Sittin' in the courtroom hot seat? Check out two stories from this week's Law Technology News website that can help you effectively run courtroom technology, from "the Johns" (our affectionate name for two of our regular reviewers):
> "Quick Take: Capitalizing on Wi-Fi in Courtrooms," by John Edwards, with helpful information about how you can use projectors, presentation controllers, and televisions with wi-fi.
> "HD Videoconferencing Adds Wrinkle to Courts," by John K. Waters, addresses the maturation of video in trials. (From our current issue of LTN magazine.)
Illustration: Daniel Hertzberg
Second Act: Graham Smith & William Bice
In LTN's April cover story, we profile two entrepreneurs who accomplished the dream of 99% of legal technology vendors: to create a product and/or company that caught the eye of one of the industry giants, and to see it for a lot of money. In most cases, the principals cash the check and head for exotic locations.
But at LegalTech 2012, two men who hit the jackpot decided they weren't done with our community. William Bice, founder of ProLaw practices management software, and Graham Smith, founder of LiveNote litigation support software, came back for "act two" after selling to Thomson Reuters' [prior entities]. Both launched new web-based products that compete with their original offerings -- Bice's LiquidPractice (and a second product, Exemplify, that is a document creation and comparison tool for transaction lawyers), and Smith's Opus Magnum, with integrates with other EDD software and helps uses develop their cases after they have processed their data collections.
Will they triumph twice? Check it out here.
Legal technology vendors often have, shall we say, "unusual" company names, e.g., Daegis, Fios, Aderant, Recommind. LTN's news editor Brendan McKenna became intrigued on the origins of these monikers, which generated this article in the December edition of Law Technology News magazine (short version in print, long version on the website).
In today's commentary, McKenna explores ever more archeology, again finding the history of corporate names from A (ABBYY) to Z (ZL Technologies).
Awards & Accolades!
In the December issue of Law Technology News, we announced the winners of the 2010 LTN Vendor Awards.
The awards have evolved from the early days of LTN, when they were calculated by how many folks requested information via the "bingo" postcards included in each issue. Today, it's much more sophisticated. Results are determined by analyzing the responses to our LTN Vendor Satisfaction Survey, conducted online, explains Kevin Iredell, head of ALM's legal intelligence division.
Congrats to all the winners! And a reminder to submit nominations for the LTN law firm and law department awards by Dec. 13. Application form is here.
Pick Your Poison
Managing change is key, says Levy, who had a long stint at Microsoft heading its legal technology efforts. "Some project managers try to increase success by erecting overwhelming barriers to change," he writes, in "Align Your Allies," in the LTN December issue. But too many changes can derail your project, he warns.
Levy's tips for success include getting buy-in from stakeholders, who must feel that they have a voice in the process. Change logs, checklists, and incremental delivery also help.
And keep an eye out for the December Law Technology Now podcast with Levy.
Much ado about little?
Last spring, CBS News created quite the ruckus when it ran a story about used copiers that were, in its words, "digital time-bomb[s] packed with highly-personal or sensitive data."
The blogosphere went just a bit bonkers, including yours truly, but Richard Melville, litigation support manager at Maynard Cooper & Gale, decided to run a few tests to separate "[t]he sensational from reality."
The process and the results are fascinating, and yes, surprising: Check it out in the current edition of Law Technology News. (The original version of the story ran on our Law Technology News website in October.)
Some of the most interesting technology toolseem to be emerging from the intellectual property battlefield. In the November issue of Law Technology News, consultant Michael Barr discusses how new technology can help legal professionals "automatically detect copying of copyrighted software source code, even if it came from open source packages."
"Some of the most powerful tools for conducting direct comparisons between a pair of source code sets are from Software Analysis and Forensic Engineering (www.safe-corp.biz)," says Barr, who also discusses offerings from Black Duck Software and Canada's Protecode.
A most interesting area that we will continue to monitor!
Channeling John Lennon
The word "revolutionary" is the 2010 buzzword of the year; about 95% of the press releases we receive at Law Technology News use the word to describe a company's new product, service, or version 6.725x maintenance upgrade of a legacy product.
As far as I'm concerned, there's only one person who can use "revolutionary" with a straight face: Steve Jobs. Unquestionably, the Apple iPad is quickly penetrating even the most Luddite of law firms (and shaking up publishing). In our November issue of LTN, Ross Kodner highlights how firms of all sizes are adopting the tablet; and Latham & Watkin's John Cleaves walks you through how to create an "app." (His firm has already launched its U.S. Book of Jargon app, an interactive glossary of capital markets and banking terms and slang.)
Check out my interview with Cleaves on the February edition of our Law Technology Now podcast.
