Group champions software suppliers

Alison Laferla reports

A trade association to boost the image of legal software suppliers has been launched.

The Legal Software Suppliers Association (LSSA) replaces the Association of Legal Technology Suppliers (ALTS), whose members were severely criticised by the Law Society last November. ALTS voted to replace itself with the new organisation in March.

John Meehan, chair of the membership committee, said ALTS did not have a happy relationship with the society but the creation of LSSA was not a reaction to that. He said the aim was to increase the confidence of law firms in legal software suppliers. "There is an image problem. A lot of legal people do not recognise the skills and knowledge within these companies. It is an objective of the LSSA to promote the fact that its members are professional companies with professional business ethics."

Association joining requirements have been tightened. Only software developers established for two years or sole distributors can join, and members agree to be bound by the LSSA code of practice.

Neil Cameron, chair of the Society for Computers and Law, is "encouraging but sceptical". He said there might be long-term benefits to consumers but added: "I would like to see some concrete examples of benefits."

Gary Day, IT officer at the Law Society, said: "Any development which improves the quality of software solutions available to the legal profession is to be welcomed."