BK Taoana, Associate in the Corporate & Commercial practice at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr

The Financial Intelligence Centre Act, No 38 of 2001 (FICA) is a piece of legislation introduced in South Africa to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism (MLFT).

Skills gaps

Skill gaps are emerging as legal operating models shift to keep pace with business. Four steps enable legal to close them proactively.

Checklists for client communications for law firms

Every day offers opportunities to build trust with a client or prospect, thereby setting your firm apart from the competition. Here are eight easy ways to do just that in your communications.
Read more at Attorney@Work...

100 hours available to bill

Being a single practitioner or a small-firm lawyer is challenging. To be a good lawyer is just one aspect of your job. You also need to find time for marketing and growing your practice, managing relationships with existing clients, handling the billing and admin, and managing all the compliance and regulatory aspects. You'll also need to be innovative and smart, and you'll need to embrace technology in order to succeed.

Happy to pay your law firm bill

Some say that the most important piece of paper that a lawyer sends to his client is the bill! Why? Yes, it is the thing that helps us get paid, but it should be a lot more. Your bill should tell a story for the client on what is happening with their matter and how you are helping them with it. 
Read more at Legal Technology Today...

Back pain

Sitting at a desk all day can wreak havoc on your back health. It can leave your spine in pain and feel stiff and sore. It can also cause tightness in your lower back and hips. Whether you’re experiencing a little tension or more serious back pain, here are a few ways to lessen work-related back pain.

Craig Leppan, business development manager at Assimilated Information Systems (AIS)

The shift toward cloud and paperless is fast gaining momentum as the new global cohort of millennial customers demand digital and mobile business options. According to Craig Leppan, business development manager at Assimilated Information Systems (AIS), an e4 company, digital document solutions will be fundamental to reaching tomorrow’s customers.

Gladly pay monthly bills at my law firm

Most law firms pay lots of monthly fees for different services. The lines in our credit card statements flow over to the second page. And those fees add up. Some lawyers are enraged by those fees, but not me. I love them. I see those fees like I see the cost of groceries used to make dinner. They represent ingredients. Over the past several years, many of us have shifted from buying technology products to renting them. We pay monthly instead of making a one-time payment to own it.
Read more at Rosen Institute...

Increase profits in law firm

Even as a law firm strives to achieve justice for its clients, it’s paramount to remain profitable. In any case, how can they meet their mandate of justice for all if they aren’t making substantial profits to keep them going?

ele engineering case study with Deltek

Ele Engineering is a technology consulting company that provides advanced services to technology-intensive engineering organization. The company is an example of Professional Service Innovation. 

Productivity tips from legal experts

Legal Technology Today has a LTRC Expert Roundtable committee which discusses issues and solutions to law firms, based on their own experiences.  This month they asked the experts to share some of their personal productivity tips.
Read more at Legal Technology Today...

law firm preventing extinction

In an interview with NZ blog LawFuel, Jordan Furlong gave some advice to solo and small-firm lawyers who want to “avoid extinction.”
Read more at The Lawyerist... 

Starting a law firm been there done that

One of the most important things I’ve learned as a business owner is to learn from those who have already been there and done that. Benchmarking off successful entrepreneurs can save you a lot of time, money and headaches when it comes to running any business. Five members of Forbes’ Legal Council, experienced chief legal officers and law firm partners who regularly contribute content on legal issues share their advice:
Read more at National Law Review...

why hire a criminal defence investigatorLegendary attorney Melvin Belli once said, “If your investigator is good enough, most any lawyer will do.” That’s a bit of hyperbole, but there’s no question that hiring the right investigator really can make you a winner.

