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Rent law: Rent control likely to set rent charges
The Rent Control Department has hinted to Citi Business News that the department may set rent charges with the introduction of the new rent law.
According to the department, the move is to check the over exploitation of prospective tenants by owners of properties.
A bill, seeking a revision of the current rent law, ACT 1963, is awaiting cabinet approval for onward submission to Parliament. Under the new law, tenants will be required to pay only a month’s advance in rent. It also follows the violation of the current law where landlords charged as high as two years’ advance in rent.
Speaking on Business Today, Principal Rent Officer of the Rent Control Department, Twum Ampofo said that the charges will however be disclosed upon completion of all assessments.
“When this law was passed, it was also included that tenancy agreement itself has to be more standard from the rent control department. We will stop individuals from preparing their own tenancy agreement but rather the agreement will be prepared from the rent control and you buy from the rent control, “For the various areas, an assessment will tell. We will only go and visit the place, inspect whatever you have done so far and we assess the number of rooms you are occupying, depending on the area and the facilities in the room, we have a lot of factors put together before we can come out with the rent to be paid by the tenant.” Twum Ampofo stated.
Meanwhile some tenants have already welcomed the one month rent advance system.
According to them, it will help reduce instances of fraud as some desperate clients are eventually compelled to engage the services of agents, “If you do not have the means, you will end up being duped as you would have to go through an agent. The landlord will take ten percent to give to the agent and he or she will also demand another ten percent from you the client,” a tenant remarked.
Attorneys & Solo Practice Struggles: 3 Questions to Ask Before the Bottom Drops Out
By Pamela DeNeuve-Attorney Balanced Life Coach
Richard is Devastated. "Pamela, I did all of the right things. I focused on getting good grades and worked hard to succeed in law school. After that, I studied intensely and passed the bar. I have done everything possible to have a successful law practice, and it's taken me twenty-five years to develop my profession. Why is my law firm failing? I don't know where to turn."
Richard continued, "In the beginning I worked for a small firm for several years and built a strong client base, so I decided to open my own law firm. I have to admit it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. I had some good years. Then things began to go downhill. My devoted secretary became a stay-at-home mom. I still haven't found anyone who could replace her. Once I have gotten a paralegal trained, they move on to another firm, so I've had one paralegal after another. Every couple of years it seems like I have to hire a new secretary and then a paralegal. It is a nightmare. But, by far, the worst blow was when I lost my largest client.
"I know turnover can be a big problem for a small firm. Losing a client is really serious. How did this affect your cash flow?" I asked.
"Cash flow problems to cover the firm's overhead had me go into debt. It's scary to think about what is going to happen to me now." Richard paused and hung his head.
Then he went on, "Pamela I believed that I could have a successful practice. But now I feel I could just as easily go bankrupt. I take it one month at a time. Because of the cost to practice law and cover my overhead, I barely break even. Some months I can't even draw a salary. I don't know how long this can go on."
Richard echoes the same sentiment that I have heard from many other lawyers who have solo practices. After devoting their lives to building and running their law firms, they are afraid they can't go on.
Richard's words reflect a very sad situation that I hear far too often. I have such compassion for these men and women who have given up everything for their profession. There are three questions I always ask these attorneys.
Three Questions to Ask
Question No. 1: Assessment
Have you honestly assessed your financials and the numbers of your firm? Unless you know where you are losing money, it is impossible to change. Many lawyers are so busy practicing law that they leave this important task to an accountant or bookkeeper. Lack of clarity in this area is not acceptable.
Question No. 2: Your Actions and Habits
What are you doing or not doing that is causing your firm to fail? Facing this question can be difficult, but you want to be honest with yourself. The answer to this question can cause your firm to fail or succeed.
Question No. 3 Your Commitment
How far will you go to correct the problems within your firm? Some lawyers are so caught up in their pride and ego that they are not willing to do what it takes to save their firm. You have to determine whether you want to keep doing what you have done or are you willing to change.
When Richard approached me, he was dumbfounded about what to do next. He needed to support his family; he had poured everything into his firm, and the thought of going bankrupt was not an option for him.
Fortunately, unlike many lawyers who start their solo practice, Richard had begun with a large client. Even though he eventually lost that client, he had built a good reputation. As many attorneys who open a solo practice learn, it takes time to develop a client base and build a good reputation.
Richard Saves His Practice
Richard's situation is not unusual. A lawyer who is a sole practitioner must make the time to assess themselves and the firm. Once you have answers to these questions, he or she can decide whether they can go on and determine the actions needed to stick it out and try to make it work?
