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logo saying NEW Internet Newsletter for Lawyers, Sep/Oct 2018
Andrés Guadamuz considers uses of blockchain for the management of copyright works
Matt Terrell of Justis and Emily Allbon of City Law School explain the concept of legal design
Delia Venables asks practitioners whether they feel giving free legal advice is worthwhile
Stanley Dunthorne of Hallam Internet explains why multiple websites are not usually a good idea
Nick Holmes describes the state of open data in the UK: data that is free to use and republish
Alex Heshmaty of Legal Words describes the legal framework for government surveillance
Richard Hugo-Hamman of LEAP talks about how to become a highly successful small law firm

November 15th, 2018
DPS Software Launch Online Training Academy

  • DPS Software is giving their users free and unlimited access to a range of online training videos as part of an "Online Training Academy". The vidoes include Implementing GDPR, Integration with the Land Registry Portal and Setting Up Charts of Accounts as well as guides to using the DPS Practice Management, Case Management and Legal Accounts Software. On completion of each module the participant receives a certificate, demonstrating their competency in that area of work. The DPS Academy is available to clients at no extra cost with new videos and modules being added on a continuous basis. There are more details here.

    November 14th, 2018
    Wiltshire firm Bonallack and Bishop have provided free legal advice for 10,000 people!

  • Bonallack and Bishop have been running a free drop-in surgery every Tuesday evening in Salisbury since June 2001. The initiative has expanded since then at the firm’s Amesbury office to provide a specialist family law drop-in surgery every Wednesday afternoon. Senior Partner, Tim Bishop, commented: "I’m really proud of our amazingly successful two legal surgeries – the only long-running legal advice surgeries of the type in Wiltshire. It’s incredible that we have assisted so many people with a huge variety of legal problems from dangerous dogs to divorce, and consumer complaints to compensation claims. Apart from Christmas and Easter, I believe we have only cancelled one surgery in around 17 years. That’s a massive personal commitment from our team and a huge number of people who have come along. The surgeries have proved particularly popular amongst the working population in both Salisbury and Amesbury and throughout Wiltshire – people who can struggle to see a solicitor if they work Monday to Friday, 9 to 5."
    You can see the full story here, including the times and locations of the surgeries. There are now 4 branches of Bonallack and Bishop, in Salisbury, Fordingbridge, Amesbury and Andover.

    November 13th, 2018
    Quill are first to accept the LSSA's guidance

  • Quill has announced that it is already compliant with the LSSA's guidelines (see next item below) and indeed, was already compliant before the guidelines were issued. Tom Wormald, Client Services Director, said "At Quill, we’ve always believed that the best way to keep clients is to provide such exceptional standards of service that they simply want to stick around for the long haul. However, there are, of course, occasions when our clients choose to leave. When this situation arises, we make it our business to support clients as much as we can. We are already compliant with this white paper."
    PS November 14th. Another firm who is already compliant is Tikit.

    November 12th, 2018
    LSSA provides a new white paper on data conversion

  • The Legal Software Suppliers Association (LSSA) has published guidance for law firms and other users of legal software considering or undertaking a Data Conversion from one system to another. It details how the Data Conversion processes may vary, what should be expected of the new system supplier and the responsibilities of the current system supplier. The full text of the guidance can be seen here. The necessity for planning, and then the processes required to effect the conversion, are described in this paper, which would be very useful for any firm planning to change from one supplier to another.

    November 8th, 2018
    LEAP wins two awards at the British Legal Technology Awards 2018

  • Leap, a leading provider of legal practice management software for lawyers, has won awards for "Innovation in Legal Services" and "Supplier of the Year" (Small & Medium Enterprise) in the British Legal Technology Awards 2018.
    The "Innovation in Legal Services" award recognises how solution providers are driving the future of technology in legal services, and "Supplier of the Year – Small & Medium Enterprise" relates to excellence in legal technology and client-focused services within the SME marketplace.

    The annual British Legal Technology Awards acknowledge and reward excellence in Legal Technology and IT Security within the UK and European Legal Sectors. Hosted by Netlaw Media, the 2018 Awards recognise leadership, innovation, and technology as well as the individuals, teams and suppliers transforming the future of legal services. The awards are open to law firms, barristers’ chambers, in-house legal departments and suppliers.

    October 25th, 2018
    New website on Irish Law, written for non-lawyers.

  • Irish Legal Guide is a growing encyclopaedia of Irish law created by Paul McMahon of Irish law firm McMahon Legal. The Guide seeks to simplify the law and make it available to the public at large, presenting a concise but comprehensive overview of all areas of Irish law. It is not intended as a substitute for legal advice but it should help users to purchase legal services in a rational and informed way. Irish Legal Guide is a subscription website. Any user can register automatically for a one-week trial, without any credit card or obligation.
    Paul McMahon also provides several other (free) websites:
    * McMahon Legal Blog, with many articles on Irish legal topics
    * Brexit Legal, Brexit, from an Irish point of view, and
    * Brexit Legal Issues with more UK specific content (with many legal areas covered).

    October 16th, 2018
    Free event to help firms start an apprenticeship scheme - a step by step guide with expert speakers to explain each part of the process.

  • AllAboutGroup, the organisation behind brands such as AllAboutLaw and AllAboutSchoolLeavers, will be hosting an Insight event on 27th November titled: Apprenticeships for Law Firms. It is a free event for HR members of law firms that have an interest in either launching, building or growing their apprenticeship programmes. To be held at Eight Club, Bank, in the City of London, the event will cover how to build a business case, research, programme design, branding & attraction, selection and assessment and benchmarking. You can see more about the event and register here.

    October 1st, 2018
    Mini interview
    Delia questions Christina Grzasko of LEAP about the firm’s new Litigation Centre of Excellence

    Q: What role do you believe technology can play in the delivery of litigation work?
    A: Litigation is a very public working space as you stand or fall in front of your peers and clients on your feet in court. It’s also an expensive occupation and clients are increasingly price aware. Technology used properly will improve the consistency of litigation work and its success by doing the important things well, like documents, precedents and financial management. Now it will also improve the quality of the skilled work that only a lawyer can do: evidence gathering, research and presentation and in collaboration with other lawyers and counsel.

    Q: What is the new Litigation Centre of Excellence?
    A: There are serious long-term gains that law firms can achieve through digitalisation and this is why we have set up the LEAP Litigation Centre of Excellence, to help our clients on their journey to digital litigation. Gaining an understanding of our clients’ requirements means we can develop technology and provide expertise, helping litigators work smarter.

    Q: What evidence is there that technology is changing the face of litigation?
    A: A level of digitalisation is becoming mandatory across family, civil, criminal and commercial courts in so far as issuing and documentation is concerned. The family courts for example are struggling under the sheer volume of paper and need to move to digital processing. The Crown Courts have had their own digital case management system in place for the last two years ensuring that all documents and evidence in the case are centrally available to the courts, prosecution and defence. Some cases now allow for evidence being given remotely and trials of full hearings happening remotely by video are underway.

    Q: How does the Litigation Centre of Excellence help the litigator?
    A: The LEAP Litigation Centre of Excellence provides exceptional add-ins to the LEAP software that, through automation, simplify the production of Precedent H budgets and Precedent S electronic bills of costs. LEAP software now also integrates with Advocate, a highly sophisticated digital case preparation system, for working with and collaborating on evidence, research and presentation of all types of litigation cases, from criminal shoplifting to complex commercial and contract cases.

    Q: What is the driver behind all this development?
    A: Experience. We are creating the tools lawyers actually need now, developing our software in conjunction with practicing solicitors and barristers and helping to solve the real issues that confront legal teams transitioning into the realm of digital civil and criminal law. We are providing the very best tools, allowing litigators from small to mid-sized law firms to compete with larger firms, increasing profits, providing a better service and enhancing their reputation through digitalisation.

    If you have any further questions Christina Grzasko of LEAP can be contacted at

    September 26th, 2018
    New professional benchmark for software vendors

  • Legal Software Suppliers Association (LSSA) has introduced an enhanced code of conduct which all member companies have agreed to adhere to. This code of conduct is a commitment to law firms from LSSA member companies of the high standard of professional excellence they can expect to receive. The code is backed by the Association’s disciplinary procedure. This new benchmark will give law firms confidence that LSSA members will operate to high professional and ethical standards. LSSA Chair Julian Bryan comments: “The LSSA code of conduct ensures that LSSA members treat their customers ethically and with the utmost professionalism.” A key provision is that LSSA members must recognise the right of customers to move between software systems and facilitate such moves with provision of customers’ data in a reasonable timescale and at reasonable cost. The LSSA has been established for 22 years and has now formalised its legal status into a company limited by guarantee.

    September 23rd, 2018
    Important blog on Cyberlaw topics

  • TechnoLlama is a very powerful blog from Dr Andrés Guadamuz, Senior Lecturer in Intellectual Property Law at the University of Sussex and the editor in chief of the Journal of World Intellectual Property. The blog covers several Cyberlaw topics, with emphasis on open licensing, digital rights, software protection, virtual worlds, and llamas. He says "While the blog tackles these issues in a light-hearted and nonchalant manner, some serious points filter through from time to time". He also reassures us that "No llamas were harmed during the creation of this blog".
    Look out for his article in the September/October issue of the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers, out in a few days.

    September 12th, 2018
    A new portal for young people wishing to be lawyers

  • The Lawyers Portal is a newly launched site which provides free guides and events for aspiring lawyers, created by industry professionals in collaboration with leading law firms. The content is written by professional lawyers and education experts, with input from major law firms as well as professional bodies including The Bar Council, The Law Society and The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives. The site has information on different routes into the legal profession, different areas of law, and various courses suitable for young people at different stages of their education. The site also describes other sources of online information which can help a young person understand what it is that they are really interested in.

    September 5th, 2018
    Law Firms - do you give free initial legal advice?

  • The case for offering free legal advice is the title of an article I wrote long, long ago (in 2012) for the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers. I asked firms who had said that they are willing to give some free initial legal advice, whether they thought it was worthwhile. (Several of the firms quoted in the article have, since then, changed their web site address and email address).

    Specifically, I asked them the following questions: 1. How many requests for free legal advice do you receive in a month? 2. Do you always answer these? 3. What proportion of these lead, in due course, to the person becoming a client? 4. Overall, do you consider that the free initial legal advice that you provide is part of your pro bono work, or part of the process of gaining clients?
    The answers I received, described in that original article, indicated several different approaches!

    Now, I am asking those firms again, as well as any other firms who read this, who provide some sort of initial legal advice (whether by email, by phone, or in person) who are willing to answer these questions as of now.

    As well as simple answers, I would welcome further comments, in the form of a short contribution (say 200 to 400 words) which I could include in a new article for the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers, due for the September/October issue. Contributions will, of course, be fully accredited to the person and the firm providing them.

    As far as this website is concerned, I maintain a list of firms who have told me that they are willing to provide free initial legal advice, by phone, email or in person, here. If you would like to be added to this list, or alternatively if you are already on the list but wish to be removed, please let me know!

    Please contact me on

    August 24th, 2018
    The ILFM legal software suppliers guide for 2018-2019 is now available

  • The Institute of Legal Finance and Management have brought out their new legal software suppliers guide for 2018-2019. With descriptions of all the major legal software companies, this is an invaluable source of information for law firms interested in choosing a software supplier (or replacing an unstaisfactory one). As author Tim Kidd says "Deciding which new or replacement software is appropriate for our firms has never been easy, we have to take so many factors into account. Cost is always a critical consideration, but we also have to include compliance, effectiveness and response times. Not only that, but security has also become a major concern, as cybercrime and fraud become more prevalent."
    You can download the guide for free here and/or print it if you wish (at 36 pages it is quite a lot of printing but it is worth it).
    You can also see my own (much shorter) analysis and description of the principle software companies here.

    August 4th, 2018
    The first day of "Legal Design Sprint" gets off to a good start

  • Justis has been at the at the forefront of the digital dissemination of legal information for over 30 years. It is currently partnering with Emily Allbon of The City Law School, University of London, to provide a series of events for students called "Legal Design Sprint". On the first day of the event, on July 26th, a group of students began to apply Legal Design to real-world problems, identified by a range of industry experts. Students from many Universities took part. The day began with Emily Allbon introducing the students to the concept of Legal Design, discussing its background and emphasising that it’s about putting the "human" back into law, and making complex legal information understandable and accessible to the people that it affects. Day Two of the Legal Design Sprint will take place on 6th September. There is lots of information here.

    July 23rd, 2018
    The first "Justice Week" will take place from 29 October to 2 November 2018

  • The Law Society, The Bar Council and The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives have confirmed the date for the first 'Justice Week' and are hoping to involve businesses, the public and frontline service providers in a conversation on wider justice issues. The week will begin with an event exploring what the public thinks about the justice system and how issues are reported by the media. It is hoped that Justice Week will promote a vibrant mix of research, public events and digital media content, bringing together politicians, the media, industry, the third sector and the public to tackle the key challenges our justice system is facing today. A spokesperson for the three organisations said: "With so many parts of the justice system at breaking point, now is the time to make a strong and clear case for why it is so fundamental to our society, economy and democracy. Business groups, members of the public and frontline service providers should all be part of the conversation."

    July 22nd, 2018
    LEAP Legal Software opens a new office in Dublin

  • LEAP, a leading cloud software provider worldwide for small to mid-sized law firms, has recently opened an office in Pembroke Street Upper in Dublin’s legal district, headed by LEAP Sales Manager for Ireland, John Donigan. Having been operating in Northern Ireland for the past eighteen months, the LEAP development team has now brought the software to Ireland. Having also recently introduced a EURO version of LEAP, the software includes a library of over a thousand highly automated Irish legal forms and precedents across the most common areas of law with up-to-date legal rates and charges applied, in accordance with the Irish legal system. Lawyers can now manage their matters accurately and quickly time record, dictate, draft and edit documents on the move. The company’s servers are based in Dublin and data is encrypted to AES-25 military grade standard. This ensures data integrity for law firms in Ireland, with no client data leaving the territory.

