Back to Basics — a Business Briefing for Lawyers: Productivity

Welcome to the latest edition of Back to Basics — a Business Briefing for Lawyers. This month the focus is on Productivity. The Oxford Dictionary defines Productivity as “the effectiveness of productive effort, especially in industry, as measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input:” and in this month’s Briefing we will look at getting more out from the effort you’re putting in. Much of this means working with the resources you have and applying them properly to make sure that you can improve the productivity of the firm. If you’re not getting the best out of your resources then you are harming the productivity and, inevitably, the profitability of your firm. Take some time out to consider how you work on a daily basis and whether there are some things you might think about doing differently that will give you a productivity boost. If you need any help in creating systems or tools to assist you in your productivity efforts 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

Productivity

Every business must be conscious of the need to continuously improve its productivity and to apply its resources as effectively as it possibly can. Unfortunately, due to established working practices and inertia, many businesses fail to take advantage of the tools available to them and instigate the changes needed to achieve those aims. The resources of any business are precious, not least in the legal profession, where fee earner time is probably the most valuable resource. There are only 24 hours in every day—and, despite what the more young and energetic amongst us might think, we still need to sleep. After that, we’re left with somewhere between 16—18 hours every day to carry out a whole host of activities—washing, eating, drinking, getting dressed, relaxing—oh, and working!

To get the best out of the time you spend working it is absolutely essential that you are organised. You need to consider the other resources at your disposal—money is usually pretty high on the agenda as are the people who work with you. As with time, it’s highly likely that your money resource is not limitless. In the course of the last few years, money has been very “tight” for many, many legal practices and this has resulted in redundancies and short time working. As the recovery, such as it is, continues, it is important to consider all options to aid productivity rather than simply engaging more people. You are likely to have some form of office that you use—even if it’s a home office—and tools with which to do your work—a PC will probably feature in the mix somewhere as will, potentially, a Practice Manager system. Do you use these resources wisely…. properly…. at all? Finally you need to look at the processes you employ to carry out your day to day work. People say it’s hard to change and think about doing things differently.

If time is your most valuable resource and if you don’t use it properly you will lose it then it makes perfect sense to look at the ways you and those in your firms do things and work out the ways you could do things differently to employ your resources more effectively and improve not only your personal productivity but that of the firm as a whole. Improved productivity inevitably leads to improved profitability—after all, that’s what being in business is all about —isn’t it?

What are you going to do today?

In a previous issue of Back to Basics we looked at Objective Setting—and the need to write down your clearly defined objectives. This helps you to keep focused on what’s important to you and what you want to achieve in your business. Last month we looked at the Importance/Urgency Matrix that you can use to help you decide what parts of your work are top priority and which parts are unimportant. Another tool that many successful people employ is the To Do List—and not simply a list of all the things you need to do, but a To Do List that’s prioritised. To start off you need to list everything that you have to do—yes, everything. Then assign a priority to each item on the list, starting with A items and ending with F items. A items are the most impactful on your business and should be the things that will do most to help you achieve the objectives you’ve set. They might not always be the most urgent (but many are) but they will certainly be the most important to you. B items are not as important as A items but tend to support them whilst being more important than C Items. C Items are the third priority items which are less critical than A or B items. When it comes to D items, you really need to consider whether you should be doing these items at all.

By prioritising your A, B and C items you’re deciding that only you can do these things—and if, when reviewing your list you feel that there are some things on it that might be best dealt with by others, then demote them to Ds and delegate it to others. The E and F items on your list tend to be the “like to do” items and you need to consider whether you need to do these things at all! Once you’ve assigned each item a category you should then group all your A items together and prioritise the most important item in that group as A1. Decide on the next most important and assign it A2. You go thought your A list and assign a priority to each item. Then start to work on your highest priority item—your A1 item—and you don’t move on to any other item till your A1 item has been completed. Then move on to your A2 item and do the same thing. If something comes in during the day that you need to deal with (as it inevitably will), add it to your To Do List and determine its priority rather than just starting the task without thinking about it. Try to avoid distractions—particularly email distractions.

People tend to work with Outlook open, with prompts telling them a new email message has arrived. This is probably one of the biggest “attention thieves” that you are likely to come across. You should ring-fence some time each day to deal with email—and close down Outlook outwith those times—and if you can’t bear to be without Outlook being open, at least turn off the new message prompt! Solicitors work hard—it’s just sometimes they don’t work smart. Have a go at creating and using your very own Prioritised To Do List. Do this every day and watch your productivity soar!

