The Common Scold

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!

Matthew Kluger Pleads Guilty on Insider Trading

0611ltnp39cvrHands down, one of the most fascinating stories we have ever covered in Law Technology News was our June 2011 cover story, "Catch Me If You Can," about how lawyers and their organizations responded to the astounding insider trading prosecution against Matthew Kluger. (LexisNexis subscribers can access it here.)

In the article, Tam Harbert detailed how Kluger, who worked at four of the world's most prestigious law firms, managed to acquire approximately $37 million (with two accomplices) by simply reading file labels to figure out information about pending mergers and acquisitions.

This week, Kluger pleaded guilty Wednesday to all four counts against him. Check out the report by Tom Huddleston Jr. in The Am Law Daily.

Our package looked at the lessons learned by law firms, and how they are balancing the difficult tightrope between protecting confidential data while still providing as open an environment as possible internally to faciliate collaboration and innovation. In addition to ramping up ethics training and security, one of the interesting themes that emerged was whether law firms may need to rethink the traditional "MYOB" (mind your own business) hands-off posture of dealing with employees, and become more proactive about offering support services (overt or subtle).

While no firm will be able to completely outwit brilliant sociopaths, organizations should watch for red flags that might signal potential employee meltdowns big or small. Especially in the aftermath of the economic earthquakes. A recent PriceWaterhouse Coopers poll of 1,600 adults who make $30,000+/year found that 61% of respondents are stressed about finances, and 49% have a hard time paying monthly bills --- even 36% of high earners ($100K+). As I wrote in my editor's note in June, "No doubt, there is a huge difference between thefts fueled by arrogance and those fed by desperation, but both can lead to tragedy. Perhaps it's time ... to reach out."

Check out my conversation with with Harbert here.

December 15, 2011 in Commentary & Analysis, Hiring & Retention, Law Firm Management, Security, Surveys | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mobile Lawyering: Not Yet in Sync

Smartphones,jpgOur colleagues at ALM Legal Intelligence have just released a new survey report, "Productivity in the Legal Profession: The Impact of Mobile Technology," based on an online survey of 266 U.S. lawyers, 87% with 11+ years experience, 84% in law firms, 16% in law departments. Of firm respondents, 36% were managing partners.

The results show a spike in use of mobile technology by lawyers, but suggest that law firms, clients, and judges haven't yet figured out how to support or exploit these new technologies. (See also, "Resistance is Futile" our cover story on LTN's Feb. 2011 issue.)

Key findings include:

• Almost 90% of respondents say they use a smartphone for work-related tasks, 40 percent use tablets (read: iPads).

• Calling IT: Lawyers need more tech support to improve productivity. "Law firms and law departments are not helping attorneys make more sophisticated use of their mobile devices. Much technical support is ad hoc or nonexistent," states the report. Almost 40% of smartphone users and 54% of tablet users are flying solo, "without any official support from their law firm or law department," the report observes.

Read more here.

Image: Clipart.com

December 9, 2011 in Mobile Tools , Surveys, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tick Tock: Your Comments Wanted!

Just a reminder that the deadline is approaching for you to provide your comments on two important projects:

Alarm • Frustrated with your legal technology? Elated? Share your experience and help your peers pick the best technology vendors. The second annual ALM Technology Vendor Satisfaction Survey is underway, via a simple online survey. Conducted by our Legal Intelligence research unit, there are six categories: research libraries, e-discovery and compliance, litigation support, mobile lawyering, and office technology. The deadline to participate is April 8, 2011. To participate, click here.
Participants will receive a brief analysis of the results; full results will be available for purchase for $950 (participants get a 15% discount). The results also determine the 2011 LTN Vendor Awards, so let your voice be heard!

• The Legal Electronic Data Exchange (LEDES) Oversight Committee wants your feedback on proposed electronic data discovery task codes (See ledes.org or utbms.com).
The comment period will stay open until early May. A subcommittee recommends that 34 e-discovery task codes be added to the Litigation Code Set, numbered between 600 and 699.

March 21, 2011 in EDD: E-Discovery, Surveys | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Raise Your Voice

The eDiscovery Institute has changed its name and website to The Law Institute — www.lawinstitute.org — and is kicking off a survey on options for processing voice files as part of discovery, reports Joe Howie, director of metrics development and communications.

Voice The institute is asking vendors to provide information about how they handle voice files, with the goal of "providing lawyers with information on the different options open to them for identifying relevant records, along with reasonable expectations for retrieval accuracy as well as the time and computing resources required to perform the processing," he says.

