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!
Mark Gerow, LTN's go-to guy on all things SharePoint, focuses his attention on checklists -- a tool that can be used effectively to help apply "repeatable processes" to any matter. As William Hamilton recently preached at the Colorado Association of Litigation Support Professionals, pilots do it, doctors do it, so should legal.
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.
My colleague, Anthony Paonita, editor-in-chief ofCorporate Counsel magazine, is our internal "go-to-guy" for all things Apple. He's started a deliciously simple new blog, iPadmania, that started out as an inhouse project, but now is open to the universe.
Like Apple's products it's stark — black and white, with (so far) only one color illustration (the first post). The posts are jargon-free, which always makes me happy. And often short, which is sweet. And as an iPad junkie, I find the topics irresistible. (In the spirit of his blog, I am forsaking my usual illustration!)
Here's his most recent post:
The Wall Street Journal‘s Walt Mossberg does a terrific job of explaining how to do things to actual, nongeek humans. This week’s column is worth a read. He explains how to use the iPad to do some of the things you do on a “real” computer—word processing, reading PDFs, moving files to a Mac or PC, that kind of thing. The column and a demo video are online, in front of the pay wall, here. Thanks, Walt!
Randall Harris, senior deputy counsel for Los Angeles County, says its time for the law to catch up with reality: Many youngsters (and parents) are homeless, but not disconnected — they can be easily reached via cellphones.
"[A] large percentage of homeless people have cell phones, smartphones, e-mail addresses — and even blogs. As mobile phones and e-mail become less expensive and more accessible, so too must the law and policy evolve," he argues.
"Providing proper 'due process' notice to parties in the Los Angeles Superior Court’s Juvenile Dependency Court is a challenge as complex as the litigants themselves. By requiring service of process through mail or publication (see California Welfare and Institutions Code §§ 290 et seq), the legislature fails to account for the high rate of poverty and homelessness prevalent among parties in dependency," says Harris, in his thoughtful analysis of the applicable laws. "It also fails to recognize that technology can help service of process be delivered in new, more efficient ways."
Harris advocates for a change in court rules, to allow the use of e-mail for notification of hearings in child dependency matters. "The law should be modernized to keep pace with technology and the wireless reality of the 21st century. Having no physical address should no longer be a barrier to receiving due process," he argues, in "The Case for Providing Electronic Notice in Child Welfare Proceedings."
Not surprisingly, as a journalist and lawyer, I feel very strongly about the right to free speech. Nothing makes that position stronger than seeing what happens when dictators and governments try to suppress those rights, as we continue to see in China, Iran, Libya, and so many other places across the globe — and sometimes, even at home.
But exercising this fundamental human right is not without pain — as when members of the Westboro Baptist Church spew venom in the name of God when they demonstrate at the funerals of soldiers who have been killed in Iraq. These "churchgoers" celebrate the deaths of young men and women as revenge for the United States' tolerance of gays and lesbians.
Yesterday (March 2), the U.S. Supreme Court, by an 8-1 vote, ruled in favor of the Topeka-based "church." Said Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the court: "Speech is powerful. It can stir peple to action, move them to tears of both joy and sorrow, and — as it did here — inflict great pain. On the facts before us, we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker."
In February, 2008, Claire Duffett, then news editor of Law Technology News, wrote a fascinating story about the underlying trial, for our "Technology on Trial" series. In"War of Words," she chronicled how the legal team for Albert Synder, who buried his only son, was able to turn Westboro's own videos of their demonstrations into powerful testimony for the plaintiffs in Albert Snyder v. Fred W. Phelps, Sr. et al., Civil No. RDB-06-1389, which went to trial on October 22, 2007 in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland Northern Division, before Judge Richard Bennett.
The plaintiffs won the first round of the litigation: "The jury deliberated for one day, returning on Oct. 31 to declare the church liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy. It awarded $2.9 million, with an additional $8 million in punitive damages," but participants recognized that the victory might not stand up.
Duffett concluded her article with this prescient statement: "If overturned, the plaintiffs could take solace in a famed 1919 dissent by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.: "We should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe."
Less is More:Adobe Acrobat X (aka 10) has been launched, with a significant revamp of the menu bar, cutting choices in half to five. Ernest Svenson, in his PDF for Lawyers blog, explains that the upgrade now offers "File, Edit, View, Window, and Help" options, jettisoning "Document, Comments, Forms, Tools, and Advanced" buttons.
"At first this was unsettling, but once I grasped what Adobe was doing I realized that the user-intervace change will be helpful to people who are new to Acrobat, says Svenson, a New Orleans-based solo practitioner and member of LTN's Editorial Advisory Board.
And the advanced choices weren't sent to the recycle bin, they have simply been moved to the toolbar on the right side, he says. His post offers visuals of the changes.
Other improvements, he says, include better OCR capabilities, better compression of color documents, and "significantly improved export of .pdfs to Microsoft Word and Excel formats.
Technology Summit: DLA Piper convenes its second "DLA Piper Global Technology Leaders Summit" today, featuring keynote speeches from Cisco's chair/CEO John Chambers (morning) and Hewlett Packard's Shane Robison, executive vice president chief strategy and technology officer (lunch).
