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Mason Hayes Curran select Keyhouse again

Mason Hayes Curran is one of the most successful law firms in Ireland. Having installed our case management system in their conveyancing department last year, they have now expanded its use to their debt collection department and, working with us, they have developed workflows to process and manage their debt recovery files. Keyhouse also converted all the historical data from Kelly Systems. The Keyhouse case management system is being integrated with their core document management system – iManage, for whom we are the preferred Irish partner. Read More


Keyhouse in the Cloud

DLI Law is a new legal services firm structured across two practice groups – asset finance and aviation and outsourced counsel (OC). Their OC service enables companies to benefit from senior in-house talent without the burden of additional headcount. The partners have chosen Keyhouse as their practice management provider and implemented the full solution in the cloud ensuring they would have access to their files 24/7 from anywhere. Read More


Ebrill Solictors – a new law firm opt for Keyhouse

Ebrill Solicitors, a new law firm based in the south-east of Ireland and specialising in property law and commercial transactions, both private and corporate have chosen Keyhouse as their Practice Management System supplier. Part of our remit was to convert accounts ledgers and case management files from OPSIS which was used in their previous practice. Read More


RANSOMWARE: The greatest IT Security threat to your business at the moment!

Ransomware is a particularly sinister threat to your computer systems & data, which has developed over the past few years. It’s a category of computer virus that once on your system, does a number of things you don’t want it to. Firstly, it starts to encrypt your data files – especially the common formats such as from Word, Excel and PDF – so you can’t access them. Then you receive a ransom email demanding money in return for the encryption key to regain access to your documents. All the time, it’s encrypting more of your data making it unavailable to you. In simple terms, it’s a computerised blackmail scheme you need to protect your business against.

Prevention is the best defence, so talk to your IT Supplier to ensure you have effective defences in place. These should entail a combination of deploying Anti-virus software, having a robust IT Systems’ Firewall in place, and using strong IT security policies and practises. That said, this will only minimise the likelihood you become victim of a Ransomware attack. The best of all these measures might still be bypassed, and a Ransomware strike at the heart of your business.

Recovery from an attack is more difficult. You may choose to concede defeat and pay the ransom, but you run the risk that your blackmailer may choose to make further demands rather than resolve the situation as initially promised.

The only effective solution to a Ransomware attack is to have an effective IT Backup & Recovery Plan in operation. This entails taking regular backups of all your systems and data and holding these in a secure location where it’s ready to be called on should you need to recover from a disaster scenario such as a Ransomware attack. Effective plans will categorise your systems & data with critical ones being backed up more frequently and recoverable very quickly, while less important ones may be backed up less frequently and may take longer to recover. Keyhouse recommend you contact your IT Supplier to ensure you have a fit for purpose Backup and Recovery Plan in operation. Should you suffer a Ransomware attack, this will allow you restore your systems to what they were before the attack and get you back up and running without delay.

Written by Ciaran Mac Giolla Riogh, Technical Support Manager, Keyhouse.

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Eames Solicitors move away from eXpd8

Eames Solicitors, a long standing Keyhouse Accounts client who handle all public interest and regulatory law issues and also advise on corporate, business, property transactions and commercial disputes, recently converted from eXpd8 to Keyhouse Case Management To ensure the firm had access to all its historical data, the conversion brought over all the firms documents. It now has a completely integrated practice management system. Read More


Succession planning is vital for law firms

It is vital that professional services firms such as law firms make succession planning an integral process within their business which can be achieved by linking it to the firm’s overall business strategy.Leading a professional services firm requires a very different approach to providing a professional service. It is unfair to ask a candidate who has completely focused on client work for their entire career to take on a leadership role without any training or involvement in management roles in the firm, yet this often happens.It is very easy for a partner to be immersed in the operation of their own department. If that person then assumes a senior management role they come with only one perspective of the firm. The candidate may have no understanding or empathy with other parts of the organisation.The key for successful succession planning is to have an individual or a group of individuals with the skill sets and experience necessary who is ready to take over at the appropriate time.Best practice firms create specific, individualised development plans for such candidates. Potential leaders are involved in key projects either as team members or team leaders. Some firms will supplement this with formal management training.Allowing potential leaders to develop a wider role in the business enables them to develop an awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of other parts of the organisation, and the personalities involved.It is always necessary to monitor performance and delivery of potential leadership candidates. It is most often not the best lawyer or accountant who makes the best leader, but one with the best leadership skills.

A leadership candidate will need a clear sense of:

  • where he or she wants to lead the firm to
  • what he or she should do and what should be delegated to others
  • how to listen to colleagues
  • how to build a consensus
  • how to execute decisions when reached.

