The best online tools for lawyers in 2011

Author: Twosteps
Report Title: The best online tools for lawyers in 2011? Published: 01/12/10


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Contents • Introduction • The digital economy and the UK Government • The challenges • The opportunities • iPhone apps for lawyers • Online recruitment • Resources and additional reading • About the author • Contact us 2-3 4-5 6-8 9-11 12-13 14-16 17 18 19



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This report takes a look into some of the challenges and opportunities that the new digital age brings specifically for lawyers. The growth in the digital economy has been hugely beneficial for lawyers by improving client communication, global relationships and research capabilities. Developments in video conferencing, email and cloud computing software have increased productivity by reducing the need to travel to client’s offices. As the global community opens up and lawyers can network with colleagues throughout the world, there is no better time to use the latest technologies to improve your client relationships, develop your professional profile and create a better work-life balance. The Internet has gone from strength to strength for the last 10 years. In 2010, 30.1 million adults in the UK (60%) accessed the Internet every day or almost every day. The number of adults who had never accessed the Internet in 2010 decreased to 9.2 million, from 10.2 million in 2009. Figure 1.0 shows the growth in the amount of UK adults using the internet.

Figure 1.0



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The internet forms part of the phenomenal digital economy that we are all trying so desperately to master. The digital economy refers to the devices most of us use each day such as computers, phones and game consoles. In June 2009 The UK Government published an extensive report called ‘Digital Britain’ which set out the 3 year strategy for embracing the digital economy, maximising the benefits it brings and ‘Building a better Britain’. Digital economy includes the ability to start up a web browser and search for a local restaurant, to send a text message to your friend, to use satellite navigation in your car, paying for goods with a debit or credit card or your doctor receiving your pathology results electronically. A successful digital economy is essential for the UK, for economic growth and the ability to maintain international standing. It offers new opportunities for businesses to a larger, potentially global, audience and for individuals to connect and collaborate. For lawyers and law firms this opens the door to the global market and means that more work can come from global organisations or clients based anywhere in the world.



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What does the UK Government say about the digital revolution?
In June 2009 the UK Government produced 'The Digital Britain White Paper', this sets out the importance of the Digital Economy to the nation’s economic future, and how it will drive future industrial capability and competitiveness. The report was jointly resourced by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and draws on expertise from across Government, Industry and regulators. It suggests that the United Kingdom’s communications infrastructure and increased Digital Participation are key to building a 21st century knowledge economy, and must be considered essential objectives if we are to become world-leaders, and reap the benefits of this rapidly transforming sector. The Prime Minister said: “Digital Britain is about giving the country the tools to succeed and lead the way in the economy of the future” “This report shows how we will ensure we have a world-class digital and communications infrastructure, that we promote and protect talent and innovation in our creative industries, that we modernise our TV and radio frameworks and support local news.” “Investing in areas such as broadband access for every home and business and the move from analogue to digital technology will bring benefits across the board, driving growth, enabling businesses to thrive, and providing new opportunities and choices for households right across the country. It is an essential part of building Britain’s future.” The Digital Britain report recommends 3 main measures: Communications Infrastructure, Digital Participant and Digital Content. Communications Infrastructure The UK Government are taking steps to strengthen and modernise the UK’s Digital Infrastructure so the UK can compete and lead globally. Below are the proposed actions:
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Universal access to today’s broadband by 2012, creating equal access for all and a fairer digital future A fund for investment in the next generation of superfast broadband to ensure it is available to the whole country, not just some of it Digital Radio Upgrade by 2015 Accelerating current and next generation mobile coverage and services Proposed new role for sectoral regulator Ofcom to carry out a full assessment of the UK’s communications infrastructure every two years



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Digital Participation The UK Government are taking steps to ensure that everyone can share in the benefits of Digital Britain. Below are the proposed actions:
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Three-year National Plan to improve Digital Participation Programme of Digital Switchover in public services A new Digital Inclusion Champion: Martha Lane Fox Revised Digital remit for Channel 4 and key role for BBC Guaranteed funding for three years for targeted marketing and outreach