Catch the sessions via live webcast: afternoon programs include a panel on "The Venture Capital Model," (3:15-4:15 PST), and the closing keynotes from William Cohen, former U.S. Secretary of Defense, and Tom Daschle former U.S. Senator, and now U.S. senior policy advisor for the firm (4:30-5:30 PST).
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.
My colleague Anthony Paonita forwards this advice about how not to use new iPads. There are some functions that print newspapers simply do better than any other media, warns Newsday about its new iPad app.
Sorry for the temporary blackout of the video. Apparently, Apple whined about it to YouTube. Here's another version.
The American Lawyer's annual Associate Survey is hot off the press, and not surprisingly, it reports significant malaise about technology.
Addressing the dilemma of whether it's best, during a recession, "to conserve cash or ramp up spending to win a competitive advantage when the economy turns around," reporter Charlie Mead found that firms tried both approaches, with mixed results.
TAL asked 4,942 mid-level associates to rank their firm's technology in the areas of quality, training, support, and use on behalf of clients. Morrison & Foerster took a big hit from complainers, and dropped to 69th from last year's 46 ranking. "Technology updates have been nonexistent," wrote one frustrated MoFo fifth-year lawyer. "The firm is cheaper than ever in all respects, and it is depressing."
Bingham McCutchen took a similar spill, dropping from 38 to 58, and was called "even less nimble with respect to adopting new technologies" than in the past. (The firm says it will invest more money this year.)
"I think the firm fails to see how much productivity is lost due to outdated technology," wrote a third-year associate at Reed Smith, which took a slight drop from 86 to 81.
At the bottom: Boies, Schiller & Flexner, where upgrades are long overdue, complained a senior associate. "I think we really are in the Dark ages," said the associate. "We don't have a document management system."
Probably no one would be surprised that Wilson Sonsini was cited as quick to adopt new tech even in rough times. Happy associates there pushed the firm's ranging up to 16 from 95 last year. Top firm Thompson Coburn (for five years running) didn't cut technology spending, but didn't expand it either.
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!
ZyLab reports that key modules of its e-discovery and production software were used in the recent Cambodia tribunals.
Law Technology News covered the trials in Claire Duffett's poignant "Rain of Terror," which chronicled the efforts of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, with the assistance of the United Nations, to prosecute Khmer Rouge leaders who were connected to the deaths of 1.7 million people between 1975 and 1979. This July, Kaing Guek Eav was convicted of crimes against humanity, murder, and torture.
ZyLab's technology included collection, text mining of unstructured data, analysis, and web-based legal review, for the prosecution, defense, and court. Gonzalo de Cesare, former records manager for several U.N. war crimes tribunals, discusses the software here.
The Cambodia prosecution team was the recipient of the 2009 LTN Awardfor Most Innovative Use of Technology in a Trial. Duffett's article won one of two honorable mentions in the 2010 "Tabbies" Awards for best technical article.
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.
Ross discusses his story on this month's Law Technology Now podcast, and you can read his article in the July issue of LTN.
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 LTNwebsite.
I'm still watching the delivery carts in ALM's hallways, anxiously awaiting the arrival of my Apple iPad. I keep irritating our IT folks with my daily nagging -- they told me today it's taking about two weeks for orders to get processed.
While I count the days, our colleagues over at The Careerist blog note that London-based Eversheds has signed a deal to provide its lawyers with iPads. The firm has launched a two-month pilot program with about 50 senior professionals, and will decide on whether to stock them for all lawyers after the beta testing.
Morrison & Foerster is among the first law firms to have created an iPhone app, The Lawyer reminds us. You can check out "MoFo2Go" in Law Technology News' April issue.
Update: 7/26: It arrived! Can't wait to dive into its magic on my trip to California this week!
In our July issue of Law Technology News, we revived our "Compare & Contrast" feature, which takes a look at similar products and their features, to help you determine the best product for your needs.
We re-inaugurate the column with a look at e-readers, which -- with the introduction of the Apple iPad -- have gained more attention in the last few months. News editor Dan Howley and editorial assistant Heather Schultz compare the iPad (which obviously is more than an e-reader, but is being touted for that capacity) with offerings from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Sony.
Check it out. You might be surprised to see which e-reader won the verdict for best option.
Ted Brooks, a San
Francisco-based trial technology consultant and frequent contributor to LTN, reviews
TrialDirector 6, inData's
upgrade to its litigation presentation software, on his Court and
Trial Technology blog.
"If you’ve never before used trial presentation software in your practice,
now is the time to consider it. If you’ve used previous versions of
TrialDirector or other trial presentation software, now is the time to consider
springing for the upgrade," says Brooks. Among the improvements, he says,
is "the return of the Grid View. The Document Manager tab now brings back
the fully functional, editable, and sortable database view," that was
offered in past versions.
Manager has been revamped, and now users can input the page and line
designations to the start and end of clips, or select the desired
text. "A clip wizard helps users assemble [clips], or you can use the
segment editor," notes Brooks.
Not the least bit surprisingly, Saturday's release of the new Apple iPad is creating a buzz in the legal community. (Apple reports that it sold 300,000 units on day 1).
ALM CEO Bill Pollak already has a 3G version on order (I'm going to wait until the prices go down a bit, besides, I never buy version 1.0 of any product -- just call me paranoid).
Pollak notes that the blawgosphere is already "aTwitter" -- check out Tablet Legal by Josh Barrett, a Portland, Ore., business attorney.
