The Many Facets of Legal Firms in London

Since the very beginning, there has been a lot of debate on this topic – how varied the legal firms in UK are? To seek the answer, research was carried out asking the staff to provide the most genuine result. The results are exhibited in a comprehensive way in the following article.

The most updated data gathered was in the year 2017 including around 92% of total legal firms in London. This is made up of details from nearly 180,000 people working in none less than 9,000 companies. 74% of firms had a reaction rate from their staff of 90% or higher. It is very much necessary to keep in mind that just more than 70% of legal professionals possess a practicing certificate.

People can choose for not to answer the complete set or specific questions, thus response rates within firms may differ.

If you want, you can confirm the rough data obtained in 2017 for the five categories they have used for their analysis. This includes the ‘prefer not to say’ and the intolerable responses, where people did not pick one of the options mentioned in the questionnaire.

The rough data for all lawyers shows that for most of the questions got amazing response rates. Although the changes were not too extensive, the response rates were a lot better than in 2015 by 1% for all categories, excluding the disability and gender which were both below 1%.

The major discoveries for each of the diverse segments is inclusive of the comparisons of the data between legal firms in London of various sizes and work category. We discovered the firm size by the number of partners, differing from one partner to more than 50, and firms are considered in a specific category if it has been told that they carry out 50% or more of that work type. All-inclusive information about the prepared comparisons is set out law firm diversity tool.

Women were made up of 48% of all lawyers in legal firms and 47% of the UK manpower. For the other staff employed in law firms, women are known to shelter almost three-quarters of the workforce. There has been a frippery change since 2014 in either group.

There are not so imposing but welcome indicators of progress in the top-most firms, however, as the difference has come down over the past four years, with the portion of female partners rising gradually from 25% in 2014 to 29% in 2017.

There has been a larger proportion of female lawyers in mid-level legal firms in London- women make up 54% of all lawyers in legal businesses with six to nine partners and those with 10 to 50 partners. There is a smaller portion of female lawyers in one partner firms (44%).

There has been a continuous increase in the portion of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) lawyers working in law firms, now one in five lawyers. This is up 7%, from 14% in 2014 to 21% in 2017. In 2015, 11% of the UK workforce was comprised of BAME.

When Buying a Property for Sale in Portugal Consider Porto

If you’re looking for a property for sale in Portugal, then Porto could just be the place for you if you love city life combined with being near the coast.

Porto is situated in the north of Portugal and is ranked third in the Portuguese most comfortable cities of living conditions, published annually by Expresso. It is the second most visited city by tourists after Lisbon, the capital. In 2001 there were more tourists than ever in Porto as Porto was nominated to be the capital of culture in Europe. Many tourists come to Porto to visit the historic sites, such as: Ponte D’Arrábida, one of the most visited bridges in Porto. Clérigos tower is one of the highest monuments in Portugal and is located near downtown Porto. The tower has a church connected to it, called the Clérigos church and the buildings are a baroque and rococo piece of work.

There are many places for retail therapy, for example, if you want to go to an open area with shops there is the Rua de Santa Catarina in downtown Porto. On the same road, there is the Via Catarina shopping centre. It has restaurants (Chinese, Italian, Mc Donald’s etc), and there are many shops to buy clothes, jewellery, decoration, toys, etc. There is Norteshopping and Maia Shopping, which are in Matosinhos or Maia (Northern side), Arrábida Shopping, and Gaia Shopping (in the Gaia side). All the shopping centres have a cinema.

The summer months, from June to September, are filled with sunshine and temperatures above 30 degrees centigrade. In the winter months, the temperatures range between 5 and 16 degrees centigrade. In the wintertime, on most weekends, people go to the shopping centres and watch a movie at the cinemas, have lunch / dinner and go shopping with their family and friends. As the weather becomes warmer people start going to other parts of Porto, instead of being cramped in a shopping centre, and go for a walk in the Avenida do Brasil, in the Parque da Cidade (City Park) and in other open areas.

The city of Porto is the most important city in the North of Portugal, mainly because it has a key port called Porto de Leixões. All of the textiles and footwear are made in the North, and those supplies are exported from Porto de Leixões and many imported items are received through the port.

When it comes to buying a property in Portugal, Porto is lovely location to consider as there are different property styles and prices to suit your pocket. Once you have found your property, the vendor, or their legal representative, will obtain a certificate (Escritura) from the local Land Registry that confirms the property is available for sale. A purchase contract is drawn up, which covers the details of the contract, purchase price and date of completion. As the contract is signed, the buyer will pay a deposit, about 10% of the agreed sale price. After this point, if the buyer withdraws from the contract, then they lose the deposit, whereas if the sellers withdraw from the contract, they have to pay the buyer double the value of the deposit. The additional fees for buying a property for sale in Portugal is about 15% of the purchase price which includes the cost of a Solicitor, Stamp Duty, and Transfer Tax (SISA).

Portugal is a rich and varied land and has a lot to offer for people looking to move to Portugal. When it comes to buying a property for sale in Portugal it is always advisable to take your time and seek professional advice.

Will the Current E-Book Craze Topple Publishers As We Know Them?

