LawCloud Continues to Grow – Leading Cloud Computing Solutions for UK Law Firms

With the growing importance of cloud computing for law firms, LawCloud continues to be one of the UK’s leading independent legal Cloud suppliers.

Having just signed our 106th law firm customer onto our secure platform, the news of our continued growth has been shared on

http://www.thesolicitorsgroup.co.uk/News/Article.aspx?ArticleID=cd53f7e5-112f-4c5b-92ac-8b2874ef3113 (most recently)

in addition to the following publications:-

http://www.firmmagazine.com/news/3075/1_in_10_law_firms_now_using_Cloud_hosting.html

http://www.cloudcomputing-365.info/news_full.php?id=25596

http://www.scotlandcloud.com/news/law-cloud-in-scotland/

http://www.lawcloud.co.uk/about/celebrating-the-cloud

Helpful Cloud Computing Tools for Lawyers

Guest post outlining helpful cloud computing tools for lawyers (mainly for US law firms). For our own cloud services for law firms and for advice on legal IT for UK law firms, please visit our main website at www.lawcloud.co.uk

The continued popularity and usage of Cloud computing, especially in the paralegal industry, has led to the development of a number of reliable Cloud computing tools. These applications and software assist many lawyers in delivering exceptional service to their clientele.

Many legal firms have adopted Cloud computing technologies to power their businesses. In fact, in the 16th annual survey of The American Lawyer, the online news portal revealed that 65 percent of the 82 law firms surveyed said they use Cloud computing, and 77 percent of those who use the technology say they had a positive experience. LawCloud, a leading case management software development company, proudly supports and uses this technology to host their growing number of clients. As of June 2012, they host 83 law firms on their Cloud platform and the number is growing by the week.

This immense growth creates a great need to manage the Cloud. In this article, we will feature the best and most commonly used tools to help you make the most of your Cloud computing technology.

  1. Skype

Lawyers need to be available for their clients 24-hour a day. All firms will benefit from cutting their phone bills, so Skype is ideal your current plan for reducing outgoings is by getting a SIM only deal and controlling your phone usage. Skype allows you to call, send instant messages, video-conference, and share files with your colleagues and clients all for free. You can also download Skype on your Smartphone. For an additional fee, you can add a Skype online number which will allow you to receive calls and to call non-Skype phone numbers.

  1. LawBox

For busy attorneys on the go, having LawBox on your mobile device will be a handy tool. This mobile application offers you legal references including the United States Constitution, Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, 28 U.S.C – Judiciary and Judicial Procedure and more. Consider it your built-in legal library. You can browse, read and download these state and federal codes while doing your comprehensive research. Additional 2012 codes were added to the app such as complete statute sets for states of California, New York, Texas, Illinois, Florida, and Arizona.

  1. PocketJustice

Your in-depth study wouldn’t be complete without examples. If you’re away from your computer and need to review past cases, including the US Supreme Court decisions, PocketJustice is a helpful mobile app. Developed by OYEZ Inc., this award-winning app features case summaries for your to both case summaries for you to both stream or download, access to audio transcripts of cases, and live searching for a faster case summary results. The new version now comes with the updated list of cases from 2012.

  1. CloudStack

To manage your cloud computing technology, CloudStack is a very reliable open source software. It creates, manages, and deploys infrastructure cloud services. Users can easily manage their Cloud services with its user-friendly web interface and fully featured API that is compatible with S3 and Amazon Web Services (AWS) EC2 for firms that want to deploy hybrid clouds.

  1. eFax

Important documents, especially those that have signatures, are only accepted through fax. If you don’t want to purchase an expensive fax machine, why not use eFax. This software allows you to receive fast fax messages online. With eFax, you can receive fax documents straight to your email. It has three key features: a vast inventory of fax phone numbers, efficient internet faxing and voicemail, and secured communications network. The software is free for a 30-day trial.

With reliability and convenience, Cloud computing has become the best way for new and established law firms to act smart and to make better use of technology. To jumpstart your newly establish firm or cut down on some company expenses, the tools presented above are an economical and efficient way of managing your Cloud.

About the Author

Reese Jones is a tech and gadget lover, a die-hard fan of iOS and console games. She started her writing venture recently and writes about everything from quick tech tips, to mobile-specific news from the likes of O2, to tech-related DIY.

Find more about her and her work at Reese+ and tweet her @r_am_jones.

Collaborating with other lawyers & legal firms: Back to basics for lawyers

Welcome to the March edition of Back to Basics — a Business Briefing for Lawyers. This month the focus is on Collaborating with others.

Unless you are a full service legal firm, it is likely that there will be areas of law where your firm simply does not have the skills, knowledge or experience to deal with client business—and that’s where Collaboration comes into its own.

