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Last updated July 1st 2015.
UK not hot enough for you? How about the Caribbean?

  • Eclipse Legal will be implementing its Proclaim Case Management Software Solution for The Government of the British Virgin Islands. The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions there handles all aspects of Criminal Law and prosecution including Magisterial, High Court, Appeals, and Privy Council. They will use a specially adapted version of the software, providing staff with instant desktop access and ensuring a secure, consistent and efficient approach. Eclipse has 160 staff at its Yorkshire HQ and Proclaim software system is in use by 22,000 professionals within a wide range of market sectors.

    Last updated June 29th 2015.
    Legal Software Suppliers Association elects new officers

  • The Legal Software Suppliers Association (LSSA) is the UK industry body for legal software developers and vendors. They provide a very important link between legal software providers and the law firms who buy their systems and they set and maintain professional standards within the legal software industry. Matt Lancaster, of Osprey Legal Cloud is the new Chairman and Dominic Cullis of Easy Convey Ltd is Vice Chair. Phil Snee of Linetime Ltd continues as Treasurer and Patrick Carmody of Perfect Software Ltd as Chair of the Membership Committee. Steve Dixon of Select Software will now chair the Disciplinary committee. At last week’s AGM Roger Hancock retired as Chief Executive of the LSSA having held this role for over 19 years and he was presented with a leaving gift to thank him for the many years of service and his contribution to what is now a very strong industry sector. Glyn Morris is the new Chief Executive.

    Last updated June 28th 2015.
    A free ecommerce seminar in Manchester from I-COM on Thursday 16th July

  • I-COM are offering a free morning seminar on how a firm can harness the power of Google to get the most out of their digital campaign. There are speakers from Google and I-COM and the event is hosted by Barclays Bank. The event (from 8 30 to 10 30) is free but places are limited; you can register on the site.

    New Law Society practice note on the use of social media by legal professionals

  • The Law Society has issued an updated practice note on the use of social media by legal professionals. It includes guidance on ethical considerations, online social networking, benefits/risks and setting a social media policy. As it says on the site "Social media is increasingly popular and the legal profession must keep up to date with developments, which can present real opportunities if harnessed effectively. In particular, clients may expect that the profession should also embrace it as part of its working practices. The updated guidance brings you a clearer definition of social media, more information on the benefits and risks of using social media and new case studies on how social media is being used within the profession."

    Last updated June 22nd 2015.
    Justis blog is not like other blogs

  • Justis blog is not like other blogs. The Justis editorial team are immersed in the law every day and whilst they are working they spot developments in the courts & changes to legislation that are of particular importance to practitioners and add them to this blog. Items cover everything from the latest case digests and legal commentaries to helpdesk articles on product-related issues. Content is well presented and "easy to read". You can subscribe to receive a bulletin, either weekly or monthly, of the latest items (you sign up on the blog homepage).

    Last updated June 21st 2015.
    Have you thought of setting up an apprenticeship in your firm?

  • Gateway Training Consortium is an organisation which works with employers to set up Apprenticeships. Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes designed around the needs of employers but also providing an excellent way for young people (who may, or may not, already be an employee of the organisation) to gain a nationally recognised qualification. There are 190 different Apprenticeships available under the current scheme, including for the legal profession, and the organisation has asked me to let people know about the scheme.

    Celia Powell (contact details below) tells me:
    "The Apprentice is employed by the Solicitors for 12 months whilst they complete their Apprenticeship qualification. The Apprentice would then hopefully progress to roles such as Office Manager, Paralegal or Legal Secretary. An Apprentice should be given the same employee rights as other members of staff and would need to work between 30 and 40 hours a week. The minimum payment rate is an hourly rate of �2.73, though we find Employers offering four pounds an hour or more receive higher calibre candidates. Currently there is a Government Grant of £1,500 paid to the business, once the Apprentice has been with the firm for thirteen weeks. The grant is not guaranteed and eligibility is worked out on an Individual basis. We organise their Apprenticeship training, this is completed whilst the Apprentice is at work with an Assessor who would visit the Apprentice in the work place for two hours once a month. Our service is free and we operate nationally, however our resources are limited with regard to being able to contact Law Firms and I am hoping that you could encourage people to contact us."

    Celia Powell, National Apprenticeship Manager
    Gateway Training Consortium Ltd
    celia@gatewaytrainingconsortium.co.uk
    Tel/Fax 01702 714519, Mobile 07791326949

    Last updated June 16th 2015.
    Eclipse wins "job creator of the year" award in Bradford

  • Eclipse Legal Systems has won the "Job Creator of the Year" award at the Telegraph and Argus "Bradford Means Business" event, beating several much larger organisations. Founded in 1987, Eclipse Legal Systems now employs over 160 staff many and many of these jobs have been created in the last few years - 40 in 2013, 30 in 2014 and a further 10 so far this year.