Some 85 overflow attendees at the ASJA-sponsored free gathering on Sunday, May 15, in the Berkeley Public Library heard both sides (and a skeptic’s doubt) about what may be two sea change revolutions roiling in the publishing world.

The topic was “E-Books, Apps, and Clouds: How Writers Are Creating the Future of Publishing.” Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, predicted the end of mainstream publishers as we know them. Berrett-Koehler’s David Marshall countered by telling of the changes that traditional publishers will make to survive and thrive in the future. And publishing consultant Peter Beren, after the Coker-Marshall exchange, offered a third view, that ultimately the “big houses” may just absorb and dominate the e-book format.

It’s time to let the public decide what they want to read

Mark Coker began by saying “It’s time that writers and publishers stood up for free speech!” And that it was paradoxical that only a few blocks away his mother (and he in utero) took part in the Free Speech movement at its peak in the 1960s. And now, finally, with e-books ranked as the #1 format among all trade categories, there is a renaissance in book publishing as firms like Smashwords, offering a free publishing and distribution platform, help give ordinary people the power about what should be said and printed.

“The ‘Big 6’ have judged the worth of writers by the commercial merit of the books they sent for publication. They controlled the printing presses and the venues of mass distribution, but their myth as the arbiters of value is giving way to a new reality as brick and mortar bookstores close, they pass the post-publication PR burden to the writers, their book advances tumble while they still reject almost every submission, they take 18 months to put those few books accepted in print-and if the new book doesn’t sell in the first weeks that it’s in the bookstores, it is withdrawn to be remaindered or pulped.”

“Writers have been exploited. It’s the public who should decide what they want to read. We offer an online, open platform so writers can release their potential. That creates many more choices.”

Coker said that answers to two questions will lead to the downfall of the big publishers (though they will never totally disappear, nor should they):

The first question is, “What can publishers do that I can’t do myself?”

The second, “Will using a traditional (or mainstream) publisher harm my book’s success?”

In response to the first question, Mark said that any author can use the Smashwords format to create an e-book in nine software languages. Those books are then openly marketed by distributors worldwide, democratically serving all. There is no cost to the author/publisher. And a royalty of 60-85% is paid for every book sold (compared to 5-17% in royalties for the major houses). The books are released as e-books almost the moment they are processed.

The second question, how would a traditional publisher harm a book’s success? By making it unaffordable (in part to pay for their overhead), said Coker, often selling it at prices double or triple the e-book rates. And by limiting its distribution, geographically or for restricted periods of time. (“E-books know no boundaries since they become immediately accessible internationally once they are seen in an online catalog. Readers can also sample a part of the book before buying. And since there is unlimited space in the e-book bookstore, the books will remain available everywhere forever.”)

“By self-publishing and having the means affordably at hand, the authors/publishers can take control of their own publishing destiny,” Mark added. “If they write a good book that resonates with writers, buyers will honor the writer with word-of-mouth promotion.”

But another key question remains unanswered: will the “open press” or “ancillary publishing” process bring authors enough income for their efforts? “Right now we have less than 50 authors earning $50,000 a year,” Mark replied, smiling. But in just three years his firm has helped 20,000 writers publish 50,000 e-books, and in the process Smashwords has become one of the largest e-book distributors.

Smashwords is one of eight “open press” firms now printing and distributing both bound and electronic books. Others include CreateSpace, Kindle, PubIt!, Lulu, Blurb, Scribd, Google, and LightningSource.

Is a second publishing revolution afoot?

The established publishers held their ground. It was posed that not only will they remain (though probably changed), they would create a new kind of book and production that is simply too complex and layered for the new firms like Smashwords to match.

D. Patrick Miller, the President of the NorCal chapter of ASJA (American Society for Journalists and Authors) presented David Marshall, VP of Editorial and Digital at Berrett-Koehler Publishers in San Francisco, a nonfiction independent house in the educational field.

David felt that the future of traditional publishers depended upon software, layering, video, animation, interactivity with the reader, and responding to the “age of reading TV and watching books” by smarter and tighter cutting-edge firms. In this new world, authors were asked not to think of themselves as book writers but symbols of creative change.

Marshall also focused on a revolution in publishing, emphasizing more the digital explosion in tablets and e-readers, ranking the top four as Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, and Google, and citing the four top formats as PDF (creating the exact replica of the print book), e-pub (with flowing text where type font and size can be changed but graphs and tables must be omitted), Mobi (in the Kindle), and the scanned process used by Google Book Search.

Most of the transformation from print to digital, he said, has been in fiction; nonfiction has increased from 7 to 12% of the total. Marshall then painted the vision of how nonfiction will look in the near future, as “enhanced” books including audio, video, self-assessments, and community portals where readers can talk with the writer and other readers. There might be games in the book or animation in the preface with the author’s voice-over.

Most of the book won’t live in the tablet either. It will “live in the clouds,” in a grand file beamed down from a database available any time from anywhere. The user can buy any section or chapter they want, paying through a meter. And the data can be dynamically changed, updated, or added to (as can articles) as facts emerge or change.

