The Common Scold is named after a cause of action that originated in Pilgrim days, when meddlesome, argumentative, opinionated women who displeased the Puritan elders were punished by a brisk dunk in the local pond. Believe it or not, the tort lasted until 1972, when State v. Palendrano, 120 N.J. Super. 336, 293 A.2d 747 (N.J.Super.L., Jul 13, 1972) pretty much put it to rest. But the thought of those feisty women, not afraid of a little cold water, has always cheered me up and inspired me. I first used the moniker as the name of my humor column at the University of San Francisco School of Law many moons ago, and revive it now for this blawg!
*And now, with no further ado (drum roll please! cue the music!) Here it is -- the one place where I break all my rules about jargon, about explaining references, defining acronyms, or avoiding insider stuff. It's the one, the only, .....
NEW YORK YANKEES BOX
Rumor Du Jour
All's Right in Yankeeland: Finally, finally, Joe Torre is back in Yankee Stadium. I have been incensed by the Stalinization of Joe by the Yankees, and appalled at the lack of recognition and acknowledgment at the 2008 All Stars Game and his exclusion from closing ceremonies for the old house and inauguration of the new digs.
Last night, he and Mattingly were invited, and attended the ceremonies unveiling George's huge bronze tribute in Memorial Park. It's about time. How wonderful it was to see Torre welcomed back to the NYY fold, where he will always have a huge place in our hearts, no matter what jersey he wears. (Personally, I love the idea of his taking the Cubs to the World Series.) Photo: AP.
Red Sox' Faustian 2004 Nightmare: Al Podboy forwarded an absolutely hysterical parody of the MasterCard commercial where Red Sox fans pledged first born children (and more) if their team won the world series -- and guess what! It's PAYBACK TIME!
The International Legal Technology Association annual meeting, like ALM's LegalTech New York, can be absolutely overwhelming (especially to newbies), but with careful scheduling and planning can be an exhilarating (and definitely exhausting) experience. When it's time to head home, my head is always exploding with new ideas, concepts, and goals for Law Technology News. But more than anything else, I relish the chance to catch up with the folks who have become not just colleagues, but genuine friends over the 14 years I've been editing the magazine.
Here are just a few shots of the wonderful people who create our fantastic community. How lucky we all are to share our careers with such amazing individuals!
The ever-resourceful Jeffrey Brandt, on the PinHawk Law Technology Digest, suggests a very interesting post about knowledge management, by Nick Milton on Knoco stories, about the "culture of pull" (rather than just pushing content). His advice can be applied to any panel or program -- about how to keep attendees engaged rather than snoring. Check it out here.
(I particulary like the photo on his page, mine is a pale comparison.)
Cooperation and collaboration were key themes of a Friday [March 16] panel at the Legal Marketing Association's annual conference, held this year in Dallas. The panelists on "Marketing & IT? You Can't Have One Without the Other" explored how to create a partnership between the two law firm units that too often treat each other as adversaries.
The lively panel included two pairs of CIO/marketers who literally work across the street from each other in Cleveland: CIO Sam Shipley and director of marketing Alexis Dankovich (far right), of Ulmer & Berne; and CIO Karen Anzuini (middle) and senior marketing communications manager Julie Gurney (far left), of Benesch. I served as moderator of the panel, which drew about 100 attendees on the final day of the annual marketing conference.
Benesch has seven offices and 180 attorneys; Ulmer the same number of attorneys and four offices.
The proximity of the Cleveland offices was obviously a significant help for panel presentation; the four speakers obviously did their homework (and rehearsals) far better than most panelists at most conferences -- and the result was a smoothly integrated and highly interactive presentation.
They engaged the audience with a clever introduction comparing how marketing and IT "hear" proposed projects -- such as when marketing says it wants to do "blast" emails and client alerts, IT immediately assumes the entire firm's email will be blacklisted by every recipient; or when marketing wants to upgrade the firm's branding, IT panics over all the changes that will have to be made to templates, letterheads, etc.
The key to success, said the panelists, is to define and focus on the goals of the firm's "internal clients." Focus on the opportunities, and don't fight over who is going to get credit for the project. By collaborating, marketing and IT can identify and prioritize projects, to help them "grow into business" and enhance the firm's client engagements.
This approach, the panel suggested, also helps both the marketers and IT staff to be perceived as valuable contributors helping the firm reach its goals.
Among the takeaway:
* IT and marketing should review their budgets together before submitting to upper management, especial big budget items.
* Establish quarterly meetings between IT and marketing.
* Agree to project plans and timing.
* IT should turn to marketing as early adopters of new technology; they can help evangelize the initiative within the firm.
* Involve IT early in project planning, when defining objectives and scope.
Among projects that will benefit from IT/marketing collaboration:
* Developing applications for mobile devices
* Practice Group business development tools
* Business intelligence
* Legal project management.
* Using QR codes (that users directly to websites) to distribute information at conferences, etc.
The Benesch team discussed how it developed "Apportunity," a recruiting app, after being inspired when Anzuini was handed an iPad to choose her wine at a restaurant.The app uses push notifications to alert job seekers when new Benesch jobs are posted.
Shipley discussed how Ulmer created an add-on to its Cole Valley Software ContactEase client relationship management system, to help the firm increase the speed of its "realization" (accounts receiveable). When an attorney is on the phone with a client, his or her computer screen will instantly show the AR balance and past due amount, allowing the lawyer to remind the client to send a check. Read more about this project in our expanded story on the Law Technology News website, here.
The big buzz, to no one's surprise, at the ILTA opening reception Sunday night at Nashville is all the commotion over recent surprise buys: Google grabbing Motorola; the big puzzler, HP dumping computers (and its well-reviewed TouchPad) and buying Autonomy.
In a smaller, but important move to the financial software crowd, Aderant has snared CompuLaw and Client Profiles, which will be officially announced today at noon. (Keep an eye on www.lawtechnews.com for details.)
Off to the morning breakfast; but before I dive into the joys of hiking the acres here at the Gaylord Opryland, a quick shout out to the Minnesota folks at Thomson Reuters, Kroll, Merrill, Avanstar, Socha/Gelbmann, Dorsey & Whitney -- for three days of terrific briefings -- and the best-ever group game at Target Field Thursday night! So good to spend time with all of you. Good luck to Linda Will as she heads to Texas; always great to see David Curle, George May, the Pritchards, Teri "Jersey Girl" McCarron and Jon Bream -- and the whole gang! Not quite the same without Curt Meltzer, who has moved to New York City to join Orrick.
Perfect weather, wonderful conversations, and sorry (not) the Yankees won, but the Twins took revenge Saturday! :)
There's an upbeat mood at LegalTech West Coast, both on the show floor and in the conference halls. The medium may be the message all right, but being in a comfortable venue seems to enhance our ability to receive and process all that information!
Everybody seems really happy to be back in the cozy confines of the Westin Bonaventure hotel, rather than the cavernous halls of the L.A .Convention Center — where we always seemed to share the building with the happy occasion of the swearing in of hundreds of ecstatic new citizens. LTWC 2011 changed its dates somewhat abruptly, so some of the usual EDD suspects had scheduling conflicts (most significantly with the Guidance Software über user group meetings in Orlando) but the exhibit hall was jumping and the keynotes and plenary sessions were crowded.
The kick off keynote address was presented by Meetup.com's top lawyer, David Pashman (left, with ALM's senior vice president Kevin Vermeulen who introduced him). See LTN's associate editor Michael Roach's report here.
I was honored to moderate the plenary session, "The Corporate Perspective: Why the Legal Industry Needs to Embrace Technology," featuring Tim Hart (below left), of McKesson, and Brian Renken (below right) of Dell. Both offered sage insight from Hart's large "enterprise" perspective to Renken's small-and-midsized business services point-of-view. We focused primarily on how organizations struggle to provide users with the most beneficial technology, while keeping work environments secure to minimize risks and keep the organization agile enough to respond to e-discovery and compliance demands.
During the discussion I gave the audience a "sneak preview" of our upcoming June issue cover story, "Catch Me If You Can," about how CIOs and other law firm leaders are rethinking security protocols in the wake of the recent insider trading charges filed against attorney Matthew Kluger, who allegedly made $32 million in profits by trading on information he acquired while working at Wilson Sonsini; Skadden; and Cravath. Pashman, in attendance at the plenary panel, told the group he had been aboard Wilson Sonsini when Kluger was there, generating a gasp from the audience. Of course, he immediately assured everyone that he did not participate in any of the mischief.
If you are in the Los Angeles area, it's not too late to head over the LTWC Day 2! This morning's 9 am keynote speaker is Manny Medrano, and you can get an hour's worth of CLE credit for his presentation," Trial by Sound Byte: Law in the New Millennium." And EDD Update regulars Joshua Engel, Tom O'Connor, John Jablonski, Bobby Malholtra, and George Rudoy will be presenting today. Get your complimentary pass to the show. We'd love to see you!
If one message came out loud and clear at ALM's fourth "Social Media: Risks & Rewards" conference, it's that for corporations trying to tame social media, time is measured in dog years. Social media has been changing so fast, and its ramifications are so profound, that corporate counsel are scrambling to try to figure out how to leash the risks and sprint with the opportunities. Tactics that were standard operating procedure in the past — such as sending cease and desist letters for violations of trademarks and copyrights — not only no longer work but can backfire so severely that they can signficantly damage corp orate reputations.
Four lawyers from high-profile companies discussed these dilemmas in a fast-paced panel on April 12, "Protection and Promotion: Your Corporate Identity in the Virtual World:" Todd Adler (middle), senior corporate counsel of Oracle; Johanna Sistek (right), trademark counsel of Google; Alexandra Sepulveda (far left), trademark and copyright counsel at General Mills; and moderator Jennifer Arkowitz, an associate at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton.
