Guest Post: Launch of new crowdfunded app Playora set to change the way photos and videos are shared

Launch of new crowdfunded app Playora set to change the way photos and videos are shared

 

Playora allows you to share photos and videos instantly, to anyone, on any device or Smart TV, anywhere in the world.

 

Playora is a new app which will quickly and easily allow people to share their media from mobile devices to other screens, including Smart TVs, no matter where they are located (even on the other side of the world).

 

Serial entrepreneur and founder of Playora, Matt Spall, explains: “Sharing photos, videos, music and other media to other screens can be complex and frustrating. Playora enables simple sharing of digital media to almost any screen; handheld or household. Using our proven technology core Playora’s first release will be available on iOS and Android platforms as a free-to-download freemium app.”

 

Playora allows users to display instantly any media file (including photos and videos) on family and friends’ screens anywhere in the world. For example:

 

  • Imagine you’ve got photos and videos of your kids on your Android phone, and their grandparents, on the other side of the world, want to see them on their tablet. Imagine you could instantly share those photos to their tablet and that they can then share them from their tablet to their Samsung Smart TV.

 

  • Imagine you’re with your friends in a bar, and you want to show them your holiday pictures. Imagine the pictures you choose appearing on all their smartphone and tablet screens, all at the same time, irrelevant of manufacturer.

 

  • Imagine you’re at your parents’ house, and you’ve got a video on your phone to show them. Imagine being able to send it directly to their Smart TV without messing around with wires or streaming boxes.

 

Playora is initially monetised using in-app advertising. In-app purchases will be added later. The team forecast 2million installs in year one, and close to 10 million by year three.

 

Playora founder Matt Spall is a BAFTA winning serial technical entrepreneur, with a significant background in digital entertainment since 1986. Matt is the designer of Playora and has been active in development on Smart TV platforms and content since 2011.

 

Fellow Director Simon Jeffrey has had significant exposure to high profile licensed assets through his experiences with Virgin, Sega, LucasFilm and Hasbro-owned Backflip Studios. Simon is an investor and early advisor to AppLovin Inc., which recently agreed a US$1.4 billion sale to Orient Hontai Capital.

 

It is predicted that 2.1bn people will be smartphone users by the end of 2016 (Statistahttps://goo.gl/VQvc8W)  79% of smartphone users regularly take photos with their smartphone, making it the most popular non-call based activity (Futuresource Consulting). Worldwide shipments of Smart TVs exceeded 100mm in 2015, with more than half of all TV sets shipped globally in Q1 of 2016 (IHShttps://goo.gl/3FdmdV). 42m streaming stick devices were sold in 2015, a third of them being Google’s Chromecast (Strategy Analyticshttps://goo.gl/xeGDEv). Google revealed in July 2016 that Chromecast sales had risen to over 30m (Recodehttps://goo.gl/icWt1f)

 

For more information about Playora see: http://www.playora.com/ and https://www.crowdcube.com/playora

 

About Playora

Founded by BAFTA winning serial technical entrepreneur Matt Spall, Playora is the trading name of Invisiplay Limited. The company was formed with the specific purpose of making it easier to use, so called, ‘Smart’ technology for entertainment by people left behind by the digital divide.

 

http://www.playora.com/

https://www.crowdcube.com/playora

@Playora

https://www.facebook.com/playoraapp

 

Guest Post: How to File a Domestic Violence Lawsuit

How to File a Domestic Violence Lawsuit

Domestic violence victims can file a lawsuit for injuries. The lawsuit provides legal remedies for the victim for injuries incurred; physically, mentally and financially. This lawsuit is filed in civil court.

The abuser can be sued in a civil court even after undergoing criminal proceedings. O.J. Simpson was sued after being acquitted in a criminal court.

Family lawsuits

Some states do not allow family members to sue each other in a court of law. They included Arizona, Hawaii, Wyoming, Delaware, Louisiana, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Texas, Missouri, Utah and Washington D.C. This was intended to avoid family breakups. However, many states have changed to allow family members to sue each other in family courts. The reasoning is that family members that are suing each other have already broken up, and it is only just to allow injured family members court proceedings.

Those states that do not allow family lawsuits make exceptions for intentional harmful acts like domestic violence. The victim may also sue for emotional distress in cases of stalking, threats, and harassment.

Considerations

A domestic violence lawsuit can lead to compensation for damages including:

  •    Wages lost
  •    Medical bills
  •    Emotional stress
  •    Punitive damages

When deciding to file a lawsuit, a victim should be prepared for the emotional stress that comes with this situation. In the first place, reporting domestic violence is stressing enough. Filing a lawsuit includes baring family details to the public. The victim should be ready to deal with all this. Here’s more info on the court process of domestic violence. You can also check this website for more info on jail time for domestic violence offenses.

Lawsuits are also expensive. If the victim cannot afford attorney fees, there are many attorneys willing to work on a contingency basis. This means that they will take a cut of the monies awarded by the court. The court will also order the abuser to settle court costs in some cases.  The plaintiff must also consider if the abuser has the ability to pay.

