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Aderant, a global provider of business and financial-management software for professional-services organisations, has formed a strategic global partnership with UK-based FWBS, a legal-software-development house and Microsoft Office 2003 launch partner.

Risk e-business: Minimising the perils of an electronic world

The legal market has changed dramatically in recent years, with technology enabling greater speed, volume and efficiency across all business processes. But with such advances come a range of dangers. Guy Hodgson, a partner at Mills & Reeve, assesses the changing market and the steps firms must take now to reduce the risks.

Technology news

Blake Cassels & Graydon, the international law firm headquartered in Canada, is set to deploy LawPort, from SV Technology, as the platform for its planned enterprise portal. Primarily, the system will power the firm’s website, while enhancing its knowledge management (KM) initiatives.The decision to implement the solution – a web foundation, portal and KM applications suite – is part of Blake’s major drive to develop a reliable knowledge resource for its fee earners and KM-based services.LawPort will provide the firm with a complete web infrastructure that integrates its intranet, extranet and internet sites, enabling information previously stored in back office systems to be effectively acquired and organised.Speaking about the deployment, Marcia Cooper, head of KM at Blakes, said: “Institutionalising and leveraging our knowledge is critical to client service and effective firm management. While knowledge management cannot be achieved through a technology solution alone, it is important to put in place an appropriate IT infrastructure upon which knowledge-management processes can be implemented most effectively across the firm.”The system will be introduced gradually within select pilot groups across the 500 lawyer firm, with a view to wider roll-out later this year. More information about the LawPort suite can be found at the SV Technology website: www.svtechnology.com. In response to the increasing demand for outsourcing within the legal sector, transcription specialist Voicepath has announced a partnership with SRC, the UK provider of the WinScribe digital dictation system, to offer clients a flexible and secure outsourced transcription solution.The deal will see the incorporation of Voicepath Inside software into WinScribe’s digital dictation tool, meaning that customers can either choose to increase their productivity and drive down costs through outsourcing, or make use of their own in-house secretarial support.The service will provide solicitors with a more secure environment to process dictation while adding value to a firm’s document transcription capacity.By providing additional support for fee-earners and secretaries, the outsourced service should enable firms to improve efficiency and workflow management. Information on the partnership and available solutions can be found at www.voicepath.net. The Law Society has released its Software Solutions Guide for 2005, which includes the latest expert opinion to help solicitors make informed choices about their legal and IT software.Now in its seventh edition, the guide is widely recognised as one of the most influential sources of information about legal software systems currently available to firms in England and Wales.It contains profiles of sixteen suppliers who have received positive feedback from vigorous market research into the standard of the services they offer, along with reviews from the Law Society’s selection panel.The full guide and supplier listings can be viewed at www.lawsociety.org.uk Linex Legal has launched a number of information services aimed at law firms and in-house legal departments, available from its website at www.linexlegal.com.Since its arrival in March 2002, Linex has become a leading provider and distributor of legal content for firms at all levels of the legal profession, from sole practitioners to international, top tier practices.Lawyers registered with the service receive weekly notifications of any new articles, reviews and commentaries, public announcements and newsletters that have been published from over 1,000 legal content sources, allowing them to save time spent on research.The company has also launched a  search tool, on the same website, which enables users to browse information collated by the service in the last two years. International firm Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw has selected Workshare’s document comparison tools and metadata-stripping software, with plans to roll out the solution across 13 of its global offices.The move is intended to enable its lawyers to collaborate more effectively with colleagues, clients and co-counsel when drafting or renewing contracts and other legal documents.Workshare will be implemented alongside the firms existing document management solution.Full details of Workshares document integrity solutions can be found at www.workshare.com. Tricostar has launched a ‘first of its kind’ time and recording system for the UK legal profession, developed from the globally successful Sage CRM Mid Market Edition (MME) product.Designed as a matter management solution, Tricostar Legal combines time and work recording with document management and flexible workflow tools. Its use of browser-based technology means that the service can be accessed from anywhere with internet capability, and can also be easily linked to corporate e-mail systems. It allows office and field-based personnel to keep in touch and share information or workloads through enabled remote access, while extending the functionality of Sage CRM MME to incorporate document and content management and time recording capabilities. Because it isn’t server-based, the system allows an unlimited amount of information to be stored and users are guided through the intuitive interface in a logical, relevant and timely manner.Additional information on the solution can be viewed at www.tricostar.com.

A technical business: Assessing law firms and their use of IT

An important element of Ark Group’s LEX Connect in London at the end of this month is the one-to-one meetings between lawyers and solution providers, where many aspects of legal technology will be discussed. In anticipation of the event, Caroline Poynton talks to solution providers that will be at the event, including Canon, eCopy, FloSuite, Thomson Elite and Voicepath, about their perception of IT in the legal market and how they intend to go about meeting their clients’ needs.

Technology news

The Law Society is challenging solicitors' firms and in-house practices in England and Wales to improve their practices in relation to equality and diversity.

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