In many cases, said the lawyers, the best tactic to protect corporate brands is to do nothing, or take a very low-keyed approach -- especially when an infringement is generated by an über-fan of the company.
I know I'm going to sound like a cheerleader, but the April 12 Social Media: Risks & Rewards conference in San Francisco was phenomenal. Chaired by Michael Lackey, a partner at Mayer Brown (and co-chair of the firm's e-discovery and records management practice), the day was a fast-paced primer on the latest cases, trends, and developments in this white-hot field of law.
I must admit to a bit of angina when our 9 a.m. opening panel started without one of the two panelists, but the adrenalin subsided within minutes when the fabulous Marc Greenberg made a dramatic entry after being caught in the notorious Bay Area traffic. Greenberg is a professor at Golden Gate University School of Law, and co-chairs the school's IP Law Program. He and Aparna Dave -- IP counsel at Wells Fargo -- segued right into a brilliant duet, setting the stage for the day with an overview of hot topics that would be covered over the course of the agenda.
Orrie Dinstein, chief privacy leader and senior IP counsel at GE Capital, followed with a look at privacy and security. Next up was an unnerving and funny discussion between Lackey and Touro Law Center's Jonathan Ezor (above right) about how sloppy use of social media can put lawyers in ethical peril. Here's an article Ezor wrote for Law Technology News on some of the ethical traps of Twitter.
Considering the popularity of Facebook and its ilk, it's abundantly clear that companies need a granular understanding of how employees are using social media in both business and personally. On Tuesday, Aparna Dave counsel in the intellectual property section at Wells Fargo, and Marc Greenberg, professor and co-director of the intellectual property law program at Golden Gate University School of Law, gave a nuanced presentation on how companies (and their lawyers) can balance employees' personal use with corporate policy at ALM's "Social Media: Risk and Rewards" conference in San Francisco. Law Technology News' editor-in-chief Monica Bay moderated the discussion, "Social Media: The Ever Changing Medium in 2011."
Social media is word-of-mouth on steroids -- and a double-edged sword, with great opportunities but also hazards, the panel warned. Creating a social media strategy is critical to companies because web content is discoverable, permanent, searchable, and easily shared -- immediately available to hundreds of millions with the click of a mouse.
Social media has come a long way from our first program in Sept., 2009 in New York — when the hot topic was how David Carroll took on United Airlines after his Taylor guitar bit the dust in their hands. (His YouTube video now has more than 10 million hits). Last year, topic A was how to construct appropriate policies to address the risks and benefits in your shop. That's still a hot topic, but the nuances in 2011 are even more subtle.
In our April issue of Law Technology News we feature a first-hand report from SNR Denton Egypt's managing partner J. Michael Lacey and IS manager Samy ElGharbawy about how Facebook fueled the departure of president Hosni Mubarak and redefined Cairo's sense of community. And Craig Ball chronicles Facebook's quiet decision to help users archive their data — a ground-breaking development for e-discovery.
Tuesday, I'm honored to moderate the opening panel, "Social Media: The Ever-Changing Medium in 2011." It features Aparna Dave, counsel, intellectual property section, with Wells Fargo Legal Group, and Marc Greenberg (right) , professor and co-director of the IP law program, at Golden Gate University School of Law.
Other panelists during the day-long program will address:
• Privacy and security: Orrie Dinstein, chief privacy leader and senior IP counsel at GE Capital.
• Ethics: Mayer Brown partner and conference chair Michael Lackey Jr., and Jonathan Ezor, assistant professor and director of the Institute for Business, Law, and Technology at Touro Law Center (and a member of LTN's editorial advisory board).
• Business and e-discovery: Jack Halprin, vice president, e-discovery and compliance, Autonomy.
• Protecting and promoting corporate identity: Jennifer Arkowitz (associate, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton), Alexandra Sepulveda (trademark and copyright counsel, General Mills), Todd Adler (senior corporate counsel, Oracle), and Johanna Sistek (trademark counsel, Google).
• Crafting and enforcing policies: Bronwyn Pollock (partner, Mayer Brown), Daniel Goldman (legal counsel, Mayo Clinic), Joshual Kubicki (senior director, corporate and legal practices, Applied Discovery).
Breakfast and conference registration begins at 8 a.m. (609 Sutter Street). Walk-ins are welcome, and you can get a $200 discount on registration with this Friends-of-The-Common-Scold code: LTN412.
Hope to see you there!
P.S. The seminar is approved for CLE credit, including 1 hour of ethics. Details here.
Greenberg image courtesy of Golden Gate University School of Law.
O.K., this will totally date me — but one of the dumbest mistakes I made in college was to pass on the opportunity to go the Monterey Jazz Festival because I wanted to go visit a potential boyfriend in Berkeley. Yes, that one — 1967 — where the likes of Janis Joplin and Jimmy Hendrix took the stage.
After reading Joe Maglitta's account of South by Southwest 2011, I'm definitely wishing that I had foresaken the miserable Northeast weather for a quick jaunt to Austin earlier this week.
Say Maglitta at IBM-sponsored smartertechnology.com blog: No event better captures the mad American mashup of music, film, new media and emerging technology than the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) conference and festivals. Held each March in Austin, Texas, the 10-day hipster geekfest wrapped up its 25th year on March 20."
A clue that it was definitely the place to be: Rocket Matter's hipper-than-hip top guns Larry Port and Ariel Jatib were there. Another hint: Sponsors include Microsoft, Google, Apple, Adobe, Samsung, and other household names.
"Never heard of SXSW? (For heaven's sake, don't tell anyone, especially your 26-year-old boss.) Even if you're not into celeb sniffing (Is that Jake Gyllenhaal? Danny DeVito?), striver panels ("What Would Lady Gaga Do?"), buzz-hungry bands (Yuck), awesome fantasy films ("Dragonslayer"), hoodies, chain smoking, skinny jeans or projectile vomiting, you need to know what's happening here, Gramps," reports Maglitta.
Hmmmm.... Maybe on second thought I'm glad I wasn't there. But then, take a look at some of the winners of the 2011 SXSW Interactive awards:
• Best in Show: GrouponWorks — online discount coupons for collective buying (never mind the absolutely weird Super Bowl ads, this is a kewl concept. And while not necessarily congruent with our legal world (except possibly for the ambulance chasers and TV advertisers among us), Maglitta suggests the idea could go beyond getting discounts for manicures and happy hours: "Have you considered how Groupon (or similar) could bring your company's goods (or even IT services) to a wider (or targeted) geography or B2B community? Resellers, partner programs, branch offices, this means you."
• Breakout Digital Trend: GroupMe - group messaging and conferencing. Now THIS is right up the alley for our crowd: "Somewhat ironically, GroupMe is basically a retro "friends and family" calling/texting app. You plunk out a message on your cell phone. Only those in your predefined inner circle can read it, check each other's geo location and photos, or hop on an automatically dialed conference call. Kind of like Facebook, only with people you actually want to communicate with … and it's easier/cheaper than unified communications. Possible IT applications: ad hoc team collaboration, disaster recovery or emergency communications, Happy Hour planning, etc." I see that an instant hit at any firm or corporate law department with more than one venue. In fact, in any shop big enough that you can't just wave or shout at your peers.
• Community: iFixit: Love this one, kinda a combo help-desk and wikipedia for repair manuals.
• Business: Get Satisfaction: "Get Satisfaction offers a neat online community builder that helps you soothe customer gripes. The Enterprise version features domain aliasing, SLAs, integration with CRMs and more," explains Maglitta. Come to Mama!!
There’s a new date and return venue for LegalTech West Coast 2011. We’re headed back to the recently-renovated Westin Bonaventure, but a month earlier than in the past: May 17-18 (rather than late June).
Details soon will be posted at www.legaltechshow.com, but we can tell you that David Pashman, who heads up the legal team at Meetup, a social media site, will be the May 17 keynote speaker, at 9 a.m. The website is designed to help individuals organize a local group or find an existing group to join. The website has 7.2 million members, with 79,000 local groups that hold 250,000 monthly "meetups" in 45,000 cities, says the company.
Pashman (left) will discuss the legal challenges Meetup faces as it operates in a rapidly evolving business and legal environment — including contract principals involved in terms of service, defamation, and other claims under the Communications Decency Act. He'll also discuss copyright infringement under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, as well as trademark infringement, government subpoenas, and privacy matters in light of recent Federal Trade Commission (and other government) activity.
Pashman earned his J.D. at New York University, and joined Meetup after a stint at Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati. In his spare time, he does low-keyed things wuch as trekking the Indian Himalayans, according to his meetup bio.
More reports about the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas, from my colleague Brendan McKenna, LTN's news editor (while I'm hunkered down with the LTN magazine launch):
Speaking at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO, described what some are calling "Windows 8" (O.K., everyone is calling it that but the CEO himself, who referred to it as "the next generation of Windows"), according to the Forward Thinking blog from PC Mag.com.
Ballmer (right) highlighted some of the planned features of Windows 8, saying that it "would support ARM-based chips from Nvidia, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments; as well as traditional and SOC versions of chips from Intel and AMD" and will run "on ARM-based chips for the first time (as well as on x86 cores from Intel and ARM)."
However, despite murmurings from the press, it seems unlikely that Windows 8 will see the light of day in 2011. So for now, Ballmer also went out of his way to extol the virtues of Microsoft's current operating system, Windows 7. He again repeated the oft-heard refrain that it was one the most successful launches in history, and continued by cheering that "20 million people are running the Internet Explorer 9 beta; 500 million people have now downloaded the latest version of Windows Live; and 20 million people have used the Office Live applications."