    June 29th, 2018
    A new legal guide for the Republic of Ireland is now available online, with in-depth information for users

  • Irish Legal Guide provides a comprehensive summary of law, tax, and regulation in Ireland written by an experienced legal practitioner, Paul McMahon, who has been a practising solicitor in Ireland for over 25 years. The Guide explains the law in practical and comprehensible terms and enables the user to gain a thorough understanding of the chosen topic. Each article also provides and indexes the relevant legislation and case law, should the user wish to explore the particular topic further. There is a modest subscription to the site on an ongoing basis but there is a free one-week trial, first of all, to explore the content. You have to register for the free trial but no credit card is required.

    June 27th, 2018
    News from the Legal Software Suppliers Association (LSSA)

  • The LSSA is the UK industry body for legal systems developers and vendors, representing most of the leading UK suppliers. At the recent AGM, Julian Bryan of Quill was reconfirmed as Chair for the forthcoming year with Craig Matthews from Pracctice stepping up as Vice Chair and Phil Snee from Linetime remaining as Treasurer. Tom Durbin St George of easy convey takes over as chair of the conveyancing working party and Peter Baverstock from LEAP takes the helm at the HMRC working party. Adrian Jones from Tikit remains as chair of the LAA working party.
    Three additional legal technology companies have recently joined the LSSA. They are BaseNet, Coyote Analytics and inCase. See my Software section for more details.

    July 14th, 2018
    Tikit works with Red Sift to provide ultimate security

  • Tikit, part of the BT Group, is a leading provider of legal software globally. They have announced a partnership with cybersecurity provider Red Sift who have developed a cloud‐based email security product called OnDMARC that helps organisations to protect their domains against email impersonation. Built on an AI cyber security platform, the tool makes implementing and configuring the Domain‐based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) protocol protection clearer, simpler and more secure, for example in preventing email impersonation (often used to steal money and data from recipients) and phishing. Tikit and Red Sift will be hosting a webinar on this topic on Tuesday 24th July at 12.30pm. You can register here.

    July 5th, 2018
    LEAP reaches 10,000 UK users

  • LEAP is celebrating 10,000 UK users of its cloud-based practice management solution. Since the first law firm signed up to the software in November 2014 more than 1,700 law firms have adopted it and benefitted from LEAP’s innovative features, efficiency tools and world class customer service. Since January 2017 user numbers of LEAP have doubled and this rapid growth has been largely attributed to the versatility of the software and the efficiency it brings the end-user. Fee-earners are able to access a comprehensive library of up-to-date and highly automated legal forms and precedents, can manage and access their matters from anywhere, from any device, and can time record and manage their billing and client accounting with ease and accuracy.

    July 1st, 2018
    Can you work from anywhere? Adam Pembrey and Ryan Sparrow of DPS explains why this is vital

  • DPS now provides a new version of its software called Spitfire which is cloud based case management software available through a web browser and which can therefore be used from the a P.C, laptop, tablet or smartphone. The client can use it too and can login to view the case history, see any pending dates/appointments, leave messages, or view and sign documents. Full details of how this works are provided in the Internet Newsletter for lawyers here.

    June 26th, 2018
    Quill bring in new outsourced service for paperwork and documents called Quill Type

  • Quill, already the most signifcant provider of outsourced cashiering for lawyers, now also offer a new service called Quill Type to deal with all types of paperwork and documents. The 3 big benefits are in costs, security and speed. Quill MD Julian Bryan tells us how the new service works in an article in the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers here.

    June 8th, 2018
    Justis plans a Student Legal Design Sprint

  • Justis, together with Emily Allbon of the City Law School and creator of the award-winning website, Lawbore, will be hosting a Legal Design Sprint in the Summer (26th July and 6th September, in London) and they are looking for a group of enthusiastic students to get involved. Participants will learn about Legal Design and will then work in teams to solve a real-life legal problem through design. There is much more on this project, and how to get involved, on the Justis web site here.

    June 6th, 2018
    LEAP announces the launch of new and completely integrated Legal Aid software.

  • LEAP now offers a completely integrated Legal Aid software package with case management, time recording and billing and provides a comprehensive solution for both Criminal and Civil matter types for Legal Aid work in England and Wales. Integrated submission for both Civil and Criminal work types via CWA (contract and work administration) ensures claims can be checked and submitted electronically in readiness for payment. The system offers a fast and intuitive time recording function with support for multiple time entries and manages all information needed for invoicing, with monthly billing to LAA. There are also special features for fees and disbursements and fixed fees for Civil Legal Aid. Full details of the new version can be seen here.

    June 2nd, 2018
    New platform launched for smaller firms to provide secure cloud based matter management

  • Matters.Cloud enables lawyers to collaborate on clients and matters, capture time in the office and on the go, and collaborate with colleagues on tasks and deadlines. The system uses the latest technology from Google Cloud and is multi-tenanted with each customer's data stored within a separate tenant database in one of three locations (UK, USA and Australia). The system offers the ability to operate in the following languages: English (UK), English (US), Dutch, French, Spanish and Russian. Users can access the service from anywhere that has an internet connection from all major browsers and mobile devices including Android and iPhone. An introductory video is available here. A free trial is available.

    May 8th, 2018
    London LegalTech Meet-up on 24th May: The Next Generation of Lawyers and Legal Technology

  • Justis and Ruby Datum, are hosting a second legal technology meet-up at the Justis HQ in London, on Thursday, May 24th, 6 30 to 9pm, providing an evening of networking and insightful discussions. The evening event will be focused around a panel discussion on
    * what technology do we expect to see in the next 10-15 years
    * is legal technology adoption a product of generational differences and education
    * how can firms and universities support the next generation of legal professionals.

    May 4th, 2018
    New premises for the expanding Projectfusion

  • Projectfusion has moved to one of the UK’s leading Enterprise Zones, Discovery Park, just outside the medieval town of Sandwich, well located for easy access to London and the Continent. Projectfusion provide virtual data rooms for lawyers - secure online document collaboration which allows users to collaborate inside and outside the firm. The new centre offers high-tech facilities and wide open spaces and is an international centre for innovation and science. Benefits include a more secure office and document processing facility, and a 24/7 security presence with plenty of room to expand.

    April 27th, 2018
    HotDocs win big award for second time

  • HotDocs a global leader in document automation, based in Edinburgh, has been named a winner of the 2018 Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, the UK’s highest accolade for business success, for International Trade. The Queen’s Awards are the highest official UK awards for enterprise excellence and HotDocs will be attending a reception at Buckingham Palace where Prince Charles will present the award on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen. This is HotDoc’s second Queen’s Award for Enterprise, the first was in 2013, also for excellence in International Trade. See more about this here.

    April 21st, 2018
    Online Dispute Resolution Conference "Justice Re-Imagined", 27th-28th June 2018 in Liverpool

  • A major international 2 day conference will bring together leading experts and players in the field. As well as identifying ODR initiatives and demonstrating solutions, the conference will consider the impact of ODR on access to justice and on ethical issues in system design such as the potential to 'game' the system for unfair advantage. The conference will also feature the impact of developments in Artificial Intelligence, the use to be made of blockchain technology and the increasing significance of smart contracts for lawyers, mediators, arbitrators and ICT developers. (There is an early bird discount available until the end of April). Full details of the conference, with information on the speakers and the topics to be covered, can be found here.

    April 12th, 2018
    Thomson Reuters expands legal resources for Scotland

  • Thomson Reuters has expanded its legal know-how and legislative resources for the Scottish legal system. The new resources include the Scots Law resource centre on Practical Law and the addition of Scottish Bills on Westlaw UK. The Scots Law resource centre covers seven key practice areas, including standard documents and clauses, practice notes, toolkits and articles for commercial, corporate, dispute resolution, employment, family, private client and property practice areas. This follows the addition of Scottish Bills to Westlaw UK at the end of 2017 and provides a comprehensive Bills service for Scotland. Westlaw UK now provides access to the full text of a Bill with links to enacted legislation along with the ability to track the progress of a Bill through parliament and see amendments to enacted legislation as proposed in the Bill. Further Scottish developments can be found here.

    April 11th, 2018
    New edition of "A Practical Guide to Marketing for Lawyers" is now available

  • A Practical Guide to Marketing for Lawyers by Catherine Bailey & Jennet Ingram, provides a comprehensive overview of each element of marketing communications from advertising and branding to social media and websites. This second edition also features a new chapter on GDPR which is revolutionising any form of marketing that uses personal data. The book’s handy checklist shows you how to obey the rules. There is a free chapter on offer, on "Branding for lawyers", a topic becoming more and more important in the very competitive legal market.
    See LawBriefPublishing for more information and for the free chapter, and
    Amazon to purchase the book (£14.99).

    April 10th, 2018
    easy convey works with the Welsh Revenue Authority (WRA) to help conveyancers implement the new Land Transaction Tax

  • From April 2018, Land Transaction Tax (LTT) has replaced UK Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) in Wales. Like SDLT, LTT is payable when someone buys or leases a building or land over a certain price. The incoming legislation is broadly consistent with SDLT, preserving the underlying structure and mirroring key elements such as partnerships, trusts and reliefs, to provide stability and reassurance to businesses and the property market. The WRA has issued its LTT return form and has given permission to easy convey to reproduce this form. Although the form is predominantly for use by private individuals, firms can fill in and submit this form if they have not registered to use the WRA portal. This form will be available to users of easy convey’s CASA software, which will merge the information from its database for submission by the client in paper form or help in inputting into the WRA LTT site. More on this story can be found here.

    April 8th, 2018
    Call for information on companies providing software, management, marketing and IT services to the Bar

  • IT and Marketing for Chambers is my web page on this topic but it is in need of an update! If you are already listed, and would like to update your entry, or if you do not yet have an entry and would like one, please contact me on It is all free - no charge for this - this is all part of the free legal information I provide on my site. I will also be writing an article on this topic for the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers shortly and I would welcome contributions to my article. Please contact me if you might be interested in doing this.

    March 19th, 2018
    Bereavement Award – Solicitor calls for a change to "This Unjust Law"

  • R James Hutcheon Solicitors have issued an online Government Petition to change the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 when it comes to a Bereavement Award following the loss of a loved one when making a fatal accident claim in England & Wales.
    Mr Ronnie Hutcheon, Senior Solicitor in the Practice, says that the law at present is outdated and unjust. He says "If a wife were to lose a husband in a road accident, the maximum bereavement award is £12,980. If a father were to lose a child under 18 years, he will recover the same amount, but if the child was over 18 years a parent receives no award. The same applies if a child were to lose a parent. I advise on tragic cases where the cost of looking after a dog are worth more than a child. Whilst no amount of money following the death of a close family member can compensate for the loss, a token value (set by the Government, that insurance companies must pay not the tax-payer) at such a low level is quite simply an insult to grieving families."
    You can read more about this issue, and sign the petition here.

    February 22nd 2018
    International Law Blog

  • International Law Blog was launched by a group of young scholars whose paths first crossed at Middlesex University London and aims to provide students, junior lawyers and scholars at different stages of their professional and academic careers with a platform to discuss issues related to international, transnational, European and comparative law. Peer-reviewed posts are published every other Monday. Key categories are EU Law, Human Rights, International Criminal Law and Public International Law.

    February 20th 2018
    Spitalfields Music - supported by the Clifford Chance Foundation

  • Spitalfields Music has been supporting music making in London’s East End for over 40 years. They create innovative live music experiences through performances, with learning & participation, and bring artists, audiences and communities together to explore and share music. The Clifford Chance Foundation provides crucial funding for the Neighbourhood Schools programme, which brings innovative creative music projects into mainstream and special educational needs schools across Tower Hamlets. Reaching over 2,000 children every year the programme aims to raise aspirations and enrich the educational experience of children through high-quality music projects delivered by the UK's finest workshop leaders and musicians. Clifford Chance Music Club, will be hosting an evening concert and an "in conversation" with Spitalfields Music on 23 April with Master of the Queen’s Music Judith Weir CBE, one of the world’s leading composers and the music charity’s former Artistic Director.

    February 2nd 2018
    Law Society provides guidance for law firms on GDPR

  • The Law Society has been exploring issues of particular concern to law firms relating to GDPR that could be addressed through discussion documents, guidance or practice notes. One of the issues they have been working on is the appointment of data protection officers under Article 37 of the regulation and you can see their advice here.

    See also Thinking strategically about Brexit and data protection, the article from Eduardo Ustaran, from Hogan Lovells, in the new issue of the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers, on issues related to GDPR and Brexit.

    February 1st 2018
    Quill celebrates its 40th birthday!

  • Happy 40 years birthday to Quill, probably the earliest UK supplier of computer software for lawyers still going strong. I remember those early years - Quill was especially good on legal aid software, I seem to remember, at a time when other legal software suppliers had not really thought about the special facilities needed to manage legal aid. Quill (and Quill Pinpoint) have been innovative, as well as reliable, ever since. Just think - 40 years ago! Long before anyone had thought about outsourcing or the cloud or the concept of "enter data from anywhere"! You can see the full news story of the birthday celebration here.

    January 20th 2018
    Useful site set up by the EU, on the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

  • The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years. This site, set up by the EU, aims to explain GDPR and help firms prepare.
    Intro from the site -
    "After four years of preparation and debate the GDPR was finally approved by the EU Parliament on 14 April 2016. It will enter in force 20 days after its publication in the EU Official Journal and will be directly application in all members states two years after this date. Enforcement date: 25 May 2018 - at which time those organizations in non-compliance will face heavy fines. The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) replaces the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC and was designed to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens data privacy and to reshape the way organizations across the region approach data privacy. The key articles of the GDPR, as well as information on its business impact, can be found throughout this site."

    January 9th 2018
    Socrates Training joins Unicorn Training Group

  • Socrates Training, a major provider of online compliance training for law firms, has joined forces with the world’s top rated financial services eLearning company, Unicorn Training Group. Established in 2003 by Bernard George, Socrates now supports around 1,000 law firms and businesses with specialist governance, risk and compliance training. Unicorn LMS is recognised as a key world-wide player in the financial sector. You can see the full press release here.

