Author Archives: Allan Carton

NEW E-signature approval – now, how can you put this to work to reduce your operating costs and make legal transactions easier for clients?

Process improvement in Law firms - lean thinking, legal practice managementGood news here for clients (and for law firms) as we now have reliable backing for use of e-signatures in commercial transactions at least. The linked note from this Joint working party probably provides the clearest concise summary you will find of the current legal position on e-signatures across different areas of law, so you can decide how far you are willing to go in introducing more efficient (for you) and easier ways (for the client) of getting the job done.

I strongly recommend that you download the guidance note from the link below and share it widely in your practice to help initiate or progress improvements in process.

Download the working party’s guidance note and review here >>

A joint working party of more than 20 City law firms, co-chaired by Linklaters, has come together today to endorse the use of digital signatures in a business context. The joint working party of The Law Society Company Law Committee and The City of London Law Society Company Law and Financial Law Committees has produced a guidance note to help parties who wish to execute English law commercial contracts using an electronic signature.

The aim of this initiative is to make document signing faster, easier and more convenient by offering signatories the ability to sign documents directly from a smartphone, tablet or desktop. Electronic signatures have the potential to put an end to the time consuming practice of having to “print, sign, and scan” multiple documents and allow a signatory to access a document securely over the internet and insert his or her signature in the appropriate place.  Read more here >>

To explore how best to implement this guidance in your processes and working practices, contact Allan Carton at Inpractice UK on 07779 653105 or at acarton@inpractice.co.uk.  We are happy to have a preliminary confidential discussion to explore options for free and without obligation.

DOWNLOAD: New Internet Newsletter for Lawyers

Blended LearningThe latest issue of the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers is now published here >>

In this issue

  • Developing People – Allan Carton of Inpractice UK explains how firms can introduce more effective training using e-learning tools and blended learning
  • Marketing – Susan Hallam of Hallam Internet tells us about the recent changes to Google AdWords results
  • Workplace – Chris Bryden and Michael Salter analyse the “snoopers’ charter” regarding employee communications
  • ODR – Graham Ross of Modria alerts us to the new ADR regulations being ignored by online retailers
  • Office applications – Alex Heshmaty of Legal Words explains how Google Apps for Work can benefit office productivity
  • Legal practice – Delia Venables considers the emergence of the new breed of “dispersed” law firms
  • Social media – Nick Holmes walks us through how Twitter works

Access the Newsletter online


Need CPD? – Details of the new Internet for Lawyers CPD 2016 competence courses are now online.

Business Performance Research: Assessing how treatment of employees at work impacts on business results.

Employee EngagementTo what extent and in which areas are the people undertaking that work being appropriately recognised, engaged and supported to ensure the success of new strategies, projects and initiatives?  What impact does – good and bad – treatment have on results?  Does it really matter? Can the returns be quantified to justify investment of £x or y hours in getting the balance right? Everything is a balance!

Complete this confidential 10-15 minute survey to find out how you, your legal practice and the rest of the legal sector fare on “Organisational Justice” that could impact on performance.  

The questionnaire highlights where lawyers can drive both high and low “Organisational Justice”, which is connected to many behaviours that affect the bottom line, e.g. retention, absenteeism, reduction in productivity, counter productive work behaviours etc.

The Objective of this Research:  Since the 2007 recession and the introduction of ABSs, law firms have been undertaking change.  Amanda Galley is exploring an emerging gap that could hinder their hard work.  Whilst law firms are working hard to change their structure, strategy and systems/processes (new IT systems, project management roles, pricing models etc), there is a fundamental element – the people undertaking the work – where lawyers may need to be pay more attention. The results of this research will help the legal profession to understand this potential gap.

Organisational Justice: is about our perceptions of whether we are treated fairly in the workplace and how those perceptions drive our actions.  The impact could be a positive or negative change in our behaviour; or it could even encourage us to leave or stay at our place of work.  A brief explanation of the three separate constructs within “Organisational Justice” is given within each section as you complete the questionnaire.

Confidentiality:  You will NOT be asked for names or firm names.  There are a few demographic questions at the end of the survey but just generic questions, nothing that can be traced back to anyone.

