Lawcare 2020 Figures: Sharp Increase in Legal Professionals Seeking Help for Anxiety

The number of legal professionals contacting the charity LawCare for emotional support continues to rise year on year, with 738 legal professionals seeking help in 2020, a rise of 9% on the previous year.

The charity received 964 calls, webchats, and emails to their support service in 2020. The most common problems cited were stress (23%), anxiety (15%), bullying (10%), depression (10%) and worries about career development (10%). The number of people contacting LawCare experiencing anxiety has seen the biggest increase – from 45 people in 2019 to 111 last year.

The majority of those who contacted the support service were women (69%). 50% were trainees/pupils, or had been qualified less than five years, and a further 6% were law students.

From March 2020, 34% of all calls, emails and webchats to the LawCare support service had a COVID element. Of these, the most common issues reported were:

•              Worsening of existing mental health issues (13%)

•              Not being permitted to work from home (12%)

•              Struggling to adapt to WFH due to poor supervision, procedures, or provision of equipment (11%)

•              Feeling isolated (11%)

•              Being overloaded with work, typically because colleagues had been furloughed (9%)

There were also practical issues related to childcare, relationship strain, redundancy or inability to find a job (including job offers made before COVID being withdrawn) and financial concerns. LawCare also heard from legal professionals being asked to work while furloughed.

Elizabeth Rimmer, CEO of LawCare, said: ‘Our support service continues to grow and help more people year on year. 2020 was a challenging year for most, we are not surprised that anxiety increased at a time of great worry and uncertainty.  In addition our website traffic increased by 50% and we allocated more peer supporters and funded more counselling sessions last year than ever before.  We expect demand to continue to grow in 2021 as legal professionals continue to navigate the challenges presented by COVID-19.’

Anyone working in the legal industry including support staff can contact LawCare for free, confidential, emotional support on 0800 279 6888, email [email protected] or visit www.lawcare.org.uk

For more 2020 statistics the full report is at www.lawcare.org.uk/impact *

New Digital Badges and Certificates

We are delighted to announce that we have partnered with Accredible and will be launching digital badges and certificates in the next month.

Through state-of-the-art technology the Accredible digital badges and certificates means that Paralegals on the register and those who hold Practising Certificates (PPC’s) can easily add their credentials to their email signature, as well as their own website and LinkedIn Profile.  

  • The Benefits of Digital Badges and CertificatesAlways Accessible – Never worry about losing your certificate – ever. Your credential will always be present.
  • Easily Shareable – You want to share your achievement.  Digital credentials let you showcase your achievement on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn with one click.
  • Control Your Privacy – Take advantage of searchability and have your achievement be discoverable on search engines or set it to private and share with only selected people. How and when you share your credential is up to you.
  • Print at Any Time – Easily print a high-quality PDF of your certificate, whenever you’d like.
  • Membership, Verified – Your membership can be verified at any time. Your certifications on LinkedIn can be linked to your live credential so anyone, anywhere can see what you have achieved.
  • Embed your credential on your own website and in your email signature.

Here are a few frequently asked questions about the launch.

When and how will I receive by digital certification?

Your PPR digital badge and certificate will be emailed to you during February 2021, so please keep an eye out for an email from [email protected]

To make sure you receive this communication from us, please ask your IT department to whitelist this email address.

If by the end of February, you have not received your credentials, please check your spam/junk folder in the first instance, then get in touch with us at the Professional Paralegal Register on [email protected] or + 44 (0) 20 3039 3710.

I already have a Yoshki Smart Badge on my own website? 

Accredible digital badges will replace the Yoshki smart badges that we currently provide, therefore you will need to replace the badge on your website before the 31 March 2021.  After this time, your website visitors will not be able to verify your membership via the Yoshki Smart Badge.

Will I receive a printed certificate in the future?

No, the Professional Paralegal Register will be migrating to digital certificates and you will receive a PDF Print Ready version attached with the notification email.

For more information, please download our Digital Badge and Certificates Factsheet or contact Professional Paralegal Register on [email protected] or + 44 (0) 20 3039 3710.

Amir Ali announced as new President of the Professional Paralegal Register

The former Chairman of the CCUA who has over three decades of experience in both Legal and Enforcement sectors, Amir Ali, has become the inaugural President of the Professional Paralegal Register (PPR), a not-for-profit organisation which provides regulation for Paralegals.

The inaugural President calls for recognition of the only organisation offering independent regulation for Paralegals who work outside of regulated entities.

