Building a strong business case for IT investment

Nigel Wright

Investment in IT is necessary for forward-thinking law firms looking to succeed in today’s market. However, the value of IT is often under-appreciated and seen as just another overhead by senior management. It’s therefore important to understand how to write a convincing business case that helps decision makers understand why IT investments are necessary and the potential impact on the firm’s ability to compete.

September 22nd, 2017

Are you prepared for the ‘must do’ period?

Claire Smith

Are you feeling the effects of being back at work yet? Holidays are over for most and we are instead daydreaming of the summer gone… I can still smell sun tan lotion. But the autumn is now upon us. And with it, the subconscious knowledge that a busy period is around the corner. This is the watershed moment in our working year that occurs in September: when the holidays are over and everyone gears up for the return to work rested, refreshed, with a ‘must do’ attitude.

September 20th, 2017

The ethics of the SRA’s social media warning notice

Mena Ruparel

Social media portals are regularly used by firms and those who work for law firms in both professional and personal capacities. Their informal nature and the fast pace of use makes it all too easy for regulated people to get carried away with online discussions or comments which can fall foul of the regulator. This is more likely to happen on social media platforms as these are virtual, accessed in the solicitor’s own time and space. It can be easy to forget that solicitors are regulated just the same at 11pm on their home computer as they are at 3pm in the office or at court.

September 15th, 2017

The battle to remain relevant

cockpit of autonomous car. a vehicle running self driving mode and a woman driver reading book.

The future is now. We all face a battle to remain relevant and change must be embraced. Law firms and lawyers who are agile of thought and action will continue to prosper. The days of a discrete brass plaque as the only calling card for business are gone. The internet is your new shop front, and it’s open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day as customers look for and assess you. Even normal routes to business, such as referrals from friends, will be impacted by the internet. No matter the recommendation, it will become the norm to assess a business online before engaging them. If you aren’t talking to them in a way that they value online, you may one day be pulling down the shutters for the final time.

September 12th, 2017

Law firms and Google – the future is now

Ally Thomson

The internet is revolutionising every aspect of our lives – and the pace of change will continue to increase. All of society is feeling the impact, and the legal landscape isn’t immune. The internet is changing how lawyers work, communicate, win business and retain business. In 2017, how can lawyers and law firms remain relevant to their audience, an audience almost permanently connected to the internet? The pace of change is so rapid that it can be easy to think that things have always been as they are now – we are used to relentless technological change but it wasn’t always this way.

September 8th, 2017

The SQE may not be what law firms wanted but there are ways they can make it work

Jo-Anne Pugh BPP

It’s fair to say that most law firms have not warmly welcomed the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s plans to overhaul the route to qualification. Many feared that the new Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) was an unnecessary alternative to the gold-plated standard of the legal practice course and a ‘dumbed down’ alternative at that. They worried that the changes would restrict the pool of talented graduates entering the legal profession and enormously complicate recruitment. Despite these fears, however, there are some grounds for optimism.

September 4th, 2017

With PI reforms looming once again, how can firms adapt to survive?

Aaron Naisbitt

Back in November, a survey showed that more than half of claimant personal injury (PI) law firms would be forced to shut down or look for other work if the government’s proposed reforms go through. Since then, the reforms were dropped, before being put back on the agenda after the election as part of the new Civil Liability Bill. The uncertainty surrounding this contentious issue has meant that, understandably, many firms operating within the PI sector are nervous about the future. The natural reaction from many has been to reduce spending across all areas of the firm to ensure reserves are significant enough to ride out the storm when it hits. But is this simply accepting defeat?

August 30th, 2017

Online courts and access to justice: Why we should care about being digitally defaulted

Catrina Denvir 2

Once upon a time it was enough to know how to use a computer, then it was enough to know how to use a computer and the internet. But now, according to the vision of HM Courts and Tribunals Service and the Ministry of Justice, we also have to know how to use technology in order to solve our own legal problems and to go to court. What distinguishes current endeavors to digitize the courts and justice, from previous modernisation attempts during the Tony Blair years, is the adoption of a digital by default strategy. This is the same strategy that led to a mandatory telephone gateway for legal aid – an initiative that has resulted in fewer calls to the service.

August 25th, 2017

Algorithms and the law

Jeremy Barnett

Our aim is to start a discussion in the legal profession on the legal impact of algorithms on firms, software developers, insurers, and lawyers. In a longer paper, we consider whether algorithms should have a legal personality, an issue which will likely provoke an intense debate between those who believe in regulation and those who believe that ‘code is law’. In law, companies have the rights and obligations of a person. Algorithms are rapidly emerging as artificial persons: a legal entity that is not a human being but for certain purposes is legally considered to be a natural person. Intelligent algorithms will increasingly require formal training, testing, verification, certification, regulation, insurance, and status in law.

August 22nd, 2017

Make your mark: Personal branding for barristers

stand out from the crowd

A recent Legal Futures article reported that the number complaints involving use of social media by barristers is increasing. The BSB have warned that “as social media and the internet become more prominent in our daily lives, there is an increasing need for barristers to be very careful about what they post whether in their professional or personal lives”. While inappropriate use of social media isn’t anything new, what struck me when reading that paragraph is that, for barristers, I would argue, there shouldn’t be a defining line between the personal and professional. As a barrister, you are your own USP, your personal brand is everything.

August 17th, 2017