CATCHING UP #083107
After a week in Florida, I have now have been wasting a whole lot of time visiting Delta's lost baggage website every couple hours, speaking to way-too-cheerful people with thick Indian accents who keep apologizing, and then listening to "Happy Days are Hear Again" when they put me on hold (bad choice for a soundtrack, Delta) only to come back on the line with more apologies.
Never mind that this is the fifth consecutive trip to Orlando where my luggage has been "delayed." (Yes, yes, I should NOT have checked it but UAL bumped me to DL, so I knew I was going to go through "secondary screening" -- so I thought it would be easier than having the TSA folks dig thru my dirty laundry.) No good deed goes unpunished.
ANYWAY, please say a prayer to the karma godz or St. Anthony for me, eh? It's now a full week later and NO sign of my bag. Sigh.
Moving right along -- it's time to play a bit o' catchup:
• Sneak preview: Marketing guru Larry Bodine and his pals (Barry Schneider, principal, and Michael Cummings, managing director, of Sage PDI Inc.) have launched a new monthly online newsletter, Originate, designed to help firms become more proficient at business development. The site officially launches Monday, but you get a sneak peek. The group will also offer webinars, and the site has a list of other resources, including white papers for download. Check out Larry's article, "The Moveable Object: Generating Leads by Finding Buyers in Trouble," here.
• Charlie Rogers, of LexisNexis has taken on a new role, and now is managing the practice management independent consultants. He's also organizing efforts for an October 200-mile "Ride without Limits" bike trip in North Carolina that will benefit the United Cerebral Palsy organization:
Riders commit to ride 100 miles on two consecutive days and raise a minimum of $500 for UCP. We currently have 11 riders and continue to raise our fundraising goal. We have people from all walks of life on the team, both internal to Lexis and external, including Wells Anderson, an attorney and president of Minnesota's Active Practice. We also have Kevin Stilwell, co-founder of Time Matters, who is now the head of software development for all LexisNexis Practice Management products.
For details, visit this link.
• We hear that Arnold & Porter is looking for a CIO. For the 411, e-mail Beverly Lieberman, of Halbrecht Lieberman Associates, here.
• Neil Squillante of TechnoLawyer checks in with a fun post for Labor Day weekend.
• Jason Velasco's got a new gig, as veep of client services at Merrill Corp. "I will be responsible for managing Merrill's consulting organization, project managers, and data collection/forensics group." New e-mail here.
• More good works: Daphne Eviatar, a senior reporter with The American Lawyer, will also be exercising for charity in October, in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in NYC.
In just the past year, two of my closest friends, both under 40, were hit with breast cancer. At the time I had no idea how prevalent it was, but I've since learned that every three minutes, someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with the disease. Almost all of you probably know someone who's had breast cancer, and the horrible ordeal so many women have to go through. Because of that, I'm writing to ask for your help in fighting it.
Check out her website.
• Finally, Ross Todd, of The American Lawyer, did a terrific and clever spin on a tech story, detailing how "I spent the day with five doomed hard drives and a batch of condemned CDs" that were being sent to the high tech slaughterhouse. Read it here.
2007 ILTA TECH PURCHASING POLL
As we mentioned below, survey season is well in bloom. At last week's ILTA conference, JoAnna Forshee and her team at Envision Agency released the 2007 ILTA Technology Survey, which you can download the Executive Summary here: Download 07_ilta_survey.pdf
The 32-question web-based survey was distributed t0 467 ILTA member firms that ranged from 100 to 3,400 attys -- and yielded an impressive 27% return rate with 126 surveys received by the June cut-off date.
We were thrillllllled with one result: "Law Technology News topped the favorite legal periodicals list in 2007, up 16% from 2006." (Out of 24 choices.) And da Scold got exciting feedback, too: "This year, the response rates are up and The Common Scold, Dennis Kennedy.com, Law.com and TechnoLawyer all registered notable increases compared to 2006." Wow!!! We're humbled! Thank you, ILTA.
Among other interesting results:
• Counter to anecdotal wisdom, GCs may not have as much clout as everybody thinks on technology purchases within large law firms. "Less than half of respondents cited their clients as being key influencers in the IT purchasing process. In fact, only 39% of large firms (200+ attys) look to clients..." What's the biggest influencer? 61% say "peer-authored articles are the overwhleming favorite," followed by product reviews and articles by independent consultants.
• There's a lot of new tech getting installed: 56% of respondents have installed network upgrades or servers; 42% have bought wireless devices; and 47% have purchased new desktop hardware.
• Mirroring the Socha/Gelbmann report, ILTA respondents note that finding and retaining qualified litigation support/e-discovery staff is expected to become an increasingly difficult challenge.
Here's a link to the PDFs on the Envision website.
Remember: be green, print only what you really need on paper.
GET YER RED HOT TECH SURVEY SOLUTIONS
It's survey season, and the latest poll to launch comes from our colleagues over at ALM Research. They joined forces with Cogent Research (John Meunier, principal, and Julie Arbit, research director) to produce the 2007 Legal Technology Market Assessment Survey, which analyzes how customers view vendors and decide how they'll buy products and services.
The ALM team was lead by my pal Margaret Daisley, research consultant/editor, and Christine Yoest, marketing manager. (ALM's Cynthia White and Chrisopher Whissen were the design team.)
Aside from my wanting to strangle Margaret for allowing the forbidden, banned, meaningless word "solution" to be riddled throughout the survey, the 144-page report covers a lot of ground.
The survey evaluated responses from 1,373 attorneys, with the goal of measuring perceptions about technology in five areas: 1) case/practice management 2) doc management 3) e-discovery 4) CRM/client dev and 5) online research. Respondents were from a cross-section of firms and corporate counsel offices.
