This is the last issue of 2015. Read the latest legal commentary by experienced practitioners and industry leaders. Here's my General Editor's note that gives a flavour of what's covered. Happy reading!
I think the answer is yes, or should be yes, at least from a legal practice management perspective, especially after learning valuable lessons from the 15th annual ALPMA Summit "Tomorrow’s Firm: Digital, Divergent, Differentiated".
As Industry Advisor for SAI Global, I get to hear and see a lot of industry events. ALPMA events are always among my top favourites. This year, for three full days from 9 September to 11 September, legal practice managers from all around Australia and from New Zealand packed the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre to attend the 2015 ALPMA summit. No doubt you would have already heard from delegates that theThe place was filled with positive energy and excitement. Clearly everyone in attendance wanted to be there and people were thrilled to be there. After all, there was indeed much to learn from industry experts and thought leaders. ALPMA’s annual summit has always been well attended by loyal delegates and strongly supported by world-class speakers and a group of knowledgeable and reputable sponsors, exhibitors and partners. This year’s event was no exception.
I have always thought that the pre-summit master class workshops on day one of the event are a great introduction to two further days of intense and inspiring presentations. Personally, I love the way the workshops help attendees make a smooth transition between managing their own busy practices and re-focusing their minds on the hot issues that the summit program will be tackling. What I don’t like is that you could only attend one workshop stream – unless you have worked out how to clone yourself! This year, while the Stream A workshop by business strategy expert Tim Williams of US-based Ignition Consulting Group was clearly very popular, the Stream B workshop by Canadian legal industry analyst and commentator, Jordan Furlong, was not one to miss. I have heard a lot about “NewLaw”. I am sure you have too. And I have certainly read commentary on how “NewLaw” delivers legal services via innovative structures and in a flexible manner. What I have not come across until Jordan’s master class was hands-on advice for “traditional” firms of all sizes on integrating “NewLaw” features into the practice (and business) of law. My observation is that the ability of a firm to apply technology to the performance of legal tasks is highly valued, and this technology theme continued well into the presentations on the following days of the summit. For example, David Smith of Smithink2020 shared his insights on how to maximise the opportunities that new technologies could deliver. David went on to facilitate a panel discussion, aptly titled “Innovative Firms in Technology”. I only like panel discussions with the right mix of panellist, and I must say attendees were certainly not disappointed by an expert panel comprised of Matthew Burgess from View Legal, James Vickery from IKnow IT, Russell Wright from Gilbert + Tobin, andWarrick McLean from Coleman Greig Solicitors. These firms have started the journey forward, and what they have shared with legal practice managers in attendance, in particular regarding the challenges they have had to overcome in order to reap the benefits of technology, was simply priceless. The conversation was engaging, and this panel discussion, as well as the closing panel discussion “Tomorrow’s Firm: Digital, Divergent, Differentiated – DEBATED!” was a real highlight.
I have chatted to many people about this year’s summit. One attendee told me that the two messages that stuck in her mind were: (1) it is so important to get your processes right before deciding on what features or tasks you need automated, then you could choose the relevant enabling technologies, and (2) when choosing technology, look at whether it facilitates collaboration. I cannot agree with her more, especially regarding the second point. The human aspect is just as important as the technology, and I have very recently written about this for ALPMA.
What about you? What does digital, divergent, and differentiated mean to you? Post a comment and let me know. Don’t forget ALPMA has a knowledge bank that houses articles relevant to legal practice managers. You can find my articles there too.
The Australasian Legal Practice Management Association (ALPMA) described my most recent article as "thought provoking". I am delight that ALPMA thinks so, because it is the peak body representing managers and lawyers with a legal practice management role. ALPMA is known to provide an authoritative voice on issues relevant to legal practice management.
You can access my article from ALPMA's Knowledge Bank. Alternatively, read it here!
Read the latest legal commentary by experienced practitioners and industry leaders. Here's my General Editor's note that gives a flavour of what's covered.
Do you work in an industry that evolves continuously? Of course you do. We all do. It really doesn’t matter whether you are a lawyer, an accountant, an insolvency practitioner or a financial planner. As long as you are someone who provides a professional service to your clients, or needs to tap into the endless amount of commercial information to do your job, then you would certainly have used technology to help your business evolve. If you have great technology on your side, it would help you more than merely stay alive – it could actually help you stay ahead of the pack.
I recently presented at the annual Sinch Online Legal Services Conference (SOLSC) in Sydney. Presenters and attendees included innovative lawyers, legal entrepreneurs and other "rebels" remaking the business of Law (in SOLSC’s own words). My topic was commercial information management (CIM) and what it means to the legal industry. CIM is a term used to describe methodologies or software that help an organisation or firm manage commercial information they use in the process of delivering their core services (usually about clients) in an organised way.
