Top stories:

UK businesses spend £1.59m annually on DSARs

Settlement reached in first ever English Technology and Construction Court Zoom trial

Legal mental health charity releases latest COVID data

Foundation Software hires director of innovation from Sidley

Epona announces that Culhane Meadows is in full production

Lupl launches

Caselines announces patent application for redaction tool

Matters.Cloud partners with FreeAgent

Neota Logic forms APAC client advisory board

Casestudy – DocsCorp and SeeUnity

Chambers ALSP ranking

ILTA opens Distinguished Peer Awards

UK businesses spend £1.59m and 14 years annually on DSARs

An independent survey amongst 100 Data Protection Officers (DPOs) has exposed the significant burden placed on UK businesses of complying with Article 15 of the GDPR. The research, commissioned by British data privacy experts Guardum, reveals that UK businesses are spending £1.59 millionand 14 person years annually on completing Data Subject Access Requests (DSARs), which requires data controllers to provide data subjects with a copy of their personal data within 30 days, or risk a fine of €20 million or 4% of turnover from the ICO. 

The independent research, conducted by Sapio Research among 100 DPOs from companies with 250 or more employees between 29th April and 5th May 2020, also highlights the challenges of maintaining compliance during lockdown. Seventy-five percent of DPOs polled admit struggling to meet data compliance obligations while working remotely and 30% fear they will be overwhelmed by a post-pandemic DSAR storm fuelled by requests from furloughed or sacked employees. Three in five DPOs are fearful that they will not have the resources to deal with an uptick in requests following the return to work.  

Rob Westmacott, co-founder of Guardum said: “This research graphically illustrates the huge burden that data privacy professionals are shouldering to maintain data compliance. The Covid-19 pandemic has tipped an already dire situation into a potential melting pot of requests, with fears that the return to work and the ensuing post-mortem by furloughed and sacked workers will overwhelm data compliance teams.”

To access the full research results click here

Settlement reached in first ever English Technology and Construction Court Zoom trial

The first ever entirely remote Technology and Construction Court trial in English legal history has reached a conclusion, having been conducted across video-conferencing platform Zoom.

The settlement resulted in liability for Barnet Council of over £3m following the repeated flooding of a family home. The case was brought by the construction law specialist Barton Legal, alongside Peters & Peters and two members of 39 Essex Chambers. Having taken four years to reach trial, the Honourable Mrs Justice Jefford, DBE, rejected the defendant’s application to adjourn the case, in favour of Zoom.

With evidence supplied to the court virtually, and with Paul Darling OBE QC’s cross examination conducted by video, the cyber-secure video stream was open for public viewing, with up to 40 people, including journalists and members of the public, watching at a time – an unusually high number for a case of this kind.

Where Skype for Business has previously been used, this is not only the first time a complex construction case has been conducted entirely remotely, but is also amongst the first where Zoom has been used for a trial of this nature.

Bill Barton, Director of Barton Legal, commented: “The significance of the case is huge. Technology is powering what could be one of the biggest shifts in English courtroom history. This is about more than how the trial was conducted: empowering people around the world to view cyber-secure, open trials, cuts to the very core of the principle that justice should be seen to be done. The law is amongst the world’s oldest professions; of course it is time it embraced change.

“Every aspect of the case went off without a hitch. Screen sharing allowed evidence to be viewed easily; the defendant saw its main witness repeatedly challenged over video; and even the intimacy of the traditional courtroom remained. Hopefully, even after the lockdown is lifted, we return to a new, digital normal.”

Paul Darling OBE QC, Barrister at 39 Essex Chambers, commented: “Amongst the principal concerns when it comes to remote trials is the loss of visual cues. Any barrister will tell you that body language is invaluable in cross examination. 

“What the trial has proved beyond reasonable doubt, however, is that none of the intimacy of the physical courtroom is in fact lost with a remote trial. Rather, video sharing can in fact heighten our ability to dissect testimony, whilst opening up proceedings to the public.” 