    December 9th 2017
    LGSS Law win Award using DPS Software’s CMS

  • LGSS Law Ltd was set up in March 2015 in a merger between the Legal Departments of Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire County Councils in one of the first companies to be granted an ABS licence. Since then, the company has grown further, merging with Bedfordshire County Council in April 2016 and now having more than 140 members of staff. For software, they opted for DPS in February 2017 which allowed them to operate across several offices using the DPS Software Outlook Office Case Management System and Financial Director Legal Accounting Software. Now they have won the Practice Manager/Business Team of the Year award at the Lawyers in Local Government Awards. Lynne Owen, Practice Manager at LGSS Law, has given DPS full credit for the flexibility of the DPS software, and says that it has helped them greatly improve their business practices. There is more on LGSS and the award here.

    December 8th 2017
    Socrates launch new training on the GDPR for law firms

  • Socrates have launched their new training on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for people who work in law firms. It comes with a complete set of precedents, to help the firm get its systems and paperwork in order well before the May 2018 deadline. The training not only explains the principles, but alerts users to the risks that arise in legal practice.
    The precedents include:
    - Checklist of the action needed to prepare for the GDPR
    - Risk Assessment Questionnaire
    - Template notices for the firm's website and engagement letter
    - Guidance on the checks for third parties who handle personal data for the firm
    - A precedent Data Protection Policy
    - A precedent “Information Asset Register” as required by Lexcel.

    December 4th 2017
    Thomson Reuters Elite Announces Latest Alliance Partnership with Converge Technology Specialists

  • Thomson Reuters Elite the global software supplier, are partnering with Converge Technology Specialists, a dedicated cloud computing provider for law firms in the UK. For Elite clients looking to outsource elements of their IT, whether that be support, hosted infrastructure or disaster recovery, this partnership ensures that the service will work seamlessly with Elite applications. It also allows Elite and Converge Technology Specialists to work collaboratively to streamline the transition of new clients to Elite 3E and design a hosting platform that maximizes performance.
    See more on this initiative here.

    November 30th 2017
    New book on Elderly Law by Justin Patten

  • A Practical Guide to Elderly Law by Justin Patten explores some of the key issues within the elderly client legal arena, to help lawyers and other experts come up with practical solutions to help the people they work with. The book covers will validity (referring to the Ilott case), issues relating to care fees, how to bring executors to account and how to deal with the growing area of LPA and probate fraud. It also covers inheritance disputes, trusts, mental capacity and contains mediation from both a legal perspective and a practical one. The book is designed to encourage readers (expected to be mainly lawyers) to think about positive and accessible solutions when helping those they represent. The book costs £29.99 from Law Brief Publishing. Viewers of this news item on the Venables web site can obtain a 10% discount by quoting eld842 when ordering the book (link as above).
    Justin Patten is a solicitor and mediator accredited by the Academy of Experts. He founded the firm Human Law LLP in 2002.

    November 28th 2017
    Very interesting blog on Immigration topics from Gherson Solicitors

  • Gherson Solicitors, an important Immigration firm, maintains a very good blog on wide ranging Immigration topics including Brexit issues, Business Immigration, Extradition, Human Rights, EU Law, Nationality and Immigration issues around the world. The blog is kept well up to date with several substantive posts a week. The latest post is Which Visa Will Meghan Markle Need To Move To The UK? It is not completely straightforward!

    November 28th 2017
    Law Society says that cuts to Legal Aid have been a false economy

  • Legal aid cuts have been shorn up as false economy in new research by the Law Society. It says that Legal aid cuts have led to increased spending in the long run because court disputes take months to resolve. Early professional legal advice (given within three months of a dispute arising) helps solve problems before they spiral and end up in court. This matters especially in disputes involving landlords and in family law. However, in 2013 the government slashed funding for legal help for those who can’t afford it.

    Christina Blacklaws, vice-president of the Society, said: "Without early legal advice, relatively minor problems can escalate, creating health, social and financial problems, placing additional pressure and cost on already stretched public services."

    (There is lots more in the article itself).

    November 13th 2017
    HotDocs acquired by AbacusNext, a big USA company

  • HotDocs, the large and successful Edinburgh company, which has become the global leader in document automation software, with customers in 60 different countries, has been acquired by California based AbacusNext a major provider of software for legal and accounting professions particularly in the provision of integrated and cloud-enabled desktop, mobile and SaaS applications.

    Russell Shepherd, outgoing CEO of HotDocs and veteran of the UK and then world wide, legal and professional marketplace, said “HotDocs and AbacusNext work across many of the same markets and are a natural fit. I was looking for an acquirer with the same grand scale of ambition as the HotDocs team. I am delighted to be passing on the leadership and ownership of HotDocs to this successful and expanding company.” See the press release for more.

    November 9th 2017
    How To Identify Grounds for a Professional Negligence Claim

  • MHHP Solicitors of Barnet, are now providing a very useful guide on How To Identify Grounds for a Professional Negligence Claim. This describes what a Professional Negligence Claim actually is, the kinds of professionals that can be claimed against (although not an exhaustive list), common resolution routes and details on how the process works, complete with commonly asked questions about funding a claim.

    This is the latest example I have come across of a substantial legal resource being provided online, without charge, by a Firm of Solicitors. For more on this topic, see my article in the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers here. See also my web page detailing the key legal resources provided by solicitors here.

    November 6th 2017
    Go ‘Paper-Lite’ says DPS Software in their latest webinar

  • DPS software held a webinar last week on why a firm should go "Paper-Lite". Firms can become much more productive and make huge time and money savings if their software provides facilities for this. Going paper-lite describes how a firm can save money searching for documents, save storage space (which can be very expensive), save paper and printing costs and also provide the firm with greater disaster recovery options. As Osman Ismail, Managing Director of DPS Software, said: “Many institutions have made efforts to reduce the use of paper, such as many courts now using more digital technology and it is important that law firms follow suit.” The next webinar from DPS on 9th November is on "Getting ready for GDPR" and what it means for law firms. You can register here.

    November 1st 2017
    LEAP expands in Scotland

  • LEAP has relocated its offices in Edinburgh to larger premises to accommodate a team which has expanded from seven to sixteen members during the last year. This allows members of the team to visit customers across Scotland to make sure they are "bedded in" properly and to deal with any problems they may encounter. The software is kept fully up to date with changes in legislation and accounting regulations, Scottish law, court forms, legal documents and letters. LEAP are (so far) the only specialist legal software supplier with offices in all four countries of the UK - England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

    October 30th 2017
    The Law Society publishes a series of practical guides on specific legal research topics

  • 16 guides from the Law Society's library team on specific legal research topics. They are provided in pdf and can be downloaded from the Law Society site individually, depending on your requirements.
    01 How to find journal articles
    02 How to find law reports
    03 How to find Public General Acts
    04 How to find Local and Personal Acts
    05 How to find statutory instruments
    06 How to research parliamentary debate
    07 How to find bills
    08 How to find precedents
    09 How to find official publications
    10 How to find Scottish law
    11 How to find Northern Irish law
    12 How to find Republic of Ireland law
    13 How to find Isle of Man and Channel Islands law
    14 How to find treaties
    15 How to trace past solicitors and law firms
    16 How to dispose of your library

    October 19th 2017
    Solicitors - stay competent to practice!

  • Plan it... Do it... Record it is the message from Nick Holmes. He describes the current SRA regulations brilliantly. If you are not quite "there" yet, we can help you. But you have to complete it all by the end of october! (Barristers have until the end of December to complete their CPD but the same general rules, this time from the BSB, still apply.)

    October 18th 2017
    Justis launch new Law & Technology International Writing Competition

  • Justis are launching a new writing competition, based on Law and Technology. The topics are: Legal technology & the future of legal practice, how the law copes with technological innovations, and the mass impact of technology allowing access to legal information. Articles to be entered into the competition should in the style of a 1,000 word blog posting. The closing date for entries is December 1st, with winners to be announcd early in 2018. The prize is £2,000. There is a lot of initial information on the topics concerned here together with guiding questions and useful online links and materials.

    October 12th 2017
    Happy 21st Birthday to the LSSA!

  • LSSA (Legal Software Suppliers Association) is celebrating its 21st anniversary. The LSSA was established in 1996, 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. The LSSA has done a very good job, over the years. It is often quite hard to get members of the association (who are, after all, competitors in the legal software market) to agree on standards and procedures and to cooperate if necessary, but, broadly, the LSSA has kept the peace and served the legal profession well.

    One of the founding members of LSSA, Tony Landes, now 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.”

    John Burrill, Founder and former Chairman of Linetime says “Back in 1996 legal technology was very much based around accounting. 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.”

    Current chair of the LSSA, Julian Bryan comments: “The growth in LSSA membership over the last year, with five new members, 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.”

    For more on this story, see LSSA News.

    October 9th 2017
    What are your experiences of the legal job market?

  • Legal Jobs and Recruitment Consultants (my web page) is being updated! If you are a company of this form, please could you check your entry and let me know where updates are needed? Just send me a suggested text to

    I am also writing an article on this topic for the next issue of the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers. I would welcome comments from lawyers who have been looking for a new job recently. What resources did you use? Specialist legal recruitment consultancies or sites which collect "every job in the world" and can be searched by profession, location, level... etc.? Have you found LinkedIn useful, or Twitter? What advice would you give to other lawyers looking for a job? Please contact me as above, to contribute to my article!

    October 7th 2017
    New Online Newsletter for employment solicitors

  • Employment Solicitor magazine is a free digital publication providing relevant news, features and resources to employment solicitors and to companies, employers, business owners, HR professionals and consumers. It provides employment news and expert analysis relating to the UK’s rapidly evolving labour market. The journal is well designed and attractive to read.

    October 6th 2017
    Symphony Legal Consulting joins forces with Conscious Solutions

  • Conscious Solutions and Symphony Legal Consulting are joining forces. David Gilroy, of Conscious Solutions says that there are great synergies between the two businesses which will provide additional strength and breadth in the services they can offer. The combined business will continue to operate under the original brands Conscious Solutions and Symphony Legal Consulting, but will now be based on the Conscious premises in Bristol. The Conscious special areas of consultancy - digital marketing, CRM and social media training (with over 300 clients already) will be able to expand with other innovative activities and specialisms to help law firms run successful and profitable law firms.

    October 4th 2017
    Mini interview - Delia questions Peter Baverstock of
    LEAP on the role of technology in probate

    Q: The probate department is often the last to become automated in law firms. Why is this?
    A: Probate is often not viewed as a fast-paced and profitable part of the business. A lot of firms don’t use automation in probate when they should, especially given the high level of document production involved.

    Q: Does automation lead to a less personal relationship with the client?
    A: I don’t believe so. There is a fear that you might lose that all-important personal touch when practising probate and that handling matters and dealing with clients appropriately under difficult circumstances may be lost with automation. But this is no longer the case. The automation of legal forms and precedents prevents errors and delays in correspondence and enables greater collaboration between solicitor and client. That makes for a happier client!

    Q: How else is innovative new technology helping to modernise probate?
    A: By adopting a cloud-based practice management solution solicitors are now able to bring all their matter details into a single estate account document, saving themselves hours of reconciliations and also reducing the time spent in heavy document production. Also with lawyers now able to manage their matters via their smartphone, tablet or web browser, they have complete mobility which can help meet their clients’ needs more efficiently, always accessible and with all the relevant matter information to hand.

    Q: And for the future?
    A: I believe that solicitors will soon be required to submit all forms for Inheritance Tax through online solutions and government portals. So, inevitably, law firms handling probate will be adopting cloud-based practice management solutions to allow them to do this, streamlining the process from start to finish. I would also expect to see a greater reliance on document management systems such as LawConnect for future wills handling. This will remove the need to store large archives of wills, gathering dust within law firms. Instead, they will be held in the cloud, organised and accessible 24/7 for both the client and solicitor.

    October 3rd 2017
    Public Law for Everyone, from Mark Elliott

  • Public Law for Everyone from Mark Elliott, is a key web site on Human Rights, Constitutional Law, Public Law generally and Brexit in particular. Mark Elliott is Professor of Public Law at the University of Cambridge, a Fellow of St Catharine's College, Cambridge, and Legal Adviser to the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution. As well as many important articles on these topics, he maintains a directory of legal blogs and key Twitter sources.

    September 24th 2017
    OUP's blog has Law and a lot else besides

  • OUPblog (Oxford University Press's Academic Insights for the Thinking World) has a section on Law here with particular posts relating to books and journals published by OUP. There is a strong international thread to the posts and of course the other blog areas (Arts & Humanities, History, Language, Science and Medicine, Social Sciences, Multimedia, and other shorter categories) are of interest as well!

    September 22nd 2017
    Law Society issues draft anti-money laundering guidance.

  • Draft AML Guidance from the Law Society is now available as a pdf document. The document takes account of the changes introduced by the Money Laundering Regulations 2017, which came into force on 26 June 2017. It is marked 'draft' because it is subject to approval by HM Treasury, which is expected later this year, and so may be subject to change. Once it has been approved by HM Treasury, the guidance will be published in its final form. It is a substantial document - 153 pages. Not an easy read!

    September 19th 2017
    Interesting new product designed to help in cross-marketing legal services

  • Crosselerator comes from the team that built the content management/distribution software that drives the system. enables firms to provide many sorts of content on their site and promotional material to clients and prospects, without needing a new website. The new product Crosselerator provides a method of attaching cross-promotional emails to normal business emails going out from practitioners, without them needing to think about it. A section on the site which provides some sample figures on the use of the new system, says "....That means more than 300 click-throughs…from currently active clients – the most highly qualified leads you can ever get." All these initiatives are driven by Joe Reevy, one of the most innovative marketing experts in the UK legal market.

    September 16th 2017
    New online platform from ICLR called ICLR.3

  • ICLR have launched ICLR.3, a new online platform which prioritises free access to case law, including unreported transcripts and case summaries, while offering premium features, such as full text law reports, to paying subscribers. This represents a major shift of emphasis for the official publisher of The Law Reports – away from the gatekeeper paywall model to towards a more “openlaw” and public legal information approach. An integrated Knowledge section will build up a bank of articles on the legal system and law courts that will help beginners and lay users makes sense of case law and legislation and help promote the transparency and open justice which are the hallmarks of a fair and inclusive legal system. The popular Weekly Notes roundup of recent legal news and commentary will now appear in the integrated Blog section.
    Notes on these new developments from Paul Magrath of ICLR:
    This initial phase is aimed at existing subscribers and there is an "overlay" on the site which explains how subscribers can gain access to the new development. However, non subscribers can click on the X at the top right, to obtain partial free access. Click on "Search Help" (on the right of the omnibox) to find a Help document. You can search in the omnibox at the top, or click on one of the new content feed cards (colour coded by legal topic - as we add new content, these will increase in number). You can search and browse for cases, search for legislation (delivered via read the case citatory/index material, and open links to transcripts and case summaries (cited as WLR (D) ) but if you try to open a full text case report you will be told that the content is only available to subscribers.