What jumps out from its executive summary is that the ALM/Cogent survey is yet another confirmation that there is a lot of resistance to tech -- and that there is a LOT of low hanging fruit for the vendors. Just as the ABA's tech surveys from Catherine Sanders Reach's Legal Technology Resource Center consistently document, the new ALM/Cogent poll finds that a surprising number of practicing lawyers are without technology tools.
• 52% of the attys have access to case management software.
• 32% have access to doc mgmt tools.
• 12% have access to EDD products.
• 9% have access to CRM software.
This is pretty breathtaking. Wake up vendors, you need to do a better job of reaching and educating your potential customers.
And legal technology is absolutely exploding despite these low figures. Put the ALM/Cogent report in the context of the 2007 Socha/Gelbmann EDD Survey, which found that e-discovery vendor revenues doubled between 2005 and 2006, and have reached $2 billion -- and are expected to double again by 2009. We're talking a HUGE change in the way law firms and corporate counsel do business. Frankly, as I've pontificated on before, any lawyer who isn't using (and facile with) legal technology really better contact his or her malpractice carrier.
The ALM/Cogent survey gives a lot of drill-down info on the leaders in the each major category. While there are a lot of calories here, I do take issue immediately with one section, where they argue that Microsoft Office is "unexpected competition."
Quite the contrary -- Microsoft Office is probably the #1 software used by the majority of all legal practitioners, for everything from calendaring to litigation support -- and probably used more for document management than you might imagine (esp. in small firms).
Case in point: I would expect its PowerPoint to be the dominant product used in global courtrooms. And who doesn't use its calendar? It doesn't surprise me at all that the pollsters found that 57% of respondents used it for calendaring, 49% for doc management and 28% for case management.
Anyway, the survey covers a LOT of ground, and includes everything from a performance comparison of case management
solutions systems; an assessment of purchase "drivers" and criteria; and detailed analysis of the top vendors in the five areas, exploring such perceptions as user loyalty, and what would happen to the marketplace if the product was not offered.
Some results are surprising: for example, Thomson Corp.'s Elite/Prolaw got low marks for "below average [performance], especially in terms of features and functionality." Not surprising, however, are the accolades for the ever-popular Worldox -- which has won every year in the LTN Awards' document management category. IT garnered an 84% "satisfaction" score with a 79% "intent to repurchase."
For more info, or to purchase a copy, click here.
Note: The survey is available in hard copy, or a green-friendly electronic license that provides a non-printable PDF file.
BRING OUT THE BROOMS
Another August sweep. SWEEEEEEEET.
WHERE'S KEVIN BACON WHEN WE NEED HIM?
OK, I confess: I WAS dog sledding last week, not in the Yukon, but in Orlando at ILTA, so I'm late to the party about the hysterical Nixon/Peabody "It's not a Theme Song" brouhaha. Let me turn the mic right over to Ambrogi at Law.com's Legal Blog Watch:
Just when it seemed the blogosphere had drained every last guffaw out of the Nixon Peabody not-a-theme-song song (here in MP3), along comes one more: Selection of the song as the Favorite Jam of Summer 07 by the VH1 program Best Week Ever.
Unless you've been dog sledding through the Yukon the last two weeks, you know the story of the song, which the firm commissioned in celebration of being named one of Fortune magazine's 100 best companies to work for. You know that Above the Law blogger David Lat posted the song on YouTube, only to have Nixon Peabody demand it be taken down. Although a firm spokesperson asserted, "Fun is not prohibited here," the blogosphere saw it differently. Lat collects many of the links while The New York Times, Blawg Review #123 and my colleague Carolyn Elefant all provide summaries of the ensuing PR debacle.
Which brings us to this latest honor from VH1. Why pick the Nixon Peabody song as favorite summer jam? "Best Week Ever" comic Michelle Collins explains:
"Guess what, law firm? You can’t stop the tubes! And thank god. Why? Because 'Everyone's a Winner at Nixon Peabody' is officially our Favorite Jam of Summer 07! The type of tune that makes you want to get out the Bartles & James, brush n’ braid your long gray hair, tear off your stirrup pants and miniature horse cardigan, and make out with your 77-year-old husband on a nude beach somewhere in Pueto Vallarta. For real, check it out -- it's almost too good to be true, the kind of motivational song usually saved for competitions between unable-bodied peoples, not high-power blood-sucking attorneys."
Yes, everyone's a winner at Nixon Peabody -- except, it appears, the PR staff.
Be absolutely sure to check out VH1 link -- it's hysterical.
I guess the question is, should they fire the person who dreamed this up, or give him or her a HUGE bonus???
P.S. If the header deludes you, hint: Footloose.
ALL ILTA, ALL THE TIME
There was an impressive amount of "live blogging" at ILTA last week, as well as some post-conference wrap-ups. I decided to do a quick web search to see if I could find links, and here's what I found on ALM's Quest (www.law.com/Quest) & Technorati: (Obviously, I'm not listing da Scold listings cuz yer already here.)
*Goodwin Proctor's Doug Cornelius and David Hobbie get the tie for the most energetic bloggers at ILTA. Hobbie live-blogged around a dozen sessions on his Caselines blog. Cornelius says he logged 21 here. (I stopped counting after 10). Cornelius even blogged about the blogging, here: "Mind Your Meeting or Your Computer".
* My colleague, Law.com's Sean Doherty, wrote a comprehensive report yesterday.
* Dennis Kennedy.com here. He discusses Sean Doherty's report, and as usual, tells us that he was talking first about everything Sean reports on. :)
* Information Governance Engagement Area (Rob Robinson) here. (Links to Claire Duffett's litigation post ici.)
* Tom Baldwin's Knowledgeline. (discusses Sharepoint)
* Kodner's Ross Ipsa Loquitor (you have to scroll down to find the post) here (Joanna Forshee's Technologist panel)
* George Socha's In Re Discovery: OnSite3 demo.
* SLAW.ca: Elizabeth Ellis' Thinking Like a Lawyer (Sharepoint etc.)