However, filing a domestic violence lawsuit can provide a closure to the victim. He/she will also be in a position to get back up financially if her/his finances have been damaged by the domestic abuse

Get an attorney

If you are a victim of domestic violence, there is help available in the legal system. Family attorneys and court prosecutors are willing to come to your aid. They can help you get justice in the courts.

The attorney will help you weigh your options and provide a way forward for your situations. You will understand if you can claim monetary damages, and how to pursue the money and get your life back on track.

Virgin StartUp-backed company builds world’s first modular artificial reef and marine habitat to protect the endangered fresh water crayfish

Virgin StartUp-backed company builds world’s first modular artificial reef and marine habitat to protect the endangered fresh water crayfish

 

ARC Marine aims to protect the UK’s indigenous white-clawed freshwater crayfish population from extinction with their first custom-built reef structure at Vobster Quay, an inland water site and former quarry, near Radstock, Somerset.

 

The small Torbay-based company, who were given a starting loan by Virgin Startup, design and build artificial reefs that can block illegal fishing trawlers, provide a protective marine habitat for endangered and declining species, boost the stocks of overfished species and protect coastlines and underwater habitats from erosion.

 

ARC Marine is funding its world-first operation through a crowdfunding campaign, and chose the reef’s site due to its close proximity to Bristol Zoo, with whom they are collaborating in this joint effort to regenerate dwindling numbers of the globally-protected crayfish species.  

 

Due to habitat destruction and the introduction of an aggressive and invasive US breed, the white-clawed freshwater crayfish is at risk of becoming extinct in the UK within 20-30 years.

 

“Artificial reefs can be very useful in enhancing marine life, but also double up as anti-trawling devices.” said Dr. Nicholas Higgs, Deputy Director of the Marine Institute at the University of Plymouth’s COAST lab facility, undertakes tests on various structures built for a marine environment.

 

“Firstly, they provide structure by concentrating fish and nutrients around the reef, creating a whole ecosystem. They also prevent fishing in that area as these big structures stop ships towing fishing and trawling gear through the area.

 

“The ARC modules provide increased habitat complexity. By providing that living space, you should be able to increase the amount of crayfish that can live in habits like quarries and man-made water bodies.”

 

Currently, only 4 per cent of the world’s oceans are officially protected, according to WWF. A study published in the Nature journal found that 93 per cent of CO2 is stored in algae, undersea vegetation and coral, highlighting the crucial need to prevent marine degradation in order to protect the earth’s atmosphere.

 

Overfishing is also an environmental problem in both the UK and abroad. 53 per cent of the world’s fisheries are fully exploited, and 32 per cent are over exploited, depleted, or recovering from depletion, according to WWF.  

 

At this current rate, research from scientists and ecologists shows that all species currently fished for food are predicted to collapse by 2048.

 

Tom Birbeck, co-founder of ARC Marine, is confident that the company can be a UK leader in reversing this trend by setting an example with its own ocean conservation efforts. His decision to choose crowdfunding over commercial sales or grant funding aims to reflect the nature of the problem his company is trying to solve:

 

“Oceans and waterways belong to everyone. So, the responsibility of marine conservation, and the challenge of reversing ocean degradation, is one that we all must collectively tackle.

 

“We hope that at the end of this campaign people will see what we see. Not just the critical condition of the world’s oceans, but a viable solution to the problems shown here.

 

“We’re giving the crowd the power to rebuild and protect our delicate marine environment for generations to come with a 500+ year project lifespan. There is no pledge like it in the history of crowdfunding”.

 

ARC Marine was formed in June 2015 to develop specific products to aid the rehabilitation of damaged reef sea-beds that would last longer than ships (which have previously been used to create artificial reefs). It then began developing design prototypes including artificial reefs and sea grass habitats.

 

The company has created the world’s first multi-functional artificial reef solution. With a strong, modular design, its reef systems protect against depth trawling, provide a superior marine habitat, can act as a robust anchor point for cages and buoys, and can protect marine structures and coastlines against underwater currents and erosion.

 

For more information see:  http://www.arcmarine.co.uk/ and http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/arc-marine/

 

References:

4% of the world’s oceans are officially protected:

https://ourworld.unu.edu/en/can-no-take-fisheries-help-protect-our-oceans

 

93 per cent of CO2 is stored in algae: http://www.worldwatch.org/node/6323

 

53 per cent of the world’s fisheries: http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/blue_planet/problems/problems_fishing/

 

predicted to collapse by 2048: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1533125/All-seafood-will-run-out-in-2050-say-scientists.html

 

About ARC Marine:

ARC Marine was formed in June 2015 to develop specific products to aid the rehabilitation of damaged reef seabeds that would last longer than ships (which have previously been used to create artificial reefs). It then began developing design prototypes from artificial reefs to sea grass habitats.

 

The company has created the world’s first multi-functional artificial reef solution. With a strong, modular design, its reef systems protect against depth trawling, provide a superior marine habitat, can act as a robust anchor point for cages and buoys, and can protect marine structures and coastlines against underwater currents and erosion.