2016-legal-technologyLegal technology is not about having transparent touchscreen monitors or algorithms that write our briefs for us or one-click solutions to problems. Legal technology is simply about finding ways to work more efficiently so that we can spend more time focusing on substantive things and less time doing mundane tasks like copying, Bates labeling, retyping pleading templates, or whatever. Since the new year is upon us, here are three goals that you can set to work better:
Read more at Above the Law...

cut law firm costsThe lawyer read my “Your Paralegals Are an Embarrassment” rant and is trying to make his paralegals available to less efficient practices. He’s eliminated one position and has a few others in his sights. But some tasks “require” the use of paralegals, he said. Now, let’s be clear. I don’t hate paralegals. I know some very fine paralegals, and my practice would never have become successful had it not been for one paralegal in particular. He was amazing and contributed in a way that was beyond anything anyone would ever have expected.
Read more at Divorce Discourse...

law firm policies and proceduresThe holiday season is officially here and the new year is just around the corner! This is the perfect time to reflect and re-evaluate what worked and didn’t work for you and your firm this past year. To get you started, here are five suggested policies and procedures you should have in place for your firm.
Read more at Law Technology Today...

Rick-Crouch-and-AssociatesA criminal defence attorney’s role is to provide their clients with the very best defence they can and hope to be able to prove that they are not guilty of any of the charges brought against them or at the very least that they are guilty of a lesser charge. The criminal defence attorney is to do all of this while working on other time demanding cases and fighting a system that wants nothing more than to put their client behind bars.

8 reasons why law firms failIt used to be that law firm failures all came around the time of the annual deadline for the Yellow Pages listings. The lawyers scrambled to find new places to land and wanted to be sure they had their number in the book. Today, failure takes place year round. We can ruin our practices 24/7/365. Excellent. These are some of the top reasons law firms fail, unravel, disintegrate, and explode.
Read more at Divorce Discourse...

email overload(No subject) - Wait a minute – WHAT? These emails were sent to me, and I have no idea what any of it means. To make matters even worse, these are just a FEW examples of the sloppy emails that arrive daily. And almost immediately upon arrival, they turn my inbox into a slovenly mess.
Read more at Careerizm...

identity theft poor destructionBusinesses that fail to effectively dispose of documents containing personal details of customers and employees are placing these stakeholders at an increased risk of identity theft.

succession planningThe issue of succession planning at law firms has received the attention of commentators and I have written about it as well. Demographically, the need among law firms to address succession is mounting as the boomer generation ages. Because the number of firms facing succession issues increase with each passing year, planning at firms is now more important than ever.
Read more at Managing Law Firm Transition...

South african attorneys associationThe South African Attorneys Association (SAAA) through its chairperson, Praveen Sham, notes that the Legal Practice Bill, which was passed by the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) National Assembly (NA) in March 2014, is still awaiting President Zuma’s signature.

strictly conveyancingSydney, NSW – Strictly Conveyancing has announced that they use a fixed pricing structure unlike other similar services out there. The company has said that their new fixed pricing structure has no hidden charges and there are unexpected fees added to the final bill presented to their clients.

Productization of Legal ServicesLawyers tend to be unwilling to look to other professions or industries to find ways to improve their practices and work. We might call this approach “law practice exceptionalism,” the belief that nearly every aspect of the practice of law is unique and must be considered in isolation from what we see elsewhere. We all have heard or said, “But law is different. Really.”
Read more at the American Bar Association website...

money tree 6 profit points for every law firmFrom reduced profits to the need for fewer attorneys, law firm partners and chief financial officers are well aware of the implications of continued economic conditions for their firm. But before taking drastic measures, such as layoffs and salary cuts, every law firm should look at strategies that can help relieve some pressure on firm profit margins. There are 6 Profit Points of every law firm that, in these days of shrinking client demand and growing firm expenses, should be integral to any strategy. If you want ideas for increasing firm profitability, this is a must read.
Read more on the PDF created by LexisNexis and The Profit Point Group...

key performance indicator law firmIt almost sounds like one of those whacky “Lose weight with this one weird trick” internet ads. Some law firms are improving profitability without having to raise billing rates, win new business or without having attorneys bill more hours. These partners are improving their firm’s bottom line by rethinking efficient ways to manage the firm.
Read more at Business of Law Blog...

