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Small firm beats top-tier to win award

Small firm beats top-tier to win award

South Australian firm Norman Waterhouse Lawyers has pipped the likes of Clayton Utz and Norton Rose to win a legal technology award.The 55-lawyer strong South Australian firm took out the gong…

South Australian firm Norman Waterhouse Lawyers has pipped the likes of Clayton Utz and Norton Rose to win a legal technology award.

The 55-lawyer strong South Australian firm took out the gong for the Best Innovation in Legal IT at the National Lawtech Summit Awards held in Brisbane last week.

The firm beat a field of finalists that included Minter Ellison, Clayton Utz, Norton Rose and the in-house legal team of British American Tobacco (BAT) to win the award, which was the result of its use of SmartPhone technology.

"From a traditional dictation system 12 months ago, our legal practitioners are now able to dictate court notes on the run via their iPhone, engage in video conferencing with their colleagues and record billable time remotely and with more accuracy," said the firm's IT manager, Marc Lok.

The firm reports that as a result of implementing this technology, it has boosted its profitability.

Nominees for the award were required to demonstrate a "groundbreaking" approach in the use of technology and for the application of that technology to be "inventive and original".

The awards were also noteworthy due to the presence of Clayton Utz and BAT as finalists, given the past history between the organisations.

BAT was a high-profile client of Clayton Utz until a few years ago, when the firm decided to sever its relationship with the tobacco giant after an internal investigation expressed concerns with regard to the conduct of two partners who acted for BAT in a litigation matter. Those partners are no longer with the firm.

Corrs Chambers Westgarth is now acting for BAT in its fight against the Federal Government's proposed plain-packaging legislation for cigarettes.

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