In our latest channel, people and product news we have updates from Tikit, NetDocuments, Eclipse Legal Systems, and many more.

Kicking off with product updates, SharePoint-based software provider Handshake Software has announced a strategic technology integration with Ravel Law, a legal search, analytics, and visualisation platform.

The integration combines Ravel Law’s powerful tools including interactive visualisations and analytics with Handshake Software’s SP Bridge, which extends SharePoint Search to a firm’s enterprise search platform and creates an environment where users can easily find and review critical firm data, firm expertise as well as on-premises and online legal research materials.

The Handshake Software-Ravel Law integration also extends the Handshake Software AppStore, a personalised homepage for each user within a firm.

“As law firms look for ways to be more efficient in their research, this collaboration offers a new and exciting resource for lawyers to quickly sift through millions of court opinions and find what matters in a centralized location,” said Nik Reed, co-founder and chief operating officer at Ravel Law. “Legal research is an essential part of business intelligence in developing legal strategy, and our integration with Handshake makes data-driven insights available with just a few clicks.”

Glenn LaForce, vice president of global sales & marketing at Handshake Software, added: “Lawyers, CIOs and Knowledge Management professionals tell us they want one system to deliver one-stop KM information to their users. Our integration with Ravel Law is another important aspect of the Handshake Software’s all-encompassing solution that includes integration to online legal research and other major legal applications.”

Legal invoice preparation provider InvoicePrep has announced the rollout of new software functionality to help law firms manage and expedite invoice payments.

InvoicePrep’s new features enable law firms to view their entire invoice life cycle on a dashboard, meaning that firms can now track submissions, approvals, appeals, payments and overall invoice adjustments. The company has also added an advanced reporting and metrics module and the ability to track and manage matter budgets.

As part of the company’s growth, InvoicePrep is also expanding its consulting and advisory services. These additional services range from outsourcing options for total billing department management to timekeeper training and educational services.

“We are excited about our dramatic customer growth in 2015,” said Wayne Nykyforchyn, founder and CEO of InvoicePrep. “We made significant changes in 2015, and our new software functionality is an important extension of that. We continue to add new features based on client and market demands. Offering consulting and outsourcing to our clients has really fit a need in the industry, and we see it as a natural extension of our client services.”

Elsewhere, full service law firm training company Capensys has announced that it will offer law firms a managed technology training service as many firms look towards outsourcing their non-core functions.

Capensys, founders of the Legal Technology Core Competencies Certification Coalition (LTC4), said last week that it will offer law firms a tailored IT training strategy that suits their various needs and budgets.

“We can provide online learning from a comprehensive library of legal-specific content, the latest training delivery tools, and just-in-time support materials to supplement your existing repository of materials and tools. We can also provide experienced trainers for any type of training program – ongoing skills improvement, new hire, or rollouts,” Capensys said in a statement on 11 January.

Capensys also announced the appointment of Cynthia Bradshaw as a Technology Skills Consultant to spearhead the managed services offering.

Hires

Tikit has invested in its sales function with the appointment of former Workshare employee Sam Oakman.  Oakman is joining the Tikit team as an Account Director and will be working with large to mid-sized law firms.

At Workshare, Oakman managed law firms and other professional services firms as well as leading on projects entering new vertical markets and businesses. The hire, which follows the departure of respected Sales Director Gareth Thomas to RAVN Systems, is said to form part of Tikit’s strategy to become the preferred IT and communications strategic partner for law firms, focus on the benefit of its own IP and drive entry into new markets.

“With Sam’s previous experience, we are confident and excited that he will be integral to moving this strategy forward in the coming year,” said Lloyd Ellison, Director of Account Management, EMEA at Tikit, now part of BT.

Wilson Legal Solutions has hired Marc Cram from eBillingHub as sales executive to drive sales of its consulting services and business analytics products, Wilson Analytics Professional Suite.

Cram, who is based on the West Coast and is working out of the company’s Anaheim, California office, has worked with legal software solutions including Elite Enterprise and 3E, Aderant, Juris and ProLa, having worked most recently as a regional sales representative and account manager at eBillingHub, a Thomson Reuters Elite business. At eBillingHub, Cram consulted law firms on e-billing practices and advised clients on cost-saving options enabled by cloud-based offerings. He also facilitated technical support and collaborated on future product enhancements.

“Marc brings to our team a strong background in legal technology that will allow him to add immediate value to our clients,” said Jessica Quesada, director of sales and marketing at Wilson Legal Solutions. “He is an excellent resource to help our clients identify ways to get the most from new or existing software implementations. He will also help our clients to understand how our business analytics solution can enable them to analyze operating data to support strategic decisions.”