* Lawyer KM: ILTA Peer Group, (no permalink so you may have to scroll to find it).
* Clearwell post on EDD.
Did I miss your blog post? E-mail me and I'll add it to the list.
QUITE A NICHE
Last year, I got very excited about The Long Tail, an important book by Chris Anderson (editor of Wired) that argues that web-based economies make it possible for "niche" products and services to thrive. I immediately saw the relevance of Anderson's theories to the legal profession (and to publishing as well) and ran a big analysis story in our Sept. 06 issue.
One of the theories I've been espousing lately is that the big three (Thomson, LexisNexis and Wolters Kluwer) will continue to gobble up legal technology companies right and left -- that there will be a ton of road kill by those that aren't Darwin enough to survive -- and that niche products and services will thrive (until bought up by WexisK).
An example I frequently cite is Levit & James -- a small Virginia based company that produces software for specific tasks, like converting from Corel's WordPerfect to Microsoft Corp.'s Word. Ian Levit is the energetic and enthusiastic "front man" and nobody does a demo better. That's him above, at ILTA's NASA-themed vendor launch party. (Recluse programming guru Fletcher James stays outta sight.)
L&J next tackled the thorny issue of creating Tables of Authorities, with Best Authority. Talk about a niche product -- no document assembly task drives assistants and lawyers crazier than trying to create ToAs in court documents. In June, L&J upgraded the program to version 2.0, adding a new wizard to reduce training time. The program has been adopted by 80 firms -- including 12 members of the AmLaw 100 roster, says Levit.
Explains the website:
...Best Authority guides users every step of the way through the production process. Best Authority starts by scanning the document and automatically marking all the citations. A draft can be checked before it is built, using extensive reviewing and editing tools to assist with revisions. These tools include having the citations automatically marked and identified by type of citation with color. “Suspect” fragments are also easily identified with a specific color so they can be reviewed and corrected. This process is aided by a split-screen interface, so the user can readily compare each TOA citation to its counterpart in the original brief. Perhaps best of all, all revisions to citations or to the TOA are permanent, and will remain no matter how many times the document is revised and re-scanned.
The upgrade addresses issues raised by clients, says Levit, including the ability to hyper-link page numbers to the citation in the document. "For Illinois and three other states, we can now list citations in the Table of Contents or Points and Authorities," he says. They've also added special formatting options for that always-finicky state, California. And the upgrade supports Microsoft's Vista and Office 2007.
The company is about to launch a second flavor of the program, geared at small firms, which will probably be dubbed "Best Authority Lite or Light." It will feature a simpler interface, so less training time, says Levit -- about an hour. Pricing starts at $250 per litigator.
The always-traveling Levit will be at seven paralegal conferences in October and November, so there's a good bet he'll be at a city near you, shortly, if you want to see him in action. E-mail him here. Here's an unmasked photo, (right, with his brother Mark) -- but he's not hard to recognize -- just look for the most energetic vendor in the hall.
I turn the mic over to Sean Doherty, Law.com's technology editor, for an excerpt from his ILTA wrap up. For his full Law.com report, click here.
Lawyers, like other professionals, have a love-hate relationship with their e-mail application. They love it when it's up and available and they hate it when it's down. Legal IT's goal in this relationship would be to make love and provide reliable and consistent e-mail service for lawyers.
The e-mail application that appears to predominate in the law firm setting is Microsoft Exchange -- keeping the Exchange server up and running is critical. That's why MessageOne and Teneros stood out on the showroom floor.
The big difference between MessageOne and Teneros is that the former is a service and the latter manufactures and sells a product. Also, MessageOne supports both an Exchange and Notes e-mail environment. Teneros only supports Exchange but plans on adding Notes in the near future.
MessageOne's Email Management Services, or EMS Email Continuity, aims at providing a complete failover e-mail system for law firms when an outage occurs -- planned or unplanned. When an outage occurs, EMS kicks in and allows Outlook Web browsers or BlackBerry wireless devices to continue using Exchange services with minimal interruption.
While the Exchange or Notes server is up and running, it synchronizes with a similar environment set up in a MessageOne data center. Data centers are located around the world. When an outage occurs, EMS can be activated via the Web or phone and -- in approximately 60 seconds -- end users are redirected to their e-mail environment at MessageOne. For Outlook clients who install an extension, the failover time is seamless and requires no action on the part of an e-mail administrator or end user. Now that's coming close to what Teneros can do with an appliance.
Teneros supplies law firms with an appliance that sits in the data center. Like MessageOne, Teneros synchronizes Exchange data when the server is up and running. The difference here is that the synchronization is local and not to a remote data center. When the Exchange server -- or any services supplied by it (e.g., SMTP) -- become unavailable, automatic failover occurs. And from what I've seen on the showroom floor, it's automatic and immediate.
With a Teneros appliance set up and configured to work with an Exchange server, a Teneros technical engineer sent test messages to the Exchange server -- one message every two seconds. I unplugged the network connection to the Exchange server and watched the e-mail redirect to the Teneros appliance. No doubt, a server receiving e-mail faster than one message per second may result in losing a message during failover; but that would be an exceptional case. Once the Exchange server is back online, e-mail can be redirected back to its home once the Teneros appliance and the Exchange server synchronize their data.
LITIGATION READINESS AT ILTA
As we look back at the hectic week at ILTA, once again, EDD vendors dominated the showroom floor. Each company attempted to shout above the cacophony by offering something new and different, and as we've been tracking in LTN, there's a distinct shift to "litigation readiness software" from prior "reactive" postures.
A new model for discovery is emerging, where the bulk of the legwork to organize files and map out cases takes place long before the discovery process kicks in.