No matter how good a practitioner the candidate may be, these skills are very different from a traditional lawyer’s role and therefore need to be developed and tested over a period of time.

The goal of any good succession plan is to get the right person in place for tomorrow’s job. The way to accomplish this is to get a match between the firm’s future needs and the aspirations of individuals.This article was written by Paul Wyse who is managing director of the Dublin office of Smith & Williamson and published by the Irish Times.  To view the full article, http://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/succession-planning-is-vital-for-professional-services-firms-1.2205114.
 

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3 Changes Affecting the Legal Industry and How Lawyers Can Adapt

There’s no doubt that the legal industry is undergoing a transformation. Only time will tell to what extent these changes impact the future career prospects for young lawyers and law students today. Is the industry merely undergoing an “update” of sorts? Or is this a complete overhaul, where a substantial number of law jobs will disappear over the next 10 years?

The outcome isn’t clear at this point, but to maximize your own chances of survival, you need to be aware of how the market is shifting and understand the drivers of change – the underlying forces bringing about this “new-look” legal industry of the future. Below is an analysis on three changes affecting the legal industry today, along with some of the impacts those changes may have on your career.

1. TECHNOLOGY IS REDUCING YOUR ROLE AND YOUR VALUE

You probably could have guessed technology would be first on the list.  For one, it’s usually a major driver of change in any industry.  And you probably noticed some of the inroads technology has already made into the legal industry’s rigid, old ways.

Technology is driving change in the legal industry for a few reasons.  First of all, it’s enabling greater accessibility to legal knowledge and information.  People no longer immediately turn to lawyers for legal advice.  They now turn to Google, Avvo, Quora, NOLO, and other sources of free legal information.  In many instances, it’s possible to get all the answers you need without ever talking to a lawyer.

Furthermore, technology is reducing demand for traditional lawyers and law firms, or in some cases eliminating it altogether.  Companies like Axiom Law in the corporate world, and LegalZoom in the consumer space have leveraged the power of technology to increase efficiency, lower prices, and streamline the provision of basic legal services.

Most lawyers have taken note of these changes as they’re happening, but technology has barely even scratched the surface.  We will continue to see more technology driven legal service offerings emerging in the future, reducing demand for the classic law firm business model even further.

Lawyers will have to find ways to leverage the power of technology for themselves if they are going to survive the disruption.

2. CLIENTS WON’T KEEP PAYING YOUR INFLATED, HOURLY BILLS

Most lawyers have observed this change happening as well. But it might be one of the most significant changes and one that will have a huge impact on the market in the future.

The billable hour is all but dead, and it deserves to be.  Billing by the hour means motivations don’t align.  It means unlimited costs for clients.  It means downright dishonesty in some instances.

When you are getting paid for your time and the client has very little or no control over how you utilize that time, you have every incentive to work as inefficiently as possible. It doesn’t make sense, and people are finally fed up.

Also going by the wayside are the overinflated rates being charged in the current market. The margins on most legal work are astronomically high compared to other industries if you think about it. The majority of other “brick and mortar” type businesses such as those in the retail or hospitality industries operate on razor thin margins. You have to admit it doesn’t cost much more than your time to review a document or consult with a client on the phone.

Legal fees have largely been free from the market forces of supply and demand throughout history, with lawyers dictating rates to an uninformed public with limited options for legal help. But the Internet is changing things, providing people with alternatives, creating transparency around pricing, and shedding light on the industry’s shady billing practices.

Your time is becoming less and less valuable to people. You won’t be able to continue to bill for every phone call and email or charge thousands of dollars to draft a document. People simply aren’t going to put up with it anymore, and they won’t hesitate to find alternative service providers offering greater affordability, productivity, and efficiency.

3. A FOCUS ON OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCY IS BECOMING MANDATORY

Operational efficiency is crucial in any successful business, but in law it will become particularly impactful as the overall demand for lawyers diminishes and clients become less willing to pay the current rates.

People expect efficient, quality service from anyone they do business with these days, and it’s about time lawyers catch on to the trend. Your ability to acquire new clients affordably while providing quality legal work and good customer service will become essential to your survival as the market continues to shift.

The reason Axiom and LegalZoom and other alternative legal service providers have done so well is because they glommed on to the things that matter most to the buyers of legal services – efficiency, transparency, and affordability. Although these services still have their limitations and they can’t do everything a traditional lawyer or law firm can, the movement has only just begun.

If you intend to compete with these more efficient and cost effective alternatives, you’ve got to do whatever possible to mirror the value proposition those services offer to clients. Specifically, you need to increase efficiency and decrease overhead expenses so you can offer services at more affordable rates.

If you work on finding ways now to increase efficiency and lower your overhead so you can compete on pricing, you’ll be ahead of the curve compared to other law firms as these new alternative legal companies continue to capture market share.

