Legal Web Watch October 2015

Legal Web Watch complements the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers, edited by Nick Holmes and Delia Venables. The last issue of the Newsletter published in September. The next issue will publish in early November.

Recent articles in the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers

Case study: AVRillo conveyancers choose Proclaim PMS from Eclipse
Law firms still not proactively investing in IT?
Can ODR deliver better access to justice?
The intellectual property revolution
Getting the best from GOV.UK
Introducing eDisclosure and eSignatures
Free case law resources online
Five free (or low cost) digital marketing tools
What is the Deep Web?
New Internet for Lawyers courses from Nick and Delia
DNA testing: the fastest route to the truth

Is ad blocking unfair?

Ad blocking has been much discussed recently, particularly since Apple recently allowed apps with ad blocking capabilities to operate with Safari in iOS 9. However, the steam had already been building for some time as users have got increasingly frustrated with intrusive advertising and web browser tracking degrading their experience.

"Anti-ad blocking" company PageFair, in its August 2015 Ad Blocking Report, gives the numbers:

  • There are now 198 million active adblock users around the world.
  • Ad blocking grew by 41% globally in the last 12 months.
  • US ad blocking grew by 48% to reach 45 million active users in 12 months up to June 2015.
  • UK ad blocking grew by 82% to reach 12 million active users in 12 months up to June 2015.

Those with vested interests in the media and advertising industries are crying foul: ad blocking will "break the internet"; it is unethical or unfair because it denies advertising revenue to free websites. PageFair estimates ad blocking will cost publishers nearly $22 billion during 2015.

Paul Bernal counters this, making the ethical case for ad blocking:

"I think that users of ad-blocking software are taking a positive route both ethically and economically. If anything, it is by extending the use of adblocking software that the future of the internet is being secured, not the reverse. The more people that use adblockers, the better the future for the internet. ...

"Fundamentally, and this is the point that the advertising industry seems very reluctant to admit, the current model is broken. ...

"Without disruption, nothing will change. That is where adblockers come in, and why the use of them is a positive ethical step. If we want change, we have to act in order to make that change happen. Without adblockers, would the advertising industry be willing to change their model? The evidence points strongly against that."

So what might the new models be? PageFair say "we want to help create a more sustainable advertising ecosystem, one in which publishers can focus on loyalty and engagement instead of traffic and clicks, and make money without depleting their audience's goodwill" which is lovely, but whatever does it mean?

Others look to the development of more effective subscription models or use of micro-payments.

John Battelle, a leading industry insider, speculates about a more radical solution ... maybe users should control their own data:

"It’s insane that as consumers we outsource our data wardrobe to Facebook, Apple, Google, and the hot mess that is the adtech industry. The consumer behavior I believe will change our world, and by extension the economics of publishing and advertising, is a shift in control of our own data from third party platforms to ourselves as the platform. Put in internet terms, from the server to the node (we’re the nodes). If this happens, all manner of innovation and efficiency will erupt."

Ultimately we want our internet back. The last thing we want is the battle some advocate (and which is already happening):

"If I were a publisher giving free content, I'd block my content to these ad blockers"

Now that's how you're going to break the internet. We don't like, even detest, this increasingly intrusive advertising and tracking. Don't tell us we're wrong. Figure out a better way to make money.

Nick Holmes is Editor of the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers and Legal Web Watch. Follow him on Twitter @nickholmes.

Image: Stop! by Axel Schwenke on Flickr.

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Our 2015 CPD competence courses

Solicitors. You may undertake any of our courses and claim the time towards your CPD for 2014/2015. Your entire 16 hours can be now be done online with our courses. If you are opting for the SRA's new approach to continuing competence, our courses are an ideal way to address your learning and development needs.

Barristers. We are accredited by the Bar Sandards Board to provide CPD courses for 2015. Our CPD Provider ID is 1277. Two of our 2015 courses are suitable for barristers and may be undertaken to earn 5 or 10 hours' CPD for 2015.

The three new courses

Solicitors and the Internet 2015 (6 hours) looks at how the internet is continuing to change the way that solicitors work.

Access to Law and Resources 2015 (5 hours) looks at recent developments in access to law and justice via the internet as well as some new and established online legal resources.

Internet Legal Issues 2015 (5 hours) explains important internet concepts for lawyers and looks at recent developments in internet law and legal issues relating to websites.

Read the course materials online (PDF), following up the web links for further reading where appropriate. Then complete an online questionnaire (as you go through or at the end) to evidence the knowledge you have gained and certify for CPD/competence purposes. The questions require short textual answers and are designed to encourage you to think about your own practice issues and your own personal competencies.

Great value

Each course costs £80+VAT; two courses purchased together cost £120+VAT; three courses together £150+VAT. A multi-use licence for 5 courses costs £200+VAT; for 10 courses £300+VAT; additional courses £150+VAT per 5.

Purchase online for immediate access

Full details and online purchase and access are at

Delia’s legal web picks

The following items have been selected from Delia Venables’ “New” page.

New site created to link available lawyers with needs for representation

AvailableLawyers provides a way for lawyers to show their availability for court and tribunal representation in particular locations and for those needing representation to find them. Every court in England & Wales, and every field of law, is covered and major tribunals are also included. The site is for the use of all lawyers and legal staff. The site does not take any type of advertising, so impartiality is maintained.

