Hummingbird Innovation Lab for Law (HILL) -

hummingbird innovation lab for law

Welcome to our HILL!

As a tech forward firm, we are always playing around with the latest and greatest in technology. We work hard to stay abreast of both general tech and legal tech in Canada and abroad, and apply it to our daily lives to make law better for us, our colleagues, and our clients. Our in house tech stack is quite large; from legacy tools like PCLaw to AI, we use it all, and are always looking for ways to simplify the stack.

We created Hill to give a home to our creativity (and welcome others to join in). As we discover new productivity tools, and develop our own, we will share them here in the spirit of community and the advancement of the legal profession as a whole.

Our stack

At Hummingbird Lawyers we are primarily a google shop. The price/value is hard to beat, and as a progressive firm, it gives us access to a wealth of API’s and cutting edge technologies that other industry players are only catching up to. We know the defacto enterprise solution in the legal space is Microsoft – IE, Windows, Client-Server, MS Office – but the overhead, licensing, and maintenance costs simply do not make sense to us. Don’t get us wrong, Microsoft is a great company, especially of late with Satya at the helm. Our eyes are always open.

On top of google, we, like most law firms in Canada, require a heavy amount of document generation – clients are not interested in paying lawyers to recreate a document from scratch or cut and paste tombstone information, not to mention the arduous task of keeping up with ever changing government forms – and for that we have several tools that we use: ACL (made by Korbitec – a company with customer service and training second to none), to DivorceMate, Conveyancer, and more. For firm management, we use PCLaw – a ridiculously outdated and painfully slow software that in theory does a good job of practice management, firm management, and accounting all in one (key point being all in-one… and “in theory”).

Outside of doc. gen. and accounting, we use several online apps to help us stay operating including Workflowy, Trello (and its related Pomodoro), Keep, TribeHR, LastPass, Zapier, IFTT, and a few more. There are some wonderful tools out there that can work well together to keep a firm running in top shape. With that said, there is LOTS of work that can still be done to make it better; and for that there is Hummingbird Innovation Lab for Law – HILL.

Development

We do lots of in-house development (how many law firms can say that?). We try to always use the right tool for the job, but we do have some preferences to keep us lean and mean. We try our best to stay in the world of Javascript. For mobile apps, that means our stack is generally HTML 5 & Javascript sitting underneath Cordova (currently we love Framework 7 to help bring it all together). If we are building a heavy mobile app we can switch to pure Java and Swift, but most law apps simply don’t need the tight integration with the underlying mobile operating systems as a game or other processing intensive app would. For non-mobile, we swing anywhere from WordPress (for CMS and lipstick sites) to Javascript (JQuery), Angular on the front-end, and NodeJS, Express, MariaDB or Mongo, etc. for the backend. Node is exploding, and we love the community behind it.

Projects

So, what exactly is going on at the HILL?

Mobile App: Labour Day : 1872

LD1872, is our first public mobile app. I was designed to provide everyone outside of a union (Ontario only for now) with a goto mobile companion for employment law needs. Its like having an employment lawyer in your pocket – for free. Want to know what minimum wage currently is? What maternity leave looks like (in a very non cryptic, I get it now) for you? All that is in there. We also added in some pretty amazing tools for saving your employment agreement, and diarizing any performance reviews or strange happenings at work. Its a log you can use to remember everything that happens (promised a raise – we got you covered). It can even come in very handy if you are unfortunately let go and need to fight for your rights. Its all encrypted and private and only accessible by you. And for those who need one on one with an employment lawyer, you can book a time with one and get advice either in person or right inside of the app!

It is the future of law and is our part to help solve the problems many people face with fair and reasonable access to justice.

Check it out on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store now!

Court Scheduling App

Every lawyer, paralegal, clerk, or assistant will tell you the nightmare that is booking a trial date, or anything court related. The problem is that its a Provincial or Federal problem and cracking those nuts are tough to say the least. So we decided to come up with a good middle-ground and we wrapped a web application around the whole process. On the backend we manually work directly with the courts to schedule and book everything, but for all other legal professionals, its a piece of cake to simply connect to the web app and book and modify court dates at will.