In LTN's October issue, Sean Doherty dives into kCura Relativity, web-based e-discovery software that "uses web forms to customize the user interface and configure workflows that offer to fulfill specific document requirements." Relativity helps users index, search, review, analyze, and code documents -- and then "produce responsive document sets that withhold privileged documents."
His verdict? "Relativity was easy to use, configure, and reuse to review documents for multiple clients and matters," declares Doherty, a San Francisco-based attorney and the technology editor for Law.com.
A caveat? Its best feature (the aforementioned customization and config tools) is also its worst: "The multiplicity of tabs, pages, and options makes it hard to find things, but I would rather be feature-rich and challenged than feature-poor and complacent." Read the full review here.
Life Jacket, Please
Craig Ball detailed the ruling in the October issue of Law Technology News, describing Grimm's fury at the "unrelentingly abusive antics" of Mark Pappas, the principal of the defendant company in the copyright dispute. The judge threatened to toss Pappas in the slammer, carefully circumnavigating Rule 42 requirements that criminal contempt matters be referred to the U.S. Attorney or a private prosecutor. Grimm describes the defendant's actions as "the single most egregious example of spoliation that I have encountered ... in 14 years on the bench."
But the educational value of the case, says Ball, "outweighs its considerable entertainment value." Grimm uses the ruling "as a bully pulpit to teach the law of spoliation and sanctions," complete with a 12-page appendix.
When Chris Leslie became general counsel at Hitachi Data Systems, he brought the mindset of Sun Microsystems, where he had served in senior legal positions for 11 years. Sun was aggressive about global compliance issues, particularly those addressing bribery and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Leslie turned to technology tools and training to bring Hitachi up to speed, launching "fiduciary boot camps," using videos, and brought in outside counsel teams to provide in-depth indoctrination.
Thomas Huddleston Jr. profiles Leslie's efforts in "No, Thanks," and Leslie contributes a checklist of seven tips that your firm or company can adapt, in the October issue of Law Technology News.
Humans v. Machines
Our October LTN cover article "Crash or Soar?" has many folks talking about how much we can trust computers, or humans, when it comes to properly identifying relevant documents early in the electronic data discovery process.
Anne Kershaw and Joseph Howie, both involved with the eDiscovery Institute, argue that bringing computers to the party enhances everything from transparency, replicability, quality of results, to cost-reduction. The institute polled 11 EDD vendors, with strong results.
Check out our October Law Technology Now podcast as they discuss how predictive coding -- using computers with some guidance from lawyers -- can streamline document review and cut costs.
U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Paul Grimm, of the district of Maryland, wasn't shy about his distaste for the defendant in a nasty piece of recent litigation, Victor Stanley, Inc. v. Creative Pipe et al. In his 89-page opinion, Grimm describes defendant Mark Pappas' data destruction and dissembling as "the single most egregious example of spoliation that I have encountered in any case that I have handled, or in any case described, in the legion of spoliation cases I have read in nearly 14 years on the bench."
Craig Ball, in the October issue of Law Technology News, details the judge's careful manuevering in issuing a civil contempt sanction on Pappas. But Ball cautions readers not to dismiss the case's educational value due to the "over-the-top" behavior of the defendant. Grimm uses the ruling "as a bully pulpit to teach the law of spoliation and sanctions," complete with a 12-page appendix.
Happy news within the e-discovery community: on EDD Update, Ball chronicles Saturday's nuptials between Kenneth Withers, director of judicial education and content at The Sedona Conference, and Harry Henry Jr., presided over by Magistrate Judge John Facciola. Congratulations!
Third Time's the Charm?
"In the beginning, there was brute force linear review of electronic data," where lawyers would start at one end of a collection and march right through it to make document-by-document decisions about relevance, privilege, etc., explain Anne Kershaw and Joseph Howie, in "Crash or Soar?," the October cover story in Law Technology News. Next came "clustering," similar documents are grouped to speed review.
But today's savvy litigators are embracing a new methodology, called "predictive coding" to control costs and increase the accuracy of results, they say. With it, a small subset of documents is "examined by lawyers, and decisions made on those records are then propagated through the document population." The result is transparent, saves time, enhances replicability, improves confidentiality, and shortens litigation timelines, say Kershaw and Howie, leaders of the nonprofit eDiscovery Institute.
The institute recently surveyed 11 brand name e-discovery vendors, including Catalyst Repository Systems, Equivio, Recommind, and Kroll Ontrack. Respondents cited a cost savings of 45% compared with traditional review, and seven reported individual cases where the savings were in excess of 70%.