We had a chance to meet with some of the vendors during the show, and here are some previews of what they have in store (watch for details in our October issue):
Kroll is still a bit hush hush about Shareview, the case management program it will roll out at the end of September. Its software engineers told us they think the program will stand out above the others because it is web-based -- so clients can go online and see just how the attorneys they're paying are planning for litigation. While the program is still in beta testing, lawyers are currently playing with its charts, graphs, and auto-fill templates and reporting back the bugs, says Kroll.
Epiq Systems Inc.
Never heard of them? They say they don't mind. The company is taking a "slow and steady" approach, focusing on retaining current clients and resisting the urge to take on too much new business, says Lisa Schofield, vice president of the discovery division. Its main clients are corporate legal departments, and the company focuses its efforts on litigation readiness services. Its DocuMatrix EDD software includes pre-review tools - like automated loading and bulk coding. It also has the one tool necessary to keep up with the competition: native file review.
LexisNexis, not one to be outdone, announced major upgrades to version 7.5 of its case management software, CaseMap. The software now tracks relationships between players in cases and the documents associated with them. Bulk loading functions can send larger amounts of data to more than 30 discovery programs. The goal: to reduce the time (read: money) spent preparing for and performing discovery.
ALL EYES ON HOT EDD CASE
Our colleagues in San Francisco (The Recorder and Cal Law) are monitoring a very hot case that is bound to send shrapnel throughout the e-discovery community. Let me turn the mic over to Jessie Seyfer:
In a case marred by discovery errors, Qualcomm's trial counsel are in a place no lawyers want to be. The Day Casebeer Madrid & Batchelder and Heller Ehrman lawyers face the very real prospect of individual sanctions — and possible State Bar discipline — for their mistakes in a San Diego patent case. But they have yet to explain to the judge how, exactly, those discovery blunders came to pass.
That's because Qualcomm has told the magistrate judge in the case that such an explanation would violate attorney-client privilege, according to a transcript from a hearing held last month.
The company, now represented by DLA Piper, argued in a July 26 hearing that the company is facing related litigation in state court against the same adversary, Broadcom. Waiving privilege in the federal case would destroy it in the other litigation, giving Broadcom an unfair advantage there, DLA Piper partner William Boggs told the court.
But federal Magistrate Judge Barbara Major, who will ultimately render the decision on formal sanctions, has not easily swallowed that argument.
In the July hearing, Boggs advised her: "If Qualcomm is asserting attorney-client privilege, you cannot draw adverse inferences against them."
She replied: "No, but I'm not willing to make inferences in their favor on that basis."
Throughout that hearing, Boggs contended that Qualcomm attorneys made a slew of bad judgment calls during trial, but never withheld evidence intentionally or in bad faith. But Major complained several times that Boggs had not produced any evidence to back up his arguments.
Major followed up the frustration she expressed during the July hearing this week by ordering (.pdf) 14 Day Casebeer and Heller attorneys to explain themselves at a special hearing set for Aug. 29. Specifically, Major has asked them to show cause as to why they should not be subject to sanctions such as fines, State Bar referral, and disclosure of their conduct to all of their firm's current clients.
"They're really between a rock and a hard place," said Francis Morrison III, a longtime intellectual property litigator with Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider in Connecticut. "It's a very tough place to be because the client owns the privilege and not the lawyers."
Major has asked for explanations from Day Casebeer partners James Batchelder and Lee Patch, (photo above) as well as Heller partner Stanley Young, in addition to other partners and associates from both firms. Day Casebeer was lead counsel in the case.
During the trial, Patch had directly questioned a Qualcomm witness who, on cross-examination, first revealed the existence of relevant e-mails Qualcomm had not produced in discovery. Broadcom alleges that Patch knew about the e-mails — Qualcomm's lawyers have since acknowledged learning of their existence 10 days before the witness took the stand — and crafted his questions so the witness would not reveal their existence.
Major's order comes a week after the trial judge in the case determined that the company committed "gross litigation misconduct" when it failed to turn over hundreds of thousands of relevant documents.
U.S. District Judge Rudi Brewster ordered Qualcomm to pay Broadcom's attorneys fees in the case — which could be close to $10 million, according to Broadcom, which is represented by Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr.
Day Casebeer attorneys declined to comment through a spokesperson Thursday, saying the firm's "professional and ethical obligations preclude" them from commenting. In an e-mailed statement, Heller Ehrman Managing Partner Robert Hubbell said "it would not be appropriate" for the firm to speak publicly when a court is preparing to hold a forum on the subject.
"We respect and share [the] Court's desire to protect the integrity of the judicial process and welcome the opportunity to address the Court's concerns," Hubbell wrote. "We will do so in the manner directed by the court."
Major has given the attorneys until next Wednesday to file written declarations in advance of the hearing. Judging from the July hearing, Major may be running out of patience.
"Qualcomm has had numerous opportunities, both in front of me and in front of Judge Brewster, to file a declaration if they chose to, and I think the fact that they chose not to speaks volumes."
"With no declarations or evidence in front of me," she added, "I think the evidence that's in the record does lend itself to a finding that Qualcomm either intentionally withheld or intentionally failed to produce all of the documents that are at issue in front of me, or they were grossly negligent or reckless."
Photo by Jason Doiy, The Recorder.
Here is another Cal Law link (subscription required):
Wall Street Journal report by Ashby Jones here.
ANOTHER GOOD CAUSE
Yvonne Dornic, head of eSentio Technologies, creates what my friend Russ Curtis calls "a blueprint for living an engaged life."
Every year at ILTA, she hosts a party to thank her clients and colleagues. But it's not just a generic convention soiree. Dornic manages to orchestrate a memorable evening that includes entertainment that educates (the Orlando School of Cultural Dance); a silent auction to benefit a good cause relevant to our tech community (The Youth for Technology Foundation that assists African youngsters); and a showcase for a local chef (Russell Scott). And she always manages to find a very elegant and unusual venue (Isleworth Country Club. Home club of Tiger Woods.)
