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Posted by: | Posted on: May 12, 2021

We all need standards

first_imgWe all need standardsOn 1 Jun 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Setting procedural standards is the key to developing online learning andwill benefit any organisation, says Premier IT’s Ian WestIf we could put the ‘what is e-learning?’ question to one side and accept thate-learning means many things to different people, we could all then get on withit. Or could we? Does it matter that there are a plethora of different opinionson what is and what isn’t e-learning? It does if you are looking to implemente-learning in your organisation as you need to know the content you haveselected will run on the systems you have and will integrate with your learningmanagement system (LMS), so that you can monitor and evaluate its success. This is why both technical and procedural standards in e-learning areimportant, to ensure an e-learning solution can be built on and developed tomeet the changing requirements of your organisation. Current standards, such as Scorm (sharable content object reference model)and AICC (aviation industry computer-based training committee) have beendeveloped to provide a foundational reference model in which learning contentand delivery methods can be developed. Many companies own more than one LMS, and several libraries of web-based,off-the-shelf content and custom courseware authored in a variety of differenttools. Figuring out how to make all this work together and share informationthrough a common database is a big challenge. Understanding standards can assist in selecting a vendor that has stayingpower in a continually changing market, while setting standards in anorganisation can encourage sharing and inter-operability. Besides technology, there is a strong argument for standardising anorganisation’s approach to e-learning: removing the ‘e’ to re-focus on howpeople learn most effectively is one option. In 50,000 years we have notchanged the way we learn, through talking, sharing and reviewing. This humandimension of learning can be enhanced by e-learning. The technical standards that are recognised as a serious issue in theindustry relate mostly to the creation of content for e-learning. We believe that while learning content is Queen, it is learning context thatis King. Setting procedural standards for learning, whereby organisations canassess each piece of learning and how it is best delivered have an enormousvalue. It is essential to ensure the approach to learning is integrated with aseamless path from start to learning destination, regardless of the type oflearning used. This can be achieved by focusing on an organisation’s learningobjectives and breaking them down into those that can be most effectively beachieved through traditional instructor-led training (ITL) in the classroom andthose that are better suited to e-learning. Delivering standards-based content with the right mix of ILT, liveinteractive online learning and self-paced e-learning is the key to asuccessful learning experience. Ian West is chairman at e-learning integrator Premier IT www.premierit.com Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. last_img read more

Posted by: | Posted on: May 12, 2021

Tesco Distribution shortlisted for excellence award

first_imgTesco Distribution has been shortlisted in the Excellence in Trainingcategory in the Personnel Today Awards. The ‘Growing people for growth’ team’s entry, led by learning director KimBirnie was praised by the judge for delivering first-class results. The company, which employs more than 9,000 people delivering goods to Tescostores, implemented the scheme to help improve staff and, in turn, raisecustomer satisfaction. The team designed a long-term strategy to ensure the training would besustainable and offer a framework for developing skills and knowledge. Theframework has three levels: bronze, silver and gold, as well as two dimensions– skills for everyone and job-specific operating skills. Colin Steed, chief executive of the Institute of IT Training and judge ofthe category, called the Tesco entry an exemplary business-led programmeproviding continuous skills and knowledge development. He said: “TescoDistribution is particularly commended on its exemplary trainer development andcontinuous assessment process. It is an outstanding example of how a changeprogramme, when fully supported by the company and integrated with thebusiness, can deliver first class results.” What the team achieved– Half the coaches have been promotedor moved into new roles– Distribution response rate now stands at more than 80 per cent– A 13 per cent rise in the number of staff who know thecompany values– A 17 per cent rise in the number of staff who feel they arelistened to Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Tesco Distribution shortlisted for excellence awardOn 24 Sep 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. last_img read more

