Blog

‘No, minister – CMCs are not the answer to your problem’

Qamar Anwar 2

Last month, MPs on the justice select committee asked minister Lord Keen what would happen when the government went ahead with its plan to raise the small claims limit for personal injury claims (from £1,000 to £5,000 for road traffic related claims and to £2,000 for everything else). As it is a jurisdiction in which lawyers do not generally operate – because legal costs are not recoverable – who might help claimants navigate what can still be a complex process? His answer, surprisingly, was claims management companies.

February 22nd, 2018

Preparing for the GDPR – What do you need to know right now?

Craig Forsyth

On 25 May 2018, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force. That might seem like a long time, but that’s just over 100 days away at the time of writing. Actually, GDPR was adopted back in April 2016, May 2018 is the end of the two-year grace period. The GDPR brings with it a whole host of changes, and the penalties for non-compliance are higher than ever, either 4% of your annual turnover or £20m, whichever is higher. But how do you prepare? What do you need to change first? Where do you even start?

February 19th, 2018

Bitcoin: The new frontier or the next bubble?

Joe Smith Saunderson House

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency – a digital currency that uses cryptographic techniques to regulate the generation of units and to verify the transfer of funds. It is largely anonymous and unregulated, and underpinned by a digital ledger technology known as blockchain. In terms of the market, there is a limit of 21m Bitcoin that can ever be created. It is very narrowly held, with an estimated 40% of Bitcoin held by just 1,000 ‘investors’ and only a third having been traded in the last year. However, there are also a number of synthetic products through which one can gain access to Bitcoin, including contracts for difference, ETFs (exchange-traded funds) and, as of December, exchange-traded futures.

February 15th, 2018

Your software swap checklist: Read before you leap

Julian Bryan 3

If, for whatever reason, software change is essential, we’ve compiled five questions to ask yourself and prospective suppliers to help you really assess your options and carefully research the marketplace before you switch over. The preparatory stage of your software swap project necessitates watching software demonstrations, meeting key personnel, reading contractual documents, asking this series of probing questions, and then evaluating your combined result.

February 12th, 2018

The compensation fund conundrum

Martina Hogg

With the increased likelihood that legal services providers offering reserved legal activities may be able to move from one regulator to another, and the significant disparities between the compensation fund contributions raised and held by different regulators, Martina Hogg asks if it is time for the Legal Services Board to review compensation fund arrangements across all regulators.

February 7th, 2018

Out of this world: how far reaching is your communications strategy in 2018?

Sue Berners

In 1984, a non-profit was established in Sacramento, California, by a group of scientists to search for extra-terrestrial intelligence (called SETI). I could not help comparing this with my experience of working with law firms, where there is often an expectation of almost immediate results from any marketing communications initiative. My heart sinks every time I hear “Oh, we didn’t get anything from that initiative, so we will not do that again”. This betrays a misunderstanding of the effort that is often required to break into a new market, win a major client or develop a profitable source of referrals.

February 2nd, 2018

Talking the talk

Billy Bot

The word ‘chatbot’ has been appearing with increased frequency in Legal Futures stories over the past year. As a popular human interface for computer software backed by artificial intelligence (AI), it is a phenomenon we are likely to see yet more of. The combination of ‘chat’ – an essentially human activity – and ‘robot’ neatly encapsulates this interface. Other names for the technology are chatterbot and artificial conversational entity. And the application of chatbots in the law appears to be growing.

January 29th, 2018

Looking for new answers in PI

Ken Fowlie

It might be a New Year with a new justice secretary, but there’s work to do if 2018 isn’t going to result in the same old story when it comes to legal reform. In recent times the personal injury sector has been hit by a battery of changes, and all-too often our response has been unclear or even apologetic. Yet the cumulative impact on our firms and especially on those we seek to assist has been obvious. It is time we learned from our experiences and tried a different approach.

January 23rd, 2018

How best to achieve independent regulation under the Legal Services Act?

Craig Wakeford LSB

Independent regulation gives confidence to consumers, providers, investors and society as a whole that legal services work in the public interest and support the rule of law. The Legal Services Act 2007 does not require all approved regulators to be structurally separate from representative bodies. Instead, the Legal Services Board is required by the Act to produce internal governance rules (IGR) which apply the principle of regulatory independence in legal service regulation. We are currently running a consultation on the IGR which continues until 9 February.

January 19th, 2018

Three reasons why you should be more vigilant about the emails you send in 2018

Ben Mitchell DocsCorp

In December 2017, the Information Commissioner’s Office (reported that data security incidents between April and June 2017 had increased by 15% compared to the previous year. This is nothing new – data breaches have been on the rise for years. Yet law firms are often more concerned about protecting sensitive information from external threats than from a far more likely cause: human error. Human error was behind the forwarding of confidential plans from The Bank of England to The Guardian. The sender included the wrong recipient in the email and, ever since, autocomplete has been disabled and staff at the UK’s main financial regulator must now enter every single address manually.

January 17th, 2018