Simon says…..

‘Performance’ is one of those often thought about aspects of running a law firm but one that is rarely attributed to any individual’s job description. Which is odd really because it can be easily measured, compared, analysed and then improved or worsened; by just a single decision. When I meet Partners of law firms to talk about IT, we often stray into other areas and a favourite question of mine is this – ‘in order to improve efficiency would you foresee doing more tasks yourself or delegating more tasks to others?’ By the way, there is no right or wrong answer – all 3 possible answers are perfectly acceptable (the 4th one involving not changing is obviously not acceptable). There are some common aspects of achieving an increase in the performance of all law firm staff. The quality of your Style Template Library is a vital component. I don’t mean simply having one. I mean having it in electronic form, having it available immediately to anyone that needs it, having all the common fields in-filled automatically from your client and case file information, storing the resultant letter or form automatically and distributing it electronically to the recipient – this would seem to me to be a utopia of performance. I rarely find it.

Even if you fell short in the final stage it would still be a tremendous leap up the performance ladder for the vast majority of law firms. A common failing of some Partners is the failure to agree on common styles for the firm itself to use, preferring instead to adopt individualistic forms of standard correspondence that fails to grasp any form of economy of scale that a basic Document Management system can provide. Some firms will be unwilling to invest any time or effort to produce a style library – fortunately there is an organisation called The Styles Bank that can supply ready-to-run Style Libraries that are kept up to date for you. I strongly suggest that you check them out. As I have suggested above having an automatic store of electronic documents – often referred to as a case management system – can make it easier for colleagues to retrieve files when you are out of the office and they are trying to cover for you.

This is doubly useful if you have also filed your emails in it as well (both Sent and Received). This means that there is a phenomenal reduction in staff time spent printing and filing (always a challenge in itself) and then locating the appropriate file (a lost file is a real daytime nightmare). These simple gains in productivity will convert directly into improved performance – and clients will notice. No Fee Earner is an island – there is always a team. People are change resistant, so there is often a proving stage to be negotiated, but if your improvement programme is sound, implemented well and people can see the benefits, they never want to go back afterwards. Your role is to keep them moving forward and to praise them when they achieve good results. By the way the 3 possible answers are:- 1 – Doing more myself. 2 – Delegating more. 3 – Both.

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

Get organised

Keep your workspace clear, clean and tidy and try as hard as you can to have only 1 file on your desk at any one time. This will help you to focus on the matter at hand. Keep other files that you intend to work on nearby on a shelf or table so you can move on to them after you’ve dealt with your current file. When you deal with a case, do everything that can possibly be done at the one sitting—don’t do a little bit and then ask for the file back to do another little bit and then repeat the process. Do as much as you can in one sitting—”single-hand” everything you possibly can. Put a reminder in your Diary or Task List or, better still, your Practice Management system, and after that put the file back in the filing cabinet—then, at least, you’ll have half a chance of finding it when you need it.

Do you know that you can spend up to 30% of your working time looking for something that has been misplaced in some way? That’s a huge waste of one of your key resources and should not be viewed lightly. It can get worse, of course, when you engage the assistance of others to help you find the file. Just think of all of the productive things that you and they could be doing instead of trying to put your hand on a missing file—and if everything you do is in your Practice Management system, you might not need the file at all! It pays to be organised—don’t let that thought ever leave your mind.

Review your processes

We all take the way we do things for granted. Stop for a minute and think about all of the things that are done in your firm on a daily basis and why they’re done in that way. Is this just because “that’s the way it’s always been done” or has someone actually determined that it’s the most efficient and effective way to do the task? Make sure that the right person is assigned to do the right task—don’t have high cost people doing low cost work! Think very carefully about every process in your office. If you find any that are inefficient or ineffective—change them.

Lawyers love documents!

I’ll bet every lawyer who receives this Briefing generates several hundred letters and documents every week. Unfortunately, many of these documents are created from scratch when they don’t need to be—with the same thing being dictated over and over again. That means something that could easily be incorporated into a standard Work Template taking a few seconds to produce takes minutes to dictate or type (or have a secretary type). All of these minutes add up to weeks of wasted time. Do yourself a favour, consider having as many of your documents as possible created using Word Templates that can be easily accessed. It will take less time to produce your documents and letters and give you half a chance of enhancing your risk management processes.

