Lawyers & The Hunter for Data October : A Legal Knowledge Engineering Series

Lawyers The Hunter for Data October : A Legal Knowledge Engineering Series


Data : It is everywhere yet it evades the radar of the knowledgable. Perhaps it wears an invisibility cloak or it has become acclimatized already. Never the less data has somehow managed to fool us.

The terms Big Data, Data harvest, Data management, data manipulation, Data storage, Data shed,: the list goes on and on.

Yet it is not something new at all. The diminishing buzzwords we all have become accustomed to in the 90’s and 00’s are being gradually replaced organically with a new set of terms circulating around our society and incorporating new terms such as algorithms, process management and data value.

Have you ever put your hand into a pair of jeans pocket and found a £10 note or $10 bill that suddenly brought a smile to your face on a cold October morning just before pay-day?

The value of that Data stored away by law firms over the last ten years or more has suddenly become just like that surprise October find .

It is not finding the data per se that has generated the frenzy but the methodology used in which the processing of the data can be managed and utilized by every member of a firm from the top-level managing partners down to the cleaners and porters.

I don’t buy into the term ‘Big Data’ which suggests a superior , standalone entity of data which dictates the way we function within organisation.

Within what I call “ Systems Function Data’ there are various methods of analyzing and using the large quantities of data we already hold, gather and extrapolate.

Ultimately it is about taking all of the data and simplifying it , reducing it to information that can be used by staff and customers to improve their decision-making process. Systems Function data exists already in every firm, what is occurring now are new innovative ways of making actionable steps to improve efficiency. So it’s actually about creating simple actionable information.

Interaction has begun , do you speak data?

A few key innovations have suddenly started to be able to interact with the Systems Function data stored already. The Cloud, mobile workplaces, specialized analytics and algorithms and data visualization techniques act as gatekeepers to our entrance to the language of ‘Systems Data’.

If we want to be able to put systems data to work for us, first we need to communicate with it using a language we can understand.

By studying the language of systems data we can communicate and use the data to create a more effective and informed decision-making process and, ultimately, higher quality, lower cost legal services.  All legal , business and personal decisions fundamentally depend upon the following simple questions:

  • What is happening? – A snap shot audit and Real-time visibility of the most critical indicators for your organization
  • Why is it happening? – The ability to look into current issues to understand what led to the results
  • What should we be doing? – The ability to determine road maps, goals and objectives, allocate resources, monitor them and evolve
  • What is likely to happen in the future? – Being able to monitor and analyze current and past performance to proactively address evolving trends and predict possible outcomes

As the language of Systems Function data evolves, so too the handling and use of this data adapts to the changes. It’s a new frontier for the legal profession and business in general and one which will encounter many turns and twists along the way.

It isn’t only about extracting the data it’s about being proactive rather than reactive with visualizing and creating innovative methods of determining what IS data.

The skills and experience of your team can be harvested too offering an accent to the language of the data creating a specialism in a specific area of practice.


Do your team speak ‘Data?’

Michelle l Hynes LL.B (Hons) DiPLP

Legal Process Engineer


follow me @legaleaglemhm





Top 50 Ways Lawyers are using twitter in 2014 – can you add to the list

Top 50 Ways Lawyers are using twitter in 2014– can you add to the list
What are ‘Lawyers’ really using twitter for?
Twitter; we know it’s there and we use it (each of us differently) but what trends are forming and how is the profession using it for business and for ‘law’?

Marketers tell us how to ‘check our companies social media policy’ and how to ‘gain followers’ and how to ‘communicate’ but what exactly are lawyers using twitter for.
As there does not seem to be a definition of ‘lawyer’ available I use the term ‘Lawyer’ in the loosest form of the word gathering into this group law students, jurists, writers of legal commentary ,practitioners, solicitors, advocates and barristers together with legal publications and paralegals. In fact, anyone who works in the legal field.

Here is a list of a 50 plus activities currently being undertaken by ‘Lawyers’ on twitter.