LTN's news editor, Dan Howley, found ilawpad, a blog by Cincinnati attorney Jim Schimanski that discusses how lawyers can use Apple's latest must-have device.
The Legal iPad, a blog by Nicole Black, is collecting a list of lawyers using iPads, along with a list of relevant Twitter posts. BTW: Black and Carolyn Elefant (former co-author of Law.com's Legal Blog Watch) have co-authored an American Bar Association book, Social Media for Lawyers: The New Frontier, which will be available soon.
The American Lawyer has been tracking the earthquakes that have been reconstructing large firms for about a year now. Editor Aric Press, in a recent update on the Am Law Daily, notes that not all expectations have materialized: outside investors aren't quite breaking down law firm doors, and "the transformational technology remains a slow-gestating messiah"; but "there are plenty of disparate events that support the observation that this business change is more than just a sideshow."
Among the signs: Half of the TAL's "A-List" firms have started alternative fee arrangements with important clients (e.g., Pfizer, Citibank). "If Microsoft could chop K&L Gates and Sullivan & Cromwell from its preferred provider list, what client-firm relationship is inviolate?" Press asks.
And more firms are exploring legal process outsourcing, be it to Bangalore or Bangor. Firms may want to heed the advice of Microsoft GC Brad Smith: "Work on process improvement. That's the holy grail for us."
As Press observes: "Think of it this way: Why is it that law firms are the only businesses in which increasing productivity is a measure of how many more hours a lawyer bills rather than how more efficient she has become?"
Read more on the Am Law Daily here. And check out TAL's 2009 Law Firm Leaders Survey here.
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.
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.
My aforementioned boss, Aric Press, editor-in-chief of The American Lawyer, wrote a lights-out great editorial in the November issue , challenging law firms to accelerate into the curves and make seven key decisions about how to run their law practices.
They are all spot-on, but I particularly liked two. Predictably, "Mine Your Technology," but even more, "Embrace the Suck."
Says Press: "That's military jargon for being caught in a difficult situation and
having to deal with it. Law firms and their lawyers are in the throes
of choosing whether to adjust to, resist, or embrace the fallout from
the economic calamities. Virtually every major firm has altered its
billing practices, at least on the margins, in order to accommodate
client demands for fixed, alternative, or hybrid fees. What's unclear
is whether firms are, well, embracing the suck: Are they using this
period to analyze their work flow and staffing, and then seek ways to
do their work differently, more efficiently, and just as profitably?
Or, are they begrudging, and counting the months until a robust sellers
market returns? That's a process question -- which lawyers are good at -- and a taste for risk question -- which lawyers are poor at. G.I.s
have a term for the consequences of making the wrong choice: FUBAR."
To celebrate the World Series and the 2009 season, I thought it might be a good time to highlight tech tools available to baseball fans.
FutureLawyer's Rick George was the first to turn me onto ScorePad, which helps you score the game on your PDA. Says Georges: "The best thing is the daily MLBStats upload, which keeps the user current for every player every day."
I've shelled out a lot of money for a lot of baseball tech: I was a charter subscriber to XM Radio; and fought hard to save Extra Innings (which lets you watch almost every MLB game on TV). I even have a silly Derek Jeter message that greets callers on my cell phone.
One tech I did not like was MLB TV, which theoretically allows you to watch any game on your computer when you are out-of-market. I tried it in 2007 and it was dreadful, for a slew of reasons I won't elaborate in much detail here, other than to say the customer service was awful (45-minute waits on the phone were typical), and the system rarely recognized that you were not at home, insisting you were subject to a blackout. I suggested that it could be easily solved by simply having users (already vetted via passwords) type in the zip code where they were located, but was repeatedly told that "ohh nooo somebody might lie." (What are the odds that a significant # of users who pay $100/season for the service are going to lie?)
Anyway... I revisited computer TV feeds during the American League Championship Series, when the Yankees played Anaheim in a day game on Oct. 19. To my surprise, I could not find any live internet radio feed and I didn't have an AM radio handy to hear our local broadcast on WCBS. I figured it wouldn't be politically correct to leave work at 4 -- or to pretend to work in our lunchroom -- so I broke down and spent $9.95 to buy the new computer postseason.tv package.
I was pleasantly surprised. Produced in affiliation with Fox, it wasn't the same as watching the Fox game on TV, but it was pretty damned good. You get Joe Buck's microphone; and can watch four (out of eight possible) camera angles. It even has Twitter integration, but I didn't try that.
It took a while to get used to, but overall, it was a satisfying alternative (for the desperate) to watch/listen to the Yankees, who lost a tight game that went 11 innings.
Sometimes, it takes a change in our routine to appreciate how fast we adapt to change.
I had jury duty this week, which presented an abrupt change to my normal routine. I am also nursing a sprained ankle. So Tuesday, when I was ordered to report to 100 Centre Street (if you watch Law & Order, you know the building) I decided to splurge and take a cab to the courthouse — rather than try to negotiate the subway (which has a lot of stairs). I didn't think it would be a good idea to be hobbling along in an unfamiliar neighborhood in the early morning rain with my leg in a cast.