ICLR have provided an Anniversary Edition of the Law Reports (after 150 years)

ICLR has been providing case reports for 150 years. To celebrate this, they have put together a special Anniversary Edition of the Law Reports which includes the 15 top cases voted for by readers together with additional commentary and introduction essays. They have divided their history into five periods, and allowed a month for voting to take place from each period. The results and commentary from all the periods is available here. Happy Birthday ICLR!

Help for law students from lawbore

lawbore from Emily Allbon of City University Law School, have put together a new A-Z video guide to starting a law course (only 13 minutes) and there is lots of other good stuff on their site too including Topic-themed guides to the legal web and Multimedia law tutorials & features.

New employment resource for Commercial and Employment Law

Duggan Press has been established by Michael Duggan QC to publish high quality practitioners' Textbooks in the field of Law and Human Resources. There is also a case updater which refers to the cases, both reported and unreported, on an A-Z basis, making it easy to see what cases have been decided in a particular field and where the cases have been reported. This is free for 2015 but will require a subscription from 2016. There is a also a series of very detailed briefings from Michael Duggan on recent cases of significance provided without charge.

New Law Society Guidance on how to comply with the EU Directive on Consumer ADR

The Law Society has changed its advice for firms on compliance with UK regulations which transpose the EU Directive on consumer alternative dispute resolution (ADR Directive). This is in response to the unexpected withdrawal of the Legal Ombudsman's (LeO) application to the Legal Services Board (LSB) to become certified as an ADR approved body for the purposes of the ADR Directive. Although the Legal Ombudsman has withdrawn its application, solicitors must still comply with the government regulations. New requirements will apply from 1 October 2015 in relation to the information solicitors are required to provide to clients at the end of a solicitor's internal complaints process.

Bar Council announces the first ever "Pupillage Fair" for 21st November

The Bar Council's "Pupillage Fair" will take place on November 21st, the first ever event of its type. The day will provide a key opportunity for any student looking for a career at the Bar to meet and engage with chambers, other pupillage providers and course providers. There will also be an opportunity to learn about learn about the Bar Council's online application system for pupillage and to speak to representatives from different Specialist Bar Associations. Pupillage providers have to pay a fee, but I could not see any reference to the potential barristers having to pay anything.

Legal Software Suppliers Association (LSSA) is set to launch a free conveyancing portal

The Legal Software Suppliers Association is a very important body in the legal software world, with all the main legal suppliers as members and a very coherent and co-operative approach. It sets the standards and the framework for legal software in the UK. Now, it has developed a free conveyancing portal (called Free2Convey). It has been developed by the group specifically to integrate with the members' conveyancing software. This is a very important develoment since it will provide an alternative to Veyo and Hoowla. The aim of all these conveyancing portals is to provide the overall structure for a conveyancing transaction, linking all the relevant parties - individuals, solicitors, Land Registry and so on - in a simple overall "view" of the transaction. The problem with any such portal is that all the parties have to "buy into it" - if that is not the case, the overall picture cannot be presented. Since the LSSA software, due to be launched at the end of September, will be provided free to users of the key software systems, there should be no barrier to everyone being part of it. More on this story from Legalfutures at here.

Legal DNA Services go super-fast (next day results)

DNA testing: the fastest route to the truth provides a description of the new next-day service of Legal DNA testing for solicitors, courts and local authorities from AlphaBiolabs. They are also introducing new lower cost prices as DNA testing services for legal reasons are becoming more efficient than ever before. There is also free sample collection from various walk-in centres.

Co-op launches new "fixed price" services

The Co-operative legal site is now headed "The Fee We Quote is the Fee You Pay. When we have provided a written quote for the agreed work, that price will not change." The website specifies fixed fees and Solicitor hourly fees for services such as Probate, Making a Will & Family Law, where the client wishes.

Legal experts discuss topical issues in this new podcast series from Oxford University Press

Law Vox is a series of podcasts involving talks with legal experts from a wide variety of subject areas who discuss their work.

  • Mary Bosworth talks about immigration detention
  • Jeremy Phillips talks about intellectual property law
  • Charles Proctor talks about international banking law
  • Christopher Kuner talks about data privacy law
  • Tom Cross and Hafsah Masood talk about Religious Freedoms and Religious rights
  • Frank Wijckmans talk about competition law
  • Kenneth Hamer talks about professional conduct cases.
  • Nigel Blackaby and Constantine Partasides talk about international arbitration
  • Nikoletta Kleftouri talks about deposit protection and bank resolution
  • Loukas Mistelis talks about international arbitration.

All the podcasts are completely free to listen to - good for using time otherwise "wasted" in car journeys, train journeys, running, washing up....

DPS sets up a sister company in Sri Lanka to find, and make use of, new software talent

DPS now has 10 full time web developers in the new SRI Lanka company engaged in developing new projects that are at the cutting edge of legal software development. DPS believe that the market is moving to a full software-as-a-service model and that the key to success is to continue to develop products specifically built for this model, for example with new levels and types of security, rather than just adapting current software to run online. DPS have been providing innovative legal software for 30 years - I can vouch for this since I have known them for most of this time and they have always been a major contender in the legal market. They are now apparently the largest legal cloud provider on the market, hosting over 140 legal businesses across the UK. See more here.

Delia Venables is joint editor of the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers. Follow her on Twitter @deliavenables.

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