Digital Content The UK Government are taking steps to ensure the UK is one of the world’s main creative capitals. Below are the proposed actions:
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Robust legal and regulatory framework to combat Digital Piracy Digital Test Beds to promote innovation, experimentation and learning around creation and monetisation of digital content TV Licence Fee: consultation on contained contestability, primarily to secure news in the nations, regions and locally A new direction for Channel 4, championing new talent across all digital media Guidance note and clarification on the media merger regime and an enhanced evidence role for the regulator in local mergers Support for Independently Funded News Consortia

Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson, said: “Britain needs an active industrial policy if we are to maximise the benefits from the digital revolution. We need a clear approach, which is fully accessible and provides regulatory certainty, smarter public procurement and a readiness to intervene where necessary. The Digital Britain Report does this by offering a strategic view of the sector, backed by a programme of action. This report will cement the UK's position as a world leader in the digital and communication industries and ensure Britain is not left behind in the digital revolution.” Stephen A. Carter, Minister for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting, said: "Digital Britain is a statement of intent and ambition, a commitment to infrastructure and access, and an overdue recognition of the Industrial importance of the Creative Industries".



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The challenges
The digital world brings with it a host of new challenges and issues. There are many political and legal issues around data, electronic contracts and information ownership (most of which still sit within a grey area for legislation). Fortunately for the new generation of lawyers, they will have grown up with sat navs, mobile phones and email. Unfortunately, there are still a significant amount of practising lawyers that are having to quickly understand the difference between a ‘Tweet’ and a ‘Post’, ‘Blue tooth’ and ‘Wifi’, ‘Broadband’ and ‘3G’ and how they can use these technologies professionally. Information Technology and Telecommunications are developing at such a rapid speed that we constantly have to learn and understand new terminology and acronyms. Below is a list of some of the most influential online software affecting all industries.

Cloud computing Cloud computing is the ability to store a software program on the internet rather than on your computer. You access the software through a specific website address and enter your log in details. This allows you to access the software from any computer in the world. This is the most talked about topic in IT circles at present. It is estimated that by 2014 the cloud computing market will be worth $150 billion. Businesses can use cloud computing to make huge operational cost savings. The advantage of cloud computing is that data does not need to be held on a business’s own servers and is held effectively ‘in the cloud’ by a third party, not only saving on software and hardware expenses but also eliminates the need of hiring people to manage these servers. It can be seen as another form of outsourcing. We are now seeing a new breed of recruitment tool as cloud computing combines with talent banking and e-recruitment software. Cloud recruiting is being embraced by law firms across the board. We’re seeing just as much demand from single office boutiques as large global law firms. They both want their recruitment systems managed entirely in the cloud. The concept, being led by twosteps, is gaining momentum in the UK where employers are embracing the technology both in the corporate and professional services world with clients such as Allen & Overy, Skadden and Eversheds already on board.



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Customer relationship management (CRM) CRM is a widely used strategy to help retain customers and manage relationships with them. This term can also be extended to include the management of supplier and partner relationships. It usually involves having software to support processes such as scheduling tasks and meetings, recording any interactions, storing notes and sending emails. Many law firms have these in place but they are rarely fully utilised. Building strong client relationships is crucial in the career path of a lawyer both for internal promotions or for building portable relationships should you wish to look for new opportunities with another firm. Storing notes and recording interactions are vital in building these ongoing relationships with a portfolio of clients.

Social media Social media is not to be confused with social networking. Social media is the blend of technology and social interaction. This includes blogging, forums, video, RSS and podcasts. Social networking was also a popular Internet activity for the UK in 2010, with 43% of Internet users posting messages to social networking sites or chat sites, blogs etc. Social media is a great way to raise your professional profile. You can start writing a blog or contributing to forums. You can set up news feeds from all the relevant sites to come to your e-mail or phone so you are constantly abreast of the latest industry developments. The Office of National Statistics also found that watching television or listening to the radio over the Internet has been growing in popularity in recent years, with 17.4 million adults doing this in 2010, compared with 6.4 million in 2006. So if you find yourself staying away from home a lot or working for hours on trains then you can use the internet to catch up on your relaxation time and listen to your favourite TV or radio shows. You can also use the web for training and learning by watching video tutorials or interactive webinars found on YouTube and other websites.