Dornic carries that aforementioned textured blueprint into her daily life, not just the eSentio annual party. She runs not only the technology consultancy, but one of the very best restaurants in Baltimore - Ze Mean Bean Cafe. Of course, it's not just a terrific restaurant, it also presents nurtures culinary talent -- in typical Dornic style.
Congrats to Yvonne and the entire eSentio team for yet another unique and fabulous evening. She is a true inspiration.
Photos by Russ.
SINGING THE SAME SONG
Like the billing panel discussed below by my colleague Claire Duffett, the practice management panel pushed the case for development of "client-facing" tech tools that increase the firm's competitive advantage.
Latham & Watkin's Joy Murao, manager, global practice support, moderated the session, which also included her colleague Ken Heaps, L&W's CIO; Tom Baldwin, chief marketing officer at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton; and Jim McKenna, senior manager of practice technology at Morrison & Foerster.
Many firms are using a variety of technology tools to serve their clients, from vanilla basics to highly complex tools serving clients across the globe. These are fee-based services, so they generate revenues, the panelists explained. Extranets are especially popular. Latham, says Heaps, currently has 150 active client extranets -- and expects that number to explode to 600 by the end of the year.
At Latham, the firm's technologists also developed a complex "Compliance Net" tool that helps clients generate necessary legal paperwork without even having to pick up the phone and talk to their lawyer.
Contract management is another area that can be served by technology tools and extranets, said the panelists.
Savvy firms are realizing that they not only can charge clients for some of these services, but the very presence of the services can be a critical "differentiator" in getting and retaining new business. In fact, many firms now involve the firm technologists in planning sessions before they meet potential clients; and then some technologists to the face-to-face meetings with the targets.
It's a good move. In LTN's June cover story, Sell Your Tech, Douglas Caddell argued that corporate clients want to buy not just legal services, but the accompanying technology.
Tom Baldwin noted that tech teams must market internally to win over the firm's attorneys, even to the point of creating brochures that educate about the available technology tools.
(See also, Roberta Gelb's "Selling Technology: Marketing the Buy." from our 11/06 issue. )
The bottom line -- that these tools can make money -- is a strong argument for swaying the hearts and minds of lawyers. "Some attorneys see what we are doing as a goldmine," observed McKenna. "Others see it as a necessary evil."
And it helps if the IT department gets a "can do" reputation. "Come to us, because we get it done," said Baldwin.
Once the firm attorneys embrace the "client-facing" tech services, the IT department can reap benefits, observed the panelists. It's a lot easier to get resources when you help put the black in the bottom line, they said.
RIP BILLABLE HOUR
It's official: The billable hour is dead. So says Elizabeth Broderick, partner at Sydney-based Blake Dawson Waldron.
Like an opera death scene, this demise has been slow and noisy, but it's here, she says. Sure, we're still hearing a few final whimpers from the most change-resistant -- but most of the 200-plus attorney firms are now offering alternative pricing methods and tacking on tech services that add value to the traditional attorney-client relationship.
At the ILTA panel titled "Understanding the Lawyer-Client Relationships," Broderick and others discussed how their firms are modernizing client interaction. Three tactics emerged:
* Create pricing models according to the nature of the client. For example, when Bryan Cave draws up paperwork on a deal for its real estate client, the fee is based on the square footage of the building involved, explains Connie Hoffman, director, client technology group. Other fees are project-based or decided by the scope of legal representation.
* Establish an IT department focused exclusively on client technology and separate from the team that handles day-to-day firm operations. Hoffman's division creates extranets, web-based file databases, and business intelligence tools for Bryan Cave clients. These are add-on services to the firm¹s legal representation (and yes, you can charge extra for them).
* Use tech to develop programs that automate repeatable legal work. Blake Dawson has created an online program called Virtual Lawyer. Clients log on and obtain basic legal advice, Broderick explains. For example, a marketing team can submit a potential advertisement, and the program will flag objectionable words. This frees attorneys up to perform more complex legal analysis and gives clients a faster turn-around on simple tasks.
-- Claire Duffett, News Editor, LTN.
AT THE PODIUM
My first order of business at ILTA was to participate in a media panel, organized by Joanna Forshee, Jobst Elster and her team at the Envision Agency, targeting vendors, on Monday. The panel included representatives from ALM (moi et Sean Doherty, technology editor of Law.com); John (JD) Delavan, editor of the Association of Legal Administrators' Legal Management; Ken Hansen from ILTA's Peer-to-Peer publication; and Keith Ecker, technology editor of Inside Counsel.
It was a fascinating and enlightening session, especially because the five speakers evidenced very different policies about vendor submissions of articles and press releases; and very different approaches to the type of coverage they provide about vendor product and services. Truly, not all publications are run alike, so it is wise for vendors who seek coverage to carefully review publications and their policies (and editorial calendars).
My thanks to Joanna et al for the invitation.
* Today, I did an hour presentation on "How to Deal with the News Media," part of ILTA's professional development track. It was targeted to help IT staff, especially those who are rising in their organization's hierarchy, who might be interacting with news media for the first time. We discussed everything from understanding basic ground rules (e.g., on the record/ off the record / not for attribution / background) to subtleties of pitching story ideas, what is (and isn't) newsworthy, and more. The audience was incredibly gracious, and asked terrific questions.
Special thanks to Candy White, internal practice consultant at Hunton & Williams, who oversaw the planning for the program, as well as to T.J. Johnson, Randi Mayes and Peggy Weschler, of ILTA.
ILTA LAUNCH SUCCESSFUL
Just a very quick post, as I dash off to the Women in E-Discovery meeting, but just wanted to let everybody know that International Legal Technology Association's annual August Sauna/Convention is up and running -- and as always, crowds, crowds, crowds. Record setting crowds -- Randi Mayes, exec director, said the conference drew about 2,700 attendees here in Orlando at the JW Marriott/Ritz Carlton complex (including members, vendors and media). And 500 were first-time attendees, she noted.