Posted by: | Posted on: May 12, 2021

Sand proposition for UK businesses

first_img Comments are closed. Sand proposition for UK businessesOn 13 Jul 2004 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. A new competition is calling on staff to stop battling it out in theboardroom and ‘fight them on the beaches’ instead. The corporate category ofthe Masters of Sand competition in Great Yarmouth will see businesses from acrossthe UK battle it out in the UK’s biggest ever sandcastle-building championship.Marc Bell, marketing director at Teletext Holidays, said: “Building a goodsandcastle is much like running a successful business; it demands realcreativity and co-operation.” For entry forms and details visit www.teletextholidays.co.uk/sand.asplast_img read more

Posted by: | Posted on: May 3, 2021

This Week At USI

first_imgFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailShare Lighting a Tradition, a campus-favorite holiday event, is set for Monday, November 25, at the University of Southern Indiana. Full of family-friendly festivities, the event is open to the public and runs from 5:30 to 8 p.m.Holiday caroling, horse and carriage rides, train rides around the Quad, photos with Santa, karaoke, hot chocolate and cookies make this annual event an evening of fun and merriment.Hosted by the Student Alumni Association, donations of hats and scarves will also be collected for distribution at a local shelter.Activities will be located primarily in the Quad and University Center (UC) areas. Holiday carnival games begin at 5:30 p.m. Caroling begins at 6 p.m. in front of the David L. Rice Library, followed by the ceremonial lighting of The Quad’s holiday lights at 6:15 p.m. Refreshments and other activities will begin shortly thereafter.Event updates can be found on Facebook and on the USI events calendar at calendar.usi.edu. For questions, contact Lauren Smith, assistant director of Alumni Relations and Volunteer USI, at 812-464-1924 or [email protected], November 27 – Sunday, December 1CampusThanksgiving BreakUSI will not hold classes on Wednesday, November 27 and will be closed Thursday, November 28 – Sunday, December 1 for Thanksgiving Break. The University will reopen and classes will resume at 8 a.m. Monday, December 2.Thursday, December 5 – Wednesday, December 11Rice PlazaFall 2019 finalsUSI will not hold classes on Wednesday, December 4 in order for students to prepare for upcoming final exams. Final exams begin on Thursday, December 4 and run through Wednesday, December 11. Students can check their finals schedule at the USI website by visiting the Registrar’s Office page.10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday, December 7USI CommencementUSI Fall Commencement to be held Saturday, December 7The University of Southern Indiana will hold two Fall Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, December 7, in the Screaming Eagles Arena. The ceremony for the College of Liberal Arts and the Romain College of Business will be held at 10 a.m. The ceremony for the College of Nursing and Health Professions and the Pott College of Science, Engineering, and Education will be held at 1 p.m. Doors will open one hour prior to each ceremony. In all, 708 degrees will be awarded, including master’s degrees, post-bachelor certificates, bachelor’s degrees and associate degrees. Read MoreExhibit open through Saturday, December 7Praxis.jpgNew Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art to feature popup exhibitionThe New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary will host “Praxis,” a popup exhibition, through Saturday, December 7. “Praxis” is a physical manifestation and continuation of the dialogue initiated between the panelists and audience members of the Marketing Yourself as an Artist event that was held this past September. More Informationlast_img read more

