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It's about relationships, not tech

Posted by Gene Turner on 28-Jun-2020 20:24:45

Much of what we do here at LawHawk is far more about relationships, rather than technology.

There are so many ways of doing things better, using different types of technology or none, that you can only figure out the right approach for a particular customer through collaborative, open, discussion.

I believe this is true in any industry, but particularly in legal because many common processes are so overly complex – and sometimes bizarre – that it can be hard to unpick how they currently work, and how they ideally would work given the people involved and other relevant circumstances, without really good communication and trusting relationships.

Two things particularly reminded me of this recently.

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Topics: Future of Law, Document Automation, Legal Technology, In-House Legal, Document Assembly, Digital Signatures

More thoughts on digital signing and remote witnessing

Posted by Gene Turner on 14-Apr-2020 11:41:50

On 9 April, Rohan Cochrane (Director, Family Law Specialists) and I delivered a webinar for the New Zealand Law Society on Remote witnessing and signing of documents during COVID-19 lock-down.

There were nearly 4,000 people on the webinar, which gives some indication of the extent to which lawyers are looking for new solutions at this time.

We didn't have a lot of time to prepare for the webinar, as it was put together on short notice.  My thinking was still coming together during the webinar, as I saw questions coming through on the chat feed.  It’s continuing to evolve, which is why I’m writing this post.

Our goal in the webinar was to look at some of the areas that appear to be causing the most issues, and to identify the most practical approaches we could.  

We weren't suggesting that anything we said was sure to be legally effective, or accepted by every other party to a process (e.g. the recipient of an affidavit).

We also weren't suggesting that these were the only, or even the best way to manage things.  I’m working on further ideas, and would certainly be keen for others that were on the webinar to build further on our suggestions, or to come up with better alternatives, and share those.  

Having had a little more time to reflect on things, I’ve been able to summarise my thinking further.  These views are my own, and not necessarily those of Rohan, the NZLS, or anyone else! 

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Topics: Future of Law, Document Automation, Legal Technology, Document Assembly, Digital Signatures, Covid-19

5 Immediate Steps to Business Continuity

Posted by Gene Turner on 17-Mar-2020 17:11:30

In the coming weeks and months, maintaining business continuity is going to be essential to staying in business, preserving jobs, and maintaining the wider economy.

Many businesses still carry out a lot of their core activities in manual, paper-based, ways.  It will be a struggle to maintain business as usual when people are, inevitably, forced to work from home, or are not available to work at all for periods of time.

With that in mind, here are five steps which you could consider taking, almost immediately and at low cost, to help address weaknesses in your business processes.

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Topics: Legal Technology

How do your lawyers price their work?

Posted by Gene Turner on 14-Nov-2019 18:21:00

[Originally posted 9 May 2017. Updated 14 November 2019].

A number of my other blog posts have suggested clients should look at how their lawyers work and ask questions, like what systems do they have? What training do they do to ensure they provide the best levels of service? 

This time I want to look at the related topic of pricing.  I say related topic, because the pricing options a law firm can offer will depend heavily on the systems they have.  A firm that has not invested in good systems is unlikely to be able to offer transparent and certain pricing. 

Perhaps reflecting this lack of investment in systems, many lawyers still use hourly rate billing and loose estimates of cost based on time that will be spent (e.g. $3,000 to $5,000...), which is inherently unsatisfactory for clients as it contains little incentive to be efficient and can often lead to nasty bill shocks (e.g. $7,000) at the end of the matter when the lawyer advises that it took longer than they thought it would.

To try and get good value, clients often focus on discounts to the hourly rate, which does not solve the problem if the number of hours is open ended. The firm could just throw 5 people onto a simple job

Pricing in this way can be a complete finger in the air, where not only would different lawyers within a firm be likely to charge different amounts for the same piece of work, but the same lawyer could charge different amounts on a different day.  Isn't that bizarre? 

Firms that can give greater clarity and certainty on pricing - while still giving good outcomes and not taking shortcuts - should be rewarded by clients. But, for that to happen, clients have to look beyond hourly rates and ask the right questions.  

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Topics: Document Automation, In-House Legal, Document Assembly, legal practice

The hawks helping lawyers automate legal documents

Posted by Gene Turner on 05-Jul-2019 19:24:37

 

I was interviewed for LawTalk 930 on what LawHawk has been up to, and how we are going. 

You can read the full article here, and below. 

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Topics: Practise of Law, Future of Law, Document Automation, Document Assembly, legal practice, Law Firm Management

Legal tech in New Zealand: Where is the disruption?

Posted by Gene Turner on 05-Jul-2019 18:02:13

 

I was interviewed for LawTalk 930 on what impact legal tech is actually having on the New Zealand legal market.  

You can read the full article here, and below. 

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Topics: Practise of Law, Future of Law, Document Automation, Document Assembly, legal practice, Law Firm Management

Breaks Legislation – Do Employees Have to Take Breaks?

Posted by Jaesen Sumner on 17-May-2019 15:07:53

 

The law regarding break allowances for employees has recently changed.

 The Employment Relations Amendment Act 2018 has amended the Employment Relations Act 2000 to state that:

 “an employee is entitled to, and the employee’s employer must provide the employee with, rest breaks and meal breaks”.

Are you up to speed with the new changes and what they require?

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Topics: Document Automation, Employment Agreements, Online Employment Agreements

Are you wrongly relying on employment trial periods?

Posted by Jaesen Sumner on 12-May-2019 12:19:30

 

 

Trial periods are no longer available for employers with more than 19 employees

If you are an employer that relies on trial period provisions when employing new employees, you need to be aware that the law has now changed. 

If you have over 19 employees, you can no longer use the 90 day trial period and any attempt to use one will not be effective.  A new approach is needed.

What should you do?

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Ford Sumner - The Wellington Law Firm to Watch

Posted by Gene Turner on 06-Nov-2018 18:24:48

Will the future of law belong to large or small firms?  It’s a debate that is ongoing.  

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Topics: Practise of Law, Document Automation, Legal Technology, In-House Legal, legal practice, Law Firm Management, New Zealand Legal Jobs

No. 8 Wire – undeniably useful, but is it still good enough?

Posted by Allen Li on 24-May-2018 09:46:31

ILANZ 2018 was another hugely energising and enjoyable event.  Thank you to everyone involved in organising it!

The official theme of this year’s ILANZ was “No 8 wire”, as a nod to our in-house lawyers' ingenuity and ability to innovate with limited resources.  Last year, I used this term in my blog to describe some of the cobbled-together solutions delegates were using – it was a term of endearment.  This year, I'm a little less certain we should be celebrating this. 

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Topics: Practise of Law, Document Automation, Legal Technology, In-House Legal

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