‘Solicitor, are you? I ‘ad one of them law commissioners in the back of my cab the other day. You’ll never guess what those stupid baskets – pardon my French – are up to now? They’ve only gone and launched a consultation on taxi and private hire services. ‘Now they reckon the proposals will retain the important distinction between taxis, which can ply for hire, and pre-booked mini cabs. But they want standardised licensing regulations across the country and firms to operate without geographical restrictions. Cheaper and more competitive services, they reckon. Cheaper and more competitive cowboys, more like. And what price localism, then, if you’re setting national licensing and safety standards? Joined-up government? Taking the proverbial, if you ask me. ‘Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favour of doing something about limousines, motorcycle taxis and them bicycle rickshaws – I’d string the last lot up, pull the bloody lever myself I would – but what’s all this about “licensing could be extended”? Could? Blimey, don’t strain yourself, mate. This is the lot that’s only just got around to suggesting the repeal of the Indian Railways Act. ‘Anyways, you’ve got until 10 August to respond to the consultation – have a gander at the Law Commission website. What’s that, guv? You’ll get out here? Right you are – that’s 20 quid on the clock. Need a blank receipt?’
When an in-house lawyer looks at the risks facing their new employer, they should see that the greatest business risks are not about being perfectly right. Often the greater risks to the business would be an inability to act or make decisions. A role as an in-house lawyer is very different from private practice. Lawyers should leave egos at the door and recognise that they are valued for their skills and knowledge and not necessarily for their status as a professional. But with an understanding of the business, the in-house lawyer can use their knowledge and skills to make things better. There will be immediate ‘low-hanging fruit’, obvious to anyone legally trained, which can be quickly resolved and thus demonstrate the immediate benefits of the lawyer being present. But the real fun starts when you understand the priorities of the business and contribute to strategy. At that point an effective in-house lawyer can start to focus on innovation. If innovation is ‘making things better’ and invention ‘making new things’ then the in-house lawyer has a role in both innovation and invention. The in-house lawyer can support innovation by simply adding their own elements of knowledge and skill to existing processes or solutions. They can also innovate by giving the business confidence to simplify things and make processes easier. They do this by helping the business to understand legal risk and focusing attention only where it is needed. Because lawyers often think and operate in a different way to their peers in business, there may also be a period during which the business needs to become familiar with and trust the in-house lawyer’s ‘different’ contribution. In the early stages, the in-house lawyer may have to show the organisation the benefits of smaller changes before being given the trust and permission to pursue the really transformative ideas. However, once you have this permission, the opportunity to use your skills to explain, test and experiment – and thus add innovation (or invention) to the business – can be significant and hugely rewarding. It is not all plain sailing, though. Viewed one way, the job of an in-house lawyer is ‘half policeman and half fireman’. People recognise your value more easily when you are ‘putting out fires’ and solving obvious problems than when you are pointing out safe ways of doing things. Most in-house lawyers must try and balance the roles of fixer, enforcer and innovator. In those circumstances the opportunity for innovation can be overlooked. So how does the in-house lawyer innovate? First, get to know your job – I call this phase ‘taking the tiger for a walk’. Approach your new job like you have been asked to take a large tiger for a walk with nothing but a thin piece of string as a lead. If asked to do that, you would first let the tiger take the lead: respond to its needs, go where it wants to go, learn about it, try not to upset it too much! It is only after the tiger learns to trust and like you that it might allow you to gently pull on the string to guide it in a different direction. Second, you need to deal with the ‘abominable no men’. All large organisations have them. Usually borne out of insecurity, a person with a little knowledge that the organisation finds valuable will begin to build a power base around that knowledge. To maintain their fragile value, the individual may over-emphasise the risk of not having their input. Thus processing delays are introduced. Some, but by no means all, may be lawyers. Remember that your reputation, which will earn you the trust that will allow you to innovate, will (at least in part) be judged by those around you. If you have an abominable no man in you team, it is helpful to give them greater confidence by supporting them to gain a wider set of skills or encouraging them to buy into a wider strategic view. As an experienced lawyer, it is easy to recognise those spending an appropriate amount of time on a complex project and filling the ‘policeman’ and ‘fireman’ roles well, compared with those who are acting as abominable no men. With the ‘no men’ dealt with, you can move from being reactive to being proactive. Once you and your team are functioning well and supporting the business as it wishes, you can begin to deliver what the business needs. Perhaps you begin by expanding the role that you or your team will deliver in areas that are not yet addressed in the business, so that it is safe to start offering solutions and innovations. In an enlightened organisation, the opportunities to do this should come frequently and early, but in