 

In June 2016 ARC Marine were officially named as Virgin StartUp Ambassadors and spent the day at Sir Richard Branson’s family home in Oxfordshire where they took part in a branding workshop.

 

In December 2016, ARC Marine filed for a patent on the ARC module, a subsea structure capable of providing a marine habitat as well as acting as an anti-trawling device and a mooring/anchor point.

 

As of February 2017, ARC Marine have secured a tenancy at Brixham laboratory with state of the art laboratory and design studio facilities to facilitate their upcoming projects.  Plymouth University are also looking to collaborate on an artificial reef project with ARC Marine in 2017/18 and are assisting their research for projects.

 

Website – http://www.arcmarine.co.uk/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/arcmarine/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/arc_marine

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/Arc-Marine-553495558135887/

 

Guest Post: 6 Secret Signs your Marriage is in Trouble

6 Secret Signs your Marriage is in Trouble

Many people don’t realize the problems they’re facing in their marriage until it’s too late. This is a major issue because most of these problems can be solved through communication and teamwork. After all, you are partners, and you should do everything together, especially solve problems that plague your marriage. Divorce Lawyer in Syracuse

Not spending “Just the two of us” time anymore

“Just the two of us” is needed very often in a relation. When a couple lacks these alone time with each other, it creates a misunderstanding and lack of attraction. Arrange and plan to spend more quality time without any distractions. Try a secret movie night with your partner or go for a long drive or two the place where you met for the first time. You need those alone time together to eliminate any misunderstandings.

Arguing about the same things over and over

Constantly going back to a problem that should have been solved some time ago is a bad sign. This means that you haven’t been able to reach an agreement that would solve an issue. Instead, you constantly fight and bicker over the same things repeatedly.

Not having fun together

No having fun together in your free time is an indication of avoidance. If your partner starts spending more time with his or her family and friends and not giving the time that you both required then this is a definite sign of distance between you two. Find out the reason and try to do something to impress your partner. Arrange something like surprise date or buy your partner a gift or do somethings innovative to bring back the fun-time that both of you deserve.

Speak but don’t communicate

You talk to each other but those words aren’t getting into your brains, and you simply don’t care about what your partner says. Your marriage is comprised of small talk that exists simply to fill the silence that surrounds you.

 

Not keen to celebrate what you love about your partner

Every partner should cherish and celebrate the quality of their better half to compliment. A sweet word to praise your partner every now and then is highly required. When you feel that you both are not keen on celebrating each other’s quality anymore, it is a sign of fatigue in your relation. For the sake of your relation, try to remember the good things that you used to love about your partner and compliment them and show that you still love these qualities about your loved person.

Fight about silly things

Your partner got mad at you because you spilled some water on the floor. You got mad at your partner because she/he didn’t close the window and it’s too cold in the room. These are silly reasons to fight over, yet you fight because you’ve grown apart.

These are all signs of marriage in discord. They all lead down the same path – divorce & lots of changes come with a divorce. Make sure to be open about these or you might find yourselves talking to a Syracuse divorce lawyer.

Here’s how to fix it.

 

  • Express concerns constructively

 

Talk about your problems with each other. There’s nothing better than healthy communication with your significant other. You’ll solve problems more easily by doing this.

 

  • Remember your vows

 

Don’t forget what you said to each other on the altar! Remember the words you spoke and keep true to them – do not break your vows if there’s a way to fix your marriage!

 

  • Make decisions cooperatively

 

Don’t simply decide to do something without telling your partner. This makes it look like you’re selfish and self-centred. You have a partner and he/she has you, remember? Don’t forget about your partner.

 

  • Restore Intimacy

 

Couples can sometimes lack intimacy for a long time due to their change of heart to each other. If you restore intimacy and start talking about your problems, you’re well on your way to fixing your marriage!

Labour Leader Piers Corbyn MP spotted at Hastings pushing the Channel back to France.

kingcnutcorbyn

As it happens, as a Labour voter of 42 years, I quite like Corbyn. He has done many good things in his long time in Parliament. I can’t see him accepting a peerage…but he could stay on as an MP?  I just happen to think that the Labour Party might do better with a younger leader.  I am not being ‘Ageist’ (I’m 64 in May) …just pragmatic about Labour’s electability.

Lord Chief Justice criticises Liz Truss

Belfast Telegraph article

“Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, who was one of the High Court judges who ruled that Parliament, not the Prime Minister, had the final say on triggering Article 50, said Ms Truss had been “constitutionally wrong” not to stand up for the judiciary in the face of fierce press criticism.

The Lord Chief Justice criticised the stance taken by Ms Truss that it was not her role to tell the media what to write.

He told the Lords Constitution Committee: “T o my mind, she was completely and absolutely wrong.

“And I am very disappointed.

“I can understand how the pressures were on in November but she has taken a position that is constitutionally, absolutely wrong.

“In short, I believe the Lord Chancellor is completely and utterly wrong in the view she takes.”…..

Immigration Law: Residency Rules Changes Cause EU Nationals Panic

Immigration Law: Residency Rules Changes Cause EU Nationals Panic
Ryan Duffy

Panic has set in this week for EU citizens based in the UK after news emerged that Government regulation changes will grant the Home Office the ability to remove people from the country if they don’t have a comprehensive sickness insurance (CSI).