Communicating new skills for students and trainees
Discussing law
Legal education
Reputation building
Finding a law school
Recruiting new law students
Asking legal questions
Peer learning
Discussing legislation
Making referrals
Obtaining subscribers
Accessing legislation
Communicating with client
Obtaining funding
Securing traineeship
Letting off steam
Recruiting a new partner for firm
Connecting with colleagues
Promoting charitable events
Motivating staff
Providing ‘access to justice’
Collaboration across jurisdiction
Voicing one’s own opinion
Accessing global news
Accessing on-line journals
Finding Experts
Creating a ‘future’ of law
Discussing ‘The Bar’
Finding a Devil master
Finding a pupilage
discussing techniques of practice
exchanging views
sharing News
getting tips for traineeship interviews
links for blawgs
sharing ‘mooting’ tips
learning how to use ‘twitter’
learning how to use Linkedin and facebook
event publicising
Defrosting cold cases
correcting Grammar
arranging tweetups
Debating issues
Finding a trainee
Researching Firms
Publishing research
helping insomia
personal branding
Showing Lawyers as ‘Humans’

I am happy to add your activities to this list please tweet me @legaleaglemhm or email
Copyright 2011 Michelle Hynes All Rights Reserved


Michelle L Hynes LL.B (Hons) DipLP

Legal Process Engineer




The Top 5 Reasons Why I’m Not Following You on Twitter

The Top 5 Reasons Why I’m Not Following You on Twitter

1. You’re an egghead. Come on now who really wants to follow an egg !get your photo up

2. You don’t have a bio. Unless of course you are Brad pit or another well known celebrity the bio is your chance to tell me know you are. It only takes 5 minutes go to your profile and edit now .  When I’m looking for new accounts to follow, if you don’t have a bio, you’re not giving me much choice no bio no follow.

4. You don’t tweet enough. For me its not just about tweeting its about engaging. So come on engage.Even a hello will put you on my radar and on my favourites list (maybe) 

5. You tweet too much. NOPE …..there is no such thing. Let me know you are there.

My top 5 tips for you.

No eggs, no bio,no tweets = no follow

you can follow me on twitter@legaleaglemhm

Michelle Hynes LL.B (Hons) DipLp

Legal Process Engineer




New Lawyers need Law and VISION : here’s why

Guest Blog by Barry.Gross partner at Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP and @UKLegaleagle

This blog was encouraged/requested by LegalEagleMHM and is being co-hosted on her fantastic blog : Diary of a Diploma in Legal Practice student which contains many thought-provoking and inciteful blogs and the latest of which on “What makes a ‘great’ lawyer and do clients want ‘greatness’ or savings?” clearly shows someone thinking about the actual facts of the job.

Every six months we have a new intake of trainees. These trainees were generally signed up at least 2 years’ previously either in the September of their final year in University or immediately prior to their embarking on the CPE (commonly known as the Law Conversion). Every six months I find myself asking the same question:
“What do I expect from the new intake?”
You might think I am pretty daft constantly considering the same question but in reality I believe it actually reflects the constantly changing nature of the role lawyers perform. The graph above shows two important attributes that are required from lawyers today – legal knowledge and commercial acumen. Most law students probably believe (and I admit I am guessing to a certain extent) that legal knowledge is fundamental and that commercial acumen is a distant second. However, this is very wrong and here is why.

I am a transactional real estate lawyer. My clients do not care about the law they merely care not to fall foul of it, or if they do, to reduce the negative effects. My clients come to me with a vision, a transaction they wish to transact, and I am a facilitator seeking to turn their vision into reality. What matters to my client is getting the deal done. In order to be able to service them I must understand their commercial drivers, what it is they are trying to achieve. Without that understanding I cannot possibly enable them to achieve their vision. With that understanding I am more than merely a facilitator, I am someone who can help develop the vision and improve on it.

So does that mean that legal knowledge is not important? Absolutely not. I must know the potential pitfalls that could destroy my client’s vision but not so that I can then tell him all the issues but rather so that I can manage the transaction so that the vision is realised whilst avoiding the issues. Like the London cabbie – I tell him the destination and expect him to get me there in the swiftest, safest and cheapest way. Sometimes I might ask why he went a certain way but I do not want to hear from him a running commentary on why he did not go a different way.

Back to my fresh intake of trainees joining next week; which is more important – commerciality vs. legal knowledge. Well, when I started as a trainee in the 20th century(!) my first seat was with a senior property partner at Berwin Leighton called David Rhodes. On my first day David turned to me and said:
“Barry, you undoubtedly know more law than I do, but I know how to use it better”
This thought has remained with me throughout my career. Obviously David did know more law than me but that was not relevant. It is not knowing the law that is important but rather knowing how to use it.

I expect trainees to know the law in detail and, more importantly, how to be able to research and find out the law. I do not expect trainees to know instantly when the specific legal point can be disregarded as it does not affect the client’s vision. In fact, I would be very concerned if trainees and junior associates were not considering the full legal picture before telling me what they propose to advise the client. But that is where the commercial acumen comes in. I do expect my trainees to show they understand what the client’s vision is and how it is our role to deliver that vision whilst negotiating the legal minefield. They show this by telling me what advice they would give the client after going through the issues. Clients do not want academic papers; they want actionable advice. Only commercial awareness allows you to give actionable advice.