We will look at recognised routes of collaboration and consider even the simple things—like, what do you do with your conflict cases—and do you have reciprocal arrangements with other legal firms? This is Collaboration in its most basic form and whilst there might not be a direct money exchange, it is likely that the relationship will create new business for your firm.

If you need any help to explore potential areas of Collaboration, please get in touch with me—I’d be delighted to help.

Brian O’Neill LL.B MBA
Business Consultant
40c Drakemyre
Dalry
North Ayrshire
KA24 5JE
t. 07855 838395

e.   brian@drakemyre.co.uk

Can you provide all the services your client needs?

Last month we looked at Business Development and focused on the Boston Matrix—a well known business tool that helps those managing the business work out which services they should continue to provide, which ones to invest in and which ones to stop providing. It is very likely that you will need to take some very serious decisions about what services you do provide and what services you don’t provide—and if you don’t provide them, what you will do with your clients who need these types of services?

This is not an uncommon problem. Whilst many “high street” firms provide a wide range of services, they tend not to provide every service that might be needed by their wide and diverse client base. This can lead to serious problems, not least of which is how to make sure that the client has the work carried out correctly without taking the risk of losing the client because you didn’t do the job properly due to your lack of experience in the field—or worse still, lose the client and get sued for negligence in the process—because of your lack of experience in the field!

The next important step once you’ve discovered the services you do want to provide is to work out a way to provide your clients with services that you don’t provide—and still retain them as clients.

Recently, I’ve been in discussions with clients about this and a recent turn of events immediately springs to mind.

One of my clients is about to commence a structured and managed Wills review process that will be carried out over the course of the next few months, but they were concerned about a gap in their knowledge of how to deal with certain types of Trust  work. They didn’t want to take the risk of providing a service that they did not know enough about. I put them in touch with another of my clients who specialise in this area and they now have arrangements in place where this type of business can be passed from one firm to the other without the fear of the client being lost for other services.

An interesting thing happened at the meeting I attended when the arrangements were being worked out. The firm who didn’t provide the Trust work did provide a PPI Claims service to clients—a service that the firm that does provide the Trust work does not provide—and the discussion was widened to discuss reciprocal work which could be done in the PPI Claims area.

This is a very simple straight forward example of how two legal firms can collaborate to maximise the benefits that they are able to bring to their clients through referral from one to the other for specific types of work.

So, there we have it—not only did we have a collaboration for one type of business to be passed from one firm to the other—we had a reciprocal arrangement for another type of business to flow in the opposite direction. I do like happy endings and this one seems to me to be a perfect ending—a means of providing the client with a service whilst retaining the client as a client………..and new business being generated by each firm into the bargain!

Simon says…..

Collaboration? For what purpose?

I have no problem with collaboration, and I know many firms that have both informal and formal relationships with other solicitors and for that many other types of businesses, for the referral or introduction of clients interested in other services. Many firms are not ‘full service’ and many individuals are asked about a service that they cannot supply. The referral network operates at different levels and you can pick and choose whether to recommend someone or suggest someone depending on the level of risk you want to subject yourself to.

Let me play Devil’s Advocate for a moment and ask – what is the objective? Everyone responds with the answer – “I don’t want to lose the relationship that I have with my client.” Fair enough, in principle, but what does that mean in reality? If you are the type of firm that does nothing in the way of client focussed business development – then what’s the point in pretending to yourself that you want to retain and develop a relationship with a client when in reality you don’t actually do anything? It’s all very well to recognise a potential value but if you then fail to capitalise on it, then you are only kidding yourself.

Isn’t this just a form of cross-selling? I work with new start-up law firms as well as existing practices. It is interesting to note that all the new starts are focussing on just one or two areas of work and in this scenario there is no interest in cross-selling. But I have also noticed that, generally speaking, established practices that do offer a range of work-types don’t have any methods for cross-selling either. If you won’t open up your client base to your partner colleagues, why would you open them up to other businesses?

Conversely, as has often been stated previously in this publication – the easiest people to sell to are existing clients. There is clearly a bit of a dichotomy here. Why is that?

Is it because Partners don’t really want to share? Is it too much bother?

Is it because it’s no one’s job to do this? Is there a perception that ‘selling’ is distasteful?

It’s probably all these things and more.

The first stage is recognising what you can and cannot do as a business in the whole. The second stage is about finding out how much the work you cannot do is worth and deciding if you want to do it yourselves or if it’s better to pass it on. If you pass it on then you need to work out who you can pass it too, assess the basis that you want to do this and the risks involved, and then monitor it yourselves.

Tip – Appoint someone to manage this. Whilst they are at it, get them managing all the client relationships across your whole firm. If it’s done correctly – it will more than pay for itself.