Immigration specialists have published briefings stating claims that the Home Office acquired controversial new enforcement powers that would start from the 1st of last month against EU citizens.

The new power brings warning to EU nationals who aren’t considered to have EEA PR, more commonly known as a right of residence. This includes spouse of UK citizens as well as many students who don’t have a CSI, meaning they could be refused entry or worse be deported.

The Home Office have been quick to dismiss these claims are incorrect, going on to state to these regulations aren’t a new measure. Their spokesperson said: ‘It is completely wrong to say that we have new powers to deport EU citizens without comprehensive sickness insurance. EU citizens will not be removed from the UK or refused entry solely because they do not have this insurance. Their right to remain will remain unchanged while we are a member of the European Union and they do not need any additional documents to prove their status.’

However, according to the briefing, the new sparked a surge of panic from EU nationals who are living in the UK. There were hundreds of concerned messages following the social media posting of the piece. These issues were coming from mature students as well as spouse of British Citizens who are not working and are therefore at risk at being removed due to these rule changes.

The barrister who put together the initial briefing, Colin Yeo of Garden Court Chambers in London, described how he thought the changes wouldn’t have as detrimental of an impact as what was first thought, however he went on to state how he felt that the Home Office was being ‘careless’ and creating ‘unnecessary panic’ to these people.

Speaking to the Independent, Colin said, ‘According to the regulations, if you are perfectly self-sufficient in the UK and you’re not claiming benefits or anything like that, but you don’t have comprehensive sickness insurance, you don’t have a right of residence and therefore you could be removed. I don’t think the Home Office is going to enforce this against say, the French wife of a British citizen. I think they’re using it against people they don’t like, like Polish rough sleepers. The position of a Polish homeless person who hasn’t committed any criminal offences or claimed public funds is the same as the wife of a British banker but doesn’t have CSI, according to the regulations. They’re both equally removable as far as the Home Office is concerned. I think they’ve drawn it up without really realising the power they’ve granted themselves and the way that it’s going to make people feel, because this is going to make people feel very insecure.’

These immigration law changes come after reports that PM May stopped giving rights to EU nationals under the new freedom of movement rules when Article 50 was triggered. It’s still yet to be apparent if the Governments plan will breach European treaties that guarantee the freedom of movement. Under this plan, there currently is around 3.6 million EU citizens residing in Britain so those who came before the change will have their rights protected – that is dependent on whether the EU agree the same states for UK people living in Europe.

Why a Lasting Power of Attorney Can Be Important for Your Marriage

Why a Lasting Power of Attorney Can Be Important for Your Marriage
Ryan Duffy

It has been projected that each year, thousands of people have an accident or develop conditions that damage their mental capacity. It is likely that you will assume that when you are married to your partner, that if you every require money for your loved one’s medical care, it will be as simple as going into a bank and request access to their money. However, this is not the case, and the only you can do this is with a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). If you do not have a LPA, you may be forced to go through a long legal battle to get the rights to the money. Obviously, when you are having to deal with your partner being ill, this is the last thing you want to be doing! To ensure you don’t get into this position, read below to make sure you are fully informed about an LPA.

What is LPA?

If you happen to find yourself in the horrible position where you condition where you are unable to care for yourself because of an accident or a disease, it would leave you in a position where someone else will have to manage your finances. The LPA is a legal document that allows you to nominate your partner so you have someone you trust to handle your affairs.

When Does the LPA Become Active?

In 2005, the mental capacity act which was brought forward. This act is used as the criteria to assess whether you will be unable to act on your own behalf if you are ill or have been in an accident. The outline of the act states that loss of mental capacity is apparent when a person cannot function and retain information which is required for them to make a decision on something. If you have an LPA already written it will then become active and your partner will make your decision for you.

Why Set One Up?

If you do get to the stage where you are unable to act on your own behalf and still haven’t set up a LPA, then your partner will then need to try and become a ‘deputy’ – which is a very long expensive process. This is a highly confusing matter and you will more than likely need the help of a wills solicitor to get you through the jargon and help you navigate your way through the matter. This can also cause further stress if you happen to have children which are not the biological children of your partner, and this may cause them to want rights to the money, which could end in a dispute resolution – causing even further stress on your family when they should only be worried about caring for you.

As is the case with many legal documents such as wills or prenuptials, this is something which is never at the forefront of our minds because we’re often too busy loving our lives with the love of our life. However, if you can think one step ahead and prepare for the moments when life not may be as easy – you will give yourself that extra peace of mind.

Therefore, it is important to look at all your options and make sure that you and your partner are fully protected should the worst happen.

Barrister fined by the ICO for failing to keep her client’s information secure.

You have by now more than likely read the story of the barrister fined by the ICO for failing to keep her client’s information secure.  I wonder how commonplace the same security carelessness is within her peer group, through insecure local file storage and/or sharing.  I don’t wish to scare-monger; rather I wish to make clear, that it does not have to be difficult to exercise good practice.  Remember it is your responsibility to look after your client’s data.

