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LawFest – Beyond Innovation Theatre – The Reality of Tech Adoption in Law Firms

Posted by Gene Turner on 28-Jan-2021 19:04:42

It’s coming up to 5 years since LawHawk launched.

Back then, nobody was really doing legal automation. Cloud technology was only just starting to emerge and, quite fairly, most firms had little to no experience of successful automation to talk about.

In the next couple of years there were a lot of press releases about firms adopting one solution or another, but surprisingly little publication of any actual results that had come from the project. Either the firm never had a plan for broader roll-out beyond a small initial team of enthusiasts, or the realities of successful legal tech project management quickly stalled things.

So five years on, I feel there are still too many people talking about what other people should be doing, without any obvious experience of having done it themselves, or offering any insights into how others can do it too. Particularly how to get started and how to overcome the inevitable obstacles that arise.

Which is why I’m pleased to be participating in LawFest 2021 on 3 March, with a panel of people who have all got first hand experience of successful delivery of legal tech projects, and who can share insights that will help others to do the same.

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Topics: Practise of Law, Future of Law, Legal Technology

A brief overview of HotDocs Advance - Video

Posted by Gene Turner on 14-Oct-2020 13:13:43

In the process of re-shooting some help videos for our website, I was reminded just how far HotDocs has come in the past few years from their previous "HotDocs Classic" products to the new HotDocs Advance suite. 

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Topics: Document Automation, Legal Technology, Document Assembly, HotDocs Advance

7 Law Firm options for Wills and EPAs

Posted by Gene Turner on 31-Jul-2020 21:54:28

Did you notice that Public Trust recently launched an online wills and enduring powers of attorney service? Yes, you did read that right. Even Public Trust now have online wills and enduring powers of attorney.

You may be thinking this presents an issue for LawHawk, given we also offer online wills and enduring powers of attorney. It probably will affect part of our business. We may lose some online opportunities to Public Trust, but at the same time their presence online will also help to grow the overall online market. Time will tell but I think it's a positive move for making wills and EPAs more accessible.

Online wills and enduring powers of attorney are still very much a niche offer, appealing to those who are comfortable or prefer doing the whole process themselves online, or who either cannot afford, or choose not to pay the costs of, a traditional legal service.

Our online offers direct to the public represents only a small part of our overall business. The larger part of our focus – as it always has been - is working with law firms to help them to offer a better and more affordable service to their clients, while also making this a more satisfying and profitable part of the practice.

In my opinion, this further shift towards online wills and enduring powers of attorney should be of greater concern to law firms in respect of their own practices. Until relatively recently, law firms were in total control of when and how clients could get wills and powers of attorney, and what it would cost. The only real competition was the trustee companies. One was recovering from significant financial and operational issues, and the other was only working 4 days per week. Both had reputations for poor service and high fees. So not much competition, and no great surprise that law firms felt no pressure to innovate their own services.

Now, both of the trustee companies have online capabilities and are pushing them hard.

How should law firms respond? I can see several possible options. The first two are:

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Topics: Practise of Law, Future of Law, Document Automation, Legal Technology, Document Assembly, Wills, Law Firm Management

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

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

How to get an exciting new legal job in 2018

Posted by Gene Turner on 17-Jan-2018 12:17:05

Excited woman raising her arms while working on her laptop in her office.jpeg 

For many people, January is a time of reflection and new year resolutions to make a change.  Having had a decent break, many people recognise that they are not happy in their current situation and resolve to get a new job.

This article contains some suggestions on how to get the best new legal job for your circumstances.

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Topics: Practise of Law, Document Automation, Legal Technology, New Zealand Legal Jobs

One year as a LawHawk!

Posted by Allen Li on 20-Nov-2017 20:26:29

It’s been a year since I joined LawHawk, and it still feels so fresh and exciting.  It’s probably a bit naïve / premature to reflect so soon, but heck, I’m on holiday!  The Sydney sun, sea and sand has given me a great opportunity to stop, and think. 

So what's happened?!

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Topics: Practise of Law, Document Automation, Legal Technology, Document Assembly

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