Posted by: | Posted on: May 2, 2021

HCCC North Hudson Campus Executive Director Recognized by Save Latin America

first_imgHudson County Community College (HCCC) Executive Director of the North Hudson Campus, Yeurys Pujols, was honored at Save Latin America’s “Los Tres Proceres Antillanos” Gala.The event was held on Friday, Jan.31 at the Chart House in Weehawken. HCCC President Dr. Chris Reber delivered the keynote speech. × Save Latin America (SLA) is a Union City-based nonprofit organization that works to conserve Hispanic identity, values, and traditions. SLA provides educational, health, social, and economic development services to the people of Hudson County.The annual “Los Tres Proceres Antillanos” Gala celebrates the work of Save Latin America, and the critical importance of education. The “Los Tres Proceres Antillanos Award” was inspired by Puerto Rico’s Eugenio Maria de Hostos, Cuba’s Jose Marti, and the Dominican Republic’s Juan Pablo Duarte.This year’s honorees exemplify educational excellence and include John Melendez, Ph.D., a Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at New Jersey City University (Puerto Rico); Silvia Abbato, the Superintendent of the Union City Public Schools (Cuba); and Mr. Pujols (Dominican Republic).“Save Latin America and Hudson County Community College are engaged in complementary work.  Work that promotes the public good, work that empowers the community, and work that increases the human potential,” Dr. Reber said. “I congratulate our esteemed colleagues, Dr. John Melendez, Silvia Abbato, and our gifted and valued colleague, Yeurys Pujols, for their recognitions, which are all so well deserved.”Dr. Reber noted that Yeurys Pujols’ life story mirrors that of many Hudson County Community College students and members of the community. Mr. Pujols emigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic when he was 13 years old, and struggled with English as a Second Language courses throughout high school.Language and other obstacles challenged his academic achievements. His mother was a single parent who worked long hours to pay for food and rent, and at the age of 13, Yeurys began working to help his family make ends meet.In time, Yeurys enrolled at Hudson County Community College, working 40 hours a week during his entire HCCC experience. As a result of his perseverance and commitment, he excelled in his studies, and was awarded an Associate of Arts degree.He went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree from New Jersey City University, and a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from Seton Hall University.Mr. Pujols returned to HCCC 14 years ago as a counselor, and, as one of the College’s exceptionally talented, committed and productive employees, has been promoted several times since. He serves on the Advisory Board of Save Latin America’s “Reaching Our Dreams” program, and is often a panelist on Juventud Educaoriana forums.Mr. Pujols served as an advisor to the HCCC Key Club, which organizes community fundraisers, food drives and more, and presently, he is the co-chair of the HCCC President’s Advisory Council on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.Mr. Pujols’ life and work philosophies are the cornerstones of how he prepares students to be self-sufficient, lifelong learners. “One may not know all the answers. I don’t have all the answers, but to empower others, one must be proactive and help students find the answers despite obstacles,” Mr. Pujols said.last_img read more

Posted by: | Posted on: March 1, 2021

Task force finds no need for healthy women to take daily Vitamin D, calcium

first_imgThere currently is not enough scientific evidence to recommend that healthy postmenopausal women should take low daily doses of vitamin D and calcium to reduce bone fracture risk, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) reported in guidelines published online February 26, 2013 in the Annuals of Internal Medicine. The federal government’s expert panel on preventive medicine said the combination of 400 IU of vitamin D and 1,000 mg of calcium has no effect on the risk of bone fractures in postmenopausal women who are not in nursing homes or other institutions, and evidence is lacking to support higher doses of the supplements among these women to prevent fractures. The panel’s recommendation does not apply to adults with osteoporosis or vitamin D deficiency.Clinicians and patients are likely to be confused by the absence of guidance regarding the potential value of higher doses of vitamin D and calcium, Walter Willett, chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), said of the USPSTF recommendations in a video interview February 25, 2013 with MedPage Today.View/read the MedPage Today interviewRelated links Read Full Storylast_img read more

