I am, for the first time, without the words that have helped me to forge a career in the story-sharing occupations of journalism and marketing.
The full impact of the Covid-19 outbreak and its implications on daily life became clear, only days before the original launch date for Legal News.
I quickly realised that Legal News Wales would be needed now, more than ever, to connect legal practitioners, service providers and those working in the justice sector in Wales.
Indeed, calls came in thick and fast last week from The Law Society Wales office, CILEx, HMCTS, Business Wales and others who are acting as valuable signposts for information, asking for Legal News to go ahead with the launch; to co-ordinate and share announcements, resources, and also act as an independent engagement platform.
We’re a week late but it was essential to take stock, to judge the mood and needs of the sector.
What we’re doing
We will continue our aim to share news, analysis and events, and interviews with key personnel in the legal sector – in text and video format. Legal News was always intended to be an online resource for you.
We are launching a series of digital ‘face-to-face’ events that ensure you can stay in touch and collaborate across the sector – informally or otherwise.
Clients still need solutions for their legal problems. To say that how you administer your support, advice and representation has changed overnight, is an understatement.
Not all firms were prepared for disaster management at this level. Those who were set up for full remote working never expected to have to sustain this for weeks, possibly months (joined by the added complications of childcare, sickness and concerns for employees’ mental health and wellbeing).
Legal News recognises the universal and sector-specific challenges (and possible opportunities) the current climate presents: from access to justice and accessing vulnerable clients; being physically separated from colleagues and peers; working fully in the digital space and staying engaged and informed.
We’re here to help: Legal News Exchange events
Legal News will run a series of Legal News Exchange events that are free to join from any device, without the need to download an application or software.
You will be invited to join our Zoom events that will offer: engagement with other practitioners, updates on a variety of matters that affect your business; key advice and tips and, information on what others are doing well.
Topics will include (though not limited to):
- Funding and finance: what options are available and when
- How to support each other: we’ll run informal legal community online sessions with sector organisations, drop-in discussions and Q&As
- Offers of support: the firms that can help you if needed
- Mental health, wellbeing and employee engagement
- Supporting vulnerable clients: creative ways to meet the legal needs of clients during social or physical distancing / lockdown, and more.
- Home-working: tips, guidance, motivation and decision-making support
- People management and engagement
- Marketing: how to change your approach and stay visible in the current climate
- Compliance: how to be sure you’re acting within the guidelines when physically separated as a team
- Technology: what’s safe to use, how to use it and top tips for investing at short notice
- Financial advice for clients: from specialist investments to expert reports
- and much more…
Legal News seeks those who want help lead these conversations and Q&A panels, which will be shared widely across Wales and beyond.
We recognise there are specific challenges for lawyers and their clients in Wales, especially as further restrictions are now in place.
You’ll be able to view our Legal Exchange schedule on our events page.
If you’d like to get involved as a Legal News Exchange event presenter, please click here.
Supporting regional legal groups
We also realise that, as legal practitioners are busy securing a new way to work, those volunteers who run the regional law societies and groups may not have the time or resources to stay in touch with their members. We are NOT here to replace them – in fact Legal News aims to collaborate with all groups in Wales – but we hope to pick up the communication slack in the short term. If your group isn’t already a part of our Contributing Community, please get in touch.
Our work with sector bodies in Wales
We have worked hard over the past few months to co-ordinate the support of all legal membership organisations – from The Law Society and CILEx to regional law societies in Wales, to HMCTS, the regulators, access to justice groups and specialist services to the sector. These relationships will prove invaluable in the coming months to share key information, support and guidance on running a law firm in unprecedented times – and importantly, maintaining a sustainable ‘business as usual’ approach to support clients.
Gratitude & thanks
I’m incredibly proud of Legal News and have a few ‘thank you’s to give out, mainly to:
- The Law Society Wales office: for all the support it has given me to date, as well as the encouragement to go live in the middle of an unprecedented crisis.
- Cardiff & District Law Society: 10 years ago it invited me to join as the first ‘non-lawyer’ council member. I wouldn’t have been inspired to launch this platform without the insight I have gained into the Welsh legal sector, thanks to my involvement with this group.
- Access to Justice Foundation & Reaching Justice Wales: these committees have also inspired me to ensure we raise awareness of /provide updates on the provision of access to justice in Wales.
- HMCTS: for engaging with us so quickly, to share updates and events as they transpire – even before the Covid-19 outbreak.
- Welsh Government: for lending me its time and support across a variety of departments, most notably the Counsel General and his staff.
- Spindogs: for its unwavering creativity and support in helping me establish Legal News as a brand and a stunning, easy-to-use digital space.
- Yolk Recruitment, our recruitment partner: for standing by us in difficult times. Yolk’s legal team powers our recruitment insights and career opportunities. Employers may also advertise any available positions, but we recognise that at the moment, supporting the people you have comes first.
- You. As inelegant as that sounds, Legal News is nothing without a readership. I know the platform is something the sector wants – as we spent a long time researching the market. I am so glad to see the platform finally launched – although I never envisaged it would be in such extraordinary times.
Share, subscribe & support
Please share the platform far and wide. Please encourage your colleagues and peers to subscribe to the mailing list to stay informed and engaged with the rest of the legal sector in Wales. Click here to subscribe to our mailing list.
You can also follow and engage with us on Twitter at @LegalNewsHQ
If you have a news, analysis or interview suggestion – or if you’re running an event (online, for now), please contact me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org