Simon Greig is Sales Manager of LawWare Limited, Edinburgh. Contact Simon at simon@lawware.co.uk

Collaboration—the basics

Working together is never easy. Indeed, some say that it’s even difficult for partners to work together in the same firm, so diverse are their interests, focus, methods and habits!

Collaborating with others is a whole new ballgame and there are certain things that need to be done at the very beginning to make sure that the arrangement gets off to the best possible start—it is only by doing so that can you ensure that the enterprise will be a success.

First:         identify the services that you don’t want to or can’t provide but that your clients have told you they need.

Second:    identify a firm that can provide this service (or ask around to find out about firms who may already have arrangements in place). Alternatively, consider joining the Connect2Law Network to access the very wide range of services available from a full service legal firm (more on Connect2Law on page 2)

Third:        open up a dialog with the firm (or firms) you’ve selected and find out if they’re interested in providing a service to your clients and on what basis.

Fourth:     ensure that the “ground rules” are in place and that there is clear understanding on each side that the client being passed on is only the client for the specific type of work.

Fifth:         explore services that you provide that the other firm may nor provide and find out if some form of reciprocal arrangement can be put in place that would benefit both firms.

Sixth:        if there is to be some form of fee sharing, make sure that you agree this at the outset and set in place systems to track which clients are passed so that you can monitor receipt of the share of the fee you are to receive.

Seventh:   meet regularly with the firm you’re collaborating with to work out any issues that may exist in the process and to smooth out rough edges as you move forward—and continue to explore other areas where collaboration would benefit both firms.

How do you deal with conflicts?

It makes no sense from a risk management basis to act on behalf of two clients in a potential conflict situation even though you can do so in those very limited specific areas allowed by The Law Society of Scotland. Why don’t you consider having discussions with those solicitors you respect in another local firm and find out if they’d be interested in a reciprocal arrangement for conflict cases. I know some firms who will never act in a conflict situation and profit through reciprocal work by passing on clients so that the conflict situation is avoided—and it also means that you are likely to be able to charge a full fee for the work you do—as will the solicitor in the other firm……..think about it!

You can always formalise your arrangements….

Last year around this time I heard about Connect2Law from one of my colleagues. I thought that this was an excellent idea and spoke to Anne Macdonald who is the Manager of the Connect2Law Department of Harper Macleod. This is what I found out:

Connect2Law is an innovative referral and support network set up in Scotland by the award-winning Scottish law firm, Harper Macleod, to help smaller legal firms provide clients with a wider range of legal advice. Through Connect2Law member firms are able to extend their firm’s offering by utilising the services of specialists within Harper Macleod, on a non-poaching, fee share, referral basis. The theory behind the approach is that the service helps smaller firms retain their clients in the long term.

Anne, a Partner in Harper MacLeod commented at the time “Many smaller High Street firms have an impressive client list and consequently encounter a variety of interesting and complex cases for which they might not have the time, capacity or experience to handle alone. The demand for the Connect2Law service is continuing to grow – the fact that we now have 150 member firms and have recently reached our 1000th referral is proof of that. We would welcome any other firms with similar requirements to get in touch”

I subsequently had the pleasure of attending the Connect2Law Annual Conference and had the opportunity to speak to solicitors who had signed up to the Connect2Law network. Those who I spoke to said that they felt that Connect2Law was a valuable resource they could call on whenever necessary in the knowledge that their client would receive the correct advice when they could not provide it themselves. They would still retain that client for the services they did provide—and make some money out of it at the same time. What a comfort  it is to know that you are not placing yourself at risk by doing things you know little about and making sure your client receives a service whilst still retaining the client as a client—nothing could be better!

You can find out more here.

Anne Macdonald can be contacted on 0141 227 9280 or email at

Anne.macdonald@harpermacleod.co.uk

Contact us

Brian O’Neill LL.B MBA, Business Consultant, t. 01294 833220, m. 07855 838395, e. brian@drakemyre.co.uk

Simon Greig is Sales Manager of LawWare Limited, Edinburgh. Contact Simon on simon@lawware.co.uk

LawCloud: Legal Case, Matter and Practice Management for Law Firms UK

LawCloud features on The Law Society of Scotland’s Cloud guidance web page

A leader in cloud for law firms in the UK, LawCloud now features on The Law Society of Scotland’s website regarding guidance about cloud computing.

As the Law Society notes,

“Cloud computing offers many potential advantages to firms and the opportunity for more efficient and safer working. However, it also introduces new risks, from compliance with EU and UK data protection rules through to causing regulatory problems such as accounts rules compliance, and opening up new potential for service and conduct complaints.

