CCW Linlithgow 10k and Fun Run

The CCW Linlithgow 10k and Fun Run took place on Sunday, 8 October 2017. In the 25th running of the event, there was a record number of runners and it was hailed a great success. Hundreds of volunteers helped make the day possible, with local scouts, guides, rotary club, police youth volunteers, churches and many other local businesses playing a part.

A number of our own CCW people took part including two runners and a team of volunteers, who enjoyed marshalling, mustering and handing out goodies to the finishers.

There were many charity runners and first timers on the day, but the sharp end of the race was hotly contested with a winning time of 32:42 by Paul Sorrie of Shettleston Harriers, recording his eighth win of the race. The ladies’ winner, Ella Revitt of Edinburgh AC, crossed the line in an impressive 37:16 – the fastest female time on the course in recent years.

The Fun Run enjoyed 236 finishers this year, aged eight to fifteen, who were all included in the official chip timing of the event. The winners of the 1.9k race were Alastair Marshall and Isla Calvert, both of Livingston & District AAC, with impressive times of 6:08 and 6:16 respectively.

CCW volunteers held the finish tape for the winners and Alison Marshall (after completing the race herself) presented the prizes to round off a great day. CCW are proud to have sponsored the event for the fourth year running and would like to thank Linlithgow AC for staging such a wonderful day.

 

Sun, fun and a run at the CCW Linlithgow 10k

Last Sunday 25th September saw the CCW 10k and Fun Run in all its glory for the third year, and what a fantastic day it was.  The weather was kind, the spectators and supporters were brilliant and we were, of course, extra proud of our own star runners, who joined the 800 or so participants.

Caroline and Kieran ran as a team and completed the challenging route in less than an hour, coming in at an impressive 57.58 minutes; both were placed in the top third.  Meanwhile, our speedy junior runners Claire, Sarah and Connor, tore round the Fun Run in less than 10 minutes – a great achievement!

We’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who supported us: as well as sponsoring the event as a whole, we also raised £130 for our chosen charity, MS Society, and if you’d like to make a contribution to this very worthy cause, you can still do so, as our Just Giving page will be available for another seven days.  Click here to contribute – thank you for all your generosity.

In the meantime, dust off those trainers if you’ve haven’t run for a while (or indeed, ever) and why not get into training for next year’s Linlithgow 10k – we’ll see you there!

Save the date: 10k and counting

For the third year running (forgive the pun) CCW are the headline sponsors for the fantastic CCW Linlithgow 10k and Junior Fun Run which is held annually in and around the historic town of Linlithgow.  This year the event takes place on SUNDAY 25TH SEPTEMBER.  We raise money for our chosen charity – MS Scotland – and also relish working with and supporting the local community.  Our team of running lawyers is assembled, and training (more fun than it sounds) has begun; other members of CCW will be marshalling and generally mucking in, and even our families get involved, because that’s the kind of law firm we are!

This year we enjoyed teaming up with Linlithgow Academy CDT department, and devised a competition to design the T shirt that every 10k runner receives on the day. The response from pupils and staff was brilliant – we had 250 entries from S1 all the way up to S6.  Winners and runners up received Amazon vouchers and the winning designers will have their names printed on the T shirts. Dolce and Gabbana watch out! This was a great project and we’d like to extend many thanks to Linlithgow Academy for all their hard work.

The ultimate winners of the T shirt design competition were Katie Graham & Eilidh McFadden (3rd year) and the runners up were Harry Moore & Pierre Lardet (2nd year) and Ellie Hutcheon & Zoe Brand (3rd year).

We’ll send you another reminder in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, why not dust off those trainers and enter here – the CCW 10k organised by Linlithgow AC is for a very worthwhile cause and is an excellent excuse to get fit or set yourself a challenge.  The course is interesting enough for seasoned runners and suitably scenic if you just want to jog round at your own pace. Anything goes!

If you’d rather show your support in another way, we would be very grateful indeed for any sponsorship donations via our Just Giving page.  Click here to donate, and put the date in your diary if you’d like to come and enjoy a fun day out watching the race.

