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

TOP TIPS : How to choose a Personal Injury Lawyer

confused baby boomercrThe internet is awash with law firms, legal eagles and lawyers specialising in every area of law and yet when someone suffers from an injury that happened at work, on holiday  or at home the last thing they need is to spend hours searching the internet to find a solicitor that relates to their problem.

Clients are people after all and having suffered a trauma or accident it can lead them to be in a distressed, confused or even an angry position. One of the main areas we learn at Law school is about how Law is about LIFE. Life is not like a text book.Life has variations, sadness,distress,anger and these are the emotions a client will be going through when they are looking for help form a solicitor.

How do you know which solicitors to choose?

If you’ve been involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault and you want to make a personal injury claim or get legal advice you will need to find yourself a firm of personal accident claims solicitors you can trust to guide you every step of the way. Sometimes the situation may involve something that has happened at work or in relation to your family member and emotions run high.

Questions about procedure and costs are high on the list , what are my prospects of winning,how long will this take ? These questions need to be answered . How does No win No fee work ? The Law is a complex area and clients need no nonsense straight talking right at the beginning.

Maybe the incident happened overseas, on holiday or at a visit to the dentist.What type of lawyer do I need is often heard under the breath of a confused new client sat infront of a PC.

So yes, doing a google search is important but its also important to consider a firm with a strong reputation and who can offer a you a level of specialism in personal injury cases.

The TOP 4 things clients should look for when choosing a Personal Injury Lawyer  

1. A strong internet presence with good testimonials available to read ( read testimonials by happy clients) 

2. A professional team with good communication ( have a look at ‘our team’ on the website ) 

3.A result based client history – WIN WIN WIN ( how many cases have they won)

4. Someone you can speak to , ask questions and feel looked after. ( how quickly is your email or call answered? Does someone get back to you and keep you posted at all steps of the way)

If you need any help finding a specialist solicitor why not drop me an email below or you can have a look on the right hand side of my blog for law firms.

I hope you have enjoyed my Top tips for finding a personal injury solicitor.

Michelle Hynes LL.B(Hons) DipLP


The World of “Things That Cannot be seen” – It’s Law but not as we know it.

As a new lawyer now recovered from heart surgery I am about to  venture over 6000 miles on an Astronaut leadership course in 9 days.Have a look at the adventure details http://isset.org/astronomy_meets_adventure/transit_of_venus.php

What’s this got to do with Law ?

EVERYTHING !!!!!!!!!

You know, we often look to the past, through history to help us prepare for the future: in all walks of life and law is no exception.

History gives us a ‘road map’ that we can refer to when we need to prepare for a new journey.

But sometimes, just sometimes we cannot look to history. Sometimes we need to do exactly what astronauts train for. We need to prepare for a new landscape. A new world where there is no history and no Law.

A world where the Law hasn’t been determined. Where there is no precedent.

As we reach the half way mark of 2012 more and more emphasis in everyday life is placed on the internet, on virtual world, and even on virtual laws the law governing ‘those THINGS that cannot be seen’.

Intellectual Property law  is an exciting area of law which until now was generally left to those artist, film makers , authors and commercial developers and inventors. Now with the growth of the virtual world, Intellectual property (IP) has come to everyone.

Ordinary people now wonder about their Intellectual Property Rights in in their own blogs, Facebook  and twiiter accounts.

Privacy and Rights are now rising from the mubblings of some academics and legal fraternity to coming from the mouths of the ordinary man in the street.

Even ‘Bettys Hotpot’ on last nights episode of Corination street sparks inquiries regarding this ‘thing that cannot been seen’ Intellectual property.

Technology , inventions and medical advancements now rest upon not just a tangible world but a virtual one where the law is often foggy and undetermined. Tweets and Facebook posts, blogs and emails, more and more people search for answers to their questions about their on-line activity. Who will answer them and guide them  ?

As I embark on my career as a trainee solicitor in the field of Intellectual Property I need to prepare myself with more skills than just my LL.B (Hons) and my Diploma in Legal practice – I need to ‘boldly go where no woman has gone before’ – out with the astronauts  of NASA to prepare for the new world.

To be able to take those skills of leadership, navigation and determination and give them back to my clients and help businesses, entrepreneurs,digital and creative companies  navigate through the new world of `things that can’t be seen’ A new world of life on-line.

Follow my journey – It will be one of discovery.