A few teasers (I'll have more later):
* The keynote -- probably the best I have ever heard -- featured astronaut Jim Lovell, above, who spoke on "A Successful Failure." His inspiring presentation focused on the lessons he learned as captain of the Apollo 13 mission -- and how they can be applied to all of our work in legal technology. He spoke the five words that have become emblazoned into the American lexicon, "Houston, we have a problem."
Lovell's main theme was to trust your team and your training, and your knowledge; expect the unexpected; pay meticulous attention to detail; be creative; do not give up; and above all, never, ever, travel anywhere without duct tape.
* CT Summation has gobbled up DocuLex's Discovery Cracker suite of e-discovery processing software. The company reports that the acqusition will complement CT Summation's transcript management product. Here's the 411.
CT's other EDD products include iBlaze, WebBlaze Enterprise, and CaseVault, as well as CT TyMetrix and TyMetrix360.
*Speaking of launches: My colleague over at Law.com, Sean Doherty, has inaugurated his new blog, "Legal Technology: Law.com's Legal Technology Blog." Check out his reports from ILTA!
JUST ZEN IT
She discusses the dilemma faced by many IT admins, to enforce standardization and restrictions on personal technology.
"In the age of consumerized technology, banning employees from using personal technology at work only creates an endless and exhausting game of Whack-a-Mole. The only way to win is to manage both the technology and the insistent employee through a cooperative care model, says the Yankee Group," she writes.
Perelman continues, noting that consultant group found that half of employees feel their own tech is more advanced than workplace tech. The Yankee Group cites consumerization of tech as one of five things (content, client, connectivity and collaboration), "that will be a nightmare for IT departements," creating maintenance and support issues that can overwhelm resources.
"IT can fight this tooth or nail, or it can conceded and adopt a Zen-like approach which will give control to users through a cooperative care model, reduce IT's burden and improve internal customer satisfaction."
Instead of focusing on fixing broken stuff, IT could foster an environment that helps users fix their own stuff; with increasing use of wikis, blogs, tagging and social networking, she says.
"The only way for CIOs to transform their business is to reallocate resources," says YG's Joshua Holbrook.
P.S. She also posts this very interesting story from the Wall Street Journal about how users can make an end run around IT policies they don't like. It includes tips for how to use software that's banned (e.g., AOL instant messaging), how to visit websites that are blocked by your firm, how to clear your tracks from your work laptop, etc.
Working Mother magazine, and consulting firm Flex-Time Lawyers, have released the 2007 Best Law Firms for Women roster. It lists the top 50 firms (in alpha order) that are working to improve retention and promotion of their female attorneys.
Winning firms are notable for "work/life and women-friendly policies, including flex-time, child care, and women-focused mentoring, leadership and networking programs."
THREE MEN ENTER A BAR....
Alan Nye, of our LTN Editorial Advisory Board, decided it was time to brush up on his trial techniques. So he enrolled in a stand-up comedy class. Read all about it in the Maine Bar Journal. (For some reason, the Typepad auto link won't work today -- so here's the URL: http://www.mainebar.org.)
It's not as odd as it may seem at first blush.
"The skills necessary to perform stand-up are similar to those used in trial work," Nye asserts:
• Preparation and memorization.
• Poise under pressure.
• Self confidence in uncomfortable settings.
• Thinking on your feet and reading your listeners.
• Selling yourself.
Check it out in the Journal (but caveat: the entire magazine downloads, and his story's at page 146.
GOOD WORKS, GOOD DEEDS
Allison Walsh, of LexisNexis up in Seattle, is in training once again for her 100 mile bike trip in September that will raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Her team hopes to raise more than $120,000 for this great cause. 1,900 people are diagnosed every week with lymphoma in the U.S., and 1,555 die each week. Fortunately, Alli's brother Brian is a colon cancer survivor, after a harrowing experience, which motivates her involvement.
"My greatest wish is that everyone who has a loved one with blood cancers can celebrate life the way my family recently did."
Check out her website where you can donate to the cause.
* Anthony Colleluori, a Woodbury, N.Y., attorney, invites you to attend the Nov. 29 National Scleroderma Foundation Gala, at NYC's Grand Hyatt hotel on Park Ave. He's been serving on the foundation's board of directors since 2001, and will step down in December. Over his tenure, says Anthony,
"I have seen many of my initiatives brought into lay and we have enriched the lives of our patients through the funding I have helped provide, through our walk-a-thons, the National Dinner and soon (I hope) through a National Research Endowment drive."
The disease has hit home for Anthony, whose wife MaryRose Colleluori has been dealing with the ravages of the auto-immune rheumatic disease that turns its victims "into stone," as he puts it. (Hardening of the skin is one of the most visibile manifestations of the disease, according to the foundation's website.) For more info about the gala or the disease, e-mail Anthony here.
It parallels the company's U.S. patent that was issued in May (No. 7,222,293), and is a "business method patent that claims and protects a method of automatically recording internet activity peformed by a user on behalf of a client," reports Eagan.
"Business method patents are seldom granted in the U.S., and are only allowed after heightened scrutiny not only by the assigned patent examiner, but also by a panel of senior examiners who have expertise in the particular field of the claimed invention," he says.
The application process took more than six years! The East Moriches, N.Y.-based company's PartinerOnline software provides auditing and recording systems for legal and regulatory compliance.
Huron Consulting Group is acquiring Callaway Partners, which specializes in finance and accounting project management systems. Callaway currently has offices in Birmingham, Detroit, Washington, D.C., and is headquartered in Atlanta. The deal will cost about $60 million.
Huron also announced that Michael Braverman has joined the company as managing director of its forensics and complex accounting team. He comes from Grant Thornton, where he was a partner in charge of the Northeast technology industry practice.