Lawyer technologyOver the Memorial Day weekend, I had a chance to catch up on my reading while lounging by the pool. Of particular note was the new report released by the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA), entitled Legal Technology Future Horizons.  The report is a hefty 140 pages and lured me on with the promise to  “provide insights and practical ideas to inform the development of future business and IT strategies for law firms, law departments and legal technology vendors.”
Read more at Good2BSocial...

sars easyfileAs a South African employer, you are required to reconcile and submit PAYE, UIF and SDL contributions for the period 01 March 2013 to 28 February 2014. You need to submit accurate and complete employee tax certificates and a reconciliation of contributions for the year.

Graeme PalmerAdvances in technology have seen a significant increase in e-commerce transactions where goods and services are supplied to South African consumers through the medium of the internet. The Value Added Tax Act, 1991 (the VAT Act) requires VAT to be charged on these transactions at the standard rate of 14%. A South African supplier of e-commerce services would therefore register as a VAT vendor, submit returns, and pay over the tax collected to SARS.

Cities and Towns sorted by population

call centre smart diallersThere are many companies that long for the days where landlines were still the norm, particularly when it comes to debt collecting. Because landlines were analogue and geographic in nature, which meant that callers had no idea who has ringing and whoever was calling knew or could find the address that landline was attached to, people were simply more likely to answer their phones.

other legal secretary salary survey criteriaWe have had numerous requests from secretaries as well as partners of legal firms who have asked Tech4Law to publish a new updated Legal Secretary Salary Survey to be more useful in the legal market today. Now before we launch the survey we want to make sure we have the correct criteria to most accurately determine the salaries of the legal secretaries.

how to keep track of timeTracking your time rather than reconstructing it at the end of the month turns out to be really important. As in, not-overbilling-your-clients-by-23% important. Whether or not you share your time records with your clients in real time, you do need to keep a time log. Hopefully that is a no-brainer for everyone who reads this post, but I doubt it. I have known plenty of lawyers who reconstruct time at the end of every month — or every couple of months — from their calendar, emails, and memory.
Read more at The Lawyerist...

legalstartups-on-mobileJoey Mucha used to seal a business deal with a handshake or an e-mail. Now he whips out his smartphone. The San Francisco entrepreneur runs a side business renting out skee ball machines. With the company growing steadily, Mucha decided last year he needed to use contracts to protect his clients and the business.
Read more at The Los Angeles Times...

5 tips on starting a law firmWhen I started my law firm twenty years ago, there were just five things that I knew. I knew I didn’t have any clients. I knew that my husband and I could scarcely afford the loss of my paycheck, let alone come up capital for me to invest in my practice. I knew that I was way too mortified at having been laid off from my former firm to share the real reason for starting my own firm. I knew that when I finally opened for business, in truth, I was just putting on a game face every day, biding my time until something else came along or until I got pregnant and could, like some of my other law school classmates, gracefully exit the law. But I also knew, somewhere deep down, that I had it in me to be a good lawyer.
Read more at Above the Law...

ENSafricaExpert witnesses are often called in patent infringement matters to present evidence to the court on technical issues and the merits of the invention covered by the patent. The selection of technical experts in patent disputes is an issue where South African courts have given guidance in the past on the criteria that they apply in making an assessment as to whether the witness is indeed an expert in the field of technology covered by the patent.

time-management-tipsThe “Time” element means a lot to professionals, especially lawyers who manage innumerable clients, hearings, and in between fulfill the needs of their family and friends. Add the socializing component and you will know how difficult it must be to manage all the chores. In such a scenario where time means money it would be foolhardy to spend even a minute on unproductive tasks. Here are the tips for a lawyer to improve productivity through time management.
Read more at Lera Blog...

bucketsCorporate law departments are increasingly separating new matters into one of two buckets of legal work: routine/basic and higher value/risk. There is a clear division: black and white—no shades of gray.
“Maybe you shouldn’t say that routine work is being commoditized,” said a lawyer-friend with a frown. “Attorneys can be a bit sensitive.”
Read more at LTN...

rates certificates must be signed by handCHIEF REGISTRAR'S CIRCULAR NO. 29 OF 2013
1. Rates clearance certificates that have been electronically generated do not comply with the provisions of section 118 of the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act, 2000 (Act 32 of 2000).

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