The NEW legal eagle – 12 weeks since cardiac bypass surgery

A New Me – Life after Cardiac Bypass Surgery

My apologies for not uploading an update sooner but I have been busy LIVING…it feels great to say that.

After my open-heart surgery at Christmas I felt unsure as to how I would be feeling now 12 weeks on. It was a bleak time for my family and to be honest I felt like I had been run over by a bus.

Slowly and surely I started to heal. First my leg wound which is about 9 inches long and from where the surgeons harvested the arteries to be used inside my heart. I had a few problems with this wound.

My collapsed lung mended itself after about 6 weeks.

And my chest wound blends in now with my cleavage so it is not that noticeable anymore. I have bought some chunky necklaces, which hide to the top of the scar.

About 5 weeks ago I started cardiac rehabilitation and I go to classes at the Gartnavel General twice a week. Over the last few weeks I have been building up my fitness levels slowly. Increasing my walking and jogging – yes jogging.I now walk for at least 2 hours a day.

My cholesterol has dropped to 4.0, which are within range, and my surgeon has discharged me telling me to – go live my life.

I can honestly say that I feel better now with a fully working heart than I have done in the last 10 years.

On Saturday I walked 10k and I have been doing 80 sit-ups every morning.

Having open-heart surgery terrified me and the operation was traumatic but what scared me more was the thought of not spending the rest of my girl’s life with them.

SO. ………Having now made a full recovery and with the blessings of my doctor I am spending the next three months travelling.

In a weeks time we head out to Cape Verde islands just off the cost of Africa for a holiday. At the end of April I am going to New York City with my eldest daughter and at beginning of June I am heading out with NASA and International Space School Educational Trust on an astronaut led leadership program and trek in the Gobi desert Mongolia and on to China to see the Great Wall. To round off this first leg of travels I am heading out with my family to Barbados to lie in the sunshine for two weeks and work on my tan.

On return I will be returning to a life in Law and a new job as a trainee solicitor.That will all be covered in another post – but it is very exciting.

I will also be retuning to University of Glasgow to finish my LL.M I started in Intellectual property Law and the Digital Economy.

Having the cardiac bypass not only saved my life but it gave me a new perspective and view on life. Every day is precious and I am living it.

If anyone reading this is facing Cardiac surgery and are scared or just want to ask questions please get in touch .I may take a while to respond mind as my next round of trips include Peru, Iceland and South Africa.

Hope you all have a great day. I will be blogging about all my trips.

Thanks for following my journey.

The new and revitalised Michelle Hynes LL.B (Hons) DipLP

Legaleaglemhm TOP TIPS for Law EXAM revision

1 DO NOT Panic – remember that if you have been working steadily all year the information IS IN THERE. It’s all about recall. If you haven’t been working all year then – PANIC – revision is exactly what it says it is revising what you already know.
2. Past papers are your friend. You can usually download them so get yourself a few years of past papers and have a look at the types of questions and themes that are likely to come up. Again – don’t panic just work your way through the past papers and you will be surprised at how much you already know.
3. Draw a plan of your subject – I prefer to mind map mine but you can also just make topic headings. What works for me is a big sheet of wall paper turned over and rolled out and I work on the back of it. The past papers would have helped you to identify some themes so start to draw out your areas of knowledge. You will soon find that you actually know MORE than you thought you did.
4. Remember – You are human not a computer. We humans need breaks, water and proper conditions to study in. the next three tips are essential.
5. DRINK WATER – it’s good for your brain and for revising.
6. ONLY revise for 20 minutes at a time. After 20 minutes STOP. Walk away , make a coffee or just take a break for 5 minutes ( BE STRICT with this one) then return and review everything you have looked at in the previous 20 minutes .This practice really worked for me through out all of my undergraduate years and my post-graduate and I have never failed an exam.
7. Structure your day for revision – it is a waste of time and effort revising when you are tired you will not retain that information. I used set times and breaks and topics.
8. Try mind maps for case notes – draw pictures and use abbreviations to help you remember citations.
9. Remembering the ratio and the legal test is more important than the case citation if you know the legal principles you are one step ahead already.
10. NEVER study on the day of your exam – If you really don’t know your subject by now then focus on what you DO know. It is too late to cram. I found that I was much better prepared on the day of the exam if I was not stressed instead I have always chosen to do something relaxing before my exams.