Thankfully Richard took the time to work with a coach before his firm was beyond repair.
Honing Your Humility: An Antidote for Big Egos
By Mark Beese
I often begin leadership workshops by asking this question: What do you most look for and admire in a leader, someone whose direction you would willingly follow? What one word would you use to describe him or her?
I’ve received hundreds of responses, including “Honest,” “Smart,” “Caring,” “Supportive,” “Fair” and “Inspiring.”
“Humble” often hits the top 10.
“Big ego” never makes the list.
Are Humble Leaders Better Leaders?
In his book “Learn or Die: Using Science to Build a Leading-Edge Learning Organization,” Edward Hess, professor at the University of Virginia Darden Graduate School of Business, reviewed eight well-researched studies that defined the characteristics of consistently high-performing businesses. While the eight studies used different methodologies and terminology, they all found that high-performing organizations were characterized by:
High employee engagement
Relentless, constant improvement (organizational learning)
Strong purposeful cultures with cultural fit-based hiring practices
Humble, passionate leaders
The last one caught my attention, as it was the only attribute specifically dealing with the organization’s leaders, rather than a description of the organizational culture.
One of those studies is chronicled in Jim Collins’ “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … And Others Don’t.” Collins defined the most successful leaders as “level five leaders” who “blend extreme personal humility with intense personal will.” He described them as often “quiet, humble, modest, reserved, shy, gracious, mild-mannered, self-effacing and understated.”
Compare this to the not-so-highly scientific poll recently released on the game show “Family Feud” where 100 people were asked, “Name an Occupation Whose People Have Big Egos.” Lawyers came in a close second place to actors. Doctors, athletes and stockbrokers rounded out the top five.
Hess claims that in the future, “the jobs that will be ‘safe’ involve higher-order cognitive and emotional skills that technology can’t replicate, like critical thinking, innovation, creativity, and emotionally engaging with other humans. All of those skills have one thing in common: they are enabled by humility.”
For the skeptics, he asks, “Have you ever met someone with a big ego who was really good at being open-minded? Really good at reflective listening? At putting himself in another’s shoes? At playing well with others? At saying, ‘I don’t know, ‘Your idea is better than mine,’ or ‘You are right’? I didn’t think so.”
Can lawyers (and those who work with them) learn to quiet their egos and practice humility?
Hess has written here and in his book about ways you can work to hone your humility. Here is a summary of his suggestions.
First, know that you’ll have to work against your brain’s natural inclinations. According to Hess, quieting our egos actually goes against our nature. Cognitively, we humans are wired to selectively process only information that is confirmatory — and to selectively filter out information that contradicts what we “know” to be “right.” In addition, we’re lazy, self-serving and emotionally defensive thinkers who are driven to protect our egos.
“However, the science is quite clear that high-level and innovative thinking is a team sport,” he comments. “To learn, adapt, and succeed, we have to be willing to look closely at our mistakes and failures, to really listen to people who disagree with us, and to allow the best thinking and best ideas to rise to the top — which requires humility!”
Seek objective feedback about your ego. Since this isn’t an area in which you can trust your own judgment, have the courage to ask people who know you well at work and in your personal life for unvarnished feedback — feedback that focuses on your emotional intelligence and your behaviors concerning open-mindedness, listening, empathy and humility. “Explain why you need honest answers,” instructs Hess. “Emphasize how appreciative you will be if they are honest and that candor will not diminish the relationship. After receiving the feedback, evaluate it with a trusted other. Thank everyone who had the courage to give you honest feedback. Reflect on the picture you received and decide what you want to do with that data.”
Change your mental model of what “smart” looks like. The “new smart” means knowing what you don’t know and knowing how to learn it, being able to ask the right questions, and being able to examine the answers critically. We are all sub-optimal thinkers. Only those of us who can graciously and humbly admit that we don’t know it all will succeed. So change how you keep score. Engage in collaboration, seek out feedback, and ask for help daily. That will push you toward developing the humility and empathy you’ll need to “win” in the new game.
Learn to put yourself in others’ shoes. Research says one way to become less self-absorbed and more open to the experiences of others is to actively work on being more empathetic and compassionate.
“Suspending judgment so that I can put myself in another person’s shoes has always been a particular challenge for me,” Hess admits. “My mind always wants to jump to a conclusion instead of really considering what the other person is experiencing, thinking, or feeling. Active listening has been an important tool in helping me learn to set my ego aside. When I remind myself to focus all of my attention on what someone else is saying instead of on formulating my own response, my understanding of the situation grows — and often, so does the amount of empathy I feel.”