some cases it could take a few months. In truth, your solutions will not be truly valuable until you understand the business. Use every opportunity to find out more. Once they understand the business and are trusted within it, lawyers are a very powerful force in a business. If allowed access to a problem, it is more likely than not that a good lawyer will be able to offer a solution. Innovation is not difficult. However, you have to be prepared to look closely at the problem and understand each of the elements required to create a solution. In terms of innovation, the other way in-house lawyers can help is to give the organisation confidence to make its processes simpler. If the business is not confident about legal issues and risks, it may for example require that all decisions are made at the highest level (by the owners or directors) when in fact certain lower-risk decisions could be made lower down the organisation. It may also ‘over-process’ things because of fears about legal risks. So by developing easier routes to solutions and the safer paths to the business outcomes, the in-house lawyer can help the organisation to get things right ‘by design’. These are real innovations that the organisation will value. Peter Judge, was former executive director of legal and procurement at the Regional Development Agency for the north-east of England
Follow John on Twitter I’ve never quite understood the antagonism towards foreign football club chairmen. Sure, we may question how the likes of Abramovich and Glazer acquired their money (or even if they have any at all), but to me there’s something deeper afoot. These people are foreign outsiders: they’re not your sheepskin-wearing, cigar-chomping, local-boy-made-good chairman of yesteryear. They’re unaccustomed to the traditional ways of doing things and without that kindred link to the fans. To me, it’s as it ever was. They’re all simply rich guys in a director’s box, lording it like Nero with a football scarf. So what if the old chairman happened to speak my language? That’s basically the only thing we have in common. Which brings me in a laboured, round-about way to Brilliant Law, a new firm announced this week and promoted like some kind of fantasy business team. It has the chief executive who used to run Minster Law. It has a sports technology company boss who engineered its £301m sale to BSkyB. It even has the man behind the webuyanycar.com jingle (a ditty as addictive as it was irritating) in charge of marketing. Stumping up most of the cash is Bert Black, co-founder of Betfair and reportedly entitled to a decent chunk of the £337m made when the betting exchange floated in 2010. It’s an intriguing team, but inevitably the knives are out already – one look at the comments beneath the Gazette story reveal cynicism and angst about these newcomers ruining the legal profession. Look, it’s true that the name is awful. Brilliant Law sounds like the work of a five-year-old and makes me think of the ‘brilliant’ Fast Show character every time I hear it. And sure, these guys might be profit-driven, pin-striped, merciless business types, impervious on whom they trample to satisfy their shareholders. Or they might not be. They might just be eerily similar to most law firm managers from the bygone era. Just how much did you ever have in common with the managing partner? Was he (and invariably it was a he) driven purely by ethics, shunning the chance to increase profits or expand the firm? Or was he simply like any modern law firm owner without the letters CEO attached to his name? We shouldn’t automatically dismiss new ventures before we have seen how they shape up. Just take a look at Betfair, created from almost nothing 13 years ago and now conducting more transactions than the European stock markets. The company has more than 2,000 staff (albeit recently cut [link behind paywall]) and has revolutionised a decrepit and dying industry. Sound familiar anyone? The legal profession is struggling under the weight of market forces, over-regulation and endless government reform. Someone here is brave (or mad) enough to want to enter this sector and will employ solicitors to do so. Can we really afford to be so picky about who’s in charge?
The Law Society, Solicitors Regulation Authority and 57 law firms have reduced their per-head carbon emissions by nearly 7% since 2010, according to the sector’s annual environmental statement. The fall from 3.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) in 2010 to 3.63 tonnes of CO2e last year adds up to the annual carbon emissions of two magic circle firms, a report by the Legal Sector Alliance (LSA) says. Law Society chief executive Desmond Hudson said: ‘This is no mean feat for a sector that includes firms of all sizes, from sole practitioners to magic circle firms with billion-pound turnovers. Law firms are in a strong position to influence employees, suppliers, clients and policymakers. It is in our collective interest to act on climate change, and we can achieve more by acting together.’ The alliance, a movement of 258 law firms committed to adopting environmentally sustainable practices, found that law firms have reduced their carbon emissions by 1.84%, or 29,035.53 tonnes of CO2e, over the last 12-month reporting period. According to the report, two-thirds (65%) of firms said they advised clients on environmental opportunities and obligations, while more than one-third (38%) said they provided training to clients. Over half (56%) said they had proactively communicated with clients on environmental and climate change issues. Some 35% of firms review their suppliers’ environmental performances annually or more frequently, with 38% planning to do so in 2013. The percentage of firms committed to reporting their climate change performance annually or more frequently is now 41%, up from 38% last year. The report says that 49% of firms have set a waste reduction target and 39% a travel reduction target.