So which is more important. Both and a lawyer missing one or the other will eventually fail. A lawyer with a lack in the legal knowledge department will lose clients due to negligence. A lawyer with a lack in the commercial awareness department will lose clients due to failure to deliver the client’s vision swiftly, efficiently and safely; a bit like a bad cabbie.

Barry. Gross
You Can read Barry’s Blog here

(not connected to this ‘Eagle’ but with impeccable taste in twitter names)

Many Thanks to Barry these posts are very helpful to ‘new lawyers’


The 15 minute rule every savvy lawyer should know

WOW ! with now over 50,000 views on my blog, months of business projects, planning writing under my belt.I found myself re examining my blog.
I actually chuckled at some of the blog posts and thought , what drivel !!!!!

Its important to review your blog from time to time.It is crucial to re-examine your posts, sometimes re-post them and sometime actually delete or scrap posts that are out of date.
Keeping your blog freshly pressed is something we often over look.
Did you know that some people are finding your blog for the first time today. They are reading your posts written maybe three years ago – Do you want this to be the case?

Taking 15 minutes (when you have a coffee break to review your blog can make such a difference )

do it today 15 minutes

Follow me on twitter @legaleaglemhm

LIKE my page on Facebook (its a new one)


The 3 drivers of legal landscaping but what are they?

According to Prof Richard Susskind OBE there are 3 drivers of legal change which give rise to new roles within the legal profession.

1. Increased cost pressures placed upon law firms

2. Liberalisation and the emergence of Non-law firms providing legal services

3. The management of the effective use of technology in Law


These three weather conditions ( if you like the analogy of the legal profession encountering a storm of great magnitude) give rise to a new breed of legal professionals with deep and profound legal skills that bring a great value to their firm .

Susskind explains on US TV Bloomberg that the emerging roles of Legal Knowledge (Process) engineer, Legal Project manager and Legal Risk Manager will become keys roles in Law firms of the future. Perhaps these job titles will be tailored and tweaked to fit the individual firms my role is Legal Process Engineer at @Inksters. The fact remains that the stereo typical Rumpole of the Bailey lawyer is a thing of the past. A new identity of what makes a lawyer is being forged.

You can watch Susskind’s interview here


Michelle Hynes LL.B (Hons) DipLP

Lawyer & Legal Process Engineer

Pioneer and Legaleagle



What is Legal Process (Knowledge) Engineering ?

What is Legal Process (Knowledge) Engineering ?
Legal Process (Knowledge) Engineering is a role which has startled some, caused many a disgruntled look and made some lawyers stare blankly onto their desks.

On the other hand it has caused some to sit up and take notice, direct their attention from their writs and even pray that this newly created role might, just might be the ‘missing link’ to a new legal profession.

The role itself does not fit in with the traditional perception of ‘what it is to be a lawyer’.

No-one at law school mentioned it. Legal Knowledge Engineering ( our title has been tweaked to fit our firm) is a new term coined by Professor Richard Susskind OBE.

Richard Susskind is an author, speaker, and independent adviser to major professional firms and national governments, and holds law professorships at Gresham College in London and the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. His main area of expertise is the future of professional service, with particular reference to information technology. He has written and edited numerous books, including “The Future of Law” and “The End of Lawyers?”, and has written over 100 columns for The Times.

Professor Richard Susskind is regarded as a true guru of legal technology and visionary predictions for the future of the legal profession worldwide. He has challenged law firms to recognize the market pull towards commoditization of legal services and to source routine and repetitive tasks in a more efficient way, and has predicted changing roles for the legal profession and need for increased professionality and efficiency by combining business development with technology. He has even predicted that computerizing will come to replace some of the traditional work of lawyers in firms and that the new legal career Legal Knowledge Engineer will evolve to meet the new talent demands for lawyers with competence to combine legal knowledge with IT skills. By implementing automated document production to support standardisation, firms will be able to deliver the same quality legal services and yet maintain profit margins regardless of fee structure. However, it is important not to underestimate the level of competence and skills required to understand and implement business support tools, in particular IT solutions, in a way that really enables a law practice to benefit and leverage the business and knowledge resources.

The role of Legal Knowledge Engineer is a key position within the law firms of our future sitting somewhere within organisational charts along side partners, associates and general counsel. When implementing a document assembly tool, legal documents need to be converted and connected in the right way to maximise efficiency. This is not possible for someone from the IT department, who might not have the relevant legal knowledge – and could also be difficult for a lawyer who does not really understand the complexity and potential of the tool.