    Last updated June 8th 2015.
    Free demos of the new mobile app from DPS Software designed for criminal law firms

  • iAttend is the new mobile app from DPS Software designed for criminal law firms. This product allows users to record time and fill in a set of pre-designed forms (Police Station Attendance, Crown Court, Magistrates Court Attendance etc.) on any mobile device, from any location with or without Internet access. Being mobile compatible, the app can be downloaded on any Apple or Android mobile device and is integrated with DPS’s case management system. Demonstrations of iAttend will be held on 7th July at the Nottinghamshire Law Society, 8th July at the Manchester Law Society and 9th July at the Bristol Law Society. The demonstrations are free and there is no obligation implied by attending. You can register and select a convenient location and time slot here.

    Last updated May 30th 2015.
    Conscious are offering free half day workshops in Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and London

  • Conscious Solutions are putting on what they call M+E+M=P workshops - Marketing, Efficiency, Money and Profit - to help a law firm maximise profits. The workshops are designed for Marketing and Finance managers and there will be leading legal industry specialists to talk on these topics. The workshops are in Bristol on 23 June, Birmingham on 1 July, Manchester on 2 July and London on 7 July, from 1.15pm till 5.00pm in each case. More details and a booking form are here.

    Last updated May 29th 2015.
    Datalaw meet new SRA training requirements head on with a new "bundle" of 16 hours CPD.

  • Datalaw is one of the leading suppliers of training to solicitors, providing a wide variety of online courses. Now they are responding to the SRA's new requirements with a "bundle" of 19 Regulatory and Compliance courses for fixed prices starting at £250 for an individual purchase (although presumably an individual solicitor will only want 16 hours!). There is a list of the courses and more details here.

    Last updated May 28th 2015.
    Is your cashier going on maternity leave or taking an extended holiday? Quill Pinpoint can fill the gap.

  • Quill Pinpoint is the UK’s largest outsourced legal cashiering provider with over 35 years of experience supplying software and outsourcing services to law firms. Any legal accounts department needs a constant cashier presence to manage inbound and outbound finances according to the governance of the SRA Accounts Rules. While it can be very difficult to cover for sudden unexpected staff absenteeism, other scheduled non-attendance, such as holidays or maternity leave, can be catered for by arranging to use the Quill Pinpoint service for a particular period. Rachael Fisher, Practice Manager at Richard Griffiths & Co Solicitors, dscribes how it worked for her firm in a case study here.

    logo saying NEW Internet Newsletter for Lawyers - May/June 2015 issue - free to view online!
  • Paul Magrath of ICLR reviews sites which assist public understanding of the law
  • Bill Jones of JMW Solicitors describes how he manages his LinkedIn group
  • Claire Perry describes how emplaw online has been updated and now relaunched
  • Rob Hailstone of Bold Legal Group asks if Veyo is the future of conveyancing
  • Richard Best says care is needed if users post comments or content on your site
  • Christian Browne of Summerfield Browne describes how he set up a commercial firm on a virtual model
  • Nick Holmes describes the Internet of Things and the legal issues involved
  • Paul Magrath shows how ICLR and BAILII act as custodians and gatekeepers to public legal information
  • Last updated May 27th 2015.
    Veyo announces that it has begun to roll out its services across England and Wales

  • Veyo is the joint venture between the Law Society and Mastek (UK) Ltd which brings together electronically all the processes, checks and documentation prepared and undertaken by solicitors and licensed conveyancers in the sale and purchase of residential properties. The first users will be those firms who have already placed orders, thereafter the firms who have registered interest and then the remainder of the market. The full Veyo service includes the ability to upload search results, to transmit and receive key documents, to exchange contracts online via the ‘Deal Room’, to see the progress of a chain of transactions for homebuyers, estate agents and conveyancers, and to upload HMRC information and interface with Land Registry. The system provides an audit trail, free AML searches and conveyancing forms and a fully functioning case management system (CMS). Firms with existing CMS will, subject to the collaboration of their provider, be able to integrate their existing system into the required elements of Veyo’s services.

    Last updated May 21st 2015.
    Are you struggling to make your web site mobile-friendly? Mobiletest.me is a big help!

  • mobiletest.me is a wonderful site for testing your site to see how it looks in different types of mobile device. It is amazingly easy to use and, best of all, you can scroll down the page to see how the "lower" sections of the page look and you can also check the links. You cannot do either of these things with the Google mobile-friendly test. You can try mobiletest.me for free and, at the moment, it is still free to use even if you use it intensively; take the "beta" link. (There will be a charge eventually but I reckon it will be worth it - the service is invaluable.)

    Last updated May 21st 2015.
    DPS launch new cloud-based case and practice management system, called dpscloud

  • dpscloud is the latest product to be launched by DPS Software. DPS is one of the longest established and most innovative software suppliers for lawyers in the UK and they have had a cloud-based system for some time. However, this new version has been built from the ground up to get the best out of the modern online world: it allows fee earners to record time, create attendance notes, dictate against a file, create emails from tasks and view their file history from any location with Internet access.
    See the article by Osman Ismail of DPS in the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers.

    Last updated May 20th 2015.
    Hoowla users can now request Land Registry documents from their case management systems

  • Hoowla is an online conveyancing case management for solicitors or other conveyancers, estate agents and the clients, using the latest cloud based technology. Now users can link up their Land Registry Business Gateway Account from the conveyancing case management software and can request Official Copies of Documents. There is no software to install; the user can access Hoowla through any internet-connected device.
    Hoowla have also recently partnered with Signable, the key UK provider Electronic Signatures, to deliver digital document signing.
    See Hoowla Features for more.