Quiet your mind to stay in the moment. Hess points to attention-focused meditation as a time-honored method of calming one’s inner self-intensity. Fully engaging with your current experience (as opposed to ruminating on the past or worrying about the future) enables you to maintain a balanced, healthy perspective. Staying in and responding to the present moment is also a powerful safeguard against ego-driven misunderstandings and misinterpretations.
“Personally, I have found that meditation makes me more aware of my physical reactions — breathing and heart rate,” he says. “I now know that when my internal motor gets running really fast I tend to revert to a ‘me’ syndrome, and that I need to deliberately slow myself down so that I can exhibit more calmness and openness to others. I have come to understand that as a teammate and as a leader I don’t have to be right all the time or the center of attention all the time — but I do have to work with others to arrive at the best answer.”
Stop letting fear drive your decisions. We often play it safe because we don’t want to look dumb, be wrong, or fail spectacularly in front of our friends and colleagues. In other words, we’re afraid of making mistakes and bruising our egos. Hess says being okay with being wrong is a necessary and important part of developing humility.
“Fear of failure, fear of looking bad, fear of embarrassment, fear of a loss of status, fear of not being liked, and fear of losing one’s job all inhibit the kind of learning, innovation, and collaboration that’s essential for your long-term job security,” Hess asserts. “The faster and better you are at turning mistakes into learning opportunities, the less likely it is that you will be replaced by some machine,” he adds. “Having an ego that’s not afraid to acknowledge mistakes, confront weaknesses, and test assumptions is a reliable strategy for long-term success.”
Grade yourself daily. There’s a reason why to-do lists are so popular: They work! Create a checklist of reminders about the need to be humble, open-minded, empathetic, a good listener, or any other ego-mitigating quality you wish to work on. Make the list as detailed as possible. Review it before every meeting and grade yourself. For example, if you want to work on being a better listener, your list might include the following tasks:
Do not interrupt others.
Really focus on understanding the other person.
Do not think about your response while the other person is still talking.
Do not automatically advocate your views in your first response.
Ask questions to make sure you understand the other person.
Ask if you can paraphrase what the other person said to make sure you heard her correctly.
Really try to understand the reasons the other person believes what he believes.
Managing Yourself Every Day
“If you reflect and work on managing yourself every day, you will notice a difference in your humility-to-ego ratio,” says Hess. His advice: Pick two behaviors you want to change. “Seek the help of trusted others in creating your checklist and ask for their help in holding you accountable. Give them permission to call you out when they see you acting in opposition to your desired new behaviors.”
Mark Beese is president of Leadership for Lawyers LLC, a consultancy focused on helping lawyers become better leaders. Chair of the Lawyer Leader Task Force of the ABA Law Practice Division, he is also an adjunct faculty member at the Center for Creative Leadership and the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver. Follow Mark on Twitter @Leadership4law.
Chief Justice interdicts judges, staff over Anas video
All the 180 Judicial Service officials who have been implicated in the bribery scandal that has rocked the Judiciary are being investigated, Graphic Online has gathered.
The officials are captured in videos ostensibly taking money from litigants.
Thirty-four of the suspected culprits are said to be judges at the High, the Circuit and the District courts.
Some of the culprits have also been linked to sex scandals in a three-hour edited video emanating from a two-year investigation into corrupt practices in the Judicial Service by ace investigator, Anas Aremeyaw Anas.
Some of the judges on interdiction have been named as John Ajet-Nasam, Charles Quist (Fast Track), Kofi Essel Mensah (Human Rights), Paul Uuter Dery (Human Rights) and Mustapha Habib Logoh. They are all High Court judges.
Some of the famous cases they have handled are Ajet-Nasam - the criminal aspect of the famous Woyome case.
Ajet-Nasam is said to have tendered in his resignation letter upon learning about the findings of Anas' investigations but the resignation has been rejected, Graphic Online has gathered.
Justice Quist handled the Asamoah Boateng and Tagor cases whilst Logoh on his part handled the recent Johnson Kombian case and the famous Issa Mobila case.
Meanwhile, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice has granted immunity from prosecution and any civil action to Anas Aremeyaw Anas for his latest investigation that has uncovered massive corruption in the judiciary.
The grant of immunity to Anas is per Section 19 of the Whistle-blowers’ Act (Act 720), Graphic Online has gathered.
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