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: Helping to create more agile and responsive Law firms

LawCloud is a new generation in Practice Management Software for law firms in the UK and is brought to you from the developers at  LawWare Ltd. Established in 1998 and now serving more than 200 law firms from its HQ in Edinburgh, LawWare has established a strong reputation for an innovative and forward looking approach to the business of running a Law Firm

Since its launch in March 2010, LawCloud now hosts over 65 law firms on its platform representing almost a third of the LawWare user base. Many small law firms lack the IT infrastructure to support the latest systems and find the upfront costs of new IT prohibitive.  LawWare now rarely installs its on premise system and over the last 18 months, 95% of its new systems have been LawCloud.

Depending on who you are talking to, you may hear this kind of technology referred to as hosting, SaaS, Outsourcing, Cloud and more. At the heart of the offering, they refer to a very similar thing and the terminology is simply stylistic. Our preference is Cloud. In our experience, any perceived risks associated with the Cloud clearly outweigh its benefits. Law firms appreciate peace of mind. Their confidential information is backed up and protected with a level of security that is often out of reach for smaller organisations. All data is stored in one of the foremost data centres in the UK which falls under data protection laws.”

LawWare has enhanced relationships with its customers by simplifying their IT and as a business is more agile and responsive. This flexibility is a hallmark of LawCloud. Users can access it from anywhere they have an internet connection”. This new future technology has levelled the playing field, allowing smaller organisations to compete with bigger firms in new ways. The legal technology market has seen a great deal of consolidation over the last few years and the legal services industry is also consolidating and fragmenting. This presents an opportunity for lawyers and smaller technology suppliers to offer a real value added personal service to their clients that some of the bigger firms find may have lost sight of.

 

Business Development for Lawyers: Back to Basics

Welcome to the latest edition of Back to Basics — a Business Briefing for Lawyers. This month the focus is on Business Development.

To help you with your business development, we take some time to work with a recognised business modelling tool—the Boston Matrix. This is a tool that helps you assess the strength of your services in terms of market share and market growth. Used properly, it will help you work out which services to build and grow, which services that you might consider ceasing to provide and which services that are currently marginal and could go either way.

If you need any help to review your business development, 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

Is this the “new reality”?

It is a real benefit being able to talk to someone like Simon Greig of LawWare, who, whilst working within the legal profession as I do, is not and has never been a lawyer. I met Simon the other day when he was in Ayr and we had a chat about how things were and what we were each busy doing. Simon repeated something to me that he had first said a few months ago when we had last met and it was this: “You know, it’s about time everyone stopped talking about coming out of the recession or whether we’re going to go into a double dip and started to accept that what we now have is a new reality. We are where we are and businesses need to look at what they’re doing right now and whether that behaviour is going to help or hinder their future growth” Wise words, indeed.

In recent editions of Back to Basics, we’ve looked at Forward Planning and Taking Action but it seems that many legal firms are still waiting in the forlorn hope that some volume will return to the residential conveyancing and estate agency market. Alas, that doesn’t look like happening any time soon. Banks are still facing liquidity problems and, until they resolve these, mortgages (particularly the higher loan-to-value mortgages) will remain difficult to come by and mostly out of reach of first time buyers.

By now, you’re probably running a pretty lean ship, having stripped out costs as the recession bit—but by now also, there’s probably very little else that you can strip out without damaging the fundamental capabilities of the business beyond repair!

So, if this is the new reality, what are you going to do about developing your business? Do you know where to start? Have you started already? What are the things you need to do first?

These are all sensible questions (and questions that you should continuously ask as you develop your business) and the answers are reasonably simple.

Do a quick SWOT analysis. Look at the Strengths you have in your business (but also be aware of the Weaknesses). Look at the Opportunities that are available to you (but also be conscious of the Threats). Look at the services you provide—which ones have capacity for growth? Which ones generate decent profits? Which ones are you not entirely certain about?

Again, these are all fundamental questions that you need to ask yourself—and once you have the answers, why not do a bit of forward planning to put them into context and then take action and implement those plans?

You won’t be able to change your current direction without getting into motion—so make the decisions you need to make and off you go!

Simon says…..

