Legal IT: Wins, deals, hires and industry news

The past legal IT week has seen the announcement that magic circle giant Clifford Chance has adopted Advanced Legal’s Laserform Hub solution for its Companies House mortgage submissions as The Legal 500-recognised law firm Frettens adopts Adobe’s eSign software. Startup Lester Campbell is rolling out Eclipse Legal Systems’ Proclaim Practice Management Software; Innovative Computing Systems and SentinelOne have entered into partnership; and there are hires for HotDocs, Wilson Legal Solutions and LDM Global.
And of course we have industry updates, including the cheery evidence that divorcing couples are going ever more digital and accessing advice via online videos before seeing a solicitor – link included.
Wins and deals
Clifford Chance has adopted Advanced Legal’s Laserform Hub to submit particulars of a mortgage or charge electronically to the Government’s Companies House gateway.
The magic circle giant has to date made most of its submissions to Companies House by paper and wanted a system to speed up the process for its lawyers and billing department.
Antonia Adams, global programme group director at Clifford Chance said: “Advanced Legal’s Laserform Hub gives us precisely what we need: a secure system to submit MR01 forms to Companies House.  Draft saving, data pre-population, and submission tracking not only enhances our own processes but drastically minimises the risk of missing deadlines. Going digital also simplifies our billing process and reduces our administration burden as we no longer have to print cheques to accompany the submissions.”
Laserform Hub has been well received in the market since its launch in March 2015 and more than 45 of the UK’s Top 200 law firms already use the service.
Legal systems innovator Zylpha is to supply Adobe’s eSign software to The Legal 500-recognized law firm Frettens. The software will be used throughout the firm for initial paperwork and also in the property department to speed up the process of completing property forms.  By using eSign, as opposed to post, Frettens hopes to shorten the time taken to complete conveyancing transactions. The system will be integrated with the practice’s existing Visualfiles case management system to ensure seamless workflows and ease of use.
Fretten’s managing partner Matt Fretten said: “Electronic signatures eliminate the risk of postal delays or lost mail, so the time and efficiency savings are significant. However, the biggest benefit is in increased customer satisfaction, as our clients appreciate the time-savings and added convenience that this technology provides.”
Eclipse Legal Systems is implementing its Proclaim Practice Management Software solution at start-up firm Lester Campbell.
Rodney Lester, former senior partner at Lester Morrill Solicitors and an experienced private client specialist, co-founded the new Leeds-based practice with Jade Campbell, a property solicitor with over 14 years’ conveyancing experience.
The new firm will also adopt Eclipse’s Task Server tool to automate a number of its processes.
Innovative Computing Systems and SentinelOne have partnered to provide enhanced cybersecurity to law firms using SentinelOne’s unique Endpoint Protection Platform (EPP).
SentinelOne EPP tracks each newly-created process to identify malicious patterns in real time. Once malicious behaviors are detected, whether on disk or in memory, SentinelOne immediately locates the attack and mitigates and contains it to eliminate the threat. It integrates prevention, detection, mitigation, remediation and forensics for desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, VDI, servers and embedded systems.
“SentinelOne is transforming information security,” says Michael Kemps, CEO of Innovative Computing Systems. “We are very pleased to be partnering with such innovators.”
Who’s in, who’s out?
Wilson Legal Solutions has hired Mark Beaman from Thomson Reuters Elite and Brian Taaffe from LexisNexis Enterprise Solutions as senior business of law consultants.
Beaman and Taaffe both in 2015 joined the company’s business of law consulting practice, which Wilson Legal Solutions launched in late 2014. The practice has grown steadily since that time to support law firms in their quest to run more efficient and profitable operations.
“Our clients are looking for services that are more strategic in nature, and this practice enables us to meet those needs,” says Bruce Wilson, managing director and CEO of Wilson Legal Solutions.
HotDocs has appointed Jonathan Hoy as VP of HotDocs Market – the document assembly provider’s innovative online platform for access to US legal content.
HotDocs Market, launched a year ago, offers almost 7,000 templates from a range of expert legal publishers in the United States and currently has more than 2,000 law firm subscribers.
Jonathan Hoy had been operating as HotDocs’ director – publishing partnerships since August 2014 and has been instrumental in the success of HotDocs Market to date.  Joining HotDocs after a long career in legal publishing with LexisNexis and the American Bar Association, Hoy will now take overall responsibility for working with the growing HotDocs Market team to implement the growth strategy and increase market share.
LDM Global has hired Pamela Choate, formerly from Elite Document Technology, as a professional services project manager. LDM Global is a leading consultant to mid-tier law firms around the world, focusing on legal discovery management and computer forensics.
Choate began her legal technology career in 2000 in the IT department of Holme Roberts & Owen in Denver. She has served as a help desk specialist, litigation support analyst, ESI consultant, litigation support specialist and project manager in medium-sized law firms in Denver and Dallas. With more than 15 years of experience in the legal industry, she is well versed in the EDRM model and standard litigation processes, with a focus on streamlining the review process for clients. Choate is a certified administrator in both Relativity and Viewpoint.
Industry News
The total number of conveyancing firms operating in the market declined at the fastest rate in three years during 2015, according to the year-end edition of the Conveyancing Market Tracker from search provider Search Acumen.
The Tracker – which uses Land Registry data to examine competitive pressures in the conveyancing market – showed the number of active firms who recorded transactions dropped by 9% in 2015: three times the 3% annual rate of decline seen in 2013 and 2014.
The 9% drop equates to more than 500 firms, as mergers and exits continue to reshape the competitive landscape. Search Acumen’s analysis suggests the number of conveyancing firms currently operating in the market is now 30% lower than the 7,779 firms that recorded transactions during 2005.
And in a final cheery note, divorcing couples are increasingly turning to bite-sized video clips while on the go to get the information they need about the separation process before visiting a solicitor.
“The use of video really has accelerated and this is particularly true in family law. It is a preferred medium and my suspicion is that people want to watch on their mobile device on the move so they do not leave a footprint on the family computer,” said Andrew Woolley, managing partner at Woolley & Co, which has senior family law practitioners across much of England and Wales.
“We have 132 videos available on line to watch anytime, anywhere. In October, 3,610 minutes of the videos were watched, compared to 1,489 in the same month last year. So far this year, 22 days and 19 hours’ worth of our videos have been viewed, with an average viewing time of two minutes – which is the length of many of the videos.”
All videos can be viewed for free at