MORE MAILBAG #070907
One of my all-time favorite people is Lindsay Thompson, who recently retired from his Seattle law practice and moved upstate to the gorgeous Port Angeles area. A former member of the Washington State Bar's board of governors, he's a terrific writer -- in fact, he's launched a new publication -- in print, no less -- called "Thompson's Monthly - A Journal of the World, From One of the Edges." You can subscribe (and I highly recommend it) for $40, and if you register by 8/25, you get six extra issues. Here's the 411: Download tm_sub_letter.doc.
* Our former colleague David Horrigan, now director of legislative and regulatory policy for the Magazine Publishers of America, checks in with news about MPA's efforts to push for a federal shield law, to protect reporters' confidential sources. Here's the update on H.R. 2101, the Free Flow of Information Act. Keep up the good work, David! It's appreciated!
* Lee Johnson, founder of Syngence and DocID, pops a note about his new company, Mind Talent, that is designed to help people read more, better and faster. He says he got the idea for it after his experience in e-discovery, where he realized that"
"no matter how good the search engine, no matter how good the database, someone still has to read the information for context and relevancy in order to use and benefit from the information."
The company has developed a series of products, including HeadCram Legal, designed to help users read EDD documents to ID and tage/file docs.
* Sheryl Schelin wants you to know that she has launched Blawg In a Box, the new website for her consulting business, Inspired Consulting. Schelin is offering copywriting and blog services, designed for solos and small firms. Says Schelin:
"Through three different turnkey packages, I can work with [lawyers] directly to create, optimize, post, market and maintain the ... blawg. Yow ...own the URL, the blog, and all of its content. No licenses, no questions. It's yours, period. I just work for you to ensure your blawg stays timely, updated, current, professional, and perfectly formatted."
Schelin, is a solo attorney based in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Before launching her new consulting practice, she spent nine years with Horry County as a staff attorney, focusing on airport law.
CAST YOUR VOTE!
We've changed the process a bit from the past, where we had "write-in" balloting which frankly lead to some confusion. Now, the vendors themselves nominate their products into the correct categories, and then it's up to YOU, our Law Technology News readers, to choose your faves.
The process is easy: You just need your LTN subscriber ID number that appears on your label -- if you click here we'll walk you through it. If you get our digital version, you'll find your subscriber ID in the e-mail notice you'll receive. (If any questions, e-mail Kevin Iredell.)
You have until October 31 to cast your e-ballot! Finalists will be announced on Nov. 16, and winners will be presented with their awards at the LTN Technology Awards Dinner, Feb. 5, 2008, during LegalTech New York.
P.S. To nominate candidates for the Law Firm/Law Dept. Technology awards, you can use this downloadable form here: Forms are due by Oct. 31.
For sponsorship opptys or table reservations, e-mail Kevin Iredell here or call 800 888 8300.
NOW THAT'S TECH...
Regular readers of da Scold just might remember that I didn't have the greatest experience with hospitals when I had rotator cuff surgery last November. (But at least my complaining got some positive reactions.)
Well, let me tell you about a hospital that does it right: Sharon Hospital, in Sharon, Ct. Just as law firms are learning that clients want "better, faster and cheaper" legal services, so are medical facilities. And Sharon Hospital's ER takes that pledge very, very seriously.
You all know that I'm a klutz. Well, here's the latest proof: I was on vacation last week up at my Berkshires cottage, and I threw on some flimsy flip flops to go run an errand. I managed to catch the edge of the "shoes" on grass -- and voila, moments later I was a lawn ornament with a decidedly twisted and aching foot. Well, I know the drill -- elevate and cold compresses -- but two days later it was still reallllly hurting. (Yeah, yeah, it didn't help that I schlepped to Yankee Stadium and was hiking up and down Tier 3 and then running for the train back to CT). Anyway, I finally caved to the suggestions of my houseguest that it might be a reallllly good idea to go to the ER. So at about 8:30 a.m. Friday, we headed to Sharon Hospital.
I'll bet you think that's where I spent the bulk of my day. Nope. I was in and out in 70 minutes. You read that right: just slightly more than one hour. It took a few minutes for paperwork, and then the nurse met with me; I saw the doc within 10 minutes. Next, Xrays -- and the results. Wow. That's doing ER right.
Yes, of course, I lucked out because it was early a.m. and the ER was quiet. Of course I would have been lower priority had someone presented with injuries more serious than my broken 5th metatarsal bone. But wow! That's amazingly fast.
And that's not all -- later in the day, when I called Dr. Pruzansky's office in NYC to make my folo-up appointment, they wanted a copy of the X-rays -- so I popped back to the hospital's radiology department. In 10 minutes flat they handed me a CD-ROM with my X-rays and the radiology report. Unbelievable. (Click to enlarge.)
Huge kudos to Dr. Joseph DeDonato, the admin and nursing staff, and the super radiology department. That's the way to run a hospital. And the hospital's website is useful and user friendly too! (Check out its patient resource list.)
Law firms, take note! Great client service generates amazing goodwill.
Meanwhile, no more flip flops for me.
They were kind enough to include one of my Katrina-related posts from New Orleans. You can download the book -- which has a user-friendly index of participating blogs to make it easy to find posts -- here. And here's Bob Ambrogi's analysis and resulting comments, on Law.com's Blog Watch.
*The ABA Annual Meeting is gathering this week in San Francisco (alas, I can't attend), and there are two events of particular interest to our tech community. On Saturday, from 11-4 at the San Francisco Fire Dept's training facility at 2310 Folsom, volunteer attorneys will be providing free wills to firefighters, as part of the Wills for Heroes program that was launched by South Carolina lawyer Anthony Hayes.
Holly Michael and the gang at LexisNexis have also been involved, and LN provides its Hot Docs software, which helps the volunteer lawyers create templated wills. (You don't need to be an estates practitioner to participate).