There are no fees for participating in the survey, nor will there be fees charged for the electronic version of the survey report," Howie notes.
The deadline for submissions is March 21, 2011. Howie requests that organizations planning to take the survey contact him at 

March 2, 2011 in EDD: E-Discovery, Surveys | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Your Chance to Rate the Technology Vendors

Techrage Frustrated with your legal technology? Elated? Share your experience and help your peers pick the best technology vendors. The second annual ALM Technology Vendor Satisfaction Survey is underway, via a simple online survey. Conducted by our "Legal Intelligence" research unit, the survey asks questions about technology products and servcies, such as software and web-based offerings that target law firms and law departments.

There are six categories: research libraries, e-discovery and compliance, litigation support, mobile lawyering, and office technology. The deadline to participate is April 8, 2001. Take the survey here, learn more about it here

Participants will receive a brief analysis of the results; full results will be available for purchase for $950 (participants get a 15% discount). The results also determine the 2011 LTN Vendor Awards, so let your voice be heard!

Here's my analysis of the inaugural 2010 survey, "Help Please!," which confirmed (by a whopping 77% of respondents) that the number one criteria for choosing a vendor is customer service. More than anything else, we all want quick responses and prompt resolutions to technology problems.

What will emerge as the top issues of 2011? We're looking forward to hearing from you!

February 22, 2011 in Surveys | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

No Surprises

21593339 Fulbright & Jaworski has released its seventh "Litigation Trends Survey," with the not-unexpected results that the 403 corporate counsel respondents predict another "litigious, cost-conscious" year. Just about everyone (93% U.S. and 97% U.K.) expects that legal disputes will either increase or remain the same next year. Also not surprisingly, 42% of energy companies are bracing for more disputes, the report notes. And 87% of U.S. respondents said they encountered new litigation last year; 54% of all respondents initiated a suit.

Stricter regulation has replaced bankrutpcy as a top concern of this crowd, as governments focus on banking, health care, and energy, says F&J. (I would add personal identity protection to that list.) Other worries: corruption, bribery, and whistleblower allegations.

The survey also queried respondents about managing data. Asked if EDD for civil actions needs to be curtailed in the U.S., 70% agreed, and 50% said the U.K. "also needs some tailoring." Roughly half (55%) said they rely on custodians to preserve their own data, and the companies suspend automatic deletion; 54% preserve everything in searchable databases; 43% use automated search software.

As for social media, more than 25% of compaines use LinkedIn, 22% use Twitter and 17% use Facebook. About a quarter of respondents' companies have blogs.

October 14, 2010 in Surveys | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


20693958State judges -- on their own time -- are cautiously experimenting with social media (e.g., Facebook), reports Tony Mauro in The National Law Journal. But, he notes, "judges doubt they could use the new media tools in their professional lives without violating judicial ethics codes."

A recent survey from the Conference of Court Public Information Officers found that 40% of responding judges say they use social media, and almost all said judges and court personnel need to familiarize themselves with the phenomenon. But less than 7% use sites for official purposes, such as alerts to the public or press about newly issued rulings, says Mauro. An exception is the Tennessee court system, on Twitter, which has about 900 followers.

September 2, 2010 in Surveys | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


3246706The Cowen Group has released its Q2 Critical Trends Survey, which polled 85 law firms and 33 corporations looking at workload and hiring plans. Among the highlights: 61% of firms reported a Q2 increase in the number of hours worked by their litigation support department, 36% of firms plan to add litigation support personnel between August and October, 27% of firms have increased training budgets, and 31% have increased budgets for technology purchases.

E-discovery concerns hover around Microsoft SharePoint, cloud computing, and legal project management.

August 2, 2010 in Surveys | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Apple - iPad (straight shot)_USEFastcase 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.

July 20, 2010 in From the current issue of LTN, Legal Research, Surveys | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


21155805.thbErica 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.

July 15, 2010 in From the current issue of LTN, Surveys, videos | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Vendor The results are in from the inaugural LTN Vendor Satisfaction Survey, conducted by our ALM Legal Intelligence research group under the direction of vice president Kevin Iredell. Conducted this winter, via a confidential online poll, the survey asked legal professionals who buy -- or influence the purchase of -- legal technology to review the vendors and to tell us what they want from those vendors. (LTN's editorial team was not involved in the process.)

Anyone who has ever tried to call a major company, from a bank to an airline, will easily predict the criteria that tops the "wish list" -- customer service. Overwhelmingly (77%), respondents screamed for "responsiveness to issues and prompt resolutions."