    Last updated May 19th 2015.
    ICLR is 150 years old and is asking readers "Which cases have made the greatest contribution to legal history?"

  • The Incorporated Council of Law Reporting (ICLR), is marking its 150th birthday by inviting readers to vote for the most significant cases reported in The Law Reports since 1865. Which cases have made the greatest contribution to legal history? There will be a special Anniversary Edition of the Law Reports, which will include the 15 top cases voted for by readers. ICLR will make the judgments of all of the cases nominated available for publication on BAILII. More details here.

    Last updated May 17th 2015.
    Conscious Solutions and Law League will merge on 1 June 2015

  • Law League was formed in 2011 by Andrew Roberts and provides client satisfaction surveys to law firms throughout the UK. Their benchmarking database currently has over 600,000 data points. Conscious Solutions, led by David Gilroy, is a large and successful marketing agency focused exclusively on the UK legal sector. It has 27 staff operating from offices in central Bristol and delivers a wide range of services to over 230 law firms in the UK including designing new responsive websites, improving search engine rankings and implementing a firm's PPC campaign. Law League will be merged into Conscious Solutions on 1st June.

    Last updated May 14th 2015.
    Probate Plus can help with filling up IHT forms!

  • Law Systems' Software Probate Plus can help fill out IHT forms, in particular IHT205 and IHT400 (integrated). To do this, the user needs to be using Acrobat Standard, Acrobat Professional, Oyez or Iris forms. The completion of these forms requires an extra piece of software to be downloaded from the Law Systems site but it is free of charge for registered users.

    Last updated May 13th 2015.
    Eclipse and Veyo announce their plans for integration

  • Eclipse Legal Systems, the Law Society Endorsed provider of legal software solutions, has announced its plans for integration with Veyo, the soon-to-be-launched conveyancing portal. Eclipse’s conveyancing clients range from new start-ups through major high-street practices to volume conveyancing firms and their Proclaim Conveyancing Case Management Solution is highly regarded in the marketplace. Veyo, the joint venture between The Law Society and Mastek (UK) Ltd, a global IT Solutions company, will bring together electronically all the processes, checks and documentation prepared and undertaken by solicitors and licensed conveyancers in the sale and purchase of residential properties. By integrating with Veyo, Eclipse’s clients will benefit from unique features such as the chain view and deal room, sharing information between the Proclaim Case Management Solution and Veyo’s system, removing the need for duplication and increasing transparency.

    See more on Veyo here.

    Last updated May 12th 2015.

    DPS launches secure, cloud-based Case & Practice Management System

  • DPS Spitfire is a new web-based practice management system designed for mobile devices - and for the mobile practitioner. The system allows fee earners to record time, create attendance notes, dictate against a file, create emails from tasks and view their file history from any location with Internet access. The system is set up with top level security similar to the one used by banks.

    Last updated May 9th 2015.

    Personal Injury site with a difference

  • Optimal Solicitors specialize in legal services, including personal injury, flight delay, PPI & financial mis-selling claims for native Eastern & Northern European language speakers. The site has the subheading "because we speak your language" and they actually mean it! The site is published in Polish, Romanian, Lithuanian & Russian (and English) and there are topical articles on the various services they provide. The lawyers share these languages between them so there are specialists in each.

    Last updated April 24th 2015.

    Developing free access to the law

  • Custodians and gatekeepers: maintaining access to public legal information is a thought provoking article by ICLR's Paul Magrath on the importance of developing free access to the law, not only legislation but also case law. He considers the pros and cons of placing the custodianship of public legal information in public, private or – a third way – charitable (or non-profit) hands. He looks at the situation as it was, as it is now, and as it might be in the future.

    Last updated April 23rd 2015.

    Relaunched Emplaw Online is an important online resource, once again

  • Emplaw Online was re-launched in January 2015, offering up to date, easily searchable and logically presented information, written by named leading employment lawyers at an affordable price.

    The company was originally founded by city lawyer Henry Scrope in the 1990s and became a highly respected daily tool for thousands of people who relied on its extensive database of comprehensive information and case summaries. In 2014 the service was bought by Constantia Associates, who have redeveloped the site from the ground up using a leading content management framework. They have also worked with contributors in chambers and top law practices to fully update the content.

    Information for subscribers is presented in individual ‘law cards’ covering hundreds of employment law topics. Each card is hyperlinked to related cards and to Emplaw's archive of thousands of case summaries and to useful third party sites. There is a general search tool and an A-Z index which includes some free initial information for each topic.

    Since the re-launch of the site, the subscriber base has apparently been growing steadily and includes Government departments, judges and advisory agencies; employment lawyers in private practice; commercial businesses; unions and employer and employee advisory organisations.

    Last updated April 21st 2015.