This year, the well-known SOLSC had an interesting focus – to explore creative destruction at work and the new battleground: convenience. A quick internet search would tell you that convenience is the quality of being suitable to one's comfort, purpose or need. CIM is not necessarily a new concept, but when used resourcefully, it indeed could have the quality of being suitable to a professional services provider’s comfort, purpose or need. Let me explain. By comfort, I mean the ease of using a CIM platform to manage commercial information, and this includes acquiring commercial information such as information available from an ASIC or a PPSR search, as well as retaining, retrieving and refreshing that information in a reliable and secure way. By purpose, I mean getting the right commercial information to the right person, at the right time. This could be for completing a due diligence exercise, or providing comprehensive expert advice. By need, I mean the requisite of having a competitive edge in this ever-evolving business world. Excellence in CIM aids a professional services provider’s ability to analyse, communicate and act. For example, if a firm could have the ability to extract and analyse data that could potentially be converted into insightful information, and then present this insight in a format that enables decision makers within the firm to act, and you can do this better than others in the market, then this is a real competitive advantage.
The key message I had for the conference audience was this – CIM is an emerging discipline, CIM is here to stay, and CIM excellence is definitely possible. This is also the message I want to share with you today. As we transition further into the world of needing fast and accurate commercial information in order to service clients, having a convenient, innovative CIM solution that meets your search and review requirements is the “new normal”, and finding that unique solution would propel your business beyond the competition.
This post first appeared on SAI Global's Commercial Information Management News Edition 01, July 2015.
The latest Australian Banking and Finance Law Bulletin has just been released! Don't miss articles by legal experts on fintech, SMSF lending, execution of documents under section 127 of the Corporations Act and recent case law. We also have 2 books reviews in this issue (and more to come in the coming issues). Read my General Editor's note to find out more.
“Ask the Expert” is a new column we are bringing our readers from this edition of the Australian Banking and Finance Law Bulletin. For the column, I will ask a legal expert a topical question on banking and finance law and practice, and the expert provide comments and insights on the topic at hand. Read my General Editor's note to find out more. We also have articles on Continuous Linked Settlement, PPSR registrations, and the most up-to-date case law. This is a must read edition!
The latest issue of LexisNexis' Australian Banking and Finance Law Bulletin has just been released. We have another amazing line up of experienced practitioners covering recent case law as well as current hot topics. Read my General Editor's note to get a taste of what's covered.
What is Ripple? Have you heard of Ethereum? What about Auroracoin?
The answer – these are cryptocurrencies.
The Oxford Dictionary defines “cryptocurrency” as “a digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank”. Perhaps the most famous cryptocurrency is the first cryptocurrency - created only 5 years ago - Bitcoin.
There are many definitions of Bitcoin, but basically, Bitcoin is a payment system. Other cryptocurrencies that have the same characteristics as Bitcoin are payment systems as well. On 20 August 2014, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) released guidance on the tax treatment of cryptocurrencies in Australia, specifically regarding Bitcoin. You can read the ATO’s guidance here.
According to the ATO, transacting with Bitcoin is akin to a barter arrangement, with similar tax consequences. The ATO specified that its view is that Bitcoin is neither money nor a foreign currency, and the supply of Bitcoin is not a financial supply for GST purposes, but Bitcoin is treated as an asset for capital gains tax purposes.
In the 21st century, we can use Bitcoin (or Ripple, Ethereum, Auroracoin plus many more other cryptocurrencies) to pay for personal or business transactions. Do you know Bitcoin can even be used to paying salary or wages? What you also may not know is that the ATO has a number of other resources relevant to the tax treatment of cryptocurrencies in Australia. These include Taxation Ruling No. IT 2668 on barter transactions, and Draft GST Determination GSTR 2014/D3 on the GST implications of transactions involving Bitcoin. You can access these resources here.
Cryptocurrencies are gaining traction not only globally but also locally, with an estimate of 50,000 users in Australia, as reported by the ABC on 22 August 2014. You can read the report here. This interesting piece of news item also reported that, while ATMs that accept and exchange Bitcoin already exist, a first-of-its-kind-in-Australia ATM has just opened in Canberra. This new ATM trades three major cryptocurrencies - Bitcoin, Dogecoin and Litecoin.
It is indeed time for all of us to learn more about cryptocurrencies.
This post first appeared on CPD Interactive's "Legal Natter's Blog".
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