    September 13th 2017
    My register of Public Access Barristers

  • Public Access Barristers (also known as Direct Access Barristers) are listed on this web page together with Chambers who have some Barristers offering direct Access. Please check your entry and let me know of any changes I should make - and also let me know if you are a Barrister offering Direct Access, but are not yet represented here and you would like an entry. There is no charge! It's all free. Email me on

    September 8th 2017
    Short term growth is not enough - you need a strategy for long-term growth

  • LEAP's Richard Hugo-Hamman describes the impact of innovation on growth and how to avoid eventual decline. The key to long-term growth is constant innovation at each stage of what would otherwise be decline if you rest on your laurels. He describes the "Sigmoid Curve" which applies to the rise and fall of empires, countries, products and businesses, including law firms. However, you can use technology to keep ahead of the (downward) curve!

    August 23rd 2017
    Co-op Legal Services can pay all the costs of a Co-op Funeralcare Funeral

  • Co-op Legal Services is working with Co-op Funeralcare to offer a joint deal. If a person uses the Probate Complete Service then the funeral can be provided without additional charge, assuming that the Estate has sufficient assets which can be sold in due course. All costs are fixed in advance so that there will be no nasty surprises. See here for the details of the offer.
    This is an interesting example of a big and trusted organisation, the Co-op, which has many activities in its portfolio, putting some of these activities together to provide a special deal for its users.

    August 22nd 2017
    Targeted client acquisition for B2B law firms

  • Client.ID is a joint venture by Moore Legal Technology Limited and Candidate ID. It is a Demand Generation Platform that provides automated online marketing and demand generation specifically for law firms. The software allows a firm to create and monitor a pool of engaged prospects that can be nurtured until they are suitably interested in the service being offered. In other words - a firm can build relationships with potential clients, and clearly identify when these prospects are ready to "buy".

    August 4th 2017
    Justis to extend their coverage to New Zealand

  • Justis are extending their coverage to New Zealand - a new jurisdiction in their case law offerings. Following a partnership with The Law Report, Justis will provide decisions of the higher courts of New Zealand from 2010 onwards across all major practice areas. The Law Report select important decisions for the series and provide summaries for cases with weekly updates. Viewers will be able to access the cases alongside those from other common law jurisdictions including Canada, Australia and the UK, and conduct comparative research more easily as the Justis team cross-reference every decision added to the database against their existing collections. The Law Report will be available on the Justis platform from September 2017.

    Medical/legal services: Legal DNA Testing, Immigration DNA Testing, Paternity Testing, Legal Drug Testing and Legal Alcohol Testing.

    August 4th 2017
    Faster access to The Irish Reports

  • Justis and the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for Ireland (ICLR) have reached an agreement to make recent judgments available on Justis as soon as their editorial steps have been completed. This arrangement means that users can access the official reports of significant Irish cases online shortly after the judgments are delivered, and well before the availability of the cases in hard copy. Justis Managing Director Masoud Gerami, says: “This is a significant development for our online subscribers to The Irish Reports, and we are delighted that users will now be able to access this invaluable content to use in their research as soon as cases are reported. I congratulate ICLR for such a progressive decision.”

    August 1st 2017
    A very good site for individuals in Ireland to understand basic Irish law

  • is a Guide to the Law in the Republic of Ireland. This is not a new site - I knew it several years ago as the website of Dublin firm Tyrrell Solicitors, and Roddy Tyrrell is still the publisher of the site - but it has developed strongly as a resource for lay people to understand the law in Ireland. The site majors on personal injuries, family law and probate/wills but also covers consumer law, company law, taxation, employment, immmigration, insolvency and defamation.

    July 29th 2017
    Law Society issues guidance on Money Laundering

  • Quick guide to the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 was issued on 11th July 2017 by the Law Society. It provides a brief overview of the key issues firms will need to be aware of and the changes they will have to implement in order to comply with the regulations. The new regulations - The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (the regulations), which transpose the Fourth EU Money Laundering Directive into UK law, were laid before parliament on 22 June and commenced on 26 June. Although the Fourth Directive was finalised in June 2015, a draft version of the regulations was only released in March 2017 and the regulations themselves were only laid before parliament one working day prior to commencement.
    See also my page on Money Laundering topics here.

    July 28th 2017
    Language courses, suitable for lawyers, start at the end of September, in central London

  • Languages2000 is the website of Susan Isaacs. She has an M.A from Oxford and has been running courses in the City for the past thirty years. Her classes are mainly based near Moorgate, Barbican, London Bridge and Canary Wharf. Although her classes are not specifically for lawyers, they are aimed at professionals and her clients include students from Norton Rose Fulbright, HSBC, Linklaters, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Herbert Smith, Simmons and Simmons, the GLA and the Bank of England. Languages covered include French, German, Italian and Spanish at various levels. You can see more details from the website as above, or email her at, asking for details of the language(s) that interest you.

    July 26th 2017
    SCL Conference "Back to basics: the technology" on 19th September 2017

  • The Annual SCL conference will take place on Tuesday 19 September 2017, 9.30 am - 5.30 pm (Registration from 8.45 am. Drinks from 5.30 pm)
    The conference is hosted and sponsored by Bristows LLP, London, 100 Victoria Embankment, London EC4Y 0DH
    The write-up of the event says: "We aim to answer many of those questions that sometimes sound too silly to ask. We assure you they are not! SCL has assembled a team of practising lawyers and technologies to bust through the jargon and explain how things work, without too much bamboozlement!"
    The full programme is now available here.
    Cost is £300 + VAT for SCL members and £450 + VAT for non-members. There are also assisted places, concessonary rates and bursaries.

    July 21st 2017
    Justis webinars help young lawyers (and older ones) to learn essential legal research skills

  • JustisOne UK Practitioner Training Webinars are designed to introduce new customers and remind existing ones, about JustisOne, the latest platform from Justis Publishing. JustisOne contains the largest collection of judgments available anywhere online. The free webinar series will cover the UK, Ireland, Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and other jurisdictions (in separate webinars) for both practitioners and academics. You can register on the site.

    July 20th 2017
    A practical guide to marketing for lawyers by Catherine Bailey & Jennet Ingram

  • A practical guide to marketing for lawyers is a new book written by two experts in this field, Catherine Bailey & Jennet Ingram. The book covers Strategy: The What, the Why and the How; The Importance of Branding in Law; Ensuring Successful Communications; Social Media Strategies; What Makes a Winning Website; Press, PR and Events Planning; The Importance of Design; Developing Clients and Acquiring Prospects; Managing Marketing Budgets; and Essential Checklists.
    Catherine Bailey is MD of Bar Marketing and has 20 years of experience in strategic and operational marketing.
    Jennet Ingram holds Chartered Marketeer status and works with legal software suppliers, outsourced service providers, law firms and barristers’ chambers.
    You can read Chapter Two for free, on The Importance Of Branding in Law.
    Now available for £14.99 from Amazon, with the Kindle version priced at £9.99.

    July 12th 2017
    LEAP announces partnership with The Cashroom

  • LEAP, a key cloud-based practice management software provider is going into partnership with The Cashroom to provide outsourced cashier, management accounting and payroll services to its clients. The services will include all books and records, paying suppliers, reconciling bank accounts, day/month end routines, submitting VAT returns etc. Management accounts and information can be provided together with budgets and cash flow projections to keep a firm fully informed. It will also include payroll services, with statutory payments, pensions and other deductions, and can administer ‘auto-enrolment’ and workplace pensions in accordance with the regulations. Peter Baverstock CEO of LEAP comments: "Through our partnership with The Cashroom we can now offer LEAP clients the option of outsourcing the accounting function of their practice. This removes a traditional and substantial cost by providing day to day processing of accounts by trained professionals."

    July 11th 2017
    Clarity on sources of impartial legal advice for Grenfell

  • The Law Society's president, Joe Egan, has clarified that North Kensington Law Centre is a trusted provider of free legal advice to those affected by the disaster. He said: "This local law centre, dedicated to serving some of the poorest and most disadvantaged in the area for nearly 50 years, works with volunteer lawyers to provide independent, impartial and free legal advice on housing, employment, immigration and asylum and welfare benefits. Lawyers who are offering free, expert legal advice through North Kensington Law Centre can help people decide how best to proceed with legal issues they may be facing – from inquests, wills and probate to benefits, housing, immigration or asylum matters. They can also advise on sources of further advice if that is needed."
    Further information can be found here.

    July 8th 2017
    Justis to become the exclusive provider of Caribbean Law (CariLaw)

  • Justis will add cases from 18 Caribbean jurisdictions to their large collection of case law, in November this year. The CariLaw database is the result of the hard work and dedication of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Faculty of Law Library. Since 1970, The UWI has been collecting, organising and disseminating Commonwealth Caribbean primary law, both in print and electronically. The CariLaw website was established by the Faculty of Law Library in 2003. It has been continually updated, and now contains the full text of over 44,000 cases with headnotes. In November this year, these cases will also be available via the Justis database. Masoud Gerami, MD of Justis, says that for the first time Caribbean case law will then be part of a common-law wide research environment. Full details of this initiative can be found here.

    June 30th 2017
    "Free Movement" website provides updates, commentary and advice on immigration and asylum law - not "new" but a great resource

  • Free Movement, run by barrister Colin Yeo and colleagues, aims to provide good quality and clear information available to all affected by immigration control: migrants themselves, their families, their lawyers and their judges. As he says on the site "Immigration law has become very complex in the UK and changes very rapidly; we try to make it simple, or at least understandable". The website receives over 300,000 page views a month with a great deal of free information and there is also a membership scheme for additional information, costing from £20 a month. There are guides for purchase and also a fixed price legal advice scheme for people with particular problems. He also tweets from @ColinYeo1 and provides a regular flow of information on the latest developments in this field.

    June 28th 2017
    Eclipse announces new case and practice management software written especially for small law firms

  • Eclipse Legal Systems, long established provider of very powerful software for UK legal firms, has now developed a new system called "Eclipse Compact", a cloud-based (hosted) system designed specifically for small firms of between 1 and 10 users. Built using Eclipse’s existing Law Society Endorsed "Proclaim" case and practice management platform, Compact provides a core set of tools enabling smaller organisations to benefit from many of the facilities originally designed for larger firms. With no up-front costs, Compact can be rapidly rolled out for a standard "per user, per month" price. An upgrade path is available, if the firm needs a more comprehensive system at a later date. Eclipse Compact is available immediately and can be taken as a pure case management solution for specific work areas, or an integrated practice management system with SAR-compliant finance tools. There are more details of this new software launch here.

    Transcription: accurate, cost effective and confidential. Also audio transcription, dictation and PACE recordings. We will give you a quote!

    June 21st 2017
    Tikit’s Carpe Diem cloud solution recognised by government framework

  • G-Cloud is a government initiative designed to aggregate cloud-based IT services and put them in one place – the ‘CloudStore’ – giving public sector organisations access to cloud suppliers which are government approved. This is intended to drive the wider adoption of cloud computing in the public sector.
    Tikit, part of the BT Group and leading provider of technology solutions for law and professional services firms is now able to supply its Carpe Diem cloud-based time recording solution under the Government G-Cloud Framework, giving public sector organisations easy access to one of the leading time recording systems available. “Being part of the G-Cloud Framework agreement significantly simplifies the procurement process for any government organisation looking for a best of breed time recording solution" said Katherine Ainley, CEO of Tikit. "Carpe Diem time recording has been a leading solution for law firms for over 20 years and we are keen to bring its benefits into the public sector.” More about this story here.

    June 20th 2017
    Now that's what I call a global user conference! (A Huge HUG)

  • HotDocs, market-leading document automation specialist, has just had a big HotDocs User Group meeting in London with over 100 customers and partners from nearly a dozen countries including Australia, United States, Canada, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Romania, the Czech Republic and, of course, the UK. There were new product developments, customer success stories, technology and business streams and a general sharing of information on document automation technology. Delegates at (HotDocs User Group) HUG 2017 came from a wide range of industries and professions, with technical and senior management representatives from banking, law, real estate, insurance, local government and large enterprise in attendance. There is a regional HUG in New York in November. HotDocs was formed in 1996 and has its HQ in Edinburgh. There are users in 60 countries. There is more about the conference here.

    June 16th 2017
    David Lloyd George, the only Solicitor ever to become Prime Minister, is now to be honoured by the Law Society

  • The former Council Chamber at the Law Society’s Hall in Chancery Lane, London, is to be renamed in Lloyd George's honour. He became Prime Minister in December 1916 and to date is the only solicitor in England and Wales to become Prime Minister.

    David Dixon, the Law Society council member for South Wales, proposed the motion to commemorate him in this way and the motion was passed by acclamation.

    He said, “The Law Society should be proud that one of its members became the head of the UK government. This was a colossal achievement for someone we would now regard as a High Street practitioner, who practised in a small town with a population of under 1,000 people on the north coast of Cardigan Bay and for whom English was a second language. Moreover, he assumed office at a time of crisis, when we appeared to be losing the First World War. He led the country to victory in that War and through the years of uncertainty which followed.”

    Following the meeting, David Dixon said, “This motion is about showing pride in the profession and honouring the memory of a solicitor who achieved great things and of whom the profession should be proud.”

    June 16th 2017
    I-COM offer a free email marketing (breakfast) event on 5th July

  • How to make money from dotmailer email marketing is the topic of a free I-COM seminar on July 5th in Deansgate, Manchester, 8am to 10am (with some breakfast thrown in as well). Key topics to be covered in the event are:
    i) How email should fit into your overall marketing strategy;
    ii) How to go beyond the basics;
    iii) Writing engaging email content and why it is vital to get your brand voice right to close the deal;
    iv) A chance to ask questions.
    Although the event is free, you do need to register on the site (as above) since places are limited.