Commercial Property

Introducing Sharon Strong

We are delighted to welcome a new Trainee Solicitor at CCW: Sharon Strong.  Sharon achieved a 2:1 (hons) LLB from the University of Dundee in Law and Accountancy, and has a dual qualification in both English and Scots Law as well as a Diploma in Professional Legal Practice.

Sharon has an intriguing background, with a real entrepreneurial and creative streak.  Having always been interested in the music business and songwriting she set up her own music production company and has experienced considerable success in this world; Sharon was named one of the ‘Top 20 Songwriters and Producers to Watch’ by the international Hit Talk website. This followed stints as a fashion model and TV presenter, both of which have contributed to Sharon’s confident, articulate personality.

Despite the glamorous edge to Sharon’s career, at heart she is very much an ambitious Commercial Lawyer in the making, with an interest in Media and Intellectual Property.  She is keen to get stuck in at CCW, meeting our interesting mix of clients and taking her training up to the next level.

It’s all change for Sharon, with her recent wedding in St Andrews and a new position at CCW – we look forward to her career developing further with us and we’re sure she will be a fantastic asset to our team.

8 top tips for getting best value from your Business Lawyer

It’s not unusual for many people to experience a degree of reluctance when faced with the prospect of a lawyer’s meeting. The old perception of the ‘meter running’ can be a real concern,  particularly at the early stages of business start up or development planning when your agenda may not be tightly set, resulting in an anxious client keeping half an eye on the clock.

Yet, while some find legal sessions intimidating, others, especially excited entrepreneurs keen to get started, actually find the process illuminating and even stimulating. These are the people who work smart at getting the best value from their lawyers at the planning stage rather than only calling at a crisis moment.

So how do you work smarter to get the best value from your Business Lawyer? Here are some top tips:

  1. Don’t stress: Those new to using lawyers (and sometimes those who have dealt with lawyers for many years) will often feel daunted going into a meeting, but they needn’t be. It seems that old-fashioned stereotypes of formal, old, grey men who speak in Latin and legal riddles are still quite common, but lawyers are actually just normal people (most of them anyway). They might even be nervous about meeting you. Remember why you use a lawyer in the first place – to get expertise in an area outwith your own field – so don’t worry about what you don’t know in that field. You wouldn’t expect them to know everything about your profession. And, if you don’t find the right fit with a lawyer first time around, it’s perfectly fine to try another one. It’s important to find a character match too – someone with whom you can share the ups and downs of the business journey over many years.
  2. Contact your lawyer early on: Lawyers can be useful in the very early stages of a plan or deal and a quick meeting at the outset to run a few ideas by them can be invaluable. They can help point out legal problems, suggest helpful third parties and advise on some protective steps to take (like non-disclosure agreements). This can save you a lot of time and resources further down the line. Getting in touch at the last minute to get your lawyer to rush through your documentation can cause problems and might lead to you not getting the result you expected.
  3. Send your lawyer homework: If the meeting (in person or by conference call) is to discuss a particular document, make sure you email a copy to your lawyer in advance of your meeting to give them a chance to familiarise themselves with it. That way, the time in the meeting will be much more meaningful and efficient. You don’t want to spend the meeting watching your lawyer read, or waiting until they go away to check the legislation.
  4. Be ID ready: Lawyers, as well as accountants and various other professionals, are required by law to identify you and to renew the ID they hold on file regularly. This can seem a bit of a nuisance at times (for you and your lawyer), but the rules are there for good reasons. Often clients feel that legal firms are not organised when they have previously provided ID or have been a client for a long time, but there is a compliance requirement to update ID periodically and your law firm is clearly a well run organisation if they ask you to produce ID on more than one occasion.
  5. Set out your priorities: And wishes. . .  Although your lawyer might be experienced, they can’t possibly know your business as well as you do. They might point out things you should prioritise that you haven’t thought of, but don’t assume they know what’s important to you – tell them. It’s also important to tell your lawyer what your wishes and ambitions are – do you want to sell in five years, for example? Is this a pension project or something you see developing over a long time? Do you foresee bringing adult children into the business in a few years? Just because you are not doing something right now, if any future plans are forming in your mind, do keep your lawyer informed. Knowledge at the planning stage can add value to how you structure things now.
  6. Invite others: A one-to-one meeting might be suitable much of the time, but sometimes the best value meetings can be ones where other advisers are involved. Particularly useful is when lawyers meet with you and your accountant together – it’s a great shortcut to quicker progress. If your accountant and lawyer don’t know each other – make sure you introduce them. If they don’t get along, consider a new team that does. Lawyers and accountants working closely as a team can work wonders in adding value for clients.
  7. Discuss costs and timescales: Don’t make assumptions about time or costs involved. Some things might seem straightforward, but aren’t, and the opposite can also be true. Be open and realistic about your needs and expectations. Understand that the time it takes a lawyer to produce a page of a note or a contract is more than just the time it takes to type it up. Ask who will actually undertake the work – it could be a partner, a trainee or a whole team of lawyers. Ask for an estimate or quote for costs, but understand that it won’t always be possible to get a fixed price for legal advice. Especially when other parties are involved, delays and complications can be outwith your own lawyer’s control. Long standing client relationships are a good indicator that a law firm is working efficiently, so if that’s the case, you should have confidence in their transparency of pricing. Many lawyers will be happy to consider different methods of payment, and you should explore these early on.
  8. Don’t be afraid to ask about everything: As with many situations, there are no silly questions. Your lawyer is there to advise you – they work for you – so make sure you understand what they are saying by asking questions about anything that’s unclear. This makes the lawyer’s job easier too, as you are then better able to give them the most relevant information and to make more informed decisions. You won’t be the first to wonder if something seen in a film or discovered on Google applies to your company or project – lawyers get asked a variety of questions all the time. In fact, often the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who asked the most varied questions along the way.