    Bold Legal Group represents conveyancers, tired of (often) being at the bottom of the food chain

  • Bold Legal Group is a network of over 350 conveyancing law firms of all shapes and sizes. It is run by Rob Hailstone, who has many years experience of residential conveyancing and of campaigning on conveyancing topics. The group looks at all the tricky topics of conveyancers today: SRA Fraud Alerts, Law Society Practice Notes, scam emails, CML Handbook changes and (over the last year) has been following the announcements and planning for the new Veyo system for conveyancing, backed by the Law Society. The members of BLG member work very cooperatively, sharing their knowledge and their worries and watching out for each other generally. Additional members are very welcome.
    Rob Hailstone has written an important article "Veyo - the future of conveyancing?" for the next issue of the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers coming out in early May. Watch this space for notice of when it is available!

    Last updated April 20th 2015.

    Ezi Urieto (her middle name is Destiny) wins life changing scholarship from Datalaw
    A woman who overcame huge adversity to gain a first-class law degree has won a national competition which will help her achieve her dream of becoming a solicitor. The 28-year-old, who lives in Oxford, was chosen from 1,600 entrants to receive the inaugural Datalaw Scholarship, which will see the firm pay her Legal Practice Course tuition fees. At the age of nine, Ezi was separated from her family in her native Nigeria and brought up by a carer in the London Borough of Hackney following her father’s death in a car accident. In her teens, she was homeless for a while, and she then faced a deportation battle with the Home Office while studying for her A-levels.

    Inspired by the solicitor and barrister who represented her during her five-year fight, which ended with a successful appeal against deportation, Ezi became determined to pursue a legal career and enrolled on a law degree course at Birmingham City University. She graduated in 2012 with first-class honours, then landed a job with Oxford City Council’s legal team as an assistant. Earlier this year, she joined the real estate department at Abingdon practice Brook Street des Roches as a legal secretary.

    She said: “I’m overwhelmed and very grateful to win this scholarship. It will change my life. I have dreamed of becoming a solicitor, but have realised how hard it would be to achieve my goal. Now that Datalaw has shown such faith in my ability, the LPC will hopefully bring me opportunities to obtain a training contract." The Datalaw Scholarship is worth up to £12,000 and was launched last August. Datalaw is an e-learning business which provides legal CPD training to thousands of solicitors nationwide. There is more information on the competition here.

    Last updated April 16th 2015.

    New videos from Woolley & Co. make divorce advice more accessible

  • Woolley & Co is a divorce and family law firm which has always been innovative, with a devolved structure (8 lawyers in a number of locations) an active internet approach from a very early stage and fixed fees. They have now developed around 30 short videos of the lawyers so that potential clients can "meet" them before taking advantage of a free half hour initial consultation. The videos cover key topics likely to be of interest to the viewers, such as no fault divorce, parental responsibility, pensions and divorce, advice for separating parents and information about financial settlements. The videos are accessible individually from the firm's web site but can also be viewed on YouTube where you can see the whole collection and choose what questions to ask and which lawyers to view. There are also "playlists" on You Tube to pull together related content all in one place. There is further information on the intentions behind the initiative in a post on the firm's blog.

    Last updated April 15th 2015.

    DPS Offers "1 click" Know Your Customer compliance solution

  • DPS users can now carry out ID and Anti Money Laundering (AML) checks with one click straight from their case management system which then links into the data of AML verification specialist SmartSearch. A clear PASS or REFER result comes back in seconds and the resulting certificate is saved against the corresponding matter in the DPS system. The document outlines the data used to calculate the result (the data has been collected from multiple independent sources) which can be printed or downloaded as a PDF. DPS users can carry out Know Your Customer (KYC) and Customer Due Diligence (CDD) checks for each of their new clients and the search can be repeated as many times as required, should circumstances change. The system also provides an “Alerts Service” that triggers an email alert to the Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO) if risk sanctions and warnings have been encountered. The full press release can be seen here.

    Last updated April 15th 2015.

    Winner of LPC Scholarship from Datalaw to be announced online, TODAY Wednesday

  • Datalaw are announcing the winner of their LPC scholarship live and online on Wed 15th. There were over 1,600 entries which were narrowed down to the final 50 candidates. The 50 then had to provide a film or write a blog explaining why they felt they deserved to win the LPC scholarship (worth £12,000) and the 10 finalists were chosen. Datalaw will announce the winner, live and online, at 2 pm on Wed 15th April. To join in the session those interested can tweet to @datalaw or call 01512420065.

    Last updated April 10th 2015.

    100 Best Legal Blogs from UK and Ireland

  • Many people have stopped doing blogs, and have moved to Twitter and LinkedIn instead. However, many of the older and most important legal blogs are still flourishing and they provide an important legal resource. Generally, people who write blogs create their posts with care and attention, which is not always the case with the newer social media outlets! Have a look at my newly updated page 100 Best Legal Blogs from UK and Ireland. Please let me know if I am missing something really good!

    Last updated April 8th 2015.

