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Mega APAC New round-up

Time for our first Asia Pacific news round-up of 2012 – and don't forget that late February we'll be publishing a new PDF newsletter Asia Pacific Legal Technology Insider (to register for your free copy just email and put APAC Subscribe in the subject line). We've also included a copy of our editorial deadlines and publishing dates in the attached Excel spreadsheet. (Advertising enquiries should be sent to our business development manager Philip Woolley at ) And now on with the news…

• New South Wales based firm Armstrong Legal has selected Aderant Expert as its next generation practice management system. Armstrong Legal is an expanding firm with five offices across Sydney and Canberra. Peter Magee, partner at Armstrong Legal said “We are very confident in our selection of Expert as our long-term business critical system. Not only does Aderant have the functionality depth that we require, but its stability and reliability post go-live are integral to a law firm’s operations.” Armstrong Legal will implement Aderant Expert in 2012 and take full advantage of the comprehensive business and financial management capabilities to help the firm better manage, grow, and protect its business.

DocsCorp has announced more wins in Australia and New Zealand for its pdfDocs Solutions Suite (pdfDocs Desktop, compareDocs, OCR Server, OCR Desktop, formFiller and Content Crawler). DocsCorp is also a reseller of the Mimecast unified email management solution in the APAC region. In Sydney, TressCox Lawyers has gone with the Mimecast unified email management cloud solution for archiving. Long-time DocsCorp client and the largest Australian-based international law firm, Minter Ellison has deployed compareDocs across the firm for their document comparison needs.  Last month also saw activity in New Zealand with Wellington firm AJ Park going with the Content Crawler and pdfDocs Desktop products; Chapman Tripp, also based in Wellington, choosing pdfDocs Desktop while Auckland-based law firm Tonkin & Taylor went with Mimecast.

IntApp Inc, a provider of application integration software for the legal industry, just announced that Minter Ellison SA/NT, part of the Minter Ellison group of federated law firms and South Australia’s largest commercial law firm, has selected IntApp Integration Builder to accelerate the roll out of Elite 3E as its new financial and practice management platform.

“Our firm is always on the lookout for advanced, innovative technologies that can maximise operational efficiency, lawyer productivity and client service,” said Michael Veasey, Director of Technology Services, Minter Ellison SA/NT. “We made the decision to use IntApp Integration Builder to accelerate our Elite 3E roll out because we were impressed and excited by the tremendous potential we see for the technology in the hands of a skilled and motivated IT team.”

Integration Builder provides a simple, straightforward way for law firms to connect, manage and automate their business applications and processes. It enables law firms to integrate Elite 3E into their IT environment without having to develop complex, custom code in house. It does this by interfacing directly with Elite’s native web services functionality and providing IT with a graphic interface for configuring business logic and integration rules. To further speed Elite 3E adoption, IntApp offers pre-built templates that jumpstart integration with common law firm applications including document management, records management, time entry, portal and other systems. IntApp also provides firms with access to an extensive community of certified Integration Builder and Elite 3E consultants who can assist organisations with constrained resources.

“Our Elite 3E initiative is just the first of many projects we have in mind for Integration Builder,” added Veasey. “Because it frees us from costly and time-consuming custom software development, we’ll also be using it to automate a number of business processes across the firm, improving the scope of service and quality of data provided to our lawyers and business stakeholders.”

Epiq Systems Inc, a provider of ediscovery systems for the legal profession, has announced that Anthony Riha has joined the company as senior director, business development for the Asia Pacific region. Prior to joining Epiq Systems, Riha was senior director, private equity services – Pan Asia, at RR Donnelley Roman Financial in Hong Kong. He began his professional career in the role of senior producer/writer for ABC and NBC news affiliates in the United States.

BigHand has seen the latest version of its voice technology software – version BigHand 4.2 – immediately adopted by law firms following its introduction to the Australian legal market at the recent national road show series entitled The BigLeap.