This will transform the authors’ role. They will publish digitally first, then think print later. The barriers and excuses will be gone. “If it makes sense, print it,” Marshall said.

The “power of free” then becomes possible with the digital book. The writer can capture market share by giving away the first book (or the first chapters), then charge as the fan base develops. An e-list becomes the authors’ selling center.

Since e-books in the future will be multimedia, the writer will be responsible for the text and the embedded media components. Writers will find partners from film, audio, and art to create the best format.

David encouraged the participants to read his “Tools of Change Conference Call Report” from February, 2011, available at scribd.com.

From that report, the changes on the publishing horizon are almost overwhelming. Particularly interesting in the report are Wired Magazine’s Kevin Kelley’s six trends that book publishers need to address in order to stay competitive and eight ways to make it easy to pay but hard to copy. Brian O’Leary (Magellan Media) compares the old paradigm to the new and Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale) gives a chilling author’s perspective. In fact, all 12 pages paint a brave New Publishing World in which today’s major houses, and Coker’s self-publishers, hardly fit.

Perhaps David Marshall’s summary of that report best expresses the sense he shared with clarity, conviction, and excitement at the ASJA gathering:

“All ‘heck’ is breaking out in the digital publishing space. E-books are just the first wave of many waves of digital innovation. Early pronouncements from some pundits that enhanced e‐books are more interesting to publishers than consumers misses the point. As the market for pure text products, even in digital form, moves to free, publishers must innovate to provide new layers of consumer value, or perish. Products such as The Elements (185,000 sold) show the portent of the industry. Unfortunately, most publishers will not be able to profitably transform themselves into companies such as Touch Press, Open Road Media, or Callaway, and some of the stiffest competition to traditional publishers will likely come from VC-funded ‘born digital’ start-ups. I sat at a conference lunch table (recently) under the banner, ‘What’s the difference between book and software publishing?’ That is an apt reflection of how these two industries are quickly merging. (Berrett-Koehler’s) collaborative partnership business model is more important now than ever before. We (too) must re-invent ourselves to stay relevant.”

The big houses are more likely just to absorb the e-books

In a conversation after the ASJA gathering, Peter Beren commented “I remember more than 30 years ago when we used the same rhetoric and vigor that Mark Coker used today, but then we proclaimed that you didn’t have to publish in New York, that West Coast publishing was the new frontier of creativity!”

Coker had just called for writers to re-embrace freedom of speech, and prophesized the end of mainstream publishers as we know them.

Peter is a literary agent; a columnist for the San Francisco Publishing Examiner; a publishing consultant to authors, self-publishers, and independent publishers, and a literary agent with 30 years experience in book publishing. Among his six published books are The Writers Legal Companion (with Brad Bunnin) and California the Beautiful.

“I just can’t believe that e-books are the self-publishing keys to the kingdom. Mark’s rhetoric is as extreme as ours was. Particularly if it gives the idea that a writer can self-publish and by-pass the traditional publishers and achieve the same result in terms of readers and earnings. If the person does that, and only distributes to electronic platforms/channels, it is very difficult for a reader to know a work exists and how to get it. E-books are a great secondary sales channel and they can add to the authors’ earnings in a considerable way but right now the entire channel accounts for only about 13% of total sales.

“Nor do I see bookstores disappearing any time soon. True, Borders folded, but Barnes and Noble is predicted to bring in $300 million more in business in its absence. Independent bookstores, while only 5% of the market, are doing well, and the Expresso Book machine now produce books on the spot worldwide. In fact, it’s far more likely that traditional publishers will absorb the e-book channel just as they have absorbed trade paperbacks, books on tape, and boxed sets. Random House and other major publishers are going back to their authors and releasing their works in e-book form. They are even experimenting with enhanced e-books, which the new, smaller open press firms simply can’t do.

“And what about the craft itself? Think of coffee table books-that can’t be duplicated electronically.

“Also, how much of the e-book fire is being fed by the dozen or more firms earning $100 million selling self-publishing services?”

Peter added that he doesn’t disapprove of self-publishing or e-books, just the hype. He said that e-books are keeping many of the smaller publishers in the black right now, and there are many micro publishers that will flourish in the new environment.

In fact, Beren saw the difficulties a year ago in a his San Francisco Examiner Publishing column, on March 4, 2010, when he shared that “(w)hen self-publishing grew by leaps and bounds, it grew because technology made book printing simple. Combined with print-on-demand (POD)-where you get the orders first and then print to fit-self-publishing became an irresistible lure. Suddenly, there was disintermediation, eliminating the middle-man. Anybody could get their book on Amazon where it would democratically rise or fall without the mediation of the prejudices of a store’s book buyer. Since they were dealing with POD, there was no need to hold inventory or carry the capitol risk of inventory. Anybody could be an author, anybody could publish a book.

“What self-publishers discovered with the e-commerce channel was that somebody or something needed to capture the attention of the individual reader and motivate them to look the book up on Amazon or some other venue. Marketing and distribution became, and still are, self-publishing’s great challenge.”

A revolution at the presses? Or two? Or is it more-of-the-same but with new players and new tools? Keep reading…”