Diary of a Trainee solicitor MONTH 1 – Clients are No 1 Priority

Diary of a Trainee solicitor

10 May 2011

Imagine this :

A very plush office and a lovely smiling secretary typing furiously. Client’s neatly waiting in a waiting room with nice coffee and magazine to flick through. My desk, free from paper with a lovely paper weight, a bonsai tree and pictures of my lil eagles.
Case law neatly filed in my swing files in my desk just ready for me to refer to. The computer system pristine and holding all clients files ready and waiting for easy access.

Arriving at the office met with a list of calls to make and files to review the day starts at 9am and ends at 5pm sharp and I leave smiling and cheerful.

Years of legal study just bursting to spring into action.


LAW is NOT like this.

(Warning : If you are a law student with this idealistic view of life in practice then STOP READING NOW sign into s1 jobs and find yourself a different career)


Glasgow, the Wonderful green city that it is, is apparently the ‘Murder Capital of Europe’ and in Glasgow the life of a criminal defence lawyer is one which is often overlooked , played down and seen by many (lawyers included) as being a somewhat second class legal career choice. As part of my preparations for life at ‘The Bar’ it is however MY CHOICE of career path to prepare me for what, I imagine to be a very challenging and rewarding career.

Priority No 1 – The client.

Now despite what people think not all clients wear suits or can even write their name. They don’t always arrive in your office smiling and ready to tell you of their difficulties, instead some are somewhat detained ‘in a place that they cannot leave to come to your office’. The client is entitled to the ‘best ‘ legal advice and assistance and criminal lawyers need to possess some extra skills that you don’t learn at University.

Skills of listening, understanding and compassion, even when the facts or circumstances of the case do not always sit comfortably with your own ideas of the world.

Life experience is a skill which gives new criminal lawyers a more human approach to dealing with clients.

In my first month at my new firm I have experienced life at the ‘coal face’ of Law.

Here are some examples of what I have been up to.
( I shall make no reference to particulars of ANY of my cases as client confidentiality is at the forefront of my ethical practice )

1. Viper Identification Parades – I attended at a police station for the process of conducting an identification parade. This is an electronic virtual ID parade in which a victim of crime views pictures on a screen and under controlled environment selects if possible an image that they can identify as the person accused of a particular crime. Having studied these on the Diploma in Legal practice it was good to see how they are carried out in real life and nothing written on paper actually prepares you for being up close with the victim and watching the reactions as they look at the screen.
2. Prison Visits – Attending at a maximum security prison was a good experience as It was the first time I had been inside a prison. At the front desk we were asked to remove any metal and leave our personal possessions in a locker. Looking around and seeing the many security cameras and detectors It had a clinical feel yet when we passed through to the area to meet with our client then what struck me was the colourful murals on the walls and vending machines for visitors.
3. Precognitions –taking statements from witnesses. Meeting with clients and taking statements is an important part of understanding your case. This month I have been familiarizing myself with all of my new workload which includes many cases and part of that job entails taking statements from both Crown witnesses and defence witnesses. It can be interesting and it can be upsetting , if the facts of the case are of a distressing nature. The key for me it to focus on gathering as much information as I can which may form an important part of evidence for counsel.
4. Court – Glasgow Sheriff court is the busiest Court in Europe and houses 22 courts with ……… cases heard on a daily basis. As I wandered round the court looking for the Bar Common room I found myself in a very busy court with several court room and with court business ranging from Custody court, Deferred sentences, First Diets, Intermediate Diets, preliminary pleas and Trials.
5. Case preparation – My job involves preparing cases from summary cases heard in the lower courts to solemn cases heard in the higher courts.
6. Clients – The best part of my job involves meeting with clients who are in some cases facing very difficult times ahead, they can be upset, worried and need first class advice. This, as a new trainee is my most challenging part of my job as I am very aware that dealing with real client’s lives requires me to focus more than ever on EVERYTHING I have learned at Law School.

This first month has been enormously challenging and has at times taken me outside of my comfort zone leaving me with questions such as ‘ Can I do this?’ ‘Am I good ENOUGH’? ‘Did LAW school prepare me for REAL Law?

It has made me question at times why I ever studied Law at all .

Arriving at my office early and finishing at 7.30 -8pm every night , leaving with many questions floating around my head and feeling that I am a bit out of my depth made me wonder IF IS THIS NORMAL for a newbie lawyer to feel like this?

What makes it all worth-while however is talking to other lawyers about their early days as a trainee and finding comfort that IT IS NORMAL , it is part of the learning curve.