Posted by: | Posted on: March 1, 2021

Massive study on MOOCs

first_imgSince “Year of the MOOC” became a catchphrase in 2012, massive open online courses have had their fans and detractors. Some have claimed that online learning is a “disruptive revolution” and a harbinger of the end of residential colleges, while others have called MOOCs at best “mere marketing” or at worst an abject failure, singling out low completion rates.Expanded data and research about MOOC participants and evidence-based assessments of online learning trends might, however, begin to move the conversation beyond anecdotes and heated opinions.Today, a joint Harvard and MIT research team published one of the largest investigations of MOOCs (massive open online courses) to date. Building on their prior work — a January 2014 report describing the first year of open online courses launched on edX, a nonprofit learning platform founded by the two institutions — the latest effort incorporates another year of data, bringing the total to nearly 70 courses in subjects from programming to poetry.“We explored 68 certificate-granting courses, 1.7 million participants, 10 million participant-hours, and 1.1 billion participant-logged events,” said the study’s co-lead author, Andrew Ho, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and chair of the HarvardX research committee. The research team also used surveys to ­gain additional information about participants’ backgrounds and intentions.Ho and MIT’s Isaac Chuang, professor of physics, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and senior associate director of digital learning, led a group effort that delved into the demographics of MOOC learners, analyzed participant intent, and looked at patterns that “serial MOOCers,” or those taking more than one course, tend to pursue.“What jumped out for me was the survey that revealed that in some cases as many as 39 percent of our learners are teachers,” said Chuang. “This finding forces us to broaden our conceptions of who MOOCs serve and how they might make a difference in improving learning.”Key findings The researchers conducted a trend analysis that showed a rising share of female, U.S.-based, and older participants, as well as a survey analysis of intent, revealing that almost half of registrants were not interested in or were unsure about certification. In this study, the researchers redefined their population of learners from those who simply registered for courses (and took no subsequent action) — a metric used in prior findings and often cited by MOOC providers — to those who participated (i.e., by logging into the course at least once).Participation in HarvardX and MITx open online courses has grown steadily, while participation in repeated courses has declined and then stabilizedFrom July 24, 2012, through Sept. 21, 2014, the end of the study period, an average of 1,300 new participants joined a HarvardX or MITx course each day, for a total of 1 million unique participants and 1.7 million total participants. With the increase in second and third versions of courses, the researchers found that participation in second versions declined by 43 percent, while there was stable participation between versions two and three. There were outliers, such as the HarvardX course CS50x, “Introduction to Computer Science,” which doubled in size, perhaps due to increased student flexibility: Students in this course could participate over a yearlong period at their own pace and complete at any time.A slight majority of MOOC students are seeking certification, and many participants are teachersAmong the one-third of participants who responded to a survey about their intentions, 57 percent stated their desire to earn a certificate; nearly a quarter of those respondents went on to do so. Further, among participants who were unsure or did not intend to earn a certificate, 8 percent ultimately did. These learners appear to have been inspired to finish a MOOC even after initially stating that they had no intention of doing so.Among 200,000 participants who responded to a survey about teaching, 39 percent self-identified as a past or current teacher. Twenty-one percent of those reported teaching in the course topic area. The strong participation by teachers suggests that even participants who are uninterested in certification may still make productive use of MOOCs.Academic areas matter when it comes to participation, certification, and course networksParticipants were drawn to computer science courses in particular, with per-course participation numbers nearly four times higher than in courses in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences. That said, certificate rates in computer science and other science- and technology-based offerings (7 percent and 6 percent, respectively) were about half of those in the humanities and social sciences.The larger data sets also allowed the researchers to study those participating in more than one course, revealing that computer science courses serve as hubs for students, who move to and from related courses. Intentional sequencing, as was done for the 10-part HarvardX Chinese history course “ChinaX,” led to some of the highest certification rates in the study. Other courses with high certification rates were “Introduction to Computer Science” from MITx and “Justice” and “Health in Numbers” from HarvardX.Those opting for fee-based, ID-verified certificates certify at higher ratesAcross 12 courses, participants who paid for “ID-verified” certificates (with costs ranging from $50 to $250) earned certifications at a higher rate than other participants: 59 percent, on average, compared to 5 percent. Students opting for the ID-verified track appear to have stronger intentions to complete courses, and the monetary stake may add an extra form of motivation.While engaging thousands of global learners online, a research report suggests that MOOCs, such as “Visualizing Japan,” have had equal if not greater influence on enhancing residential learning and empowering teachers with novel content and tools.Questions and Implications Based upon these findings, Chuang and Ho identified questions that might “reset and reorient expectations” around MOOCs.First, while many MOOC creators and providers have increased access to learning opportunities, those who are accessing MOOCs are disproportionately people who already have college and graduate degrees. The researchers do not necessarily see this as a problem, as academic experience may be a requirement in advanced courses. However, to serve underrepresented and traditionally underserved groups, the data suggest that proactive strategies may be necessary.“These free, open courses are phenomenal opportunities for millions of learners,” Ho emphasized, “but equity cannot be increased just by opening doors. We hope that our data help teachers and institutions to think about their intended audiences, and serve as a baseline for charting progress.”Second, if improving online and on-campus learning is a priority, then “the flow of pedagogical innovations needs to be formalized,” said Chuang. For example, many of the MOOCs in the study used innovations from their campus counterparts, like physics assessments from MIT and close-reading practices from Harvard’s classics courses. Likewise, residential faculty are using MOOC content, such as videos and assessment scoring algorithms, in smaller, traditional lecture courses.“The real potential is in the fostering of feedback loops between the two realms,” said Chuang. “In particular, the high number of teacher participants signals great potential for impact beyond Harvard and MIT, especially if deliberate steps could be taken to share best practices.”Third, advancing research through MOOCs may require a more nuanced definition of audience. Much of the research to date has done little to differentiate among the diverse participants in these free, self-paced learning environments.“While increasing completion has been a subject of interest, given that many participants have limited, uncertain, or zero interest in completing MOOCs, exerting research muscle to indiscriminately increase completion may not be productive,” explained Ho. “Researchers might want to focus more specifically on well-surveyed or paying subpopulations, where we have a better sense of their expectations and motivations.”More broadly, Ho and Chuang hope to showcase the potential and diversity of MOOCs and MOOC data by developing “Top Five” lists based upon course attributes, such as scale (an MIT computer science course clocked in with 900,000 participant hours); demographics (the MOOC with the most female representation is a museum course from HarvardX called “Tangible Things,” while MITx’s computing courses attracted the largest global audience); and type and level of interaction (those in ChinaX most frequently posted in online forums, while those in an introduction to computer science course from MITx most frequently played videos).“These courses reflect the breadth of our university curricula, and we felt the need to highlight their diverse designs, philosophies, audiences, and learning outcomes in our analyses,” said Chuang. “Which course is right for you? It depends, and these lists might help learners decide what qualities in a given MOOC are most important to them.”last_img read more