This observation has also been made by Professor Richard Susskind in his book The end of lawyers?: Susskind says “It is entirely misconceived to think, as many lawyers do, that work on standards and systems can be delegated to junior research or support lawyers. If a legal business is going to trade on the strength of outstanding standards and systems, then it will need outstanding lawyers involved in their design and development. These legal knowledge engineers will also be needed to undertake another central task: the basic analysis and decomposition of legal work that I claim will be required if legal work is to be multi-sourced effectively and responsibly.” It is therefore important for the legal profession to acknowledge the unique competencies required to combine legal knowledge and IT skills to build a business differentiator.

The Legal Knowledge Engineer or in our case the Legal Process Engineer is a role in its embryonic stages which will over the course of the next year draw influences from outside of the profession to equip us with a newly engineered model of practice which we envisage will make us ‘Fit for purpose’ for the future of law. Personally as a pioneering Legal Process Engineer I welcome the challenge to step precariously outside of the legal comfort zone , my own comfort zone and take that leap of faith that we can engineer a new legal landscape.

I have joined innovative & Award winning Law firm @Inksters with our visionary and Managing partner @Brianinkster at the helm.

Let our journey commence.

Michelle Hynes LL.B(Hons) DipLP follow on on twitter @legaleaglemhm

Legal Process Engineer


A New Breed of Lawyer is Born – Right Here In SCOTLAND @Inksters

Is the Scottish Legal Profession responding to market changes? Yes It is !

A new journey begins for me today as I take up my appointment with one of Scotland’s Leading Law firms as a new type of Lawyer.

Over the last 5 years we have seen many changes in the Legal profession and fears of the ‘end of the solicitor ‘due to the increase of high street legal providers challenges even the sole practitioner. Law Students shake as they leave Law School not knowing if they will even find a traineeship or job at the end of it. The changes in Billing , process and practice leave partners, associates and the profession as a whole in a precarious position.

In an innovative and pioneering step Brian Inkster has embraced head on.

My appointment as the new Legal Process Engineer at @Inksters is in itself unique in Scotland.

It is a new role within the Legal Profession and I am very honoured to have been appointed and bestowed with this challenge.

Brian Inkster said “Inksters have always been at the cutting edge of legal innovation. Having a dedicated Legal Process Engineer will see us systematizing all of our processes and in turn assisting efficiency, business growth and profitability. Michelle is ideal for this task and I am delighted that she is joining our growing legal team in Glasgow.”

Inksters have been expanding rapidly over the past year or so with a new larger Glasgow HQ and offices in Wick and Portree to add to their Inverness office.

You can follow me on twitter @legaleaglemhm

follow our firm @inksters

Michelle Hynes LL.B(Hons) DipLP

Legal Process Engineer



How to Use Twitter for Emerging Artists and Creatives

10 easy steps How to use twitter for the Creative industry including arts graduates,artist,poets,writers, photographers

Ok, so you have probably heard about twitter.

I originally posted this article in 2008 aimed specifically at the legal profession however my passion for art and creative industries has taken my path nicely down a bit of another road and I thought why not share some of this info with new emerging artists.s

You might even have a twitter account and follow celebrities I know I did 7 years ago.
Let me tell you why I started using twitter.

One evening as I was sat around the kitchen table chatting with family the conversation turned to ‘twitter’- a few hours later I headed home and logged on for the very first time and guess what? I was hooked.

It was very infectious and I headed straight home to have a look.

I set up my first twitter account @legaleaglehynes and I followed Nasa and the space station and a bunch of celebrities and used it primarily to pass the time whilst I was researching my dissertation.

I was in 4th year of my LL.B Law Degree Honours year at the University of Glasgow.

My dissertation was on the topic of Double Jeopardy and I was researching other jurisdictions such as Canada and Finland and looking at the roots of historical reform dating back to 2500BC.

Suddenly in a flash I thought ‘Hey other people might be on this twitter thing who can offer me help in other jurisdictions’. As an emerging artist you might see where I am going with this….stay with me.

Typing like mad I entered a search – Law and wow up popped lawyers. Great I thought and clicked follow. Every day I would search legal history ,double jeopardy,legal research, solicitors,law reform into searches and more and more appeared. Try it yourself type in Art,artist,painters,photography,poetry,writers

Then I realised that the ‘law’ people I followed would actually follow me back. The same goes with your profession .

I started to follow law schools, law students and hey presto legal research bounced off the page.

Ok so I now had followers and I had a bunch of people who I was following and from there I gathered legal research for my dissertation. Now in 2009 there were not many law firms actually using twitter so the links were not as frequent as now.