    June 15th 2017
    Eclipse Legal Systems selected as an Approved G-Cloud supplier

  • Eclipse Legal System’s Proclaim legal software solution is now available through G-Cloud 9, a scheme developed by the Government to simplify procurement for public sector organisations and departments across the UK. Within G-Cloud 9 is a secure online store called the ‘Digital Marketplace’, and as an approved supplier, Eclipse now has the opportunity to promote its Proclaim Case and Practice Management solutions directly to the public sector via the online store. Essentially, this will provide organisations with a cheaper and quicker method of buying services. More info from Eclipse here. There is more from GOV.UK about the scheme in general here.

    June 12th 2017
    This week! Free "startup" Seminars offered by A City Law Firm in London Tech Week

  • London Tech Week is a festival of live events across the city from 12th to 16th June 2017, showcasing and celebrating the best of tech whilst providing networking, social, learning and business opportunities. 40,000 attendees are expected from 70 countries with over 300 events. A City Law Firm are commercial lawyers specialising in technology. They are hosting a series of daily workshops in London, throughout this week (12th to 16th June). These are designed for firms ready to scale up, expand, take on new premises or seek/accept funding or investment. There will be specialist advisers offering a free hour to a small niche group of 10 people, answering questions and giving initial comments on business plans and legal documents. Topics include: tech funding & investment; Intellectual property & patent protection; branding and PR; competition analysis; employment law & HR/recruitment; how to scale up; securing first premises.
    More details, and how to book, here.

    June 6th 2017
    Latest Newsletter Feature on 10 considerations in starting a new law firm

  • 10 Considerations in starting a new law firm is a new Newsletter Feature written by Peter Baverstock, the CEO of LEAP UK. Have you prepared the ground? Money, infrastructure, software, compliance, where to base the firm, better to buy an existing firm or start from scratch? and more.... This is a good checklist to think about before taking the plunge!

    Medical/legal services: Legal DNA Testing, Immigration DNA Testing, Paternity Testing, Legal Drug Testing and Legal Alcohol Testing.

    June 1st 2017
    Chambers can update their descriptions on my site

  • Barristers' Chambers in England and Wales (my "Bar" section on this web site) is currently being updated and I would welcome information from all Chambers on changes I should make to their entries. Please contact me ( with updates to existing entries and also let me know if I have missed your Chambers (Shame on me!). Once I have got these sections up to date, I will be writing an article for the July/August issue of the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers on Chambers' web sites. I am very interested in how Chambers are using their websites for marketing their services, so do please also contact me if you have views on this or are doing something interesting and innovative yourself.

    May 30th 2017
    Lawyers fear losing the right to work in Europe

  • Robert Bourns, president of the Law Society, has said that the Government needs to secure EU practice rights for English solicitors during exit negotiations and that if English and Welsh law firms do not have an EU presence, the long term future of £25.7bn sector, which employs 380,000 people, will be threatened. "We are very concerned about the ability of our solicitors to practise in Europe post-Brexit and we would want acquired rights to continue afterwards," he said. "In the short term, we are still part of the EU and are doing business across the globe, and there is lots of work for the sector giving legal advice on Brexit. But longer term, we need to avoid uncertainty." The Law Society is calling on the Government to ensure that mutual recognition in the sector between Britain and the EU is maintained.

    May 26th 2017
    New Hogan Lovells App helps businesses prepare for GDPR

  • Hogan Lovells has launched GDPRnow, a mobile application that helps companies identify practical steps to comply with the new framework. This initiative comes exactly one year before the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) becomes applicable. The app generates a GDPR compliance action plan specific to an individual business’s activities and has been conceived and implemented by Eduardo Ustaran, European lead of the Privacy and Cybersecurity practice at Hogan Lovells. For more details, or to download the app, see here.

    May 24th 2017
    Retiring cashier replaced by Quill Pinpoint outsourced legal cashiering!

  • Quill Pinpoint outsourced legal cashiering came to the rescue when the long time legal cashier of Basingstoke-based law firm, Brain Chase Coles, retired and the firm had difficulty in finding a suitable replacement. The firm had been using the in-house Quill legal accounts and practice management software since 1995 and was happy to switch to the latest software, allowing outsourced legal cashiering with the overall system (financial and software) managed by Quill. The firm has now added purchse ledger and payroll to the Quill system. See more on this story here.
    My thought - good "old fashioned" legal cashiers, with a strong skill set and lots of experience, are getting rather hard to find these days. There is a trend to switching to outsourced cashiering, where the service provides most of the high level accounting expertise.

    May 22nd 2017
    Eclipse expands to Scotland

  • Eclipse Legal Systems has today announced its first heavyweight Scottish client, Drummond Miller. With offices in 6 locations throughout Scotland, over 100 staff and covering many different legal areas of work, Drummond Miller is a large firm with complex requirements in case management and software support. As part of the implementation process, and to accommodate the legislative requirements in Scottish law, Eclipse’s in-house Consultancy team will work closely with Drummond Miller to ensure Proclaim’s workflows and documents cater for the bespoke needs of the firm.

    May 18th 2017
    New Edition of Richard Susskind's book "Tomorrow's Lawyers" launches on 25th May

  • Tomorrow's Lawyers predicts that we are at the beginning of a period of fundamental transformation in law: a time in which we will see greater change than we have seen in the past two centuries. Where the future of the legal service will be a world of AI-based legal businesses, online legal advice and document production, commoditized service, legal process outsourcing, and web-based simulated practice. Legal markets will be liberalized, with new jobs for lawyers and new employers too.
    The new edition covers these additional topics:
    • AI in law has come of age.
    • Online courts have been invented and are being introduced.
    • The legaltech industry has grown explosively.
    • The big four accounting firms are firmly back in law.
    • Other new players are aggressively entering the marketplace.
    • A look back at his 20-year predictions in The Future of Law, in 1996 (pretty accurate as it turns out)
    Here is a quote from Lord Neuberger, President, Supreme Court of the United Kingdom:
    "Susskind achieves what very few people attempt and hardly anyone achieves, namely to predict the future in a complex field, in an inspired, credible, and engaging way. Nobody has better credentials to write about the current and future effects of the ongoing electronic and economic revolution on the rule and practice of law."

    The book, published by OUP, will be available at £12.99 in paperback.

    April 25th 2017
    LEAP celebrates 1000 UK firm milestone

  • LEAP Legal Software has doubled its UK customer base in the last twelve months and has now passed the 1,000 firm mark with over 6,000 end users of its integrated case management platform. This rapid growth in firms switching to LEAP has been accelerated by the recent launch of LEAP 365, which enables a lawyer to access an up-to-date document or matter, as well as accounting information, from whichever device they are using worldwide. LEAP 365 includes the UK’s largest library of automated forms, document management for the firm and clients, time recording, billing and client accounting.

    April 15th 2017
    Legal research platforms – Justis have launched a new website

  • Justis have launched a new website, providing information on their new (tech-focused) legal research platform. If you want to see what other search and analysis tools are out there for research, or increase your access to case law, this is the place to look! There is a useful video on the homepage telling the viewer all about the new system and indicating some of the special features. You can find out about the tools on their newest platform in the technology section, including a unique tool which highlights the influential passages of a judgment based on how it has been subsequently cited. You can also view detailed information on their case law coverage, which includes expanding UK, Irish, Caribbean and Off-Shore collections. There is a free trial which you can sign up to, from the home page.

    March 29th 2017
    Events and updates on Irish and Northern Irish Law

  • Updates on Irish and Northern Irish Law prepared by Darius Whelan from the School of Law at University College Cork, lists all events of interest to lawyers for the next few months. In each case, the title of the event is given together with basic details and the link to the full information from the organisation concerned. Darius Whelan also provides the Irish Law site which is probably the most comprehensive (and constantly updated) site for Irish lawyers in existence, with a Guide to Irish Law, Irish Legislation and Irish Cases. There is also a description and analysis of online materials by Legal Subject and E-Mail Lists & Groups relating to Irish Lawyers.

    March 21st 2017
    Barristers and Solicitors - Do you have a CPD competence plan for 2017?

  • CPD 2017 info and online purchase is the place to look! Under both the new SRA continuing competence and the new BSB CPD schemes you must maintain a learning and development (CPD) plan, undertake relevant activities and keep appropriate records. Needless to say, you can't leave your planning till the end of the year!

    With our new CPD 2017 competence service, prepared by Nick Holmes, Alex Heshmaty and me, you can quickly and easily create and maintain a plan based on our course topics and keep the appropriate records for SRA and BSB compliance purposes. Just Start a plan and Select relevant courses and you have an instant Plan and nascent Record which you can update during the year.

    Why not sign up now at the early bird price of just £90+VAT? (The permanent cost is £120+VAT, from August). This covers access to all our courses and maintenance of your current and past plans. Full details here.

    March 20th 2017.
    Companies Selling Legal Services and Documents Online

  • Companies Selling Legal Services and Documents Online is the web page I provide on this topic. I am currently in the process of updating this web page, prior to writing an article for the Internet Newsletter for lawyers. There are over 60 entries on my web page already - this is a flourishing area! Please let me know of any new companies selling legal services or documents online, or tell me about any updates needed to existing entries. My previous article on Firms of Solicitors Selling Legal Services and Documents Online, based on my web page here, will be published in the new issue of the Newsletter coming out shortly (watch this space). There are only about 20 firms of solicitors that I know of, still doing this - quite a few made a strong start a few years ago but have dropped out, since then. Why? I am investigating this.

    March 2nd 2017.
    Social Media for Lawyers - section updated

  • Social Media for Lawyers is a section on my site written by Alex Heshmaty of Legal Words. He has now updated this section and it contains a great deal of useful information, including a description of all the main Social Media and Networking Platforms, Blogging, Social Media Management Tools, Training and Analysis.

    February 22nd 2017.
    Eclipse brings it all together with TouchPoint+

  • Eclipse Legal Systems has launched its latest interactive online portal, TouchPoint+, which uses real-time data from Eclipse’s Proclaim Case and Practice Management system. Building upon Eclipse’s existing TouchPoint system, it provides a device-independent and interactive experience. Law firms can now offer clients and business partners 24/7 access to all types of relevant online information, including case tracking, e-signatures, targeted news feeds and social media links and they can brand the portal experience in line with their current visual identity so that their clients continue to see the firm's logos, colours, background etc. The system now integrates Eclipse’s core online tools FileView Interactive (an online matter tracking system, providing real-time access) and SecureDocs (an online document delivery and acceptance tool). There is more information about the TouchPoint+ launch here.

    February 21st 2017.
    e-signatures could replace signatures on Land Registry forms.

    If a set of proposals by the Land Registry are approved, paper property deeds may finally be replaced by electronic documents and Solicitors would no longer be needed to witness signatures on paper documents. The Land Registry has opened a consultation on amending rules to allow documents to be signed online using the government’s Gov.UK.Verify process. Law Society president Robert Bourns described the move as a ‘positive step’, saying the Society had backed the use of electronic signatures last year with the publication of a practice note for commercial transactions. ‘We are considering the proposals in the rules consultation, and awaiting further important details on exactly how the proposed system will work,’ he said. ‘Our focus will be to ensure that they are practical and effective, and most importantly provide appropriate identity and security measures.’
    More from Law Society Gazette and Today's Conveyancer.

    February 14th 2017.
    Solicitors - are you selling legal services & documents online?

  • My web pages here cover this topic, with solicitors providing these services in the first section. If you already have an entry on this page, does it need updating? If you are not already represented, would you like to have an entry here? (It's free). Just email me with your updates or new info at I would also welcome comments from the firms as to how successful and profitable it has been (or not). I will be writing an article on this topic for the March/April issue of the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers.
    Note: There are also sections on my site for companies (not firms of solicitors) providing these services - I will be updating those pages later and I will put out a call for information when I am ready for this.

    February 7th 2017.
    HotDocs strengthens its base in Ireland

  • HotDocs, global leader in document automation software, has partnered with codex-dss, a provider of enterprise scale applications and infrastructure and a major contender in the Irish market of more than 30 years standing. This new partnership agreement will provide Codec-dss clients with HotDocs’ industry leading document automation technology, which provides increased operational efficiency in the production of business-critical documentation and will give HotDocs enhanced access to the Irish marketplace in addition to the other 42 countries it is already represented. There is more information on this new partnership here.

    February 1st 2017.
    Tikit launches Carpe Diem as a new cloud-based timekeeping app

  • Tikit, now part of the BT Group, is one of the largest suppliers of technology solutions and services to legal firms including 90 of the UK’s top 100 law firms and 600 UK mid-market law firms. Their Carpe Diem time recording is already used by over 100,000 professionals across four continents, mainly as an online interface to existing systems and now it is available as a cloud-based application as well. Current Carpe Diem customers as well as prospective ones can choose from traditional time recording on timesheets at the desktop; an interface for mobile devices and (now) a cloud based system. The Carpe Diem cloud model runs as a subscription model with users only paying for what they use. There are more details here.

    January 11th 2017.
    Scalability is the key to the success of outsourced cashiering

  • Quill's "Pinpoint" Outsourced Cashiering has helped a new conveyancing firm, DP Conveyancing set up with maximum ease and efficiency. Founder Dawn Pickett says "As a new law firm, there wasn’t enough work initially to justify having a full time cashier but, as we intend to recruit more solicitors and conveyancers over the coming months and years, we were looking for a solution that will grow with us. That's why scalability was so important." She also wanted a low cost initial solution and a joined up IT system overall.

    January 10th 2017.
    Fewer than 20 per cent of UK higher court cases end up in law reports

  • Bringing order to chaos – the importance of unreported judgments is an article by Robin Chesterman of Justis in the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers about the missing 80% of judgments - and what Justis is doing to make these available. The article starts with a quote from Lord Denning: “Every decision is binding no matter whether it is reported in the regular series of Law Reports, or is unreported. Once you have the transcript, you can cite it as of equal authority to a reported decision. It behoves every counsel or solicitor to find, if he can, a case – reported or unreported – which will help him advise or win his case.”

