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New App Helps Insolvency Professionals Keep Current

by on September 26, 2013

Allan Nackan, Farber Financial Group

Allan Nackan, Farber Financial Group

By Allan Nackan

One of the biggest headaches for insolvency practitioners is keeping on top of new developments in a fast-paced world.

With some statutes running hundreds of pages, carting around relevant legislation can be a backbreaking experience, never mind that books quickly become outdated and new court rulings appear weekly.

At Farber Financial Group, we set out to solve the problem by creating RESOLVE™, Canada’s first insolvency and restructuring App for mobile devices, which aggregates important statutes, cases and practice materials in one spot. It provides current information for those on the fly. Lawyers engaged in a global practice can use the App to keep abreast of Canadian developments and access legislation from important jurisdictions such as Europe and the U.S.

“It’s very convenient,” says well-known insolvency lawyer Derrick Tay, a partner at Gowlings LLP in Toronto, who relies on his iPad to keep him plugged in when he’s on the move.

 “If I want to refer to a statute or case, I’m only a couple of clicks away from getting the information I want. It’s Canadian centric and tailor-made for insolvency professionals.”

Stuart Brotman, an insolvency partner at Fasken Martineau in Toronto, also uses RESOLVE on his iPad. “They post the day sheets for the Commercial List in Toronto. I use it to check which courtroom I am in and who my judge is. It’s nice to see people in our industry thinking progressively like this,” he says.

Our goal in creating RESOLVE was to build an easy to use tool that engages our market and referral network, including lawyers and insolvency professionals.

We decided that by creating a useful interface that people could check every day to quickly access relevant insolvency information, it would help build our loyalty base. Little did we know that it would be a 14-month odyssey and require hundreds of hours of investment in time and resources.

However, it has paid off. More than 300 users have downloaded RESOLVE since its launch in February 2013 and that number continues to grow.

Recent studies show that smartphone and tablet usage among lawyers is soaring. The 2012 Clio Apple in Law Firms Survey found 62% of lawyers use an iPhone and 24% use an Android phone. iPad usage by lawyers now exceeds 57%.  Personally, I use my iPad for business purposes and mobile Apps are powerful platforms to deliver the content that help us as practitioners.

RESOLVE is powerful and intuitive. It can be downloaded for free on iTunes for Apple devices and Google Play for Android devices. The App can be used on any other mobile device via web version at http://www.resolve-app.com.

We are constantly meeting with insolvency professionals to showcase RESOLVE and obtain user feedback, which we use to enhance the App. 

We worked with Toronto-based mobile application developer Cellflare to develop RESOLVE, which features the following key components:

 

1. Daily Door Sheet

One of the most popular components is the Daily Door Sheet. We post the daily docket for the Toronto Commercial List indicating which cases are up, the judges and courtrooms in which they will be heard. It provides lawyers with a convenient way to access the docket, rather than poring through cluttered email boxes looking for relevant information.

2. Statutes, CanLII & Lexology

The Statutes, CanLII and Lexology section is the heart of the App. We developed this section so that the statutes actually download to the users’ device when they view them. So if you don’t have Internet access, 3G or an LTE connection, you can still access the information.

It currently contains 12 insolvency texts from Canada, the U.S. and Europe, all of which are attractively formatted, and can be individually searched and annotated.

The Canadian offering includes:

Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act;

• Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act;

• Wage Earner Protection Program Act;

• Winding-Up and Restructuring Act; and

Canada Business Corporations Act.

The U.S. texts include the USC Title 11 and FRDB; Chapter 15 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code; and the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure.

The European text includes the Council Regulation EC number 1346\2000; the Cross-Border Insolvency Regulations 2006; the UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency and the INSOL Statement of Principles for a Global Approach to Multi-Creditor Workouts.

Currently, there is nowhere else on the Web, and certainly not in a mobile App, to get those texts in a portable form in a single spot.

Because insolvencies are often multi-jurisdictional, we included important statutes, along with articles and news from outside of Canada. At the request of insolvency practitioners, we plan to add other legislation to the App. 

Our Cases section includes a running list of the most recent insolvency cases from CanLII.org. A search tool allows users to access older cases from the CanLII database. In partnership with CanLII, we are the first to develop a more robust search function via a direct link into CanLII’s entire database.

The third feature in this section is the Lexology case summaries. Lexology is a web service that works with law firms to disseminate articles and case summaries. It’s a great source of quality articles. Lexology was our first content provider. We sought out this service to allow Canadian lawyers to read high-quality articles by their peers in Canada and around the world in one spot.

 

3. Events

We have included a calendar that practitioners can use to see upcoming conferences and seminars on insolvency, hosted by groups such as the Ontario Bar Association, the TMA, the Association of Corporate Growth, CAIRP, INSOL and ABI. We encourage law firms to send us details about their insolvency events.

 

4. News

We wanted to launch the App with strong content so we included a news portal, which features the latest on Canadian and U.S. insolvency law from various sources, including Lexology. We are seeking law firms as well as progressive news and content publishers as partners in order to bring the best and most useful content to our users.

 

5. Firm Directory

We have also included a link to the bios and contact information of Farber professionals for easy access. We have been careful to add only a subtle “marketing” touch to the App. Many lawyers who use the App have complemented us for this approach.

We see tremendous growth in this market. In the few months since launching RESOLVE, we have been approached by a number of parties looking to license our App in different directions.

Mobile access to information is the way of the future and is an important productivity tool to put in the hands of lawyers and insolvency professionals.

Fasken’s Stuart Brotman notes that in Ontario “…courts are certainly starting to embrace technology, such as efiling and eservice. It’s nice to see players like Farber taking us to the next level using technology.”

Allan Nackan is a partner in Farber’s Insolvency & Restructuring practice and Fellow of INSOL International. Allan is currently the president of the Ontario Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals (OAIRP).

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