Internet Newsletter for Lawyers
Edited by Nick Holmes and Delia Venables
Articles filed under Legal practice
How long does it take for an event to become a fixture in the landscape? The London marathon managed to do it following its first running in 1981 and has not looked back since. Another event, not quite on the same scale perhaps, looks set to make a similar impact in the legal arena. Last month saw the second Reinvent Law Conference at Centrepoint in London. Last year it was called LawTechCamp 2012, but otherwise the same format was used and the only other change was sponsorship by LexisNexis. It became so popular during the afternoon that #reinventlaw started trending on Twitter.
More than 2,200 UK legal practices and ABSs now use a hosted practice management system (PMS) with their system and data held (hosted) in a secure, remote location, accessed via the internet, in preference to keeping servers and software on-premise in their own offices. That is roughly 20 per cent of all law firms and ABSs, adding up to more than 13,000 seats. In the small and mid-size legal practices where we operate most, legal practices and ABSs using hosted PMSs range from one to more than 500 users, so there are attractive options for all legal practices.
The coming of the much-vaunted information age, improvements in digital and internet technology, and the increasing requirement for law firms to diversify and innovate over the last ten years has led to a series of interesting experiments in business models for lawyers. Law firms (as demonstrated by the success of such firms as Excello Law, Setfords Solicitors and Keystone Law) are increasingly moving to a virtual (or dispersed) business model at the expense of bricks and mortar (where a firm would have an established office).
Tomorrow’s Lawyers: An Introduction to Your Future is a new book by Richard Susskind, published by Oxford University Press, January 2013.
The Co-operative Legal Services is already a major player in the legal services market, operating out of Bristol and employing around 450 staff. In March 2012 it was the first major consumer brand to be granted ABS status under the new Legal Services Act, allowing it to offer a range of consumer legal services previously only available from private solicitors.
As a one man band in the Far North of Scotland, I run a fairly standard Scottish county town solicitors office. About 10 years ago I had a flash of inspiration and decided that was not beyond me to automate the making of wills online. I did a search on the internet and found only one other website offering instant wills (in England) and so I took the plunge.
The legal services market is likely to experience more changes in the next few years than at any time in recent history. There are clear threats to many high street law firms and solicitors from new competition but there are also opportunities for law firms willing to explore new business models and partnerships, or those ready to expand their marketing options.
How can the sole practitioner (or small firm lawyer) take advantage of the opportunities presented by the internet?
Are lawyers getting it right giving free advice to prospective clients to impress them with their lawyering skills?
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