Legal mental health charity releases latest COVID data

Legal mental health charity LawCare has released data on all COVID-19 related contacts it has received to date for Mental Health Awareness Week (18-24 May).  Forty-eight legal professionals have contacted the charity with issues related to COVID-19 since 10th March, making up over a third (37%) of all contacts to their support service.

The top three issues concerning legal professionals are not being permitted to work from home, financial issues due to furlough/pay cuts or lack of work, and worsening of existing mental health conditions. Other problems have included relationship strain, childcare issues and being asked to work whilst on furlough.

Chief Executive Elizabeth Rimmer said: “We feel this is very much the tip of the iceberg and anticipate in the coming weeks more and more legal professionals will contact us as the emotional and financial impact of the pandemic begins to really hit home. We would like to remind all legal professionals, including support staff, they can contact us for free, in confidence, to discuss anything that is bothering them. Talking through your problems with one of our trained staff and volunteers, who have all worked in the law themselves, can really help.”

In response to the pandemic LawCare has developed a COVID-19 hub full of information and resources at www.lawcare.org.uk, where you can also access emotional support via email, webchat and LawCare’s peer support service. The helpline number is 0800 279 6888 (1800 991 801 in Ireland).

Legal IT Movers and shakers

Foundation Software hires director of innovation from Sidley

Foundation Software Group has hired law firm knowledge management and marketing technology veteran Kate Cain as director of innovation and design. Cain joins from Sidley Austin, where she was director of practice information and marketing technology. The announcement comes on the heels of the arrival of VP of business development, Hans Haglund, who was previously chief commercial officer at Eversheds Sutherland.

A recipient of the Monica Bay STEM Leadership Award and the ILTA Distinguished Peer Leadership Award, Cain served six years on the ILTA Board of Directors and is a frequent speaker and writer for ILTA, Legal Marketing Association, ARK, and others.

“Having worked with Kate in both law firm and volunteer settings, I know that she will add tremendous value to the Foundation team,” said Joy Heath Rush, Chief Executive Officer of ILTA and former Sidley colleague. “Along with her dedication to our law firm community, she brings a deep understanding of what firms need from a process and technology perspective, as well as the ability to translate that understanding into solutions that move the needle for her constituents.”

Cain said: “From the very start, it was clear to me that the Foundation team understood the complexities of law firms and their data and how to leverage that data across the entire client life cycle. I am excited to apply what I have learned from practicing lawyers, firm leaders, and business professionals to Foundation’s 360° approach to clients and matters and, ultimately, to contribute to the success of our customers.”

Wins and deals

Epona announces that Culhane Meadows is in full production

Epona has announced that Culhane Meadows is in full production with Epona DMS Solutions – Matter Center, DMSforLegal and Office 365.

The Dallas firm has been utilizing Epona solutions of the Epona Matter Center and DMSforLegal to make their recent investment into Microsoft’s platform-as-a-service with Microsoft 365 Business a seamless document and email management solution.  The Epona solution set went fully live in November of 2019, and the firm has been in full production for over six months.

Heather Clauson Haughian, CTO and managing partner said: “Culhane Meadows was already using a cloud based DMS provider, but email management, and integration with Microsoft 365 Business was non-existent.  When I found Epona, I was delighted to see that we could now take full advantage of the platform we were already invested heavily in (Microsoft 365 Business) and expand our use of SharePoint, Outlook and Teams to include DMS integration with all of these applications, as well as email management directly from within Outlook. It also provided a great platform for our users who prefer to work in a more traditional network-shared environment, a matter based solution that integrates with OneDrive for Business – allowing all our users to work in the environment best suited for their needs while still maintaining security and integrity of our client documents.  We are very pleased that we were able to find a better way to both serve our clients’ needs in the most efficient manner while still allowing our attorneys autonomy over how they like to interact with our technology platforms.  Epona was there for us every step of the way, during this challenging time for everyone.”