Of course, there still is resistance from attorneys, the authors note. Many worry about whether judges will accept the methodology. But ironically, it's the judges themselves that are screaming the loudest for adoption, says Kershaw.
Read more about it in our October LTN. Kershaw and Howie also are my guests for the October Law Technology Now podcast, which will be available shortly.
Perils & Pitfalls
We write a lot about computer virtualization in Law Technology News, because it is an effective way to not only save money, but also to go "green" and reduce energy consumption. Benefits include fully exploiting computer resources, easing administration, improving fault tolerance, and saving costs for electricity, cooling, and floor space.
But the positives are not without risks. John Roman Jr., director of legal technology at Nixon Peabody, details seven pitfalls, including "putting all of your computing eggs in one basket. If your physical server goes down, so do the virtual servers installed on the physical server." That can result in a "single point of failure" that can cause major issues with your computing availability, he explains. Another risk: "VM sprawl," says Roman. Because it's easy to create virtual machines, "if the original VM is ill-configured from a security standpoint, so too will all replicated units."
Correction: In yesterday's breaking news about the acquistion of Daticon EED by Document Technologies, I incorrectly stated that the company's headquarters would be in Kirkland, Wash. DTI's HQ will remain in Atlanta, the Kirkland office now serves as a regional technology center.
Mining for Gold
What's that old expression, we only use 10% of any of our technology features? Seattle-based consultant (and former head of Microsoft's legal technology team) Steven Levy helps you better exploit your existing software in "Dig(ital) Gold," in the September issue of Law Technology News.
Much unfound "gold" lies within your existing time and billing and general ledger systems, he says. If you mine it, you can improve your organization's productivity. To do so doesn't require an engineering degree -- you can gather this data using ordinary Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and other tools your attorneys, IT staff, and finance professionals already understand and can manipulate, he says.
For example, you can analyze whether the business of your five highest-revenue clients is increasing or decreasing. If you examine these trends at least once a year, you may be able to ascertain underlying problems and resolve or mitigate them & before clients walk out the door.
Change Your Outlook: George Socha checked in to update us on Judge James Rosenbaum, who will be appearing Oct. 1 at the Colorado Association of Litigation Support Professional's eDiscovery Summit in Denver, as we reported yesterday in the LTN Daily Alert. Fellow Minnesotan Rosenbaum has retired from the bench, Socha notes, and is now affiliated with JAMS, and available as a meditator/arbitrator.
President's Corner: John Willcutts
President's Corner: Nexidia's president and CEO, John Willcutts, reports that the latest upgrade of the company's audio review software, AudioFinder 3, is a desktop-based program that allows you to search by example to locate individual words or phrases within an audio file.
In other litigation support news, StoredIQ has upgraded its namesake information management software for corporate counsel. StoredIQ 6 now integrates with the company's new eDiscovery Manager to help law departments address discovery requirements. It includes an improved user interface, step-by-step workflow, and a new Analyze Anywhere tool.
Bridgeway Software also targets corporate counsel, with Legal Hold 3. It offers enhanced workflow tools and customizable custodian response options.
IConect Development has debuted nXT 830, the latest upgrade of its flagship product. New features include batching, e-mail sorting, folder rules, and an export tool to LexisNexis CaseMap.
Read more about new litigation support offerings in the Sept. issue of Law Technology News.
In Law Technology News' September cover story, "Safe Sky," Patrick Oot, general counsel of the Electronic Discovery Institute, details how corporate law departments can be at odds with the business side of their organizations over cloud computing.
As online repositories become dirt cheap, they are more tempting to companies, especially for e-mail and messaging. (Hosted Exchange e-mail services now go for about $2.50 per month per person.)
But the move to the cloud increases risks that must be managed, from privacy to security to potential waivers of attorney-client privilege. And for companies that operate overseas, the problems become even more complicated, as organizations must comply with regulations that can vary from country to country.
Oot dives into some of the risks created and argues that the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act is already out-of-date and needs a revamp, quickly.
Bob Ambrogi's September LTN "Web Watch" column, "Are Legal Blogs Dead?," drew quite a reaction from the blawgosphere. Critics fell into two contingents, reports Ambrogi on his LawSites blog (which recently underwent a gorgeous remodel).
"In one camp were those who were unhappy with the blogs I chose to highlight. In the other were those who were unhappy with the blogs I overlooked. My intent in the column was only to highlight a handful of recently launched blogs to serve as examples to show that blogging is alive and well within the legal community. It was neither a 'top blog' list nor a comprehensive index, just a sampling of some that had struck my eye as potentially interesting," he says.
Ambrogi just might revisit the topic in a future issue, so if you have launched a blog in the last six months, reply to his post.
