VQ Newsletter August 2012


In this issue of VQ Newsletter you can read about some of the things we are up to onwards, as well as topics like VQ Knowledge and Strategy Forum with the "voice of the in-house bar" Susan Hackett as key note speaker, a new book on law firm KM with VQ as contributor, VQ at the podium with information on our recent and upcoming appearances, articles about VQ during spring and summer and Legal Innovation Blog posts with the latest issues involving trends, KM and new technology developments for the legal market.

VQ Knowledge and Strategy Forum, 14 November in Stockholm

VQ Forum is our annual conference, which has grown for each year and now has become the legal event of the year in Scandinavia focusing on leadership, strategy, innovation and technology trends for the legal market. This year's programme has a strong focus on how in-house counsel demands are changing the dynamics of legal service, what strategies or technologies will improve service delivery and how to leverage internal knowledge within legal departments to meet in-house counsel's "more for less-challenge" with increasing demands due to globalization and new complex legislation, while at the same time pressure is mounting from the business to cut costs.

With the three very distinguished and internationally renowned speakers Susan Hackett, who served for 22 years as the Senior Vice President and General Counsel at the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), Charles Christian, the former practising barrister turned independent commentator and journalist who has been described as "one of the top ten key individuals who act as movers and shakers in the legal IT world today", and Chris Bull, the highly respected strategy consultant at Edge International, as well as the innovative and award-winning law firm directors Eric Hunter and David Fitch, and prominent Swedish expert speakers like general counsel Carl Östring, interesting and reputable exhibitors and the truly eminent chairperson Annette Magnusson, Secretary General of the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, VQ Forum promises to deliver an exciting and inspiring experience.

For further information about the forum and the speakers, please see the event webpage. You are also most welcome to contact us directly at info@vqab.se.

New book on Law Firm KM with VQ as contributor

The book "Practical Strategies for Effective Law Firm Knowledge Management" was published in June and is now available to purchase at Amazon.com. This international anthology consists of various contributors that provide an overview of the current state of KM in The Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, UK and USA. The aim of this book is to open discussion on how law firms can best be supported by Knowledge Management.

VQ has contributed with one of the chapters in the book, providing our insights on different knowledge management strategies and models to support the core business of each law firm, depending on the law firm's business focus, and how each firm can achieve competitive advantages by the right use of technology in line with the chosen knowledge management strategy. Additionally, we examine organizational strategies to create a knowledge sharing culture and business support, as well as the consequences for the law firm structure depending on the adapted knowledge management approach.

VQ at the podium

During spring VQ was invited to speak at a number of events, including the annual Swedish in-house counsel conference Bolagsjuristen, and was nominated as one of the lecturers at the Stockholm University Master of Laws and Information Technology Programme on the Future of Legal Services.

Furthermore, VQ's Helena Hallgarn was one of the speakers at LawTech Futures, the largest legal tech event ever in the UK. Focus for the event was the future of legal technology, with a purpose for the day to get the delegates to open their eyes to the momentum for change on the legal market and to embrace the challenges. During the event we received plenty new insights, loads of inspiration, great discussions and maybe some small frights for the future developments for the legal market, provided by inter alia the futurists Dr. Patrick Dixon and Gerd Leonhard, Charles Christian, Jan Durant and many more of the prominent speakers. Additionally, Helena Hallgarn shared her views on the development on legal services and the possibilities that are out there for law firms that are willing to take on the challenge. She also provided insights on how to develop innovative service delivery by the use of technology, for example by automating routine legal work and by repackaging knowledge management for clients by use of a document assembly tool. Please read our full report from LawTech Futures here.

In addition to arranging VQ Forum this autumn, VQ will also speak at the Legal Postgraduate Conference on Finding Law on 18 and 19 October and on the Faculty Course on Digital Business, E-commerce and Digital Legal Services on 12 November.