    The British and Irish Association of Law Librarians goes to Brighton for its annual conference in June

  • The British and Irish Association of Law Librarians (BIALL) is holding its 46th Annual Study Conference and Exhibition in Brighton this year, at the Hilton Brighton Metropole, from Thursday 11th to Saturday 13th June. The theme is Collaboration, Co-operation and Connectivity, referred to, in a sly reference to the Brighton location, as the "High C's". The key lecture will be by Professor Stephen Mayson on options for the future development of legal services regulation and how information professionals can support the evolution of legal services. The LexisLibrary Awards will be announced as well as the BIALL-Wildy Law Librarian of the Year. The conference is sponsored by LexisNexis, ICLR and Wildy. More details here.

    The Contemporary Family Show to take place on 10th and 11th October 2015

  • A City Law Firm, founded and managed by Karen Holding, is hosting a not-for-profit show and exhibition called the contemporary family show 2015 at Excel in London on 10th and 11th October. The Show will provide prospective parents with invaluable (and legally based) information on the options available through seminars, exhibitors' stands and literature and by covering subjects such as surrogacy, fertility, IVF, co-parenting, fostering and adoption. The show aims to help every form of contemporary family ranging from same-sex and heterosexual couples to single men and women to three parent arrangements with known sperm donors. The event is planned as a not for profit show so Karen and her co-sponsors can attract a diverse range of exhibitors rather than "just" the rich ones and at the same time support the Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT) by donating all proceeds to them and offering them a free stand and seminar, branding and raffle draw. There are opportunities for firms who are active in these general areas to exhibit, provide a seminar and/or become a sponsor. These activities will also provide an important marketing boost to the firms involved and there will only be one exhibitor in each professional field and territory. There is an initial information sheet here.

    Last updated April 2nd 2015.

    Law Society launches a "2020 discussion" to clarify its goals

  • Law Society 2020 is the title of a study to provide "The chance for current and future members to tell us how we can best represent, support and promote their practice and the profession in future years."
    They will be asking questions like:
  • what the future looks like for the legal sector
  • what regulation should look like
  • the title of solicitor and its value to the profession, business and the public
  • what the Law Society's role should be in legal education and professional standards
  • how we should manage our relationships and influencing to achieve the changes our members want
  • how we tailor what we do to support, promote and represent different parts of our diverse membership.
    From now until June they will be having "wide and open conversations about their future role" by meeting members, writing articles and having themed discussions on social media. It is planned to use social media extensively in this process. For Twitter, they will be using the hashtag #lawsociety2020.

    Last updated April 1st 2015.

    Latest Legal Web Watch from Nick Holmes is now published!

  • Legal Web Watch covers SRA's new competence regime, new social media platforms for lawyers and the beginnings of the legal web 20 years ago. His web site infolaw and mine, Legal Resources in the UK and Ireland both started 20 years ago - his site just a few months ahead of mine. We were rivals until we decided that there was enough business for both of us and we became friends. Also, see my latest Legal Web Picks. For these, Nick takes a selection of my "New" items, as below!

    The first part of this entry came from 24th March, but then I had to update it on March 31st.
    Prizes for the firms with the largest number of specialised sites!

  • Firms of Solicitors with Specialised Websites (Work-related Domain Names) is a page I have maintained for quite a few years created to cover those additional sites which solicitors have set up for particular topics, often quite exoteric ones, but where the existence of a site with that url and name will cause the site to be well treated in Google searches. The two firms which win any contest along these lines are Bonallack and Bishop and Norrie Waite and Slater. Here are their sites!

    Last updated March 27th 2015.

    Legal Topics with a difference from Justis Publishing

  • The Justis blog is well worth watching, with topics which are just a little bit different: It seems to me that the topics would be very useful for law students, and also for non-lawyers who are interested in the law, and in how history and law are intertwined. Melanie Davidson of Justis says "We’ve recently been trying to change the blog’s focus onto legal research more generally so we have written posts on cases and laws/judgments. It seems that these are proving popular when we consider the number of views they are receiving."

    Last updated March 13th 2015.

    Nottingham Law School has applied to the Solicitors Regulation Authority to become an Alternative Business Structure

  • Nottingham Law School, part of Nottingham Trent University, has applied to the SRA for an ABS licence that would allow it to create a “teaching law firm”. It is one of the largest university law schools in the UK, with over 100 academic staff and 2,500 students. This is the first application made by a university and, if granted, would apply to the law school’s newly expanded Legal Advice Centre which is likely to take on nearly 200 pro bono cases in the next academic year. Cases range from employment to IP and the Centre supports community outreach projects and legal education projects. See Legal Futures for more on this.

    logo saying NEW Internet Newsletter for Lawyers - Highlights of the March/April 2015 issue:
    • Ruth Bird and Natasha Choolhun look at the new SRA competence requirements in the online environment
    • Shireen Smith of Azrights examines whether you should bid on AdWords for a competitor's trade marks
    • Ruth Baker, long-time General Manager of SCL, remembers developments during her tenure
    • Barrister Colin Yeo describes how he uses social media for personal and professional development
    • Sue Bramall of Berners Marketing on how to implement a contact management system effectively
    • Loyita Worley of Reed Smith guides us through the resources available for researching sanctions
    • Nick Holmes reviews the onerous new VAT rules on cross-border sales of digital services
    • Richard Hugo-Hamman of LEAP Legal Software offers 5 practical tips to make the paperless office happen
    • Julian Brian of Quill Pinpoint gives you 5 reasons to outsource your payroll with the introduction of auto-enrolment pensions

    Last updated March 10th 2015.

