Legal Web Watch June 2014

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Follow Nick Holmes on Twitter @nickholmes.

Reinventing law – the Twitter story

Reinvent Law London 2014, a conference featuring presentations on "law + technology + innovation + entrepreneurship" was held on 20 June 2014 at the University of Westminster Law School in London.

I missed last year's event, which was well received (covered by Michael Scutt for the Newsletter), so I was keen to experience the buzz for myself this time. The day consisted of a few quickfire "ignite" sessions with several presentations of less than 10 minutes each and a few "talk" sessions with slightly longer presentations (not a lot of difference presentationally to my mind). As you can see from the selection below, there's no shortage of interesting ideas for the future of law and lawyers. A stimulating day.

As well as two giant screens showing presenters and their slides, a key feature of the set-up was a "Twitter wall" streaming all tweets that included the #reinventlaw hashtag. This meant that not only could you clearly follow the presentation visuals, but also you could see the immediate reactions of the other delegates (and a few other respondents off-site).

The presentations

You can get a good flavour of the presentations from tweet collections put together using Storify. Robert Richards provides a storify of tweets from the whole day. and LexBlogNetwork produced storifies of most of the presentations. Here are those that most captured my interest:

John Sheridan, National Archives, Big Data For Law (John has written on this project for the Newsletter).

Adam Nguyen, eBrevia, Applying AI to Law Practice (on how tech might do due diligence; see further the eBrevia Blog).

Sands McKinley, McKinley Irvin, Lawyers in Wonderland (on regulation and the ABA, notable for the illustrations).

Kanan Dhru, Research Foundation for Governance in India, Lawtoons: Law Made Fun through Comics (see further this article).

Dana Denis-Smith, Obelisk, What's Love Got to Do With It? (on what the legal industry can learn from online dating).

Christina Blacklaws, Blacklaws Consultings, Legal Futures – The Rise of the Machine (on the potential of ODR for family breakdown cases).

Maurits Barendrecht, HiiL, In the Future, Will Law Be More Like Health Care? (on how actual needs for legal services are similar to those for healthcare).

Brian Inkster, Inksters, Improving (on ways he has improved his practice; Brian has written about his practice for the Newsletter).

Ivan Rasic, LegalTrek, Lean: Can NewLaw Learn from Tech Startups? (on the innovative power of New Law: startup firms have more flexibility).

Delia’s legal web picks

Follow Delia Venables on Twitter @deliavenables.

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

A blog on divorce worth looking at

Rainscourt Family Law of Milton Keynes, provide a blog on their website written by Katie Rainscourt, on topical divorce matters such as grounds for divorce, maintenance orders which do (or do not) keep up with inflation, prenuptual agreements and other ongoing topics. It is interesting and informative and does not "talk down" to the readers.

How to find international legal resources

Legal Resources from other countries is a section on my web site to which I have devoted quite a lot of time recently. The latest page to be refurbished and updated is International Legal Resources. This is the place to start for countries which do not have a page of their own (I have separate pages for Ireland, the rest of Europe, USA, Australia, Asia, Africa and a few others). There are a number of important international collections of legal resources (including WorldLII, Library of Congress, New York University School of Law and the United Nations) and I describe these here.

Ten reasons to outsource your cashiering

Ten reasons to outsource your cashiering is an interesting article from Quill Pinpoint in the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers. Outsourcing is cheaper, safer, more flexible, provides better reports and has expert advice to hand. And lets you be a lawyer.

A new mobile app to help witnesses

Pocket Witness is a mobile app for witnesses attending courts, tribunals and inquiries in the UK and under British jurisdiction, but also contains helpful advice for people giving evidence anywhere in the world. Developed by Trevor Gilbert, it educates witnesses about their role, responsibilities and likely course of events at a variety of hearings. It aims to improve public access to justice and ensure that lay (regular) and expert witnesses are not left at a disadvantage when they give evidence in the witness box. The app also provides access to legal developments, supplementary tips and insights on public cases.

A useful new (free) child maintenance calculator

Divorce Family Toolkit is a blog from Alan Larkin of Family Law Partners in Brighton – "The inside track for those struggling with divorce finance issues". As well as postings on topics of family law finance, the blog contains a description of the legal terms used in family law, lots of information on the dreaded Form E, and links to other useful sites related to Family Law and (particularly) the financial aspects of Divorce. There is now a useful (free) facility The Child Maintenance Service’s child maintenance calculator. This allows parents to predict what level of child maintenance may be requested if the Child Maintenance Service is involved, based on the rules introduced by the Child Maintenance Service on 29th July 2013. It uses a gross income model and applies different rates (or a combination of rates) in 5 bands. The calculator is free to use and can be used directly by parents or by their lawyers or mediators. It can be accessed by computer or through mobile devices. There is an official calculator provided by the Government but this does not give enough detail and does not lend itself to allowing the results to be easily communicated (by email for instance) to a co-parent. The lack of transparency in the calculation tends to aggravate the mistrust that exists immediately after separation.

A service for signing documents electronically

Signable is a UK based online service that enables documents to be legally signed online. Rather than emailing or posting the document to the signer, you can send it out via Signable and get it signed in a matter of minutes. Signers can sign on their desktop or their mobile device and the Signable service checks that the document is legally binding and secure. Apparently, the technology adheres to all regulations set out by the Electronic Communications Act 2000 requirements. There are details of the legality of electronic signatures here. There is Pay As You Go plan available or a Monthly plan and there is also a free 14 day trial available.

A useful online conveyancing calculator

Conveyancing Calculator is an Online Conveyancing Fees Calculator which Solicitors can put onto their own website to provide potential clients with an instant online quote, incorporating the Solicitor's fees, costs and disbursements. The client receives the quote by email and the Solicitor receives a copy of the quote. The service is cloud based and only costs £95 for a year for unlimited use by viewers. Apparently "conveyancing fee quote" is a top Google search term so it is good to be able to offer this. The facility has been developed by Web Design Guildford.

The new .uk domain – no need to panic

Nominet are launching a new shorter and "sharper" UK domain – just .uk. There is more about this on Nominet's new web site dotuklaunch and also on the Nominet rules page. These new domains launched on 14 June 2014. Anyone with a, or can however relax for a while – well for a few years actually, since until June 2019 (5 years away) anyone with one of the above domains will retain their entitlement to the corresponding new .uk domain and no one else can register it. (You can check your entitlement on the Nominet site.) Some registration companies have been giving the impression that anyone can order the .uk domain and that therefore the existing domain holders (as above) had better get moving. However, as Market Oracle also explains, you can relax for a while.

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