In my nervousness about getting to the court on time, I decided to take only my computer bag, and accidentally left my cell phone at home. I settled into the jury room, which has wi-fi access, pulled out my loaner laptop, and quickly realized that I was completely screwed. The loaner (mine is still in the Apple hospital after my logic board fried in Florida last week) didn't have our VPN software installed -— and I had no way to call our help desk. To make matters worse — we just switched our Outlook Web Access domain name and I had not memorized the URL.
Then I remembered — I have a Google Gmail account! So I e-mailed the help desk and, within minutes, the remote IT calvary was at my side.
First, they e-mailed me the OWA info so I could log onto my regular e-mail. Then sent me clear instructions on how to download and activate Cisco VPN software — and voila I was in the VPN. Good so far, but my then my Entourage wasn't synching. Within minutes, the help-desk crew remotely accessed my machine and got Entourage running.
Total time: about 15 minutes. Result: instead of fuming and losing several unproductive work hours when I wasn't in a courtroom, I was able to crank away.
For all the whining I do about technology, this adventure made me smile with satisfaction.
Huge KUDOS to James Mackey and our IT team. Everybody has to endure the hurry-up-and-wait of jury duty, but thanks to our IT team, I was able to take full advantage of the "wait" time. What a difference from even a few years ago, when even one of the above problems would have knocked me out of commission, and so bored I would be counting the ceiling tiles! Technology -- and great IT staff -- really do make a difference.
And even luckier: we got sprung early! So I've done my civic duty now and New York promises not to call me again for six years!
Vote! Yes, it’s that time again — for you to tell us which vendors should receive our 2009 LTN Vendor Awards! The online ballot is survey style, and will take just a few minutes to complete! Deadline: November 15. (You will need your account number, from your mailing label — e-mail Kerry Kyle firstname.lastname@example.org if you can’t find it.) Click here to vote.
We are also accepting nominations for our juried LTN Awards, which honor law firms, law departments, and consultants. Categories include: IT Director of the Year, IT Champion of the Year, Consultant of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award, and Most Innovative Use of Technology in a Law Firm, a Law Department, a Trial, and Pro Bono Project.
This year, for the first time, we will be present the LTN Lifetime Achievement Award — I will be making the selection of that individual. Candidates must be 55+, and I welcome nominees. There are no restrictions: it can be a lawyer, a paralegal, a vendor, a CIO — anyone in our wonderful legal technology community is eligible.
As is our tradition, the remainder of the juried awards will be selected by three distinguished members of our LTN Editorial Advisory Board: Andrew Adkins III, of the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law; Fredric Lederer, of the William & Mary School of Law; and David Whelan, of the Law Society of Upper Canada.
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.
Many lawyers have embraced time-and-billing technology to help them track workflows and improve the accuracy of bills. But you may not know that there are even more tools that can help you "work smarter, not harder," says David Whelan, manager of legal information for the Law Society of Upper Canada, and a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for Law Technology News.
New software is even more nuanced -- and can help legal professionals capture elusive billable time that is often lost, such as time spent in online research. Whelan reviews three products: Chrometa 2, Worktime 4.2 and TimeSprite 2.1. From the October issue ofLaw Technology News.
Our former ALM colleagues, Edward Adams and Molly McDonough, have just completed a two-week road trip -- one component of the ABA Journal's "Legal Rebels: Remaking the Profession" project. Adams is now the editor and publisher of the ABAJ; McDonough is the online assistant managing editor. They were joined on the tour by reporter Rachel Zahorsky and video dude John McQuiston.
The idea of the project was to identify lawyers who have changed the practice of law, and to report using just about every conceivable type of media: video, audio podcasts, wikis, photo slideshows, flicker, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. They even offered a "song of the day" during transit.
Taking full advantage of sponsor product placement (Hertz provided the SUV, Sprint the phones and Starwood the crashpads), the journey started in Boston and ended up in Washington, D.C.
Hats off to the ABAJ team for an ambitious adventure that demonstrates the strengths (and some of the weaknesses) of the exciting and sometimes overwhelming new technologies we are all grappling to understand and use.
From the Connecticut Law Journal, via LTN Daily Alert:
By Douglas S. Malan The idea was born out of necessity. Greenwich, Conn., software developer Chris Schoenfeld was working
irregular hours in New York City and needed access to updated
Metro-North commuter train schedules for Grand Central Station. He
couldn't access those schedules as he rode the subway to the train
station because of lack of Internet access.
So he developed a software program for Apple's iPhone, which allows
people to access train information without an Internet connection. "I
developed the application for myself, and I knew others would
appreciate it," Schoenfeld said.
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:
You turned me on to Chris Anderson’s book, The Long Tail, via The Common Scold, and I’ve recommended it to several friends and colleagues since then. I was pleasantly surprised to find that his new book, entitled “Free: The Future of a Radical Price,” is available in audio format on Apple iTunes’ home page for FREE (literally) as of yesterday.
It will likely stay free through next Tuesday, so you may want to tell your readers about it. I downloaded it yesterday and have been listening to it on my DC commute. Anderson mentions in the book that he has been experimenting with his publisher about ways to share his book for free, and this is apparently one of the ways he’s elected to do so.
Because he’s chosen to give me the audio book for free, I plan to go to Amazon.com and buy 2-3 copies of the book to give to family and friends. I want his experiment to be financially favorable!