I kept the @legaleaglehynes account until April 2010 when I decided to start a brand new account focussing on building on my initial twitter skills I had learned.
@legaleaglemhm was born. I now have over 5000 followers one one account alone and another 10 twitter accounts for various interests such as @mypassion4paint which is my artist twitter account.( Go on follow me and I will follow you back)

Here are some tips for you if you are an Arts student or an emerging artist and want to start using twitter for your professional life TODAY.

1. Set up an account either in your own name or in the name of something relevant to your work. @mypassion4paint was my artist choice but your name would be good if its still available. I do wonder what Picasso would have made of twitter.

2. Do a search for ‘Arts, art collectors,art competitions,call for artists,writers or what ever your interest is in “

3. Follow other artists – you would like to either a) engage with /speak to /ask a question or if you are interested in what they might be talking about.

4. Dont just listen – when you see a tweet , respond to it, add your opinion its valid.
5. If you like a tweet or think that your followers might be interested Retweet it.
Set up your own list – Top tweeters, Upandcomingartists, myinfluences,
7. Remember a good Bio will have a link to your blog you do have one don’t you ? (set up a blog – wordpress is good but there are many) Don’t worry I will be posting an artist article on how to set up an art blog and website next so why not subscribe to this blog for updates.

8. Keep it real – if you intend to use the internet remember that everything is kept permanently on record.It can be a double-edged sword.
9.Have a look at people on twitter you like engaging with and look at who they follow – follow them too.

10. Its easy and if you get stuck – just post a tweet saying Help how do you …….. someone will be there and will reply.

Join Linked in too and then you can validate your twitter profile. Many people on twitter are un checkable , you can verify them if they have a Linkedin account and the groups on Linkedin mean you can have more fuller discussions
If you need any further advise or help then you can drop me an email at or tweet me at @legaleaglemhm  or @mypassion4paint Happy tweeting folks.
Here is a list of things artists are using twitter for :

Communicating new skills for art students
Discussing art history and trends
Reputation building
Finding an art  school
Recruiting new artists for shows
Asking  questions of established artists
Peer learning
Discussing methods and process
Making referrals
Obtaining subscribers
Accessing lists of exhibitions
Communicating with news clients for commissions
Obtaining funding
Securing funding
Letting off steam
Recruiting a new artis for a collective
Connecting with colleagues
Promoting charitable events
Motivating staff
Fund Raising
Collaboration across mediums, artists and writers
Voicing one’s own opinion
Accessing global news
Accessing on-line journals
Finding Experts
Creating a ‘future’ of Art
Discussing styles
Finding a printer
Finding a framer
discussing techniques of practice
exchanging views
sharing News
getting tips for exhibiting
exchanging links for blawgs
sharing tips
learning how to use ‘twitter’
learning how to use Linkedin and facebook




As you move through your career from being an Arts student to joining the world of a successful artist   you will find that the connections you make are really important. Don’t leave it till you graduate , do it now.

Michelle Hynes LL.B (Hons)DipLP Lawyer, artist,writer,poet

You can check out my art here



2014 : The year of Law and The Creative Industries



1003953_630343610341686_1163450775_nWow ! 2013 was certainly a great year for me folks but having had a wonderful christmas and super busy January I now return to my legal blogging with a focus on the creative industries.

As a lawyer and an artist I have been spending some time doing what I love to do and that is paint. I have been  exhibiting, selling and showing my work and finding myself in the company of many new emerging and super talented artists. You never can take that legal head off can you ?

The same recurrent questions seem to be batted around at many groups and exhibitions I have been involved with. I actually have been taken back by the amount of misinformation, urban legend and utter rubbish I haver heard about Intellectual property whilst wearing my “artist ” hat. It got me thinking , how do these genius artists actually know how to protect themselves and their work in this ever changing landscape of art . The traditional methods of exhibiting , selling and displaying art have changed and some artists are fearful of showing their art for feel or infringement, theft and surely this is stunting our creative juices?

February sees the launch of a series of articles by me aimed directly at the new emerging artists who despite being fantastically talented still seek the expert advice of the legal profession for questions such as How to protect your intellectual property. How to exhibit.How to make sure you are credited with your rights.How to register a design.How to make sure your attributed with your rights when collaborating with others.

Law and The creative industry is an area which I am passionate about and will be a focus of my blog for the next few posts. If you have a specific area that you would like me to touch on please leave a comment below.

( My posts do not constitute as legal advice and are aimed at provinging guidance only )

Michelle Hynes LL.B (Hons) PGDipLP

Lawyer, artist,writer,poet and Gobi Desert trekker


Michelle graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Glasgow 2009 and Diploma in Legal Practice in 2011.

follow me on twitter @legaleaglemhm