Category Archives: Uncategorized

The end of Lawyer1point9

Lawyer1point9 is dead.

My role has changed to head of Learning and Development here at Mogers Solicitors in Bath.  As a result I will be concentrating on a broader palette of development issues.

At times those will overlap emergent and disruptive technologies and their role on the legal profession but I will have less time to commit to those developments.

This blog, and Lawyer1point9, are no more.

It’s been fun.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Futile Fightback Against Spam Begins Here

Dear Sirs

Thank you for your email setting out, amongst other things, various articles about things that you have written about and which I had not expected.

Thank you for that.

Thank you that you have given me the opportunity to form a view and build a relationship with your company that has instructed, in turn, I must presume, a marketing company to send out your email setting out, amongst other things, various articles about things that you have written about and which I had not expected.  Or requested.

If I had not received your email then I would not have known about your company, not least because I am in Bath, over 200 miles away.

Still, your marketing people will know better about that and no doubt there are all kinds of reasons why it was a good idea to send me this email, and charge you for it, setting out, amongst other things, various articles about things that you have written about and which I had not expected.  Or requested.  Or desired.

Now that I come to read as far as the second paragraph I see that your newsletter has a typographical error within it.  We’ll let that go.

And I am left confused.

Why is it a good idea for your company to pay marketing agents to send out emails to people that have neither requested nor desired them living more than 200 miles away?

Of course, I am a solicitor and solicitors use your services.

I get that.

Divorce solicitors do not though.  What?  Your marketeers checked that out didn’t they?  I mean, they do target this stuff don’t they or do they just send it out in a scattergun fashion?  And if so, why would you pay someone to do that?

I’m wondering at the end of all of this, and I’m sorry if it has wasted your time, but was your email spam and how much do you pay your marketeers to send this stuff out in your company’s name to people who neither want it or could have any reasonable interest in it?

Furthermore, the email says that I signed up for this (and I find this really hard to believe) through one of your companies websites.

Go on I’ll bite.

Which one?

I wish you all the very best with your marketing activities but please make sure that I am not spammed in this way again.

With kind regards,




Filed under Uncategorized

Kindle, Moleskine and the iTablet

A couple of funny things happened earlier this week.

Firstly I was asked for my vote on whether our family law team at Mogers should switch to online resources for our law journals and periodicals.

For all my enthusiasm for all things tech I realised that in this context I would much prefer the printed material.


I don’t have strong views on the quality of print on screen – although the Kindle and it’s like leave me completely disinterested.

No. My decision was based on the ease of use. I still find the existing online resources, with their labyrinthine processes, forms, paranoid protections and processes to be nothing less than repulsive.

They push me away rather than welcoming me in and offering an enjoyable, or at least comprehensible, experience.

I was over-ruled being the only luddite who voted for print.

The next surprise was that I found myself indulging in the bizarre cult of Moleskine. Please, nobody tell my wife, but I invested (yes, they really are that expensive) tentatively.

My toe in the Moleskine water was a purchase of the 3 pack of exercise books.  Why?

No doubt about it, Moleskine are doing wonderful work in creating a brand that adds value in the eyes of its customers.  They then shout loudly about the product, which is just a notebook, so that the curious, and perhaps the gullible, buy one to suck it and see.

I have been asked to write blogs professionally for a couple of client firms and my thinking is to have a book for each so that I can jot down ideas in graphical format, such as mindmapping, that I cannot currently do on Evernote.  See my previous post.

So, my latent ludditism resurfaces once again.  Printed text for research and the written notebook.  Whatever next…

…oh hang on.  Just seen this leak on the iTablet … Scrap everything I just said…


Filed under General Technology, Law, Lawyers and Social Media, Leisure, Uncategorized

Live blogging from Law Conference – or when tech and law collides

Here I am at the Collaborative Family Law conference in Bristol, longing to live blog, tweet, explore backchannels and instead only being frowned upon. I resolve to speak to the organisers at lunch. In the meantime please do search #cflaw09 to see how the early efforts work.

The talk is now about to talk and convention dictates I shut down and put away. A shame really as I am sure there is material that deserves to get out there.

How do we deal with the niceties of conference ethics?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Visibility – Credibility – Profitability

Thanks to Umberto Fistarol for the picture using Flickr's Creative Common's Licencing

Thanks to Umberto Fistarol for the picture using Flickr's Creative Common's Licencing

I am currently working on a training session for my colleagues in the Family Law department at Mogers Solicitors, here in Bath.  The title is very broad,  looking at the changing shape of the internet and the opportunities it presents.