This article originally appeared on Lawkick.com and was written by  Aaron George, to read it in full click the link here Read More


Why The Legal Industry Needs to Embrace Technology

The legal system is inherently behind the times. Its entire foundation is built on reactions to happenings in the outside world. When a “wrong” is committed, the legal system reacts by establishing a new rule to punish future wrongdoers for committing the same offense. When something innovative comes along, such as the proliferation of the internet as a tool for communicating and disseminating information, the legal system slowly kicks into gear to establish guidelines and rules for how to properly use it. This is the way it has always been, and probably the way it will always be.

However, as the rate of technological innovation increases, problems will arise unless the legal industry as a whole takes steps to embrace and adopt technology itself. A reactionary system simply cannot keep up. The actual rule-making aspect of law is naturally done best through human judgment, where technology cannot play much of a role (yet). But technology can and should play an instrumental role in all other aspects of the legal industry to increase efficiency.

Everyday new technologies are built to increase the speed at which business can be done, to improve the analysis of data, to keep people more connected, to make the world a safer place, and on and on. But for whatever reason, the legal system just keeps trudging along in the same inefficient way, despite its critical role in all of these other areas of life.

If you need to hire an employee, there are countless websites where you can advertise and connect with the right prospects. If you need to buy something, you can order it from eBay or Amazon in seconds with a few mouse clicks or taps on your iPhone. If you need to pay for a service, almost everyone accepts money via PayPal or Stripe through their website.

But if you need to find a lawyer, you turn to referrals from friends, ads in the yellow pages (because lawyers still advertise there for some reason), a phone number you saw on a park bench or bus, or you spend an afternoon calling around and interviewing at local law offices. When you need to go to court for something trivial like a speeding ticket, you always have to appear in person. When you pay your lawyer for his time (oftentimes people don’t), you usually have to write a check and snail-mail it or drop it off at the law office.

The point is this: just because the foundation of the legal system, the age-old process of making rules, is slow and reactionary by nature and requires a lot of human involvement, that doesn’t mean the rest of the legal system has to follow suit.

Law as an industry is ripe for disruption in its current state. The problems are piling up and the solutions are few and far between. More and more students go to law school each year, but fewer and fewer law jobs await them upon graduation. Law firms only collect a percentage of the money they bill their clients. People don’t know where to find a lawyer (and are afraid of paying one) to help them start a business, so they download their own contracts online and submit their state filings through LegalZoom. Inefficiency is prevalent in every aspect of legal services and as a result, the prices are inflated and lawyers can’t find paying clients. This is a recipe for disaster unless drastic changes are made.

Law has always been a highly regarded, noble profession, but if it can’t keep up with the times, the industry as a whole is going to fail at the hands of do-it-yourself alternatives and a wealth of information made available online. There is a better way for legal services to be performed, by actual lawyers who went to school and understand the system and not some automated website. But in order for this change to take place and bring legal work back to the people actually trained to do it, law must embrace technology as the catalyst to solving its problems, just like every other industry has been doing for years.

This article was originally written by Aaron George and appeared on Lawkick.com, you can read the original version here. Read More


Time to take gloves off and poach Brexit tech firms

Tech firms employ 700,000 people in London alone. Many of the bigger tech employers in that region – giants such as Microsoft and Google – are known to be uneasy about Britain leaving the European Union’s single market. They think it’s a stupid move that will only hinder business for companies like theirs.

For the next 12 weeks, they need to be crudely made aware that Ireland has no such hesitation about membership of the EU. US tech multinationals, in particular, need to be reminded that Ireland is an English-speaking country that loves Europe and has growing reservoirs of tech skills, cheaper property, lower tax rates and direct flights to big US cities. Also, that we have seamless, barrierless, permanent access to the second largest market in the world.

To be blunt, the IDA’s budget for the next 12 weeks should be tripled to whisk tech companies away from Britain and into Ireland.

Chivalry? Restraint? Sorry, no. It’s a simple case of putting our national interest before theirs. We should not feel guilty about giving disillusioned US tech firms a better home here. British or Northern Irish business interests would not hesitate to do the same thing to us if the roles were reversed.

(Nor would we really have any right to whinge about them if they did.)

If Britain is actually determined to leave the EU, it will hurt Ireland. We need to soften the blow by legitimately targeting multinationals to relocate here.

As it happens, there are many indications that we might be pushing an open door on the issue.

Last week, a poll of 700 British and German companies operating in the UK found that over a third would consider moving jobs out of the country following a vote to leave the European Union.

The Bertelsmann Foundation poll found that 41pc of tech companies said they would either “reduce capacities” in the UK or move to another country in the event of a Brexit.