Want more? Check out September Law Technology Now podcast, where I interview Ambrogi about how legal blogs have matured in the last few years. Bob spotlights new sites that cover everything from fashion law (CaseClothesed) to "white collar" crime (Crime in the Suites) to intellectual property (Trademarks + Brands).
Ambrogi listed 15 new blogs and notes that they are popping up like the proverbial crabgrass in July.
"I have no idea how many law-related blogs exist. I doubt anyone can say for certain," he says. "But these blogs show that there is always room for new ideas or for novel approaches to established topics."
PRESIDENT'S CORNER: DAVID KALMICK
President's Corner: California's CompuLaw has updated its web-based calendar and docket matter management software.
President and CEO David Kalmick says Vision Web Portal 4 adds tools to help legal professionals customize their calendars. The upgrade supports "ethical walls," to restrict data access by specific professionals to avoid conflicts. Users can mark events as "hidden" to reduce clutter. Private and public "to do" items, as well as case notes, can now be added, changed, and deleted via the web interface, says Kalmick, featured in Law Technology News' August edition.
Other "Practice Tool" debuts include a redesign of LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell; a desktop version of Corsearch's A2Beyond trademark search review software; the latest version of Business Integrity's contract management software, ContractExpress 3.6, and more.
Assist: LTN news editor Daniel Howley.
HOT AUGUST NIGHTS
As we pack for the International Legal Technology Association convention in Vegas next week, as usual, many vendors are promising "revolutionary" launches at the show. As George Socha and Tom Gelbmann reported in "Climbing Back," it does seem that e-discovery purchasing has stabilized into slow but steady growth.
Among recent product upgrades listed in our August issue of Law Technology News magazine:
• Equivio>Relevance 3, which now supports rolling data loads and concurrent tagging for issues;
• Altep's Inspicio 3 with integrated concept searching, clustering, and categorization.
• Ontrack Inview 6.2, with tools to help managers monitor the efficiency of review teams.
Also: Clearwell launched an iPhone app, and RenewData debuted its Anagram Keyword Development software. For more litigation support news, visit our website.
Managing lawyers has often been compared to the challenge of "herding cats" (translation, nearly impossible). But attorney Peter Rabinov, who has spent time in the contract lawyering trenches, offers 10 tips to help firms manage contract lawyers who are reviewing EDD documents.
Among the tips: choose wisely when hiring and -- at least during initial employment -- check their work. And don't just set them loose and assume they'll figure everything out: create teams, and provide proper support and equipment, advises Rabinov, a member of the California and Massachusetts Bars.
It's been five years since Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" brought the realities of global warming front-and-center, and our legal community began to escalate "green" protocols. Little did we realize that these efforts would not just help the environment, but would help us reduce our costs and increase profits as well, to the benefit of our clients and colleagues.
In our August issue, in "Beyond the Basics," reporter Katherine Montgomery takes a look online resources that can help your firm continue its green efforts -- from evaluating the most energy-efficient computers, to successfully recycling electronics you have outgrown, to sites that monitor green news and track environmental litigation.
And if your organization has a story to tell about its green efforts, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While we don't generally cover individual vendor's revenue reports in Law Technology News' print edition, our EDD Update blog is a great place to discuss money! So feel free to send your revenue reports to email@example.com.
Here's our post about the latest metrics from Guidance Software, with, of course good news:
• Q2 2010 revenue increased 38% over Q2 2009
• Q2 2010 product revenue increased 61% over Q2 2009
• Q2 2010 non-GAAP earnings per share of $0.03
• Raises 2010 financial outlook for the second time this year.
For context, check out the August LTN cover story, "Climbing Back," by Minnesota consultants George Socha and Thomas Gelbmann, discussing their 2010 EDD survey.
More: The Common Scold.
STOP & SHOP
Robert J. Ambrogi gathers the shopping cart in the July issue of Law Technology News, as he reports on three new websites that can help lawyers save a few (or a lot of) dollars.
First stop: GroupESQ capitalizes on social networking, and Costco-esque concepts of buying in bulk. Each deal is offered for only a limited time, and requires a minimum number of buyers -- so Tweets and Facebook posts are encouraged to hit critical mass. The site recently offered $150 of mediation services for $25, and $40 of court reporting services for about the price of a Starbucks Grande. (Can you say "loss leader"?)
Second stop: ServeCentral is a web-based tool that helps legal professionals manage service of process, automating a frequently time-consuming and annoying task.
Last stop: Litéra Live: new software as a service that helps users clean, convert, compare, and collaborate on documents.
