LawWare hosts 2011 User Conference and User Group Meeting

LawWare hosted this year’s User Conference and User Group Meeting (UGM) on Wednesday 23 November 2011.LawCloud and LawWare

Following the success of the last UGM, LawCloud, LawWare Enterprise, Classic and Express users and select close business partners and those considering LawCloud were all invited to join LawWare at Stirling Management Centre..

Alongside the User Group Meeting, there were a variety of guest speakers and business partners who discussed relevant and topical issues.

Following a morning’s session of networking and a welcome note by Warren Wander, Managing Director of LawWare Ltd, Laura Malcolm of the Professional Support Team at The Law Society of Scotland delivered a keynote speech on “Opportunity, Innovation and the Future” in the legal profession.

Warren then presented a technology update focussing on the Cloud and discussing LawWare & LawCloud development plans. Insights on the Cloud and technology use by the legal profession from Professor Stewart Brymer of Brymer Legal Ltd followed,

Stephen Moore of Moore Legal Technology then delivered a thought-provoking presentation on the web as the new high street for lawyers, illustrating how MLT’s clients have been able to generate up to (and sometimes over) 100 enquiries per month through their websites and online activities.

After more networking, further presentations were delivered by Diane Ireland, Online Marketing Manager at SLAB regarding SLAB’s online integration updates and by Ian Messer, Director of Financial Compliance at Law Society of Scotland regarding Cashroom and Compliance Considerations.

Catherine O’Day, Director of The Cashroom Ltd examined the subject of outsourcing for law firms & thoughts from an Outsourced Cashroom and Simon Greig of LawWare rounded off the morning’s session with a live preview of LawWare, together with hints, tips and details of new developments.

After lunch, LawWare users were then given an opportunity to meet other LawWare users, exchange ideas and find out more about how they use the system.

A technology showcase will highlight the latest developments that are available to law firms in today’s fast moving times and there will be an industry update on the latest news and trends in the profession.

With 4 hours of CPD for each attendee, the event gave solicitors in Scotland an overview of some of the latest developments that are available to law firms in today’s fast moving times, with an industry update on the latest news and trends in the profession.

To discuss any of these aspects in greater detail, please contact us on 0845 2020 577, view the live tweets from the event on Twitter or visit LawCloud’s website for further information.

LawCloud takes a Belt and Braces Approach

LawCloud continues to invest in its systems with the latest state of the art Cloud monitoring software to ensure its clients achieve the best performance possible.

With a reputation for innovation and quality, LawCloud continues to go from strength to strength and with such a strong uptake on LawCloud, it is essential that the LawCloud performance team has full insight into how well its systems are doing.Microsoft Cloud Partner Network

Managing Director and CEO, Warren Wander explains “This level of monitoring means that the team can respond almost instantaneously to increased server load, balancing usage and ensuring our customers experience is the best it can be at any one time.”

Again, this puts LawCloud at the forefront of Cloud technologies, reaffirming its position as one of the foremost suppliers of Cloud technologies to law firms in Scotland and the UK.

In addition to server performance monitoring, LawCloud has also implemented a resilience that maximises the utilisation of Microsoft’s latest server operating systems by implementing failover on all of its functions. Alongside choosing one of the best data centres in the UK, this means that there is now truly no single point of failure on the LawCloud system ensuring that uptime is maximised.
Data Protection Certificate
Warren Wander concludes “Our SLA states a minimum uptime but we are constantly exceeding these with one of the best track records for availability in the industry. As one of the foremost suppliers of Cloud based system for lawyers, we are constantly innovating and remain at the forefront of this technology as a leading supplier to the industry.”

LawCloud offers a data protection certification to all clients that published on the LawCloud website.

The Law Society has released its draft guidelines for procurement of Cloud and we have aligned ourselves undisputedly with this document and will publish it on the LawCloud website as soon as it is available.

Meeting of Minds – Law Society Cloud Event

There’s nothing better than marking real change with a landmark occasion to pinpoint that moment when a new innovation comes along that changes the way we do things and on Wednesday 9th November 2011, The Law Society of Scotland hosted such an event at The Hollyrood Hotel in Edinburgh focusing on the Cloud Computing for law firms in Scotland.