These are firms such as the British smartphone chip company ARM, which designs the chips that power many of the world’s smartphones. A few weeks ago, ARM’s chief finance officer said that Britain leaving the EU would leave it at a disadvantage to other EU countries for generating tech jobs.

“It would slow us down,” said Chris Kennedy. “Our main concern is the ability to attract talent and be able to get the necessary papers for them to work in the UK in the event of a Brexit.”

Kennedy needs to be brought out for a quiet pint – or whatever the industrial tradecraft is these days – and told about Dublin’s growing position as a European talent pool.

Then he should be hooked up with a commercial office space agent, a legal firm and a tax accountant.

Last week, I rang up the IDA to ask whether they would consider swooping in this manner to take advantage of Britain’s Brexit fumbling and stumbling.

The executive I spoke to was diplomatic. He didn’t want the idea to get out that we were “vulturing” over the process, saying only that the IDA “continues to be very active” in persuading companies to relocate to Ireland.

With respect, if the State agency really is showing this sort of restraint, it may be letting the side down. Ireland’s national interest is not the same as Britain’s, at least not in this instance. Now is not the time to be chivalrous.

Only last month, the head of Ireland’s Central Bank said that he has “no doubt” multinational firms considering a UK investment are putting off those investments because of the Brexit referendum.

“It has to be the case that any sensible, major firm considering where to make a location decision, if the competition is between UK and Ireland, is going to stall for a few months,” Philip Lane told a Dail committee.

So what are we waiting for? We shouldn’t hesitate to compete aggressively here. Better to boost our own economy than that of a non-EU neighbour.

“Almost three-quarters feel Brexit would make Ireland more attractive for multinationals to invest,” said Ruth Curran, a partner at Merc Partners, which conducted a survey on the issue among 330 senior Irish executives.

Good. Let’s get in there.

This article originally appeared in the Irish Independent, to read the original version by Adrian Weckler click here 

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Microsoft warns of risks to Irish operation in US search warrant case

Microsoft’s failure to protect itself against a US court ruling ordering it to hand over emails stored in Dublin to federal investigators would raise “a new set of risks” for its Irish operation, the company’s president said.

Speaking after testifying before a US congressional panel in Washington, Brad Smith, who is also Microsoft’s chief legal officer, told The Irish Times that the company’s goal was to “continue to operate one of the world’s largest data centres in Ireland” but that the outcome of a court appeal in New York raises a concern.

The US company is appealing a court order to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to stop the US government obtaining customer emails held on computer servers in Dublin as part of a federal investigation into drug trafficking.

The lawsuit centres on 1986 US legislation, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and whether the executive branch of the US government has the legal authority to use a search warrant to reach data held outside the United States held in Microsoft’s Irish operations.

“Our concern is that if we lose the case more countries across Europe or elsewhere are going to be concerned about having their data in Ireland, ” Mr Smith said, after testifying before the House judiciary committee.

Asked what would happen to its Irish unit if the company loses the case or doesn’t convince Congress to pass updated legislation governing cross-border data held by American companies, the Microsoft executive said: “We’ll certainly face a new set of risks that we don’t face today.”

He added that the issue could be resolved by an executive order by the White House or through international negotiations between the Irish Government or the European Union and the US.

The Manhattan-based appeals court is still weighing a case that is closely watched by US technology giants, civil liberties groups and the Obama administration.

“The US government’s position is that it doesn’t need to pay any attention to Irish law,” said Mr Smith.

“Its argument is that it is not actually doing anything that is legally relevant in Ireland. It is just telling us to fetch emails and bring them back to the US and then turn them over in the United States.”

During his testimony, Mr Smith produced an antiquated piece of technology – IBM’s first laptop, which was released the year the privacy act was passed – to argue his point that US legislation had failed to keep pace with advances in technology.

On a separate issue, Mr Smith told the panel that Microsoft “wholeheartedly” supported Apple’s refusal to create a “backdoor” access to unlock data held on one of the iPhones of the San Bernardino killers.

The company would be filing a “friend of the court” brief in support of Apple’s case, he said.

Tim CookApple chief executive, said in an interview this week that the only way to access the information would be to “write a piece of software that we view as sort of the equivalent of cancer” .

The California company has asked a US court to reject an order forcing it to unlock the iPhone of Syed Rizwan Farook, who, along with his wife, killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California in December.

Apple argued in a fresh court application filed yesterday that the order was “unprecedented” with “no support in the law.”

“This is not a case about one isolated iPhone,” the technology giant said in its filing. “No court has ever authorized what the government now seeks, no law supports such unlimited and sweeping use of the judicial process, and the constitution forbids it.”

This article is by Simon Carswell and originally appeared in the Irish Times website. You can view the full article here  Read More