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Cloud computing the new way for lawyers

26 August 2011

Cloud computing the new way for lawyers

When top lawyer Graeme Todd decided to launch his new practice in Queenstown, he was curious about what computing "In the Cloud" could offer his new lawfirm.

He was astounded by what he found.

"I was impressed with the range of capabilities that the ActionStep 'software as a service' offered my practice. It was extraordinary and I immediately saw the value of installing a system which was simply more efficient, less expensive and more comprehensive than old styled software."

Mr Todd said the combination of capability and accessibility made the 'In the Cloud' ActionStep system a must-do proposition.

"I've worked with computer technology in my previous law practice and, once my head was around cloud computing, I was keen to move away from the expensive and limited software of the past. ActionStep, with the AS Legal workflows built in, demonstrated to me that firms who are deeply invested in old technology are constrained."

ActionStep for lawyers was established in Queenstown in 2005 when lawyers Mike Holloway and Russell Mawhinney began using the programme in their law practice HM Associates.

Their work on the programme resulted in the NZ Award for the Best use of ICT in a Small Business for HM Associates in 2007.

Mike Holloway then started AS Legal Systems in 2008 to bring the ActionStep System to lawfirms. It is now being used in almost 50 firms around the country.

Mr Todd acknowledges that as former senior partner of well-known South Island firm MacTodd, he did not always have the time to become familiar with the latest computing technology. He is now relishing the opportunity to do this and says that while it is early days in his new practice - GTODD LAW opened on 1 April - he is already seeing considerable efficiencies from using this technology.

Mr Todd is working with Andrea Gilbert, a highly experienced Legal Executive who he worked with at MacTodd in the 1990s.

Ms Gilbert has experience in lawfirms both large and small and loves the ActionStep system.

"It is straight forward and uncomplicated compared to other lawbase systems This system streamlines our business, it runs the whole business. We don't have to input information across different platforms, which saves us time and money. It's incredibly easy to learn to use, it's been simple to customise for our firm's requirements and the support from the team at ActionStep has been fantastic," she said.

Todd's confidence in the ActionStep programme is such that he is planning to allow his clients remote electronic access to enable them to look (without touching!) their files - including all correspondence, emails file notes, deeds, trust account(s) and time records which are all stored electronically and on-line.

"I firmly believe clients should have full and unrestricted proprietary interest in their files and that by providing such access we will offer a new transparency which in turn will build trust in my handling of their work," he said.

Graeme's new practice GTODD LAW has a strong emphasis on Resource Management, and also offers a full range of business and property legal services to clients throughout New Zealand and overseas.


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