    Robin Chesterman describes how Justis has gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure their UK case law collection is the largest available anywhere. "We’ve sent teams to courtroom basements across the country to digitise judgments that cannot be found anywhere else. Whether reported or unreported, we endeavour to provide every single case from the superior courts, with coverage dating back further than any other provider." He also describes how "Smart legal tech" has helped in the process of making these available.

    January 6th 2017.
    Future Legal Mind - essay competition for UK law students - sorry, now closed!

  • Work experience at a top UK law firm and over £7,000 in prize money is on offer in this national award for UK resident law students, set up by National Accident Helpline. The award, run in association with legal industry publication Lawyer 2B, is now an annual scheme following its successful launch in 2014, aims to identify the next generation of high fliers in the legal world, offering law students the opportunity to win £5,000 towards their studies and a coveted work experience placement. There are also nine runner-up prizes of £250 each. The essay question for this year’s award is: “If eBay can resolve 60 million disputes each year, why does the UK civil justice system need lawyers?” The award is open to all permanent UK residents studying for an undergraduate law degree, CILEX qualification or law conversion course (GDL or CPE). Essays must be a maximum of 1,300 words, excluding footnotes and a 100-word summary and

    January 4th 2017.
    Fast-track Online Dispute Resolution platform

  • Ajuve is an online dispute resolution platform for small to medium businesses and individuals to resolve a dispute. You register the dispute on the Ajuve site, fill in the required information and are told the cost of the process. A decision is then obtained via Ajuve from an impartial expert in the relevant industry or work area. The decision is legally enforceable in more than 150 countries around the world and the total costs are known up front. There is a useful video on the site to explain how it works. This process can save a considerable amount of time and money as opposed to full blown litigation.

    December 19th 2016.
    Interesting new web site from LawWare

  • LawWare has 20 years experience of providing legal software to small and medium sized firms and is also an innovative supplier of cloud-based systems. They have given themselves a new web site for Christmas. The site is atractive but also informative (not all glossy new sites actually provide enough useful information) and the site enables the viewer to track through a complete history of the company and also a full description of the products, comparing cloud and non-cloud systems in some detail.

    November 30th 2016.
    Eclipse Legal Systems announces new Mediation Case Management Software

  • Eclipse Legal Systems has added Mediation Case Management to Proclaim, its portfolio of case and matter management workflows. The new software eliminates time-consuming document production and simplifies the complicated rates and structures associated with mediation. Although initially set up for family-orientated processes, the software can be customised to suit workplace, commercial and public dispute procedures. The system has been developed in conjunction with Consilia Legal, a major Mediation firm in Leeds. The Proclaim system is in use by over 23,000 professionals across many sectors.

    November 29th 2016.
    LEAP opens a new branch in Northern Ireland

  • LEAP, a leading supplier of cloud-based legal software for small law firms, has opened an office in Belfast's James Street South. This is believed to be the first office of a specialist legal case management firm in Northern Ireland. The software and forms have been customised to take account of the differences of the Northern Irish legal system. LEAP provides legal software in many countries and there are more than 6,000 smaller law firms across the world using their cloud software every day.

    Subsequent information, December 2nd 2016
    I am informed by major legal software company Advanced that there was a company called Opsis, based in Belfast, offering case management and accounting systems to lawyers several years ago. Opsis was taken over by Advanced and is still operating strongly in Northern Ireland.
    Advanced have many locations, both in the UK and abroad.

    Medical/legal services: Legal DNA Testing, Immigration DNA Testing, Paternity Testing, Legal Drug Testing and Legal Alcohol Testing.

    November 28th 2016.
    Interesting new portal on White Collar Crime from Jonathan Fisher QC

  • Jonathan Fisher QC – Lead Counsel of barrister law firm Bright Line Law and one of the UK's leading barristers for financial crime and proceeds of crime cases, created and runs The White Collar Crime Portal. This provides short commentaries on significant developments in the field of white collar crime. Topics covered include Financial Crime, Financial Services, Fraud, Proceeds of Crime and Tax issues. The portal was started in early 2014.

    November 20th 2016.
    Calling all companies in Digital Marketing, Web Site Design, SEO, Content and Social Media!

  • My web pages on Digital Marketing, Web Site Design, SEO, Content and Social Media are in the process of being updated. This is the section for web services companies on all these topics which specialise in the legal market. Please let me have any updates to your section or suggest new entries - just email me with your suggested changes at There is no charge for these text entries - this section (as all other sections of my web site) are designed as a service to the Lawyers who visit my site.

    November 4th 2016.
    Quill's cloud software and outsourced cashiering work well together

  • Quill's Practice Management software, called Interactive, works well with their outsourced cashiering service called Pinpoint. Interactive provides tools for case management, time recording, email and document management, legal accounts, billing and reporting whilst Pinpoint provides for SRA Accounts Rules-professional legal cashiers to run the firm's accounts in compliance with all the latest industry regulations. A firm can run just one of these systems (Interative or Pinpoint) but the two sytems run together provide a very efficient support system for the work of the firm.

    October 27th 2016.
    Time recording whilst "out and about" is a valuable new tool for Lawyers

  • DPS iTime, the new smartphone application for Time Recording from DPS, has taken time recording into a new age. In the olden days, when I was first a computer consultant for firms of solicitors, lawyers had to fill in time sheets (they hated doing this). On a regular basis, probably once a week, these time sheets were collected and a data entry person would input the data. Reports of how time has been spent could then be prepared by the data processing team of the firm. How all that has changed! Now, time can be recorded from anywhere and at any time with the DPS iTime app. The app sends all the recorded time and expenses to "Web Office", the DPS integrated web-based practice management system. The time record is automatically and almost instantaneously imported into the file and is then fully available to the practice management system for reporting, analysis, or indeed billing.
    There is a report on the way that a particular firm, Braham Dutt Badrick French LLP (BDBF) uses the system here.
    See also a Newsletter Feature on the broader topic of cyber security Apps and Cyber Crime – avoiding security hazards of working on the go

    October 21st 2016.
    Interesting new facility for conveyancers - an online "Quotation Calculator"

  • InTouch is a cloud-based conveyancing case management solution i.e. operated via a web browser. They have recently announced an interesting new feature called "Quotation Calculator". If a client rings up for a quote, anybody that answers the phone has an online form to fill in, minimising mistakes and incorrect quotes and meaning that the quote will be consistent whoever provides it. The quotation module can also be embedded on the firm's website so clients can access quotes out of hours or so an estate agent can also provide the client with a quote for the firm. The software module is free for firms already using the InTouch software but can also be bought separately. There are more details in a blog post here.

    October 19th 2016.
    Bar Council launches web site to help Barristers, clerks and chambers staff with psychological problems

  • Mental Health & Wellbeing at the Bar is a new site launched by the Bar Council. It says that Barristers, clerks and chambers staff are exposed to emotionally and psychologically challenging environments on a daily basis which can lead to mental health difficiulties. The Bar Council is trying to tackle the stigma associated with mental health and encourage members of the profession, and those who work within it, to better understand wellbeing and feel empowered to make healthy choices. "It's OK to have wellbeing problems. Ask for help". They want to encourage all members of the Bar to promote wellbeing as part of their strategy to tackle the stigma associated with mental health. There is a lot of good material on the site, with sources of information and help as well as stories from individual barristers. There is also a good "presentation" from 12 senior/key barristers on what the site is all about.

    October 17th 2016.
    The legislative process of the UK Parliament - a blog post from Justis

  • The legislative process of the UK Parliament is a straight forward description of how a bill originates, types of bill, stages through Parliament, green and white papers, and associated vital facts. There is also a summary of various proposals for improving/changing the process. The article, written by Zenaira Khan, is part of the Justis blog. Other posts include "Legal Research and Revision", designed for law students, and the impact that technology has had on diversifying the provision of legal services.

    October 12th 2016.
    A Law Society Practice Note on Execution of a document using an electronic signature

  • A Law Society Practice Note aims to help parties (and their legal advisers) who wish to execute commercial contracts using an electronic signature or who wish to enter into a commercial contract with one or more other parties that intend to execute that contract using an electronic signature. The practice note was prepared by a joint working party of the Law Society Company Law Committee and the City of London Law Society Company Law and Financial Law Committees (the JWP). The practice note is limited in scope to commercial contracts entered into (and certain other documents signed) in a business context, rather than those to which consumers or other individuals outside of a business context are a party although it also says that that certain principles considered in the note may also be applicable to documents entered into in other contexts.

    October 7th 2016.
    Davidson Morris Immigration Blog

  • Davidson Morris Immigration Blog carries serious and in-depth articles on major current immigration topics - such as Avoiding Civil and Criminal Penalties (Advice for Employers), British Citizenship for Tier 1 Investors, Permanent Residence Application and Global Mobility Employment Contracts. Detailed information is provided in these blog posts - not just "teasers".

    October 5th 2016.
    What can conveyancers do in a fragile property market?

  • Improving the conveyancing process is the topc of a recent Newsletter Feature. Simon Farthing of LexisNexis Enterprise Systems looks at several ways to improve the conveyancing process: an entrepreneurial spirit, improving efficiency with workflow technology, automating administrative processes, embedding risk management and negligence pre-emption into the conveyancing process and competitive pricing.

    October 3rd 2016.
    ICLR Weekly Roundup is back

  • ICLR Weekly News returns after the summer vacation, covering the latest news on Brexit with a “Bill to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 but retain all the laws enacted or implemented thereunder", the reshuffle of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) which appears to be stumbling from one crisis to another, interesting legal developments from around the world and some latest legal drama... always a good read.

    October 1st 2016.
    The Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA) is still not implemented

  • Don't wait for QASA is the topic of a recent Newsletter Feature. Despite the fact that the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA) is still not implemented (originally scheduled for implementation in December 2011 but several times delayed), Roy Morgan of Kaplan Altior says that the legal industry should prepare for it now by taking an appropriate course on Higher Rights of Audience. Then accreditation (when QASA is finally implemented) will be much quicker and easier. Details on the courses available can be found here.

    September 27th 2016.
    Linex is now Vable - a key current awareness automation platform

  • Vable, previously known as Linex Systems, is a current awareness automation platform used primarily by Law Librarians and other Information Professionals to manage news and other subscription sources. Any source can be plugged into the platform - from websites to RSS feeds - which enables the library to manage all sources in one place. The librarian can set up rules to select the most relevant information. This can then be either manually or automatically collated into alerts so that users receive one single email alert with all the information they need.

    September 22nd 2016.
    Free expert commentary on cases from Lamb Chambers and LegalRSS

  • Lamb Chambers (a leading set of barristers specialising in Commercial, Property, Personal Injury, and Intellectual Property Law) and LEGALRSS ("instant news for your website") are working together to provide firms of solicitors with free case commentaries prepared by barristers at Lamb Chambers. Firms can set up a personalised newsfeed tailored for them for their intranets. The system uses technology and is free for firms of solicitors.
    To obtain commentaries, contact Joe Reevy at LegalRSS ( stating the categories of commentary required. Currently available are Commercial - Costs Disputes - IP, Media and Entertainment - Lamb Chambers News - PI and Clinical Negligence - and Property.
    The service, offered free by both Lamb Chambers and LegalRSS, is intended to build into a worthwhile resource for busy practitioners.

    September 2016.
    Insight Legal wins ILFM Solicitors’ Software Users Award 2016

  • Insight Legal has won the 2016 Solicitors’ Software Users Award from the Institute of Legal Finance and Management (ILFM). The ILFM is the UK’s leading membership organisation in the legal sector that provides a range of services for legal finance experts and legal management professionals such as legal cashiers and practice managers. Each year, they produce a Listed Suppliers Guide focusing on Legal Accounts and Administration systems and services and ask their members to score their legal accounts software package in a number of different areas covering training, helpdesk support and system functionality. Insight Legal is a Legal Accounts, Practice Management and Case Management system designed for small to medium sized law firms.

    September 2016.
    Free courses from Google

  • The Digital Garage is a framework from Google to provide "a growth engine for digital skills". There are free courses on everything "from search to social media, from managing a website to online marketing - everything to help you grow your business or career". The courses are all free and you can obtain certification as well. If anyone has taken any of these courses, please let me know at and I will put your comments up here!

    August 15th 2016.
    Innovative training in Online Dispute Resolution (ODR)

  • ODR is fast becoming very important. The European Union has passed a Regulation on ODR under which there is now an EU run website to direct the parties in disputes related to online consumer transactions to various approved ADR services operating online. From 15th February 2016 it became a legal duty on all in the EU who sell products or services online to carry a link on their websites to the EU ODR platform. This will have the effect of promoting a large increase in the use of ODR in such disputes. Graham Ross, long time proponent (and initiator) of ODR is now providing a course on ODR which has already been taken by over 120 mediators in 12 countries. People taking the course have access to a specially prepared library of ODR information and topics, together with access to video and slide presentations, live webinars, personal training (via web conferencing), face to face training and roleplay sessions (conducting actual mediations.)
    Those taking the course successfully receive a Certificate and will be enrolled on the panel of ODR practitioners. This will enable them to become part of a growing network of ODR professionals. Full details of the course can be seen on the Mediation Room website here.
    See also Graham Ross's article on the EU ODR platform and also Allan Carton's article on Blended Learning (yes, this course is a good example of Blended Learning).

    Calling all Legal Software Suppliers! Please help me.

  • My Legal Software Section has got a bit rusty and needs to be updated so I am inviting all legal software suppliers to look at their entry in this section and let me know of any changes which should be made. Please note that the style of these pages is informative rather than marketing-oriented, so no superlatives please! Just give me a suggested description, or a change from an existing one, in an email to

    You will see that I have separated the software suppliers into two broad categories:
    i) Cloud, Outsourcing, Hosted Systems
    ii) Legal Software Suppliers A to Z

    The Cloud Section is now becoming larger as more and more suppliers are developing their software specifically for online use. Most software systems now have at least an option for cloud use, but the distinction I am making here is that the Cloud Section is for systems specifically designed for online/cloud use, often with no in-house option offered. However, it is the supplier's choice whether to be in the Cloud Section, or in the A to Z Sections - just let me know if you want to be shifted (but only one entry per software company).