Posted by: | Posted on: January 26, 2021

Observer elects new top editor

first_imgThe Observer General Board elected Sports Editor Douglas Farmer as the 2011-12 Editor-in-Chief Sunday. Farmer, a junior Program of Liberal Studies major with a minor in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy, is a native of La Crosse, Wisc. A resident of Alumni Hall, Farmer has led several sports beats, including football, men’s basketball, hockey, baseball, women’s soccer and men’s lacrosse. “I look forward to the opportunities and challenges this new role will bring me. Fortunately, I know I will have a talented and dedicated staff working with me every step of the way,” Farmer said. Farmer became Sports Editor in the spring of 2010 and led coverage of Irish football coach Brian Kelly’s first season as well as the Notre Dame women’s soccer team’s national championship. “Douglas has done a tremendous job this year as Sports Editor, specifically in improving the feedback given to writers and increasing the amount of quality content on our website,” outgoing Editor-in-Chief Matt Gamber said. “I have enjoyed working with Douglas over the past three years and know he will continue to serve as a great leader and example for others at the paper.” Farmer said he expects to build upon The Observer’s “strong journalistic tradition” with the help of the rest of the Editorial Board in the coming year. “I anticipate a year of great experiences thanks to this new position,” he said. Farmer will take over as Editor-in-Chief on March 7.last_img read more