Industry news and deals 

NetDocuments has announced its strongest quarter of growth to date, adding over 130 new customers in the fourth quarter of 2015.

New customers added include Am Law 100 firms Arnold & Porter, Crowell & Moring, and Finnegan Henderson; leading Iberian independent Cuatrecasas, UK 100 firm Sackers; Am Law 200 firm Thompson Hine; and other leading US-based firms Munsch Hardt, Reminger, and Miller Nash Graham & Dunn. These firms are all replacing their on-premises and hosted versions of on-premises systems with NetDocuments’ native cloud-based document and email management solution.

The unprecedented fourth quarter growth marked a banner 2015 for the company and a 250% increase in new customers over the previous year.

Alvin Tedjamulia, chief technology officer at NetDocuments said: “In all respects, 2015 was a breakthrough year for NetDocuments in terms of adoption and innovation around the security and infrastructure of our native cloud technology. In 2015, we announced architectural and product breakthroughs, including customer-controlled encryption keys and private storage options which are solving the critical customer and client-driven demands for enhanced security while improving ease of use and product innovation.”

Nimble Storage has announced that UK law firm, Cripps has selected the Nimble Storage Adaptive Flash platform – a transition from legacy storage infrastructure – as part of its IT systems supporting the reengineering of over 300 business processes.

Cripps selected Nimble so it could effectively support its two-year business transformation project. Compared with competitor offerings, Cripps concluded that the Nimble Adaptive Flash platform was the best solution to meet its key purchase criteria when testing in its own environment.

“Using Microsoft Dynamics to drive this project, we realised very rapidly that the data throughput we needed was such that we couldn’t stick with our legacy storage supplier. It was only providing us with a 300 MB/s environment when in fact we needed upwards of 1GB/s,” explained Mike Burton, Head of IT at Cripps.

“When testing storage suppliers with our workloads for raw performance and throughput, sheer simplicity of management and bang for our buck, Nimble came out as the clear leader. The Nimble Adaptive Flash platform was able to provide us with a 10GB/s environment and as such we saw a doubling of performance almost immediately after deployment.”

Cripps has further plans to implement Nimble SmartSnap and SmartReplicate data protection solutions.

Free2Convey, the UK’s first free conveyancing portal, has announced a new partnership with the Safe Move Scheme, which adds new anti-fraud tools and additional secure messaging to Free2Conveys chain view, deal room and law firm verification features to protect law firms and their customers from cyber and other criminal attacks.

Free2Convey, which will formally launch on 5 February, uses Land Registry’s Business Gateway and collaborates with the Land Registry and The Council for Licenced Conveyancers. It will integrate at or shortly after launch with case management system early adopters the Osprey Legal Cloud, Eclipse Legal Systems, LexisNexis Visualfiles, Norwel, Ochresoft, Redbrick and Select Legal Systems.

The Safe Move Scheme has been created by BE Consultancy with input from conveyancers, lenders, mortgage brokers and crime prevention agencies to prevent cyber and other types of property transaction crime.

Soon to be included in Free2Convey is a secure email provision to assist in fraud prevention and cyber-crime.

Ed Powell, of BE Consultancy the founders of the Safe Move Scheme said “Free2Convey has successfully accomplished their fresh dynamic vision, whilst the Safe Move Scheme enhances this by providing fraud prevention tools and an additional secure messaging system called Safe Send. Plugging Safe Send in to Free2Convey allows Safe Send messaging to be accessed easily by conveyancing lawyers to keep sensitive information secure.”

Higgins Miller, a firm of Stockport solicitors, has selected the Proclaim Practice Management Software solution from Eclipse Legal Systems.

Using Eclipse’s ready-to-go Proclaim Family Case Management Software, Higgins Miller will be able to cater for private client and legal aid casework. Thanks to Proclaim’s configurable nature, the firm will be able to modify the structure of standard cases to suit its staff’s way of working. Additionally, Proclaim’s ability to export data to the legal aid online portal will enable fee earners to submit bills directly to the Legal Aid Agency from their Proclaim desktop application, simplifying the entire process and ensuring higher levels of accuracy.

Mark Higgins, co-founder and director at Higgins Miller, said: “We pride ourselves on our reputation for providing a personalised and expert approach to our clients. Proclaim’s inherent flexibility is crucial to this as it means we can tailor the system as and when we need to, to suit our needs and our clients’ needs. Furthermore, as we offer Legal Aid, the integration with the LAA means we can not only simplify our processes, but also eliminate duplicate data entry, resulting in hours of valuable time saved that we can now focus on our clients.”