Ballmer also took some time to discuss future upgrades to the new Windows phone, and said it was faster than any other platform. But, he continued, "Microsoft's biggest challenge was showing the phone to more people ... 9 out of 10 Windows Phone customers say they would recommend the phone." The blog post goes into much more detail about where things stand for Microsoft at the beginning of 2011, but in summary: Windows 7 is a hit, Windows 8 may be on its way in 2012, and the new phone has visibility issues.
Because I've been immersed up to my eyeballs in deadlines for the soon-to-be-unveiled revamped and redesigned Law Technology News magazine, I haven't had a moment to post. But I was very happy to FINALLY hear that Verizon will soon sell iPhones. I've been coveting iPhones for years (my entire family, including my 83-year-old mom has one) but ALM is a Verizon customer — and I don't want a fifth phone number, so I have resisted. However, once I got my iPad late last year, my tech lust kicked into high gear!
So I turn the mic over to my colleague, LTN's news editor Brendan McKenna, who's got the exciting news:
Verizon announced Tuesday that it will begin selling the iPhone 4 on Feb. 3 for current customers and on Feb. 10 for new Verizon subscribers. The price for the device appears to match that of rival AT&T — $199 for a 16 GB iPhone, $299 for the 32 GB version.
There are differences between iPhones sold at the two companies. For one, at Verizon, the phone will run on the CDMA network vs. AT&T's GSM network. The CDMA network doesn't allow access to the data plan during calls. The significance of that missing capability may be lost on some folks; the most common gripes with AT&T seem to be about call quality and browsing speed. It's also curious that the phone is not LTE — which stands for Long Term Evolution, as in the effort to develop a 4G network standard — considering the December announcement that LTE phones were coming to Verizon in 2011.
Another potentially significant difference, according to commentators during the Verizon launch announcement, is the antenna design. Jason Chen of Gizmodo.com wondered if the infamous iPhone antenna problem would be resolved in the Verizon version, and asked, "Verizon employees, or anyone with the phone this week, please try the death grip ASAP and let us know." We will have to wait and see.
Interestingly, the Verizon version of iPhone can serve as a portable wi-fi hotspot, as well, and can link up to five devices. This means it also comes with built-in Verizon apps, a state of affairs some users may find unfortunate.
Data plans and other details have not yet been announced, but one thing is certain — the bitter battle for cell phone supremacy continues between AT&T and Verizon, and time will tell who the victor is for Apple's affections -- and customers. And what will happen to phones operating on Google's Android operating system: Will they be overshadowed by the Verizon iPhone or will they continue to thrive?
Will Verizon's iPhone end up ruling the market at the expense of Google's Android operating system? The idea that Android acquired some market share only because Apple limited the sale of iPhone to AT&T is an interesting, but evidence seems to suggest that Android will continue its upward trajectory. For example, Google and Android were everywhere at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Android's maturity as a smartphone operating system and relatively ubiquitous availability on comparable hardware from a wide range of manufacturers is starting to make it difficult to produce truly distinctive Android handsets. Hardware makers will have to start looking for new angles and new areas where they can innovate around the platform in order to continue differentiating their Android-based phones.
What the article seems to suggest is that Android itself is fueling competition among the dozens of manufacturers of phones that run that operating system. It's not just about the phones anymore, but rather, how the handsets can be manipulated to maximize Android. It has become an industry in its own right — no doubt this will continue to fuel app growth, and the more competition means that Apple could one day be left behind on the cutting-edge technology front.
Sometimes, it's incredibly helpful to break your routine, and share ideas with an eclectic group of people over a good meal with a few bottles of wine. David Cowen, of The Cowen Group, understands the power of this dynamic, and puts together "Cowen Signature Dinners" where he invites about 20 members of the legal technology community for a conversation. That number is perfect — too few and the discussion can be forced; too large and it can be intimidating.
Monday night, Cowen (whose shop offers head-hunting, management consulting, and industry intelligence), gathered litigation lawyers from firms (Mayer Brown, Ropes & Gray, Proskauer, and others) and corporate law departments (CA Technologies, Marsh & McLennan, Tyco International, and others), to talk about e-discovery migraines in a private room at Mahattan's Ruth's Chris Steakhouse.
Thomas Allman, former GC of BASF and an active voice in the development of e-discovery, did a fine job moderating the lively discussion, which covered everything from the realities of legal holds to the year's most debated cases about sanctions. Recommind picked up the tab, with CEO Bob Tennant, senior counsel Howard Sklar, and assistant GC Jason Robman contributing to the discussion.
Cowen describes these events as "blue-sky discussions that offer a unique venue for senior executives ... to confer over a wide range of legal, business, and technical ides that impact the market, their organizations, and their careers." His goal is "to facilitate a candid conversation about the strategic impact of technology on the legal industry." If Monday's event is typical, Cowen's team hits the mark.
P.S. The Cowen Group's fifth annual Litigation Support Salary Survey was released late Tuesday. While the economic recession kept salaries in check, the survey notes that workload has been spiking for the last five consecutive quarters. "Forward-thinking executives should be preparing for increased hiring and a corresponding rise in salaries in 2011."
One of the most challenging tasks of conference organizers is finding a keynote speaker to spark plug an event. This choice is especially difficult for conventions such as ILTA or LegalTech New York, where the audience has a huge bandwidth of experience, from absolute novice to jaded veteran.
How do you find the just the right person who will engage your attendees and provide both substance and buzz, setting just the right tone and energy for your event? What works best to motivate the crowd: fear? humor? How do you avoid alienating or intimidating your audience? Do you go for empty but enjoyable calories, or provide the protein that will carry the listeners through the subsequent days of the meeting? How do you find a speaker who won't break the budget (good speakers are not cheap). How do you create "sustainable sizzle" -- content that doesn't evaporate as quickly as the crisp fire of sparklers on a dark July night?
After ILTA's opening keynote, many attendees discussed those questions with the fury of a high school debate team. Jason Jennings is a "motivational" speaker and author of several business books, including Think Big, Act Small, and Hit the Ground Running. His keynote was titled, "Five Secrets to Put 'Strategic Unity' on the Fast Track," incorporating ILTA's meeting theme.
Ultimately, Jennings' keynote was a success, even though (and partly because) he polarized the ITLA audience. He generated intense praise from some attendees and strong applause; yet mocking from others who argued that he was simply putting ILTA lipstick on a canned speech about obvious business principals. One enthusiast from a major firm said he was so inspired that he furiously wrote five pages of notes; another mid-career attendee was so irritated with Jennings' simplicity (and religious undertones) that she walked out.
Jennings focused his talk on five companies whose leaders he had interviewed and operating models he admired -- among them, Smuckers and Staples. He concluded that the prime keys to business legal success involve creating work environments 1) with a common "noble" purpose, 2) where teams can "let go" of failing projects, 3) where employees treat the company as if it were their own (and are empowered to do so), and 4) where owners take a "stewardship" approach to the company, recognizing that it doesn't really "belong" to them. I'm forgetting the fifth component of success, but you get the drift.
The messages of Jennings' talk could be pretty much summed up by comparing it to a formulaic television show that I sheepishly admit I often like: Undercover Boss. That's a CBS show where the top dog of a company goes "undercover" and pretends to be a new employee for a week. (Believe it or not, the episode featuring Hooters was fascinating, particularly addressing the company's reputation of unbridled sexism).
After the keynote, six of us intensely evaluated Jennings and his content. George Rudoy, of Shearman & Sterling, posed a question to the group: Were we more influenced in our reaction by the content, or by Jenning's style? The naysayers were unimpressed with both the content and Jennings' cloying self-promotion, complete with an artificial trick at the end to generate a fake standing ovation. (Think George Clooney inUp in the Air).
But the advocates argued that Jennings was mesmerizing, and that they devoured his insights into leadership tactics and planned to apply them immediately at their worksites.
Ultimately, when you think about what makes a good keynote, doesn't it all come down to, "Did this speaker give me one good idea that I can implement in my own shop." If the answer is yes, my time has not been wasted (although poor keynotes are proof positive why I am so happy that BlackBerrys have BrickBreake). Personally, the idea that resonated with me was the idea of "letting go" of projects that have run their course, and instead turning more attention to new opportunities.
And I quickly concede that Jennings fulfilled his duties -- because more than half the attendees (who, at ILTA, range from IT, to finance, HR, attorneys, paralegals, etc.) appreciated his presentation.
But will I remember his presentation? Well, probably yes, because I now know that I will be able to crack up Rudoy by simple evoking Stuart Smalley ("I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!").
Bottom line: the best keynotes keep you talking for years. They are, as some marketing folks call it, "sticky." People are still raving about Malcolm Gladwell at LegalTech New York 2010, who set the gold standard for keynotes. Also memorable: the former CIA dude who so scared the daylights out of everybody as he talked about identity theft that we all wanted to race to our banks, take out all our money, and put it under our mattress.
Of course, the literally-stickiest keynote in years had to be the fabulous presentation at ILTA a few years back, by astronaut James Lovell, who wisely suggested that the secret of success in life is duct tape.
As the legal technology community gathers at the Aria hotel in Las Vegas for the opening day of the International Legal Technology Association's annual meeting, you might assume everyone would be absolutely abuzz about virtualization, e-discovery tools, and SharePoint.
Nope. The number one topic of Monday conversations was room lighting. Or, should we say, the lack thereof. As Joni Mitchell says, "You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone."
The guest rooms at the Aria are proof positive that sometimes, you can have too much technology. Where do I start? Well, how about opening the door to your room (when you finally get your room, but that's a whole 'nother story) to be startled by the sound of curtains moving. No worries, it's just the sensors opening the blackout curtains (no doubt closed to save energy by keeping the 103-degree Vegas sun out of your room when you aren't in it). Score 1 point for Al Gore.
