The Internet Newsletter for Lawyers is edited by Nick Holmes
Articles filed under Office technology
This short article is based on my web page www.venables.co.uk/softwareireland.htm which provides links to the software companies websites.
The “problem” for Ireland, as for any smaller country, has been that the potential market for the sale of legal software is much smaller than for countries with larger numbers of law firms. A few years ago, this often meant that Irish legal software suppliers were in fact subsidiaries of larger UK software companies and others were genuinely small firms, possibly without a very large financial backing.
Success in business
The ultimate marker of a successful business is the strength of its bottom line. Profitability is everything if you want to survive and thrive. The route to healthy profits is maximising income and minimising costs.
You don’t necessarily need us to tell you about maximising income. Revenue generation is your forte, achieved by good marketing to create new business opportunities in the first place, and even better legal service provision and client care thereafter to secure a stream of repeat and referral business.
Your legal software provider can assist in this area by offering solutions containing features such as automation to reduce your workload, application availability for greater uptime, intuitive time recording to capture more chargeable activity and advanced analytics to monitor performance, to name a few. But that’s not the main focus here. We’re concentrating on minimising costs.
In the last issue of this Newsletter, I wrote an article on the main suppliers of cloud based software for lawyers. I described the suppliers who have developed software for the cloud, from the ground up (no pun intended), with no option for in-house use; there were about 30 suppliers, and their offerings, described in that article.
This covered many of the newer suppliers who have seen an opportunity for developing easy-to-use legal software in the cloud, particularly for smaller users, as well as some of the older, and well established suppliers who have developed a completely new software system for cloud use.
There are a large number of companies offering legal software to lawyers – around 100 at my last count. The software section of my website www.venables.co.uk/software.htm lists and describes them all, A to Z.
As well as the A to Z sections, I now provide a section called “Cloud, Outsourcing and Hosted Systems” at www.venables.co.uk/outsourcing.htm. More and more new suppliers are developing their software specifically for online use and this is now quite a large section, with 30 suppliers.
Software as a Service (SAAS) and apps are becoming increasingly popular among solicitors.
Legal practitioners have developed a clear preference for mobile-friendly applications that are directly available from the web.
DPS Software have developed secure SaaS solutions and apps which solve the issue of mobility without compromising data security.
You can’t be an expert in all areas of your business so it’s important to focus on your strengths. And, even if you are an all-rounder, it’s impossible to do everything yourself within the limited hours of the working day.
Whether the issue is lack of direction or lack of time, there’s one easy solution to these age-old problems: outsourcing.
But, just as you wouldn’t employ a new member of staff without rigorous application and interviewing procedures, you shouldn’t engage an outsourcing provider without careful questioning and screening. Otherwise, how else will you know if suppliers possess the requisite skills, knowledge and experience to service your needs properly?
Our self-help guide poses 10 essential questions to ask before you outsource. These questions are intended to allow you to fully evaluate prospective outsourcing providers before you sign any contract(s).
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) refers to the growing trend of employees using their personal laptops, smartphones and other communications devices in the workplace or elsewhere for work-related purposes. The related Bring Your Own App (BYOA) is essentially the software version of BYOD, where an employee uses personal (often cloud-based) software for work purposes, which could be something as simple as forwarding work-related emails to a personal Gmail address. According to recent research, more than half of UK workers have already adopted BYOD, and employers are increasingly asking their lawyers for advice on managing the employment law aspects. Both BYOD and BYOA throw up similar issues concerning security, privacy and ownership.
Richard Hugo–Hamman of LEAP Legal Software interviewed by Delia Venables
Based in Enfield, AVRillo is a family-run practice specialising in Conveyancing. The firm, established in 1989, is still setting the standards within the legal sector with its multi award-winning services. In addition to being an Investors in Business winner and a Sunday Times Award winner, AVRillo’s reputation for quality and expertise has been rewarded by the Law Society, which has granted the company the prestigious “Quality Conveyancing” accreditation, as well as the “Legal Excellence” award.
Angelo Piccirillo, Partner and Co-founder of AVRillo, explains his choice of Practice Management Software.
Small law firms have a significant competitive advantage – you can get things done! Large law firms like any large organisation have complex systems and layers of management. They are complicated. Small firms are not.
Despite conventional wisdom, technology use in small law firms is typically more sophisticated than in large law firms for one reason; most large firms charge on a time basis with large corporate clients. Inefficiency is rewarded. Small law firms may and should charge on a time basis, but their clients are you and me. Hyper-price-sensitive people.
To do well, a large firm needs to record a lot of time.
To do well, a small firm needs to be super-efficient.
You need great technology.
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