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.

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

LawCloud’s data centre partner is named global Microsoft Hosting Solutions Partner of the Year.


We are delighted to announce that today, Rise, LawCloud’s Data Centre Partner has been named as Microsoft’s global Hosting Solutions Partner of the Year for 2011. This acknowledges Rise as the partner of choice for demonstrating Cloud solutions, innovation and our commitment to partnering with Microsoft.

Our selection criteria for hosting LawCloud was stringent and an absolutely essential choice for the future of LawCloud. This award confirms that our choice of hosting partner was absolutely correct.
Beating strong competition from over 3000 entrants, Rises’ revolutionary DataCenter on Demand service has been recognized for providing outstanding solutions and services to the partner community.

This award is a testament to our alliance with Microsoft and Rise and we are proud to be officially recognized on the global stage as working with Microsoft’s Hosting Solutions Partner of the Year. This award reflects Rise’s commitment to its partners and their customers by offering them the most flexible, affordable and manageable platform possible, and we are delighted to reinforce that through this acknowledgment.

Get more LawCloud News here, find out more about Rise here

LawCloud Prepares for Launch

LawCloud Official Launch

We are pleased to advise that we are holding an official launch event for LawCloud in conjunction with Microsoft and the Law Society of Scotland next week on Wednesday 2nd February 2011.

Our Managing Director, Warren, will be hosting the event at Microsoft’s Edinburgh office and a variety of guest speakers are supporting this. These include James Ness of the Law Society of Scotland, Professor Stewart Brymer of Brymer Legal, Catherine O’Day of The Cashroom LLP, and others, with the keynote address being presented by Microsoft’s Regional Director for Scotland, Derrick McCourt. Take a look, for instance, at Derrick’s address to the Scottish Technology Showcase to get an idea of Microsoft’s position on cloud computing in 2010:-

This date has been in the diary for a while and the initial take-up of LawCloud sees us with 20+ firms already using it live, which is way beyond our expectations. Nevertheless, this will raise our profile and further establish us as a major supplier of legal software and office productivity tools to law firms throughout Scotland and into the UK as a whole.

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