Platform and product launches

Lupl launches

You may have read our coverage to date but if not you need to know that a platform claiming to be the first open industry platform for lawyers has launched and it’s all anyone is talking about right now.

Lupl calls itself matter synchronisation software and is the result of collaboration among a group of leading law firms and corporations, the platform pulls together all modes of communication in one place, be it Slack or Zoom or email, or Google docs, or document management, the proliferation of which is a growing headache in terms of efficiency and governance.

It is being incubated through its development by a trio of international law firms, CMS, Cooley and Rajah & Tann Asia, working with input from an advisory board of 16 leading in-house lawyers from blue chip multinationals through to the world’s fastest growing tech companies. The wider law firm testing group includes Slaughter and May, Corrs Chambers Westgarth in Australia, Khaitan & Co in India and One Essex Court, a leading barristers’ chambers in London.

An open approach means any legal department and law firm will be able to use Lupl, and any technology provider will be able to integrate with it via open APIs.

Matt Pollins, chief commercial officer ofLupl, added:“When we began work on Lupl, our goal was to give lawyers real-time, 360 visibility across their matters, whether they’re at their desk, at home, or on the go. We knew the demand for a tool like this was coming because of the shift towards distributed teams and mobile working but the crisis has accelerated that shift far quicker than we could ever have imagined.”

Caselines announces patent application for redaction tool

CaseLines has filed a patent application for a tool that enables differential redaction by sub-bundle for the legal industry. The redaction tool is included within the CaseLines cloud-based collaborative case document and multimedia management system.

This feature means that specified redaction categories can be applied to different sub-bundles within a case, depending on who is invited to read those sub-bundles. The redaction capabilities can be applied in two ways: single click-and-drag redactions; and automatic redaction of specified information made through document searches. This includes redacting anything that matches specified keywords, pages, patterns and fuzzy searches – such as phone numbers and social security numbers. Once these redaction rules are applied to sub-bundles, they are automatically applied to new documents uploaded to the sub-bundles.

“I truly believe this tool will change the lives of lawyers and paralegals. The tool delivers immense efficiency gains and a huge reduction in time-consuming legal administrative work. The complex issue of differential redaction is one we have been hearing about from the legal fraternity for some time. This patent application shows that CaseLines is unique in being able to deliver redaction in this flexible, productive and progressive way,” explains Paul Sachs, CTO and founder of CaseLines.

Partnerships

Matters.Cloud partners with FreeAgent

Matters.Cloud, a provider of cloud based practice management software to the legal industry, today announced a new integration partnership with FreeAgent to provide small and mid size law firms with cloud based accounting and matter management.

Matters.Cloud (www.matters.cloud) enables legal professionals to track time and expenses, manage clients and matters, raise invoices, develop opportunities and keep up to date with tasks all within a single cloud based platform.

The newly announced integration allows existing customers of FreeAgent to take advantage of the benefits of Matters.Cloud including:

  • Providing insight, whether they are a single lawyer or operating as part of a larger firm.
  • Bringing together key information related to clients, contacts and matters.
  • Helping to break down matters into key phases and tasks.
  • Enter time and expenses in line with legal industry standards.
  • Simplifying processes like raising invoices, capturing payments and managing client funds.
  • Freeing up time to focus on winning new opportunities.
  • Providing access both in the office and on the go, via our mobile experience.

Details of clients, matters, invoices, credit notes, receipts and write offs will automatically synchronise with FreeAgent’s online accounting software.

This approach allows small and mid sized law firms to take advantage of FreeAgent’s cloud based accounting capabilities including integration with online banking platforms, payroll, VAT and corporation tax.

“FreeAgent is great for small to mid sized law firms, simplifying the accounting process by providing access to an award winning cloud based solution”, said Donna Flanagan, Customer Experience Manager at Matters.Cloud.

“At FreeAgent, we’re committed to helping people manage their finances as easily and efficiently as possible, so we’re delighted to be working with matters.Cloud. It’s an exciting partnership that we hope will help many legal professionals run their businesses better, while also enabling us to expand our presence in the industry”, said FreeAgent’s Founder/CEO Ed Molyneux.