Anyway, I thought you would enjoy reading (listening) to this book and telling your loyal Common Scold readers about this exciting opportunity.
Vice President of Sales, eTERA Consulting Washington, D.C.
Mon update: I'm a half-hour into it, and already hooked. Check out Malcolm Gladwell's review in The New Yorker (hat tip to David Brown).
Bye Bye Dome.... The 7th annual Twins/Yanks fest was, as always, Big Fun -- a chance to connect with the terrific Twins Cities tech community and say goodbye to the Metrodome... (well, unless we meet again in October!)
As always, it was a jam-packed three days of vendor meetings and beisbol! We started off the trip with our annual visit to Thomson Reuters, with huge thanks to John Shaughnessy (far left), Gretchen DeSutter (below) and Scott Augustin (left) for setting up a day of helpful briefings. We had a chance to say a quick hello to Allison Guidette, who has returned to Eagan as vp of litigation (she was headed to the airport for a trip west); then visited with Preston McKenzie, vp of Hubbard One (which includes ContactNet, Hubbard One and Monitor Suite). Then we got a fascinating update from Rob Sargeson, senior vp & CIO, about the company's expansion plans for its massive data centers.
Over a yummy evil midwest lunch, (TR's commissary is just too tempting!) Mike Abbott and Stephanie Krause updated us on pro bono projects designed to help displaced legal professionals. It's always great to see vp Laurie Zenner and the corporate communications team, which also includes Kevin Hunt and Michele Endgahl in addition to the aforementioned folks.
Then Denis Hauptly (vp strategic development), who has just returned from a long stint in Switzerland, offered his mighty wisdom about uber search and other trends on the horizon. Here's a link to his new book, Something Really New, which I will be reading shortly!
Next on the agenda was a briefing on the Westlaw Business' global outreach, with marketing vp Gus Thompson) and sr. director Rob Kirchstein (with Gretchen, above). The day wrapped up with sr. director Brian Knudsen mktg mgr John Vonhor offering me a tour of the company's PeopleMap public information software that helps everybody from litigators to skip tracers track down 411 on folks.
Before I headed to the Dome with Teri "Jersey Girl" McCarron and Teddy Lindgren for game 1 of the Twins/Yanks series, Incisive's Michael Medwig and Marnie Maroney (below left in white shirt, with Paul Godlewski from Thomson Reuters) and I visited 3M -- with mktg communications mgr Joan Olseen and Erik Johnson for an update on the company's popular RFID system that helps law firms and companies track their paper files.(BTW, apparently Teri is not the only "JG" in Mpls -- check out the license plate I saw at Thomson Reuter parking lot!)
Day 2 began with an update from NightOwl, which offers document management services. Scott Sterkel, director of sales and mktg, told us how the company is growing with its e-discovery offerings.
Then it was off to Eden Praire to meet up with the Kroll Ontrack gang, including Christian Betancourt and Megan Kubacki, (left). Kaitlin Shinkle regaled us with reports on her June wedding at the St. Paul hotel (Congrats! plus a shout out to Michelle Lange, who is on maternity leave!)
Finally, we had a very interesting meeting with Avantstar's Matt Knudson about the company's content management system, and how they are getting increasing traction within the e-discovery community.
Then it was to the Dome for the Twins/Yanks fest. Thanks to everybody who joined us, including LTN edit board members George Socha and Tom Gelbmann (right); consultants LaVerne Pritchard and Linda Ulbrich. As usual, the gangs from Thomson Reuters and Kroll.
The Dorsey & Whitney crew included partner Melissa Krasnow, left in red -- who with colleague Nick Ackerman, was the star of our May Law Technology Now podcast. Next to Krasnow is her friend, General Mills counsel Cam Hoang. Also from Dorsey was Patrick Courtemanche (in light blue shirt) who has joined the firm's marketing department, with Dorsey marketing colleague Bob Kleiber (in royal blue shirt).
We were also thrilled that LTN's former associate editor Katie Montgomery could come north from Iowa to be with us! Incisive's Rob Hafiz of LegalTech also joined in the fun, as did Curt Meltzer of Meltzer Consulting, and Sean Solberg, of Faegre & Benson (far right).
BTW, we send our best wishes to Linda Will, who's on the DL, for a speedy recovery, and a shout-out to Amy Juers, who missed her first Twins/Fest because she was in California (good excuse!).
Huge thanks to Luis Breazeale of the Twins for all his help getting us such great seats (behind home plate!) It was a great, tight game, a nailbiter all the way to the end, when
Mariano faced Mauer, and for only the third time in our seven year Twins/Yanks
fest history, the Yanks actually won. (Sorry, Minnesota fans :) On top of the good game, one of our rows was selected as the Hormel Hot Dog Row of the Game -- so everybody in the middle of our group got a free hot dog! What a hoot!!
Day 3 started with a few "issues" with my Garmin Nuvi 200 -- actually, it wasn't the tech's fault, it was my fault for not updating the maps. The Twins City is undergoing a massive amount of construction (Three people told me the same joke: "Minnesota has two seasons: winter and road construction") and the whole area is completely chewed up (especially downtown) rivaling Boston's Big Dig. Trying to get to Roseville to meet up with the Merrill gang, I could not find an open on-ramp to 35W North -- and ended up almost at Bloomington trying to get north. I am soooo updating my maps before my next adventure!