I will be visiting the concept of Web 2.0 which we need to remember is not in fact yet part of everyone else’s daily language. 

I have been struck as I read around this sphere online that very often we are preaching to the converted.  I am mindful of posts on other blogs that suggest that initiatives are frequently supported at the outset only to fail for lack of contribution or involvement.

At the Legaltech show, in particular, I recall that there was a well attended session on Twitter but that the questions were largely from the panel itself, not the delegates.

A librarian complained that a Wiki she had set up faltered for lack of contribution. Apologies for not having the links to hand.

The challenge seems not to be getting people to see the point but getting people to engage with it.

Our session will explore a progression that I have taken from real life networking thinking, namely Visibility – Credibility – Profitability. 

We need to make ourselves visible within the marketplace.  We need to demonstrate credibility, either through establishing trust, or expertise, and only then can we expect commercial relationships to develop into profitable transactions.  For profitable, incidentally, feel free to read “Beneficial.”

This may well be why many people lose interest in blogging or Twitter and the like so quickly.  They do not realise that the progression can take several months, even years.  Furthermore they measure their efforts in one metric alone, namely pounds and pence.

They sign up to Twitter, or LinkedIn thinking that the streets are paved with gold and that they will receive work and referals by the act of opening an account alone.  But that is not the point.

Establishing your presence, through visibility, providing a foundation of trust and credibility upon which to build a relationship and carefully developing that relationship is essential. 

No rocket science or web 2.0 magic there.

If we blunder into online networking spheres and just expect work and profitability as a given, then we will fail.  Ecademy, I fear, seems to suffer particularly badly from new members who spam other members with contact requests without first establishing their visibility first (no profile completed) let alone even thinking of credibility.

Twitter attracts its fair share also.  Those new members with 687 followers and only half a dozen tweets.

A final point, and this is a reminder for myself as much as anyone else.  I feel a peculiar tension about super-imposing a real life commercial networking model, such as visibility – credibility – profitability, upon Twitter, Blogs and the like. 

The tension arises, I think, because to do so risks reducing blogs such as this, Twitter, LinkedIn and all of those communities and activites to purely commercial activities.

They are not.

There is something far less tangible about why we do what do online; Something that blurs the commercial and the social breaking down barriers that previously fragmented our professional lives from our personal lives…


Filed under Uncategorized

Communication is a let down

Why do lawyers insist on the mystique of elaborate, elevated or simply obsolete language?

This week’s Law Society Gazette provides more interest.  The Susskind debate rages on with this letter complaining about the adoption of “the terminology of the looming competition” whether grocery stores or broader business models.

The letter ridicules the use of “Transparency” in favour of the author’s language such as “Concatenating”. 

Conca… what?  To save you time, I have already googled it.  Click here for the definition if, like me, you are unable to understand this kind of language.

Most sweetly, the letter is entitled in the published Gazette, albeit presumably by the editor, not the letter’s author, “Mind your language”.

The very same page in the printed Gazette also contains the following correction.

“In last week’s Comment, the sentence which read “English Law, as the locus regit actum, applies to the extension of the document’ , should have read “…-applies to the execution of the document”.

To reiterate the opening question, why do lawyers insist on the mystique of elaborate, elevated or simply obsolete language?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Lawyer1point9 is not immune

Picture courtesy of Flickr's frenkieb

Picture courtesy of Flickr's frenkieb

When I started this blog, I was feeling rather self conscious about trumpeting profound changes to the legal profession whilst still safely ensconsed within it.  I was aware that posting, excitedly, about new shape organisations and practices might come across as being rather priviledged at a time when many have lost their jobs and, feasibly with it, their livelihoods.

It is with some relief therefore that I now write to explain my on current circumstances.

I have switched to a consultant role within Mogers solicitors.  This means that I am therefore self employed, although I still service Mogers clients and the family law clients that are referred to me are, essentially, clients of Mogers.  The Consultant title tickles.  It is the kind of thing that 68 year senior partners usually do when they are too frightened or institutionalised to retire fully and let go of their practices.

I am far from being 68 years old.

The result is that I am free to explore the broader fields of the changing market under my self-employed banner.  It means that I can write from a position of authority of what it means to be outside the conventional models.  And hopefully it means that I avoid the hypocracy highlighted above.

