Seeking one-stop-shop provision is a growing trend amongst law firms on their quest for convenience, efficiency, support, cost and security improvements. By having their main software and outsourcing service needs met by one primary supplier, legal practices gain all these benefits and more. To clarify…

  • Convenience: There’s one contract and one point of contact which saves time and hassle for your time-starved lawyers and business managers.
  • Efficiency: It’s all about integration. Your core applications are synchronised, including your Microsoft Office suite, thereby streamlining the individual user experience.
  • Support: You’re able to build strong relationships with your assigned team members, be it your account manager, cashier or payroll clerk. Belonging to the same company, there’s consistency in the level of customer service you receive.
  • Cost: Whichever combination of products you choose, there’s one sales consultant compiling your fees, giving you complete visibility and allowing total flexibility as costs reflect your busyness.
  • Security: By carefully selecting a supplier with robust safety measures in place, you’re trusting your confidential data and documents to only one reliable source which significantly lessens any potential for security breaches.

Live facial recognition technology or automatic facial recognition (AFR) adds another dimension to CCTV monitoring and other surveillance methods. Using biometrics (certain physical and physiological features), the technology can map facial features to identify particular individuals by matching these with a database of known faces. This technology has been in use for some years by certain public and government agencies, but with the advent of AI and machine learning, it has become more prevalent in the private sector.

Back in 2006, Sheffield mathematician Clive Humby declared “data is the new oil” after reaping the benefits of helping to set up a supermarket loyalty card scheme. This was the same year that Facebook went mainstream, accelerating the pace of data harvesting and spawning an entire industry devoted to the collection, analysis and monetisation of large sets of personal data. Although many concerns were raised over the following years regarding the potential dangers of the big data revolution which ensued, arguably it wasn’t until the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke in 2018 that the public – and their parliamentary representatives – began to grasp the true gravity of the situation.

“This project contains risks of abuse of dominant position, risks to sovereignty and risks for consumers and for companies” (Bruno Le Maire, French Finance Minister)

In June Facebook announced to much public fanfare that it intends to roll out a new digital currency called Libra for use in 2020, allowing its users across the globe to make online financial transactions.

It has quickly become clear that Facebook faces a significant battle to ensure that the Libra project does not become mired in regulatory and political red tape and, more damagingly still, is not able to launch across key national/regional markets. At the last count, the roll-call of those who have signalled a desire to subject Libra to careful scrutiny (as well as Mr Le Maire whose quote above makes it quite clear what he thinks) includes leaders of the G7 nations, the US Congress, the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructure comprising representatives of 26 central banks, the European Commission and the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority.

Why is Facebook Libra attracting so much critical scrutiny and what are the key issues that regulators and politicians are likely to focus on now that the project is under the public gaze?

Juriosity.com was launched in partnership with the Bar Council of England and Wales in 2018. In its current form, the platform provides a directory of practising barristers and other legal professionals and a self-publishing platform enabling barristers (and other approved contributors) to publish short articles on legal developments, cases they have been involved in (or wish to comment on) and any other topics they believe will be of interest to their clients and potential clients.

Phase two of the development of Juriosity will add direct access functionality and a marketplace for the purchase and sale of precedents, contracts, guides and other collateral.

It’s all about the first impression. For most potential clients, your website is your shopfront. Does it belong on Oxford street or skid row? This guide will help you find out.

Step 1 – Google your firm

The first step is to search for your firm in Google (I’m sure you don’t need a step-by-step on this!) both on your laptop or desktop PC and on a mobile device. If you have a tablet and a smartphone, then search from both devices as rankings and user experience can be very different from device to device. This lets you see how your site is presenting to users when they search for you. While we’re probably well used to seeing this page and thus take certain elements of it for granted, however many elements can be manipulated to a certain extent. The effect of this is to create a more favourable impression in the mind of potential clients.

Governments around the world have grappled with the challenge of sufficiently taxing international companies – particularly peripatetic tech giants – which aggressively pursue policies of (perfectly legal) tax avoidance. One of the main reasons that so many Silicon Valley icons decide to base their European operations in Dublin (including Google and Apple) is due to the low rate of corporation tax in Ireland (compared to most other EU countries) – and the ability to further minimise their taxes by taking advantage of tricks such as profit shifting. The G7 have been discussing the best way to implement a fair method of international taxation – but, in the meantime, France has decided to go ahead and impose its own levy, to the consternation of the US.

In the wake of growing data protection concerns around the turn of the century, a framework dubbed “Safe Harbor” was agreed between the EU and the US in 2000, which essentially permitted transatlantic free-flow of personal data.

Towards the end of 2015, as a result of one of several legal challenges brought by prolific Austrian privacy campaigner Max Schrems, the European Court of Justice declared the Safe Harbor framework invalid on the grounds that it did not provide adequate safeguards for personal data.

One of the key changes brought about by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force on 25 May 2018, was a substantial increase in the maximum fines available for data protection breaches, to the higher of €20 million or 4% of global annual turnover. Any breaches which occurred prior to this date were subject to a maximum of £500,000 set by the Data Protection Act 1998 – and this former upper limit was only invoked once, in the case of Facebook and its part in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Many commentators pointed out that half a million pounds was “chump change” for the likes of tech giants. The same couldn’t be said of the £183 million fine which the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) levied on British Airways (BA) less than a year later.

Risk management is an essential part of running any law firm.

The costs – monetary and otherwise – can be substantial if practices don’t identify risks, and do everything they can to mitigate them.

Different types of challenges can present themselves depending on the exact nature of your firm, and the work you do.

Here, we’re going to look at those who specialise in conveyancing.

The exact risks posed to those who work in this field can be managed with Proclaim, Eclipse’s Case Management software. We explain exactly how below.

The new EU copyright law that copyright lawyers, artists, management and media companies have been waiting for was passed on 17 April 2019 as Directive (EU) 2019/790 on copyright and related rights in the Digital Single Market and amending Directives 96/9/EC and 2001/29/EC. The directive is not law as is (although some of its provisions are mandatory); most of its provisions will have to pass into the local law of member states by 2021. Other provisions will need to be implemented by 2022.

The diverse cultural differences across EU member states will mean its implementation is likely to be different across the EU.

Some commentators have been asking whether law firms and other legal service organisations should adopt an Uber-like model for legal service delivery.

From a narrow technological point of view I think is safe to assume that this could well happen.

Looking at some of the less benign aspects of the model in practice, it seems regulators will need to ensure a good standard of ethics is adhered to if the model is to work fairly for all concerned (and there are signs they are prepared to do so).

Does legal project management facilitate the Uberisation of law? I don’t think it does. I think it helps promote a more co-operative approach to progress, competition and innovation.

I also think we should put aside fixation with the Uber model and look to other approaches instead.