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Changing Practices For Changing Times 21 June 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Changing Practices For Changing Times 21 June 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Changing Practices For Changing Times 21 June 2012

2 Diversify and Thrive: Mediation Practice Development Changing Practices for Changing Times University of London, 21 June 2012 Steve Kirwan, Nowell Meller Solicitors

3 Introduction Who are we? Context Strategy Practical Delivery Conclusion Outline of my presentation

4 Nowell Meller Solicitors – a regional law firm based in North Staffordshire/ Stoke on Trent. Unless you are from the Midlands, you’ve probably not heard of us. The Mediation Centre (TMC) – a national mediation service based in the Midlands. You’ve probably heard of us. Who are we?


6 What are the biggest threats facing (traditional) family lawyers? –Changes to public funding – reduction in scope of private legal aid –New (better?) competitors e.g. Co-operative Legal Services –New technologies - De-skilling and increasing commoditisation e.g. –Our attitude – too expensive, too insular, too stuck in our ways and too inflexible Part 1 – Context (Why?)

7 What are the biggest opportunities? –New markets – deregulation is likely to increase the size of the legal services market –Greater demand for affordable fixed price and lower- risk services – if we do not design and deliver these, then someone else will do so –Tailored advice – still a need for personal services based on perceived value –Much greater support for dispute resolution – real alternatives to court-based litigation Part 1 – Context

8 What will family legal services look like in the future? –A lot less traditional law firms (20%+ less?) –A lot less traditional family lawyers –A lot more Self-Represented Clients (LIP’s) –A new breed of Dispute Resolution Professional? (with acknowledgements to the Standards Committee Workshop on “The Future of Family Law Services” Leeds, 23 March 2012) Part 1 – Context

9 Family Law Act 1996 Part II Access to Justice Act 1999 FPR 2010 Part 3 and the Pre-Action Protocol April 2011 compulsory assessment for mediation November 2011 Family Justice Review Final Report – key practitioners? Govt. estimate 70% increase in mediations to come because of LASPO changes Growing support for mediation

10 Survey reported in May/June issue of The Review –78% said that courts made no enquiry into DR –76% said that clients had not attended a MIAM and proceedings were issued without an FM1 –One-third said they had referred at least 90% of applicants to a MIAM –One-fifth said they had referred less than 10% of applicants to a MIAM MIAMs – our members said

11 Comments on MIAMs: –The scheme is causing delay –Screening for mediation suitability is a lawyer’s job –It is an unnecessary hurdle –Practice is inconsistent – they are not supported or valued by the courts –It is too late in the day for mediation –It is too expensive –Some applicants are manipulating the process MIAMs – our members said

12 Keynote speech of The President at National Conference – apologies that MIAMs not working as they should in certain parts of the country Jackson LJ calls for a “serious campaign” to teach lawyers and judges the benefits of mediation to settle disputes (LSG 15 March 2012) Beverley Sayers presentation to Resolution’s National Conference in March 2012 – “ADR – threat or opportunity?” Pressure for change

13 Mediators as key practitioners moving from information hub through working in partnership with lawyers, PIPs providers and others Not yet clear what the Review had in mind – active case-management or general hand-holding? Need for further dialogue and pilot schemes An opportunity to change the culture – with couples focusing on the interests they share rather than on those that divide them Final Report of FJR – Paras 4.94+

14 From this:-

15 To this:-

16 “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” William Arthur Ward Winds of change

17 Part 2 - Strategy

18 Faced with an inevitable decline in traditional family practice, how can we respond? Limited options –Down-size (again) –Embrace change – find a new way of delivering existing services to existing and new clients (e.g. fixed price, packaged, unbundled) –Embrace change – find new services to deliver (e.g. full range of dispute resolution, counselling, etc.) Part 2 – Strategy (What?)

19 Training options – suitability to be a mediator Foundation Training Course Recognition to carry out MIAMs Assessment as competent by the LSC Annual CPD Need for on-going supervision and professional practice consultant (PPC) Time-scale? Could you become a mediator?

20 New bid round PQQ by 18 June 2012 Non-competitive Three stages: –PQQ –Application for MQM and pass desk-top audit –Reply to ITT in October 2012 (for December 2012) or January 2013 (for March 2013) NB. Requirements to enable you to reply to ITT Could you bid for an LSC contract?

21 Part 3 - Practical delivery

22 Commitment to Quality - Effective systems and procedures based around the requirements of the MQM Staff in place – administration, mediator(s) and supervisor (PPC) Facilities – e.g. separate waiting rooms, second mediation room Finances – properly costed and realistic planning Part 3 – Practical Delivery (How?)

23 Properly resourced and trained administration team User-friendly referral procedures Effective management and supervision You need to communicate your vision – possible referrers, local community, courts, the public Build local networks Part 3 – Practical Delivery (How?)




27 2012 – The End of the World? The end date of the Mesoamerican (Mayan) Long Count Calendar – 21 December 2012

28 2012 – The End of the World? The end date of the Mesoamerican (Mayan) Long Count Calendar – 21 December 2012 Where are we?

29 2012 – The End of the World? The end date of the Mesoamerican (Mayan) Long Count Calendar – 21 December 2012 Where are we? The beginning of the apocalypse?

30 2012 – The End of the World? The end date of the Mesoamerican (Mayan) Long Count Calendar – 21 December 2012 Where are we? The beginning of the apocalypse? OR A positive transformation marking the beginning of a new era?

31 “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.” Charles Darwin Final thought (the bit at the end)

32 Steve Kirwan Managing Director DDI: 01785 273141 @SPKirwanSol

33 Changing Practices For Changing Times 21 June 2012

34 Thank you and safe journey home

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