The result for my former employers is that they save a not insubstantial sum in no longer having to pay my salary –  a crucial consideration in this most difficult of markets.

My immediate thoughts on this model are that the opportunity to lawyer and organisation are manifold and mutually beneficial.

I am not obliged to be at my desk, looking busy in an office where there is inadequate work to keep me busy.  I have the opportunity to explore this beast called the portfolio career.  I have the time and opportunity to get a book written on my other specialism, namely conflict dynamics – see – and to present training sessions and keynotes on how we trip ourselves up in conflict situations more frequently.

I wonder whether part of the changes we are experiencing will see many more following such a path… and I continue to wonder where all of those redundant lawyers currently are?  What are they doing?

Perhaps there is a need for  I haven’t set it up yet, but if anyone wants to steal a march and go for it then do so.  If it isn’t soon, I will probably get around to it later.

In the meantime, the portfolio career, the consultancy and the like are all part of the journey into law2.0 that I anticipated at the outset of this blog.  Let’s see where it leads and who else is coming along on the journey.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Singing from the same hymn sheet?

Last week’s Gazette ran a headline article entitled “Straw’s pay warning to legal aid lawyers” , together with an opinion response here.

The fallout in correspondence can be found here. 

The issue revolves around Lord Chancellor Jack Straw’s comments which were reported as follows;

“Jack Straw said last week that while it is ‘entirely proper’ that lawyers are paid decent rates, running ‘successful legal businesses… is not the purpose of law’.

Compare that to Richard Susskind’s warning very early on in his book “The end of lawyers?” when he writes on page 2;

“…The law is not there to provide a livelihood for lawyers any more than illness prevails in order to offer a living for doctors.  Successful legal businesses may be a by-product of law in society; but it is not the purpose of law.”

Remarkably similar, no?

The current outrage against the Lord Chancellor’s comments should not detract from the broader debate.  The whole profession is facing massive challenges.  It is feasible that a new legal marketplace will evolve very rapidly and the old methods of monetisation, value and reward are unlikely to apply.


Filed under Uncategorized

Twin Chicanes

The current downturn presents something of a swerve for many law firms.

Slow down (greatly in some cases) position yourself as you approach the bend and pass through, accelerating as you come out.

That is the conventional response to downturns in the market, as indicated by President of the Law Society Paul Marsh in this article.

He writes;

“This is not the first downturn that I have experienced in my professional life. It is the third. Following the last two big recessions, my experience was that the profession more or less resumed business as usual.”

But this time, as Marsh writes, no sooner will we have passed through this current bend then we will be facing the then imminent implementation of the Legal Services Act, and the whole Susskind debate.

Many firms will be concentrating purely on survival – trim numbers, get lean, get tough on costs recovery.  Others will be keeping their heads up, anticipating not only this sharp bend, but the ones that are coming ahead.

By doing so they can ensure that will emerge from the current situation positioned ready for the next one.

Those firms and practitioners who remain in denial of the changes coming (and we have touched upon a  few of them within this blog) will be content to survive for now.  They will be looking forward to markets returning to the normal conditions and accelerate into what they anticipate will be a long straight.  It could get ugly.

The alternative is that firms, or individual lawyers, look at redundancy or over-capacity within their organisations.  What systems could they implement now to fill that redundancy with research, product creation, systemisation and the like?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Facebook and the Recruiter

There has been a flurry of activity recently on social networking and employment repercussions.

There was the girl who was sacked for saying her job was boring and today, as I read through Twitter on my bus ride into work, I followed a link through to this article, repeating warnings about online visibility and how employers can access more information than ever before.

Although the topic is not new there are some interesting angles regarding privacy and discrimination.

Two thoughts occured to me.  Firstly how laws become obsolete, or at the very least, incomplete.  Will there be new legislation to deal with rights to post as we see fit online and preserve a right to privacy.

Surely, if someone discloses details online in a public, open environment, they forego privacy?  Any thoughts?  To what extent can it be possible to attain privacy between social and professional spheres in the emerging environment?

But the second point that occured to me was how long will it be before we have recruiting services who will compile a dossier, for an agreed fee, about a potential candidate colalting their online details and activities?

Perhaps it is already being done. 

Thanks to @steveimparl on Twitter for flagging up the article.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized