“Rumpole, you must move with the times.”
“If I don’t like the way the times are moving, I shall refuse to accompany them.”
― John Mortimer, The Anti-Social Behaviour of Horace Rumpole
The words of one of the most famous fictional barristers. But how would Horace Rumpole’s philosophy and resistance to change fare for him if he was working in chambers today? So how is technology, integration and partnership working taking the profession in new directions, even into a new world?
The British legal profession, by its nature, is a bastion of traditionalism. For centuries its culture has been the model followed across the globe. Its methods and formulas are tried and tested and have rarely failed. But today we are entering, if not already entered, a new era, not just in the legal profession, but across all global markets, led by fast paced, ever evolving technology.
Although we are aware of this there can be a reluctance within the profession to embrace innovation and step outside of the comfort zone, which leads to an increasing risk of being left behind. Now is the time for the legal profession to adapt and keep up to speed with technology and innovation, and once ahead, to stay ahead.
Some lawyers still believe that if it isn’t broken it doesn’t need fixing. The issue is that just because something has worked in the past doesn’t mean that it will continue to be relevant in today’s ever evolving legal environment. It is vital to acknowledge and adopt significant changes and developing trends across the profession.
Chambers that don’t adapt risk being left behind and once that happens it is not easy to catch up with the front runners.
Millennial professionals are now coming up fast on the outside, having used electronic devices all their lives they are up to speed with every new development in both hardware and software.
The challenge is to integrate the old and the new. To not throw the baby out with the bathwater and lose decades of expertise and experience, while embracing new technology to ever sharpen the delivery. A smart way of working still values and utilises the heart of the legal system. It will build on this by engaging with and endorsing new and innovative methods of providing the service effectively and efficiently. It will be at the cutting edge of technology whilst still maintaining the traditions that are trusted and respected around the world as we move further into the 21st Century.
Two market leaders in legal software have taken the next step and are working in partnership to provide a better and integrated future alongside improved collaboration between clerks and barristers. HyperLaw helps barristers to take care of case review and presentation and Bar Squared’s LEX focusses on ensuring the efficient operation of chambers with features such as diary management, automated billing, marketing and document storage.
The LEX and HyperLaw integration has connected the workflow of the barristers and clerks. Bar Squared has been at the forefront of chambers management for more than 13 years and has always pushed the boundaries. HyperLaw is taking case review and presentation to a new level. Two cutting edge companies now working together to provide a seamless, paperless, streamlined future that is transforming the way that chambers work providing chambers with end-to-end clerk-to-barrister work flow.
So why is this the way forward? Helen Ford, Managing Director of Bar Squared explained: “We understand the need to be at the forefront of technology to ensure that we are offering the best possible solutions and service to our clients. LEX software has always been ahead of the game, introducing invoicing into chambers, offering the first mobile application and recently integrating with Xero for MTD for VAT.
“It streamlines case creating, cutting out duplications by linking case IDs and other relevant data that exists in LEX to create intelligent HyperLaw cases. Working with HyperLaw brings together what have been separate functions and is leading to more innovative working practices in chambers.”
Desk bound working is no longer the way. All aspects of chambers and barristers need to be mobile. Clerks and barristers need to be able to work on the move anywhere in the world. Software should no longer be tied to specific equipment but cloud based. What people need is to be able to use a laptop or tablet, have an internet connection and away they go.
Paper bundles, endless files and piles of documents are condemned to the past through technical integrations and collaboration that are integral to this transformation. Cloud based storage allows the ability to create a centralised database for documents which everyone can access.
“In short this new partnership working means better outcomes, faster responses and greater fee earning capacity”, said Mike Washburn, Managing Director of HyperLaw. “There is also a reduction in document print and storage costs and reduced GDPR risk.
“We recognise the need to be a part of a new era which will take barristers into the future through faster case building and great review and presentation tools and the ability to work away from the office. By integrating with LEX Chambers Management, we are significantly enhancing the case workflow between chambers and barristers to create an effective and paperless working process that delivers high quality results from beginning to end.”
So back to Rumpole. He would find it very difficult to cope with the modern, legal world. So, with the greatest respect Horace Rumpole QC needs to be put back on the bookshelf whilst his modern, real life, counterparts charge their devices, and do the whole job, start to finish, anytime and anywhere.
LEX Chambers Management software is now installed in more than 240 chambers worldwide and used by over 70 per cent of the UK market. HyperLaw provides barristers with best-in-class technology to build, review and share a case.
By Michele Smith