Comment, Opinion & Guest Articles
The ideal length of your video is shorter than you think. In the digital age, with shorter attention spans, research shows that 20% of people will switch a video off after 10 seconds if it doesn’t engage them. After a minute 45% of your remaining viewers will have stopped watching and 60% after two minutes. The ideal length for a corporate video is between 30 and 90 seconds, so aim for 60 seconds and deliver your key message early!
A heady combination of a growing demand among clients for global eDiscovery capability, the demise of safe harbor and a good dose of healthy competition between Silicon Valley venture capitalists is proving to be a powerful mix, as merger and investment activity in the eDiscovery sector in January notably spiked.
Without a doubt our most commented on feature in the January Legal IT Insider, here Daniel Pollick, chief information officer and director of business infrastructure at DLA Piper, Colin Smith, director of information technology at Pinsent Masons and Andrew Powell, director of IT at Nabarro (soon to take up the role of head of IT at Macfarlanes) highlight their key strategic priorities and wider market trends for 2016/17.
Following the hallowed tradition of biting the hand that feeds it (and IT) – US-based timekeeping software specialist SmartTimeApps has launched a new cartoon series poking fun at law firm time recording habits…
The January issue of the Legal IT Insider newsletter is out now, top stories include… Dealroom & extranet specialist HighQ receives $50 million in private equity funding – Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley among the investors + Intapp acquires Rekoop and now has 70% of UK law firm time capture market + New Heads of IT at Macfarlanes – Andrew Powell headhunted from Nabarro as Maurice Millen retires + Edie Dillion promoted to global CIO at Norton Rose Fulbright + Ediscovery – the race is on to consolidate as deals spur “feeding frenzy” among Silicon Valley investors & scrabble by vendors not to be left behind + Zoopla GC Ned Staple Talks Tech: law firms need better time & billing software – real-time billing portals would be helpful
Bruce MacEwen, president of Adam Smith, Esq. and Janet Stanton, a partner at the New York-based legal consultancy attended the 23rd annual Thomson Reuters Marketing Partner Forum in Orlando on 21 January. MacEwen chaired and Stanton was on the panel for a session called ‘Invasive Maneuvers: Emerging Markets, Client Demand & the Rise of the Big 4 in Legal Services.’
The agenda? “If the recent formation of the ABA Commission on the Future of Legal Services is any indication, the United States legal system is very much aware of the long term ramifications of the UK Legal Services Act of 2007 on non-US legal engagements. For corporate clients interested in streamlining their legal fees and working with fewer partners, the Big 4’s newly-accredited legal services have acted as de facto siren’s calls away from the dreaded billable hour. This conversation examines the long-term impact of the Big 4 on process-oriented work in the legal market and considers how these firms are bolstering their proximity to a larger slice of the proverbial pie.”
Guest post: The CMA study should be a case for progression – not a question of who is right or who is wrong
Following the announcement by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that is has launched a study into legal services in England and Wales, Matthew Briggs, founder of the legal comparison website The Law Superstore, urges the profession to embrace the CMA study and see it as an opportunity to evolve the way in which it presents itself.
“It’s accepted as a truism today that the legal profession faces challenging times: Law school graduates carry heavy debt and battle dim job prospects. But within the legal technology industry, it’s a totally different story. In fact, millenials are riding high.”
Interesting research has recently been published on the potential for automation within legal services. I refer to two studies, one from a team at McKinsey & Co and one from Frank S Levy at MIT and Dana Remus at University of North Carolina School of Law. They are both worth a read but I have attempted to summarise and compare some of the findings.
McKinsey & Co identifies the portion of work that has potential for automation using currently available technology across a broad range of professions. In the legal profession they estimate 69% of time is automatable for paralegals and 23% of time is automatable for lawyers. For more, see McKinsey interactive infographic. (It’s interesting to note the extent to which other professions have potential for automation for example surgeons share the same 23% estimate.)