But then, you try to turn on the lights. Emphasis on "try." Logic and Pavlovian-dog experience dictate that when a light has a switch, you simple toggle the switch to turn on the light. Those rules don't apply in Vegas.
Turning on the lights at the Aria is like solving a Rubik's cube. There are eight different light panels --plus a device that looks like a counterfeit iPad on the nightstand of the bed. Theoretically, you control the lights from the fake-iPad "touch screen" or the television (IF you can get the television to turn on.)
For example, I could not figure out how to turn on the little desk light. I had to call the front desk twice -- and finally an "engineer" left me a note explaining that the "desk lamp is controlled by the touch panel between both beds. Both touch panel and switch on lamp must be on for it to work." O.K.
The good news: There are so many input/output jacks on the aforementioned desk, you could probably launch a rocket from your room: HDMI, VGA, S-video, video/audio in/out, iPod/iPhone and USB charger plugs, audio in (looks like it's for a mpg player), 2 power plugs, and a reset button. And for a very reasonable $22 you can buy a tech kit with an ethernet cable, an iPod cable, and a PDA charger with 5 tips (but caveat, the box doesn't bother to tell you which PDAs are served by the 5 tips, you just have to guess by looking at the box).
But if you plan to actually sit at the desk and work, well, that's a problem. The chair is about high enough for a 5 year old. It's pretty, but functional -- not. (Fortunately, housekeeping brought me a grown-up chair).
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. The Aria's internet service was down until 4 p.m. Monday and has been iffy all day Tuesday. Great!
There's even technology in the huge "mini-bar." It automatically charges you when you pull an item, so no sneaking out to the convenience store to substitute a $1 can for the Diet Coke that will cost you $4.50.
At least you could never starve in this room. There are four different Aria-branded nut choices ($10-$12); an Aria-branded Martini Shaker Kit (sans the vodka) ($35); numerous Aria-branded chocolates, including Aria chocolate poker chips ($20); and even a bag of Aria-branded "signature hand crafted" potato chips (no price listed). The mini bar includes even more branded sugar options and a "romance kit" (which for some reason they did not brand)($20).
But there is no coffee. I cannot remember the last time I stayed in a hotel where I could not make myself a cup of coffee. So at 5 a.m. this morning, I reached into the aforementioned mini-bar for a non-Aria-branded Diet Coke -- but I guess the faux-iPad had not permissioned the refrigerator to turn on. Oh well. Must be another hint they want me out of the room so the motion detector can close the curtains again.
Anybody got a flashlight?
P.S. A fellow disgruntled coffee addict said she called to complain, and was told that the reason for no coffee maker was that it was a fire hazard. I'm not kidding. Fire hazard. So why do they have an iron in the room? Oh please!
Legal trade shows can intimidate even the most veteran attendee. So, with the International Legal Technology Association's annual meeting fast approaching, we interviewed James McKenna, senior manager of practice technology at Morrison & Foerster, to get his advice on how to best navigate convention floors.
"Maximizing LegalTech" was shot during June's LegalTech West Coast, where McKenna, a member of Law Technology News' Editorial Advisory Board, was speaking on a panel about cloud computing. He encourages first-time attendees to study the program guide and sketch out a rough game plan -- before you arrive.
But don't lock yourself into too rigid a regimen, he cautions. It's great to attend seminars and hear about successful projects, but your best education may come during networking, where you can learn about the "black ice" and "potholes" your peers encountered. That intelligence can help you prevent spin outs on your next project!
Headed to LegalTech West Coast next week in Los Angeles? You'll face a smorgasbord of choices to help you stay up-to-date on the latest technology trends and products.
Among the highlights, Erick Andersen, of Microsoft's legal team, will present the 6/24 keynote about how legal organizations can effectively use unified communications systems to reduce costs and improve collaboration among colleagues and clients.
Microsoft was just chosen by our colleagues at Corporate Counsel as the 2010 Law Department of the Year. A key factor was how general counsel Brad Smith helped engineer a "personality shift" for the software giant, from contentious to cooperative, in resolving international disputes.
The LegalTech seminars will be packed with expert panels on everything from project management, to social media, to cloud computing, to e-discovery; and the vendors at the exhibit hall will welcome the chance to show you product demonstration.
But just when you feel like your brain may just about explode from too much information, Friday, June 25, presents an opportunity to get outside and network in the famous California sun! ALM's inaugural Lawyer Invitational will be held at Trump National Golf Club, an opportunity for the proverbial "quality time" and networking.
Among the technology companies who are sponsoring the event are LexisNexis, Thomson Reuters, Kroll, and First Advantage. Part of the proceeds will benefit the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. For more information, visit www.thelawyerinvitational.com.
With the recent Nashville floods requiring a relocation of the
August meeting of the International Legal Technology Association, we
regular denizens were keeping our fingers crossed that maybe, just once, we
might end up in Alaska, or the North Pole, or San Francisco, or anywhere
luck, but not surprised. It wouldn't be ITLA if it we weren't going to a
peak-o'-summer venue that rivaled the interior of a Weber grill. 2010 will be
no exception: Peggy Wechsler has just
announced the new location: Vegas -- to the Aria
be great, if you're with the right people -- and ILTA is full of great folks,
so Nevada, here we come.
on ILTA's desert digs, read Craig Ball's post
on the EDD Update.
Priority Process: My computer died Friday while I was at ARMA (the long-established records management group holding its annual meeting in Orlando) -- and I had to rely on old-fashioned journalism to file my Friday Law Technology News Daily Alert -- I phoned it into the "copydesk" (a.k.a. my wonderful San Francisco colleague Sean Doherty) in order to make my deadline.
The subject of my alert was a terrific late Thursday panel, that was offered as part of the ARMA/ILTA "Lit Con" Legal Information Technology Conference at the World Center Marriott. The experience reminded me of how important process is to accomplish business objectives when exceptional events occur.
And that was the theme of "Processing Departing Attorneys," which featured Thomas Paradise, general counsel of Fox Rothschild, and Mary Pat Poteet, (left) director of litigation support for DLA Piper U.S., and moderator Charlene Wacenske, manager of firmwide records for Morrison & Foerster.
For two hours the panel discussed the challenges managers face when attorneys leave the firm -- whether amicably or unexpectedly — and especially when departees demand to take records with them. In these events, the panel agreed, process is a priority to maintain a consistent and compliant response.
A key goal is to create protocols that help all involved provide an orderly transition of client files, whether they are going with the lawyer to a new firm, or not. It also helps to have established procedures so that everyone knows how voicemail, e-mail and snail mail will be handled, the panelists said.
Another tip: create a checklist, and in so doing, to solicit ideas from all affected corners of the firm. Designate one person to maintain the list, they suggested. Select a method to insure that all affected personnel receive timely notice of depending departures, and create a SWAT team for sudden disability, deaths, or immediate departures, the panelists advised.
Wacenske said that MoFo has created a Sharepoint site to help the workflow, and Paradise reminded everyone to "make sure your checklist mirrors your other policies." The checklist, they noted, can also help the organization when dealing with litigation holds.
Later Friday, after filing the alert, I had the wonderful opportunity to chat with Ray Davis and Steve Fulmer, of "Inside the Records Room," and you can listen to the podcast here. We discussed a wide range of topics, from e-discovery to social media. (Huge thanks to the ARMA marketing team, especially Jeff Randolph and Ashley Flynn.)
I also had a chance to talk with a few of the vendors at ARMA, including EMC, Autonomy, and DocuLex. It was a quick visit, but very educational.
And there was good news, when I limped back to the office -- inspired, but exhausted -- and of course, nursing a Disney-land cold (I do not like traveling in economy on planes full of small children with runny noses). I fried my logic board but not my hard drive!
So my MacBookPro is off to the Apple hospital but should Lazarus AOK. (Why do these things ALWAYS happen at deadline?) Thanks to my IT team for scurrying up a spare laptop for me to limp with until my not-really-beloved MBP arrives home OK. (From now on, I'm never goin' nowhere w/o my Dell). But ya never know how much you like your computer until it crashes.
Jeffrey Staal, litigation support manager of Denver's Davis Graham & Stubbs, checks in to let you know that the Colorado Association of Litigation Support Professionals will host its third annual E-Discovery Summit on October 30 at the Grand Hyatt Denver.
The event will feature Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck, (right) who is featured in Law Technology News' October "Up Close" will address the creation of a search protocol.
Other speakers include Beth Niepokuj of Plunkett Cooney, Marcy Heronimus of Sherman & Howard, David Garrett of Stroz Friedberg, Elleanor Chin of Davis, Wright & Tremaine, and Timothy Gordon of Holland & Hart. A cocktail reception ends the day. For more information, contact Staal.
The theme of Monday's ALM program, "Social Media: Risks & Rewards" -- geared at corporate counsel -- was the question of whether the rewards of using new social networking technologies are greater than the risks of using these new tools.
Actually, there's a second layer of risk analysis: Are the hazards of not using social networking so great that you simply must dive in?
Based on conversations during the event, the over-riding consensus of the panelists and attendees at the day-long event, held at New York City's Harvard Club, was that the risks are indeed very real, and that savvy companies must not only protect their intellectual property, and brands — but that there are opportunities to use these same tools to proactively promote their companies.
I moderated the first panel, which featured speakers from MasterCard Worldwide; CNN Worldwide; NBC Universal (are we noting a theme here re: global) and an of-counsel lawyer to a small firm.
