Comment, Opinion & Guest Articles
The iManage team may be thanking their lucky stars that they haven’t been sold off to document management rival OpenText, which has just bought a range of customer experience software solutions from HP Inc, less than a year after iManage completed a management buyout from HP.
One of the highlights of Legal IT Insider’s monthly digital magazine, our latest IT directors to give us a fascinating insight into their strategic priorities for the next 12-18 months are Kevin Harris from Taylor Wessing; Nathan Hayes from Osborne Clarke and Steve Sumner from Taylor Vinters.
Dropbox has featured frequently in the news recently with headlines about a number of security breaches. Some have been direct “hacks” of their data, whilst others have been exploits using email addresses and passwords leaked from other services to access Dropbox accounts. Dropbox have been updating their services to improve their own security but that doesn’t address the leaked data from elsewhere. Dropbox can’t be blamed for people using the same password on numerous services but that’s what users do and probably always will.
Epiq Systems’ general counsel Jayne Rothman walks us through the changes to legislation governing the transfer of personal data between the European Union and the United States, including the creation of the EU-US Privacy Shield framework, which this year replaced Safe Harbour. She says: “A complicated picture just got more complex,” adding, “Clearly, businesses cannot afford to simply wait for decisions on legality.”
We love this interview with Nilema Bhakta-Jones, group legal director of Ascential, a business-to-business media company that publishes titles such as Retail Week and Health Service Journal and in February floated on the London Stock Exchange at a value of £800m. Bhakta-Jones is an advocate for innovation and change and, speaking to Legal IT Insider, she talked about progress in tech within the legal sector – at last! – but how that is still strongly overshadowed by developments in the sectors in which Ascential operates.
Earlier this month a survey of 3,000 London tech industry insiders found that 87% were opposed to the idea of Britain leaving the EU. The views of Tech London Advocates members highlight fears that businesses in a post-Brexit UK would find it harder to reach customers in the rest of the EU, employ overseas talent and attract international companies to operate in the UK at scale.
Joking aside, Todd Gerstein, the CEO & Founder of Smart Time Apps, says the open rates for the company’s email newsletters has increased by 35% since the launch of the cartoons.
Welcome to the March 2016 issue of the Legal IT Insider newsletter (issue 291) containing all the latest legal technology, law firm tech and online legal services news from around the world. All fresh juice – no pith.
I know of firms who plan a merger and, to assist with planning, the support and technical functions gather sage advice from people in other firms who have done the same, and who all say “It’s unrealistic”, “Double your estimate” and “you’re having a laugh”… And then the advice is listened too, but ignored as the same old unrealistic plans get set by people with no experience of such things anyway.
In this extensive article on artificial intelligence in legal that should become a go-to resource for anyone with an interest in the subject, Ben Gardner, data & information architect at Linklaters asks: ‘Is AI a threat or an opportunity?’ He says it is both. To those focused on the routine, it is a threat, to those focused on innovating/bespoke it is an opportunity. The advice, therefore, should be to understand these new technologies and explore what opportunities they create. This should not be limited to iterative improvements to the current process but more importantly to identifying opportunities for transformational change.
Deloitte’s 2016 report [Developing legal talent: Stepping into the future law firm] has garnered some attention for suggesting a ‘tipping point’ is coming to the legal profession as early as 2020. In truth, as interesting as the report is, it has not really produced new evidence to support the claim that, “[Legal services businesses] will need access to lawyers who have a broader skill set and are not just technically competent lawyers.” This seems to be the guts of their case:
“It was a thrill for our lawyers to act like a start up” – Gilbert + Tobin gives inside view of hackathon
Gilbert + Tobin’s chief operating officer Sam Nickless has given a fascinating inside view of the innovative firm’s inaugural hackathon at the end of January, in which more than 50 lawyers and technologists spent 24 hours devising and coding solutions for legal and process issues identified by Westpac Bank’s in-house legal team.
In a post today (18 March) on LinkedIn – including a video of the event – Nickless describes how the Sydney-headquartered firm assembled hackathon teams of mixed ages and seniority, from summer clerks to partners. Mixed in were technologists from G+T’s innovation team as well as from LegalVision, a tech start up that G+T invested in last year that provides online, fixed fee legal services.
The ambition was to find solutions that help streamline the interactions Westpac’s business units have with its in-house legal team.
The Financial Conduct Authority has, very sensibly, declared that technology and big data are set to be the key focuses for the regulator in the year ahead.
On 1 March, in a lecture outlining the FCA’s view of the general insurance sector, Simon Green, Director of General Insurance & Protection, declared that “underinvestment in IT structures, legacy systems and a lack of integration following mergers” are having a significant impact on the capability of businesses to protect their information.
This is undoubtedly true, and it is reassuring to know that the FCA fully appreciates the growing threat of cybercrime. The legal sector, and indeed business more widely, relies heavily on digital systems to store sensitive information and therefore firms of all sizes would be well advised to take note of this warning from Mr Green.
Comment: Advice to Elite Enterprise firms – start migration by “slicing the salami” rather than going for Big Bang
Find pieces of the project you can implement first. Look at what is on the edges of the accounting system. What system modules do timekeepers use versus the back office? Can you push out implementing some of the new modules to a second phase? I metaphorically call this process “slicing the salami.” How many slices can you cut the salami into to make the conversion more manageable?
Over 100,000 jobs in the legal sector have a high chance of being automated in the next twenty years according to extensive new analysis by Deloitte.
Headquartered in Annapolis, Maryland, TeleCommunication Systems, Inc. (TCS) is a major provider of secure and highly reliable wireless communications. The company’s legal department faced several challenges in its intellectual property (IP) process including accurate, cost-effective patent portfolio management and expensive operating costs and outside counsel fees. TCS needed a software solution that would establish efficiency and yield significant savings, allowing management to quickly see its return on investment.
In this specialist paper on the potential implications of Britain’s exit from the EU, Allen & Overy looks at data protection legislation and asks, ‘is a change of approach required?’
Comment: How Omtool AccuRoute Transformed Shulman Rogers Trusts and Estates Department from Cold Case to Instant Trust
Transformational technologies are few and far between at law firms – often taking years to identify, implement, and measure the impact in any meaningful way. It may be hard to believe that a records scanning initiative can dramatically improve the efficiency of a law practice, but at Maryland-based Shulman Rogers it actually happened. One of the many impacts of the firm’s scanning initiative was felt within the firm’s Trust and Estates department, where the client experience was quickly elevated in a surprisingly positive manner.
Recently, the Boston Consulting Group and the Bucerius Center on the Legal Profession published their report on the state and future of legal industry.
The key takeaways?
Market forces are REAL