To support members and also reduce risk to the overall profession the Society has issued ‘advice and information’ on the use of Cloud computing by law firms and solicitors in Scotland. This advice has been developed by the Society’s Technology Sub Committee in consultation with the Scottish Society for Computers and Law Group as well as industry experts and providers.”

The Law Society also notes that if members have any questions about the Cloud for their law firm, they should contact Neil Stevenson, Director of Representation and Professional Support, on 0131 476 8360 to discuss further.

We have already blogged about the recent Law Society of Scotland event at The Hollyrood Hotel in Edinburgh focusing on the Cloud Computing for law firms in Scotland, at which LawCloud provided expert input, assisting with the development of the guidance.

As LawCloud’s Managing Director, Warren Wander, noted in the recent blog post,

“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.”

To discuss how LawCloud can take your law firm to the Cloud, please contact us on 0845 2020 577 today.

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.

Transition to the Cloud growing at a tremendous rate

As a total Cloud fanatic, I’m amazed and energised at the transition that is currently happening in both the business and technical worlds.

The transition to the Cloud is growing at a tremendous rate and as the technology becomes more available, robust and affordable, the opportunities continue to grow. We all know that Cloud is a rebrand of hosting, which has been around for many years, however, the difference is that The Cloud has become more about business transformation than technology.

Recently, a traditionally very conservative Law society of Scotland has taken the lead by stimulating a very interesting discussion with a view to publishing their Cloud Services Procurement Guidelines for the Legal Profession in Scotland in anticipation of their forthcoming Law Society Cloud Event in Edinburgh on the 9th of November 2011.

To see all of this grow from the days I started writing games on the ZX81 and Sinclair Spectrum  is fascinating.

Now, many years on, as a specialist in the legal field offering Cloud for Law firms  and through products like LawCloud, we at the forefront of transforming the way that lawyers in the UK work, and LawWare Ltd is leading in the legal cloud.

Times have never been more challenging for law firms than today.  With the recent introduction of Alternative Business Structures alongside legal aid reforms, increasing paperwork for compliance, the need to be more efficient and competitive has never been more important.

Cloud computing presents the opportunity for small to medium sized firms to have best of breed software (traditionally reserved for the bigger firms) delivered directly to their doorstep at a low fixed monthly cost and with little or no capital expenditure. This very premise is creating vast modernisation and cultural changes in what was a profession grown out of very traditional roots.

Out of the box, The Cloud offers lawyers a new way of working that have never been so easy to reach before, including…

  • Flexible working [from anywhere - office, home, court, holiday even]
  • Peace of mind (All data is managed, backed up, no need to maintain a big expensive server)
  • Cost savings (monthly subscriptions on a utility type basis)
  • Simplified technology (Latest Management software, always kept updated by the Cloud provider, easily scalable)

Microsoft is leading the way with their online services with Office 365 and with new licensing models, Microsoft Office 2010, hosted emails and shared diaries should be an integral part of any serious Cloud system.

The Secret to Cloud Success is really still about relationships and knowing your Cloud provider. You are entrusting your crown jewels to a provider for the long term and you need to do your due diligence well. Nobody is perfect and whilst I am sure your experience will be a huge success, you should also plan your backup just in case things go wrong as they sometimes do. So, know where your data is and be sure you can get all of your data back when you need it and in a meaningful format.

Good luck with your journey to the Cloud. We are living in challenging yet incredible times.

As the infamous Benjamin Disraeli said “The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes.”…

Warren’s latest blog post has been featured in The Firm Magazine: “The Transition Position” and will appear in Totally Legal’s blog later this week.

About the author

Warren Wander is the founder and Managing Director of LawWare Ltd and more recently has become CEO of LawCloud Ltd. Warren has spent all his working life in the software development field and the last 15 years creating, developing & growing LawWare into one of Scotland’s most modern suppliers of Practice, Case & Risk management software. Warren Wander

 LawWare have established a strong reputation for an innovative and forward looking approach to the business of running a Law Firm and take the view that a ’big picture’ approach toward all the staff within a firm is the surest route towards achieving both effective firm management and high level client care. 

Although Warren lived in Scotland for the last 13 years, he is originally from Manchester, and graduated from Sheffield Hallam University with BSc (Hons) Computer Science in 1989.

You can find him at http://uk.linkedin.com/in/warrenwander

Inverness welcomes the Cloud

Earlier today (Wednesday 26 October 2011), The Mercure Hotel in Inverness hosted the fourth and final instalment in a series of legal practice management events chaired by Warren Wander, founder of LawCloud. Speakers included David Calder, managing partner of MBM Commercial LLP, Warren Wander, managing director of LawCloud, Andy Glasgow, senior commercial banking relationship manager at RBS, Alison Stark, chartered accountant at The Cashroom and Gavin Ward, search and social media marketing manager at Moore Legal Technology.