Firstly, ensure that any mobile device is encrypted to FIPS 140-2 standard.  There is specialist encryption software available on the market to purchase, however most new laptop machines nowadays come with FIPs compliant encryption built-in (just make sure you deploy it properly and save the key securely!)

Secondly, beware of ‘consumer’ file sharing applications as you often have little control over where the data resides and in the event of an account breach, it presents a huge risk of your files being compromised.

Lastly, (and this is a long term commercial consideration) move towards a private cloud solution as your business environment.  There are many things to consider when making the right choice of cloud solution and IT partner but holding your data in the cloud should mean you have access on the move to your files in a secure environment without the need to download locally.

Sprout IT can offer advice and assistance with all of the above and  IT security in general.  You can find more about encryption, secure file sharing and choosing the right cloud partner by clicking the links or contacting SproutIT on 020 7036 8530.

Legal IT Specialist & Bar Council Service Partner

Service|Responsibility|Excellence
info@sproutit.co.uk | sproutit.co.uk | Twitter | LinkedIn

 

Fiona has 15 years’ experience within the legal sector, supplying products and services in various client facing roles.  Focused on forging strong relationships with clients, she is passionate about providing excellent client service, gaining a deep understanding of customer needs and providing quality products and services to improve clients business environment.

 

Smarke – new app and hardware allowing you to share secure, scheduled access to your rental property – no key required

smarkeSmarke – new app and hardware allowing you to share secure, scheduled access to your rental property – no key required
Chantal Cooke

Smarke is the easiest way to share secure, scheduled access to your rental property with your guests – instantly and remotely. No key required.

After successful Beta trials Smarke is launching in the UK.  Smarke promises to completely change the way we give access to people entering our property – whether friends or rental clients. No more asking your mum to let your AirBnB client in because you are abroad – just use your smartphone and Smarke app.

With Smarke you can use your mobile phone to grant immediate access to your property – whether you are nearby or halfway around the world. Simply retro fit a Smarke lock (which is the same size as a standard Euro lock – so easy to fit) and download the mobile app.

The Smarke keyless entry app gives you full control. You decide when guests are able to check in and check out of your property – keeping the process secure, efficient and convenient. You grant access via the Smarke app to your guest‘s smartphone by specifying the dates and times of their visit. The guest can then grant access to other members of their party.

The Smarke app uses Bluetooth to unlock and lock the door, so there‘s no need to rely on potentially hackable Wi-Fi or a vulnerable internet connection. The device fits on any Euro Profile Cylinder lock. It takes just minutes to install.

Smarke is battery operated so there is nothing to wire or connect. When the battery is running low (it lasts up to six months), you are alerted via the app.

Smarke’s home access range currently consists of three products: a smart lock, an intercom solution, and a keypad. All these products are protected via military grade encryption – so you can relax in the knowledge that only people you have authorised can use it.

 

  1. The smart lock retrofits onto existing Euro-profile type locks. It sits on the inside of the door, so no one will know that you have Smarke installed on your door and you can still use a key on the outside. Installation is extremely simple, taking up less than five minutes of your time and requiring no drilling, wiring, or professional assistance. It is controlled via Bluetooth by the Smarke mobile app that allows the owner to lock and unlock the door when in range of the lock, while also allowing the lock owner to send scheduled access to family members, friends, and anyone that downloads the Smarke app on their smartphone.

 

  1. Smarke’s intercom solution is completely new to the market, and allows property owners in apartments, flats or gated communities to have a complete smart entry solution. Anyone with an existing intercom system can install the chip in their apartment, allowing you to access your building using no more than a code, while also being able to send a scheduled personalised code to others via the mobile app.

 

  1. The keypad controls the smart lock via Bluetooth. It sits discretely on the outside of the door, and offers users an alternative if they do not have their smartphones with them or their phone battery dies.

 

Smarke is developed and manufactured in the UK.

 

Smarke is designed to meet the needs of property managers, hosts and guests on platforms such as AirBnB and HomeAway. Smarke is also perfect for anyone who has ever been locked out, left their keys at the office, or constantly has to pat-down all their pockets before leaving a public place.

 

Smarke is currently running a rewards crowdfunding campaign that allows users to get their hands on Smarke’s products, at massively discounted rates, as soon as they are available.

 

Smarke’s solution is a game changer for those who offer holiday lets or part-time letting via platforms like AirBnB.