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Social networking
Social networking is the use of platforms such as Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter. It is using social media to network. Facebook alone, accounts for nearly half of all the time people in the UK spend online using their mobile phones (The GSM Association). Social networking activities proved to be most popular among 16 to 24-year-olds with 75% posting messages, while 50% of this age group uploaded self-created content. However, social networking is not limited to young adults, with 31% of Internet users aged 45 to 54 having used the Internet to post messages, while 28% uploaded content. Lawyers are one of the groups that have started to use sites such as Twitter and Linkedin to promote themselves and access job market information. If you are considering a career move, sites such as Linkedin are a good method of networking with other lawyers and joining legal recruitment groups – such as twosteps network for legal professionals to increase the breadth of your job search. Be cautious of what information you make public on social networking sites, recruiters are increasingly monitoring social network sites when considering candidates so think carefully about your posts and the photos you upload. It is sensible to activate the highest privacy settings in your accounts.

Online gossip
Online gossip is probably one of the more challenging issues. As we know people love to share bad experiences and gossip. Viral marketing can be a double edged sword so whilst holding controversial opinions may help you stand out from the crowd, you may want to hold off bad mouthing clients, colleagues or competitors because it could come back to haunt you. Once you put something out into the digital realm you can’t control whose computer it lands on! You may also see negative press regarding your firm that you want to respond to, but it is probably best left alone because most firms will have a dedicated PR agency who should be monitoring and managing this.



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The opportunities
Along with the challenges comes great opportunity. Below we take a look at the areas of opportunity for people in the legal services industry. The beauty of digital is the ease at which it can make information dynamic. Here is an array of tools available to help search, filter and regurgitate information anywhere in the world

Receive news to your smartphone
Smartphones and their applications are a great way to access instant, continuous and real-time information from anywhere in the world. Most social networks and newspapers now have their own app straight to your smartphone. Research has shown that 16 million people in the UK accessed the internet from their mobile phones in December 2009. They viewed a total of 6.7 billion pages and spent more than 4.8 billion minutes (60 million hours) online during the month. We cover some of the news apps available in the next report section, but as a general rule most, if not all, national and regional news resources will have a mobile compatible websites for viewing online or applications you can download straight on to your Blackberry or iPhone.

Receive news to your Google homepage or Outlook
You can create RSS news feeds from a variety of websites to fall straight into a dedicated folder in Outlook or your Google homepage. If you want to keep up to date with industry news then you can create RSS feeds anywhere you see this symbol. You will need the URL to create the feed and can do this by following the instructions from Outlook or Google.

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Track your new coverage online
Google alerts are another great tool for tracking information. Google can seem such a daunting resource that it can feel impossible to know the entirety of what is being published. However with Google alerts you can have some idea. Choose your search words, for example ‘Associate jobs in London’ and choose how often you want to receive alerts. From now on you will receive alerts summarising all blogs, videos, website posts and news that includes this phrase. If you have a case hitting the headlines and want to track what coverage it is receiving online, than this is a great tool for you. Set up free Google alerts

Improve global relationships
Email alone, revolutionised global relationships, however the creation of Skype has also transformed the way in which we can communicate round the globe. Skype allows you to talk over the internet to anyone in the world completely free (with or without video). However if you are planning to use it for more commercial purposes then you need to sign up to a business account. All you need are speakers and a microphone on your laptop or computer. Alternatively you can plug in a headset with both built in. Download Skype for free from the internet. Set up a free account with Skype

Sharing information - Dropbox
We have started to see an increase in virtual businesses where more people can work from home and on the go by using some additional ‘information sharing’ tools other than CRM software. People can check emails on the train, waiting in court or whilst cooking the family meal. Dropbox is another great tool which allows you to create a secure, shared folder with anyone else in the world. If someone needs to share a case file with you then they can simply drop it into the allocated folder on their computer and it will appear in your shared folder on your computer. You can use this folder for sharing photos and videos as well. Set up a free dropbox account

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Improve customer relationship management
You are probably familiar with a few of the customer relationship management (CRM) software available for law firms to manage cases, relationships, communications and documents etc. These software are now becoming more intelligent and convenient with many offering the ability to sync your CRM system to your smartphones. Quiz your IT team as to how you can integrate your phone with your business CRM software. This will improve your business process efficiency by helping you upload customer notes simultaneously without having to duplicate work by re-entering information stored on your Blackberry when you get back to the office.