    Articles for the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers

    I have now written an article for the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers, September/October issue, with a selection of the software suppliers offering specifically cloud-based software. For the November/December issue I will be writing one on the well-established A-Z software suppliers. Please keep any updates to the descriptions coming!

    August 8th 2016.
    The Internet Society works for an open Internet across the world

  • The Internet Society (ISOC) is an international, non-profit organization founded in 1992 to provide leadership in Internet-related standards, education, access, and policy. It states that its mission is "to promote the open development, evolution and use of the Internet for the benefit of all people throughout the world". One of its key aims is to facilitate the open development of standards, protocols, administration, and the technical infrastructure of the Internet for the benefit of all, not just the few. It is centred in the USA and also Geneva but has "chapters" all over the world and also works via 140 organisations world wide. Its current work is based in the provision of standards, public policy, access, and education. As well as a great deal of information on the site itself, there is extensive information in Wikipedia.

    August 3rd 2016.
    New "Dispersed" law firm Lawyers Inc. adopts outsoured cashiering from Quill Pinpoint

  • There are a number of models for how "dispersed" law firms work, but the key point is that the individual Solicitors, whilst part of the overall firm, operate largely independently. One of these firms, Lawyers Inc., decided to set up, from the beginning, with an outsourced cashiering service and also payroll, and they chose Quill Pinpoint. Apparently, it is going very well, with the Financial Controller Jason Joyce, saying that a great deal of his time is saved and there is added reassurance relating to security and compliance. There is a full case study here.
    You can also read the article I wrote recently about this new type of "Dispersed firm" in the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers.

    July 26th 2016.
    Law Society releases practice note about e-signatures for commercial contracts

    The new practice note has been developed by a joint working party from the Law Society, the City of London Law Society and leading City law firms, and has been reviewed and approved by leading counsel Mark Hapgood QC. Law Society Company Law Committee chairperson Elizabeth Wall commented: "Although e-signatures have been in use for some time, there has been no consensus among the legal industry on their validity. This practice note will help the industry get comfortable with electronic signatures and embrace the practical benefits of e-signing." There is an introduction to electronic signatures, a run-through of the background, an explanation of the Legislative framework, a lengthy and detailed section on the use of electronic signatures to execute English law governed documents, and coverage of various other releated topics. The full practice note can be found here.

    July 26th 2016.
    Norwel is taken over by Civica

  • Norwel has been one of the shining stars of the UK legal software world for over 35 years - since the very beginning of computer software for lawyers - and they were in existence in the very early days of my own computer consultancy for lawyers in the early 80's. They tended to deal with the larger corporate firms, whilst I myself tended to advise smaller firms, but I was always aware of their reputation for quality software and excellent support. Their latest generation Prescient+ system provides a flexible suite of case management and practice management for larger organisations, including the Desktop Online portal for delivery of online client services via a secure web interface. They have been now been taken over by Civica, a market-leading specialist in digital solutions, critical applications and outsourcing services. Civica supply more than 4,000 organisations in 10 countries around the world. This may well be an excellent oportunity for both companies, to bring their experience and resources together, but I am still sorry that a star of my own world has now been taken into a larger universe. There is more information from Civica here.

    July 24th 2016.
    Mini interview - Delia questions Richard Hugo-Hamman of LEAP

    Q: LEAP is encouraging small law firms to compete with the large conveyancing shops. How is that going?
    A: Since we started getting our conveyancing message out earlier this year, hundreds of firms doing residential conveyancing in England and Wales have introduced LEAP. They are providing better client service with happier staff and are operating more efficiently.

    Q: What do the conveyancing firms particularly like about LEAP?
    A: LEAP combines highly automated legal forms and precedents (ours and the client's) which are constantly kept up to date; case management, fee recording and legal accounting all in one elegant application. Our design decisions are driven by client feedback and this has made our software meaningful and easy to use by anyone familiar with the conveyancing process.

    Q: What about searching?
    A: It has never been easier for a conveyancer to order, receive and administer property searches and to get SDLT paid. We work closely with InfoTrack (2016 Search Provider of the Year winners) and conveyancers can order their searches and pay SDLT directly out of the matter in LEAP. The result of a search is in the document management system, the cost is against the correct matter ledger, and a special reconciliation function makes it easy to check for accuracy. Clients also pay just one bill for all searches which saves a lot of time consuming manual work.

    Q: For the future?
    A: Helping small law firms to compete with Panel Managers and Private Equity owned conveyancing companies is crucial to our purpose. We recently released a new product, Perfect Portal, which is a conveyancing sales management system to help firms doing residential conveyancing to provide better client service and to look after all transaction stakeholders pro-actively through the conveyancing transaction. It helps them build their conveyancing practice.

    July 4th 2016.
    Free2Convey continues to develop and offer links between conveyancing systems

  • Free2Convey, the free online conveyancing portal developed by Pracctice Ltd, and backed by all leading Suppliers of Software to Law Firms in the UK, enables all the parties in a conveyancing transaction to see the progress of their chain from instruction to post-completion. The ability for all parties in a sale to see the chain is vital to provide efficient conveyancing but in the past, the overall chain has not been visible since a number of different conveyancing systems may be used. Free2convey provides a free tool which all other conveyancing systems can link into and also provides various different ways to do this including a "drag and drop" application as well as full integration between the various systems. Further developments are in hand for secure exchanging documents and information with their clients, other lawyers and third parties.

    July 1st 2016.
    Should the word "Lawyer" be protected by law to mean only qualified legal practitioners?

  • The Legal Services Board (LSB) says that the unregulated sector is neither as big nor as problematic as some have suggested but that consumers should be able to establish whether a body is regulated or not. Commenting on the report, Law Society chief executive Catherine Dixon said 'Many legal services can be provided by regulated and unregulated providers. If legal services are purchased from a solicitor, buyers can rest assured that the service is fully regulated, that insurance is in place, and that in the event that something goes wrong they have the right to redress. Unfortunately, however, it is not always clear to consumers whether they are buying from a regulated provider. This can be exacerbated if the unregulated provider calls themselves a lawyer, which is not a protected title. We think that you should only be able to call yourself a lawyer if you are a qualified legal practitioner. We are concerned that many consumers may not know the difference, which can leave them exposed."

    Delia's opinion
    I agree with this proposal. In preparing information for the Venables web site I sometimes have great difficulty in determining the status of organisations which want an entry on one of my pages. I try very hard to establish whether they are "proper" legal bodies, by which I mean that they are actually regulated by the Law Society or the Bar Council or in some cases, other official bodies such as the the Ministry of Justice for claims companies or the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner for immigration services. I attempt only to cover regulated bodies but it is becoming increasingy difficult to establish this. Often these bodies say that they are made up of "lawyers" which means in fact absolutely nothing.

    July 1st 2016.
    Joe Reevy's blog
    Joe Reevy provides commentary from many leading industry figures on matters relating to the management of and business development in law firms. There is an additional interest in the blog since it is generated automatically from other material produced by Joe, using his legal marketing website LEGALRSS.

    June 22nd 2016.
    DPS Software enables the mobile office

  • DPS Software now allows practice managers and fee earners to take their office with them wherever they go - securely. DPS Web Office (web based practice management) now has DPS iTime (for entering time on the move) and SafeChat (for secure communications) which are apps for iPhone or Android devices. Together, these solutions form a complete remote working ecosystem. See the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers for the full story. It's joined up software!

    June 22nd 2016.
    Tikit signs global partnership agreement with NetDocuments

  • Tikit, part of the BT Group and one of the leading providers of technology solutions for law firms in the UK and elsewhere, and with more than 1,450 firms using their software globally, is to partner with NetDocuments a global cloud-based document and email management service provider for professional service firms. NetDocuments has 2,000 customers worldwide and hundreds of thousands of individual users. More details from online news service realwire here. The UK legal software/services market is now going global with several big deals or expansions announced recently.

    June 20th 2016.
    Changing the register of a property at the Land Registry just got easier

  • Eclipse’s integration with the Land Registry Electronic Document Service will enable users of the Proclaim Conveyancing Case Management Software to make an electronic application to change the register of a property, directly through the Proclaim desktop. Conveyancing fee earners can complete an eDRS application entirely through Proclaim, as well as send electronic copies of accompanying documents, such as Transfers, Charges or SDLT returns. Proclaim will automatically check the Land Registry for responses to the uploaded documents, requisitions relating to the application and the updated register upon a successful application, and using the Task Server robot tool, will generate tasks to notify the user and update the case history. More details here.

    June 14th 2016.
    Law Society and Bar Council call for prohibition of paid 'McKenzie friends' and for a replacement term to avoid confusion for Litigants in Person.

    Points made in response to a consultation on this topic include these:

    • The majority of the practice guidance should remain as guidance, rather than be incorporated into the rules of the court.
    • There should be inserted into the rules of court a prohibition on McKenzie friends being able to recover fees, either by way of disbursement or other form of remuneration.
    • There should not be a separate code of conduct, because such a code might deter family and friends from acting as McKenzie friends and might imply that McKenzie friends are quasi-regulated.
    • The term McKenzie friend should be replaced by the term 'supporter'.
    See Family Law Week for more on this story.

    June 9th 2016.
    My personal view of the important issues of our time
    The world has many big problems at the moment. Here are just six of them:

    • Global warming; nations of the world are trying to do their bit but the opportunities for "passing the buck" (and doing very little) are unlimited. It takes a very brave politician to say "Our country must make major sacrifices...".
    • Controlling multinationals; how to get online businesses to identify where they make their money and pay proper taxes accordingly? How to stop multinationals moving their operations between countries without a thought for the populations which have grown to depend on them?
    • Combating international crime; quite closely related to the previous item but even harder to control since the perpetrators are largely invisible.
    • Immigration; with war, famine and destruction of low lying areas, there will be many millions of desperate people over the next few years trying to find somewhere to live. This is a problem we need to face, not just as the UK but as part of the EU.
    • World trade; how to give consumers the benefits of international competition without destroying existing industries? The continuing developing of the online world makes this even more critical but the problems are there even with "solid" things like steel.
    • Keeping the peace; it is easy to think that peace in Europe is now inevitable, but a look through the history of Europe over the last 1,000 years makes this seem very questionable. I do not want to take any chances with this.
    I believe that all these problems are better faced within the EU than just within the UK. I do not want the next 5 or 10 years to be taken up with squabbles as to how we can remake some of the "deals" we still want, when the other Europeans are fed up with us, and quite possibly facing greater strains of their own due to our departure.

    Perhaps I should declare an interest here - I stood for the European Parliament myself once, for East Sussex, many years ago, as a Liberal.

    June 1st 2016.
    My personal view of the Immigration "Issue"

  • Immigration is discussed as if it was a single issue. In fact, it is several issues:
    • Net immigration from the EU was about 170,000 last year. It is well established that EU immigration consists mainly of people who get jobs, pay taxes and becoma part of the community. In any case, this is only about one quarter of one percent of the population of the UK - hardly a "swamp" of immigration. And...David Cameron did get some limits to immediate benefit-seekers, to the extent they might be a problem once the minimum (or living) wage is introduced.
    • The immigration from the rest of the world, including the Commonwealth, was also about 170,000. This is also a tricky issue, but it is already under our own control.
    • There is a massive problem with desperate asylum seekers, being currently met by the EU as a whole - and we are hardly contributing to taking these asylum seekers at all. This is the big issue and it is not really related to whether we are part of the EU or not. Unless we are going to shoot people as they land in their boats (if not already drowned) this is an issue we need to face as a nation - and as part of the EU.
    I believe that the big political issues (which include immigration, environmental issues, controlling multinationals, international crime, terrorism, world trade, helping desperate nations reach something remotely like our own level of prosperity, and avoiding war) are more effectively handled as part of a larger, and friendly, block, than on our own.

    We need to "remain".

    June 1st 2016.
    New Guide produced on The Judicial System of England and Wales:

  • A new guide called "The Judicial System of England and Wales" has been published by The International Team of the Judicial Office. The guide is introduced by Lady Justice Arden, Head of International Relations for the Judiciary of England and Wales with the following words: "What you see today has evolved over 1,000 years; the judiciary is continuing to change and develop to meet the needs of our society and is widely regarded as one of the best and most independent in the world. To meet the needs of society, our legal system is also complex. The International Team of the Judicial Office has produced a Visitors’ Guide to bring together a wealth of information about our judiciary and legal system. It also provides an introduction to the work of organisations, such as the Ministry of Justice and the Crown Prosecution Service which support the justice system."

    You can find the new guide here. It is quite substantial - a downloadable pdf of 52 pages. Although billed as a Visitors Guide for International Judiciary it would be just as useful to law students or anyone else prepared to do a bit of serious reading on the subject.

    May 27th 2016.
    No case for a ban on paid McKenzie Friends

  • The case for a blanket ban on paid McKenzie friends has not been made, the Legal Services Board and the Solicitors Regulation Authority have said, arguing that there is not enough evidence that fee-charging by McKenzie Friends is harming consumers. The judiciary consultation had warned that adding any extension to the rights of audience and litigation to McKenzie Friends could create a ‘new branch of the legal profession’. See The Law Society Gazette for more.

    May 20th 2016.
    The ICLR blog is a key resources for current legal developments

  • ICLR Blog chooses the most important legal developments to describe and comes out mostly as "Weekly Notes from ICLR". For example, last week's post included the latest developments relating to human rights legislation (or lack of), the employment law of footwear, protection of intellectual property and a plea for students to slough off their intellectual bubblewrap. The posts are fully categorised by legal topic so that the "thread" can be followed through to the present position. Prepared mainly by Paul Magrath, Head of Product Development and Online Content at ICLR, this blog deserves to be at the top of any lawyers "must look at" sites.

    May 20th 2016.
    Information on mesothelioma as a support for families where someone has this disease

  • is a dedicated online support and resource for families affected by mesothelioma. The website is impartial and independent with concise information on topics from welfare benefit information to finding the best legal advice. They campaign for asbestos awareness and for support for mesothelioma research to help future generations. The site is dedicated to a relative of the author who sadly died from this disease.