 

For more information see: http://www.smarke.com

And for the rewards campaign see: https://igg.me/at/smarke

 

About Smarke:

Smarke’s smart lock solution allows property managers, hosts and guests on platforms such as Airbnb and HomeAway, to share secure, scheduled access to their rental property with their guests – instantly and remotely, through the mobile app. No key required. http://www.smarke.com

 

Twitter: @sharingsmarke
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SharingSmarke/

Indiegogo: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/smarke-open-the-door-to-smart-access-smartphone-security#/

 

Internet Newsletter for Lawyers March/April 2017

Internet Newsletter for Lawyers March/April 2017

The latest issue of the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers is now published. In this issue

  • Access to justice – Judith Townend of the University of Sussex considers the human impact of the online court proposals
  • Bar marketing – Catherine Bailey of Bar Marketing provides guidance on completing legal directory submissions
  • Legal practice – David Gilroy of Conscious Solutions asks who (or what) should law firms be afraid of in 2017?
  • Court technology – David Chapman of Zylpha describes how the courts are being digitised and the resulting benefits
  • Litigation – Alex Heshmaty of Legal Words explains predictive coding and its impact on lawyers and paralegals
  • Online legal services – Delia Venables looks at the pros and cons of providing legal services online and the firms doing it

Access the Newsletter online

Do you have a CPD competence plan?

Under both the new SRA continuing competence and the new BSB CPD schemes you must maintain a learning and development (CPD) plan, undertake relevant activities and keep appropriate records. Needless to say, you can’t leave your planning till the end of the year!

With our new CPD 2017 competence service you can quickly and easily create and maintain a plan based on our course topics and keep the appropriate records for SRA and BSB compliance purposes. Just Start a plan and Select relevant courses and you have an instant Plan and nascent Record which you can update during the year.

Why not sign up now at the early bird price of just £90+VAT? This covers access to all our courses and maintenance of your current and past plans.

CPD 2017 info and online purchase

Enjoy the Newsletter.

Regards

Nick Holmes and Delia Venables

infolaw Limited
5 Coval Passage
London SW14 7RE

Artificial Intelligence: opportunities for law firms

Artificial Intelligence: opportunities for law firms

By Rohit Talwar – CEO Fast Future Research

 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) represents both the biggest opportunity and potentially the greatest threat to the legal profession since its formation. This is part of a bigger global revolution – where society, business and government are likely to experience more change in the next 20-30 years than in the last 500.

This large scale disruption is being driven by the combinatorial effects of AI and a range of other disruptive technologies whose speed, power and capability is growing at an exponential rate or faster – and which both enable AI and are fed by it. These include quantum computing, blockchain technology, the internet of things (IoT), big data, cloud services, smart cities, and human augmentation – all of which could literally be hundreds or thousands of times more powerful and impactful within a decade.

The resulting changes will literally lead to the total transformation of every business sector, the birth of new trillion dollar industries and a complete rethink of the law, regulation, legal infrastructures, and the supporting governance systems for literally every activity on the planet.

I believe law firms can and should escape from conventional wisdom and look to drive exponential improvements in internal performance and market growth by exploiting the opportunities presented by AI and other emerging technologies.

AI has truly transformative potential – with a wide range of legal applications emerging, such as:

  • Inferring the likely outcome of a case
  • Determining the best structure for a contract
  • Suggesting how best to approach a new matter, or
  • Making sense of literally billions of data points across the web to spot new and emerging risks and legal threats.

 

I envisage five broad categories where we will see increasing use of AI within law firms in the next three to five years:

  • Automation of legal tasks and processes
  • Decision support and outcome prediction
  • Creation of new product and service offerings
  • Process design and matter management
  • Practice management.

In addition, we are likely to see the growing use of AI both by in-house legal teams and in a range of online platforms offering direct services to businesses and individuals. AI will also power developments using blockchain technology (the secure transaction encoding mechanisms that underpin most digital currencies such as Bitcoin) e.g.:

  • Smart contracts encoded in software which require no human intervention
  • Distributed autonomous organisations (DAOs) with no human employees that exist entirely in software
  • Decentralized Arbitration and Mediation Networks – which effectively operate as ‘opt-in’ global justice systems for commercial transactions, and which sit outside the existing national and global mechanisms
  • Algocracy (Algorithmic Democracy) – creating global codes of legal transacting by codifying and automating legal documents, including contracts, permits, organizational documents, and consents
  • Rewriting and embedding the law in software – e.g. automatic fines, drawing evidence from the IoT, standardized open source legal documents, and automated judgements.

So How Might AI Evolve Within the Sector?

Here is a plausible timeline of AI developments in the legal sector over the next five years:

The Next 18 Months

  • Growth of law firms establishing internal technology innovation labs, creating seed funds to invest in legal technology start-ups, and running joint experiments with technology providers and clients
  • A number of firms and in-house teams will run AI trials and develop applications than create smarter internal processes
  • A range of trials and applications of AI for lawyer decision support
  • Launch of the first client facing AI applications and new AI-enabled products and services
  • Growth of FinTech – rising pressure from financial services to embrace AI/ Blockchain technology – with legal cost reduction a key driver
  • Emergence of Blockchain Smart Contracts and DAO’s

 

The Next Three Years

  • Clear evidence of lawyer replacement by smart technologies
  • Widespread and accelerating deployment of AI on core law firm processes
  • Meaningful penetration of AI into in-house legal
  • First truly AI-centric law firms
  • Significant range of AI-based solutions offered direct to consumers and SMEs / Technology businesses
  • Widespread adoption of Blockhain smart contracts in newer firms / Rise of DAOs in both the private and public sectors.

