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RAVN Systems expands into the US with ex-DocAuto hire

In response to growing client demand RAVN Systems has made its first appointment in the US with the hire of former DocAuto account director Kenneth Block as sales manager, North America to increase its international presence.

Block has held a number of other roles within the legal technology sector including at Copitrak, Billback and Thomson Reuters Elite.

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Hill Dickinson to conduct IT strategy review

Hill Dickinson, led by director of IT and operations Keith Feeny, will shortly begin a three-to-five-year IT strategy review that is expected to see a significant further shift towards the cloud as the firm also looks towards a digital mailroom and more choice over its mobile devices.

Feeny and his team at the top 40 firm will start to look at a new strategy at the end of Q1 in 2016 and are already in discussion with a number of suppliers to work out how to move forward.

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Peppermint secures over £10m in VC funding and appoints ex-Tikit new Chairman and CFO – UPDATED

In a move that will come as a major rebuff to its doubters, Peppermint Technology has secured over £10m of funding from leading venture capital firm Scottish Equity Partners (SEP) and hired former BigHand and Tikit CFO Mike Kent and former Tikit non-executive director Neville Davis to its board.

The cloud-based legal and dispute management technology provider, which was launched in 2010 with the backing of OLM Systems, said the investment and hires would be used to accelerate its growth and strengthen its bid to become the dominant IT player within the sector.

OLM Systems will remain as a shareholder in Peppermint, which currently has more than 5,000 users across 30 legal and dispute management firms, including the likes of Blake Morgan, Penningtons Manches and Ombudsman Services.

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The December issue of the Legal IT Insider newsletter is out now – read it here free!

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.”

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K&L Gates: How we now offer clients continuing legal education credits – from their laptops

K&L Gates has just enabled its US in-house clients and others to gain continuing legal education (CLE) credits while on the move with the launch of its On-Demand CLE Center, which will offer similar courses in Europe and Asia Pacific in the next couple of months.

Forming part of K&L Gates digital content platform HUB, the On-Demand CLE Center utilises the interactive technology of continuing education solutions provider InReach, which monitors whether counsel are paying attention to the training sessions.

HUB, which launched in February this year, was the brainchild of chief marketing officer Jeff Berardi, who here explains to Legal IT Insider how the new offering came about, how it will be delivered and how the training is sufficiently interactive that it been approved by bar associations in the US.

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Riverview Law announces virtual legal assistants powered by ‘Kim’

Riverview Law has today announced that as of Q1 in 2016 it will be launching a series of legal virtual assistants powered by ‘Kim’ technology – short for knowledge, intelligence and meaning.

Kim is based on the platform of New Jersey-based document automation business CliXLEX, which Riverview acquired in August 2015. Kim is also based on output from Riverview’s R&D unit and builds on its partnership with the University of Liverpool, which it entered into in January of this year to leverage the University’s artificial intelligence capability within the legal sector.

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Law Society pulls the plug on the Veyo conveyancing portal – shocked to discover no demand for a product when there is a free alternative

The Veyo hare has run into the Monty Python parrot. The English Law Society has just announced that its Veyo conveyancing portal is being closed down. We’ll be following up with our own coverage but in the meantime we’re linking to the Law Society Gazette article so you can also see the readers’ comment, particularly those of Ian Newbery. One particular point is that at the time the project was announced, it was said £10 million had already been spent on product development and that the Law Society had a 60% stake, whereas the Gazette article suggests only £600,000 of members money has been wasted. So has Mastek, the other partner in Veyo, lost £10m or is the full financial picture still to emerge?

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Co-operative Legal Services launches online quiz to ‘debunk legal myths’

If you have a minute to spare and fancy checking up on your latest legal rights Co-operative Legal Services (CLS) has launched an online ‘fact or fiction’ quiz to debunk legal myths surrounding family law, personal injury, probate and wills.

The CLS, which after the Legal Services Act came into force in 2011 swiftly positioned itself as far more ‘Tesco Law’ than Tesco, gives ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers together with an explanation to a number of simple statements such as “I do not need a will because I am married and my spouse will get everything anyway,” or “I cannot make a claim on my personal injury because the time limit has expired.”

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All change at NRF as Doyle moves to Deloitte

Big Four accountants Deloitte just hired Norton Rose Fulbright’s global CIO Sheila Doyle as its new CIO for the UK & Switzerland. Doyle will replace Mark Westbrook, who has been acting CIO since Matt Peers left Deloitte to become CIO of Linklaters in May this year. Doyle previously held senior roles BP and the Royal Mail, and was a Gartner consultant before moving to Norton Rose in May 2011.

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Latest UK win: Copley Clark go with Eclipse Proclaim in “six figure” deal

QualitySolicitors Copley Clark, part of a national network of law firms, has selected the Proclaim Practice Management Software solution from Eclipse Legal Systems, the Law Society’s sole endorsed provider. Based in Surrey, the multi-disciplinary practice offers an array of legal services to individuals and businesses, ranging from family and probate through to conveyancing and employment law. According to Insider records, the firm previously ran an Advanced Legal Videss system.