At CCW Business Lawyers, we take pride in breaking down the barriers between the law and business, and try to make the ’meeting your lawyer‘ experience as painless as possible. “Business people, legal specialists” is how we approach our work – effectively becoming a member of our client’s extended team.

Please feel free to challenge me with any questions you have and if you would like to explore any aspect of business law or value for money when using Business Lawyers please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Alison Marshall, Partner

alison.marshall@ccwlegal.co.uk

01383 608206

Success Spotlight; Congratulations Semefab

It was a privilege to applaud Semefab as they collected their award at the 2016 Fife Business awards. Winners of Performing Business Award (over 50 employees), which was sponsored by Thomson Cooper Accountants.

What made the moment even more of a pleasure was to be sitting with our clients as the announcement was made. It can sound like marketing waffle to read on websites that legal firms ‘become part of a clients team’ – but  this is a reality that our team at CCW Business Lawyers enjoys. Our relationship with Semefab is one that we are proud of, as we prize our reputation on developing the growth of a clients business as well a protecting it.

Semefab is a great example of business success in Fife; a silicon wafer foundry based in Glenrothes, which was founded n 1986. Semefab now works with a diverse range of customers throughout the world, across the whole organisational and technology spectrum.

This dynamic team is a creative business and has focused on continuously developing new technologies with various partners to expand their client offering and meet global market demands.

Led by Managing Directors Allan James and John Bruce, who kindly invited myself and Alison to celebrate the awards evening with them, their staff and former colleagues.

We have advised the team since Semefab started in 1986, when they were effectively a subsidiary of an English company.

Semefab is one of the handful of companies in Glenrothes that evolved from the US Businesses that located there in the 70s and 80s, on the back of government incentives. When the incentives ran out, most of the US Companies left – but that spawned a few home-grown stars like Semefab.

Alison has been involved with them since her first few weeks as a trainee at CCW Business Lawyers 11 years ago. Others in the firm work with them from time to time, but the key relationships are with myself and Alison.