But because I'm paranoid and always leave extra time to find new places, even with Garmin's 90% reliable "Jill," I pulled into the parking lot just at the meeting time. Thanks to Leonard Lee and the Merrill team for a terrific conversation about social networking, e-discovery and all the challenges they present. We enjoyed meeting with marketers Scott Snyder, Diana Lepper, and Dawn Edwards!
Finally, before heading back home, I had a chance to visit with Jon Bream, my colleague from my days at the Minnesota Daily, who is the veteran music critic at the Star Tribune. (His latest "coffee table" book is Whole Lotta Led Zeppelin). We headed to Wasabi, which I highly recommend as a terrific Japanese restaurant right about halfway between the Guthrie theater and the Dome.
We noticed a lovely new restaurant in the same complex, Sanctuary, and took the opportunity to get a quick tour from Michael Kutscheid, owner and GM. The charming bistro also has a sweet outdoor garden -- and I definitely plan to visit it on my next trip to Minnesota, hopefully in October!
And if not for post-season, we'll look forward to returning next year for OUTDOOR baseball at the new Target Field (we'll bring our down coats).
* Ipro Techhad to write a big check ($246,470) to settle claims that it had unlicensed copies of Adobe, Microsoft, and Symantec software, but CEO Jim King says his organization takes the full blame.
"As part of the settlement agreement, IPRO Tech Inc. agreed to delete all unlicensed copies of software on its computers, purchase any licenses necessary to become compliant, and commit to implementing stronger software asset management practices," reported the Business Software Alliance.
"IPRO continued to use subscription software after the license term expired," said King. "The good news, this was not intentional. We fully supported the audit process and we support the goals of the BSA. Upon discovery of our licensing oversights we worked with the BSA to immediately correct the deficiencies."
* Keith Rowand
has started a company, Rowand Software -- and is offering document
comparison and near de-duplication software. He's also offering
computer programming. 411 here.
* Kelvin Chin checks in to report that he's
packing up his L.A. bags and heading east again -- to Raleigh, N.C.,
where he has been named sales director at Womble Carlyle. (That's the
firm with the bulldog mascot).
* Also changing business cards: Mark Goldin is the new chief tech officers at Los Angeles-based American LegalNet. He joins from Elite.
* David Cowen says his 2Q09 survey on lit support work shows hours have spiked. Check it out here.
* Deborah Novachick
of Strategic Automation Consulting as returned from Nigeria, where she
taught classes in operations management at Pan-African University
Lagos School of Business, which hosted a “Management Development
Program for Legal Practitioners.” The project was started by Joy
Harrison-Abiola, who is a legal administrator in Nigeria, and a member of the Association of Legal Administrators. "Four of the faculty members of the ALA's Essential Competencies for Legal Administrators programs went over to Nigeria," she says. "We and the others on the faculty have donated months of our time." E-mail her here for more info.
Day 1 of LegalTech West Coast was terrific, major kudos to Henry Dicker and his indefatigueable team. As for me, I'm totally fatigue' (Sorry, can't figure out how to add that french accent on typepad.)
Huge thank yous to George Rudoy, Tom Ranalli, and James McKenna for an amazing panel on "Leadership in Times of Turbulence." Even bearing in mind my admitted bias as moderator, I have to agree with my colleague Russ Curtis' observation that "The panelists were hittin' it on all cylinders."
The dudes did cover an amazing amount of advice on how IT directors can help their firms, their careers, and push green agendas -- in an hour and 15 minutes. And McKenna was especially hysterical, with lines like "I'm responsible for everything that consumes electricity other than refrigerators, lights, and copiers," and "I'm ODAD Certified: Other-Duties-As-Described."
Also thanks to Chere Estrin and the gang at the Paralegal Technology Institute for inviting me to present again, an update on the current career opportunities, and how things have changed due to the aforementioned economic turmoil.
And it was fantastic to see so very many of our vendor, lit support, and lawyer friends on the very active show floor.
Hope you'll be able to come by tomorrow morning (Thursday June 25) for day 2. We're kicking it off at 7:45 a.m. with our "Green Your Career" breakfast for job seekers, vendors and law firms (co-sponsored by LA Cty Bar Assn.) Please come by -- we'll be in room 503, and all are welcome for an hour of fellowship and inspiration! We'll be raffling off a dinner (potentially at Yankee Stadium) with moi to participating vendors, and raffling gift cards for our colleagues who are job hunting. Plus everybody who attends gets a trial sub to lawjobs.com -- and can also go to the keynote and exhibit hall for free!
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!
Apparently, there's been a big shift in the exec offices at Fios. I'll find out more details tomorrow when I meet with their team, but John Hesse (right) is now listed on their website as the "interim CEO" replacing Gerald Massey.
LTN board member Tom O'Connor (director of the Gulf Coast Legal Tech Center) tipped us that last Friday Prashant Dubey (SVP Consulting), Sam Panarella (VP Consulting) and Jeanette Siepian (SVP Sales & Marketing) were all let go. Dubey and Panarell's LinkedIn pages show the departures, Siepian's still states Fios employment.Massey's says he's still on the board of directors, but no longer lists CEO title.