MasterCard's Cheryl Givner kicked off the discussion with a funny but spot-on example of how very, very risky it can be ignore criticisms aired on social media, such as YouTube or Twitter. Canadian musician Dave Carroll (www.davecarroll.com), frustrated when United Airlines did not respond to his requests for reimbursement for damage to his Taylor guitar, took his complaint to YouTube -- not once, but twice.
His musical protest went, in web parlance, "viral" within 48 hours (think Susan Boyle). Carroll's first song got about 350,000 hits within two days, and to date, has more than 5.5 million hits. It even spawned several ancillary spoofs and a serious response from Taylor Guitars (with helpful information about TSA rules, and also an opportunistic pitch that the company could fix just about any guitar). The matter apparently was close to resolution shortly thereafter. (And United, btw, actively uses Twitter now, with contests and updates, @unitedairlines.)
During the panel, we also fired up the still-famous YouTube video that pokes fun at what happened when Nixon Peabody "lawyered up" to try to squash a viral YouTube feed of its um, er, really perky cheerleader-esque victory song distributed internally after the firm won an award. In one of those you-hadda-be-there-moments, the replay triggered an hilarious spontaneous disclaimer from an attending Nixon Peabody attorney -- that was almost as funny as the YouTube post.
"YouTube video demonstrates the power and reach of social media," observes Givner. "The conference helped to solidify the view that social media is a channel not to be ingored, and has been used successful not only by consumers, but in the corporate and media worlds, as well as in the political arena," she says.
Which segues us perfectly to Andy Mitchell's presentation about how CNN exploited social media -- including an experiment with Facebook -- during the Obama election. His PowerPoint (Download Andy Mitchell - CNN Incisive Media) illustrates some of the ways the two companies integrated their online content, and then even came up with clever ways to brand, market,and promote the tandem (e.g., "build it yourself T-shirts) --even addressing the risk that consumers might get a bit, um, er, cheeky.
Michele Mitchell of NBC Universal, and Nicole Black, of counsel to Rochester, N.Y.'s Fiandach & Fiandach, rounded out the panel, with excellent advice as to best practices.
Black stayed the entire day, and "live-tweeted" the conference (#lsmc) on Twitter (@nikiblack). She noted how the day's panelists covered a wide range of topics, and considered SocMedia impact "from a marketing and damage control perspective," rather than "the perspective of how lawyers are using it."
One panelist addressed the legal issues raised when companies launch sweepstakes or contests via social media. Noted Black: "It never occurred to me that when marketing runs sweepstakes, what lawyers have to deal with," referring to a discussion of what regulatory requirements can be triggered. "It's a minefield for the lawyers to make sure that everyone else knows the right procedures and guidelines."
The panels covered a broad range of topics, including how to develop corporate policies for social media (which addresses HR issues, as well as protecting IP, employee free speech, and more, and is a topic we will soon be addressing in Law Technology News). Other speakers addressed how to protect your company's identity and intellectual property. I found particularly interesting Lesley Rosenthal's take on social media for not-for-profits, which raised a panoply of issues not faced by many corporations -- particularly about being careful that all art used in promotions is properly credited and paid for. (She's vice president, GC and secty of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.)
American Express' Mark Bisard cautioned attendees that it's critical to authenticate employees and usernames used for social media; many suggested that companies set up an area on their websites where they list their "official" handles/voices so consumers can be assured they are verified. (Twitter is now offering "verified" status to celebrities such as the Yankees' Nick Swisher (@nickswisher), who are often subject to fakes (just search for Derek Jeter to see a zillion phony handles).
Bisard urges corporate counsel to create numerous policies, for everything from privacy, vendors, internet use, and social media. "Make sure your policies are consistent," says Bisard, "and that your leaders follow your policies." And, he advises, be sure you have a "rapid response plan for when somebody flames you."
These are just a few of the highlights of the event, which we are looking into offering again this year, on the west coast. (Watch the 'Scold for updates, or check www.almevents.com).
Wells Fargo's Paul Mussell -- senior counsel, intellectual property group -- told the GC audience that they "need to where your customers are. If they're on Twitter, be there. Participate -- or others will do so on your behalf," he warned. "Instead of just monitoring social media, interact with the customers. Engage in the conversation; fill in the vacuum."
"Ed Post," the anonymous lawyer/blogger who runs BlawgReview, and Tweets at @blawgreview sums it up: The event, he says, "brought together in-house counsel and corporate lawyers with real experience using social media. Those relatively new to social media learned from others -- such as Mussell -- that the risks are manageable. Sooner than later, all legal counsel will be expected to be adept at advising their corporate clients how to manage those risks."
Said attendee Peter Markman, who is associate general counsel of Progress Software: Social media is "clearly not a fad, because it's just the current extention of communication — which is as old as people themselves. ...The consistent theme was the speed at which things happen, and the need to be prepared and monitor process and respond to things that happen at a pace much faster than anything that would have happened in the past."
"Ed Post" channels Thomas Paine: "The choices for corporate counsel seem clear: lead, follow, or get out of the way."
LTN associate editor Theodora Blanchfield contributed to this report.
Updates:Cheryl Givner forwarded this link to a compilation of social media and blogging policies.
Conference chair Bob Ambrogi's post from Legal Blog Watch.
LTN's associate editor Theodora Blanchfield and I are at the Social Media: Risks & Rewards day-long program at NYC's Harvard Club.
Chaired by LTN's Web Watch columnist (and Law.com Legal Blog Network co-author) Bob Ambrogi, right (@bobambrogi) it's been a fascinating day!
Check out live tweets from @lawtechnews (Blanchfield's posts) or @commonscold (moi) @blawgreview ("Ed Post"), @nikiblack (Niki Black), @karasmamedia (Kara Smith) among others -- or do a twitter search for #LSMC.
Congrats to ALM's Judy Kelly & Henry Dicker for a terrific event.
P.S. Here is the promised link to the 2004 Red Sox MasterCard "advertisement"
It's hard to believe that September is finally here! But yup, it's time to go back to school! (Well, for a day!) I hope you will join Bob Ambrogi and me at the terrific "Social Networking: Risks & Rewards" program at the Harvard Club in New York City on September 21.
Ambrogi is chair of the event, which targets general counsel and their staff. We're going to address everything from "Social Media and the New World Order," to developing social media policies, protecting identity and intellectual property, and more. My panel, "Your Business and the Social Media Sensation," features speakers Michele Mitchell of NBC Universal, Cheryl Givner of MasterCard Worldwide, Nicole Black of Fiandach & Fiandach and Andy Mitchell of CNN Worldwide.
Givner, vice president and managing counsel of MasterCard's WorldWide Marketing & Core Products, offers examples of how powerful social media has become: United Airlines took a lot of heat recently from an unhappy customer who vented (with great humor) on YouTube when baggage broken guitar. The post has been viewed more than 5 million times and is a great example of the business risks of social media, says Givner. And here's the aftermath -- the consumer's statement about United's resolution and gesture of compensation.
And there's an early bird discount, too! Conference organizer Judy Kelly reports that legal bloggers and readers of Law Technology News and our blogs (The Common Scold and EDD Update) can save $50 -- just use promotion code TCS.
2009 ILTA Survey: InsideLegal and ILTA have released the2009 Technology Purchasing Survey, which targets law firms with more than 50 attorneys. Produced in cooperation with InsideLegal.com, the 40 question web-based survey was distributed to 730 firms, and yielded 115 responses, says JoAnna Forshee.
Among key results, the most popular tech implementations for 2008 were network and server upgrades. Budget cuts for 2009 were severe -- only 15% of survey participants spent more than 4% of total firm revenue on technology -- compared to 28% in 2008.
Virtualization -- virtual desktops and data center/backup virtualization -- is by far the hottest trend, the survey found.
And we were happy to see that both Law Technology News and The Common Scold blog continue to draw strong support from the ITLA crowd, with LTN coming in fourth in popularity behind ILTA's own publications (Peer to Peer quarterly magazine and ILTA white papers) and CIO magazine! For more information visit www.insidelegal.com.
So I'm chatting up a couple of my favorite CT Summation dudes, Tom Rump and Bob Hopen, and whining about how I could not believe that I fell asleep in the middle of Letterman and missed the Mark Texeira segment.
"Oh Monica, it's probably already on YouTube," they said.
Monday morning, at the ILTA keynote address, Tom Koulpoulos of the Delphi Group started off the thinking with "Innovating More with Less," which was a bit long but very engaging. Koulpoulos argued that the three major constitutencies (Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y) approach technology through very different eyes. A key point: much innovation has occurred during tough economic news. That's good news, for sure!
Because I do a lot of public speaking, I always listen with two agendas -- one, to learn from the speaker about the subject matter; second to see if there are any kewl thangs I can steal adopt when I speak. I definitely robbed my "please turn to the person next to you and introduce yourself" tactic from a prior person at the podium (I think it was Keith Ferrazzi at Silvia Coulter's RainDance marketing event) but Koulpoulos took it to a new (and insulin-inducing) level when he insisted that we hug our neighbor. Waaaay too kumbaya for me, thank you very much. (Fortunately, I got to hug a very nice and handsome dude, so it wasn't all bad :)
Another thing I notice about speakers is whether or not they take the time to truly tailor their presentation to the audience. That means, at a minimum, going to the organization's website and learning a bit about them. I was so impressed a few years back when ILTA brought Jim Lovell (the Apollo 13 astronaut) and he did exactly that. Since his talk, I always follow one of the "take-aways" from his presentation -- I keep duct tape within close reach at all times.
My attitude is if I walk away with 1 good idea from a speech it's worth the fidget time of sitting for an hour. Koulpoulos got a solid base hit. But he coulda hit a grand slam -- with just a bit more homework.
