Private client lawyers

I recently attended The Law Society’s Law Management Section conference (#LMSConf2017 There were lots of excellent presentations and this blog (one of three) summarises the technology update for law firms and cybercrime insights.

Technology overview

Jeremy Hopkins of Clerkingwell Consulting (Twitter: @JezHop) – who has worked with barristers for many years and helped ABS firms such as Riverview Law and Obelisk – provided a fabulous overview of all things tech in a workshop entitled “Making the most of technology”. He structured his presentation around three areas:

Service delivery technology

Here he talked about the technology adopted by new and modern law firms such as Riverview Law and Rocket lawyer (contract downloads for small businesses).

He mentioned simple apps such as Link which is a platform for signing documents that is mobile enabled and visual and saves a lot of time. Delegates mentioned Docusign also. The majority of the top 30 law firms are using HighQ for online collaboration.

He also mentioned the Modern Slavery Act online self-assessment tool embedded in the Taylor Wessing web site

Enabling technology

  • Pricing and project management tools
  • Automation of processes and workflows
  • Remove and flexible working
  • Managed services
  • Customer insights
  • Knowledge sharing
  • Invoicing

Playbooks on negotiating contracts were featured and guidance on the use of drones and automation.

Office365 was discussed as a means to facilitate flexible working with tools such as Skype for Business, Yammer (internal communications) and Salesforce.

Surprisingly, only about a quarter of the delegates reported that they were using cloud rather than their own servers.

Emerging technology

Here he talked about Blockchain (a digital ledger in which transactions made in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are recorded chronologically and publically) and smart contracts, big data, artificial intelligence (AI), automation and online dispute resolution.

He mentioned Premonition™ which is a big data system – a database of court judgements to provide a statistical analysis of the likelihood of your case failing or winning so that you can litigate intelligently. He was keen to point out though that lawyer skills were still very much needed even with such technology.

He referred delegates to Legal IT Insider as a good source of information about new technological developments and mentioned a one day British Legal IT course.

Cybercrime update

There was also a panel discussion on cybercrime. Speakers included insurers, computer security experts and the City Police. There were some astonishing statistics about the extent of cybercrime – both computer enabled and computer depenedent. For example:

  • 3.6 million fraud incidents a year – 2 million cybercrimes
  • Cyber enabled frauds – 70% of all reported frauds (e.g. CEO/mandate fraud, computer software service attacks, online shopping frauds)
  • Cyber dependent crime (e.g. Malware, hacking, Ransomware)

He discussed some of the worst cases such as when 4.2m TalkTalk customers had their passwords compromised in 2015 and the reputational and commercial damage caused. He also showed how to detect if your web site had been cloned.

There was lots of advice provided to keep systems safe including staff training, not opening attachments to emails, double checking when even internal people request access codes, having strong backups, developing a risk management strategy, obtaining insurance for computer crime loss, reporting attacks to the Police and the Information Commissioner, preparing a media strategy and using strong passwords.

On passwords DCI Andrew Fyfe mentioned and showed that simple names could be cracked instantly whereas those using the first letter of common phrases with dates and at least 16 characters long could take 6 billion years to crack. He also referred delegates to the Government advice on “Cyber security essentials” and “10 steps to cyber security”.

Other conference highlights can be seen at #lmsconf2017 on Twitter