National uniform e-signing and e-lodgement processes recommended

The Law Council of Australia has called on the government to improve the use of electronic processes in the execution of documents and says consideration should be given to consistency across the states and territories is needed to avoid confusion. Appearing before the Senate Select Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology, Law Council President, Pauline Wright, said that while the implementation of electronic document execution, introduced during the pandemic should be applauded, it is important that the Committee considers the medium and long-term supports needed, including the benefits of harmonising approaches across jurisdictions. “There is no doubt that the […]

How to add dispute resolution to your practice in 5 easy steps

By College of Law. Dispute resolution is a popular choice for law firms to expand their areas of practice and provide clients with more options to amicably settle their matters. However, it can be tough to know where to start, particularly if you have never formally practised or studied dispute resolution. We spoke to commercial mediator Cecily Zhu, managing director of the Accord Group, about how lawyers can effectively skill up in dispute resolution. Develop your creative problem solving Cecily is a nationally accredited mediator, Fair Work Commission conciliator and admitted lawyer – and she is keenly aware of how different dispute […]

New ‘amica’ online service to assist couples to separate amicably

A ground-breaking new digital service will empower separating couples to resolve their family law disputes online. Suitable for couples whose relationship is relatively amicable, the new ‘amica’ tool enables users to negotiate and communicate online with their former partner at their own pace, in their own time and in their own space. amica uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to suggest the split of assets, taking into account: the couple’s particular circumstances; the kinds of agreements reached by couples in similar situations; and how courts generally handle disputes of the same nature. The tool can also assist parents to develop a […]

$2 billion partnership to deliver legal assistance services

A new partnership between the Commonwealth and states and territories will provide a significant boost to legal services available to vulnerable Australians, including people affected by domestic violence. The National Legal Assistance Partnership 2020-25 (NLAP) will distribute over $2 billion between all states and territories for Commonwealth funded legal assistance. Developed in collaboration with the states and territories, the NLAP builds on the National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Services 2015-20 (NPA) and incorporates recommendations from recent reviews of the NPA and the Indigenous Legal Assistance Program. “The new $2 billion includes additional funding of $248 million over five years. […]

Strong sign of property sales returning to normal

CoreLogic reports: there were 1,424 homes scheduled for auction this week returning a clearance rate of 64.5 per cent. In the previous week it was 1,251 at auction. This time last year saw 1,295 homes taken to auction across the capital cities and a clearance rate of 62.9 per cent.  There were more homes scheduled for auction this week (1,424) than in the equivalent week of 12 months ago (1,295). On these figures the market is not only back to normal but better than last year. Although this is excellent news for those in the property market, there must be […]

The next revolution in legal services has begun

With the action of one litigation funder acquiring a share in a UK law firm, the distinction between funder and legal services provider is breaking down. Is this legal services innovation or financial services innovation? It is so hard to categorise or define this development that it could justifiably be described as a revolution in the making. This has occurred in the context of government enquiries into class actions and litigation funding in Australia, the occasional headline accusing litigation funders and law firms of profiteering and the predictable posturings by stakeholders. Regulating litigation funders within a financial services regime is […]

The incredible revenue resilience of small legal practices

We have data! Unfortunately it is US data. However, information from various Australian sources confirms a likely similar experience for small Australian law firms through the recent economic turmoil. The US data comes from practice management software company Clio. It has used anonymised data of file openings and billings from users of Clio software.  What the Clio data shows File openings (new matter creation) reached a low point in mid April 2020 when it was 33% below the baseline established in the first five weeks of 2020. Billings volumes were down in May 2020 by 25% compared to May 2019 […]

iManage Introduces iManage Tracker, a Matter-Centric Task and Checklist Management System

Fully integrated with iManage and Microsoft Office, Tracker enhances visibility into and coordination across knowledge work   iManage, the company dedicated to transforming how professionals work, has announced a new product, iManage Tracker, the industry’s first matter-centric task and checklist management system with built-in need-to-know security. Tracker was developed in response to professionals’ need to effectively manage knowledge work rather than clerical tasks.   Unlike traditional process automation systems that automate individual clerical tasks, iManage Tracker is designed for knowledge workers that are tackling more complex and collaborative cognitive projects like deal closings, contract re-papering, mergers & acquisitions, and other […]

Productivity lessons from Covid-19

By InfoTrack. Coming out of COVID-19, what have you learned? As the financial year draws to a close, now is the time to reflect on the past year and what you learned that you can take with you to move your firm forward for the future. With all that 2020 has thrown at us, the legal industry sought solutions to help maintain client relationships and ensure business could continue as usual. For many, this meant transitioning to digital solutions to help replace the face to face. But, learning these new solutions raised challenges, taking lawyers away from comfortable methods of […]

The big 4 shedding jobs – big law next?

Deloitte 22 June 2020: Deloitte lays off 7 per cent of its 10,000 Australian workforce. Consulting and Advisory are the hardest hit. External Audit spared from cuts. PwC 17 June 2020: PwC lays off 400 employees in the financial advisory, consulting and support sectors of the business, representing approximately 5 per cent of its Australian workforce. EY 14 April 2020: EY cuts partner and staff hours by at least 20pc KPMG 2 April 2020: KPMG lays off 200 staff of its 9,000 Australian workforce. Consulting and Advisory hardest hit The big 4 employed 30,000 people across Australia. The areas of […]