HighQ Forum 2012

The view from the Sky Lounge
Just before Easter I attended the HighQ Forum. HighQ are a company that in their words provide "secure enterprise collaboration and publishing software" In a previous role I used one of their products to publish content and was impressed by the functionality, although I was only using a very small part of the overall functionality. Before I talk about the forum I want to mention the location and the weather on the day as both were amazing and I'd like to know who HighQ paid to get this weather, as evidence by the photos incorporated within this blog post.

The format of the day was for tables to discuss topics that had been provided by HighQ, followed by someone from the table providing a summary of the discussions. After the round-table discussions, there were a number of presentations, sadly I missed these, but I understand they were excellent from the Tweets I read.

The first topic discussed was Legal Project Management this has become a hot topic in the last year as law firms look at ways in which they can manage not only clients and files more effectively but also what projects they can undertake with clients to add value. Legal Project Management is an interesting concept and one that many people will argue doesn't actually exist. But it does appear that a number of firms are looking at where the firm can save money and add value and Legal Project Management may have a role to play in this process.

The next topic up for discussion was Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). The idea behind BYOD is that consumers (fee-earners) are bringing their own devices to the workplace, with the expectation that they will be able to use these devices rather then a company issued Blackberry or Desktop PC. One of the biggest issues with BYOD is the sheer number of devices available and that would potentially have to be supported. What was clear from the discussions was that Apple devices are preferred to Android devices. It also became apparent that have a clear policy in place around the use of devices is essential for BYOD to be successful.

The Shard in all its glory...sort of
Next up was a summary of the challenges in providing current awareness to lawyers and clients. What was clear from this discussion was that law firms should be answering the "So what" question aka "How does this piece of legislation affect our clients" rather then just churning out content for the sake of it. Law Firms also need to look at how they can differentiate themselves, this is especially true in a market which has a huge number of players. The most interesting discussion from my perspective was around the use of internal collaboration tools and how attendees thought these tools would be changing over time. It was interesting to hear what other law firms were doing and especially how they're integrating social tools with more traditional intranets.

The final two discussions were around clients asking for more tailored/personalised services and the impact of the Legal Services Act. In terms of personalisation most firms were looking at services that delivered the greatest value and "what if" factor. Personalisation of course needs to be done in the context of different clients having different perspectives. The last topic discussed was the Legal Services Act this act aims to liberalise and regulate the legal market in the UK, essentially encouraging more competition, which naturally will have an impact on the services provided by Law Firms.  Most law firms present said that it was too early to tell what the impact will be but the potential for outside investment in Law Firms using Alternative Business Structures was something that everyone will be keeping a watching brief on. Overall a great afternoon, in a fantastic location, with amazing views and company...just a shame we had to do some work!