Who should complete the survey Please only complete this questionnaire if you work or have worked in the legal profession.  As well as employees, Partners and Owners are also encouraged to participate.  Partners and owners – you should still please answer from your own viewpoint, even though some sections are asking about ‘partners and owners’

For more information. email Amanda Galley at amandajanegalley@hotmail.co.uk

10 Principles of Strategic Leadership

10 principles of effective management

Courtesy of Gilberto Carvalhais Ferreira

Many leaders in law firms have never tackled the first hurdle (No. 1), feeling unable to share the load with others, so they never have enough time.  To share the load to get over this, objectives need to be clearly defined and gaps in skills need to be filled.  Invest time in managing performance against agreed objectives and tasks, mentoring others to develop their business and personal skills.  Don’t try to do it all yourself. There just aren’t enough hours in the day … and the rest works for me too!

 

GC Insight: Lawyers need to push more to understand the business

David Eveleigh, GC at Serco

David Eveleigh, GC at Serco

David Eveleigh GC at Serco with a frank assessment of where lawyers – in-house and private practice – need to improve and develop.  More focused on process; better understanding and focus on what needs to be delivered for the business.  His interesting take on lawyer “pull” and not enough “push” to get to know the business feels about right.

Good insight too on how to remunerate to motivate to develop people and culture with the right priorities going forwards.

Making effective changes and innovations here should start by listening to clients … afresh – aiming to innovate and add value to the customer journey.

Read the full interview here >>

FREE DOWNLOAD: What does good performance look like for a legal practice like yours today?

NatWestDOWNLOAD:   NatWest’s 2016 Law Firm Financial Benchmark Survey Report

” … median profit per equity partner is £111,000, which is £4,000 higher than the figure from last year’s survey.”  BUT “If firms could focus more on profitability and perform at the upper quartile point for gearing, recorded hours, recovered rate and margin, they would achieve a profit per equity partner of £409,000.”

“… median profit margin steady at 24%, close to the long-term average of 25%. This suggests that the legal profession has now implemented the necessary changes to earn at historical levels.  Are firms going to be happy with this level of profit?”

… and much more to help you set expectations for your practice.  The survey covers 390 firms, delivering robust regional and national data reference points.

DOWNLOAD your free copy of this informative 2016 report here >>

This is the largest annual benchmark report to date from NatWest, with contributions up by 15% from the 2015 report which you can also find here. 

Business Analytics and Reporting to help you run a better law firm – Bi24

C24, Wright Hassall

Improve the performance of your legal practice – fill gaps in the capability of your practice management system.

CASE STUDY:  Wright Hassall, solicitors implemented Bi24, which is C24’s business analytics and reporting solution for law firms, connected to Wright Hassall’s key data feeds across management reporting, practice management systems and marketing applications.

The Outcomes:  Easy access to data and insights has changed the way teams work at Wright Hassall, providing users across the entire organisation from Managing Partners to support staff with the ability to perform ondemand, self-service reporting whenever they need to. Data can now be pooled between different applications to drive greater insights across work in progress cases and ensure better returns on investment for marketing activities.

One of the most important developments is the ability for the firm to create dynamic client facing dashboards that assimilate information into one place; showing the client’s current billing position, work in progress, outstanding payments due, hours worked and activities undertaken. This enables Wright Hassall to keep their clients up to date and provide them with regular reporting so that they are aware of payments due, which is increasingly important in a post-recession era where maintaining healthy cash flow is a business reality.

Additionally, Wright Hassall are now able to extend their reporting capabilities out to customers of their clients, for scenarios where updates on legal matters are required to be reported to a client’s wider customer base. For instance, Wright Hassall can provide reporting via portals to the tenants of their property management clients with updates on tenancy agreements, disputes and queries. This enables Wright Hassall to differentiate itself by becoming a data services provider to its own clients, in a way that suits the business models and growth objectives of its key client base.

IT Director, Martyn Wells, highlighted the change in the business through the introduction of better reporting practices. “Data is now driving behaviours within the firm. When partners are creating their forecasts and business strategies for the year, they are now proactively seeking out data insights from the Bi24 tool to inform their strategies”, commented Wells. “We are also seeing how better reporting through Bi24 can allow us to stay competitive in an age of fixed price fees, enabling us to continually assess costs and margin positions for better business decision making. Data is now supporting us in achieving our ambitious growth targets.”

DOWNLOAD a copy of the full CASE STUDY REPORT here >>

For more information about other proven technology solutions that can improve the operation of your business, contact Allan Carton at Inpractice UK.