Blog

Woebots and robots

Nadia chatbot

The chances are that you may not be entirely sure what a bot or a chatbot is. So, the news that, “starting today, DoNotPay is opening up so that anyone can create legal bots for free (with no technical knowledge)” may be a bit opaque. But bots have their devotees. The picture is of Nadia, an Australian bot being developed to give information on disability benefits with the voice of Cate Blanchett. The editor of Chatbots Magazine (OK, no neutral source) is pretty clear about their future. He writes articles with titles like ‘How bots will completely kill websites and mobile apps’. Joshua Browder, the creator of the DoNotPay parking ticket challenger, is behind what he hopes will be this major expansion of legal bots.

July 21st, 2017

What integration should, and should never, be

Phil Whitehead Infotrack

There has been a lot of talk about integration in the legal tech world for many years now, and lately it has become more of a buzzword for legal service suppliers when discussing a link between their services and the client’s existing software. The importance of integration is obvious, and when done well, the benefits are many and varied, but it has become clear that there is some confusion around what a proper integration looks like. In my years as a legal IT director and visiting clients in my current role, it has become clear that integration is a loose term that often means different things to different people.

July 19th, 2017

Your IT risk assessments will be wrong from May 2018

Nigel Wright

Law firm managers are well versed in carrying out risk assessments to justify and make decisions around IT spend. However, from May next year, risk assessments become more complex when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force. Previously, risk assessments focused on risk to the business, for example the financial and reputational impact of a potential security breach. Now, firms must assess risk to the rights and freedoms of their data subjects. This includes respect for private and family life, freedom of expression and information, freedom to conduct a business and the right to a fair trial. This crucial change means that your risk assessments are now likely to be incorrect and will need to be re-examined.

July 14th, 2017

The Grenfell Tower inquiry: is Moore-Bick the fact-finder for the job?

Gordon Exall

If you write a blog on civil procedure, it is not hard to steer a course away from the issues of the day. However, there is one issue of the day that is hard to ignore. The criticisms of the appointment of Sir Martin Moore-Bick to chair the inquiry into the Grenfell Tower disaster. I have looked at the criticisms of the appointment of Sir Martin with exasperation. No-one, but no-one, has asked the central question that everyone affected by this tragedy needs to know – is this judge a good fact finder? The role of a judge as fact finder is one that is often overlooked by academics and practitioners alike. However, it is often the central part of a judge’s job in the civil courts.

July 11th, 2017

Should contract risk be higher up your law firm’s agenda?

Evel Knievel

Like beauty, risk is in the eye of the beholder. A key business decision can be seen through one person’s eyes as a clever entrepreneurial market move and, through another’s, as a reckless bet-the-house punt. It also depends on the point in time at which you view a decision. As Evel Knievel put it: “Anybody can jump a motorbike. The trouble starts when you try to land it.” Most business decisions end up being codified in some form of contract. This might be a simple letter with limited future consequences, such as buying stationery or booking a conference room. Or it might be a more complex document with long-term and significant consequences for the future, such as a strategic partnership with a key business introducer or the procurement of a new practice management system.

July 5th, 2017

How does your law firm manage and track leads? Part 2

David Kerr

It’s easy to get sucked into a price war. It’s easier to change price than anything else. Brand, market position, value proposition etc all require considerable time and thought. Changing a number doesn’t. Clients who begin their relationship with you based on price will simply switch when a cheaper alternative is available, harming the long-term profitability of your firm. They simply don’t place a high value on your service. Do you really want that type of client? If you are reputable firm with expert staff (paid accordingly), then a price war doesn’t suit you. For one, you know it won’t give you the opportunity to properly deal with the client and any issues that may arise. You know you probably won’t be able to do your very best. So, how can you avoid getting drawn into a price war?

June 30th, 2017

How does your law firm manage and track leads? Part 1

David Kerr

You’ve set up your new website, invested in getting to number one in Google, implemented other online and offline marketing activities to support your business objectives and then, wait for it… The phone rings. Great! A new client, right? Easy! Sadly, for too many firms, this isn’t the case. In an increasingly competitive market place, law firms invest enormous amounts in marketing and lead-generation activities. They invest yet more in getting the very best lawyers they can to carry out the work. Yet most firms pay little heed to one of the most important parts of the process: converting enquiries into paying clients.

June 28th, 2017

Is it time solicitors started taking ethics training more seriously?

mena_ruparel

The requirement for solicitors to behave ethically in modern legal practice is more relevant than ever. Solicitors are still held in fairly high regard by the public, although that esteem is on the wane according to last year’s Trusted Professions poll by Ipsos Mori. Lawyers are less trusted than teachers and doctors but at least we prevail over accountants and bankers. We still hold a position of trust but we must work to hold that position. The current Solicitors Regulation Authority proposals to revise the Handbook are evidence that work still needs to be done.

June 21st, 2017

Eight tips to help your law firm thrive online

Chris Davidson Moore LT

Are any or all these items among your law firm’s primary business objectives for the months ahead? Increasing your turnover; enhancing your brand; improving your efficiency; and future proofing your firm. If your online presence isn’t directly contributing to your law firm’s success, then you are missing out on an opportunity that your competitors will be readying themselves to take advantage of. During this time of unprecedented change in the legal sector, you need to be more visible, instantly appealing, and shouting from the roof tops about how you offer a different, better, service than your competition.

June 15th, 2017

The five biggest IT threats to your firm’s GDPR compliance

Nigel Wright

Law firms hold a wealth of sensitive information, all of which will be subject to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will apply in the UK from 25 May 2018. Specifically, article 5 of the GDPR requires that personal data shall be “processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data, including protection against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage, using appropriate technical or organisational measures”. This blog highlights five risk areas for law firms when it comes to ensuring that IT systems are secure enough to meet your firm’s obligations under article 5.

June 12th, 2017