Posted by: | Posted on: January 1, 2021

Comcast now third largest residential phone company

first_imgComcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), the nation s leading provider of entertainment, information and communications products and services, today announced that consumers switching to Comcast s Digital Voice service have made Comcast the third-largest residential phone service provider in the country.  Consumers are continuing to select Comcast s low cost and rich features for phone service throughout its 39-state service area.The news marks a major milestone for the company and reinforces its commitment to reinvent home phone service and offer consumers a way to cut household expenses during a difficult economic climate.Comcast Digital Voice® now serves 6.47 million customers, which exceeds Qwest s reported residential subscriber base.  The popularity of Comcast s innovative offerings with consumers has enabled Comcast to add residential subscribers in each of the last twelve quarters. Consumers are switching to Comcast s Digital Voice Service because of our low prices, reliable service and innovative features, said Pam Mackenzie, Area Vice President for Comcast in Vermont.  Comcast Digital Voice is reinventing home phone service for the 21st Century and we are thrilled that millions of consumers today are choosing Comcast for home phone service. We now offer features that integrate with our video and high speed internet products and we re deploying a next generation cordless phone that lets customers do more than just make phone calls.  Best of all, we can do all this with a service that is rated number one in call clarity and that helps consumers cut their home phone expenses by 20 to 30 percent or more.In addition to offering a high-quality, reliable and value-added home phone service, Comcast Digital Voice customers benefit from a number of new, innovative home phone products and features, including SmartZone ¢ Communications Center, a feature-rich online portal that enables customers to manage their emails and voice mails in one easy place, and to sync contact information from multiple sources into one universal address book.  Additional products and features that are expected to launch this year in Vermont include Universal Caller ID, a free service for Comcast Digital Voice customers that allows them to view incoming caller information on their TV or PC while watching a movie or surfing the Web; and Enhanced Cordless Telephone, an innovative home phone that offers all of the popular features that come with Comcast Digital Voice® plus integrated services and advanced functionality such as the ability to view email, view/forward/manage voice mail from the phone or PC, read news, sports and horoscopes, access a universal address book and search the Yellow Pages all on the enhanced cordless phone. The competitive entrants in the residential phone market are saving consumers billions of dollars every year.  A study by economic consulting firm MiCRA found that consumers saved $13 billion alone in 2007 because of phone competition from companies like Comcast. The savings for consumers is proof of the success of pro-competitive policies that ensure choice for consumers.  While Comcast s Digital Voice service continues to grow and redefines home phone service, it continues to compete for customers and remains a new entrant into a market that is dominated by legacy providers AT&T, Verizon and Qwest. Since entering Vermont in November 2006, Comcast has aggressively expanded its services across the Green Mountain State, investing in its advanced fiber-optic network to bring broadband services to previously unserved homes and businesses and partnering with local communities.  The company has launched a number of its advanced services in just over two years, including Digital Cable with On Demand, High-Definition Television Service, Digital Video Recorders, Comcast High-Speed Internet service and Comcast Digital Voice.  In addition, Comcast has offered programming of special interest to Vermonters.  Comcast also assists local non-profit organizations in Vermont with financial, in-kind and employee volunteer support.  Comcast serves more than 100,000 customers in Vermont and employs approximately 300 individuals.For more information about Comcast Digital Voice visit www.comcast.com/comcastdigitalvoice/(link is external)About Comcast CorporationComcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) (www.comcast.com(link is external)) is the nation’s leading provider of entertainment, information and communication products and services. With 24.2 million cable customers, 14.9 million high-speed Internet customers, and 6.5 million Comcast Digital Voice customers, Comcast is principally involved in the development, management and operation of broadband cable systems and in the delivery of programming content.Comcast’s content networks and investments include E! Entertainment Television, Style Network, Golf Channel, VERSUS, G4, PBS KIDS Sprout, TV One, ten Comcast SportsNet networks and Comcast Interactive Media, which develops and operates Comcast’s Internet businesses, including Comcast.net (www.comcast.net(link is external)). Comcast also has a majority ownership in Comcast-Spectacor, whose major holdings include the Philadelphia Flyers NHL hockey team, the Philadelphia 76ers NBA basketball team and two large multipurpose arenas in Philadelphia.*Number one in call clarity based upon an independent study preformed by Keynote dated November 2008, Wave 6 Study.last_img read more