UP CLOSE: MARK BISARD
Up Close: Mark Bisard, vice president and senior counsel of American Express, has a job that may be the envy of most 20-somethings: He is AmEx's "cyberlawyer." Bisard's days include everything from negotiating interactive vendor agreements to developing online policies and protocols to providing legal counsel on everything from search engine optimization to social media to publishing technologies.
His security blanket? "Tweetdeck and at least two video monitors at all times!" His favorite modes of transportation? Brooklyn's "F train, funiculars, and most boats on the Seine." (His last vacation was a three-day weekend in Paris.)
Bisard's favorite tech secret? "Make friends with the help desk and janitors."
Find out more about Bisard in the July "Up Close" profile in Law Technology News.
PRESIDENT'S CORNER: JIM KING
President's Corner: Ipro Tech has introduced its Ipro Eclipse database and case management program. It offers comprehensive discovery management, helping users manage and review case data from early assessment through trial preparation, says president Jim King. From a single interface, users can work with data in a variety of formats, including native files and image sources.
Also New: Integreon's eView 3.3 document review software, which provides analytics that help project leaders assess data collections to determine how to manage each project. And StoredIQ has upgraded hardware and software components of its Intelligent Information Management Platform, migrating to Dell PowerEdge R610 servers with Intel Xeon E5520 processors. PP For more litigation support product news, see the July issue of Law Technology News.
Assist: LTN news editor Dan Howley
Christopher Sale, the administrator of Alexandria, Va.'s Young & Thompson, was facing a lot of demands. The patent firm, with 15 attorneys, three patent agents, and 20 paralegals, was geographically dispersed, and growing along with its client base that was now demanding digital communication and efficiencies. Firm managers were hounding Sale for more transparent workflow. And the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office had escalated the use of digital filings, asking for almost all documents in electronic formats.
It was time to go digital. So Sale and three senior paralegals (Annette Skaltsounis, Joy Withorn, and Lauren Terry) began the search that ultimately led the firm to adopt First to File's Electronic File Room, and its Workflow Management Module. Learn how they made the $150,000 decision to go digital, and how they got a 200% return on investment in the first year, in the July issue of Law Technology News.
Starting with the July issue of Law Technology News, Craig Ball has launched a three-part series explaining e-mail. "Huh?," you might say. "Why do I need to go under-the-hood about something so basic as e-mail?"
Well, because it is "the most sought-after and fought-over electronically stored information" that you will encounter in even the most pedestrian dispute, explains Ball, an Austin, Texas, attorney and forensics master. And it flat out flummoxes litigators.
He begins with a pop quiz. Here are the first three questions:
1. You demanded "all metadata" for each Outlook e-mail message. How many fields of metadata is that?
Where do you look in your copy of a received message to determine if it was bcc'd to someone else?
3. Your Outlook screen indicates that a crucial message sent to you from the same time zone was "received" 10 minutes before it was "created." How is that possible?
Stumped? See "Traffic Jam" for the answers. And watch for the second installment in August!
Fastcase is among the legal vendors who are jumping to develop apps for Apple's white-hot iPad tablet computer and its iPhone. The Washington, D.C., company says its namesake app helps users search its libraries of state and federal case law and statutes. Users can conduct keyword or Boolean searches.
Feisty Fastcase is gaining traction as a low-cost alternative to Thomson Reuter's Westlaw and LexisNexis' namesake research services. In our July LTN cover story, "Help Please!," we examined the results of the 2010 Law Technology News Vendor Satisfaction Survey. Of 147 respondents commenting on LexisNexis, 26.5% said they were "very likely to recommend" the research service to peers; of 181 respondents, 20.4% said the same about Westlaw. But of the eight respondents ranking Fastcase, half gave it that "very" same thumbs up.
Check out the upcoming August issue of Law Technology News for more information on the Fastcase for the iPad.
Assist: LTN editorial assistant Heather Schultz.
THE BIG SQUEEZE
Small firm lawyers, with small cases and even smaller budgets, sometimes feel like the proverbial David facing Goliath. But fear not: less can definitely be more. Wisconsin lawyer and consultant Ross Kodner, CEO of MicroLaw, explains how you can go to court armed with simple but effective technology tools that help you organize and present your case -- developed from software you already own.
We also discuss the just-released 2010 LTN Vendor Satisfaction Survey, conducted by our colleagues in our ALM Intelligence division. Kodner says he's not the least bit surprised that legal professionals are increasingly frustrated with vendors, and are demanding better customer service and faster resolution of problems.
Check out "Help, Please!," our July cover story, and watch for our next LTN Video, which features Erica Greathouse, IT director of Cox, Castle & Nicholson, with some delicious tales of help desk nightmares. It will be up shortly on our LTN website.
