entire office ground to a halt. Or they never thought about establishing policies for their staff to follow to help them avoid troublesome clients who end up reporting them to the Bar for discipline because they were unable to achieve some sort of unrealistic goal. Or they are just flat broke, even though they work 60 to 70 hours a week and now their families hate them, too.” As Phelps says: “Competence as a lawyer is a two-part equation – technical competence and the ability to perform competently, that is deliver legal services in a timely and cost-effective manner. Law schools and CLE programs emphasize the technical aspects of being a lawyer. It’s the ability to perform competently that LOMAS addresses in its seminars, telephone consultations and on-site consultations. “Client complaints are generally related to performance issues rather than technical mistakes. The complaints range from ‘My lawyer missed a hearing’ to ‘My lawyer never really did anything.’ Law school doesn’t teach you to be organized.” Why not? Jay Foonberg, a California attorney who wrote the popular ABA book, “How to Start and Build a Law Firm,” responded, “In my opinion, there are two reasons: The larger firms, which hire out of the law schools, don’t pay a premium for this. There is no big demand. And there is a prestige factor for the law school. The priority is to the big law firms because they are the ones buying 10 seats to the alumni dinner. “The second reason, I think, is there is no one to teach the course. No course is ever taught in law school, unless it gets through a curricula committee, and the tenured professors jealously guard their own jobs.” Walter Crumbley, an administrative law judge for the Social Security Administration in Tampa and chair of the Bar’s LOMAS Committee, has also experienced that law school reluctance. “This is one of the things that has bounced back and forth for years: What is the role of the law school and what is the role of the organized bar as far as preparing people to practice?” Crumbley said. “I think every law school is this way: They see their role as teaching you to research and think like a lawyer and write like a lawyer. That other stuff you’ll learn when you get out. The assumption is that you’ll go to a firm, and you’ll learn to do that from them. Unfortunately, the people out there may not know how to do it very well, either.” In 1985, Judge Crumbley, who has a bachelor’s in business administration and a master’s in public administration, approached Stetson about teaching a law practice management class. “They told me, ‘We’re not interested in that, but we’d like you to teach administrative law.’” Eventually, Stetson agreed to let Crumbley teach the course, which he did until last year. “We put aside the legal part and deal with day-to-day business operations,” including how to set up an office and hire good employees, Crumbley said. “In law school, they say the statute of limitations is four years. But they don’t say you need a system in your office to make sure you don’t miss that date. “I think there’s not a great recognition yet by lawyers in the field how important practice management is,” Crumbley said. “It can really and truly make a big difference in the bottom line, malpractice prevention and better quality of life. If you understand the concepts of how to attract good clients and manage that lawyer client relationship well, you’ll have a practice that is not only financially successful, but personally satisfying, as well. “What made teaching it worthwhile is when a student comes back a few years later and says, ‘You saved my life!’” At Florida State University College of Law, more is being offered regarding professionalism and ethics issues, said Dean Don Weidner. But when it comes to practice management issues — “like the nitty gritty of how to do billing records” — Weidner acknowledged: “We could do more in that area.” Mostly, FSU students learn such things in non-credit workshops conducted by practicing attorneys. Clinical programs also provide hands-on experience. “A small percentage of our students hang out a shingle. In part, it’s something that we can provide outside the curriculum. Practitioners are delighted to come in and do it for free,” Weidner said. “And the thought is that The Florida Bar helps bridge the gap. The Young Lawyers Division is active in this area. And there’s the sense that it’s not an academic discipline.” YLD President Liz Rice said: “With some of the larger law schools, especially, it’s not seen as ‘intellectual enough.’ Their philosophy is the students will learn these things when they’re out practicing.” Because of time constraints, Rice said, the YLD’s “Practicing with Professionalism” seminar “only hits the highlights, the tip of the iceberg.. . . Would it be helpful for law schools to offer it? Yes. But can the Bar do more, too? Yes,” she said. Stressing that while LOMAS does a great job, she believes it’s underutilized, and perhaps Bar sections could put on more related seminars, too. What Donna Goldman, a solo family law practitioner in Ft. Lauderdale, didn’t learn at the University of Miami law school, she sought out voluntarily from LOMAS. “On television, the attorney never has a problem finding and keeping qualified staff. They never worry about the amount of the bill they give the client, and rarely — except when showing this laid-back beach bum type of attorney — does the TV show a lawyer asking the secretary what checks have come in,” Goldman said. Robins, of LOMAS, spent the day at her law office, she said, and she found his advice both interesting and useful, including a form book to supplement her knowledge of office-type forms and documents. “RJon told me, and I couldn’t agree more, that it is important to be able to delegate responsibility. That is huge. However, this goes to the inherent problem of finding competent and affordable staff to delegate these responsibilities. Oh, the horror stories!” Goldman said. “I was always known as an efficiency expert. A problem, of course, is what about when those around you aren’t as inherently efficient. How do you find the time to train?” Sometimes, the best advice on how to keep clients happy seems commonsensical. “I would say to every lawyer in America: Take a course in how to listen,” said Foonberg. “Like my daddy always used to say: ‘If you are talking more than one-third of the time, you are talking too much. If the Lord wanted us to talk two-thirds of the time, the Lord would have given us two mouths and one ear.’ Clients don’t want you to talk until you listen to them. The Golden Rule of marketing is dead. The Platinum Rule is here: Treat others as they would want to be treated.” James Pruden, 47, knew all about customer service from having an MBA and spending years in business before he went to Nova’s law school at age 40. He has launched his second career as a lawyer, opening a solo practice in Boca Raton. “When you open a practice for yourself, you have to realize you are running a business first, a law practice second. I had a long career with IBM, which was very service-oriented,” Pruden said. “And the practice of law is a very service-oriented business. It frames how you treat clients. One of the biggest complaints you hear about law offices is something as simple as how quick you can get your phone call returned. Clients don’t want to wait three days to get someone to call them back,” Pruden said. “And there are simple things I do with my billing practices. I have attorneys shriek at what I do. I leave a lot of money on the table. People complain about law offices that charge $1.50 a fax. It doesn’t break my back, and it doesn’t cost much. I don’t charge for faxes. And I get a tremendous amount of good will from my clients.” Even though he was very familiar with the business world, Pruden still took Curtis’ workshop at Nova. “Law school is not there to give people MBAs and certainly can’t give them 10 or 20 years of practical experience,” Pruden said. “But it’s a matter of nuts and bolts and what tricks they can tell you. If you’re a self-starter, you can take these good points of advice and apply it into getting a running start at a business. “It gives people an insight into things as simple as the costs of a telephone. I had a detailed plan of how to run this business. But there are challenges you don’t know until you get in there and do it. Just dealing with the telephones. It took me a while to get the phones right. I had multiple lines, where if one is busy it rolls into another line. I had voice lines rolling into the fax lines,” he said laughing at the hassle. His biggest fear was that he’d have no clients — but he didn’t have to worry long. “If you do a great job for somebody, you’ll get three or four new clients by word of mouth. If you do a bad job, you’ll never see anybody again,” said Pruden, who has not spent a dime on advertising and says he has enough clients to keep him busy. He invested in a great law library, instead. And this advice comes from Bernstein, who admits he learned a lot the hard way when he left a large law firm, sold his condo, and moved back home to pay for opening his solo practice, bringing with him two clients, one who didn’t pay: “Competition is deadly. Make sure you are organized in what you do. And keep your eye on your back.”last_img read more