PRO Partners

Marketing your law Firm using Social Networking Technology

Peter BirleySocial Networking continues to grow and although there is a lot of trivia being discussed, there are also some serious business discussions and related business information being passed around. We should not ignore this information as it may be useful to our business and I don’t believe the phenomenon (if that is what it is) of Social Networking will go away. If anything, we will see more people joining in the discussions and more products and innovative ways of communicating coming out of it, so if you don’t engage early then you may be in danger of missing out on any opportunities that evolve.

The Law Firm CIO of 2020

I want to give credit where credit is due, so I apologize for the length of my initial setup. I’ve been talking recently with some of my peers in preparation for a panel discussion at the annual International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) education conference in August. The session is entitled “The CIO in 2020: The Business-Savvy Strategist” and will be ably handled by Marsha Stein, Peter Westerveld, Todd Corham and David Rigali (and myself if my situation permits). Then Matthew Stern asked the question in the LinkedIn group Chief Information Officer Network “How do you describe what a CIO does?” As part of that discussion, Sudhir Wadhwa, posted his blog chart of what makes a “complete” CIO.

I don’t agree with the all Sudhir’s items (or where he placed them) but I thought it was an interesting way to lay it out. I’ve written him that I think there are also a few key missing sections to his “complete” CIO. After thinking about it some a bit, in addition to the five he outlined, I think there should be three others: Business, Clients and Organization.

Breakfast with BigHand

On Thursday myself and a couple of colleagues attended a breakfast briefing from BigHand at Gordons law firm in Leeds, accompanied by plenty of bacon butties from the Roast! It was one of a number of briefings that they are doing throughout the UK on the back of their recent acquisition of nFlow.

As well realising that it’s not just Herbies that have hot meeting rooms, there was information on the nFlow acquisition. But for the most part we were shown demos of some of the new features being planned for future versions of the BigHand software (I think most were for v3.4). Below are some of the key functions that stood out for me (I was making notes on my touch screen Windows Phone whilst trying to keep up with the demos, so if you’re interested in a specific feature I’d double check my understanding with BigHand!)

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Law Firm Help Desk: To Outsource or Not To Outsource?

Geoff ZoddaThe rapid evolution of legal technology over the last 10 years has forced partners and executives at law firms of all sizes to address organizational efficiency challenges. Tough decisions to insure stability, reputation, and sustainability both internally and in the industry abroad need to be taken. The Help Desk within Legal IT departments has long been the target of scrutiny during difficult financial periods, and in a recent informal survey, 25% of the AmLaw 200 Firms stated they have outsourced Help Desk functions. Some firms have outsourced their overnight and weekend shifts, while others have outsourced their whole support group. Besides considering the present and future financial impact of utilizing external resources for these functions, law firms also have to weigh any potential long-term effects it may have on the IT department.

Office 2010 Migration for Law Firms

Fred YeomansMicrosoft Office 2010 was only released a little over a month ago, but for me it seems to have been around for quite a while because of work I have been doing with the pre-release and beta versions. Over the past number of months we have been working with law firms regarding strategies for taking advantage of the new features of both Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010.

Office 2010 logoWhile Office 2010 introduces many important enhancements and new features (here is one view of the top new features for law firms), a firm obviously cannot take advantage of these features if they are tied to an older version of Office through a collection of legacy templates, customizations, and third-party add-ins and integrations.

Successful eDiscovery Starts with a Strong Foundation

In a typical matter, attorneys tend to focus on the analysis and review stage of the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM). But if much of the collected data in the review platform is unnecessary, insufficient, spoiled, or irrelevant then reviewers have just bought themselves a load of eDiscovery trouble. This is why attorneys need the earlier EDRM stages (information management, identification, collection and preservation) to work and to work well: so that only highly relevant and fully auditable data is sent to the formal review.

Stop printing your emails – the iPad’s a game changer!

Law firms print paper, in fact they print LOTS of paper! I recently heard of a secretary printing off 6-8 inches of paper for the file (you know you’re printing a lot when your margin of error is 2 inches!!). I am therefore pretty sure that the cost of printing is rather significant cost for law firms.

So why on earth do it? There are two main reasons I’ve come across:

1) Keeping a good and proper file

“All the emails and documents must be printed for a paper file, it’s been like that for years and it isn’t changing on my watch.”

Come on, there isn’t any reason to do this. It’s not a regulatory requirement to keep a paper file, a good and proper file yes, but that file can be electronic. The only reason I could understand is maybe in a small firm, one that doesn’t have a document management system (DMS) to organise the electronic file. But why are lawyers in medium and large firms still doing this?

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Trends in outhosted services for law firms

Stephen ParryIt struck me today that with over three years of operations under our belts at Virtual Practices™ and as a pioneer in the market the time seems right to reflect on our experiences and the trends we are seeing in outsourced business processes and Software as a Service (SaaS) for law firms.

Things have moved on since 2007. We no longer need to explain the concept of the outhosted software model and our unique legal cashiering service, as we did when we started out. There is growing market understanding and acceptance that you don’t have to run IT in-house and that Internet accessed services offer a very secure, cost-efficient way of managing client matters, the practice, security and business continuity.

Looking back at the Legal IT Leaders Think Tank

Legal IT Professionals was media partner to Chilli IQ’s Legal IT Leaders Think Tank held at The Grange St Paul’s Hotel in London on 18th and 19th May. Joanna Goodman reports from the event.

The Grange St Paul’s Hotel is obviously the current favourite for legal IT events in London as I attended ILTA INSIGHT here on 27th April, but I am certainly not complaining about spending another day at this elegant and well-equipped venue.

The Legal IT Leaders Think Tank was a smaller event aimed at the decision makers in legal IT. Jenny Katrivesis and her team put together an interesting selection of presentations and discussions addressing major strategic considerations and current hot topics, notably e-discovery, cloud computing, legal process outsourcing as well as sessions led by sponsoring organisations Hubbard One, Mimecast and Elite.

Could the BP Oil Spill Lead to an e-Discovery Disaster?

As oil from the BP spill continues to spread into the Gulf waters, the eDiscovery scenario for the company continues to expand and worsen as well.  BP has already agreed to take full responsibility for the fallout of this catastrophe, which is one of the most epic environmental debacles…ever.

On May 19, the Associated Press reported in an article that “an attorney is asking a federal judicial panel to quickly consolidate more than 100 lawsuits filed against BP and other companies responsible for the massive Gulf oil spill.  Louisiana lawyer Daniel Becnel says legal chaos could break out in five Gulf Coast states if the lawsuits aren't combined. Becnel has asked the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation in Washington to quickly reconsider whether to order the cases consolidated.  The panel has indicated it will not decide until July.”

Workshare and Office 2010

Last week I attended a Workshare user group event down at Herbert Smith’s offices in London. If you’re a Workshare customer I can say that (apart from Herbies meeting rooms being far too hot even with the aircon on) the user group is worth attending. It was a good mix of user feedback, product direction and case study and definitely not too heavy on the sales.

The point of this post though is to look at a couple of interesting products on the horizon. Both in my opinion take Workshare up against vendors that traditionally haven’t occupied the same space in Legal IT.

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