David Calder – MBM Commercial

The day started with a keynote from David Calder, managing partner of MBM Commercial. David explained the inception of MBM Commercial from a buy-out of the commercial business of a leading law firm in 2005. With its recent acquisition of a niche technology practice in Oxford, MBM Commercial has been able to establish itself as a specialist UK wide commercial law firm with a niche focus on acting for entrepreneurs, growth companies and investors who are based throughout the UK.

MBM Commercial has used innovative strategies to outsource various functions. One such function, cashroom services have been outsourced by MBM Commercial to The Cashroom, which provides outsourced accounting services for law firms across the UK. David explained that it wasn’t until 2008 that such outsourcing of accountancy was viable for his firm. Now, because of the Cloud, MBM Commercial is able to outsource this vital part of its business, which enables greater flexibility and cost savings for fee earners.

David Calder and his team at MBM Commercial can be contacted on 0333 2400 313 or at mailto:david.calder@mbmcommercial.co.uk.

Warren Wander – LawCloud

Cloud Computing

Warren Wander then presented on the benefits of cloud computing for law firms, explaining how LawCloud has enabled over 170 lawyers across the UK to improve their legal practice with cloud technology.

Explaining LawCloud for the audience, Warren said “In simple terms, LawCloud is the name of our secure server on the internet which you can rent space on. It delivers LawWare Enterprise and is the new generation in Practice Management & Office Software for law firms. It’s built on Microsoft’s Cloud Services platform and housed in a Fort Knox style data centre provided by LawWare business partner Rise Ltd.”

Elaborating on the main features, Warren then discussed Cash Accounting, the Full Electronic Case File, Risk Management & Compliance tools, Microsoft Office 2010 with Email, Shared Diaries, and, a secure, robust, high performance set of servers that have no single point of failure.

Summarising the main ways in which LawCloud benefits law firms across the UK, Warren noted that “It enables flexible working because it’s on the Internet. It supports your mobile and remote working capability which means you can work as easily from home, court or holiday as you can from the office.”

Warren also explained that “Access to all information is at your fingertips. It also means that you can link branch offices together without the need for expensive servers to route the information. We simply connect your remote offices up to the LawCloud Server and straight away you have a wide area network for your teams to share information.”

To discuss any of these aspects in greater detail, please call Warren and the LawCloud team on 0845 2020 577.

Andy Glasgow – RBS

Next, Andy Glasgow of RBS presented on the various financial issues for law firms in the current economic climate. Recognising the downturn and its effect on law firms, Andy noted that the more prudent law firms, from a banking perspective, are those which are able to and, indeed, have adapted quickly to economic pressures, despite the fact that difficult decisions, including staff redundancies, may have to be made.

Andy concluded by recommending that law firms should keep in touch with their accountants or financial advisers to remain in control of their firm’s finances in the current economic climate.

To get in touch with Andy please email Andy.glasgow@rbs.co.uk.

Alison Stark – The Cashroom

Chartered accountant at The Cashroom, Alison Stark then explained the benefits of outsourced accounting and how cloud computing has enabled The Cashroom to grow and continue to work with an expanding range of law firms across the UK.

Alison elaborated on why outsourced accountancy for law firms is a serious consideration for the practice manager of every law firm in the UK. Against the backdrop of the vast array of rules and regulations that have to be followed by a CRP (CashRoom Partner) for a firm to be compliant, such as Law Society inspections, HMRC, VAT returns, PAYE & NIC, cashflows, surplus, accounts, budgets, etc, As explained that The Cashroom aims to alleviate much of this burden for law firms, allowing all partners to be able to focus on fee-earning activities. This also removes the need for an internal cashroom to be staffed and frees up essential office space and other IT expenses.

The Cashroom provides a virtual cashroom service, on demand 9am-5pm, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year. This is made possible by The Cashroom’s use of the Cloud to provide better communication with clients, support flexible working for staff and to manage cashflow better.

To discuss outsourced accountancy further, please contact Alison Stark or Catherine O’Day on 01506 592 263 or by email at info@thecashroom.co.uk.

Gavin Ward – Moore Legal Technology

Gavin Ward, Search and Social Media Marketing Manager at Moore Legal Technology, then presented on the return on investment for law firms in optimising their use of social media marketing and online presence.

Gavin introduced the subject by explaining the various components of return on investment (ROI) in a social media context. These included brand awareness and development, growth of digital assets, development of risk management capability and direct or indirect financial results.