    Law Society's new Guide to Common Legal Issues, and how to get started with them

  • The Law Society has launched a series of guides for members of the public to explain how to get help for problems that commonly arise. The guides are written "in plain English" and there are explanatory videos at various points as well. You can see the Guides here. The following topics are covered:
    • Your guide to buying a home
    • Your guide to making a will
    • Your guide to setting up a business
    • Your guide to renting a home
    • Your guide to renting out your property
    • Your guide to getting a divorce
    • Your guide to making a personal injury claim
    • Your guide to probate
    • Your guide to claiming asylum
    • Your guide to problems at work
    • Your guide to financial matters for older people
    • Your guide to setting up home with your partner
    The guides are obviously aimed at persuading people to use a solicitor (well, what do you expect) but in this day and age of multiple sources of competition, this seems a perfectly valid approach for the Law Society to take!

    Last updated March 4th 2015.

    Google+ is taking a back seat at Google

  • After nearly 4 years of hype and effort, Google+ as a social network is being sidelined by Google, with the emphasis switching to the two other parts of Google+ which are doing well - Photos (which has been very successful) and Streams (a competitor to Facebook). Bradley Horowitz, Google VP and one of Google+’s key architects, is now in charge of “Google’s Photos and Streams products" and agreed that Google+, as we know it, is being phased out. As always, Google's announcements are opaque but commentators are pretty clear as to what is happening. Here are four sources of information (and conjecture):
  • Wired
  • threepipe
  • Yahoo Tech
  • Mashable

    Last updated March 3rd 2015.

    Justis Publishing launches new Offshore Case Law Package

  • Justis Publishing has brought together the most important cases from key offshore jurisdictions - The Jersey Law Reports, Cayman Islands Law Reports and Justis BVI Cases - for the first time in a new collection for offshore practitioners. The new package contains over 4,700 cases, across these series. This is complemented by the JustCite citator, which currently indexes and links to over 100 other data providers. This enables lawyers to find leading authorities and establish the current status of the law in common law jurisdictions across the world.
    There is more information about the new collection here.

    Last updated February 27th 2015.

    Net Neutrality wins - for now at least

  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the USA passed new regulations on Thursday to protect the free flow of content on the Internet. This means that internet Service providers (ISPs) cannot favour some sources of information over others. They cannot give priority to companies they are associated with (e.g. Amazon or Netflicks) which might pay them to "speed up" their content ("paid prioritization") or slow down others that they are not associated with. Steve Wozniak, co-found of Apple, said he "had to be there" at the hearings and was pictured in US media applauding enthusiastically. The new rules will become effective in 60 days but there are plans afoot to challenge the legality of these and/or bring in new legisation which would make the new rules redundant. Opponents of the regulations, including many US broadband companies (who would have benefited from the additional source of income from some sources paying for the faster transmission) said that the decision will reduce investment and innovation.

    Last updated February 23rd 2015.

    New web site from De Tullio Law Firm provides lots of information on Italian Property And Inheritance Law

  • De Tullio Law Firm may be 50 years old but it has just launched a spanking new web site. Run by Giandomenico De Tullio, they are specialists in Italian Property and Inheritance Law. Based in Rome, they also have a London branch to serve UK clients. The web site offers extensive descriptions in PDF form of the Italian legal processes involved in buying or selling property in Italy as well as an Italian Succession Guide. There are also helpful video descriptions of these processes and a series of detailed articles on particular topics in these legal areas (all in English by the way). A first consultation is free.

    Last updated February 20th 2015.

    Top four jobs in YouGov poll - author, librarian, academic, lawyer....

  • New YouGov research reveals that the most desired jobs in Britain are not what you might expect; they are not even the most reliably well paid ones. Instead of actors and musicians, it seems that an aura of prestige still surrounds the quiet, intellectual life enjoyed by authors (60% of respondents say that they would like to be an author), librarians (54%), academics (51%) and lawyers (43%). In most cases, men and women have similar views although (surprise, surprise) men are far more likely to want to be train drivers, Formula 1 drivers, astronauts and MPs, while women are far more likely to want to be interior designers and librarians. The British and Irish Association of Law Librarians (BIALL) is pleased with the results and says "Whilst it might be said that many respondents could be envisaging a stereotype rather than the reality of the multifaceted role of the modern librarian, many law librarians certainly agree that ours is a very desirable career." See here for the full YouGov poll results, and also some ascerbic comments from viewers who wondered why certain other jobs and professions were not even put in the list of options e.g. "Not one single scientist or engineer, nurse, home maker or artist".

    Last updated February 20th 2015.

    Well presented IP information site - with solid articles on current IP topics

  • Primary Opinion is a legal news and online legal & business information portal covering intellectual property law including patents, trade marks and copyright. They publish and distribute legal information online from professional advisory firms, including law firms, to sector-specific audiences. Their editorial team have a great deal of experience in the online content and legal services markets. The service is free to read and contribute.

    Last updated February 19th 2015.