ITLA executive director Randi Mayes kicked off the keynote address at ILTA at
the Gaylord National Hotel near Washington, D.C., with the relatively-happy news that
despite firm travel cuts about 850 members were at the five-day conference.
Later in the day, program manager Peggy Weschler, speaking to the vendors at the ILTA/InsideLegal vendor educational meeting, told the group that there were about 1,400 vendors and consultants in attendance -- which presents a dilemma for the ILTA management team, because they try to keep the members/vendors-consultants ratio at 50/50 to make sure the event maintains its character as a primarily educational event.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out that the first line item that firms will cut is travel for their support staff, no matter how superb the educational programs are, and how much bang for the buck they deliver. A short-sighted move, of course, but we won't go there.
Weschler firmly cautioned the vendors not to stalk members and pounce on them in efforts to sell their products, acknowledging that these difficult times are hard on the vendors as well as the firms. She predicted that next year, membership attendance would also be down, and sent a strong message that if the vendors abused the privilege of their ratio this year, that next year, the number of available booth slots would be cut back.
She also asked everyone to be cognizant that while a top agenda of ILTA is to provide peer-to-peer networking opptys, that it is the educational component to gets the law firms to approve the travel requests. Her message, in essence, think twice before you post that picture of your favorite IT director networking after midnight with a glass in hand.
The vendor sessions also addressed the challenges faced by the providers, and included not only a media panel (thank you, JoAnna, for inviting me again), as well as a panel on how vendors can sell effectively to the ILTA crowd.
But just as theme of the keynote (see next post) was "Get More from Less," I personally found the reduced attendance had some unexpected positives (I think ILTA drew about 1,200 members last year, I don't remember Peggy's exact figure). This year, it feels a little less crowded than Disneyland on a hot, humid Saturday July morning, and that's a good thing.
Heading to Washington, D.C. for #ILTA09, hope to see many of you there. Tomorrow (Monday) I'll be moderating a terrific panel on "tech turbulence" with George Rudoy (Shearman & Sterling), James McKenna, (Morrison & Foerster), and John Roman (Nixon Peabody). At 1 p.m., Woodrow Wilson Room B. We'll be discussing how IT leaders can help their firms survive and thrive in these difficult economic times, while at the same time protecting their teams, their careers -- and adopting "green" protocols.
Following that, I'll be participating in InsideLegal's media panel, organized by JoAnna Forshee and her team.
LTN's associate editor Theodora Blanchfield and I will attending seminars, doing media briefings (sorry, we are completely full and can't take any more reservations), and hope to have some time to wander the exhibit hall show floor. Hope to see you there!
My alum, the University of San Francisco School of Law, is offering a symposium on 9/17 to help law students and lawyers negotiate the changing legal landscape. It will include four panel discussions, featuring legal commentators, practitioners, and folks (like me) who have pursued non-traditional legal careers.
The program will focus on:
* The business of running a successful law practice.
* Nuts and bolts of going solo/small firm.
* Alternative careers for lawyers who don't practice law.
We did some old-fashioned networking -- the kind where you actually talk in person -- at our "Green Your Career" breakfast at LegalTech West Coast -- where we had a packed house full of job seekers, vendors, and law firm folks. I'm already hearing from some attendees that the event may have linked at least one person with a new gig!
Huge, huge thanks to the generosity of the vendors who provided so many gift cards that we were able to give every job seeker at least two! Thank you!
And thanks to our speakers -- Brad Blickstein, Tom Collins, Babs Deacon, John Lipsey, Mary Mack, Mark Reichenbach, John Tredennick, and J. Craig Williams for such terrific outreach and discussions.
Good luck to the folks who are looking for work, and thanks for joining us!
Later Thursday, we put the spotlight on another kind of networking, with our Twitter panel. Matt Homann (@matthomann), of LexThink, started off the discussion, with his excellent job of "framing" the discusssion, and was followed by LexBlog's Kevin O'Keefe (@kevinokeefe), who always makes you want to run right out and try the sites and tips he offers.
Practicing lawyers Denise Howell (solo, @dhowell) and Nina Goldberg (associate at Baker Hostetler, @ninakat) discussed how they use Twitter in their law practice. Howell was stellar as always, and Goldberg -- in her first podium gig -- proved to be a natural born speaker, as she focused on how as a relatively new lawyer she finds Twitter both useful -- and entertaining.
Thanks to all for a fascinating panel!
Our colleague Sean Doherty was unable to attend the show, but that didn't stop him from providing an overview of some of the new products that were launched at the event, including the revamp of CompuLaw's Deadlines on Demand website, and a new service called Litovation, from IKON. Check it out here.
Fascinating dinner last night with the Fios (see below) gang, to kick off LegalTech West Coast. Mary Mack and Debbie Caldwell were among the orchestrators of the evening, which featured two prominent U.S. Magistrate Judges who you have been reading a lot about (in Craig Ball's EDD column): Andrew Peck, (far left) of the Southern District of NY, and David Waxse (left) , of the District of Kansas. It was a sneak preview, of sorts, of tomorrow's keynote address at LegalTech West Coast.
Mary Mack moderated the eat-and-talk roundtable discussion, which drew about 25 lawyers and one summer associate for an off-the-record discussion of recent discovery trends. Peck recently caused a lot of heat with his Gross case ruling, a "wake up call to the bar" chastising attorneys about sloppy searches and failure to truly cooperate with opposing counsel (See Ball's June column), Waxse authored the key Williams v. Spring/United Management Co. case in 2006.(See ABA Journal's "These Cases Rock").
The two men interact well together and quickly drew the audience into the discussion, which covered a lot of territory running from ethics to how EDD requests are sometimes used to bully the other side into submission because the sheer cost of production.
Both judges -- along with Tom Allman and moderator Carole Basri -- will be presenting the Thursday keynote (immediately following our "Green Your Career" networking breakfast for jobseekers) at LegalTech West Coast, at the LA Convention Center. Don't miss it. These two judges are entertaining, and substantive, and it's bound to be a great panel. For information, visit www.legaltechshow.com -- or just come on' over to the LA Convention Center!
This erratic economy has been tough on everybody, but none more so than the members of our legal technology community who have lost their jobs. It's difficult, scary, and challenging for even the most self-confident professionals.
Our Incisive gang wants to help -- so we decided to team up at LegalTech West Coast and offer a simple, heartfelt gesture: On day 2 (Thursday June 25) we will host a very informal, free "Green Your Career" networking breakfast, from 7:45--8:45 a.m. at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
It will be co-hosted by Law Technology News and law.jobs, with the support of the LegalTech crew, and has a straightforward format: We're inviting job seekers -- as well as vendors and law firm leaders (even if you do not currently have an available opening).
For the first half-hour, we'll just schmooze together, and enjoy coffee, tea, danish, etc. — i.e., a chance to "work the room." Then we'll gather at round tables, where at each table a leader of our community will talk about how he or she survived/thrived thru a career transition. Among the scheduled speakers are:
• John Tredennick, who was a litigator partner at Holland & Hart when he spun off Catalyst Respository Systems. • Tom Collins, former owner of Juris Inc., who survived cancer and now is a murder mystery novelist! • J. Craig Williams, who shuttered his small firm and joined Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold. • Mary Mack, renowned counsel at Fios Inc. • Brad Blickstein, who opened his own consultancy to help businesses serve corporate legal departments, after working in magazine publishing. • Babs Deacon, who was one of the SPi folks who lost jobs last winter, who is the new director of consulting at Integreon, based in New York. • Mark Reichenbach, who just joined Capital Legal Solutions after losing his gig at i365. • John Lipsey, who left law practice to work for legal technology vendors, and now works for Martindale Hubbell Connected.
The event is FREE -- and all attendees will be invited to stick around and visit our exhibit hall and the Day 2 Keynote Address (immediately following the breakfast) on us.
Job seekers will be encouraged to post their resumes on lawjobs.com, and all firms/vendors who attend will get free access to lawjobs.com (for a limited period, of course).
Again, just a simple concept: let's provide an hour of inspiration, nurturing, contacts, and networking.
Please come, whether you need a job, or just want to offer encouragement. And if you are coming to show support, please bring along a gift card (you can pick them up at most supermarkets or drug stores), so we can give a day brightener "party favor" to each job seeker. It can be just a few dollars (or more if you can tithe a bit more generously) -- to a national "chain" such as Starbucks, Target, Macy's, Chevron, Von's, movies, SuperCuts -- you get the picture. Something practical and upbeat that will lift spirits!
(If you can't attend and want to send a gift card, mail them to
us c/o Law Technology News, 120 Broadway, 5th floor, NYC 10271.)
Job seekers: Come for warmth, support and new contacts! If you e-mail us at email@example.com, we'll have a
badge ready for you (and that will help us make sure we have enough
coffee and danish). But you can also just show up.
Firms/vendors: If you do have a spot open, what a better place to find great talent? And even if you don't, you might tomorrow -- so bring lots of business cards.
And as an added incentive for technology vendors: We will raffle off a wonderful lunch or dinner with moi (you can even use the word "solution" and I will promise to try not to cringe) where you can tell me about your company's plans, products and services and get a great meal on LTN!
BE THERE OR BE SQUARE! Visit www.legaltechshow for details, or e-mail LTN at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LAST but not least: Please help spread the word! Twitter this! Blog this! Reprint this post freely! Let's get viral! The permalink is http://tinyurl.com/LTWCbkf. Twitter hash: #LTWC.
Update: Great news! The Los Angeles County Bar Association (which offers career resources on its website, has joined us as a co-sponsor of the breakfast!!
Guy Kawasaki mesmerized the SRO crowd today at the NY Hilton, when he gave the kickoff keynote address at our Search Engines Strategies conference. #SESNY.