Using examples of successes both personal and for client law firms, Gavin elaborated on several types of social media use in the legal profession. These include blogging, which can be used to develop personal brands and the brand of the law firm, to share legal knowledge, develop current awareness and ultimately to expand online presence and generate more business online. This LawCloud blog itself, which is listed as one of the top 100 blogs on cloud computing was used as an example of how blogging can work well for firms.

Discussing Twitter as a tool to develop relationships, maintain current awareness and drive traffic to law firm websites, Gavin illustrated examples of Twitter accounts, such as LawCloud’s Twitter account or Lawford Kidd’s Twitter account, together with analytics to measure the use of those accounts.

Lastly, LinkedIn was discussed, with Gavin looking at LinkedIn groups can be particularly rewarding. He looked, for instance, at Warren’s Cloud for Lawyers group which was set up earlier in the year, which has attracted over 500 members and which itself ranks first in Google for the term “Cloud for Lawyers”.

Gavin concluded by suggesting that firms should focus on the benefits and value of social media use in the broader sense, with financial results, e.g. in terms of client wins, inevitably following.

If you’d like to discuss web presence, social media activities or legal website design further, Gavin and the Moore Legal Technology team can be contacted on 0845 620 5664 or at  gavin@moorelegaltechnology.co.uk.

Future Events

On 9 November 2011, the Law Society of Scotland is chairing a conference on cloud computing for Scottish law firms. Please see our blog post on this event for more information.

Managing a Law Firm in the 21st Century: Aberdeen Event

Last month, The Copthorne Hotel in Aberdeen hosted the third instalment in a series of legal practice management events chaired by Warren Wander, founder of LawCloud.

LawCloud Aberdeen Event Image

Professor Stewart Brymer – Brymer Legal

The day started with a keynote from Professor Stewart Brymer, owner of Brymer Legal, who detailed his experiences of LawCloud. Explaining how the Cloud has helped his firm work more flexibly and save on IT costs, Professor Brymer noted that “everything I need is available to me – easily, and, I only need a PC and a printer. Being on the cloud has removed the burden and cost of investing in servers”.Brymer Legal

Noting that despite initial apprehension regarding security of the Cloud, performance and functionality, Professor Brymer sought out answers, discovering that because other markets have embraced cloud technology for years, solicitors have to as well.

Having made the transition to LawCloud, Professor Brymer noted that he continues to receive the highest quality of IT support from Warren Wander and his team at LawCloud, which he is able to use fully to his and his clients’ advantage.

Because of Cloud technology, Brymer Legal is able to succeed as a virtual law firm in Scotland, delivering a high quality service to its clients. Instead of traditional, fixed overheads, Bryme Legal moulds resources around client needs, making best use of quality thinking and internet technology, allowing clients to receive best advice at a reasonable cost.

Professor Stewart Brymer and his team at Brymer Legal can be contacted on 0333 2400 313 or at stewart@brymerlegal.co.uk.

Warren Wander – LawCloud

Warren Wander then presented on the benefits of cloud computing for law firms, explaining how LawCloud has enabled over 170 lawyers across the UK to improve their legal practice with cloud technology. Warren introduced LawCloud by screening the following presentation:-

Explaining LawCloud for the audience, Warren said “In simple terms, LawCloud is the name of our secure server on the internet which you can rent space on. It delivers LawWare Enterprise and is the new generation in Practice Management & Office Software for law firms. It’s built on Microsoft’s Cloud Services platform and housed in a Fort Knox style data centre provided by LawWare business partner Rise Ltd.”

Elaborating on the main features, Warren then discussed Cash Accounting, the Full Electronic Case File, Risk Management & Compliance tools, Microsoft Office 2010 with Email, Shared Diaries, and, a secure, robust, high performance set of servers that have no single point of failure.

Summarising the main ways in which LawCloud benefits law firms both in Scotland and England & Wales, Warren noted that “It enables flexible working because it’s on the internet. It supports your mobile and remote working capability which means you can work as easily from home, court or holiday as you can from the office. Access to all information is at your fingertips. It also means that you can link branch offices together without the need for expensive servers to route the information. We simply connect your remote offices up to the LawCloud Server and straight away you have a wide area network for your teams to share information. LawCloud gives you peace of mind through Automatic Backups, in-built disaster recovery & a readymade business continuity plan.

As LawCloud looks after all of your critical data, you have complete peace of mind. All information is backed up multiple times per day; the environment is absolutely secure and scalable. With Automatic Updates your software is always kept up to date so you’ll never need to worry about running an out-of-date version or having to pay for new software licenses.”

