RELATED: Weekend schedule for TalladegaIt feels quite appropriate. Seven-time NASCAR champions Jimmie Johnson and Richard Petty open up the newly released 2018 Daytona 500 commercial with heartfelt sentiment and high expectations about this epic event.“There is no greater feeling,” reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champ Johnson says, opening the new commercial unveiled Saturday by Daytona International Speedway.“There is no greater history,” answers the legendary NASCAR Hall of Famer Petty in the very next frame.And there are no greater voices than the drivers and NASCAR fans featured in this spot to remind people to purchase tickets for the Feb. 18, 2018 Daytona 500 — the 60th anniversary of the sport’s most famous race.“We’re really proud of the commercial,” Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile said. “We took a little different approach than we’ve taken in the past using fans as part of our creative. I thought the end product was just phenomenal.“Using Daytona 500 fans and champions to promote the 60th running of the Daytona 500 is a perfect mix of competition on track and fan experience we’ve been talking about for years.“This is a prime example of pushing the envelope and really melding the drivers of the sport and stars of sports with the fans who keep the sport going with the passion they have behind it.”Wile says there is much to look forward to as the track prepares a proper celebration of its six decades of celebrated competition.“We’re ultra-focused on making sure the 60th is special and this is one more example of doing that,” Wile said.
The immediate past-president of the American Bar Association has strongly denounced alternative business structures, arguing that non-lawyer investment in law firms compromises the client’s best interests and undermines professional independence. William T (Bill) Robinson III gave the strongest indication yet that the US will not bend soon to pressure for liberalisation, pointing to the jurisdiction’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct to underpin his arguments. Robinson was speaking at a panel session on ABSs at this year’s International Bar Association conference. Also on the panel were Solicitors Regulation Authority chief executive Antony Townsend, former Law Society president Bob Heslett and Christina Blacklaws, director at Co-operative Legal Services. Though stressing that he was not speaking on behalf of the ABA, Robinson said his views broadly reflect the consensus among US lawyers. ‘What you need to understand is that from the US perspective, the Model Rules start and end with a focus on the interests of the client,’ he said. ‘There is a strong sense that in the ABS approach there is an inherent conflict of interest. Investors invest to make money and, as we say, “he or she who has the gold makes the golden rule”. They don’t bring a higher quality of practice or integrity.’ He added: ‘If there is one investor in a firm and that investor is Walmart, it is not unrealistic to expect that investor to communicate what is to be done and that will be in the investor’s best interests. That is why we are not stepping up to this. ‘Another concern we have is the continuing attack on the legal profession and its independence across the world in the name of consumerism and bringing the price down. The reality is that specialised training and years of extra education are necessary to impute the required discipline and time to protect the client. Profit as an influencer of human choices under pressure is just too much of a risk.’ Robinson acknowledged the potential benefits of ABS status to lawyers and law firms, but said he had ‘yet to hear how the interests of the clients are enhanced’. He also raised the spectre of government interference in the profession to protect shareholder interests, ‘just as the Securities and Exchange Commission has intervened to protect corporations’. He added: ‘They will come in behind the investors and tell us what to do; we will have become not a profession, but commerce’. In the US, ABSs would also have to clear other practical hurdles. ‘What about exit strategies? In the US lawyers cannot be required to sign non-compete agreements, it is up to the client to decide whether to waive privileged, confidential information.’ Robinson also dismissed the claim that liberalising ownership will enhance access to justice, an argument made by Co-operative Legal Services. He said: ‘In the US there is no money in access to justice and pro bono; it’s an overhead that derives from commitment and professionalism. I am perplexed as to how having investors involved enhances access to justice. Too much pro bono inhibits return on investment.’ Responding, Christina Blacklaws described it as an ‘insult’ to suppose other professionals who might co-own firms adhere to lower professional standards. However, an inquisitor from the German bar questioned using the Co-op as an exemplar of ABS status, pointing out: ‘The Co-operative is more analogous to a trade union owning a law firm that will provide services to its members. That is very different from a third-party investor seeking a return on their money.’ In her address, Blacklaws pointed to the rigour of the SRA’s ABS licensing process and joked: ‘We have seen very little evidence of the mafia or al-Qaida applying.’ Co-operative Legal Services now has 48 licensed managers and expects annual turnover this year of £45m, placing it among the top 75 legal firms. Townsend meanwhile, expects the number of ABSs approved, which recently hit 30, to double by the end of the year. There are about 100 more applications ‘in the wings’, some of which may come to nothing. ‘We are beginning to see the evolution of a more dynamic market,’ he said. Heslett, meanwhile, was notably more muted about ABSs, saying: ‘I think the changes are extremely limited. The Co-op may raise standards on the high street but I don’t think the major firms [in England and Wales] will ever get involved.’ International interest in following the UK and Australia’s lead on ABSs is clearly limited. Fewer than 50 of the 5,000 delegates registered at this year’s conference attended the session.
