IN A not too distant future, in a galaxy far, far away, otherwise known as the Europe and North America, lawyers and their clients are all exchanging crucial matters on their iPods and iPhones. Well, maybe.
Pinsent Masons in the UK is now providing an iPod TV news service to HR professionals, which includes in-depth discussions on employment law and risk management, among other things.
“HR Network TV is designed specifically to cover risk management,” Joe Glavina, employment lawyer and media consultant at Pinsent Masons, told Personnel Today.
“With constantly evolving legislation and landmark court rulings to consider, HR professionals and business owners realise they have to keep up with the changes, but finding the time is a very real challenge.”
Meanwhile, the wonder of the iPhone is yet to make it to our deprived shores, but software companies in the US are already taking advantage of the hype and offering services through the medium.
US vendor Advologix claims it is the first to offer a legal practice management system via a hosted service, and recently began offering support for accessing AdvologixPM through the iPhone’s web browser.
However, given that the browsing speed of the iPhone is not the greatest, even though it will only be useable on Telstra’s Next G network once it arrives in Australia, some here are sceptical that even youthful lawyers will be logging onto work servers in such a stylish manner any time soon.
Craig Ng, IT and IP partner at Maddocks, says although their lawyers use lap tops to access their firm’s internal servers, the internet is still far too slow, unreliable and insecure a medium to be used to access core systems from an external provider.
“At the moment, the benefits are not outweighed by the risks that we see, and I think the security risk is always going to be there, it is just a matter of people getting comfortable with it. But I think the big thing at the moment that time will probably cure is continuity of access,” he said.
The internet is quite stable now, Ng says, but users expect instant access to data, and, for example, will give up on a web page if it doesn’t load in a few seconds. “If continuity of access improves, and bandwidth is better, it becomes more acceptable.”
However, he concedes small law firms may not be so leery of a hosted solution for practice management software if they can access a highly sophisticated system without needing to buy in hugely expensive software or employ staff to support it.
“For smaller firms that don’t have the resources in terms of having the servers, and the hardware and the software to run those programs, the [application service provider] model is a very good, worthwhile one for them,” Ng said.