Discussing pricing, Warren concluded noting that “LawCloud is available for a low fixed monthly cost (there is No or very low Capital Expenditure required). Along with the advancements in technology, IT vendors have realised that pricing models need to change and with LawCloud we’ve introduced a single low fixed monthly fee that offers real value for money. There’s no need to purchase or upgrade expensive servers or retain high cost maintenance contracts. This represents a substantial cost saving. The LawCloud bundle includes subscription based software licenses and we take care of all of your complicated back-end infrastructure & server requirements in the cloud. All you need is a standard PC and a secure internet connection to access the system.”

To discuss any of these aspects in greater detail, please call Warren and the LawCloud team on 0845 2020 577.

Catherine O’Day – The Cashroom

Founder of The Cashroom, Catherine O’Day then explained the benefits of cloud computing and how they have enabled her firm to grow and continue to work with an expanding range of law firms across the UK.

Explaining The Cashroom’s services for the audience, Catherine said “We do everything an in-house cashroom does, only we do it remotely, without the need for lawyers to employ and manage cashiers and accountants, and all for a fixed monthly fee. We are confident that the fee will be less than the equivalent employment costs, and you don’t have the hassle of employing people.”Cashroom Compliance Issues

Noting that The Cashroom has more than doubled its client base in the past year, Catherine elaborated on why outsourced accountancy for law firms is a serious consideration for the practice manager of every law firm in the UK. Against the backdrop of the vast array of rules and regulations that have to be followed by a CRP (CashRoom Partner) for a firm to be compliant, such as Law Society inspections, HMRC, VAT returns, PAYE & NIC, cashflows, surplus, accounts, budgets, etc, Catherine explained that The Cashroom aims to alleviate much of this burden for law firms, allowing all partners to be able to focus on fee-earning activities. This also removes the need for an internal cashroom to be staffed and frees up essential office space and other IT expenses.

The Cashroom provides a virtual cashroom service, on demand 9am-5pm, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year. This is made possible by The Cashroom’s use of the cloud to provide better communication with clients, support flexible working for staff and to manage cashflow better.

To discuss this service further, please contact Catherine O’Day on 01506 592 263 or at info@thecashroom.co.uk.

Gavin Ward – Moore Legal Technology

Gavin Ward, Search and Social Media Marketing Manager at Moore Legal Technology, then presented on the return on investment for law firms in optimising their use of social media marketing and online presence.

Gavin introduced the subject by explaining the various components of return on investment (ROI) in a social media context. These included brand awareness and development, growth of digital assets, development of risk management capability and direct or indirect financial results.

Using examples of successes both personal and for client law firms, Gavin elaborated on several types of social media use in the legal profession. These include blogging, which can be used to develop personal brands and the brand of the law firm, to share legal knowledge, develop current awareness and ultimately to expand online presence and generate more business online. This LawCloud blog itself, which is listed as one of the top 100 blogs on cloud computing was used as an example of how blogging can work well for firms.

Discussing Twitter as a tool to develop relationships, maintain current awareness and drive traffic to law firm websites, Gavin illustrated examples of Twitter accounts, such as LawCloud’s Twitter account, together with analytics to measure use of those accounts.

Lastly, LinkedIn was discussed, with Gavin looking at LinkedIn groups can be particularly rewarding. He looked, for instance, at Warren’s Cloud for Lawyers group which was set up earlier in the year, which has attracted 500 members and which itself ranks first in Google for the term “Cloud for Lawyers”.

Gavin concluded by suggesting that firms should focus on the benefits and value of social media use in the broader sense, with financial results, e.g. in terms of client wins, inevitably following. The following PowerPoint slides give an overview of the presentation:-

If you’d like to discuss web presence or social media activities further, Gavin and the Moore Legal Technology team can be contacted on 0845 620 5664 or at gavin@moorelegaltechnology.co.uk.

Upcoming Event in Inverness

If you didn’t get a chance to attend previous events, the speakers will be presenting again on Wednesday, October 26, 2011 from 12:00 PM to 3:30 PM in Inverness. This is a free business event that qualifies for CPD points. It is recommended that delegates book early as places are limited. See http://law-firm-challenges-inverness.eventbrite.com/ for further details.

Cloud for Law Firms: What’s the Buzz All About?

In a recent article in the Firm Magazine, LawCloud’s founder Warren Wander explains what the recent Cloud buzz is all about.

Warren notes, “In this fast moving world that we live in today, possibilities are only limited by imagination and this is usually fuelled by things we experience in other areas of our everyday life.

I would like to suggest that by making a few small changes, you may be able to attract more new clients, change your new and existing clients’ perception and increase your staff morale. ”

For the article in full, please see The Firm Magazine: “What’s the Buzz All About”

Law Cloud UK

To discuss the Cloud in more detail please contact Warren on 0845 2020 577 or visit the LawCloud website.

