Legal IT News: Wins for Handshake, Workshare, Converge TS and more

In a week of significant wins, Lewis Silkin has plumped for Handshake Software as part of its move towards a one-stop intranet for staff, while newly-merged national law firm Irwin Mitchell has selected Workshare as its enterprise-wide document comparison and metadata removal tool. There are wins for Converge Technology Specialists, while NetDocuments continues its expansion in Australia, where the Faculty of Law at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has also teamed up with Neota Logic and Allens to bring AI to its student courses. Not to mention product upgrades from Anaqua and Thomson Reuters Elite.


Lewis Silkin has selected Handshake Software’s Relationship Framework knowledge management platform and Handshake Universal Search.

“After a thorough evaluation and review, we chose Handshake Software as a critical component of our state-of-the-art intranet and universal search initiative” said Jan DeCerce, Lewis Silkin’s chief operating officer.

“We will leverage Handshake and SharePoint in building a one-stop portal for our lawyers and business services people which integrates our PMS (Elite 3E), CRM (InterAction) and DMS (SharePoint) data to provide on-demand, centralised information around people, clients, and matters as well as unifying the data in a single search experience.”

Following the merger between UK based firms Thomas Eggar and Irwin Mitchell in 2015, which saw Irwin Mitchell increase to 287 partners over 17 locations, the combined firm has selected Workshare as its enterprise-wide document comparison and metadata removal tool in a move that brings the firm to a common standard across all its desktop applications.

Irwin Mitchell’s head of solutions, architecture and strategy, Dal Virdi, said: “Bringing two organisations together always presents a myriad of applications and point solutions that need to be reviewed as we decide which are best placed to support the newly combined organisation. After reviewing the market it was clear that Workshare was a vendor that could offer not only the breadth & quality of functionality our fee earners demand -but that with Workshare 9 they’d designed something that was simple to support and maintain and could provide a platform for further consolidation & simplification throughout the year ahead.”

Leading Belfast commercial law firm Cleaver Fulton Rankin has selected cloud-based Converge Technology Specialists to provide a disaster recovery service.

The 100-staff firm wanted to put in place a comprehensive disaster recovery and business continuity plan to guarantee data compliance and provide confidence that in the event of a disaster, minor or major, the firm can recover its critical business systems and continue to provide service to clients.

Nigel Wright, founder and managing director of Converge TS, said: “There is a growing need for firms to protect their systems and information, and that of their clients, particularly with the growth in cyber crime and to ensure they can deliver a service under any circumstances.”

In Australia NetDocuments continues its rapid growth, as national law firm Mills Oakley and international corporate firm Minter Ellison SA/NT select NetDocuments document and email management system alongside Melbourne and Sydney boutique firms Hive Legal and Polczynski Lawyers.

The new customer announcements come a month after top-tier Australian firm Gilbert + Tobin selected NetDocuments to replace its on-premises iManage system and Corrs Chambers Westgarth went live with NetDocuments, after the Utah-headquartered DMS provider opened an Australian data centre in February 2015.

Martin Horton, formerly of BigHand, has joined the NetDocuments Sydney-based team as its regional support manager.

Also in Australia, international law firm Allens is teaming up with the Faculty of Law at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and software firm Neota Logic to create a program which will see law students create artificial intelligence (AI) applications that help people address legal problems online.

The Allens Neota UTS Law Tech Challenge for Social Justice is modelled on an original program developed in the US by Georgetown University Law School and Neota Logic Inc. It will grant 20 UTS Law students the opportunity to create intelligent web applications that promote access to justice and make tailored legal information more reachable.

Students and Allens’ staff will work in small teams with participating not-for-profit organisations to develop the applications using the Neota Logic software, designed specifically for people without programming experience.

“An understanding of technology – especially something as powerful as AI – will be an increasingly vital competency for lawyers of the future,” Allens’ partner Anna Collyer said.

“Working with clients to build solutions specific to their needs is key to our approach,” she said. “We’re delighted to work with the next generation of lawyers as they combine the disciplines of law and technology for the benefits of our community partners.”

Product releases

Anaqua has announced a major product release that embeds big data analytics into its IP Management platform, following its acquisition of analytics solution AcclaimIP in spring 2016.

ANAQUA 8.6 enriches the IP process with business insights gleaned from more than 100 million patents and one billion related artifacts, fusing the process of creating, protecting and monetising IP.

 Bob Romeo, Anaqua CEO said: “Big data has game-changing potential. We put the power of insight into the hands of everyone who needs it by embedding analytics into the IP workflow. This is unique and it will help our customers make better decisions.”

Elsewhere, Thomson Reuters Elite has released Business Development Premier 2016.2. The newest version of the end-to-end solution for every stage in the marketing lifecycle now gives clients deeper insights into the companies and professionals that are important to their firm, helping clients uncover and drive more business.

Firms can now make connections based on relationship data, employment history, education, affiliations, board memberships, as well as discover existing relationship strengths and pinpoint when anyone in the firm last had communication with a prospect. In addition, person-matching enables firms to access relationship paths that let them go beyond first-degree connections to target second-degree connections across the firm.

Elisabet Hardy, vice president of product management at Elite said: “Deeper insights on both companies and professionals and the ability to go beyond first degree contacts gives firms more leverage when trying to secure new business and strengthen existing relationships. When firms have commonalities that lend themselves to conversation starters, it can make a big difference in getting the business.”