The senior partner Ian Sievwright has given me something more valuable in this first month than any academic study – his time, and experience and of course a very patient manner with his new rookie lawyer.

My office is NOT plush. My desk is not clutter free with a bonsai plant and pictures of my lil eagles, I do not leave the office at 5pm smiling and trouble-free. My clients are NOT ON TWITTER and are not likely to be and I have learned that my dictation skills leave a lot to be desired but the one thing that hasn’t changed and is not likely to change is my PASSION for justice. My desire to give each and every one of my clients 100% of my attention , respect and knowledge and that I will fight for their right to access to a solicitor and access to a fair trial each and every day even when it seems like a goal that is unachievable. My clients will always be my No 1 Priority.

Sometimes in life the ‘easy route’ is not the ‘right route’.

Thank you for following my journey through LAW.

Comments are very welcome

Graham Walker Criminal Defence Solicitors is at 1584 Maryhill Road, Glasgow 0141 946 0111.

Michelle L. Hynes LL.B (Hons) DipLP (pending)

Lawyers TOP TIPS on video blogging : Guest On-line video guy @Kevoneil

Blogging for Lawyers – The Next step

Are you ahead of the curve?

So you have a web site and you have your blog. What’s next ?
If twitter can send traffic to your blog, how do you send traffic to your twitter account ?
(Do you see where I am going with this?) The circle is incomplete and many people just set up a twitter account and fail to utilise the optimum use of multiple strands of media as part of a new type communications strategy

The buzz word always seems to be ‘SEO’ Search engine optimisation and using tags can help to rank your site and blog in the rankings on google but what about a way of ranking even higher – easy video.
By putting video on your website and blog you instantly boost your rankings.
Video blogging – what is it and how easy is it to do ?
I wanted to learn how to stay ahead of the curve and so I spoke with The on-line video guy to find out what video blogging is, why lawyers and law students should use video blogs AS WELL as written blogs and to get some top tips.

Using video blogs to direct traffic
To catch the attention of viewers
To refer viewers back to your website and twitter account
generate FREE SEO ( no more paying someone to do it for you)
Rank higher in searches
Speak the language of your clients
Find a traineeship or LEGAL Job

Thanks to @Kevoneil and @Moviecom.tv
I hope you enjoy this short video.
FOLLOW @kevoneil on twitter
Get VBlogging

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER @legaleaglemhm
Michelle Hynes

Family Mediation – An event For Scots Family Lawyers

Family Mediation – Parenting Apart.

Sheriff Ray Small, Hamilton Sheriff Court supports Parenting Apart and welcomes this new free service which aims to keep children out of the family courts in Scotland.See video here

When a relationship breaks down there are often many things to sort out .
Emotions run high. Parents have to sort out financial matters, property, divorce
and all of these matters need to be addressed.These areas often cause distress and disruption.Amongst the chaos of the aftermath children are often the unseen and unheard victims .Many relationship that have broken down find the channels of communication about the welfare of their children to be stormy and many parents find it difficult to even find the right approach to talking to their children about separation and divorce.

Parenting Apart is a groups which offers parents support and an opportunity to learn the skills and confidence to communicate with their children about their
separation or divorce in child-friendly language. Importantly, parents get the chance to chat with others going through the same as them.

Groups are hosted by two family mediators giving parents the chance to
speak to a qualified professional about any issues around parenting
their children or their relationship with their ex-partner following their split.

Relationships Scotland – Family Mediation West and Families Need Fathers are hosting an event for family law professionals supported by
HBJ Gateley Waring Glasgow on Wednesday, March 30, 2011
from 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM (GMT)
I will be attending as a soon-to- be trainee solicitor , with an interest in Family Law.

If you are a solicitor and want to learn more about this valuable service that may be of help to your clients or a Law student planning on practising in Family Law then this may be of interest to you.

If you would like to attend please email ross@familysupport.org.uk .

Law Students – Do you think ‘Money Sucks’?

Law Students Do you think Money Sucks?

If you are a Law student , Diploma student, Bar Student, trainee solicitor, Pupil or devil – no doubt Money either Will be, or has been a problem for you at some point during your studies. Where can you turn to get informed advice on your money issues?
Send your money questions to me by email legaleaglehynes@yahoo.co.uk and our expert Fergus Muirhead at moneysucks will answer on this blog. It can be a general question or a specific money matter.

So Who is @Money_sucks

Moneysucks? was created by Fergus Muirhead to help demystify money! Money is an important tool for all of us, and an emotional one, but too often we let it control how we live our lives rather than the other way round.