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Risk Management, Ediscovery & Compliance: Putting chat in the spotlight – analysing Instant Messaging in the Age of Connectivity

While regulatory enquiries are never a welcome development to begin with, they are particularly troubling for organisations without adequate internal compliance programmes and tools to handle large volumes of company data for eDisclosure and internal investigations. In the face of such enquiries or lawsuits, identifying and presenting key communications is a critical issue. And as the LIBOR scandal shows, instant messaging (IM) conversations are now a substantial component of that need.

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Neota Logic’s work with Akerman Data Law Center will “transform the way companies manage their data law risks”

Neota Logic says that the work it is doing with the new Akerman Data Law Center – a technology-driven data privacy and security law service for corporate counsel and compliance officers – will transform the way companies manage their data law risks and compliance obligations.

Akerman, a top 100 US law firm, announced on 20 November that the data centre, developed in conjunction with Neota and Thomson Reuters Managed Legal Service, will support clients across all industries that are vulnerable to regulatory scrutiny and cyber-attacks, including large enterprises in the retail, banking, insurance and healthcare sectors.

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BigHand’s cloud-based solution for SMEs passes 10,000 users as BigLaw becomes ‘the next story’

Following its launch in April 2013 of cloud-based Professional Edition for smaller law firms, BigHand has announced that the software-as-a-service (SaaS) digital dictation solution supports more than 10,000 users across 700 SMEs worldwide, as it now looks towards expanding its cloud offering to larger law firms.

Previously perceived as an enterprise provider predominantly for larger professional services firms and hospitals with sizeable in-house server infrastructure, BigHand identified that a cloud-based product could deliver significant value for SME’s.

Smaller firms face a combination of ever-increasing pressure on budgets, a competitive requirement to be just as efficient as larger players, and an often limited in-house IT capability. BigHand Professional, an entry level voice workflow product delivered in the cloud on an annual subscription basis and offering compatibility with any smartphone or hardware, has quickly proved popular with UK and international law firms.

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Something for the Legal Weekend: White Collar Boxing for Charity

Lorna “Hurricane” Hegarty, who works at Douglas Wemyss Solicitors in Leicester, will make her boxing debut this Saturday when she steps into the ring to raise money for Cancer Research UK. The legal executive, who has never boxed before, hopes to raise thousands of pounds by slugging it out in the charity event.

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LexisNexis and BLP win ‘supplier of the year’ and ‘best use of technology’ at The British Legal Awards

LexisNexis and Berwin Leighton Paisner have won ‘supplier of the year’ and ‘best use of technology’ respectively at The British Legal Awards (BLAs) 2015.

LexisNexis was recognised for its implementation of proofreading tool LexisDraft within City law firm RPC – the BLAs 2015 law firm of the year – while Berwin Leighton Paisner won the best use of technology category for its work with RAVN ACE, having become the first law firm to sign up to the ‘artificial intelligence’ solution, as revealed by Legal IT Insider on 15 September 2015.

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Plexus Law management buyout from Parabis funded with £4.2m from new British challenger bank

The management buyout of insurance defendant claims firm Plexus Law from the now defunct Parabis Group was supported by £4.2 million of debt finance from new British challenger bank OakNorth Bank, which is backed by Mambu, the SaaS banking platform provider.

‘NewLaw’ provider Parabis Group – which was acquired in 2012 by private equity house Duke Street Capital – went into pre-pack administration at the start of this week (22 November) and is being broken up seven ways led by restructuring consultants AlixPartners.

Plexus’ management buyout team includes Parabis Group’s founders, Andrew McDougall, Nick Addyman and Tim Roberts, who were enabled to go ahead with the deal thanks to funding from OakNorth, a new British bank for small and medium sized growth companies.

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Big Data is a behaviour – not just a technology say Berg

Law firms have always used data to make better business decisions. But now it’s getting easier and quicker to collate data into meaningful insights from which partners can make executive decisions. Ian Brownhill, Finance Director (pictured) at Manchester-based law firm Berg, has recently implemented a new approach to data management by extracting data across the firm’s core business applications to draw new insights from the combined information.

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Analytics, meet content: LexisNexis acquires Lex Machina

In an acquisition that brings together cutting edge analytics with a trove of content, LexisNexis has acquired litigation data mining company Lex Machina, which through its Legal Analytics platform provides insights about judges, lawyers, parties and patents from IP litigation.

The Silicon Valley company, which says it has so far been inhibited from expanding its services due to a lack of content, delivers a software-as-a-service platform that helps lawyers predict the behaviours and outcomes of different legal strategies by mining, tagging and categorising millions of Federal court dockets and documents.

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“The biggest reason is the change in our culture” – Knights enters the top 100 with Darbys acquisition

The chief executive of private equity-backed firm Knights Professional Services, which this week announced it is entering the top 100 with the acquisition of Darbys Solicitors, says that moving from an equity partnership to a corporate, more efficient structure has been the single most important factor in its success.

Knights in 2012 became the first commercial law firm to receive private equity funding, from Hamilton Bradshaw, the private equity house backed by entrepreneur and former Dragons Den investor James Caan.

The then 60 fee-earner and 90 support staff firm used the undisclosed sum to invest in more integrated technology, namely Tikit’s Partner for Windows practice management solution.