The event was intended to be informative and to stimulate awareness of Cloud and around the Law Society of Scotland’s soon to be released Cloud Computing paper, a set of advisory notes for the profession and which is currently in draft form.

The event really was a meeting of minds and with over 80 delegates attending from wide ranging backgrounds (almost a third of the delegates were IT technical experts in their fields advocating Cloud), the balance of lawyers in the room had real wealth of expertise to draw from.

Paul Motion, bto & John Craske, D&W opened the event by setting the scene and attempting to define and demystify exactly what the Cloud is and what it means for lawyers in Scotland. This proved to be a challenge and it was clear that fixing a single definition proved too limiting for such an expansive and developing subject area. Craske went on to conclude that Cloud is a trend and a move from self-ownership and management of own systems, to subscribing to a set of services supplied and maintained by experts in that field. He compared this to the historical move from cottage industries to scalable services from national corporations such as the move from generating your own electricity as was not uncommon, to plugging into the national grid. Examples of current systems in the legal sector were presented and exhibitors including LawCloud had stalls set out alongside the event.

The Law Society’s own Neil Stevenson followed with an enthusiastically presentation on the main key benefits of Cloud focusing on opportunity, innovation and the future. This was followed by a more technical presentation from Iain Stevenson who presented a thought provoking variety of concerns, unintended consequences and risks surrounding the Cloud. Iain went on to quote Larry Ellison from Oracle, who in the early days stated that Cloud was the latest fashion trend and even more fashionable than women’s fashion, however, he soon “Cloudified” his own systems when the seriousness of Cloud was fully appreciated and this is now a pinnacle of his business.

A series of round table case study based participant workshops followed the morning speakers with a facilitators from technology, legal and risk backgrounds stimulated interesting discussions surrounding the legal cloud environment.

All in all, the event was informative and engaging and there was a real energy about the place. For a conservative profession, the willingness to embrace this new form of technology experience was refreshing.

The penny seems to be dropping that access to sophisticated systems needn’t involve ownership any more nor be as expensive or daunting as it used to be when. When management is delegated and compliance assurances are guaranteed by a responsible service provider, risks are minimised.

Cloud represents one of the newest turning points in the never ending mission of technology, to facilitate change and improvements in the way that we work, communicate, live and play and to me, that means happy days.

The Law Society’s guidelines are a welcomed piece of collateral for the profession at a time when guidelines are well needed and I look forward to working alongside these advisory notes to offer the comfort that practitioners need in order to make the most of emerging innovations and trusted technologies…

It is anticipated that The Law Society’s advice will be focused around a number of key areas including

  • Understanding arrangements with Cloud providers such as  SLA’s
    • System availability, accessibility, licensing
    • Provisions for your Data
      • How safe it is, where is it stored, who owns it
      • Compliance & assurances
        • Are you unknowingly breaching any laws such as data protection
        • What can go wrong and what happens if things do go wrong

Majority of law firms in the US use some kind of cloud computing

Cloud computing is being embraced on a wide scale by law firms on both sides of the Atlantic. In the US, the sixteenth annual survey on law firm technology by the American Lawyer revealed that 65% of respondent law firms were using some aspect of cloud computing for their firm.

Further, almost half (47%) of the law firms reported that they were using cloud computing more this year than they were last year.

The survey revealed that those who had yet to take to the cloud were concerned mainly about security implications, but of those firms who were using the cloud, 77% reported having a positive experience with the technology.

Cloud for UK Law Firms

For law firms in the UK, LawCloud has, in a White Paper on Security in the Cloud, outlined best practice considerations for using cloud computing in the UK. These considerations indeed also apply to non-legal businesses.

Additionally, on Wednesday this week, the Law Society of Scotland hosted an event on cloud computing for law firms.

The Law Society stated that “Cloud computing providers claim to offer law firms the chance to save money, work more efficiently, and respond more quickly to changing IT demands. Many firms are already benefitting and, on the face of it, many more could. However, as with every development there are also new risks and new concerns, from data security and data protection issues, through to regulatory compliance, business continuity, technical support and IP.”