So Moneysucks? will be full of accessible, easy to read, information and advice on all aspects of money and consumer rights. Fergus is making it his mission to help you understand what you need to be doing to make your money work for you, and to make sure that you understand where you stand as a consumer if you feel you’re getting poor service or your complaints are not being taken seriously.

Moneysucks? is the culmination of over twenty years of involvment with money in all its guises and over that time Fergus has helped a wide range of individuals to manage their money efficiently.

Fergus is an experienced writer and broadcaster. He has written on all aspects of money and consumer issues for a number of newspapers and magazines as diverse as Scotland on Sunday, The Herald, The Sunday Herald, the Sun, The News of the World and the Journal of the Probate Section of the Law Society. He wrote a regular column in Moneywise Magazine and for five years he was Consumer Champion at best selling magazine Women’s Own.

He is the author of three money advice booklets for One Parent Families as well as a number of Chapters in the Probate Section Journal Yearbook. He has also written on-line content for RBS ‘Money Sense’ website as well as their ‘Teacher’s guide to Finance’ Booklets.

As well as his writing credits Fergus has appeared regularly on a number of radio and TV programmes. These include GMTV, BBC Breakfast, Homes Live and Location, Location, Location for TV and Macaulay & Co, The Phil Williams Show and many BBC News programmes on radio.

He can currently be seen and heard on his regular money and consumer slot on BBC Scotland’s flagship TV news programme Reporting Scotland and on the lunchtime radio show Scotland Live.

Away from his desk Fergus has travelled the world playing bagpipes and he has acted as Compere at every Piping Live Festival in Glasgow as well as at the prestigious William Kennedy Festival in Armagh. He is a respected performer at Burns Suppers – his Tam o’ Shanter is well worth seeing we are told.

If your starting out as a law student, half way through your studies or coming to the end , ask the expert.
If your a new lawyer or even an ‘old’ one , then questions are welcome.

Top 10 Pitfalls of Being a Mature Student

Top Ten Pitfalls of Being a Mature Student

My first post on this subject (ten-reasons-why-you-can-go-back-to-uni-as-a-mature-student) received many views and RT’ s and it focussed on 10 reasons why you CAN go back to Uni as a mature student. In order to give you a balanced view of life as a mature student here are my TEN pit falls.

1.Can you teach an old dog ‘new tricks’

Mature students, unlike fresh young students come to further education with a set of pre-conditioned ideas. Your views are shaped and moulded by your experiences of life and in some ways this is a benefit for mature students however it can also be a hindrance. Just like the driving instructor who struggles to teach his pupil ‘how to drive’ after having 30 lessons with their dad. Mature students sometimes struggle to absorb new and fresh idea. Life can taint your view. There is an old Tao saying that ‘in order to fill your cup you must first empty it ‘and sadly some mature students do not grasp this.

2. No Energy

Gosh I wish I could have the energy I had in my twenties whilst I am in my 40’s. Sadly it is not there any more. Mature students have extra responsibilities and many work, raise families and indeed do a full shift before even leaving home in the morning. Taking care of yourself must be at the top of your list if you pan to embark on a life of study.


Many mature students have families and children. The additional struggle that faces these mature students is broader than those of the younger student. Whilst young students focus is on themselves and handing in that piece of course work by the due date. Mature students have children, school, work, and all of the responsibilities that go with it. Making sure you have the packed lunches ready, new school shoes, parent’s nights, child care organised. Being a mature student requires excellent project management skills because you have to juggle many projects at the same time. Children don’t care if you have an essay due in , dinner needs to be bought, prepared and they deserve to be put first (in my case they always are).

4.No Money
This is a tough one. Get used to having no money. Get used to it very quickly and get used to having debt. It’s a fact. The good thing is you are not alone.

Ok, so I set out to write about the 10 pitfalls yet when I get as far as no 4 I think …..Wait there are no more. What are you waiting for? Life is for living and for learning. Never mind the pitfalls think of the adventure…….

I have really enjoyed life as a mature student and I returned to study in 2004 at the University of Glasgow. I graduated with LL.B (Hons) in 2009 and just coming to the end of the DipLP (Diploma in Legal Practice) and start my journey as a trainee solicitor very soon.
If I can do it you can – Pitfalls – Bah they are history. DO IT ANYWAY

Michelle L Hynes
LL.B (Hons)DipLP