    May 18th 2016.
    Law Society gains award from "Investors in People"

  • The Law Society has been awarded the international people management accreditation "Investors in People". Launched in 1991 and now held by 14,000 organisations in 75 countries, the IIP standard defines what it takes to ‘lead’, ‘support’ and ‘manage’ people well for sustainable results. It is backed by an assessment methodology and framework that reflects the latest workplace trends. Paul Devoy, head of Investors in People, said: ‘Investors in People accreditation is the sign of a great employer, an outperforming place to work and a clear commitment to success.' Law Society chief executive Catherine Dixon, said: ‘We are extremely proud to have been awarded this accreditation. Everything we do at the Law Society is driven by our values – to always act with respect and to work collaboratively.' See the Law Society Gazette for more.

    May 17th 2016.
    A new service from a Direct Access Barrister - Private Prosecutions

  • Private Prosecutions is a new service from Barrister Quentin Hunt. As it says on the site "The Common Law provides any individual with the right to bring a private prosecution. This principle was established more than one hundred years ago. In fact, before the creation of the police in the 19th century, virtually all prosecutions were brought privately. The Prosecution of Offenders Act 1980 formalises this right in statute and the mechanism for bringing this about is outlined in part 7 of the criminal procedure rules 2005. A private prosecution brings the perpetrator of a crime before the court to face justice in the same way that a prosecution by the police and CPS would. If convicted, the criminal would face the same punishment by the courts that they would if the case had been brought by the State." Quentin guides the client through all the processes involved!

    April 27th 2016.
    Legalex Show is on May 11th and 12th
    If you are a Solicitor, also trying to make "Business" pay (the sub text of the event is "The Business behind Law"), then book May 11th or 12th in your diary for a visit to the Legalex show in London at ExCel. This is the biggest UK Exhibition and Event for lawyers and it's free - get free tickets from here. There are 150 exhibitors and 100 free CPD seminars. There is a keynote speech by Jonathan Smithers, President of The Law Society and many other well known speakers including Osman Ismail of DPS Software, David Gilroy of Conscious Solutions, Joe de Wet and Kendra Ross of LEAP Legal Software UK and Mark Garnish of TikitTFB.

    April 25th 2016.
    Web site and blog about Islamic banking and finance

  • IDRAK is a web site covering Islamic Law relating to banking and finance. It provides a primer on Islamic contract law and its sources, before introducing the principal commercial areas: company law (partnerships and corporate governance; the limited liability company), trusts, investment structures and instruments (including sukuk: Islamic investment certificates), insurance, the law of agency/guaranty and wills. It also provides relevant English authorities. Current developments in the UK and abroad are covered in a blog. The author of the site and the blog, Scott Morrison, lectures in English commercial law at Middlesex University in London but also researches Islamic finance and banking, drawing on his scholarly background in Middle East and Islamic studies, which included periods in Turkey, the Maldives and Dubai.

    April 21st 2016.
    HotDocs wins big international award

  • HotDocs, the leading supplier of document automation software, has been named International Technology Star at the 2016 Digital Technology Awards, which took place in Glasgow on Wednesday 20th April. Managed by industry body ScotlandIS, the Digital Technology Awards focus on excellence within the technology sector and reward the innovation, expertise and ambition of businesses. The whole HotDocs team – both in the UK and the US – share in this award. HotDocs won the award against stiff competition from two other global software providers. You can see more about this award here.

    April 15th 2016.
    Eclipse Proclaim Modern Law Conveyancing Awards - Nominations open

  • Eclipse Proclaim Modern Law Conveyancing Awards, set up by Modern Law Magazine, is a major competition between law firms. As it says on the site "Embracing the business of law has never applied more to those operating in the conveyancing market, who have emerged from the darkness of the recession with a new sense of determination. Firms continue to experience an upturn in work and many now are focussing on cementing watertight business strategies that are capable of withstanding any future challenges. The challenge now though, is to do this whilst maintaining a high level of commitment to client care." There are categories for the major regions of England and Wales as well as Search Provider of the Year and Lender of the Year. The distinguished judges include Jonathan Smithers, President of the Law Society, and (it seems) presidents of all the main conveyancing bodies. It is possible to self nominate and it is free to enter, but nominations close on 22nd April.

    April 15th 2016.
    Important new resource on legal aspects of environmental waste and recycling

  • Environmental Waste Permit Lawyers provides information on environmental permitting, pollution prevention and control together with guidance and assistance for waste, recycling and other industries. As it says on the site "If you have been served with a regulatory notice by the Environment Agency or local authority, if you are threatened with a criminal prosecution in the context either of environmental permitting or the handling of waste, or if the regulator has refused you a permit, then this site is here to help you." It also provides information about other pollution- and waste- related matters such as court actions in private nuisance (including fire and flooding). The site is maintained jointly by Yogesh Patel of Edward Hayes solicitors and Gordon Wignall of 6 Pump Court. The site is intended to help businesses to identify and understand key legal issues.

    April 13th 2016.
    New forum in the Family Law area

  • Netlaw is a social media forum and information resource offering support to those experiencing relationship and family problems, with the aim of bridging the gap between those requiring assistance and the professionals able to offer expert advice. This allows people to engage directly who otherwise would not have consulted a professional. A key figure in the new forum is Paul Summerbell, Head of Family Law at Warrens Family Law and Founder and CEO of Accord Mediation Services. Viewers are offered the opportunity to open an account (free of charge at present) and to view articles, blogs and posts as an information resource. They can also participate in public forums or notice boards that permit problems to be posted and answers provided.

    March 30th 2016.
    Hotdocs provide free breakfast briefing sessions
    HotDocs is setting up “Are You Ready?” breakfast briefing roadshows on Wednesday April 13th in Edinburgh, Tuesday 19th April in Manchester and Thursday 19th May in London. The roadshows will feature "best practice" case studies from HSBC, Ceridian and Charles Drayson Law, as well as guest speakers from industry bodies and partners. The briefing says "Delegates will leave with an in-depth understanding of how to identify quick wins, where to start and, more importantly, how to capture success metrics.” The (free) briefings are planned as breakfast sessions with an early start! See here for more details and to register for attendance.

    March 24th 2016.
    Law Society issues new guidance on setting up a practice

  • Law Society's new Practice Note for solicitors who are considering setting up a new practice in England and Wales. The practice note covers the regulatory requirements involved in considerable detail. This practice note would be quite a good "refresher" for existing firms as well!

    March 14th 2016.
    The March/April 2016 issue of the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers is now available!

    March 23rd 2016.
    Eclipse Proclaim goes to the Virgin Islands!

  • Proclaim Case Management Software solution is now safely installed in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions of the Virgin Islands. The ODPP is a constitutionally independent office, handling all aspects of Criminal Law and prosecution for the Territory. Now it has adopted a bespoke version of the Proclaim Case Management System, configuring it to match the Criminal Code and law, eliminating duplicate data entry and ensuring accuracy. There is more information here.

    March 22nd 2016.
    Language courses can be useful to lawyers!

  • Languages 2000 is the website of Susan Isaacs who runs language courses in French, German, Spanish and Italian (at various levels). Her classes are put on in locations designed to be convenient for London professionals, currently at More London, near London Bridge. The next series of courses take place on Thursdays, starting on May 20th and enrollment for these has begun (see her web site). Her clients include students from Norton Rose Fulbright, HSBC, Linklaters, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Herbert Smith, Simmons and Simmons, the GLA and the Bank of England.

    March 19th 2016.
    Legalex 2016 will take place on 11th and 12th May at ExCeL, London

  • Legalex, The National Legal Exhibition & Conference, is the largest national event and conference focused on the Legal Profession and "The Business Behind Law". There is a wide variety of firms and services exhibiting and many talks and seminars (CPD accredited). The first Legalex Exhibition and Conference, last year, was widely reported and well attended. The event is supported by The Law Society, The Institute of Legal Finance and Management, Microsoft and other institutions as well as some key legal suppliers such as Conscious and DPS Software.

    March 14th 2016.
    Law Society Excellence Awards 2016 - now celebrating 10 years

  • Law Society Excellence Awards 2016 are now open, "aiming to recognise the very brightest and best in the legal profession, rewarding exceptional people, teams and organisations." There is an interesting article by Jonathan Rayner in the Law Society Gazette in which he talks to past winners about what the accolade meant and where their careers have taken them since. The deadline for entries is Friday 27 May and the awards ceremony will take place on Thursday 20 October, where the winners will be announced.

    March 12th 2016.
    Law Librarians embrace the value of change at conference in Dublin

  • British and Irish Association of Law Librarians (BIALL) are revisiting Dublin for their annual conference in June. Grant Thornton's Andy Harbison will deliver the keynote speech on the potential threats of cybercrime to legal information professionals. The conference will take place at the DoubleTree by Hilton. The BIALL Annual Dinner on Friday will be hosted in The Round Room at the Mansion House. See here for more.

    February 29th 2016.
    Computing Magazine has a new responsive website

  • Computing Magazine is a key magazine for computing professionals. It provides all the latest news affecting the UK's technology leaders, in-depth research and analysis. The attractive new responsive website works well on desktop, tablet or mobile and there is an app for further personalisation.

    February 26th 2016.
    Gray's Inn Library provides a handy list of free online resources

  • Free Online Resources is a new compilation of a dozen very useful free online legal resources prepared by Gray's Inn Library. There is a pdf version of the list available as well. Also, have a look at my own list of free online resources here and my list of free current awareness sources here.

    February 18th 2016.
    New Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) scheme for continuing competence

  • The Law Society has provided a set of FAQ's relating to the New Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) scheme for continuing competence. It answers questions like "What is continuing competence?", "How is this different from CPD?", "Who must comply" and "What do I need to do?".

    February 12th 2016.
    Special offer from EuroCases until end of March

  • EuroCases is the most comprehensive collection available of national and European case law linked to EU law. It provides a complete document collection of EU legislation and case law of the Court of Justice interlinked with the referring national cases. It can be viewed with an interface in five languages: English, German, French, Italian and Bulgarian. It was developed and it is being maintained and continuously updated by the leading Bulgarian legal information provider APIS Europe JSC. You can take a free tour of the service on the Eurocases site (without registration), set up a full free trial or purchase the service with a 15% discount if ordered before the end of March.

    February 9th 2016.
    Secure Document Exchange from Eclipse is proving popular with 50 users so far

  • SecureDocs is a secure alternative to emailing confidential documentation provided by Eclipse. SecureDocs does not transmit the documents – it sends an email message from Proclaim to the recipient, who then securely accesses an online portal to view images of the document(s). Only the intended recipient can view the documents as only they will have the necessary login details. Recipients can ‘accept’ documents (with a digital signature if they wish) or ‘decline’ them. The sender automatically receives a time-stamped notification back into Proclaim to indicate that the documents have been viewed and whether they have been accepted or declined. Additional workflow can be built in to progress the case onwards automatically, if appropriate.

    February 4th 2016.
    Hotdocs is already a world market leader - and it goes on growing

  • HotDocs is the market leading provider of automated document generation software, with customers in 60 different countries and a user-base, globally, that exceeds one million. It is widely used within the banking, legal, insurance, public and corporate sectors. In 2015, revenue grew by 24%, with new products such as HotDocs Market publishing platform, released in the USA. And it all started (and is still partially based) in Scotland! And it also started, to a large extent, in the legal market.

    January 29th 2016.
    Legal Landscape Report reviews the issues affecting the UK’s legal IT

  • A major report from Converge TS and Zylpha finds that Cybersecurity, Agility and the Digitisation of UK courts and online services are the key concerns for legal firms in the year ahead.
    *Cybersecurity is starting to take centre stage in the press. As law firms are under an obligation to protect client data by the SRA and the Information Commissioner’s Office, the processes for securing data and systems from cybercrime will be a practice priority in 2016.
    *Agility will also become increasingly important. As clients are demanding access to legal services anytime and anywhere, the ability to work from remote locations at times to suit clients’ needs becomes essential. This in turn will drive concepts like mobile working and BYOD.
    You can see the whole report here.

    January 28th 2016.
    Quill achieve national recognition as a good employer

  • Quill Pinpoint have achieved ‘1 Star’ accreditation for 2016 by Best Companies, the organisation behind ‘The Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For’ lists. The ranking is based on the results of Best Companies’ national annual survey of almost 410,000 employees from over 1,300 UK-based companies who were invited to rate their employers on attributes such as leadership, management, personal growth, wellbeing and community involvement. Last year, Quill were awarded ‘One to Watch’ accreditation; this year it is ‘1 Star’ status. (What for next year, I wonder?) Full story.

    January 11th 2016.
    Free Access to Law Movement (FALM) has a new website

  • Free Access to Law Movement (FALM) was set up in 2002. There is a list of more than 50 members on the site (all the important legal information sites around the world), a full declaration of the aims and purposes of the movement in 17 languages (a small part is shown below), notices of conferences and various papers and journals.
    Here is an extract from the declaration:
    "Legal information institutes of the world, meeting in Montreal, declare that:
    * Public legal information from all countries and international institutions is part of the common heritage of humanity. Maximising access to this information promotes justice and the rule of law;
    * Public legal information is digital common property and should be accessible to all on a non-profit basis and free of charge;
    * Organisations such as legal information institutes have the right to publish public legal information and the government bodies that create or control that information should provide access to it so that it can be published by other parties.
    * Public legal information means legal information produced by public bodies that have a duty to produce law and make it public. It includes primary sources of law, such as legislation, case law and treaties, as well as various secondary (interpretative) public sources, such as reports on preparatory work and law reform, and resulting from boards of inquiry. It also includes legal documents created as a result of public funding.

    January 6th 2016.
    Reviews of 2015 and advice for 2016, from key legal opinion makers

  • Criminal Law – 2015 Case Law Review from ICLR covers the most significant criminal cases decided in 2015
  • Review of immigration law in 2015 from Free Movement Immigration Law blog, Garden Court Chambers, edited by Colin Yeo
  • 2015 round up – property disputes is an analysis of most important cases of last 12 months from Hugh James Solicitors.
  • 10 human rights cases that defined 2015 from Jim Duffy, of UK Human Rights blog, 1 Crown Office Row.
  • 7 New Year's resolutions for privacy pros from Eduardo Ustaran, Privacy and Data Protection expert at Hogan Lovells.

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