The Next Five Years

  • Applications starting to emerge that display near-human levels of intelligence (Artificial General Intelligence) in certain domains
  • First examples of true Algocracy – Countries moving to digitising / automating / embedding the law
  • Blockchain / smart contracts / DAOs in widespread use in financial services and other sectors
  • 20-50% of ‘routine’ legal work by sector fully automated by clients with no law firm involvement
  • New technology-centric legal sector entrants from the last five years competing head on with Big Law
  • AI in widespread use across law firms and frequently mandated by clients.

 

All these developments will require the interpretation, reframing and redrafting of legal frameworks and the creation of new legal concepts and dispute resolution mechanisms to encompass new political, economic, social, and business paradigms. So while AI will undoubtedly have a transformative impact on how law firms work internally, the true exponential growth opportunity lies in helping, governments, businesses and civil society to understand, regulate for and adjust to the coming waves of AI-enabled disruption.

 

For forward thinking law firms, these developments in AI offer the potential to drive exponential growth in revenues – if we give ourselves permission to invest the time understanding the brave new world technologies and their transformative potential. Whether firms seize the opportunity or become paralysed by fear and indecision will ultimately be a matter of choice and a function of our willingness to step into the unknown and start learning.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rohit Talwar rohit@fastfuture.com is a global futurist, strategic advisor and the CEO of Fast Future Research and Fast Future Publishing. He advises business, government and NGO leaders around the world on how to prepare for and create the future in an increasingly disrupted world. He is the editor of a recently published book on The Future of Business www.fastfuturepublishing.com. The book draws on contributions from 62 future thinkers around the world to explore how developments such as AI and robotics could transform existing industries, create new trillion-dollar sectors and reinvent business over the next decade.

 

George Osborne to present Bake Off

On a matter of Scotland…

George Osborne as Editor of The London Evening Standard is unlikely to ever support Labour, Liberals or anyone other than the Tories.  The appointment is, clearly, absurd.  But Mr Osborne does ‘absurd’ rather well?

West End Final LATEST…

For the record… I always separate the politics from the man or woman.  I’m sure that George Osborne and his political mates are good people….. and I suspect that if I ever met any of them I would enjoy doing so.  I met Margaret Thatcher and found her absolutely charming and very friendly. A very clever and thoughtful lady.   Years ago.

I enjoy politics and I enjoy the parody side of it.  Harmless enough entertainment!

 

Cyber Security: Technology, alone, is not enough

Cyber Security: Technology, alone, is not enough

By Fiona Hamilton, Key Account Manager

Cyber threats and the sophistication and speed of cyber-attacks are increasing at an alarming pace.

The huge volume of important and often sensitive data held and collated by Chambers and Barristers can be a soft target for perpetrators. Clients’, barristers’ and chambers’ information, integrity and precious reputations, built over years of practice, can be decimated in a matter of minutes, should an attack occur.

Cyber Security is now as fundamental to the successful operation of an organisation, as is any of the core functions. However, Cyber Resilience is not simply a technology function. The entire process is reliant on the awareness and understanding of all staff, suppliers and contractors, which is why Cyber Resilience needs to underpin all security measures and controls. The Human Firewall.

Training your users to know what to look out for and understanding the weak points of one’s own electronic practices and will strengthen your organisation’s defences. It is widely recognised the greatest return on investment it will make, in the fight against cyber-crime. We have surely all read the unfortunate stories about ‘conveyancing theft’ or perhaps have seen for ourselves how prevalent attempts to imitate Heads of Chambers or senior staff, requesting funds transfers, are. It pays be vigilant.

Sprout CyberAware, powered by AXELOS, is a best practice Cyber Resilience Training programme. It is a portfolio of learning products that includes; certified training, awareness learning for all staff, leadership insight and a maturity assessment tool that enables good and timely decision-making on all aspects information security.

Download ‘Cyber Resilience in the UK Legal Sector’ at: https://www.sproutit.co.uk/cyber-resilience/

Contact us for a Cyber Awareness portal trial.”

What a Fix-Up!: The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 Kindle Edition by Carl Gardner (Author)

whatafixupThe Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 is the most important yet most misunderstood constitutional reform of recent years. Has it, as some claim “changed everything” about the way British governments form and fall? What does it say about no confidence motions? How does it affect traditional constitutional conventions? And how might it be used and abused by politicians? Barrister and former government lawyer Carl Gardner explains the constitutional context, what the Act says and the different ways it can be read. “What a Fix-Up!” is an-depth analysis of the Act, an alarming description of the risks it creates, and a passionate argument for its repeal.

 

Website

Carl Gardner, who I have done many website also blogs at The Head of Legal Blog.

Guest Post: Four new pocket-sized books for your business

Four new pocket-sized books for your business

Four new books have joined the existing catalogue of titles available in the popular Authority Guides series of pocket-sized business advice books.

Each book in the series offers highly practical and accessible guidance on a wide variety of business matters.

The books are aimed at the busy business professional and business owner; they are snappy and practical with absolutely no unnecessary padding and waffle. Each book in the series has been written by an author who is not only an expert in their field but who is working today at the coalface of their specialism.

