Articles filed under Practice tools

Advice from the MD of Inpractice UK on coping with the current crisis, with insights from several other PMS suppliers.

The impact of Covid-19 is being felt by all of us to varying degrees. People should work from home if they can but that may not be possible yet for everyone in your practice. As many of you will be doing this already, there is advice here to help refine that experience. Also, on the different set of challenges that everyone will face now to maintain a healthy working environment for people not used to working from home in relative isolation.

Risky once-in-a-generation skills shortage poses existential threat to firms

Legal employers are now facing a skills shortage. UK unemployment has fallen to a 44-year low of 3.8% and employees, armed with more options than ever, are constantly on the move to greener pastures. The inability to replace a good employee can pose a severe threat to your business.

Rather than push existing employees to work longer hours, technology can help law firms undertake more work with the same number of people. Technology achieves this by automating administrative tasks, helping lawyers to work more effectively and get home on time.

Legal support roles like legal secretaries and bookkeepers are no longer as popular because people seek high-prestige employment with the promise of strong wage growth. Junior lawyers currently undertake this work but this solution is costly and the work menial, which means technology can be better, faster and cheaper than an employee.

Competition for staff is also coming from new entrants to the legal market, including the alternative legal services market and the Big 4 accounting firms who economies of scale to offer a full suite of professional services – essentially, a one-stop shop. Both are becoming attractive career options for lawyers, particularly mid-career or senior lawyers.

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.

google_for_work

In 2013 I wrote about Google Drive and Chromebooks for lawyers interested in adopting a more cloud-based approach. Since then, many businesses have turned to cloud solutions and Google has been actively promoting Google Apps for Work which includes a range of its products.

Egyptian spreadsheet?

Back in 1979 Apple published what is regarded as the first “killer app”, the spreadsheet program VisiCalc (a contraction of “visible calculator”), which turned the microcomputer from a hobby for computer enthusiasts into a serious business tool and prompted IBM to launch their PC.

VisiCalc’s mantle was soon wrested from it by the superior Lotus 1-2-3 which reigned supreme on the PC until the advent of Windows when Microsoft’s Excel started to outsell it. Today there can be no organisation which does not rely heavily on Excel or an equivalent spreadsheet application for its planning, budgeting and forecasting, accounting … and many other functions.

Google is much more than just a search engine. If also offers a range of office productivity tools which can make your information management more efficient, improve your business processes, and save your firm or chambers money. From YouTube to Patent Searches, Picasa to Gmail, Google offers more than 50 different services in addition to its familiar search engine.