Developing your Business for professionals

When Brian posed the subject for this month and mentioned the Boston Matrix, I thought ‘what the heck is that? However 15 minutes on the internet and I have now learned about Dogs, Cash Cows, Problem Children and Stars in completely new contexts! I don’t know everything and I’m happy to learn about new ideas and develop new skills; mostly because I spark off them and they tend to lead somewhere – a change in perception, understanding or attitude. Whenever I type the word ‘change’ I’m reminded of the lawyer I know that said to me a year or so ago “you know Simon, the only constant nowadays is Change”.

If you want things to change, then you have to make it happen, which means changing something you do. I would suggest if you want significant change – then significantly change something you do. This business development malarkey doesn’t happen by wishing or just thinking or even just planning – it needs action. This publication is aimed at educating, informing and encouraging. I know how much effort Brian puts into it and, as we all know, he then gives it away! Why is that? Well it’s a business development technique called Give to Get.

The Give to Get idea is simple enough – give something to a potential client and they will remember it and give you some business in return. In the context of legal services it is a bit more sophisticated than that – give something of value to a potential client that will impress them enough to engage you as their representative. The value aspect here is measured in terms of the potential client and not the lawyer, it is easy for a lawyer to give away their time (which is in many ways the lawyer’s most valuable resource) but that on its own is only of value to the lawyer – the trick here is to think in terms of the potential client and what is of value to them. It might be time—but it’s more likely to be an outline of the approach you would take toward dealing with their issue, identifying the risks involved and how you would mitigate these, whilst demonstrating a clear understanding of the aims and benefits that your client would derive from instructing you. Anything written/emailed must be in terms that the client can understand (which might be different client to client). Use your imagination to put yourself in your client’s shoes. Remember, if you say the same thing as everyone else then you are inviting a price comparison scenario. Even if it is a standard procedure there are always nuances that the client brings; you need to find them and bring them to the fore in order to distinguish yourself from the rest. I would call this being Professional. Of course, you don’t have to Give to Get to operate in this Professional manner as it is a good technique in itself—the more techniques you employ the better you enhance your business proposition and the more clients that you will win.

There will always be clients that buy on price and there may be times when your cash flow position necessitates a quick win – but only where it’s a quick delivery too (otherwise it’s a false economy). But if you build yourself a professional reputation, then people will hear about it and they will gravitate toward you.

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

Look to develop your services

There is no point providing services that nobody wants and that don’t make any profit for your business. One of the ways of working out which services you need to stick with, which ones you need to develop and which ones you need to ditch is by using a tool called the Boston Matrix.

This is a tool developed a number of years ago by the Boston Consulting Group and it’s designed to consider the produces and services that a business provides in terms of Market Share and Market Growth. The graphic opposite shows you the type of chart you will need to lay out your services in the different categories to aid you in your decision-making efforts. The Boston Consulting Group divided services into 4 categories: Cash Cows, Rising Stars, Question Marks (called Problem Children in some versions) and Dogs. These groupings can be explained as follows:

Dogs: Low Market Share / Low Market Growth—In these areas, your market presence is weak, so it’s going to take a lot of hard work to get noticed. Also, you won’t enjoy the scale economies of the larger players, so it’s going to be difficult to make a profit.

Cash Cows: High Market Share / Low Market Growth—Here, you’re well-established, so it’s easy to get attention and exploit new opportunities. However it’s only worth expending a certain amount of effort, because the market isn’t growing and your opportunities are limited.

Stars: High Market Share / High Market Growth—Here you’re well-established, and growth is exciting! These are fantastic opportunities for the services that fall into this sector and you should work hard to realise them.

Question Marks (Problem Children): Low Market Share / High Market Growth—These are the opportunities no one knows what to do with. They aren’t generating much revenue right now because you don’t have a large market share. But, they are in high growth markets so the potential to make money is there. Question Marks might become Stars and eventual Cash Cows, but they could just as easily absorb effort with little return. These services need serious thought as to whether increased investment in them is warranted.

Now that we know what the categories mean, on the following page, we’ll look at how we can use this tool.

So, how do you use the Boston Matrix?

Step One: Plot your services in terms of their relative market presence, and market growth on a blank matrix.

Step Two: Classify them into one of the four categories. If a service seems to fall right on an intersection between two categories, take a real hard look at the situation and rely on past performance to help you decide into which category you will place it.