Position yourself as an expert
Use blogs, forums and social networks to share your expertise. Use networking to make connections in your industry and across the globe. Share best practice and suggest useful resources. Recommendations and feedback sharing about what works and what doesn’t is a growing trend online. You will be surprised how many doors you can open by managing your online relationships. Linkedin has a great system of showing what shared connections you have with someone and the ability to request introductions. This is a valuable tool to increase your professional profile which can impact positively on your career path.

Use iPhone applications
There is an iPhone application for almost everything. You can use different apps to improve your time management, research, legal terminology, communication, information management, study aids. For this reason we have dedicated an entire section to the different iPhone applications available.

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iPhone apps for Lawyers
Here is a comprehensive list of great iPhone apps designed specifically for lawyers. 1) Black’s Law dictionary: it is a legal resource for lawyers, law students, and anybody interested in the field of law. Has more than 43,000 definitions. 2) Barmax: this app attracted a lot of attention for being super expensive. But it’s a solid BAR examination preparation app for iPhone. It has over a thousand real exam questions as well. 3) Fitz Collins Apps for iPhone: a collection of iPhone applications that cover every topic you need to be familiar with to become a master at law. 4) Court Days – Date Calculator for Lawyers: a handy iPhone application for lawyers, paralegals and legal secretaries that makes managing court days convenient on the go. 5) Law in a Flash: Torts: a very handy application for those who are planning to take an advanced law examination. The flash card approach can certainly help you master the concepts. 6) Law in a Flash: Criminal Law: another application for those who are planning to take an advanced law exam. Covers criminal laws questions and related topics. 7) Kaplan MBE Flashcards: covers torts, constitutional law, evidence, criminal law and procedure, contracts and real property and helps you get prepared for your multi-state exam. 8) LawStack: a free, comprehensive library of law that you can put on your iPhone and take with you on the road. Covers bankruptcy, civil, and criminal procedures along with other topics. 9) iPunchclock: a cool time management app for lawyers and their assistants. If you have a lot going on and want to keep track of it all on your phone, this app comes in handy.

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10) Legal Terms Pro: is a professional level Legal glossary for iPhone. It gives you access to the definitions you need fast. 11) Pocket Lawyer: This app not only provides information on the most common crimes, but also provides information about the types of sentences for each crime and sites where information is. 13) Cliff Maier Reference Apps: An authoritative collection of legal guides; Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, NY CPL, the Constitution, patent rules. 14) Case Mate: This all-in-one application for the iPhone can help you control and save any important information relating to a particular case on your iPhone. It stores and manages lists of information. 15) Barbra: Barbra offers course outlines, lectures, and practical tips for your exams. 16) Quick office Mobile Office Suite: Create and edit Word documents and Excel directly from your iPhone. 17) Wikipanion: Wikipanion is a free iPhone app. This application provides direct access to Wikipedia and Wiktionary with some great research and formatting functions in addition to an elegant and easy to use interface. 18) NetNewsWire: NetNewsWire is an RSS reader for the iPhone. It allows you to read news and select the articles you want to save and read later. 19) Twosteps jobhunt…coming soon in 2011!...unfortunately our app won’t be ready when this report goes to print but keep an eye out for the application that allows you to search jobs, update your professional profile, amend your CV and access a legal resources centre.

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Online recruitment
As you’ve probably noticed there are a growing number of job boards. Most lawyers are finding themselves combining a job hunting strategy of new media channels and traditional channels to cover all bases. A global recession together with advancement in social and digital media, generational changes and technology have changed the recruitment map for good. In today's world, most employers, and not just law firms, are looking to save costs and streamline recruitment while retaining and investing in talent. Over 12 months ago major international firms, national firms and boutiques started taking advantage of market conditions and began increasing their online recruitment strategies. It is very encouraging for the UK legal services market that so many businesses are taking a proactive approach and investing in their future. Edward Andrew, Ex legal services Headhunter and Global CEO at twosteps says “The business world has changed since the GFC and anyone associated with the legal and professional services industry will need to diversify to, adapt to and succeed in the current market. Traditional recruitment will always have a place but their marketplace has changed significantly. Law firms and corporations looking to recruit senior level staff will no doubt continue to employ the use of recruiters as more human feedback is necessary. However, in the 18-35 year old demographic, more and more can be achieved online and with business's own recruitment processes”. The major cost associated with recruitment in any industry is recruitment fees. These can be anything up to 30% of the first year’s salary. This isn’t to say that web-based recruitment will make redundant the role played by traditional recruiters or head-hunters but certainly the market share that recruiters command is reducing hand in hand with the generational shift towards online searches and web based technology involved in all aspects of people’s lives.