Erica Greathouse, of Cox, Castle & Nicholson, has a lot of experience when it comes to handling legal professionals' gripes about imperfect technology. As a veteran CIO, she's seen the best and worst behavior, from both frustrated lawyers and the IT staff trying to serve them.
So we had a very entertaining discussion taping our latest LTN video, "Help, Please!" where we discuss the results of the 2010 LTN Vendor Satisfaction Survey. We resonated with the tsunami of respondents (more than 80% of large and small firm folks) who declared that customer service -- quick resolution of problems -- was the number one factor they considered when buying technology.
That's also the title of our July LTN cover story where I analyze key points from the survey, which was conducted by our colleagues at ALM Legal Intelligence. And if you want even more, check out this month's Law Technology Now podcast, where Ross Kodner and I discuss the survey after we chat about his "Big Squeeze" article on how small firms can stretch litigation support budgets.
FREE GOVT DOCS
This year's "Liberate U.S." article ponders whether government legal files should "belong" to the people, as Law.gov enthusiasts argue. Podboy profiles Law.gov efforts to put these documents into the public domain via free, easily accessible websites.
California technologist and crusader Carl Malamud, who runs public.resource.org, is the driving force behind this movement, notes Podboy. Malamud has successfully persuaded the state of Oregon to not assert copyright over its legislative statutes, and has challenged California's copyright claims by publishing criminal, building, and plumbing codes online.
All lawyers must be able to fashion a successful legal hold, argues Craig Ball in his May "Ball in Your Court" column in Law Technology News. U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin's recent "terrifying 88-page opinion" in Pension Committee gives no quarter, he says.
"The failure to issue a written litigation hold constitutes gross negligence because that failure is likely to result in the destruction of relevant information," she writes. So what's a lawyer to do? Ball comes to the rescue with tips on creating a workable legal hold.
And there's more news: Ralph Losey, on EDD Update, notes that Scheindlin added another correction to her opinion on May 28. The fix will help folks breath a little easier, he says, as she changes language from "likely constitutes negligence" to "could" -- and "all employees" is modified to "those with any involvement."
Speaking of legal holds, in "Gone, Not Forgotten" Jones Day's Marc Fulkert reminds us that exiting employees may leave behind a trail of electronic data. He offers suggestions for policies that will protect organizations, including prohibiting personnel from using personal computers or e-mail when working -- and to be sure that those folks don't walk away with company computers!
DOWSING FOR GOLD
David Whelan, a longtime member of the Law Technology News Editorial Advisory Board, is manager of legal information at the Law Society of Upper Canada's Great Library.
In our May issue, Whelan was guest author of our Web Watch column, as Bob Ambrogi took the month off. In "Dowsing for Gold," Whelan takes a look at how search tools can help legal professionals divine useful information from the white noise of social media. He starts off with Twitter, and explains that there are alternatives to twitter.com/search, including Microsoft's Bing, which both highlights hot topics and then returns tweets that match your search terms. One downside: Bing only displays three results at a time.
Whelan also discusses Collecta.com, which provides only social media results, retrieving results from blog posts and comments, status updates, and multimedia posts on YouTube, Flickr, and other media. The column offers advice on how to find information on social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn, noting that LinkedIn can help you "crack corporate identities." Business websites, he notes, "are closely controlled and may not provide information about senior management, even if the CEO and CFO are identified."
Want more of Whelan's wisdom? Check out his April article, "Rethink Open Source," to find out why large firms may be surprised to find viable open source options, but why they should not expect it to be "free." And listen to him on April's Law Technology Now podcast.
THE REIGN OF SOX
A carefully crafted document management system can help your firm not only meet its business goals, but also comply with the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
In our April Law Technology News cover story, Kenneth Jones, COO of Sedgwick's Xerdict Group, provides a basic framework to implement a system that will help your firm accurately track claims, assess associated risk factors, and project resolution costs. This requires transaction-level and entity-level controls, says Jones.
Law Technology News' first-ever Compliance Showcase includes a helpful article from Toyko-based Thomas Shaw, discussing how companies can vet vendors.
Carefully choosing vendors to help global company process data requires finesse and a lot of knowledge. Regulations governing data privacy, security, and rules governing financial statements can vary from country to country. Basically, says Shaw, there are two main choices -- certification or an evaluation process. He guides you through key standards with pragmatic tips on how to negotiate this tricky landscape.
RUDOY & MAHONEY: "SWIM OR SINK"
As law firms and law departments struggle to thrive in the new economy, they look to technology to help them navigate. George Rudoy, director of global practice technology and information services at Shearman & Sterling, predicts key trends for the year ahead — one of our new videos on our newly revamped Law Technology News website. (We launched it late last year; it merges the former LTN site with the wonderful Law.com technology site, and is co-managed by my colleague Sean Doherty et moi!)