He has ambitious plans for the next 12 months and is determined to see the organisation play a major role in the future of legal services regulation.

Amir Commented:

Only PPR regulated Paralegals are able to offer the protection of independent regulation making them a valuable asset for the profession and for consumers.  I want to continue the work with key stakeholders at the LSB, MoJ, CMA and the Judiciary that has already been championed by the Managing Director, Rita Leat, which will enable our members to fully utilise their skills within the legal profession.   PPR Paralegals are unique as they are not only trained and have vast amounts of experience, but they also have the added protection of being regulated.  In order to ease the burden on the court service by the rise of unrepresented parties and the significant disadvantage’s that Litigants in Person may suffer, it is vital that rights of audience are applied to our regulated Paralegals.

Amir Ali – PPR President

Rita Leat, Managing Direct and founding member of the PPR said:

Amir has spent his career working at the highest level of government and will be an asset to the PPR to help further its goals. I look forward enormously to working with him.

Amir said, “I am both honoured and touched to be appointed the inaugural President of The Professional Paralegal Register (PPR). 

The PPR represents one of the largest branches of the legal profession here in the UK.

The Register champions diversity, inclusivity and equality within the profession whilst delivering access to justice and consumer protection for all.

The PPR is the independent voluntary regulator for all paralegals.

I am looking forward to furthering the Register’s collective ambition during my tenure, including but not limited to:

  • Increasing both awareness and recognition of the role of the PPR in providing regulation for the sector, now, and in the future with the changing regulatory landscape, for the register and paralegals.
  • Developing Paralegal Rights of Audience within the profession.
  • Helping and assisting (The PPR) in promoting the Paralegal Profession to acquire Chartered Status through its Institute.

For further information, please contact:

Abby Dennis, Head of Memberships and Events @ [email protected]

Notes to editors:
  • The PPR www.ppr.org.uk is the only independent regulator of Paralegals in the UK.
  • The membership is made up of paralegals working in commerce, charities, law firms, paralegal law firms, will writing companies and may be employees, freelancers, business owners or sole traders.
  • PPR offers the opportunity of a non-graduate route to practice and has an experiential route for those who have requisite experience.
  • Those who hold a Paralegal Practising Certificate are fully regulated whilst those who are Registered only are regulated for conduct not services.
  • PPR is committed to supporting members to deliver accessible legal services to the public.

Our membership is diverse 52% of members are women.  The President is available for interviews.  Please contact Abby Dennis in the first instance on [email protected]

Review of Legal Services Regulation – Will you be left out in the cold?

In May, this year the Ministry of Justice confirmed that it was not intending to change the structure of legal services regulation. Justice minister Alex Chalk MP said in a parliamentary paper there were ‘no plans’ to review the framework which is built around the Legal Services Act 2007.

This statement was made in spite of the fact that Professor Stephen Mason, UCL, had yet to publish the final report on The Independent Review of Legal Services Regulation. After almost two years of research, three working papers and numerous consultations, it would appear that the MoJ had jumped the gun.

Indeed, the interim report, published in September last year, indicated quite strongly that the regulatory landscape was not fit for purpose and needed a major overhaul.

The Legal Services Act was not intended for today’s innovation within the legal sector and leaves little room to enable new technology to be taken under the regulatory wing. Statutory restrictions have prevented the regulatory framework to adapt to a more diverse legal service provision.

The final report that was published in June this year and sets out a series of proposals, which could provide both short term and long- term reform.

Currently we are in a state of ‘all’ or ‘nothing’, with some legal service providers being left out in the cold, whilst others suffer the burden of ‘Title Based’ regulation opposed to ‘Activity Based’ regulation, which it could  be argued to be eminently more sensible.

The key points for the unregulated providers to take note, is that reform is inevitable, and there is a new call to bring the unregulated into the framework in the short-term.

If the framework is developed in relation to ‘activities’ then will writers and paralegals should think very carefully about being left out, if they do not adjust to new criteria that will undoubtedly be forthcoming in relation to (a) categorising the risk of certain activities (will writing has already been muted to be ‘high risk’) and (b) ensuring that providers of ‘activities’, meet the new standards of competency whatever they may be.

The report does however highlight and more importantly recognise that there is an independent regulator, the Professional Paralegal Register (PPR), who acts as a regulator (non-statutory) for all those offering legal services outside the regulated professions.