If you would like an introduction to Semefab to learn more about how their products might support your business please do not hesitate to contact us;

You can reach John Clarke by phone on 01383 608 203 or by email at john.clarke@ccwlegal.co.uk and Alison Marshall by phone on 01383 608 206 or by email at alison.marshall@ccwlegal.co.uk .

semifab

CCW Linlithgow 10k update and competition

As we mentioned last month, the CCW Linlithgow 10k and Fun Run are taking place on 20 September 2015 and both are now open for entries. What better way to start the new term than with a new fitness goal which is also part of a great community event! Click here to enter.

We introduced you to our 10k runners last month, but Team CCW doesn’t stop there. We have a team of volunteers who will be marshalling and helping out in the finish area, as well as several CCW kids running in the Junior Fun Run. Together we are Team CCW and we are hoping to raise some funds for MS Society. Click here to sponsor us.

The CCW Linlithgow 10k and Fun Run

The upcoming Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games are a key part of the UK’s attempts to build a legacy from the 2012 Olympics. This summer also marks CCW’s second year as headline sponsors of the CCW Linlithgow 10k and Fun Run.

The 10k is an iconic race with a challenging course around the picturesque setting of historic Linlithgow. The fun run helps introduce kids with a range of ages (8-15yrs) to the most popular participation sport in the UK.

CCW are delighted to sponsor this event, which has allowed race organisers, Linlithgow AC, to freeze entry prices for another year, making the race more accessible for all.

Last year, three of our solicitors took part in the 10k race and raised over £500 for MS Society. This year, we have another team taking part which will also be raising funds for MS Society. Training has already started in earnest!

If you are interested in entering the CCW Linlithgow 10k, please click here.

You can sponsor Team CCW by clicking here.

Are you fattist?

We are all obsessed with appearance more than we would like to admit.  We may claim to believe “beauty is only skin deep” but if that were true, the UK beauty industry would not be worth £17 billion and the UK diet industry another £2bn.

And let’s be honest, we are equally obsessed with the appearances of others.  Take the televised election debates, where substantial airtime was dedicated to highbrow political discussion on the appearance of party leaders, the impressions voters might have consequently formed of them and how that might influence their vote.

The reasons for our obsession are plentiful and complex but the simple principle that appearance matters is undeniable.  Whether we are looking at someone’s face, body or specific features such as height or hair colour, “what is beauty is good” and we infer positive traits from attractive faces.  And if we accept (rightly or wrongly) that physical attractiveness is good, do we judge those we perceive to be unattractive to have less positive traits, for example judging someone to be lazy purely because they are overweight?

Why should this matter to an employment lawyer?  Last month, Dr Sarah Jackson, of University College London, spoke out after conducting two studies into the physical and psychological effects of “fattism”.

Dr Jackson has called for the law t protect against weight discrimination in the same way as the Equality Act 2013 makes it unlawful to discriminate against job applicants and workers on the grounds of nine “protected characteristics” including age, sex and disability.

Examples of fattism include jibes, taunts, receiving poorer service in places such as shops and doctor’s surgeries, and being assumed to be stupid.  If overweight job applicants or employees, or those considered “facially challenged” or less than attractive in some way, are disadvantaged at work (for example, being refused employment, passed over for promotion or bullied by colleagues) should the legal protection against discrimination be extended to include a tenth protected characteristic, namely “lookism”?

The difficulty is that age, sex and disability are objectively verifiable whereas attractiveness is extremely subjective.  The majority of people may be able to agree when considering either extremes on the attractiveness scale, but not necessarily when asked to agree on those who might be said to fall somewhere in the middle.  The other problem is that discrimination on any ground can sometimes be hard to detect – and often we’re not even conscious of our own biases.

One person who seems very aware is former Apprentice contestant Katie Hopkins, who reiterated in her TV programme, My Fat Story, that she would never employ an overweight person because they don’t create the right image and can’t work at the pace she requires.  Similarly, what of the employer with a policy of keeping employees with a disability out of sight or out of customer-facing roles?  Are such employers inviting a potential disability discrimination claim?  You certainly wouldn’t want to, as a compensatory award in discrimination claims is uncapped.

