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Published: Dec 12 , 2019
Author: Alan Smith

You decide to get your whole house repainted. You invite four local firms to come to your home and give you a quote. After they have looked around you sit each of them in a separate room and ask them for their best price. Each of them has the same brief and need to cover materials as well as labour. They all have two weeks to complete the job. You ask them to write...

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Published: Aug 30 , 2018
Author: Robin Copland

The Caspian Sea is the sea that isn’t. It is landlocked and does not drain into the ocean, so it really should be called the Caspian Lake. Big lake, mind you, but there we are. The five countries surrounding the Sea, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Russia and Kazahkstan have just recently signed a convention ending twenty years of dispute that has hindered the exploitation of the Caspian’s oil and gas reserves. Russia’s President Putin hailed the convention as “an important moment” and “a major landmark event for all our countries. “We have signed a convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea. This is...

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Published: Aug 23 , 2018
Author: Alan Smith

My 22-year-old daughter is currently 4 years into a 5-year course at Bristol University, training to be a Vet. Difficult profession. Lots of different types of sick animals who can’t tell you what is wrong. Nightmare really. Although she tells me at least the patients don’t come into surgery with a whole self-diagnosis thanks to Doctor Google. Right now, she is...

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Published: Aug 16 , 2018
Author: Robin Copland

Power is a funny thing. Inexperienced negotiators often make the mistake – and it can be a commercially ruinous error – of looking at it rather as competing nations might

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Published: May 31 , 2018
Author: Alan Smith

What a great question. And one I was asked recently by a client who was interested in figuring out a metric by which they could measure deals to figure out if they were good or not. I am sure in the past we have all sat back as the ink begins to dry on the contract, and wondered if the deal was a good one...

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Published: May 24 , 2018
Author: Alan Smith

After a weekend of celebration over the Royal Wedding, seems a shame to bring up the seemingly inevitability of the prospect of divorce. But I shall. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle exchanged vows in front of 600 guests including the Queen, more than 30 royals and famed faces such as Oprah Winfrey, tennis champ Serena Williams, actor George Clooney and his advocate wife Amal Clooney, Sir Elton John, David and Victoria Beckham and actor Idris Elba.

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Published: May 19 , 2016
Author: Alan Smith

Walk out the door? Maybe not quite as easy as you may think. The challenge for anyone in a long term relationship, business or pleasure, and particularly one experiencing difficulty is: do I invest in trying to fix it or cut my losses? Look at the massive challenge surrounding the Brexit campaign...

Published: Aug 06 , 2015
Author: Mike Freedman

I was recently invited to teach at a company that purchases the debts of financial institutions and then pursues the people that owe the money. This company buys the debts through a tender process and they then present the debtors with the facts about the law and the unpleasant consequences of non-payment. They called Scotwork because they wanted to improve their negotiations with debtors. They said that they were talking to a number of companies who had issued quotations to them for negotiation training. I told them as politely as possible that they were wasting their money...

Published: Dec 11 , 2014
Author: Alan Smith

Who does the housework in your house? Seems this is a much bigger issue than you might think. Or maybe it is already a huge issue for you. I suspect it depends on who does it and whether you care. It certainly seems to cause significant conflict if the radio is to be believed. I have a confession to make. As someone who works a lot from home I find myself in an office in my garden with very little company apart from the radio. A guilty highlight (sometimes) is Women’s Hour on BBC Radio 4... Remarkably there has been a controversial theme over the last few weeks focused exclusively on housework, and who does it...

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Student Life

I have just been the dutiful Dad and delivered the youngest one, Grace, back to Bristol with her boyfriend – both graduating students of the university there. They have decided to both stay on for a year (coincidence? I think not) and so it is the annual task of moving into a new flat (facilitated by yours truly) that this story is about.

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