Rudoy and Australia's Michelle Mahoney, of Mallesons Stephen Jaques — for the second year in a row — wrote LTN's January cover story about how we're all coping with the economic turmoil of the last 18 months. In this year's "Swim or Sink" they explore the sometimes counter-intuitive ways that law firms and law departments are approaching the business of law.
Rudoy and Mahoney are among the voices (which include Foley & Lardner's Doug Caddell) who insist that the days of "doing more with less are over." Instead, they argue that it's time to rethink IT.
Rudoy says IT leaders should get more involved with the business of law. A conversation with IT should not be about applications and infrastructure, says Rudoy. It should be about how technology can help lawyers provide legal services and conduct business, including development and marketing.
Terminating legal holds is easier said than done, says John Jablonski. But it's also "an essential part of a defensible legal hold business process."
In "End Game," Jablonski, a partner with Goldberg Segalla, and co-author of ARMA's new book, 7 Steps for Legal Holds of ESI and Other Documents, says that "timely release of legal holds can help corporations escape from the legal hold purgatory."
To find out more, check out the January e-discovery showcase in Law Technology News.
BACK TO THE FUTURE
It's been three years now since the electronic data discovery rules were added to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and the number of reported cases involving electronically stored information has skyrocketed. But some lawyers still "simply do not anticipate (or woefully underestimate) issues related to ESI," says Cecil Lynn, of counsel to Ryley Carlock and Applewhite.
In "Back to the Future" in the January issue of Law Technology News, Lynn chronicles key 2009 rulings, finding that most of them are reiterating established principles. Lynn looks at everything from the increasing clarion for "cooperation," and issues around form of production, to failure to preserve, sanctions, discovery abuse, and more. It's part of our EDD Showcase.
Want more? Check out our Law Technology Now podcast, where Cecil Lynn joins me as a guest to further explore the 2009 EDD rulings -- with a special bonus: a cameo appearance by ALM's Henry Dicker, who offers a sneak preview of LegalTech New York.
E-DISCOVERY BILL OF RIGHTS
In January's Ball in Your Court column, Craig Ball argues that it's time for a "Bill of Rights" for requesting parties who seek electronically stored information from their opponents. Requesting parties, he insists, have rights -- and duties -- during litigation.
Among the rights, says Ball, an Austin, Texas-based attorney and forensics consultant, is that ESI be produced in the format in which it is kept in the usual course of business; and that the producer clearly and specifically identify any intentional alteration of ESI.
Among the duties: an obligation to anticipate the nature, form, and volume of the ESI under scrutiny, and tailor requests to minimize burden and cost of securing the data. Read more in the current issue of Law Technology News.
Craig and I will be speaking Thursday (Jan. 21) at the New York City chapter meeting of Women in E-Discovery. It will be held at noon, at Credit Suisse, 11 Madison Ave., floor 2B, in the Club room.
To RSVP please visit firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to see you there!
One of the most crucial, and sometimes frustrating, aspects of reviewing electronically stored information is trying to follow e-mail "threads" — the conversations created by replies (to all), forwarding, etc. Finding all related e-mails can be a challenge, but technology can help.
In "Exposing Content," Anne Kershaw and Joseph Howie explain how "e-threading" can help you contain e-discovery costs, explicating the three general ways that e-mails are associated into threads. They also offer a chart of vendors who provide technology tools to help you create the fabric of these conversations.
It's in the EDD Showcase, in the January edition of Law Technology News.
DECEMBER PRESIDENT'S CORNER
Catalyst Repository Systems has introduced its Fast Track integrated processing software. Users can submit multi-language Exchange PST, NSF, and other electronic files directly into Catalyst CR, the company's web-based search and review software, says CEO John Tredennick.
The automated system processes, loads, and indexes files and then makes them available for search and review according to processing instructions set by the user, he explains.
Among other new litigation support products announced in Law Technology News' December issue is Wave Software's Trident Pro 6.2, which adds interactive searching and filtering capabilities to help users view search results quickly, and make earlier decisions on search terms and criteria by providing a report on keyword lists.
The software automatically detects exceptions and encrypted items and generates reports and logs. Its Native Review Bridge adds support for LexisNexis Concordance 10. Other improvements include enhanced Unicode support for better handling of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean data.
CREATE YOUR PATH
As technology guru Richard Susskind likes to say, the best way to predict the future is to create it yourself. Along those lines, Douglas Caddell, a longtime member of Law Technology News' Editorial Advisory Board and CIO of Foley & Lardner, says he's heard just about enough of the mantra, "IT must do more with less."