The way forward for the unregulated sector is to provide a united front. Organisations, membership bodies, paralegal firms and businesses who are interested in protecting the unregulated sector and ultimately their livelihoods are advised to contact the PPR and become regulated by an independent body. Self-regulation is not likely to meet the standard of external scrutiny that will be needed going forwards.

For more information on becoming a Recognised Membership Body or to be registered on the Professional Paralegal Register please email [email protected]

Fraser and Fraser: creating a successful webinar programme in strange times

The pandemic and the ensuing lockdown were challenging for all sorts of organisations, for all sorts of reasons. For probate research firm Fraser and Fraser one of the issues was how we could stay in touch with our solicitor and paralegal clients and contacts when face-to-face interactions were out of the question.

One way we have done this over the past few months has been through a series of interactive webinars, which have proved a resounding success.

Their popularity has partly been down to timing. People working at home have welcomed the idea of joining friends and colleagues from across the sector to hone their skills and update their knowledge. As a firm we have worked hard to use our contacts and influence to source speakers who not only know their subject, but can also share it in a compelling manner during a web-based event where other panel-members, and the audience, may only be visible on screen or via a chat-box.

This has been a year of change in many ways and our webinar programme has provided welcome insights into a wide range of topical issues; from the use and possible pitfalls of video-witnessing for wills, to recent changes related to online probate forms and lasting powers of attorney, to practical advice about issues such as inheritance disputes.

Other highlights have included solicitor Caroline Bielanska and Court of Protection barrister Barbara Rich discussing statutory wills, via focusing on a particularly challenging case study, and John Bunker, head of private client management at Irwin Mitchell, providing timely advice on latest developments in trusts and probate.

We know, both from individual feedback and from the number of repeat attendees who’ve logged on for different webinars, that our mix of subjects and speakers has been well-received. Not only that, we’ve also been approached by various bodies, for example, local STEP (Society of Tax and Estate Planning) associations, to put on events tailored specifically to their audience. And our format, combining a roughly half-hour presentation with 10-15 minutes of Q&A, seems to have hit the spot.

At the moment we’re drawing up a list of topics and guests for our programme in 2021. In the meantime, all of our webinars from this year are available to watch on our website at www.fraserandfraser.com/webinars.

Diversity and inclusion in the legal profession - regulation, and practical approaches for recruitment and workplace culture, wellbeing and progression

This Westminster Legal Forum conference with keynote speakers, will consider the way forward for improving diversity and inclusion in the legal profession through regulation, and practical approaches for recruitment and workplace culture, wellbeing and progression.

The agenda:

  • Meeting regulatory requirements for diversity and inclusion
  • Practical approaches to developing a diverse legal sector
  • Improving workplace culture in legal services – mental wellbeing, workplace flexibility and support, and tackling harassment and misconduct
  • Recruitment and progression – attracting new lawyers from diverse backgrounds, the impact of the SQE, and transitioning from law schools to the workplace
  • Next steps for improving judicial diversity

Event Date: Thursday, 10th December 2020

Timing: 9am – 1pm (registration from 8.30am)

Price per delegate: £190 plus VAT

To find out more and to book your please visit Westminister Legal Policy Forum.

Continuing Professional Development spot checks

The PPR will be carrying out random spot checks on Continuing Professional Development (CPD) records of registered professional paralegals starting in January 2021.

Why is the PPR doing this?

CPD is required to be undertaken by Tier 2 Paralegals and above.

Members of the PPR are responsible for their own professional development in accordance with the Paralegal Practitioners Rules however to ensure that registered paralegals keep their record cards updated and undertake their set number of CPD hours, we believe spot checks will prove more proportionate and less onerous than requiring all registered members of the PPR to submit their record cards annually.

It is worth noting that registered members who hold Professional Practising Certificates (PPC’s) and are fully regulated by the PPR will be excluded from the spot checks as they must provide their CPD records annually to comply with the Paralegal Practising Certificate Rules.

How will I know if I’ve been selected for spot-checking?

The PPR will contact those selected for spot-checking to ask for evidence of completion of their CPD hours and their record card.

Why have I been selected?

Paralegals will be selected entirely at random.

What is Continual Professional Development (CPD)?

Continual Professional Development (CPD) is any relevant and valid education or training by a Paralegal to enable them to develop his or her professional knowledge, skills and abilities.

The CPD should cover:

  • Law – procedure and practice
  • Client care skills
  • Practice skills
  • Organisational and management skills

What are the PPR’s CPD Requirements?

Members at Associate level (Tier 2) and above are required to undertake a minimum of 12 hours CPD in each year of practice. 