While the law may not (yet) recognise fattism, the Equality Act does in fact offer some protection, although some behaviour complained of would require to be cited as, say, age or even disability discrimination to begin a claim.  Take, for example, a business selling gothic clothing with a vacancy of a sales assistant in its high street store looking to attract applicants who they believe exemplify their brand and can help to attract new customers int their target market.

It’s recruitment methods may well be based on discriminatory criteria (for example, a requirement to look young and grungy), meaning the unsuccessful applicant in their 50s and in a wheelchair, who wasn’t considered to fit the brand image, could have a claim under the Equality Act.

The best way to reduce the risk of any potential claim in respect of any protected characteristics, whether recognised by the law now or in the future, is to recruit on the basis of carefully drawn-up job and person specifications which provide objective, measureable requirements.  Remember to never judge a book by its cover – not if you want to avoid an expensive discrimination claim.

Donna Reynolds is an experienced Employment Lawyer and HR Adviser helping employers throughout Fife, Edinburgh and Scotland.

Is your business fighting fit?

If you are one of the millions of people who started a new diet in the New Year it is no doubt by now a distant memory.  That is, until the sun made one of its rare appearances this Spring, reminding us that summer is only round the corner and we wished we had stuck with the diet that little bit longer. The diet theme for 2015, if you want to be a healthier, happier version of yourself, appeared to be ‘changing your lifestyle’. By applying this principle to your business and making a few changes it is never  too late to help your business get fighting fit for 2015 and beyond. Here are 7 legal issues you should not delay any longer, never mind another year.

  1. Begin by getting your house in order.  Put Powers of Attorney in place for all the directors and other bank signatories of the business. Businesses can collapse if something happens to key people, and no-one can then instruct bank transactions, etc. In the same vein, get that Shareholders Agreement done that you have always promised to do. When something happens, sadly it is all too common for “understandings” to be misunderstood, not agreed or whatever. Get it in writing and put it beyond doubt.
  1. Get it in writing applies equally to a Contract of Employment. A verbal Contract of Employment is just as valid but a written Contract is always better. Do you have time to argue with employees about their job description or hours of work?
  1. Do your employees work overtime or different working patterns or receive commission , bonus or travel allowances? Get to grips with holiday pay calculations and what additional payments and allowances must be included to avoid or limit the impact of  any holiday pay claims. If you’re not aware of the recent changes in this area, find out now.
  1. Dig out your lease from the back of the filing cabinet and remind yourself of the detail. Specifically, landlords and tenants should know key event dates of their leases e.g. the date when the lease ends or the date by when a landlord or tenant must exercise a right to end a lease early.  As leases usually don’t automatically end or end early, it is equally important to know the last date by when notices need to be sent.  You should then make a separate diary entry at least two months in advance of that date to contact your lawyer to send out the notices.  You may need to check with your solicitor or surveyor to find out these dates.
  1. Does your business sell goods or services to consumers? The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 came into effect on 13 June 2014 and fundamentally affect the way in which businesses need to contract with consumers. Many reputable traders might not even have used written contracts up to now. That is no longer a sensible option. Non-compliance carries potential criminal liability for your business, and personally for its directors or partners and its senior managers. Even if you are lucky enough not to be prosecuted and fined, non-compliance can also mean any contracts are cancellable for a year, even if you have long since supplied the goods and services.
  1. Be careful not to unwittingly give anything away in 2015. Businesses are usually too busy to get worried about neighbouring occupiers parking on disused land, making minor changes to boundaries or other minor property infractions.  They should be, as many such changes can, with the passage of time, result in neighbours acquiring new rights or loss of land.  Tenants could find themselves in breach of their lease by not objecting in time.  Owners could find themselves losing land that, whilst not valuable right now, could become of critical importance in the future.
  1. Finally, think beyond 2015 and the possibilities that await. If you are thinking of selling, when will that be? It is much easier to sell a “neat and tidy” business – and you can’t do housekeeping at the last minute. So, take time out and think of longer term plans.