Note: Be careful about these categories – there’s nothing magical about them or their position. There may be very little real difference between a Question Mark with a market share of 49%, and a Star with a market share of 51%. It’s also not necessarily true that there is a line that should run through the 50% position. As ever, use your common sense.

Step Three: Determine what you will do with each service. There are typically four different strategies to apply:

Build Market Share: Make further investments (for example, to maintain Star status, or turn a Question Mark into a Star)

Hold: Maintain the status quo (do nothing)

Harvest: Reduce the investment (enjoy positive cash flow and maximise profits from a Star or Cash Cow)

Divest: For example, get rid of the Dogs, and use the capital to invest in Stars and some Question Marks.

Key Points

The Boston Matrix is an effective tool for quickly assessing the options open to you, both on a corporate and personal basis.

With its easily understood classification of Dogs, Cash Cows, Question Marks and Stars, it helps you quickly and simply screen the opportunities open to you, and helps you think about how you can make the most of them.

Play to your Strengths

I briefly (and perhaps a little bit glibly) mentioned on the previous pace that you might want to carry out a quick SWOT Analysis. I don’t intend to cover this item in any detail in the short amount of space I have here, but simply want to clear up some confusion I frequently hear when people are talking about carrying out a SWOT analysis.

You need to be aware that Strengths and Weaknesses are things that are internal to your firm or business whilst Opportunities and Threats are in the external environment. Armed with that information, why don’t you spend half an hour with a piece of paper and a pencil and do your own quick SWOT analysis—and then see how you can build on your Strengths to take advantage of the Opportunities out there as well as to counter the Threats.

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

Cloud computing for lawyers: a lawyer looks at LawCloud

We’ve had some great positive feedback from clients over the past fifteen years on our flagship legal technology product, LawWare Enterprise. Gavin Ward, consultant to LawCloud and Scottish lawyer joined us in September 2010 and, four months on, he shares his views on an important technical aspect of LawWare, together with his views on LawCloud, which houses the LawWare product in the cloud. Specific reference is made to key performance indicitors within the practice management software, benefits such as flexible working and scalability and also discussion of some of the current buzz from corners of the UK legal market on cloud computing generally looking towards 2011 :-

“Having joined LawWare four months ago, I thought it would be instructive and constructive to examine parts of the LawWare product, particularly as it stands within the new technology of LawCloud, as I see it from a legal perspective and to give my opinions on why I think it has performed well, particularly in the Scottish legal market, having retained around 180 law firm clients.

KPIs within LawWare: Key Performance Indicators

LawWare is one of the most flexible legal technology providers in the UK. Enterprise, for instance, can automatically monitor any number of the 81 KPIs with which it has been programmed. Each lawyer who uses this has the ability to select those about which they want to be kept informed. They can also select the “warning” and “critical” thresholds that they want Enterprise to apply in such a way that risk is managed well for their practice. However, risk management is not confined to just fee earners; partners and managers can set KPIs that monitor either the firm-wide position, or members of their team or themselves only.

When Managing Director Warren Wander announced this creation several years ago, he noted that “The idea of this automatic monitoring service came from our client base. Initially we were getting requests from different clients for reports and enquiry screens that they could use to check particular items (what we have termed as Key Performance Indicators or KPI’s). We realised that these were all variants of common themes and that we could put these altogether in a configurable fashion and let various members of staff choose what they wanted Enterprise to monitor for them. The result is amazingly simple – yet astonishingly powerful, whether you are Managing Partner, Practice Manager, Secretary or Cashier – there is something for everyone. The result is that Enterprise genuinely supports staff in their need to be informed about the KPI’s that affect them, without having to trawl the system themselves looking at various Enquiry Screens and running any number of Reports”.

Partners and other fee earners can be confident knowing that, when a threshold or trigger is breached, they will be alerted. This can prove to be a useful tool for client care purposes: clients will or, perhaps more accurately, should be happier knowing that their lawyers are in full command of deadlines and obligations. Afterall, an issue nipped in the bud early is far easier to deal with than one not picked up until several weeks later

Firms as a whole can be confident that exposure to risk is dramatically reduced; firms’ clients can be just as confident.

Three of the main benefits of using LawCloud

LawWare sits as an essential element of the LawCloud package. I thought it would, therefore, be beneficial to readers for me to summarise the main benefits of the LawCloud product itself as I see them.