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2010 has been a busy year for the UK legal industry but law firms are still not completely out of the woods yet with recovery stable but slow. It seems that consolidation, transatlantic mergers and outsourcing have been the emerging trends. Hogan Lovells and SNR Denton are newly created US/UK firms. Hammonds are also merging with Squite Saunders & Dempsey. In the past few weeks there was the announcement that Norton Rose is merging with Ogilvy Renault from Canada and also merging with Deneys Reitz from South Africa. Outsourcing has also been a bit of a buzzword not just with law firms and corporate legal teams moving some of their due diligence and document management offshore but with recruitment process outsourcing. The first sign of recruitment activity in the legal market was the recruitment of support staff; HR, paralegals and legal secretaries. Outsourcing has also hit the headlines with regards the culling of local council budgets and legal teams and therefore outsourcing the legal function to specialist firms. As firms cut costs whilst still needing to improve operations and recruit legal and non-legal staff, we are beginning to see could computing and cloud recruitment as a means of working more efficiently and cost effectively. Consequently we are starting to see more lawyers taking their career management into their own hands by using all resources available to them including online job sites. Our recent survey found that while a significant number still use recruiters, 81% also look to online job sites. 65% of survey respondents also said they would rather correspond directly with employers rather than recruiters.

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Additional benefits… You can now job hunt abroad The internet allows better connections around the globe. Twosteps job board allows you to apply direct for jobs anywhere in the world. By keeping your profile up to date you can list all the different countries you are allowed to practise law in and what languages you speak. Keep your career in your hands Lawyers are intelligent and calculated beings so we know that having to pass control of their career in to the hands of a recruiter can be an aggravating necessity as many have no time for mass emailing CVs out. We also know the frustration of applying for mystery online jobs that always appear to have ‘just closed’. We have a no recruiter policy on the twosteps website to allow lawyers to manage one professional profile with all your employment experience and skills and apply direct to HR teams. You can also manage and track your applications using the website. Log in from your mobile or any computer to see how each application is doing. You can set up specific job alerts so you receive notification when your dream job is posted on the website. Manage your job search at a time that suits you Rather than having to take hurried calls from recruiters during the day, you can access the recruitment services of twosteps at a time that suits you and from wherever in the world you are. You can take control of your next career move and manage your job search when you have the time to give it your full focus. Research employers Fitting into an organisation is key to the success of an individual’s career and an organisations business goals. It is important to do your research on potential employers. The internet provides a huge amount of information for job seekers. On we provide employer profiles where you can access information from existing employees, partners and the HR team.

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About the author
This report was published by twosteps. is a recruiter free global recruitment website and has offices in Sydney and London but provides a service to a global employer base, our clients range from global US and UK law firms to domestic one office boutiques. Twosteps is first and foremost a job board but is fast becoming a technology company in the sense that our systems and software are constantly evolving as the demand for cloud recruitment takes off. We offer traditional job board services and secure networking to offer the most sophisticated combination of talent banking, candidate tracking and online headhunting in the market. Twosteps currently matches jobseekers and employers locally, nationally and globally across the legal services sector but is dedicated to supporting the entire professional services industry by the end of 2010. The concept stems from three simple factors; globalisation, advances in both digital and social media and generational change. The direct interface between employer and jobseeker across the globe allows twosteps to offer quality candidates to quality firms. Twosteps is privately owned. The founders have over thirty years direct experience as Lawyers, Headhunters and Sales & Marketing professionals. We launched in mid 2010 and we are now operating in the UK, Europe, Australia and Asia. Our Vision To be the most recognised, highly regarded and widely used brand in the global online professional services recruitment industry. Our Values    - Professionalism - Integrity and Quality - Security and Trust

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Resources and additional reading
     Office of national statistics The Department for Culture, Media and Sport Access Economics, The economic benefits of intelligent technologies (May 2009), p.37. System Knowledge Concepts, Creating new markets: broadband adoption and economic benefits on the Yorke Peninsula (June 2008) p 6. Automatic Response: Rio Tinto’s Mine of the Future’,, 29 September 2008 (available at:; last accessed: 25 June 2009).

Web resources
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