Those days are history, says Caddell. Instead, if you want your firm (and your IT department) to thrive in these tough times, you have to rethink and reinvent IT. The first step: go virtual, says Caddell. Check out his December Law Technology News cover story here. And listen to him on our LTN website video here.
And while you're at it, you'll also want to read Jo Haraf's article "Align Your Agendas" -- which offers some insightful advice about how you can create an "IT Porfolio" -- and how the journey of creating that portfolio will help you align your IT department with the overall business goals of the firm.
Later this month, Haraf will be my guest on my Law Technology Now podcast. We'll letcha know when it's live!
Not surprisingly,both Caddell and Haraf are among the contributors to a new book from Thomson Reuters, "Achieving Excellence in Legal Technology Management" (West, 2009). Might be the perfect holiday present for your IT pals.
GREENING GREENE ESPEL
Eco-activist Kim Carlson helps Minnesota's Greene Espel assess, and then improve, its energy conservation programs and reduce its carbon footprint. Among the changes, the firm scrapped $12,700 off the annual budget by eliminating bottled water and switching to a filter system, reports Jon Bream. And they increased productivity by giving everyone dual Dell UltraSharp 200 FP monitors to increase workspace, and Ergotron stands that allow users to position the monitors for maximum comfort, andd switch quickly between "landscape" and "portrait" modes.
>Another program that won big morale points: everybody gets a Metropass so they can ride public transportation, a $15,500 cost that generates a 30% transit tax credit.
Read more in the November issue of Law Technology News.
EXPLOIT YOUR MULTIFUNCTION MACHINES
Today's multifunction devices generate basic data — such as copy counts, who is using the device, and when (and how) it requires maintenance, notes Rick Cruz, executive director of Fort Worth's Cantey Hanger.
But with a little boost from third-party software vendors, such as nQueue Billback, Equitrac and Omtool, law firms can get even more sophisticated data. Why would you want more data? Because you can use it to analyze your workflows, which can save you money, increase efficiency and maximize profits.
Cruz explains the opportunities in the November issue of Law Technology News.
If you're constantly searching for wi-fi hot spots, it might be time to invest in a mobile broadband card, says Brett Burney.
Many providers offer the option to use your mobile phone as a wireless modem, but the dedicated cards "require less fuss," says Burney, a Cleveland-based consultant. And, he notes, the cards can be used to create a personal, secure "hot-spot" that can be shared with others.
CradlePoint's PHS300 Personal Wi-Fi Hotspot router is one option, another is the MiFi 2200, offered by Sprint Nextel. The instant connectivity can be particularly handy for traveling litigators (think instant war rooms) or for anyone stuck at an airport. But before you pull out the plastic, check your existing contract for any restrictions, and read the fine print of costs and fees, cautions Burney.
Read it in the November issue of Law Technology News.
AMBROGI'S OCTOBER PICKS
Web Watch: In the October issue of Law Technology News, Robert J. Ambrogi explores an array of new websites of interest to the legal profession, including WhichDraft.com, which helps users automatically assemble contracts and other legal documents. Users start the process by finding the type of document they want and then answering a series of simple questions.
Lawyers can also use the system to automate the assembly of their own documents. Ambrogi also explores Casemakerdigest, which offers summaries of recent cases, and Harvard University's new site, DASH, which offers access to scholarly articles written by faculty and students, as well as new sites from Littlearth that help users search for specific information, such as PatentSurf and Case-Law.
EGGS OVER EASY
After a series of power failures, system cooling malfunctions and a flood, Boston-based intellectual property firm Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers concluded that housing its IT infrastructure inside their offices did not provide the uptime or data security necessary for lawyers and decided to relocate their data center down the street. Crazy? Or crazy smart? Monroe Horn, Sunstein Kann's chief technology officer, explains the move in the September edition of Law Technology News.
OK, what's hands-down, the goofiest product we have ever reviewed in Law Technology News? But also breathtakingly kewl? The Sitness 5 chair by Germany's Topstar. It looks like a giant orange.
What exactly IS it? "A kind of exercise ball rests on five chromed feet of light metal," says the German manufacturer.
Air pressure can be regulated to body weight with a provided air pump, notes Test Drive columnnist Donna Payne (CEO of Seattle's PayneGroup), whose September column takes a look at how technology is changing office furniture.
But it's better looking than the Isokinetics Executive Exercise Ball Chair, right.
If you ask me, that one looks like charcoal beach ball sitting on top of a firepit.
Check them both out in the Sept. issue.
And never fear, next month it's a more traditional topic -- we swerve away from the Northwest Corner's fascination with um, er, granola technology as Ms. Donna reviews another new but more traditional trend: netbook computers.