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

Injury Prevention Day and the agenda for reform

Carson Kaye, Solicitors, London

This year APIL’s Injury Prevention Day falls as we anticipate a return of the Civil Liability Bill in the upcoming parliamentary session, as well as the resurrection of plans to increase the small claims court limit. APIL originally instigated Injury Prevention Day in 2015 on the third Wednesday of August as an occasion to highlight what our association is about, and to give people a better understanding of our values. A key part of APIL’s remit is to promote safety standards and reduce avoidable harm. This year, Injury Prevention Day and the agenda for reform are connected.

August 16th, 2017

Real transparency boosts productivity

Andrew Lloyd 2017

Many fear that publishing prices could ignite a race to the bottom as firms try and outdo their competitors’ fees. Premium prices don’t guarantee premium service but, if managed wrongly, a price war could compromise standards of service with people simply selecting the cheapest option. While fears of a ‘race to the bottom’ are valid, they may also be overstated. Price transparency exists in nearly all aspects of our lives, yet people still choose to pay a higher price for a higher quality of service. If the race to the bottom was a valid concern, there would be no Waitrose customers, only Aldi.

August 14th, 2017

Furthering the best interests of the lay client – a mutual goal

Lucy Reed

Last month the Bar’s regulator, the Bar Standards Board, published its research with people who have used barristers’ services during family legal proceedings. It was published under the headline “Barristers are serving family law clients well, says new BSB research”. One publication for solicitors clearly got the wrong version of the press release, because its headline on the day of publication said “Public considers barristers ‘too expensive’ for family advice, regulator finds”. There ought not to be anything in the BSB report that threatens the solicitors’ profession. The Bar remains a largely referral-based profession. Public access is still a minority activity in family law – and this is unlikely to change.

August 9th, 2017

What UK law firms can learn from US legal marketing and advertising

Bryan Wilson Texas Law Hawk

American law firm advertising is a common source of amazement in our Curated House headquarters. Every so often, another US attorney’s advert will land in our inbox and quickly be shared around the office, often accompanied by audible gasps of disbelief. One particular ad that springs to mind, sent to us by a client, was a feature on the BBC about the self-styled ‘Texas Law Hawk’ – a young Fort Worth criminal lawyer whose ads had been causing a stir in the States. The Law Hawk (aka Bryan Wilson) was even featured in a Taco Bell Super Bowl commercial; such is his popularity. For a marketer, being featured in a Super Bowl commercial is probably akin to winning the thing for a sportsperson.

August 4th, 2017

Managing your law firm’s reputational risk

Nigel Wallis lo res

As Benjamin Franklin once said, it takes many good deeds to build a good reputation and one bad one to lose it – as a few jewellers, airlines, car manufacturers, newspapers and banks have discovered in recent times. Law firms are, of course, just like any other business and face the same issue. As we all know, there is only so much disaster recovery and business continuity planning a firm can do, as events have a habit of circumventing even the best of them. Minimisation rather than elimination remains the only realistic goal. So, what can law firm leaders do to minimise reputational risk and the damage that can flow from a reputation impacting event?

July 31st, 2017

Do smaller law firms need artificial intelligence?

Peter Wallqvist

It’s hard to miss the recent buzz surrounding artificial intelligence (AI), especially in legal tech, with many of the top 200 firms utilising the technology in some manner. But what about the smaller firms? Do they need AI? Can their infrastructure cope with AI? There are misconceptions that AI is only suitable for larger firms – firms with huge budgets and millions of documents – and therefore unsuitable for smaller firms. But many smaller firms could be missing out on the truly transformative benefits.

July 26th, 2017

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