Fios' Debbie Caldwell just confirmed the departures:
is no longer CEO, he left in May. He initiated the change
as part of a succession plan, with discussions beginning last fall. Gerald
maintained, and still does, full confidence by the board. He
continues to be involved with Fios, both as a member of the board of directors
and a shareholder. John Hesse, the company’s CFO, is the interim
changes: Fios has made organizational changes within the company to better
align our resources to take advantage of the rapidly changing e-discovery
market. To better address market needs, Fios has combined its sales and
professional services divisions and is also expanding its product teams."
I thought something was amiss when the Clear lane was closed at JFK Terminal 7 Saturday --with a sign saying the station was closed Sat/Sundays. Then tonight, and we got the letter. As of 11 pm Pacific time tonight, it's kaput. We just got a cryptic e-mail:
"At 11:00 p.m. PST today, Clear will cease operations. Clear's parent company, Verified Identity Pass, Inc. has been unable to negotiate an agreement with its senior creditor to continue operations. After today, Clear lanes will be unavailable."
Founded by my former boss, Steve Brill, Clear was absolutely terrific. Great customer service. Will post more when I find out more.
Website simply repeats it:
Clear Lanes Are No Longer Available.
At 11:00 p.m. PST on June 22, 2009, Clear will cease operations. Clear’s
parent company, Verified Identity Pass, Inc. has been unable to negotiate an
agreement with its senior creditor to continue operations.
Michael Kay's got his "SEE YA!" • John Sterling, well he's just way too theatrical for me with all that A-bomb from A-Rod and vibrato chest thumbing "The Yannnnnkeeees winnnnn" nonsense. • SNL Weekend Update has it gooey "Good night and have a pleasant tomorrow." • Edward R. Murrow had "Good Night, and Good Luck." • Cronkite had "And that's the way it is." • Probst has "The tribe has spoken." • Then there's "Let's be careful out there" from Hill Street Blues.
You get the picture. (Hat tip to TVland). So I need your help. I'm truly stumped. I need a catch phrase to end each episode of my Law Technology Now podcasts. And no, I don't want, "That's the Bay view" or similar thangs, and I kinda suspect people would not be enchanted by "Let's Go Yankees!"
Ideas???? Post a comment below, or e-mail me: email@example.com.
Winner gets a $25 iTunes card!
Update: Suggestions have been flying in!
So far, my favorite is from Avvo's Mark Britton: "Remember, 'technology' is Latin for profitability." Keep 'em comin'
From Rick Georges: There is not crying in baseball -- or technology. (love it)
From: John Jablonski: “Best tech, best talk” “Talk is cheap: legal tech talk is priceless” All tech, all the time, on demand: Legal Technology Now The voice of legal technology
JoAnna Forshee checks in to let folks know that it will provide 10 scholarships to unemployed attorneys who are job hunting, to attend its "Get a Life" Conference that is presented by the Total Practice Management Association. It is a two-day workshop on marketing and practice management and social networking that will be held in Chicago on May 27 & 28. Deadline to apply, 5/22, 5 p.m. CST. 411 here.
• Brent Bourque has replaced long-time director of marketing Connie Moser at Los Angeles-based Elite. She's a tough act to follow! Bourque, based in New Orleans, has been with Elite for 12 years, starting in sales. His title is senior director, strategic marketing and business intelligence, and he can be reached here.
• Charlie Haas, who went to University of California Santa Cruz, along with lawyer/marketer Louise Rosen Byer et moi, is embarking on a book tour for his latest novel, The Enthusiast (Harper Perennial). Check out his book readings:
Tuesday, June 2, 7:00 pm - Books Inc. at Opera Plaza, San Francisco. Thursday, June 4, 7:00 PM - A Great Good Place for Books, Oakland (Montclair district). Monday, June 8, 7:00 PM - Barnes & Noble, Jack London Square, Oakland. Friday, June 12, 7:30 PM - Barnes & Noble, 396 Avenue of the Americas (at 8th St.), New York, N.Y. Thursday, June 18, 7:30 PM - Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles.
I'm planning to attend the NYC reading -- after all, the main character's name is Henry Bay!
Charlie also wrote the sequel(Gremlins 2) to one of my all-time favorite movies Gremlins. (Whenever I'm in a funk I just remember the scene with all the critters singing "Hi Ho! Hi Ho! It's off to work I go" with popcorn bucket hats!)
• Stephanie Hallwants you to know about her Relay for Life -- the American Cancer Society fundraiser she participates in every year to honor her mother, who she lost to cancer almost five years ago. Any donation helps.
• And our LTNcolleagueTheodora Blanchfield is also participating in a project, to benefit the Cancer Survivorship Initiative at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in N.Y. She's running to hnor her grandfather, Herbert Blanchfield, who died of mesothelioma in 2000.
• Steve Schwartz reports that certain LSAT PrepTests (past administered LSAT exams) are available only to students who take prep courses, not those who self-study. Check it out on his LSAT Blog.
• Andy Adkins, of the Univ. of Florida (Gainsville) found this amazing update of Captain Sully's seaplane adventure: Download Hudson. It's even better than the ones I previously posted.
• Barkley Court Reporters check in to tell us that -- as of March -- it has planted 10,000 trees on behalf of clients, as part of its "Green" program that encourages litigators to put transcripts in online repositories include of printing them on paper. Pat Barkley wrote about the program in LTN's Green Law column in July, 2007.