‘Search and discovery’ lays the foundation of many legal cases with firms often spending days manually sifting through information from multiple sources to identify companies, people, properties and other assets of interest and then mapping how these inter-relate. The facts they uncover build their understanding of the case and shape their strategy. While search and discovery is an essential process it can be complex, costly and time-consuming creating delays of serious concern for any legal practice. Being slow to the facts inevitably means being slow to respond to client requests – slow turnarounds strain client relationships.
Legal software has historically suffered from a lack of design thinking. Function over form has been the prevailing organization mechanism, and the field’s limited competition hasn’t incentivized other approaches. However, the design renaissance is making its way to legal technology, largely through newer entrants to the space. Companies who embrace design thinking aren’t just throwing color or rounded corners into their interfaces: they are basing the user experience of their tools on basic design principles. Here are four of them that you will increasingly see in your legal software:
Data protection is inevitably a big issue for the UK’s law firms, which are guardians of some of the country’s most sensitive and sought-after commercial information.
Last year the legal profession was warned by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) about the need to improve security, after the ICO investigated 173 UK law firms for breaches of the Data Protection Act 1998. This follows a similar warning in 2014.
Law firms of all shapes and sizes continue to seek greater efficiencies and improved productivity, with many recognising the benefits of outsourcing some aspects of their business processes. However, the Law Society recently released a Practice Note to highlight the potential risks of outsourcing, reminding law firms of their responsibilities.
“If we do help you find the bathroom or your lost keys, we do so because we tend to be nice people and want to help. Don’t view that as a weakness, view it as a strength in that we feel empathy for your current situation, not that we have nothing better to do.” Greg Lambert defends law librarians against The Wall Street Journal’s opinion piece, ‘In the Age of Google, Librarians Get Shelved.’
Billable hours have gone the way of the horse-hair wig. Corporate clients don’t understand why their counsel can’t operate with as much efficiency as any other business, and individuals prefer to buy legal services as a commodity rather than risk a bill that might snowball over months or years. The market demands change, so alternative fee arrangements are the new standard.
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without something weird from Insider founder Charles Christian and this year is no exception with not so much a Happy Holidays e-card as a Spooky Yule app…
Why are lawyers so bad at maths and does it matter? (And I will take the argument that the pen-pushers at the MoJ are civil servants and not lawyers, but that does not excuse those divorce lawyers who have been blindly accepting the wrong figures for the past 20 months.) When I run a workshop, I go around the room and ask the lawyers present when was the last time they studied mathematics. For the vast majority of them it was 16 when they completed their GCSE’s (or O Levels for the older ones), after that they studied mainly non-science topics, albeit with some occasional mandatory exposure to accounts during their legal training. Either by nature or nurture they normally don’t like spreadsheets and their eyes glaze when you start pushing them under their nose.
Ever forgotten where you have parked your car? Always a problem if you are parked in a town or part of a city you are unfamiliar with. Well, now there’s an iPhone app that automatically records your position when you leave your car – and if you using an underground car park, the app will record the entrance point. Called Tuture, the app is FREE and has been developed by French digital agency VRDCI. Don’t panic, it is available in English as well as French language versions.
From the archives: August 2011… As for the iManage Worksite etc DMS part of the equation, given the ruthless way HP is spinning off businesses it no longer regards as core, we wouldn’t be surprised if iManage is also spun off in the near future. Given some of the grumblings we are hearing from US law firms about the attitude of Autonomy – and its pricing policy – a ‘let go’ iManage might actually represent a better deal for law firms.
The latest issue (December 2015) of the Legal IT Insider is out now. Top stories include: Hill Dickinson to conduct IT strategy review – looking at cloud, mobility and breaking away from the “capital expenditure cycle” + First interview with Dentons’ new global CIO Marcel Henri on going global and the Dacheng merger + Quote of the Month: “You only have two phones if you are a drug dealer, having an affair, or are a lawyer.”