Editorial note: this is the first of a regular series of posts by Legal Cheek’s new tech columnist, i@n davison
Many so-called "experts" claim the billable hour is dead. However, I disagree.
I believe that charging by the hour will always have a place in a changing market for legal services, even if its popularity declines as clients push ever harder for alternative fee arrangements going forward.
One of the consequences of the unpopularity of the billable hour right now is that many of the tech innovations we are seeing in other areas have passed it by completely. For example, why is there no fusion – or even discussion of fusion – of time recording software with social media? Wouldn’t it be great to share information with other Twitter or Linkedin users while working on a file?
Much has been made of how modern the new "state-of-the-art" Rolls Building court complex is.
There are “super courts”, spiral staircases that hum with full wi-fi connectivity, and, perhaps most hyped of all, a “cutting edge” e-filing system designed to make the court paperless.
Speaking around the time of the court’s opening in August last year, Bar Council chair Michael Todd expressed excitement at this new era of e-working: "The idea is to have an almost paperless court. As lawyers, we are so accustomed to thumbing through bundles of paper. It should be possible to work with less paperwork."
Well, that was the idea. Sadly, though, nobody used the e-filing system because it worked so badly. And then last month it got axed.
An email obtained exclusively by Legal Cheek details how the “significant problems” the system encountered saw it permanently shut down on 20 April because the cost of fixing it would be too high.
I’ve published the email in full below.
"Bad day for the internet. Having been there, I can imagine the dissension @Google to search being warped this way." tweeted former Google lawyer Alex Macgillivray yesterday.
Macgillivray, now Twitter's general counsel for policy, was referring to the move by Google to apparently warp its search results by boosting posts from its Google+ social network. Certainly, Google+ needs all the help it can get.
Huffington Post columnist David Woodall wonders what will happen if Kopimism catches on in Britain
After jumping through a lot of legal and bureaucratic hoops, a church whose central belief is the right to file-share has been formally recognised by the Swedish government. The establishment of the Swedish Missionary Church of Kopimism by 19-year-old philosophy student Isak Gerson means its members can now claim ‘freedom of religious expression’ whenever they are accused of file sharing.
Now, I am not here to further any debate on whether their religion is this or that, or what they believe is right or wrong – the Kopists contend that information is holy and the copying of it is a sacrament, with CTRL+C and CTRL+V (keyboard shortcuts for copy and paste) awarded sacred symbol status. But I ask you, what would the ramifications be if such a group were to set up stall in London? If one day you woke up, and could claim that sharing and copying the newest Mission Impossible film online was protected by freedom of religious expression, or downloading and remixing and playing the newest number one single was permitted without having to part with any money in purchase or royalties.