1. Protecting the law firm

Risk management and practice management are two of the main considerations for practice managers of law firms. Given that LawCloud is hosted by a dedicated, green, UK-based server, practice managers can be assured of first class data protection, high availability storage and secure backup. Indeed, data protection is one of the hot topics at the moment in terms of legal issues of the cloud. In the Guardian’s article, “Keeping your legal head above the cloud”, published on 10 January 2010, Graham Hann, partner at Taylor Wessing, a law firm that works with both providers and clients of cloud services, notes that data protection is one of the biggest areas of concern: “the primary issues are security, access and location. Data protection laws are very strong in the EU”. Ahead of the game with legal technology, LawCloud is based in the UK and complies with its obligations under the Data Protection 1998. Indeed, it has to comply with its obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998 or may face enforcement from the Information Commissioner. At the same time, it is recognised that law firms have an obligation to protect their own clients’ data under data protection legislation. In light of this, law firms should be confident that LawCloud can provide protection against some of the most signficant risks facing them; if a law firm gets it wrong it may end up like ACS Law and its catastrophic data protection failings in 2010.

2. Saving on cost

Cloud computing grants flexible access to high-tech applications without software having to be delivered in a box. The world has been seeing cloud applications launching for the past few years, including e.g. gmail for email, dropbox for electronic document storage, or Amazon Web Services as a public cloud provider, which recently hosted then removed Wikileaks. Now, legal practice management software is available in the cloud for a low fixed monthly subscription fee. This is a particularly big benefit for start-up legal practices. For the associate or partner or indeed team of associates or partners looking to break away from their current law firm in the recession, LawCloud is ideal as it lets them acquire their own legal IT infrastructure within a day without a large upfront payment. Nevertheless, growing practices and traditional law firms will also feel the benefits.

3. Working remotely

Whether at home, office, court (if the judge agrees), meeting or travelling, cloud computing lets lawyers access their legal IT securely from their desktops, laptops, iPhone or BlackBerries provided they have a working Internet connection. In addition to benefitting lawyers on the move across the country, or countries, remote access to the legal IT infrastructure provided by LawCloud means that law firms looking to expand into new offices can do so without having to worry about completely new IT systems; an Internet connection will suffice.

Cloud computing growth as a legal IT prediction for 2011

I thought it would be pertinent to finish by taking a look at what some of the top legal commentators and practitioners are saying about cloud computing, looking forward to 2011.

Cloud Computer

Cloud Computer

As part of Professor Richard Susskind’s law firm technology predictions for 2011, the cloud is discussed as follows with more emphasis on the need to allay security concerns:-

“Many firms will move their data and processing to the cloud. Confidentiality concerns are being addressed and, in any event, it is probable that a first-rate outsource provider will offer better security than many firms can provide for themselves. This applies to litigation as much as to other things – much litigation data is either price-sensitive or very personal; how many firms can say in a post-WikiLeaks world that they are truly confident of their own security?”

Similarly, Brian Inkster discusses cloud computing in his new blawg on legal practice, past, present and future, The Time Blawg, where, at item 5, he states that:-

“I must agree with Nicole Black on the topic of Cloud Computing:-

Cloud computing – where data and platforms are stored on servers located outside of a law office – is on the rise. For many lawyers, cloud computing is an affordable and flexible alternative to traditional server or desktop-based software platforms. In 2010, legal ethics committees across the country issued opinions offering guidelines for lawyers hoping to use cloud computing platforms in their practice. The issuance of guidelines was encouraging and offered lawyers a useful road map that ensured the ethical deployment of cloud computing platforms in their practices. Accordingly, as the comfort level for cloud computing increases along with demand, more innovative legal cloud computing platforms will be developed and the vendors will become increasingly responsive to the ethical concerns raised by lawyers.

In the UK we will I believe see a greater take up amongst lawyers of cloud computing in 2011.

In Scotland we now have cloud computing offerings tailored for the legal profession…”

Any queries?

If you’d like more information on any of this, I, or any of my colleagues at LawCloud, would be happy to discuss. Call us on 0845 2020 577 or find us on Twitter or our new open group on Linkedin, “Cloud for Lawyers”.

Best wishes
Gavin Ward”

LawCloud: Cloud for Lawyers UK