    I like Twitter (I really do) but I have several gripes (6 so far) about Twitter users...

    Last updated February 16th 2015.

    Online disputes system similar to that used by eBay could be used in the UK Courts

  • A new report from the Civil Justice Council recommends that non-criminal disputes of less than £25,000 could be dealt with in a new Internet-based court service, to be known as HM Online Court (HMOC). This would not just be a question of computerising existing legal processes, but of using computers, and particularly online services, to completely change the way that the court system operates. The principal author of the report is Prof Richard Susskind and the report has been welcomed by Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service.

    The proposed online dispute resolution scheme would be similar to the one used by online marketplace eBay to diagnose and resolve disputes.

    The process is designed to operate in 3 tiers:

    Tier One will help users with a grievance to classify and categorize their problem, to be aware of their rights and obligations, and to understand the options and remedies available to them.

    Tier Two will provide online facilitators, effectively mediators, to review papers and statements and help parties through mediation and negotiation. The process will be supported where necessary, by telephone conferencing facilities. There will also be some automated negotiation, which are systems that help parties resolve their differences without the intervention of human experts.

    Tier Three of HMOC will provide Online Judges – full-time and part-time members of the Judiciary who will decide suitable cases or parts of cases on an online basis, largely on the basis of papers submitted to them electronically as part of a structured process of online pleading. This process will again be supported, where necessary, by telephone conferencing facilities.

    The report, from the council's online dispute resolution advisory group, suggests conducting a pilot, ahead of an anticipated full roll-out in 2017.

    Last updated February 15th 2015.

    DPS integrates its case management software with iManage for Taylor Vinters

  • Taylor Vinters is a major firm of Solicitors based in Cambridge, London and Singapore. They use iManage from Autonomy for their document management needs as well as DPS Outlook Office for case management. The firm wanted it all integrated, e.g. a document created by DPS’s case management software had to be accessed in the normal way but also checked into iManage automatically, without any user intervention. Similarly, Of course, if an iManage user checked a document into the case directly through iManage and outside of DPS, then DPS would need to synchronise the case automatically. Key members of DPS led a team to make all this happen.
    On a personal note, this is a success story of two of my old friends - DPS because I have been recommending their software for some 20 years, and Taylor Vinters because my father, John Poole, was the first Senior Partner of the original Vinters in Cambridge (that's considerably more than 20 years ago, by the way). I have had a soft spot for Vinters - and then Taylor Vinters - every since.

    Last updated February 14th 2015.

    Scottish Lawyers can keep up to date with legal news *and* be a guest blogger

  • ScotsLawBlog provides the most recent news relevant to Scots lawyers and businesses both those domiciled in Scotland and those established elsewhere looking to set up or develop their business in Scotland. The blog is written by Gavin Ward, a solicitor, previously employed by a top Scottish law firm, former Citizens Advice Bureau adviser and private law tutor at the University of Glasgow. There is a facility for law firms, lawyers and law students to display their own legal knowledge and skills as "guest bloggers" - an easy way to try out blogging, with the benefit of the extensive social media coverage of this blog, and without the hassle. The blog also deals with academic legal topics, particularly ones related to Scotland.

    Last updated February 13th 2015.

    Ireland claims world first for women solicitors

  • The Law Society of Ireland has announced that female Irish solicitors now outnumber male solicitors practising in the republic. Ken Murphy, director general of the Law Society of Ireland said: "There were exactly 4,623 female practising solicitors and exactly 4,609 male practising solicitors at the close of 2014." The Law Society of England and Wales said that if average annual growth rates in the numbers of practising certificate holders from the previous five years (2008-2013) remain at 4.1% for women and 1.3% for men, the number of female PC holders will exceed the number of male PC holders by 2017. My thanks to the Law Society Gazette for this story.

    Last updated February 9th 2015.

    Two great companies - Tikit and Epoq - bring their skills together

  • Tikit has a very long pedigree in the legal computing business, having built on TFB - one of my favourite software systems over many years. Now part of BT, Tikit has financial strength as well as innovative software.
  • Epoq was the original developer of automated drafting systems, long before it became fashionable, and has maintained an innovative technical lead every since.
    Now these two companies have joined forces to offer a new product called Tikit LawDraft, an online digital drafting and collaboration tool integrated into the tikit software. Tikit LawDraft utilises Epoq’s online document automation technology, Rapidocs® to enable legal professionals to create documents online very efficiently and, in a new development, to enable client and colleague collaboration to co-draft documents for greater speed and accuracy. Accessible online and via mobile devices, Tikit LawDraft includes an extensive library of over 800 up-to-date interactive document and form templates, covering family law, wills, powers of attorney, landlord, employment and business law.

    Last updated February 6th 2015.

    Law Society launches 2015 Diversity Access Scheme

  • The Law Society Diversity Access Scheme (DAS) aims to increase social diversity in the legal profession by supporting promising entrants from disadvantaged backgrounds or those who face exceptional obstacles to qualification. Successful applicants receive financial assistance through the provision of Legal Practice Course fees, access to relevant high-quality work experience and a professional mentor. In 2015, the Law Society will be offering 10 standard DAS awards. There is a related scheme called DAS PLUS which additionally offers a training contract at a National Law Centre. Applications for DAS and DAS PLUS open on 2 February 2015 and close on 13 April 2015.