Headline – always read beyond the headline Error – look out for bad grammar and spelling Specialist units are operating to combat misinformation about coronavirus and five to ten incidents are being identified and tackled each day.Specialist units across government are working at pace to combat false and misleading narratives about coronavirus, ensuring the public has the right information to protect themselves and save lives.The Rapid Response Unit, operating from within the Cabinet Office and No10, is tackling a range of harmful narratives online – from purported ‘experts’ issuing dangerous misinformation to criminal fraudsters running phishing scams.Up to 70 incidents a week, often false narratives containing multiple misleading claims, are being identified and resolved. The successful ‘Don’t Feed the Beast’ public information campaign will also relaunch next week, to empower people to question what they read online.Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:We need people to follow expert medical advice and stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. It is vital that this message hits home and that misinformation and disinformation which undermines it is knocked down quickly.We’re working with social media companies, and I’ll be pressing them this week for further action to stem the spread of falsehoods and rumours which could cost lives.When false narratives are identified, the government’s Rapid Response Unit coordinates with departments across Whitehall to deploy the appropriate response. This can include a direct rebuttal on social media, working with platforms to remove harmful content and ensuring public health campaigns are promoted through reliable sources.The unit is one of the teams feeding into the wider Counter Disinformation Cell led by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, made up of experts from across government and in the tech sector.The Cell is engaging with social media platforms and with disinformation specialists from civil society and academia, to establish a comprehensive overview of the extent, scope and impact of disinformation related to coronavirus.The Culture Secretary will be contacting social media companies this week to thank them for their good efforts to date, assess the progress made and discuss what other potential measures can be put in place to ensure accurate, honest information consistently reaches users of their platforms.Penny Mordaunt, Paymaster General said:Holding your breath for ten seconds is not a test for coronavirus and gargling water for 15 seconds is not a cure – this is the kind of false advice we have seen coming from sources claiming to be medical experts.That is why government communicators are working in tandem with health bodies to promote official medical advice, rebut false narratives and clamp down on criminals seeking to exploit public concern during this pandemic.But the public can also help with this effort, so today we implore them to take some simple steps before sharing information online, such as always reading beyond the headline and scrutinising the source.The public can help stop the spread of potentially dangerous or false stories circulating online by following official government guidance – the ‘SHARE’ checklist (see further information). This includes basic but essential advice such as checking the source of a story and analysing the facts before sharing.Certain states routinely use disinformation as a policy tool, so the government is also stepping up its efforts to share its assessments on coronavirus disinformation with international partners. Working collaboratively has already helped make the UK safer, providing ourselves and our allies with a better understanding of how different techniques are used as part of malicious information operations – and how to protect against those techniques more effectively.These measures follow recent advice from the National Cyber Security Centre, which revealed a range of attacks being perpetrated online by cyber criminals seeking to exploit coronavirus earlier this month.This included guidance on how to spot and deal with suspicious emails related to coronavirus, as well as mitigate and defend against malware and ransomware.Further informationTo help the public spot false information the government is running the SHARE checklist and Don’t Feed The Beast campaign here. This gives the public five easy steps to follow to identify whether information may be misleading: Source – make sure information comes from a trusted source AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedIn Analyse – check the facts Retouched – does the image or video look as though it has been doctored?