Articles filed under Legal practice

It is now nearly 20 years ago since my book Legal Practice in the Digital Age was first published. The book’s central theme was that despite all the money law firms were spending on technology in those days, most of this money (money which might otherwise be going to partners) was being spent on the wrong stuff.

What law firms were spending their money on back then were mainly inward-facing, back office administrative systems, such accounts, practice management, wordprocessing and document management systems. Whereas what they should have been spending their money on were outward-looking, client-facing systems … in other words systems that could help deliver a better legal service experience to their clients.

Susan Mclean has written an excellent article in the May issue of Computers & Law on The Rise of the Sharing Economy, its challenges and the legal issues concerned. I’d recommend you read it!

The purpose of this article is to point to some useful further resources and alternative perspectives that may help in our understanding of this phenomenon and how it affects lawyers.

DPS Software have launched a new web-based practice management system for law firms incorporating team and personal target management tools as well as all the benefits of the DPS case management software. It allows fee earners to record time, create attendance notes, dictate against a file, create emails from tasks and view their file history from any location with Internet access.

Richmond Chambers LLP is an award-winning, innovative partnership of specialist immigration barristers. Authorised by the SRA as the first barrister-only ABS in July 2013, our members share a core commitment to providing high quality immigration law advice and representation directly to the public.

Following the introduction of the public access scheme for immigration work in April 2010, we witnessed an increasing demand for immigration law advice and representation directly from a barrister. However, we were also aware of the weaknesses of the traditional chambers model insofar as direct access work was concerned.

As barristers in independent practice, we were limited by our own capacity. We lacked the technical and administrative capability to effectively deliver legal advice and representation to more than a few clients at any one time.

Having put an appropriate business structure in place, our thoughts therefore quickly turned to technology as a way of delivering improved efficiencies. We wanted to explore how the internet could improve our administration and marketing, drive up standards of client care, enable our barristers to collaborate more effectively with both clients and paralegals and operate a paperless chambers. And, we wanted to achieve all of this as cost-effectively as possible.

Inksters

ReInvent Law London 2014 took place on 20 June. This was its third London outing. It appeared first in 2012 as Law Tech Camp and was renamed ReInvent Law for 2013. I have attended all three and gave a presentation at this year’s event.

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.

This month: Reinventlaw London 2014 – the Twitter story; Delia’s legal web picks.

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.

This month: Legal futurology; The future of law (again); Delia’s legal web picks.

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.