As part of our mission to provide the most comprehensive source of legal IT news in the known-universe, we have formed a link-up with Chris McLean's Australasian Legal Technology blog – you can find more details at www.auslegal.com – and will be regularly carrying ALT stories both in The Orange Rag blog and in the main Insider newsletter. Here's Chris's round-up of July news stories…


New appointments at Potter Farrelly
Consulting firm Potter Farrelly and Associates have announced a number of staff changes. Elizabeth Miller is moving back to Australia after a stint consulting at the International Criminal Court, setting up their case management system.  Elizabeth is taking up the role of National eCourt Manager based in Sydney. Potter Farrelly has also appointed Derek Begg, previously a Special Counsel at Middletons as the manager of their Melbourne office.


Aderant User Conference 08
Sebel Pier One Sydney, 4 & 5 September 2008
For those of you using variations of Aderant's practice management offerings, they are holding their annual user conference Momentum Rocks 08 in Sydney this September (4 & 5 at the Sebel Pier One). http://momentum.aderant.com/primary_apa.asp


Mallesons plugging the virtues of iPhones
Mallesons have been singing the praises of the iPhone as a platform for rich web applications. Gerard Neiditsch, their Business Technology Executive Director, sees the iPhone as a way to introduce more than simple email to mobile devices, for example Malleson's staff directory application. It will be interesting to see whether the new touchscreen Blackberry, codenamed Thunder, will change the perception of Blackberrys.


E-conveyancing a step closer
After years of squabbling it looks like the Australian states may be making at least some headway on the quest for a national electronic conveyancing system. At COAG, the Council of Australian Governments, the states agreed to a timetable where a national system would be implemented by 2010 (see below for the full timetable). The system is intended to allow the lodgement of all interests and transactions involving real property and to deal with the associated stamp duty obligations. The proposal involves the establishment of a new entity to be owned by all states and the appointment of a board for the new entity comprising “skills-based” representatives with banking, IT, coveyancing and commercial backgrounds. The initial task for the board will be to assess the current Victorian system and determine whether it is fit for use in all states. The move is a small but important step forward, as the process appeared to be stalled over the issue of whether Victoria's system should be considered at all, or whether the other states should develop their own platform. The real fun will begin if the board assesses the Victorian software and decides that it isn't suitable for a national rollout. More at the NECS website here www.necs.gov.au


LexisNexis sells Affinity into New Zealand – and Visualfiles to the Australian Government
LexisNexis have announced their first New Zealand sale of their (relatively) newly acquired Affinity product (formally Locus Affinity). The new client is Lane Neave, a small to mid Christchurch headquartered firm with about 50 fee earners. It looks like Affinity really is the practice management solution of choice for LexisNexis in the region, with it being preferred over the recently acquired New Zealand product LawBase and their UK favourite Axxia. In other news, LexisNexis have announced that the Australian Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) have purchased their Visualfiles product for legal matter management. Aside from their current diverse list of state Visualfiles clients, the win gives LexisNexis inroads into Commonwealth legal departments.