The four new books are:

The Authority Guide to Presenting and Public Speaking: How to create engaging and effective business presentations by Steve Bustin.

Do you have to present, pitch or speak to an audience as part of your job? Whether it’s your first presentation or you’re an experienced speaker, this Authority Guide will give you the tools, tips and confidence to deliver engaging, creative and effective presentations. Steve Bustin, an award-winning business speaker (named UK Speaker of the Year 2015 by the Professional Speaking Association), and executive-level speech coach and corporate presentation skills trainer, will teach you some simple techniques to keep your audience engaged.

The Authority Guide to Trusted Selling: Building stronger, deeper and more profitable relationships with your customers to create lifetime loyalty by Paul Avins.

Do you want to build more profitable relationships with your customers? In today’s volatile world sales professionals must know how to build trust in their company, their products and ultimately themselves in order to win the business. In this Authority Guide, sales coach Paul Avins shares his proven, 4-step system to help you contact, connect and convert more customers with less effort and no pressure.

The Authority Guide to Practical Mindfulness: How to improve your productivity, creativity and focus by slowing down for just 10 minutes a day by Tom Evans.

Enhance your wellbeing, creativity and vitality with mindfulness meditation. In this Authority Guide, Tom Evans invites you to embrace the benefits of meditation in both your life and your business. With the practical mindfulness meditative techniques described in this book, you will learn how to get more done in less time. You will discover how to generate ideas off the top of your head and how to allow serendipity to land at your feet. This book opens the door to a new way to be and do.

The Authority Guide to Publishing Your Business Book: Take your business to a new level by becoming an authority in your field by Sue Richardson.

Are you ready to become a trusted advisor to the business world? Publishing expert, Sue Richardson, shows you how to use your expertise, knowledge and experience to become a published authority in your field and gain the visibility you and your business needs. This Authority Guide will help you to create a plan that ensures you write and publish the right book for your business by looking at these four key questions:

Why publish a business book?
Who is your book for?
What should you write?
How should you publish?

These join the existing books in the series:

‘The Authority Guide to Emotional Resilience in Business: Strategies to manage stress and weather storms in the workplace’ by Robin Hills

The emotional resilience of those involved in a business will contribute significantly to the organisation’s success. This Authority Guide from leading emotional intelligence expert, Robin Hills, will help you change the way you think about yourself and the way you approach potentially difficult situations. You will be able to develop your own personal resilience and understand how to develop resilience within the hearts and minds of your team and your organisation.

‘The Authority Guide to Financial Forecasting for SMEs: Pain-free financials for finance and planning’ by Simon Thompson

In this Authority Guide, forecasting guru Simon Thompson shows you how to build financial forecasts quickly, effectively and cheaply through his unique, proven and easy-to-follow 10-step process. By learning how to create effective forecasts you will master the ability to understand the potential financial outcomes for your business and be able to communicate financial information in order to successfully raise investment or loans.

‘The Authority Guide to Marketing Your Business Book: 52 easy-to-follow tips from a book PR expert’ by Chantal Cooke

It’s never too soon to start thinking about how to market and promote your book. In this Authority Guide, leading book PR and marketing expert Chantal Cooke, presents 52 tips that will make your book stand out from the crowd, build your credibility as an author, and ensure you achieve those all-important sales.

Each Authority Guide is packed full of useful information to help business leaders grow themselves, their teams and their business.

 

For more information, www.authorityguides.co.uk  
The books are available from Amazon, Waterstones, and all good bookshops.

Rive Gauche: Tories – very few left in Scotland – listening to Prime Minister May at speech in Glasgow

I had no idea that there were so many Tories in Scotland.  I’ve only met one – and that was in Perth manning a Tory Party stand in the High Street with no visitors. . Perhaps The Tory spin doctors got a ‘Busload of older people on a trip to Margate’ and shipped them up to Perth ?  Nothing would surprise me.   They don’t seem to be enjoying the experience much.    Perhaps The Tory spin doctors should have laced the coffees with Scotch?

 

Back online after a break. Here is a Pic of Albert in Perth today

Back online and blogging, tweeting et al after a break without net contact.  Here is a Pic of Albert in Perth today.  Quite why we have a statue of Albert in Perth, I have no idea.  No other English Royals – statues or paintings – in Perth on open public display.  I suspect that the Museum and Art Gallery may well have one – but I didn’t see any on my last visit.

albertstatutue

I’d be quite happy to see the Monarchy abolished when The Queen dies. A fine lady who has done much for our country.  I enjoyed meeting her at Buckingham Palace many years ago when the law school I worked for as a shareholder director and  Director of Studies was awarded a Queen’s Award for Exports.  An interesting experience.  Met Thatcher as well – she was very amusing and very friendly.  The Duke of Edinburgh told an amusing and mildly ‘off colour’ joke to a small group of us.  I won’t repeat it – but it was very amusing. .  I can’t see that Prince Charles will do much of  any value to Britain – will he be King Charles III or take on the name George?   I suppose that he may be of use to drum up Tourists to spend their Roubles and Dollars and Shekels on British goods etc etc. We shall see in time.