New Legal Web Sites for 2016

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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.

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

    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.

    logo saying NEW Internet Newsletter for Lawyers, September/October 2016 issue
  • Nick Holmes explains the changes to CPD from the SRA and the BSB
  • David Flint describes cases relating to data protection & trade secrets
  • Mindy Gofton of I-COM shows how chatbots improve customer service
  • Lynda Minns helps independent practitioners become "IT secure"
  • Delia Venables describes software designed specifically for the cloud
  • Alex Heshmaty introduces the new General Data Protection Regulation
  • Kaplan Altior says that the legal industry shouldn’t wait for QASA
  • LexisNexis on what conveyancers can do in a fragile property market
  • 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.

    logo saying NEW Internet Newsletter for Lawyers - July/August 2016 issue!
  • Allan Carton explains the concept of "blended learning"
  • Susan Hallam describes the recent changes to Google AdWords
  • Chris Bryden and Michael Salter analyse the "snoopers' charter"
  • Graham Ross on the new ADR regulations, ignored by online retailers
  • Alex Heshmaty explains how Google Apps benefit office productivity
  • Delia Venables considers the new breed of "dispersed" law firms
  • Nick Holmes describes Twitter for newbies - & the more experienced
  • 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.

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

    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.

    The May/June 2016 issue of the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers is now available!

    logo saying NEW Internet Newsletter for Lawyers - May/June 2016 issue!
  • Eduardo Ustaran asks whether the new US-UK Privacy Shield is adequate
  • Joe Ury describes recent projects to add to BAILII's existing collections
  • Allan Carton of Inpractice proposes 10 steps for "cyber resilience"
  • Sue Bramall of Berners Marketing considers reasons to outsource marketing
  • Delia Venables describes some of the most useful blogs for lawyers
  • Sir Henry Brooke describes how he uses Twitter and his blog
  • Alex Heshmaty looks at issues arising from "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD)
  • Nick Holmes offers some tips on working with spreadsheets and data
  • Julian Bryan of Quill Pinpoint: 10 questions for your outsourced cashiering provider
  • Osman Ismail shows how DPS provides mobility without compromising data security
  • 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.

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

    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!

    logo saying NEW Internet Newsletter for Lawyers - March/April 2016 issue! Free to view online!
  • Graham Ross of the Mediation Room reviews ODR developments: now in the mainstream
  • Nick Holmes describes the blockchain - likely to have a profound effect on legal practice
  • Dr Eoin O'Dell of Trinity College Dublin on applying the blockchain to the sale of digital goods
  • Emily Allbon of City Law School tells how Lawbore makes learning the law fun & relevant
  • Adam Woellhaf on how the (ancient) Middle Temple Library uses IT to keep up to date
  • Stephen Ward describes how Clerksroom Direct helps barristers deliver Public Access
  • Alex Heshmaty of Legal Words explains Big Data and the legal issues and opportunities
  • Richard Hugo-Hamman on Building LEAP as a global legal software company for small law firms
  • 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.

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

    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 19th 2016.
    The January/February issue of the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers is now available!

    Internet Newsletter for Lawyers - Jan/Feb 2016 issue! Free to view online.
  • Paul Magrath describes how ICLR are developing their service by expanding coverage online only
  • Delia Venables looks at the most important sites for free current awareness legal resources online
  • Matthew Lancaster of Pracctice tells us about Free2Convey, the new free conveyancing portal
  • Gavin Ward of Moore Legal Technology provides his ten top tips for effective content distribution
  • Alex Heshmaty of Legal Words talks about driverless cars and some of the legal issues involved
  • Rosalind English describes the background and current activities of the UK Human Rights Blog
  • Nick Holmes offers useful guidelines & advice for working with documents sourced via the internet
  • Newsletter Feature Robin Chesterman describes building blocks for more intelligent legal research
  • Newsletter Feature Christina Grzasko suggests 4 strategies for building a healthy legal aid practice
  • 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.

    Do you want to go further back? See New from 2015

    New from 2014, New from 2013, New from 2012, New from 2011, New from 2010, New from 2009 and New from 2008.

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