VQ Legal Innovation Blog Posts

Our Legal Innovation Blog is dedicated to discussing the latest issues involving knowledge management, business development and new technology for the legal profession. All our blog posts are available here, but here are some of the posts during spring and summer that we would like to highlight:

Law firms in transition survey - permanent change expected
In the Law Firms in Transition Survey 2012 it is revealed that there has been a radical shift in attitudes since 2009. Trends that were largely seen as temporary in 2009 are now viewed by law firm leaders as permanent changes to the industry and the transition in the legal profession is seen to be increasing in intensity and pace. Clearly the bigger firms are waking up to and addressing the profound changes and challenges that are occurring in the practice of big law. Please find more key findings from the report here.

First to Be Second - new take on legal innovation
VQ Forum key note speaker Susan Hackett describes the two ways in which lawyers are responding to "The New Normal" as either being extremely excited by the progress and opportunities in re-thinking the practice to focus less on hours and more on providing client value, or remaining skeptical, with no interest to changing long-held behaviors. Most lawyers are not interested in innovation because they wish to drive it - they are interested in innovation when it is demonstrable that it will benefit them or their clients. Susan therefore provides a new  "first to be second"-approach, with most lawyers preferring to distinguish themselves with superior service based on the best value practices available, but only after someone else has established that the path of that practice leads to a successful outcome. Please read the full post here.

Automated practice of law
Which functions in a law firm can be performed at least in part with an automated process or system and how can the practice of law be automated to deliver new services? When it comes to automating lawyering functions, document automation is an area that is now increasing. Another area where automation technologies already have been widely used to develop new innovative services is in the online legal document market. Recent research reveals that there is a market worth £53m, but that "it is no place for the faint-hearted". Over the next few years, lawyers who embrace and utilize technology effectively, will have a distinct advantage over those colleagues who turn a blind eye to emerging technologies. Please read the full post here.

Report on selection and retention of law firms amongst in-house counsel
A recent survey with responses from in-house counsels from 16 countries reveals that law firms must demonstrate that it understands its client's business needs to be successful and that there is a decrease in legal spend on outside law firms. The law firm hiring and firing decisions are based on a number of factors, often in combination. One of the most important factors is the need for law firms to really understand the client and its business. Most respondents also consider removing law firms who treat them unfairly in relation to billing or fail to communicate effectively. Similar results were presented earlier this year in the American Association of Corporate Counsel Census Report, with the 4,161 in-house lawyers who participated in the survey reported that they are cutting outside counsel spend by taking on more work in-house, demanding discounts and alternative fee arrangements from their law firms, meaning many law firms are struggling to retain work. Please read the full post here.

The Times Legal Efficiency Report
Special report by The Times with features on the changing times, legal technology and an interview with Professor Richard Susskind on law firm strategy. As concluded in the report, for the first time ever, law firms require a strategic approach. This involves identifying and focusing on core markets, taking different approaches to routine and specialist work and finding new ways to deliver services efficiently and cost-effectively while developing, enhancing and maintaining trusted client relationships. Legal technology is a key driver and a catalyst for change. Please find more key findings from the report here.

Articles about VQ during spring and summer 2012

How to meet client demands in a changing legal landscape - SCC News, 16 May 2012
In-house counsel are increasingly demanding more innovative and efficient service from law firms. Annette Magnusson, Secretary General of the SCC, will chair the third annual VQ Knowledge and Strategy Forum which will address the challenges law firms have forthcoming.

Strategic issues for in-house counsel at VQ Forum - IICJ News May 2012
International In-house Counsel Journal is a media partner to VQ Knowledge and Strategy Forum, a truly inspirational event focusing on the changing legal marketplace and how in-house counsel demands are changing the dynamics of legal service.

Swedish Case Law Accessible in English - SCC News, 10 May 2012
The SCC rolled out the red carpet to host an exclusive launch party to unveil the new Swedish Arbitration Portal in Stockholm on 9 May 2012. The portal is an innovative service that provides the arbitration community with free access to English translations of Swedish court decisions on issues related to both international and domestic arbitrations. The Swedish Arbitration Portal opened to the public on 10 May 2012. SCC Partners on this project are JP Infonet and VQ.

Some more articles about VQ in Swedish:

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