Legal Web Watch February 2014

Legal Web Watch is an email service which complements the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers. This issue was published 15 February. To receive Legal Web Watch sign up here.

Nick’s legal web picks

Legal futurology

Legal Futures is the leading UK site tracking the fast-evolving legal landscape, providing daily news coverage on alternative business structures, new market entrants, regulatory change and innovation in all its forms. It is edited by Neil Rose, a former deputy editor of the Law Society Gazette and a regular contributor to other leading law publications, and Dan Bindman a former news editor of the Law Society Gazette.

Recently Dan posted about The future of working in law: “agile” lawyers, entrepreneurs and smaller firms. The post is a review of a report commissioned by the freelance lawyer network Lawyers on Demand which is part of City firm Berwin Leighton Paisner.

The Practice Development Director of Lawyers On Demand is Tim Bratton, formerly General Counsel at the FT. Tim blogs in a personal capacity at the Legal Brat Blawg about the changing legal profession.

The report, The new world of legal work, written by Canadian futurologist Jordan Furlong, argues that an era of “agile working” will enable law firms to increase their efficiency.

Jordan, who publishes the award-winning blog Law21, is a lawyer, speaker, industry analyst and consultant based in Ottawa, Canada. He is a principal with the global consulting firm Edge International and a senior consultant with legal web development company Stem Legal Web Enterprises. He specialises in delivering dynamic and thought-provoking presentations to law firms, practice groups and legal organisations at a time of unprecedented marketplace change.

For a good example of the quality of his thought, of his writing and of the ensuing discussion, try The secretarial canary in the law firm coal mine.

The future of law (again)

And so to the perennial Richard Susskind who has been writing about the future of law and lawyers for more than 30 years, saying much the same thing each time (“I write the same book every 4 years”).

At ReinventLaw NYC he was speaking on the Past, Present and Future of Artificial Intelligence and the Law. This was a reprise of his presentation at ReinventLaw London 2013. But it was certainly good enough to get our American cousins excited. Follow the Twitter storyboard by Colin O’Keefe on the LexBlog Network.


Delia’s legal web picks

Selected items from Delia’s “New” page:

Marketing and new media topics

Hallam Internet Blog is a great source of information on marketing and new media topics. Sue Hallam, who founded Hallam Internet, provides short tutorials on many useful subjects, like a glossary of social media terms, how to use Google Trends, whether Guest blogging is “done”, all about Top Level Domains, whether your business needs a legal app, how to fix an email marketing mistake, and … lots more.

Free European sources online

Free European Sources Online is a wonderful blog article by Ruth Bird covering the revamped Eur-Lex site which offers a set of legislative and caselaw resources that are core for many lawyers in the EU. Eur-Lex is the European Commission’s project to bring together EU law into one comprehensive, free site but, as she says, it can appear a little overwhelming at first. Ruth provides a guide through the resources on this site. The host blog, Slawis a long standing Canadian blog and co-operative which now has has a crew of 24 bloggers and 60 columnists. Whilst based in Canada, Slaw covers legal resources from around the world. Ruth Bird is the Bodleian Law Librarian at the University of Oxford. She has worked in law firm and academic libraries for over twenty years and is a recognised expert on law resources in many countries.

Identity Intelligence – a new concept to me

GBGroup is a company which combines individual identity data with technological developments to prove they are “real”; this concept is called Identity Intelligence. One of their products is called MatchCode. It says on the site “Matchcode is a family of global data quality and customer identity registration products that offers data capture, validation and batch data cleansing. It is currently the only solution that validates UK and global postal and email addresses as well as mobile and landline telephone numbers across more than 240 countries or territories worldwide – all through a single interface.” This product can be integrated with other systems, e.g. if you set up a new client, the embedded system will check that the information provided about name, address, geo-location, landline and mobile phone numbers, email address and other factors is consistent. It can be installed locally or used as SAAS software, i.e. accessed online on a “per case” basis.

New information site grows fast

Injury Claims Specialistsis a new body, only launched in 2012, but is apparently already the UK’s largest injury claims information website. It is not a firm of solicitors or claims management company itself but acts as an umbrella body and provides a large amount of information about accidents and injuries and how to claim compensation. It is funded by a number of solicitors and claims companies who advertise on the site. The site seeks to provide consumers with clear, plain English injury claims information and aims to be unbiased and impartial.

Latest new entrant to the legal services market – and a powerful one

LegalZoom (UK) is the new UK version of the very well established LegalZoom (USA), which has been running for 10 years and has had 2 million customers. Legalzoom also has a Canadian version and apparently plans to expand into the EU as a whole. They have partnered with Quality Solicitors and initially with Quality Solicitors Talbots in particular. (I note however that there is no mention of LegalZoom on Talbots’ own web site). LegalZoom offer monthly plans of £9.99 a month for a personal plan and £19.99 a month for a business plan. It is also possible to purchase particular services, such as a will for £29.99. It says on the website “With every document you purchase, you receive a free initial consultation over the phone with a lawyer from QualitySolicitors Talbots. QualitySolicitor’s lawyers are approachable, and professional. We’ll take care of the details, then a lawyer finishes the job – so you save time and money.” This looks like a rather soft launch at present but there is considerable power and money behind the company. They have apparently been setting up the deal with Quality Solicitors and how it will work for over a year. To find out about the many other contenders in the legal services market (solicitors and non-solicitors) see my section for Selling Legal Services and Legal Documents Online.