The Caribbean continued its poor run of form at the London World Championships on Friday.Having secured only one gold at the championships so far, the quest for more places at the pinnacle of the medal podium remained elusive. The region’s best hope in the women’s 200 meters, Shaunae Miller Uibo of the Bahamas, could only manage a third place finish behind winner Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands and Mary Josee Talou of the Ivory Coast. Miller Uibo gets bad start Miller-Uibo got off to a bad start and even though she turned on the after burners in the home stretch it was not enough to claw back the leaders. The third place finish, however, is an improvement on her surprise fourth place finish in the 400 meters two days earlier.Her countrywoman Tynia Gaither finished eighth.Four Jamaicans fail to reach 110m finalsEarlier in the day, the Caribbean failed in its bid to earn a place in the women’s 100 meters hurdles finals. All four Jamaican women – defending champion Danielle Williams, Megan Simmonds, Yanique Thompson and Rushelle Burton as well as Bahamian Devynne Charlton – crashed out of the semifinals.The region’s gold medal hopes are now pinned on the 4×100 and 4X400 meters relays to be run today and tomorrow respectively. For the Caribbean the London World Championships have been dubbed the championships of upsets. The upsets began with triple world record holder Usain Bolt losing his sprint crown in the 100 meters.
DR Congo Massacre IOM officials provide assistance to some of the returnees. [Photo courtesy: IOM]The United Nations migration agency has appealed for $1,000,000 to provide humanitarian assistance to some 200,000 Congolese refugees who have returned from Angola after being expelled from there.The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says the mass expulsion operation begun on October 1, and has affected children and women, some of whom are pregnant or breastfeeding.“Among those expelled, IOM has assisted unaccompanied minors, pregnant and breastfeeding women crossing back into the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We are particularly concerned about the well-being of these groups,” IOM Operations Officer in the DR Congo, Emery Kianga, said.Most of the refugees have returned through the border crossing posts of Kamako, Mayanda, Tshimbulu or Kabungu. IOM says its officials saw more than 16,000 people arrive to Kamako border post last Friday (12/10) alone.According to the agency, addressing the root causes underlying the displacement and expulsion of Congolese citizens from Angola is essential for long-term durable solutions. For the immediate-term solution, it has appealed for the $1,000,000 to urgently address the most pressing needs of these 200,000 people.IOM says that apart from its assistance which began on October 11, no other support has been provided to the returnees. There is a pressing need for food, water, sanitation and hygiene, emergency shelter, medical assistance and transportation that will allow people to reach safer destinations or their places of origin.Related The UN condemns DR Congo killings DR Congo displacement crisis worsens
ABS and Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) are working together to deliver Korea’s first end-to-end 3D model-based Class process, encompassing engineering and survey. Successive JDPs Aim to Deliver Next Generation Digital Class (Image Courtesy: ABS) “We are excited to be extending this technology to Class survey to further demonstrate reduction of paper documentation is feasible,” said Patrick Ryan, ABS Senior Vice President, Global Engineering and Technology. “These projects demonstrate that ABS and SHI can support the design, review, and now survey during construction of ship structure using 3D models in place of 2D drawings. Together, SHI and ABS have invested in proving these fully digital approaches will facilitate delivery of next generation class services with reduced program risk and increased quality and safety. This next step of using 3D digital solutions in the survey process will complete the safety cycle during construction.” ”A 3D model-based Design and Approval Process will change the traditional labor-intensive shipbuilding industry to a digitalized high-tech industry, based on the flow of digitalized 3D model data, in order to increase efficiency, safety and risk management at work. SHI have been applying 3D model-based Design process for a couple of years and we are now preparing to implement 3D model-based construction and survey, to achieve a high quality and safer environment throughout the whole process of shipbuilding in our shipyard. This can be achieved by seamlessly applying advanced digital technology from engineering until delivery, including Class survey,” said Jong H. Youn, SHI’s EVP & Head of Engineering Division. ABS and SHI celebrated completion of a landmark 3D model-based Review project by signing a new joint development project (JDP) to develop 3D model-based Surveys. ABS continues exploring utilization of fully digital design methods in the Class review process through a series of projects. It is an ongoing ABS commitment to use digital technologies to reduce project risk, save cost and increase efficiency, while maintaining the ABS commitment to safety, protection of property and the environment. Author: Baibhav Mishra Sea News, July 27 The signing follows ABS and SHI’s development of a paperless 3D model-based design and review process, completing a JDP signed at Gastech in Houston, Texas, in September 2019. The project moves into the next phase now with pilot 3D Model-Based surveys of an LNG carrier. The project feeds into SHI’s Smart SHI, which looks to create a digitalized and future-oriented shipyard with a completely drawing-less shop floor that assures digital continuity of all integrated solutions and enables cyber-physical manufacturing systems.