Topping the list of technologies used in firms of all sizes is online legal research. LexisNexis and Westlaw top the charts, as might be expected, but alternative Fastcase, which offers lower-cost research alternatives, has gained traction.

In our July issue cover story, "Help, Please!" Law Technology News explores the survey, and analyzes its results. Here's a sneak preview of the article!

June 23, 2010 in News & Analysis, Surveys | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Yes I turn the mic over to my colleague Sean Doherty, about some exciting news: 

ALM has recently launched its 2010 Technology Vendor Satisfaction Survey to measure law firm satisfaction with technology across nine attributes in 25 categories. The survey has pre-populated the categories from the winners of the last two years of Law Technology News awards.

Write-in evaluations of products and services that are not listed are also allowed.

The survey is not limited to LTN subscribers, but is open to all participants from now until the end of April.

The executive summary of the survey results will be released at LegalTech West Coast in June. Read more.

February 23, 2010 in Awards & Accolades, Surveys | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Lawyers are beginning to embrace social networking, says the new ABA Legal Technology Survey. "Social networking for personal use is gaining popularity among lawyers," it says, with 43% of respondents saying they "maintain a personal social networking presence" -- up 15% from last year.

And slowly, firms are joining the bandwagon, it says, with 12% participating in communities such as Facebook, Linkedin, LawLink or Legal OnRamp.

Lawyers are increasingly addicted to their BlackBerrys -- that's not news. This year, 82% are using smartphones, PDAs, or BBs -- a significant jump from last year's 64%. And while iPhones are increasingly popular among lawyers, that hasn't translated to a switch to Apple: Only 4% of respondents use Mac OS on their primary computers.

The annual survey is available here  www.lawtechnology.org/survstat.html, and is produced by the ABA's Legal Technology Resource Center. Director Catherine Sanders Reach will share more news from the survey in the December issue of Law Technology News. www.lawtechnews.com.

October 5, 2009 in Social Networking, Surveys | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Poll 2009 ILTA Survey:  InsideLegal and ILTA have released the 2009 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.

August 25, 2009 in Conventions, Meetings, Live Programs, Surveys | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

MAILBAG #090730

Email Rummaging through the in-box:

Monty Lunn has answered the siren call of New Orleans, and moved back. He most recently was a director at Huron Consulting Group. We'll letcha know when he gets settled in with new contact info.

* Connie Moser,
formerly of Elite, has joined another Elite-ite, Mark Goldin at American LegalNet. Goldin's the new CTO, Moser's the new marketing director She'll be at ILTA so you can reconnect with her there, or reach her here.

*Angelique Schaffer checks in from Thomson Reuters to advise us that Legal Current has replaced Westblog. Check it out!

* Herbert Roitblat of Oratec forwards  this encouraging article chastizing local governments for their version of "solution-speak." Note the list of 200 no-no words, including "beaconicity," "holistic governance," and "incentivising."

* Better late than never: This slipped thru my inbox cracks, so it's a bit old now, but still interesting: Katherine Petusek, of the National Association of Women Lawyers and its foundation, are conducting a fourth annual survey on retention and promotion of women in the largest 200 U.S. firms. Contact Cheryl Oblander here for an update. Copies of past surveys can be viewed here.

*Finally, a treat courtesy of SheFanJane (Jane Heller). A fun YouTube that you can embedding where appropriate. (BTW, she just featured an excerpt of my book review of her terrific new book, Confessions of a She-Fan)  on her book's website (scroll down below "advanced praise.")  Full review here. And I've also started posting my book reviews on Amazon (username Monica Bay. We'll use it to close out this edition of TCS: 

July 30, 2009 in Baseball / Yankees, Books, Law Firm Management, Marketing, People, Surveys, Tech Turbulence (Economy) , Technology, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Survey Altman Weil has released a new Survey on Law Dept Cost Control that shows that 76% of responding GCS say their law depts face budget cuts averaging 11.5% for '09. And 15.6% say budgets will increase -- but by a smaller percentage than in prior years.

More than 80% of respondants cited outside counsel costs, and the unpredictable nature of legal spending. Third place, cited by 40% -- finanical exposure from litigation or potential litigation.

The survey was conducted in November and polled 1,292 GCs.

December 9, 2008 in Surveys | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack


Growthchart 52% of corporate executives said they expect merger & acquisition growth in the IT sector to outpace overall global M&A growth in '09, according to a survey conducted by mergermarket, MoFo & Updata Advisers.

Press release Download Press-Release-IT-Sector-December-08(2)

Full report Download IT_Sector_M&A_Spotlight

December 2, 2008 in Surveys | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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