Through the event, the Law Society and expert cloud providers, including LawCloud itself, spoke about ways of determining the best cloud provider for law firms with additional discussion about security concerns. For more, see our blog post on Law Society’s cloud event.

Should you have any queries about the Cloud and whether it is right for your law firm, please do not hesitate to ask us either in the comments section below, on Twitter at @LawCloudUK or @LawWareUK , through our LinkedIn group  or by calling us on 0845 2020 577 for a free initial consultation.

LawCloud: Cloud for law firms

Cloud and the Convergence of Technology

I was at the Microsoft’s Partner Briefing in Edinburgh yesterday and the keynote speaker spoke with passion about the “Convergence of Technology” that is currently happening in the technology world.Law Cloud Image

I started out developing games on a Sinclair Spectrum at the age of 12 which I received as a Xmas present after showing an interest in the ZX81.

I still have these “little fellows” in the mini museum in our board room and every time I glance over at them, I am reminded of the good old days when developers had to cram code into 1k of RAM. A few months later, the massive 64k RAM expansion pack was released which broadened the scope of possibility. These machines plugged into your tape recorder and data was saved onto cassette tapes with a screeching wave of audible binary being magnetised onto the media. If the tape didn’t corrupt or jam, you were doing well.

It has been said that these machines created the birth of today’s IT directors, software houses and leading technologists. You only need to look at the successes of Bill Gates and the former Steve Jobs who both started on equivalent machines in the U.S from their garages.

Since then and with the advent of the internet, we’re all now connected and the possibilities are only limited by our imagination. Facebook, linked in and twitter have created unrivalled communication media and these and platforms like it continue to change our world at a radical pace.

Moore’s Law surmises that computing power doubles approximately every 18 months and the evidence is here today. My Windows Phone 7 has a 1Ghz processor, 16Gb RAM and a display to die for. I opted not to go for the 64Gb dual core processor but if that’s what mobile phones are now spec’d with, imagine what they will be like in 5 years’ time!

Technology for a long time was (and still is) mooted as geeky and you can see why. It’s roots are complex, mathematical processing machines and even today, achieving real value involves a real in depth know how by specialists who have dedicated a good proportion of their passion to making these incredible machines tick.

The latest development is Cloud and the biggest IT companies in the world see this as their next “Big Bet”. They are investing enormously in what they see is the future, “Cloudifying” their software and investing masses in secure & robust, high performance data centres.

Apple software has always had a close relationship with its devices which is why the Apple brand is so strong. It’s devices and solutions are elegant and well-formed so that the end user’s experience is consistent and streamlined. Apple devices are a thing of beauty and long may this be.

On the other hand, PC’s come in all shapes and sizes and whilst Windows arguably offers more control, the Windows experience is varied. Microsoft has cottoned on to this and they see their future in the convergence of devises and with a consistent end user experience. Windows XP will be end of lived in 2014 and Windows 7 & 8 will be Microsoft’s flagship operating systems.

All vendors see a close and consistent relationship between device, operating system and end user experience being key and over the next few years, the technology underpinning mobile phones, tablets, slates and other portable devises will become much more of an art as well as a science.

Cloud is only the beginning of this convergence in technology and we are living in times where we will see an even bigger radical shift in the way that we work, play and live.

How incredible to have seen the birth of the PC, email, the browser, the internet, the mobile phone, Google, amazon, Facebook and to watch these technologies mature to even the early stages that they are at today.

There’s a lot more technology to come and as IT people, we are so fortunate to be so well positioned to help shape the future by being involved in this multi trillion dollar industry, to be able to play with the latest gadgets and enjoy the way that they can help us live more fuller lives.

If you’re as excited about technology as I am, you’ll see how easy it is to get carried away with these things and it’s important to keep your feet on the ground. We’re living in challenging times where the world’s economies are in turmoil, it’s sometimes difficult to see a way forward where dreams can be fulfilled. It is important to keep things in perspective and find a good balance between possibilities and realities. Live in the moment, take every day for what it is and take one step at a time. I have enormous faith in the human condition and with technological advancements in all fields; our quality of life is improving by the day.

This post was originally published in the Firm Magazine here .

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