Kawasaki is smart and irreverent, two of my favorite personality traits, and gave a crash course in using Twitter as a marketing tool. I think it will take me days to absorb all of his advice, but among the top tips:
• Retweeting is one of the best measures of your success. (How many folks re-post your posts). • Twittercounter tracks the most popular sites (currently, @cnnbrk) • "Forget the A list" -- instead of thinking "trickle down," it's better to have evangelists "bubble up" with enthusiasm about your products or services. • It's important to have lots of "followers," but what really matters are "direct messages" and "@ replies." • If you are serious about wanting to use Twitter as a marketing device, you probably want helpers who can post for you. • Another key to success is the quality of the links that you put in your posts.
Guy demo'd a slew of third-party programs, everything from TweetDeck to ReTweetist, that he uses to monitor his own site, and his company site, Alltop.com. He graciously offered to give attendees his bookmark list, which I will post here once we get it.
Bottom line: If you have a chance to hear Guy, don't miss it. He will make your teeth hurt with all his ideas (some, he admits, are controversial) and is big fun.
I'm thrilled to announce that CommVault, which
offers e-discovery services, has just signed on to sponsor our upcoming "Trifecta" -- that
includes a live program at LTNY09, six podcasts, and a report on the
panel inLaw Technology News and Corporate Counsel!
Anthony Paonita, editor-in-chief of Corporate Counsel
magazine, and I are organizing the panel, and it should be a flat-out blast. We've got a GREAT crew of speakers, and a
great topic: "What I Hate About Technology - and what i expect my
outside counsel, opposing counsel, vendors and staff to do about it!"
Like our inaugural "FutureTech" program at LegalTech West Coast, this program is modeled on the famous TED lectures, with each speaker presenting a standalone, 12-minute presentation. Each one will be recorded as a podcast for my Law Technology Nowpodcast series. And then we'll have at least one article in LTN and CC based on the panel!
So on Tuesday (Feb 3) at 3:30-5, come hear about GC departments' pet peeves and wish lists. Whether you are outside
counsel, a vendor, or also in GC offices, you're bound to hear
pragmatic, real-world information that can help you help your
organization -- and your own career.
include Alexander Arato of CA, Ted Banks, formerly of Kraft Foods,
David Cambia, of Aon Corp., Deena Coffman, discovery director at
Johnson & Johnson, Janine Dascenzo, associate general counsel
of GE, and Kim Townsan, of United Technologies Corp.
And the wonderful Ted Banks wrote a nice little hyberbolic inflammatory article in our January issue of Law Technology News, which you can read here to get you in the mood.
We've decided to add a Twitter panel to LTNY, and what a panel it is:
"What is Twitter and How Can I Use It?" Monday, Feb. 2, from 3 to 4 p.m., in the 3rd floor Hilton West Ballroom (same one being used for the general sessions).
Among the questions we'll address: * At the end of the day is Twitter the “ultimate time waster” or a “great tool”? * From 'huh?" to "a ha!" - one lawyer's journey into the Twitterverse. -- alternative title "How I learned to stop worrying and love to Tweet!" * Time to Tweet? How to use Twitter without losing time to Twitter. * Lawyers, Twitter and Client Development *How lawyers are using Twitter for sharing and camaraderie among each other.
Panelists: Matthew Homann, Founder, LexThink Twitter: /matthomann Kevin O’Keefe, Chief Executive Officer,Lex Blog, LexTweet.com, T: /kevinokeefe Chris Winfield, President, 10e20, T: /chriswinfield
Special guest Robert J. Ambrogi, (T: /bobambrogi) author of LTN's Web Watch column, and co-author of Legal Blog Watch and Lawyer2Lawyer podcast, will handle the introductions, and will "live Tweet" from the event!
CLE and CPD credits available. Members of GC teams can attend for a
special discount rate of $795. (Vendors are welcome to attend at
$2,495.) Just use promo code EDDU.
The event is chaired by Jonathan Siegfried, right, partner at Dewey & LeBoeuf, and faculty includes Craig Ball, Law Technology News'
award-winning e-discovery columnist, as well as Alexander Arato (CA),
Courtney Barton (Crowell & Moring), Michael Berman (Rifkin,
Livingston), Laura Buckland, (T-Mobile USA), Christopher Clark (Dewey),
Scott Cohen & Brad Ruskin (Proskauer), Judges James Francis &
Andrew Peck, Stephen Ludlow (Open Text Corp.), Scott Martin &
Bruce Meyer (Weil Gotshal), James McGinnis (Sheppard Mullin), Kent
Roger (Morgan Lewis), Jay Safer (Locke Lord), David Shonka (US FTC),
Alexander Vasilescu (SEC), Robert Weiner (McDermott), Milt Williams
(Time Inc.) and Michael Zweig (Loeb & Loeb).
I wasn't able to attend this year's ILTA conference due to our move to new Incisive Media HQ in downtown NYC -- that coincided directly with the close of the September LTN issue -- but my trusty colleague, Sean Doherty offers his usual superb analysis of the show, here. And here.
From all reports, it was its usual excellent event, and I'm looking forward to next year's event, at the latest sauna venue -- just outside of Washington, D.C. I keep begging them to schedule their annual August fete in Alaska, but they ain't listening. But the great programs are worth all the humidity. :)
What a fun evening last night (August 12) at the Dome in Mpls, for our SIXTH annual Twins/Yanks fest! Michael Medwig, Marnie Maroney & I hosted the event, which drew about 50 folks for a lively evening of beisbol and conversation!
We had a blast in section 222, with contingents from Thomson/Reuters/West, Kroll, Merrill, the EDD consultants gang, Teri "Jersey Girl" McCarron and her entourage, Amy Juers' Edge Legal Marketing crew, Dorsey, Parsinen Kaplan, et al. It was also delightful that LTN's former associate editor, Katie Montgomery and her mom could join us! What a great group.
It was great opportunity to see everybody, chat about the latest developments, and see a great game, with so many ups and downs that the fans of both teams were happy. (The Yanks won, but only after the Twins' Delmond Young hit a home run off Mariano Rivera to take the game into extra innings).
Thanks to everybody for joining us for such a memorable evening! Thanks as always to the Twin's fabulous Luis Breazeale and Lisa Rasmussen for taking such very good care of us!
• Kevin Hunt checked in from July's American Association of Law Libraries Portland (Ore) meeting to let us know that West posted a "Westcast" with Leonard Lee, about how the "Google generation" is approaching legal research. Check it out here.
And on the Westblog, Bob Azman, vp of West's "customer experience operations," invites you to contact him directly about your experiences and needs — echoing a theme of our July LTN cover story by Alvin Podboy, who dares legal librarians to start talking to legal publishing vendors. For more info, you can reach Hunt here. • Update on the laptop seizures controversy: The Association of Corporate Travel Executives' exec director Susan Gurley testified before Congress about the ongoing controversy over seizures of business travelers' laptops. Details here. • LTN's Safia Maharaj found this tech/beisbol/charity item, "Text Me Out to the Ballgame" -- about a pilot project between the Washington Nationals and MLB.com (major league baseball's website) to raise money for the Children's National Medical Center's proposed Diabetes Care Complex. During the day game on 7/13, fans were invited to text "NATS" to 90999 to donate $5 -- a tactic also used during the All Star Game at Yankee Stadium to raise money to fight breast cancer. Clever and painless -- and less expensive than a soda at the Stadium. Let's see more of these! Check out the Mobile Giving Foundation here.
• Last call! The deadline's been extended until tomorrow (Friday) to nominate your company for the 2009 LTN Vendor Awards, which will presented at LegalTech New York in February. Check it out here. It's quick and easy, and as they say re: the New York Lottery, if you don't enter, you can't win.
They're up! Our "six-pack" of podcasts from the "TomorrowLand" panel of the Law Technology News presents FutureTech track at last month's LegalTech West Coast are now available at Law.com's Law Technology Now site. (You can also find it at the Legal Talk Network, and on iTunes!)
You can listen to the predictions and wisdom from Tom Baldwin, Craig Ball, Doug Caddell, Peter Hsiao, Judith Flournoy, and J. Craig Williams, and download PowerPoints. With a nod to Disneyland's iconic venue, we looked forward to the "tomorrows" of legal technology.
It took quite a team effort to make this happen. First, thanks to our audience for graciously helping us with the bumps and gurgles that happen when recording a live program. Your enthusiasm (and patience) was much appreciated as we coped with the Murphy's Law tech problems! We learned a lot that will help future efforts! (Cue the cute kid with the big hair and the dog -- "The sun will come up...Tomorrow!")
Second, thanks to our amazing speakers, who stepped up to the proverbial plate to deliver amazing content. You are terrific!
Third, thanks to BlueArc, our sponsor of the live program and the podcasts, for joining us on this inaugural effort. (Be sure to visit their website to learn about their network storage offerings).
Finally, Huge, huge, huge thanks to the indefatigueable teams at Law.com, the Legal Talk Network , and Law Technology News, including Jill Windwer, Lu Ann Reeb and her entire team, and Katie Montgomery and Russ Curtis for unending support.
Quick last minute reminder that Thursday in LA we'll be hosting a Bloggers' Breakfast, in room 508 of the LA Convention Center, where we will celebrate J. Craig William's new book, How to Get Sued (Kaplan Publishing). Do stop by! Everybody's welcome -- bloggers and readers of blogs. I will be doing my Vanna White hostess
If you are a
non-vendor blogger, you can get a free full conference pass -- (and we even have
some EVDO cards to lend) -- just give a holler to John Bringardner at email@example.com
Also, both vendor
and non-vendor bloggers are invited to send John links of your posts (also at firstname.lastname@example.org) because we're
dedicating the Legal Blog Watch to LTWC Thursday and Friday, and he wants to
link to YOUR coverage!