We'll be writing more about this terrific program in an upcoming issue of LTN, I'll come back and put in a link here when it goes live. For info about the SF event, call Holly (937-602-0908) or Anthony (803-447-5002).
Another good works project is being shepherded by the ABA's Rachael Patrick -- a joint effort of the ABA's Council on Racial & Ethnic Justice; Presidential Advisory Council on Diversity in the Profession; and ABA Center on Children and the Law; and the Commission on Youth at Risk.
It's a free CLE program, "From Foster Care to the Pipeline," that will be held Friday (Aug. 10) from 2-3 pm, at Moscone West, room 3108. The discussion will cover how at-risk youth can be helped to transition out of foster care, into law school or other careers in the justice system. For 411 or a reservation e-mail here or call 312 988-5408.
*Two of my colleagues have news:
Andrea Lazarow of our ALM Events division wants to be sure you know about the upcoming Sept. 17 program, "Managing the Discovery Process: The Role of Paralegals and Litigation Support Professionals," which will be held at the Harvard Club of New York. The session is designed to help litigation professionals effectively manage e-discovery; faciliate communication between outside counsel and in-house personnel, manage EDD vendors, and prepare for Rule 36(f) conferences. I've been asked to keynote the event, and I'm very much looking forward to the exciting program, which is co-chaired by Sherry Harris, of Hunton & Williams, and Mark Reichenbach, of MetaLincs. Here's a download with the 411: Download paralegal_sept07.pdf
Jessica Morales, of ALM's Law Journal Press, reports that our online store now has its own blog: Check out www.LawCataBlog.com. Morales says the site includes practice tips from top attorneys, special discounts on ALM pubs, and other goodies.
ABA 2007 TECH SURVEY'S OUT
Catherine Sanders Reach checks in to let us know that the latest survey from the ABA Technology Resource Center is now available.
I haven't had a chance to fully digest it yet -- and Reach will be writing a summary for an upcoming issue of Law Technology News -- but here are a few highlights:
The respondents: The 2007 survey, as in the past, is heavily skewed toward small firm practitioners. Over half are either solos (24%) or attorneys at 2-9 lawyer firms (28%) notes Reach, most (57%) with only office, says Reach, director of the ABA unit. Almost half of this year's respondents (47%) have been admitted for more than 30 years; 76% male.
As in recent years, the survey is divided into five volumes, addressing Law Office Technology; Litigation and Courtroom Tech; Web and Communication Tech; Online Research and Mobile Lawyers, says Reach, who is a member of LTN's edit board.
Here are some first blush items of note:
* Small firms still don't have in-house tech support - solos (80%), 2-9 (60%); but once the firm size hits 10 lawyers, the numbers reverse (80% of firms with 10-49 attys have some in-house support). But overall, 41% of all respondents said they had none.
* Few respondents have technology policies in place. Only 45% have e-mail use polices, a drop from 56% in last year's survey.
* 90% of respondents have software/hardware firewalls.
* No increase from last year on firms that have disaster recovery plans (54%).
*External hard drives (33%) are overtaking tape (26%) as preferred method for backup.
*While 57% of respondents say they practice in courtrooms, 63% of those trial lawyers do not use a laptop in the courtroom and 51% say they do not use any courtroom hardware (VCR, TV, monitors, etc.)
And possibly the most stunning stat:
* Only 32% of respondents say they have lit support software available at their firms -- and of those, only 44% say they use it.
Wow. As I seem to say every year, the ABA's survey points out that there are still a lot of lawyers out there who are not using technology. Now, granted, this survey is absolutely skewed to older, small firm, male attorneys at the end of their careers -- and therefore, there's a huge cup o' salt to be added to any analysis stew.
But year after year, we get the same message from this survey: there's a lot of education needed and opportunity awaiting. Compare this to the Socha survey results below, and it's clear that our industry has a long road ahead in our efforts to provide better, faster and cheaper legal services to our clients.
BIG BIG BIG MONEY
Sorry for the delay, but I've been offline due to a) vacation and b) another adventure that landed me back at Dr. Pruzansky's office. Let's just say it involved a flip flop and I'll tell you more about it shortly. (Yes, of course, there's a tech angle to the story).
But first... drum roll please.... our always-anxiously-awaited August issue, with the 2007 Socha Gelbmann EDD Survey executive summary, by George Socha and Tom Gelbmann themselves. The headline sez it all: "EDD Hits $2 Billion." Yep, you read that right, Two BILLION dollars.
Here's what we call in journalism the "money" graph. (In this case, it's literally about $$):
Our survey covered the 2006 calendar year. Based on our research, we estimate:
• 2006 commercial EDD revenues were about $2 billion, up 51 percent from 2005.
• The top 30 providers collected about $1.08 billion.
• An additional 550+ vendors accounted for another $592 million.
•"Do-it-yourself" firms (law firms and companies doing EDD work they otherwise would have sent to a provider) represented $130 million.
For the first time, we separate out software revenues, which account for about $150 million.
Judging from consumer and provider expectations, we anticipate that the market will grow at approximately 33 percent from 2006 to 2007, 28 percent from 2007 to 2008, and 23 percent from 2008 to 2009.
If these growth estimates are realized, the EDD market will exceed $4 billion by 2009.
While Socha was enjoying a well-deserved vacation in Australia with his family, we taped the third in our EDD Webinar series, sponsored by Zantaz Inc. Of course, the topic was the S/G Survey!
My guests included the aforementioned Tom Gelbmann (aka Tom1), Craig Ball, LTN's award-winning EDD columnist and Austin-based litigator/forensics consultant, and Tom2 (as in Tom O'Connor, director of the New Orleans-based Legal Electronic Document Institute. The lively hour-long discussion covered everything from hot trends to methodology and a few predictions of the future (Will Microsoft really take over the world?). Take a listen here.