Pam Grumetza, Senior Business Systems Analyst, Crown Law said “Prior to attending the BigHand Road show, Crown Law Queensland was already in the process of upgrading to Bighand v4.1 with a special interest in mobility and speech recognition. After seeing the demonstration of the latest release we were so impressed with the additional features, especially the formatting functionality using speech recognition, we made a decision to upgrade straight to v4.2.”

Russell Seenan, IT Manager at Barry Nillson noticed the competition moving away from other platforms to BigHand. “The firm needed to find a replacement to its current digital dictation system, which was old and restrictive in the devices that we could use. During our research, we noticed a number firms switching from other platforms to BigHand. We were impressed with BigHand’s latest version, and after speaking to some of their existing clients it became clear that their product, support and professionalism was second-to-none.”

Shine Lawyers has also chosen to upgrade to BigHand 4.2. Jeremy Collins, IT Manager commenting “Shine Lawyers is upgrading to the latest version of BigHand to take advantage of the latest mobile integration, enabling us to leverage our existing smartphone fleet to introduce dictation services via a single mobile device. We are also looking forward to being able to better manage our Word Processing pool through the enhanced reporting modules.”

Case Study: Sydney Law Firm Spruson & Ferguson embrace innovation with Winscribe BPM
As a result of the success of two initial BPM projects, Sydney law firm Spruson & Ferguson have identified and modelled over 60 processes throughout their business which will benefit from process automation with the help of legal specific business process management solution Winscribe BPM. One of the largest intellectual property firms in Australia, Spruson & Ferguson is leading the way in using business process management technology to improve customer responsiveness and reduce admin overheads throughout their firm; and through their participation in the BPM Advisory Board, for the legal profession in Australia.

Spruson & Ferguson’s IT manager Simon Saunders’ interest in innovation and efficiency was mirrored by Spruson & Ferguson's long standing productivity partner Winscribe, who provide a business process management solution that allows law firms in Australia and across the globe to easily model internal processes leading to the discovery, and subsequently, remedy of inefficiencies within a business. This is achieved through automation of manual tasks; more effective workflow routing; allowing for the consistent application of business rules; increasing the visibility of tasks in a work queue; as well as tracking expected turnaround times in a process. The system is also able to seamlessly integrate with practice management systems or other software packages typically used by law firms, independent of their vendor.

Spruson & Ferguson chose to implement a number of trial projects which tested the ability of Winscribe BPM to effectively pass work tasks and information between different users, workstations and software packages within the firm. These initial projects were completed successfully during 2011 and are now providing the platform for future projects, with over 60 processes modelled and ready for process automation. Saunders adds “Winscribe BPM is fantastic; it’s absolutely met our needs. It was really intuitive to configure and we are already getting runs on the board with some processes, which we have automated fully, and users are pleased.”

The move away from informal business practices, workflows contained within the borders of a single application, as well as paper-based processes required re-thinking by IT staff and senior management. Spruson & Ferguson’s senior in-house programmer Dat AuDuong explained “Initially it took us a while to adjust the way we think about developing a feature. Where we originally would have just written a block of code to achieve a desired outcome, the graphical nature of Winscribe BPM has forced us to look closer at our business processes and examine their individual steps. We now have a much better idea of the processes in our firm and instead of a chunk of code that is hard to maintain and troubleshoot; we now have a graphical process tree with individual bits of functionality clearly defined. If we want to make changes, doing so is very easy and the graphical nature makes it much easier to communicate ideas between our business managers and IT staff.”

Saunders comments “The new workflows developed with Winscribe BPM will result in significantly faster response times at Spruson & Ferguson, efficiency gains in back office operations and a significant reduction in paper waste. By using our practice management system as the heartbeat of our organization and Winscribe BPM as the arteries and veins through which work tasks and information flow to individual stakeholders, we can transition to a simplified and more robust work environment for all. It will, without a doubt, make us more competitive going forward.”