From floppy disks and dictation machines to cloud computing and case management software
2017 sees the LSSA celebrating its 21st anniversary. Two of the founding members, Tony Landes of Quill  and John Burrill of Linetime, look back on the early days of the Association, reasons for founding and subsequent developments.
The Association was formed with 17 member companies* and the founding principles of the association remain today as they were 21 years ago. The LSSA was established to be the UK industry body for legal systems developers and vendors, to represent legal software providers to the legal profession and to give the legal profession confidence in dealing with an LSSA member firm. LSSA members agree to be bound by the Rules and Code of Practice of LSSA and to promote the highest standards of service.
One of the founding members Tony Landes, former Chairman of Quill comments “One of the main initial aims of the LSSA was to build relationships with the Law Society in order to promote legal technology to the legal profession. This led to initiatives such as the Software Solutions Guide. Accounts software was the primary driver in the mid-90s, then came case management and now the cloud.”
“Over the past 21 years there has been enormous change, a major example of which is the opening up of the legal market ownership regulations leading to increased competition. Firms use technology to increase efficiency. That’s why easy-to-use features for all aspects of practice management and case management functionality have become an absolute necessity. The cloud has facilitated further benefits for managers who may prefer to outsource some of their in-house services, in this case IT hosting and management, for time and monetary improvements, but also to lawyers and end clients who can directly access progress on their matters from Apps on their mobile devices which suits their on-the-go lifestyles. In fact, even accountants benefit through remote access to matter-related finances. It’s the LSSA’s role to advise legal software suppliers of best practice standards so that systems keep evolving directly in line with market demands.”
John Burrill, Founder and former Chairman of Linetime states “Back in 1996 legal technology was very much based around accounting, and Word processing was a stand-alone package, not linked to case management software as it is today. Technology spread from the accounts department in small and medium practices to other departments and then the centralised IT function was born.”
“We founded the LSSA to make the legal technology more professional and accountable and we wanted a Code of Practice to give customers a means of arbitration and confidence. We developed a disciplinary procedure whereby if a customer had a complaint against a supplier they had a form of redress if there was an issue. It transpires that the LSSA was, and still is, very ethical and forward-thinking.”
Current chair of the LSSA and MD of Quill, Julian Bryan comments: “The growth in LSSA membership over the last year, with five companies joining the association, is proving that the organisation is as relevant today as it was 21 years ago. In an era of great technological change the LSSA is working with government departments, trade bodies and the legal industry to ensure the optimal use of current and future technology.”