    Last updated January 29th 2015.

    Big expansion and change of focus for Hammicks

  • Hammicks Legal specialise in journals, looseleafs, law reports, books & eBooks for lawyers and related professionals. In a move designed to create one of the UK’s largest book distribution operations, they are moving their operations to an enlarged distribution centre in Southampton and expanding their subscription and customer service team based in Ashford, Middlesex. They will also be creating Hammicks concessions in a number of cities including London, Birmingham and Glasgow.

    Last updated January 26th 2015.

    Clerksroom is a major new player in the "management" of direct access barristers

  • Clerksroom was formed in 2001 as one of the first chambers to set up as a "virtual chambers" with most barristers working remotely and a very active and innovative use of IT. There are now over 75 barristers, 1000 mediators and 18 staff operating via a major case management centre in Taunton. The latest innovation is to offer themselves as the management support for all 6,500 Bar Council public access trained barristers in the UK using a new website Clerksroom Direct. There is no charge to the barristers (who are not allowed to share fees in any case) and the system is financed by an administrative fee paid when the client decides to go ahead. The client registers on the system (no fee is needed at that point) and then has oportunities to select a barrister by legal area, level of experience and fee offered. In most cases, a free half hour consultation is also available. BSB Public Access rules have been automated to include online client ID checks through to a secure payment system. Overall, the sustem provides a secure online enquiry, quote, tender, case management, document management and payment system for clients and barristers to engage with each other. A key point for barristers is that they do not have to deal with administrative issues like money laundering regulations, POCA rules, quoting fees, taking pre-payment and client care obligations. Apparently, over 1,000 barristers have already signed up.

    Last updated January 20th 2015.

    Is this the way that established chambers will adopt Direct Access?

  • 12CP Barristers is part of 12 College Place Chambers, Southampton, the largest independent set in Central Southern England. Now, under the new designation, many of the barristers are also able to accept Direct Access instructions. They can advise on Civil Law, Criminal Law, Employment Law, Family Law and Planning Law.

    Last updated January 17th 2015.

    Is 140 characters too short? There is now an alternative for lawyers - Mootis, the new kid on the (legal) block.

  • Mootis (as it says on the site) "is the new online social networking service for anyone interested in law. Moots can exceed 140 characters – enabling users to express their opinion with more authority, weight and substance. This is not the place for long, boring essays though! Upload and share video blogs, images and audio. Discover the latest legal trends. Make connections. Build your network. Talk to the legal experts. Win new business. Improve your SEO. Expand your boundaries. Registration and access is, and always will be, free of charge."

    I cannot see from the site who runs it but according to Legal Cheek the person in charge is Manchester Exchange Chamber’s Bill Braithwaite QC.

    More information comes from Legal Futures. "By allowing lawyers up to 500 words for each ‘moot’, Mootis aims to let them express their opinion with ‘more authority, weight and substance’ than elsewhere. Users, who can register directly or log in through Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook, can also share videos, blogs, documents, images and audio. They can search and connect with people by name or import existing contacts from other social media networks."

    There is a very extensive set of instructions on the site about how to use Mootis - that's good!

    Last updated January 13th 2015.

    Country Gentlemen were founded 120 years ago but they are very up to date with DPS software

  • DPS Software has been chosen by the Country Gentlemen’s Association (CGA) to provide management and accounting software. They were the first member organisation to be granted an Alternative Business Structure licence by the Law Society. Based in Warminster, Wiltshire, the CGA was established 120 years ago to provide expert legal and financial advice and small estate management. CGA Legal Services offer a range of advice on personal legal matters, including preparing wills, estate planning, probate and Lasting Powers of Attorney all of which will make use of the DPS software. They have also opted for DPSCloud.

    Last updated January 11th 2015.

    Well done to two organisations.... LawCare and Quill Pinpoint

  • LawCare is an advisory and support service designed to help lawyers, their immediate families and their staff to deal with issues such as stress, depression, addiction, eating disorders and related emotional difficulties. The service is free and entirely confidential. It is funded by the key legal organisations (including all the Law Societies in the UK and Ireland and the Bar Councils) but urgently needs further funding to support its work. One of the bodies providing ongoing support to LawCare is Quill Pinpoint, a leading legal process outsourcing service and, in particular, a key provider of outsourced cashiering. Quill is providing ongoing financial support for Lawcare's advertising campaigns in a variety of legal publications, enabling more people to know about LawCare, either who may need the services provided, or who could offer financial support. Well done to both organisations.

    Last updated January 7th 2015.

    Are you worried about what will transpire from the current Judicial Review on Duty Contracts?

  • Datalaw, a leading supplier of Legal CPD, offers accreditations (e.g. for Police Station and Magistrates Court Accreditations) and they are are now offering Fast Track Accreditations (in some cases in 3 weeks) providing all the services and support needed. It is becoming clear that it will soon be essential for all criminal practitioners to have both Police Station and Magistrates Court Accreditations if they are not to be treated as second class lawyers.

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