Microsoft Features LawCloud as Case Study

We are pleased to announce that Microsoft has recently featured LawCloud as a case study. Demonstrating how LawCloud has grown by adopting Microsoft’s Cloud services, Microsoft has shared this case study not only with its UK operations, but also around the world in countries such as Canada and India.

In their article, “Law Software Firm in Scotland Grows by 20 Per Cent with New Cloud Service”, Microsoft describes how LawCloud was launched as a cloud-based practice-management solution for law firms looking to avoid the significant running costs of IT or lack the resources to develop their own infrastructures. As they note,

By choosing Microsoft Office 365 and Hyper-V technology, LawWare successfully developed LawCloud with help from hosting service provider Rise. Since LawCloud went live, the organisation has grown by 20 per cent as more customers adopt the service.

Business Needs

LawWare, based in Edinburgh, is a leading developer of software for the legal profession. Founded in 1995, the company provides practice-management software for more than 20 per cent of law firms in Scotland. LawWare has achieved success by designing software for a range of firms, from sole practitioners to medium-sized firms, and continues to create new solutions with its own internal team of developers.

Traditionally, LawWare implemented its practice-management software at customer sites, also providing a team to help maintain the systems. However, the company saw that small law firms often lacked the IT infrastructure to support software systems, and found the cost of new technology prohibitive—particularly in the current economic climate. It believed the answer lay in using the legal community’s familiarity with cloud technology to deliver the software as a hosted system.

LawWare looked for a cloud solution and hosting provider it could trust. It was crucial that law firms had peace of mind concerning the security of their confidential information and continual access to their data. Only when they felt certain that their information was protected would they take advantage of the management simplicity and cost effectiveness of a cloud-based solution.
Solution

LawWare evaluated a number of cloud technologies on the market. It looked for a system based on Microsoft software because of the success of its existing on-premises solution, which featured Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 and Microsoft Office 2010. The company decided to build its service with the support of Microsoft Office 365, which would provide customers with Exchange Online for email and shared calendars and SharePoint Online as a collaboration tool.

LawWare asked Rise, an expert in hosted IT infrastructures, to create a highly reliable platform to support the new service. Warren Wander, Managing Director at LawWare, says: “Once I started talking to the people at Rise, I found their expertise, friendliness, and willingness to help to be a really good match for my business.” Rise provided LawWare with its Data Center on Demand solution, which is based on Hyper-V technology, a key feature of Windows Server 2008 R2. The solution gives LawWare a resilient environment and round-the-clock support. Furthermore, because Rise datacentres are based in the United Kingdom (U.K.), LawWare complies with data protection laws.

LawWare ran trials of its LawCloud offering for nine months before officially launching the service. By the time it went to market, 25 law firms were already using the cloud platform. LawCloud customers—which access the solution for a fixed monthly fee—can reach their data from multiple locations, including the office, home, or court buildings. For daily management, IT personnel at LawWare use a web-based control panel for completing a range of tasks such as increasing server capacity to meet demand. Because Hyper-V is at the core of the Data Center on Demand solution from Rise, LawWare can reliably deliver the LawCloud service. Indeed, thanks to the hypervisor technology’s Live Migration, Host Clustering, and Cluster Shared Volume features, availability is maximised.

Benefits

Since the launch of LawCloud, LawWare has seen 20 per cent growth. Wander says: “Customers find the low monthly price an attractive alternative to the high upfront cost of servers and software licences.” The service is helping LawWare open new markets and compete with larger practice-management software suppliers across the U.K. LawCloud customers know that their data is secure and highly available thanks to reliable disaster recovery.

LawWare grows by 20 per cent with LawCloud. Thanks to the cloud solution, LawWare is expanding at a time when many law firms find it harder to develop their own IT systems. In addition, the company expects the rate of growth to increase when it launches LawCloud across the U.K.

Firm can now compete with larger businesses. Wander says: “Rise has helped us compete effectively with other firms in the market. We expect to double our online users from 60 to 120 in a matter of months.”

Customers have peace of mind. With Hyper-V virtualisation technology, LawCloud customers know that robust disaster recovery will rapidly restore data in the event of an emergency.

LawCloud simplifies IT for customers. Instead of spending resources on planning for IT, LawCloud customers pay a monthly fee to cover all its IT needs. Wander says: “Now customers have a single point of contact at LawCloud, making the system easier to maintain and more cost effective.”

New solution exceeds customer expectations. Feedback from customers on LawCloud has been excellent. “The cloud service and working with Rise has changed us as a business,” says Wander. “It has brought us a new lease of life and made us more agile and responsive.”

For further information about how LawCloud is helping to improve legal practices across the UK, visit LawCloud’s website or contact LawCloud on 0845 2020 577 today.

LawCloud: Cloud for Lawyers UK