3 hours must be gained through formal means such as:

  • Attendance at a legal conference
  • Seminars
  • Workshops
  • Courses
  • Training
  • Publishing papers, articles or books

The remaining hours may be gained through private study; taking part in consultations; in-house training; reading journals or books; preparing training materials or presentations.

Records and Monitoring

Paralegals who are registered are required to complete and maintain a CPD record in good faith.

If a member does not have a summary of their CPD i.e. what you did, when, with which provider (if relevant) and the benefit to your professional education (e.g. legal updating, new skill, etc.) then they can download the PPR’s CPD Record Template to complete by clicking here.

Are there any exemptions?

A Member may, in extenuating circumstances, apply for an exemption of up to 4 hours CPD.

If a Member has not complied with the requisite CPD requirements and they are not entitled to an exemption, the PPR will investigate and may withdraw the Member from the PPR. A Member’s CPD record may be used in any complaint investigation that alleges lack of knowledge or incompetent practice.

If a Member holds a practising certificate, they will be excluded from the spot checks.

If you have any questions or queries, please contact the Head of Memberships and Events, Abby Dennis by email on [email protected] or phone 0203 039 3710.

IoP Christmas Jumper Extravaganza Networking Event

Create long-lasting connections to take forward into the New Year or catch up with people you already know. The Institute of Paralegals have invited three guest speakers that will cover a range of topics for discussion and an opportunity for you to ask questions.

Don’t forget to show off your Christmas jumpers on this virtual event! If you don’t have a jumper, then a Christmas hat or a Christmas virtual background would also be fabulous!

PROGRAMME

Speakers at this event include:

  • Pippa Shepherd – Head of Customer Engagement, Arken Legal
  • Sam Kimber – Experienced Genealogist, Pro Gen Research
  • Dawn Gore – Senior Family Law Paralegal, Trethowans LLP

Following the guest speakers, attendees will be able to ask questions and network.

The event will close with a prize for the best Christmas jumper!

REGISTER NOW

For more information please contact Carmen Nadolu, Head of Memberships at the Institute of Paralegals on carmen.nadolu[email protected] or call on +44 (0) 20 3011 2610

The Institute of Paralegals is the only professional Institute in the UK for paralegals. We are passionate about upholding the highest professional standards in knowledge, practice and ethics across the paralegal profession. Paralegals are in demand and this is the time to stand out from the crowd and join our growing and vibrant community of legal professionals.

LegalEx Virtual

Taking place on 2-3 December 2020, Legalex will be utilising a virtual platform to ensure we can all share knowledge while keeping safe. Hosting a comprehensive and all-encompassing event dedicated to facilitating business growth and professional development for legal professionals and firms, we invite all in the legal industry to join us.

Your FREE ticket will give you access to cutting-edge exhibitors and two days of CPD accredited educational seminars from some of the world’s top legal experts, innovators and most forward-thinking speakers.

Seminars will include across the entire legal spectrum from technology to marketing and everything in-between.

Browse the virtual exhibition to meet tech innovators, leading service suppliers and watch product demos or network in the dedicated virtual networking area with representatives from many law firms throughout the country.

The two-day event is a great opportunity to get the very latest on strategies, practices and technology solutions for the legal sector with content tracks covering Marketing, Business Development, Legal Tech, Client Retention & Satisfaction, Conveyancing and Regulation & Legal Skills.

From the comfort of your desk, you’ll be able to explore the latest tools, products, services, resources and innovations that are transforming the legal industry. LegalEx Virtual is the leading industry event for ambitious and successful legal professionals.

So, what are you waiting for? Register for your FREE ticket now via legalex.co.uk.

PPR Sponsor 2020 British Wills and Probate Awards.

The Professional Paralegal Register are proud to be sponsoring Young Practitioner of the Year in the 2020 British Wills and Probate Awards.

The overriding purpose of the awards is to recognize the achievements of individuals and companies within our industry, whilst celebrating those who pick up a trophy on the virtual podium.

The awards ceremony, which takes place on Thursday 22 October at 3.30pm will recognize individuals and firms deserving of recognition in the toughest of years. As well as highlighting some of the remarkable changes that may have been accelerated as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. We can also promise some memorable stories told through entrants submissions.

Ever popular ex-Royal correspondent Jennie Bond will be adding that little bit of extra sparkle as she returns to host the awards for the third year.

Registrations for the event are now open. Click here to gain VIP access and the best seats in the house for the prestigious awards ceremony.