Posted by: | Posted on: December 19, 2020

Board sets out advance funding guidelines

first_img April 1, 2002 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular News Board sets out advance funding guidelines Senior EditorAfter months of debate, the Bar Board of Governors has adopted a proposed ethics opinion on advance funding schemes, including telling lawyers that the Bar doesn’t like those financial arrangements.The board made two changes — one of them technical — to a draft opinion proposed by the Board Review Committee on Professional Ethics and then approved it during its March 15 meeting in Tallahassee. Board members also said the Bar should explore various means, either in the courts or the legislature, to regulate or ban advance funding deals.“What we’ve been trying to do here is generate some ethical guidance for attorneys with clients who approach them with an advance funding proposition,” said BRCPE Chair Richard Tanner. “What we tried to do is focus our thinking to come up with an ethical opinion that is consistent with the sense of this body.”The board has been grappling since last fall over what to tell lawyers whose clients ask them about advance funding contracts — defined as third parties that seek to loan the clients money in exchange for part of the expected winnings in the case. Interest rates are typically high, sometimes 100 to 200 percent or more.Some board members have argued the Bar should have nothing to do with the practice. Others have said although the loans may be repugnant it is ultimately the decision of clients — who may be in desperate financial straits — whether to take the loans.An intermediate appellate court in Ohio has ruled that the transactions are loans (some industry representatives have said they are buying part of the winnings, not making a loan, since there is no repayment unless there is a recovery) and the interest rates usurious. But that has been appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court, which has accepted the case.The approved opinion says that whether the loans are legal is outside the scope of an ethics opinion, but that if the loans are held to be illegal, then the attorney may not participate in any way.While the committee’s draft said that attorneys could tell clients about the funding companies and supply company names to clients, the board added language to that section saying: “The Florida Bar discourages the use of non-recourse advance funding companies.”That language was added at the suggestion of board member Chobee Ebbets. He criticized the original draft as tacitly involving lawyers in the loans. “When it says a lawyer may advise a client about the existence of the companies and may provide the names of the company, you’re in the game,” Ebbets said. “These are never in the best interest of the client. It’s an inherent conflict. I cannot agree with it as long as we are any part of the process.”He did support the draft after the language was added.Other parts of the opinion provided that the attorney must carefully discuss the pros and cons with the client of any advance funding loan, including problems that can arise. The attorney may not co-sign the loan, guarantee the transaction, or issue a letter of credit to the lending company, although the attorney may honor an assignment executed by the client. At the client’s request, the attorney may provide information about the case to the company, but must discuss with the client implications of that action including the possible loss of confidentiality on otherwise confidential matters.If the client decides to share the information anyway, the attorney is not obligated to “provide work product material, such as the attorney’s personal notes,” the opinion says. A final version of the opinion, Ethics Opinion 00-3, is on the Bar’s Web site and can be accessed by clicking here. Board member Steve Chaykin, a member of the BRCPE, said even if all members weren’t happy with the opinion, it was important for the board to take some action because of the growth of the advance funding industry.“The argument against this opinion is we’d rather give no opinion and give no advice than engage in the process and perhaps help the client,” he said.“I think we need to pass this because our constituents are asking for advice,” board member Ervin Gonzalez said. “This particular ethics opinion is giving great advice on what they can do at this time.”He added, though, that he agreed with a call by President-elect Tod Aronovitz for the Bar to do more to prevent clients from being harmed by advance funding schemes.“These companies are in the business of charging huge fees to unsophisticated people,” said Aronovitz, who opposed the opinion before it was amended. “There are ways that we can encourage our courts to rule on this, and that’s what should be done.”He also said the board should explore a way to “support meaningful consumer-oriented legislation” during next year’s legislative session. Board sets out advance funding guidelineslast_img read more