ETL Systems will showcase its latest RF technology at CommunicAsia2017, taking place May 23-25 at the Marina Bay Sands Singapore. The event will also mark the debut of its newest RF switch matrix – the configurable 64 x 64 Hurricane Matrix – to the Asian market. The customisable Hurricane RF matrix is designed to change and adapt with the ever-changing requirements of the latest satellite teleports. Input and output modules can be configured with features to suit specific RF needs for each satellite feed, including fixed gain, variable gain, LNB powering and fibre inputs. Not only is the Hurricane flexible and future-proof, but it also features no loss of service, power consumption reductions, improved RF performance, and a simple and intuitive user interaction.Visitors to the ETL stand will also be able to see ETL’s proven RF over Fibre solutions, with over 1,500 fibre links installed at satcoms sites around the world. ETL’s StingRay RF Over Fibre enables high quality conversion of RF signals over fibre for short and long distance transmissions. The range now includes modules to convert a range of frequencies including L-band, broadband, IF, 10MHz and GPS.Demonstrations at CommunicAsia 2017StingRay RF Over Fibre RangeBuilding on ETL’s existing RF expertise, the new range provides a unique design for high isolation applications. The range incorporates single mode fibre links to transmit and receive RF signals with remote control and monitoring of temperature, fan status and power supply status via a web browser interface and SNMP. All chassis in the range are hot-swap with a range of fibre module options such as single or dual modules, 10 MHz reference modules, and 13/18V LNB powering. New models include redundancy systems for reliability as well as standalone component modules.16 x 16 Victor MatrixEasy future expansion – All models now available with software enabled expansion, allowing customers to start with a matrix as small as 4 x 4, allowing them to expand in the future up to 16 x 16 in single steps, via a software key. No need to send the matrix back to ETL for expansion.Dextra L-band splitters and combinersETL’s Dextra Splitter offers high resilience RF signal distribution in a compact 1U high chassis. The range offers consistently excellent RF performance, including high linearity and low noise figure, and outperforms some of the more expensive models available. Full remote control and monitoring via SNMP & web browser interface, with settable alarm thresholds. Flexible and configurable LNB power at the input ports of the splitters is also featured. New options include DC and 10MHz pass.128 x 128 Vulcan Matrix/RouterThe Vulcan offers excellent RF Performance and benefits from compact design, minimising valuable rack space, and hot in-service expansion. The compact configuration offers a cost-effective solution for larger RF routing systems.Alto AmplifiersETL’s Alto series range of L-band Amplifiers provides signal management flexibility within an RF chain. Used to offset signal loss from long runs of cables and passive splitters and combiners by providing gain, the Alto series of amplifiers provide excellent RF performance in a modular design, with a variety of chassis and modules which can be configured to suit a range of applications. The Amplifiers can be fixed gain, variable gain, with dual redundant amplifiers also available. For more information, click here.
Online distributor of cables and connectivity products, Integrated Network Cable (INC), has been acquired by Infinite Electronics. Infinite Electronics is an operational holding company providing management and back office support for globally recognized electronic components brands inclding Pasternack, Fairview Microwave, L-Com and many others.Founded in 1995, INC provides a full range of voice, video and data network installation services. Additionally, it is the parent company of ecommerce brands Show Me Cables, Triangle Cables and ECore Cables. The company addresses the business-to-business, IT and audio-visual market and will significantly add to Infinite’s capabilities in this segment. It is headquartered in Chesterfield, Missouri and is led by its president, Peter Foley.Infinite Electronics and INC share complimentary core values and customer value propositions of satisfying the urgent product needs of customers requiring same-day shipment of cables and components. Under Infinite’s management and back office support, INC will continue to operate as a stand-alone business unit in the Infinite family of brands.The company’s president, Peter Foley, will join the Infinite executive team and will continue to lead the company’s day-to-day operations. Joining the Infinite Electronics family offers INC’s businesses the necessary resources and support for continued growth and expansion going forward.
Saelig has released Modulated Wideband Power Amplifiers from TEKBOX to provide an economical signal source for immunity testing of electronic circuits and products.The TekBox TBMDA3 and TBMDA4 can be used to increase the output of a spectrum analyzer’s tracking generator, they are also useful as general purpose wideband RF signal amplifiers. These amplifiers are ideal for driving near-field probes in order to find sensitive spots on electronic circuits, or for creating strong electric fields of up to 550V/m when driving TEM Cells. With an input power range of -5 dBm to 0 dBm, they can boost signal power up to 5W. The TBMDA3 has a frequency range from 10 MHz to 1GHz, while the similar TBMDA4 covers a range of 100 kHz to 50 MHz.Test signals for immunity testing can be continuous wave or AM or PM modulated by the TBMDA3 and TBMDA4, which both provide built-in modulation capabilities to generate 1 kHz AM or PM signals. In PM mode, they can also generate a 217 Hz Signal with 12.5% duty cycle for simulating mobile phone TDMA noise.