And in all the
conference session rooms the first two rows will be reserved for bloggers with
electrical outlet strips.
Speaking of the seminars, content is truly king, and our LTN edit board is front and center with EDD tracks by Craig Ball and George Rudoy, among others. And Friday is FutureTech! (Room 503), LTN's all day track featuring Craig Ball, Doug Caddell, Judi Flournoy, and a host of other top industry leaders.
Hope to see you there!
Mon, hoping United won't fold between now and July 2. (Yeah!!! Star Alliance deal with Continental -- the first piece of goooood news from UAL in ages. :)
We've been putting the final touches on the upcoming, first-time ever Law Technology News Presents FutureTech at LegalTech West Coast.
We're calling it "The Trifecta" inside ALM, because it's the first time we've conceived an effort that includes a live presentation, podcasts, and an LTN report.
And I'm updating this post today (June 4) with exciting news: FutureTech will be sponsored by BlueArc, a San Jose-based company that provides "high performance unified network storage systems to enterprise markets, as well as data intensive markets, such as electronic discovery, entertainment, federal government, higher education, internet services, oil and gas and life sciences."
BlueArc supports "both network attached storage, or NAS, and storage area network, or SAN, services on a converged network storage platform." We're thrilled to have them as our sponsor of FutureTech!
Here's the 411:
1. Live: Day-long FutureTech track presentation at LegalTech West Coast (L.A.) on Friday, June 27.
3. Law Technology News (print/digital/website): We'll run a “FutureTech" story, in the August 2008 edition, based on the topics in the track.
FutureTech Live Program at LegalTech West Coast
Panel description: The legal profession is undergoing a dramatic change as firms face a future where clients expect “better, faster, cheaper” legal services, demand use of technology, and require accountability. No longer can law firms be run behind closed doors, managed like private clubs. Today’s firms must compete to win — and retain — business, and are expected to demonstrate the same priorities as their clients: for quality work, diversity, cost management, and responsiveness. This track will explore how firms and clients are responding to these challenges.
Law Technology News’ editor-in-chief Monica Bay will moderate all panels
1. Sell Your Tech 10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. It’s no longer enough for firms to win business based on legal skills alone. Today’s savvy firms realize that they must offer top-line technology to win and keep clients. Our panelist will share how their firms have integrated technology tools, such as extranets and wikis, to increase collaboration and better serve their clients’ expectations.
Green Law1:30-3 pm It’s Not Easy Going Green.... Or is It? Using technology tools to create a “green” workplace will not only lower your energy consumption, it will increase productivity, morale, profits, improve lifestyles and health, cut costs, and help you get, and keep, new clients. How your organization can establish a program, from leadership needed to concrete programs that work.
Where is legal community headed, and what challenges does it face, as technology becomes embedded in every facet of our lives? From delivering the best possible legal services to our clients; to providing opportunities to excel in the workplace and at home; to confronting the challenges of competing interests in a global economy; it’s a heady challenge to move forward. Named for the iconic futuristic venue at Disneyland, this panel will showcase six legal technology leaders who will forecast what lies ahead — and where opportunities may abound.
I got the idea for the TomorrowLand sessions from TED (Technology Entertainment Design) -- the Silicon Valley think tank that produces amazing conferences where speakers are allowed exactly 18 minutes to talk. That's it. 18 minutes.
I loved the concept, so I'm trying this format (15 minutes) for the third session of the track -- AND -- we are going to tape them to create "Almost Live from LegalTech West Coast" -- six standalone podcasts for my Law Technology Now series (a joint project between Law.com & Legal Talk Network -- you can even subscribe on iTunes!
Finally, the LTN component: We'll produce at least one article in the August LTN, which will be available in print, digital and website versions.
We are tremendously excited about this first-ever Live/Podcast/Print/Digital/Website effort, and we hope you will join us at LegalTech West Coast, on June 27. And listen, and read! About the only media we're NOT doing (yet) is TV -- but don't rule that out for the future. Let me know what you think!
About 300 people attended this week's Louisiana Bar Association's first Solo & Small Firm Technology Conference -- about three times the number originally expected by the organizers of this nuts-and-bolts conference.
LSBA's Eric Barefield, left, -- who has the long title of Professional Counsel for Law Office Management and Professional Assistance -- was the chief organizer of the program, which not only was a crash course in legal technology but a nifty way to rack up a whole lot of CLE credits in two days.
I was honored to be invited to serve as the lunch speaker, on the topic of blogging, and among the others of our legal tech community who participated were consultant Tom O'Connor, a recent emigre to NoLa, Andy Adkins of the University of Florida (Gainesville) Legal Technology Institute, and the ubiquitous Ross Kodner, president of Milwaukee-based MicroLaw Inc.
O'Connor and Adkins, right, are current LTN editorial advisory board members, Kodner is a former board member, and watching them in action this week reminded me of what talent and energy and heart they bring to our community.
They are three very different personalities, but one common thread permeates all three: a true passion for their work. It's a running joke among all of us that if you are on a panel with Ross Kodner, you better speak first or you will be lucky to speak for 5 minutes. He's a very effective, enthusiastic speaker, who seems to almost to burst with eagerness to share his expertise with the audience. If we could tap his energy we would be paying 24 cents a gallon for gas again.
I sat in on his "How Not to Commit Malpractice with Your Computer," and was reminded of how effective Kodner, left, can be at the podium. Aside from his dreadful PowerPoints (Ross! Don't cram so much text on each slide!) he's a whirling dervish of practical information, presented with humor and enough person asides to make the potentially dry material very palatable. In fact, often compelling.
Perhaps the best part of his presentation was when he showed an actual BigFirm document (redacted to remove any identifying material) to demonstrate how a huge firm got fired when its client was able to read all the metadata on the file about its history -- which included such tasty details as the fact that the document was actually originally created by another firm, modified by a low-level associate in less than an hour, but billed out at a huge partners' rate for far more time than one hour. Let's put it this way, Ross had the audience's attention.
Too many CLE speakers at programs are just flat-out lousy who appear to view the opportunity as a chore, and stand up and give flat monotoned monologues while attendees work on their BlackBerrys or play Scrabble on the iPods while collecting CLE credits.
Ross, Andy & Tom are examples of speakers who know how to push essential information while capitalizing on the "theater" of the podium, so that at the end of the session, the attendees want more ..... rather than looking for the fastest way to exit the room.
Congrats to Barefield and the LSBA team for presenting a high-energy, two-day program that was crammed with the pragmatic and the essential, from ethics and malpractice prevention, to overviews of basic technology tools (everything from Adobe Acrobat to Outlook to case management to scanners).
BALL IN YOUR COURT, by Craig Ball Winner: American Society of Business Publication Editors Northeast region: 2010 Gold Award, Best Contributed Column; 2010 Silver award, Feature Series.
Trade and Business Publications International ("Tabbies"): 2010 Bronze award, Best Column.
Click here for links to Ball's columns on our EDD Update blog (See right nav bar).
Winner: Apex Award to Larry Port, for excellence in green writing, for Macho & Mulch.
Solutions Penalty Box:
Here are current contenders for the most use of incomprehensible jargon and cliches, including the banned word, "solution," in a press release. :)
June '08: Can You Adapt? EDD is wreaking havoc on traditional law firm caste systems, with new roles for attorneys, paralegals, IT and other litigation support staff. Opportunities abound for the ambitious. Winner: 2009 Gold Award, Best Technical Article: American Society of Business Publications Editors, Northeast region.
Nov. 08: Just Equal, my rant about the disgraceful gender-based pay discrepancies in the legal profession, and Editor's Note, about visiting the United 93 memorial in Pennsylvania, with my mom. Winner: 2009 Honorable mention, 2009 Tabbies, Best Editor's Column.
October '07: An Undercurrent of Fear: A report on the challenges of e-discovery. Winner: Bronze, 2008 Trade, Association, Business Publications International Tabbies competition. Best Special Section. 2008 American Society of Business Publication Editors, Northeast region: Bronze: Best Technical Article.
Katrina's Wake: In the April '06 LTN, Monica Bay and photographer Russ Curtis travel to New Orleans, to report on the legal technology community's efforts to rebuild practices and lives post-Hurricane Katrina. Links temporarily unavailable, will be back up soon. Winner: 2007 TABBIES: Honorable Mention, Best Feature.
Fear Factor: Why Lawyers Aren't Using Technology. The ABA's most recent tech survey found that only 11.7% of the nation's lawyers are using ANY trial technology. We interview lawyers, vendors, and consultants to find out why, and the answers are shocking: lawyers are afraid of technology, don't understand it, and are overwhelmed by too many choices. Vendors take some of the blame by not educating lawyers about tech's potential. The dramatic conclusion: lawyers must embrace change, and adopt technology, or they simply will not survive in today's competitive marketplace.
Low Visibility: As law firms move toward a corporate, rather than private club, model of operations, they are bringing in "C-level" executives to help them run their organizations. Yet many law firms still cling to old-school caste systems, where only the attorneys have real power, and everybody else is invisible. What's the litmus test? Take a look at the firm websites. Can you search for the CIO? For the COO? For the HR director? If not, the firm may be paying only lip service to change. Savvy firms realize that if they want to keep top-level executives, they better start treating them like partners.
No solutions! We're determined to build bridges, not walls -- and to explain and demystify technology in our three magazines. That means no jargon, no acronyms, and no "insider" gobbledygoop. Words like solution, robust, mission-critical, strategic planning, initiatives, deployment are just silly cliches that have become meaningless. We like plain English. Vendors! Flaks! If you mother doesn't understand your press release, don't send it out.