Neota Logic forms APAC client advisory board

Neota Logic announced today (18 May) a new APAC client advisory board comprising of leaders from across the Asia Pacific region.

Last year, Neota Logic announced the launch of their North American Client Advisory Board & EMEA Client Advisory Board (CAB) with the aim of putting their clients at the heart of their product design thinking.

They have now launched their APAC Client Advisory Board comprising of:

  • Susanna Kipping, Head of Legal Operations, Process & Automation at Herbert Smith Freehills
  • Michelle Mahoney, Executive Director, Innovation at King & Wood Mallesons
  • Sheldon Renkema, General Manager – Legal (Corporate) at Wesfarmers

The newly announced advisory board brings together a multi-disciplinary group of respected industry experts who will provide advice and support to help drive forward Neota’s ambitious growth plans.

The board will meet in person quarterly to provide in-depth feedback on the development of Neota’s products and services, the overall customer experience and strategic market opportunities.

Kim Massana, CEO at Neota Logic said: “The knowledge and experience these industry leaders bring will ensure that we have a thorough understanding of the requirements of our customers so that we can provide the technology that best supports them.   We are also looking forward to further announcements, thereby adding greater diversity to inform our strategic direction.”

Casestudy – DocsCorp and SeeUnity

DocsCorp has published a case study with SeeUnity showing how they partnered to deliver a joint solution to reduce the risk of data leaks when uploading documents from iManage to HighQ.

SeeUnity is a content integration expert, helping users to connect, sync, and migrate data between ECM solutions and external business applications. Its solutions are built to improve business processes by connecting people with content.

You can read the case study here: https://www.docscorp.com/globalassets/documents/case-studies/cs-seeunity.pdf

Chambers ALSP ranking

QuisLex receives Band 1 ranking in Chambers & Partners first guide on ALSPs

QuisLex has been included  in the highest band in Chambers and Partners’ first dedicated ranking of service providers within the alternative legal services industry. QuisLex ranked in Band 1 for two of the core areas of the Alternative Legal Service Providers sector report: Contract Lifecycle Management and Litigation Services.

QuisLex provides corporate clients and law firms with industry-leading services including managed document review, contract lifecycle management, compliance services, legal spend management, and legal operations consulting. 

“We are proud to continue our decade-long Band 1 ranking by the trusted experts at Chambers and Partners,” says Ram Vasudevan, CEO at QuisLex. “This guide offers clients, faced with an ever-increasing choice of providers, with a select group of trusted options. QuisLex is pleased to be included among the top tier of firms offering quality services.”

See Chambers Alternative Legal Service Providers 2020 e-Edition for more information, and sign up to be notified when the full report is available for download.

ILTA opens Distinguished Peer Awards

And last but not least, the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) is pleased to announce the opening of the ILTA Distinguished Peer Awards.

This program recognizes ILTA peers who have delivered great business value and transformational impact through their innovations and implementations or have been champions in specific areas of focus for their organizations.

“While the awards have always shone a light on the extraordinary work and dedication of our ILTA community, the program has special meaning this year,” noted ILTA CEO Joy Heath Rush. “In this time of rapid change and uncertainty, the ILTA Peer Awards give us a moment to pause and show our appreciation for the efforts and accomplishments of our peers who are rising to meet emerging opportunities and challenges.”

2020 brings new and returning award categories, including:

Individual AwardsLegal Organization Awards
Lifetime Achievement Innovative Leader of the Year ILTA Contributor of the Year  Transformative Project of the Year (100+ attorneys)Transformative Project of the Year (<100 attorneys)Innovator of the Year  
Business Partner AwardsRecognition Lists
Solution Provider of the YearConsultant of the YearBusiness Partner of the Year  Young Professionals to WatchLegal Organization of the YearBusiness Partners to Watch

Applications close June 12, 2020. For more information about the awards and to submit a nomination, please visit https://www.iltanet.org/peerawards