Blended Learning

It is time for legal practices to introduce more effective and comprehensive training, not just for lawyers, but for management and support staff too. In this article I explore why and how you might introduce a structured blend of training across your practice that includes more affordable and manageable e-learning alongside traditional face-to-face training.

Google AdWords

In February of this year Google made a substantial change to the way it inserts some advertisements into the search results when searching from a desktop computer.

The advertisements on the right hand side of the screen, known as the “rail”, have all been removed. And Google now serves up to four text ads above the organic search engine results (SERPs) and a further three ads at the bottom.

i read your email

As the line between work and personal life blurs the media has repeatedly made reference to a right to snoop, with headlines such as “Bosses can snoop on workers’ private emails and messages” (The Telegraph), “Britain has a new human right … freedom to spy on employees’ emails” (The Daily Mail) and “Private messages at work can be read by European employers” (BBC News website). These three attention grabbers followed the decision of the ECHR in Bărbulescu v Romania (Application No 61496/08), 12 January 2016. Perhaps predictably, a proper reading of the case reveals that matters are not quite so clear-cut.

eu odr service

The country may still be unclear as to its future relationship with the EU and the Single Market, but such has been the scale of non-compliance by businesses of all shapes and sizes with the new ADR regulations, as well as the total non-enforcement by the authorities, that it seems many think we are already out.


In 2013 I wrote about Google Drive and Chromebooks for lawyers interested in adopting a more cloud-based approach. Since then, many businesses have turned to cloud solutions and Google has been actively promoting Google Apps for Work which includes a range of its products.

Nick Holmes and I have been covering “virtual law firms” in the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers since 2006. In May 2007, I wrote an article called “Virtual Law Firms – where we are now” which looked at several of the firms we had already covered, and cross linked this with the size of firm, the type of clients they were working for and the type of work covered. I also looked at practical issues like the need for social contact between fee-earners, secretarial support, handling accounts and practice management, telephone, post and fax (remember fax?), sharing of fees and (importantly) why they had decided to “go virtual”.

You can view all articles on virtual practice which have appeared in this Newsletter over the years at www.infolaw.co.uk/newsletter/category/virtual-practice/ (this includes a couple relating to Chambers).

Looking back at these articles now, it appears that the so-called “virtual firms” were still, at that time, trying to be a “real” firm, generally with a central office (which could be the senior partner’s home) and still requiring SRA registration, but with developing solutions for computers, software, telephone, secretarial services and accounts. Despite all the new technology, however, I would say that they were still firms of solicitors that my father (who was senior partner of Vinters in Cambridge in the 1960s) would have recognised.

Fast track forward to 2016, and it seems as if the phrase “virtual firm” is not really used any more, probably since most firms will be using many of the characteristic new technologies involved and they are just normal firms.


Twitter is a minority pursuit. Nevertheless, it is increasingly influential and likely to be used by many Newsletter readers as an important resource for latest news, comment and analysis.

This is not primarily an introduction to Twitter. Nor will I presume to tell you how to use it: there are more than enough self-proclaimed experts who will pretend to do that; in the end it’s entirely up to you. Rather I will try to explain the “mechanics” of Twitter. I’ve been using Twitter since 2008, so by any measure I’m an old hand; yet Twitter features change frequently and I was unsure enough of the exact effect of many of its features that I had to review my own experience quite carefully and consult Twitter’s (very good) Help pages before penning this. Below I will refer mainly to the experience on the desktop Twitter platform; many features are implemented slightly differently on mobile and some are implemented only on (Android) mobile.

This article first appeared in Legal Web Watch June 2016. Legal Web Watch is a free monthly email service which complements the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers. To receive Legal Web Watch regularly sign up here.

It’s been a rum week, hasn’t it? There is huge uncertainty post the Brexit vote, not least because there is no political plan and no PM yet in a position to formulate one.

Lawyers will have their own specific concerns, so I’m here to help!

This article first appeared in Legal Web Watch June 2016. Legal Web Watch is a free monthly email service which complements the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers. To receive Legal Web Watch regularly sign up here.

The following items have been selected from Delia Venables’ “New” page.

Mobile apps for lawyers

Software as a Service (SAAS) and apps are becoming increasingly popular among solicitors.

Legal practitioners have developed a clear preference for mobile-friendly applications that are directly available from the web.

DPS Software have developed secure SaaS solutions and apps which solve the issue of mobility without compromising data security.

Julian Bryan, Managing Director Quill Pinpoint

You can’t be an expert in all areas of your business so it’s important to focus on your strengths. And, even if you are an all-rounder, it’s impossible to do everything yourself within the limited hours of the working day.

Whether the issue is lack of direction or lack of time, there’s one easy solution to these age-old problems: outsourcing.

But, just as you wouldn’t employ a new member of staff without rigorous application and interviewing procedures, you shouldn’t engage an outsourcing provider without careful questioning and screening. Otherwise, how else will you know if suppliers possess the requisite skills, knowledge and experience to service your needs properly?

Our self-help guide poses 10 essential questions to ask before you outsource. These questions are intended to allow you to fully evaluate prospective outsourcing providers before you sign any contract(s).

English Language Grunge Flag

For decades, overcoming the limitations of European data protection law to transfer personal data to countries outside the European Union has been a compliance priority for organisations operating internationally. Global data flows are part of the fabric of modern communications and everyday commercial and social interactions. This is especially true of the transatlantic relations between the European Union and the United States. However, countries such as the US that approach the regulation of personal data privacy from a different perspective than countries in Europe face a tough challenge when trying to demonstrate an adequate level of protection according to the European standard.