• Brooke Keyser of RainMaker also checks in with a progress report, about the "Pay it Forward" challenge issued by James Hammond. (We wrote about it last month.) To date, RainMaker has awarded $127,850 in economic assistance funds, of the $1 million it has pledged, she says, and saw a 273% increase in traffic to its website. More than 1,000 firms expressed interest in the program, she says. The first firm to participate is Wood, Smith, Henning & Berman, says RainMaker.
• Angelique Schaffer of Thomson Reuters reminds me to post this video from the WestBlog produced at this winter's LegalTech New York, (#LTNY) with yours truly pontificating on all things legal tech.
• Andreana Pentaris wants you to konw about a new website, LawFirms.com. It
devotes articles and resources to a vareity of legal topics, running
from criminal defense to bankruptcy, and also has a blog, Legal Research Guides.
• Danielle Walker reports that E-Lessoned Learned ( eLLblog) has been revamped.
• A.J. Levy -- who writes the Out of the Box Lawyering blog forwards this post about some creative uses for Dragon Naturally Speaking voice recognition software. He also alerts us to a new blog targeting lawyers who use iPhones.
Sorry, Baltimore, we got Tex & we ain't givin' him back. Even if he got jussssst a little bit
spooked by the "welcome" booooos he got on opening day at Camden.
Now usually when the Yanks meet up with the O's in Maryland, there's about 65% Yankee fans in the stands (I suspect most from New Jersey because it's so easy to get to from the Garden State, and Camden is so economical and family friendly.)
But not on Opening Day. It was more like 10%. To be honest, it's the first time I've felt juuuuussst a little intimidated in the friendly confines of Camden. The hostility to our newbie Tex rivaled that of the pissed off Yankee fans chanting "Who's Your Daddy" to Pedro Martinez in 2004 postgames, the noise level so intense that the Stadium literally shook.
But anyway..... it was big fun, even tho we got clobbered. My colleague Jai Wallace and I are sending huge thanks to our guests, the delightful Mary Ellen Belusci, Yankees fan Joe Zanta, and Scott Bogash of Needles; and Yvonne Dornic of eSentio Technologies and her finace Jim Rhodes, and Red Sox fan David Horrigan ofCovington & Burling. Yvonne and Jim helped me recover from the trauma with a nightcap at their amazing restaurant, Ze Mean Bean in Fells Point.
I'm hoping tonight's game has a much happier ending for the New Yorkers. Should be interesting, as my O's rep Matt Dougherty notes: It's the Far East match-up, with Taiwan's Chien Ming Wang facing the O's new addition, Koji Uehara -- former ace of the Yomiuri Giants-- in his major league debut. And Thursday I get the pleasure of spending time with Cataphora's fascinating Susannah Smith, and Kelly Klyn, litigation technology specialist for Goodwin Procter. Can't wait!
I'm also LOVING the brand new Baltimore Hilton -- Check out the view from my room! It is literally yards from Camden, and gorgeous. But I must admit has a kinda odd color palette -- but it works: tangerine, gold, cobalt blue and lime green. So much better than 2008's obsession with chocolate and aqua (Yes, yes, yes, I watch way too much HGTV.)
Tuesday was an off day so we headed down to DC to visit with Robert Erich Jr. of Select Associates. We had a terrific conversation about how the economy is affecting the time/billing/acctg vendors -- Erich noted that his company's star* collect product has seen quite a spike in sales in recent months. Select Associates, says Erich, specializes in a variety of add-on software that integrates with Elite, Aderant, and other T&B/A software that targets the top AmLaw firms, he explained, including data warehousing and business intelligence tools. One of the newest offerings star* targetCash which helps firms project cash flow.
I suspect that interest in these types of products will most definitely continue to jump as purse strings tighten throughout the legal industry.
Tuesday night, we had the pleasure of joining Sally Gonzalez (Baker Robbins & Co.) and Stan Wasylyk (Michael Farrell Group) for a boisterous dinner at the Hard Times Cafe in Alexandria. Years and years ago, when I was vice-chair of the ABA's Law Student Division, we had a ton of meetings in D.C. and made regular pilgrimages to the HTC. It's a lot of fun, and it was great to return, although I probably ate more carbs in one sitting than I normally eat in a month.
Sally and I can bore anyone to death when you get us talking about our adventures on United Airlines. Sally's in the coveted rareified air of Global Services -- so elite that they don't even publicize it or tell you what the membership requirements are -- but it pretty much boils down to flying overseas a lot. Sally was based in London for a long stint, and also frequently visits clients in Switzerland, so she has that elusive BLACK Mileage Plus card that the rest of us mere mortals drool over. I hope we didn't drive our companions toooo nuts but we sure had a good time comparing road warrior stories.
(Btw: this could be a very interesting year for road warriors because so many of us will probably drop at last one level in the elite tiers because so many firms/companies are reducing travel.)
So... two more days in the wonderful Inner Harbor before I head back to NYC. Of course I save the best for last.... thanks to a dear friend who is a Cubs season ticket holder I actually got tix for last Saturday's Cubs/Yanks Exhibition game at the New Stadium.
OMG, it totally takes your breath away. It's just magnificent. But the strangest thing about it is that once you are inside, in your seats, it's almost Twilight Zone Deja Vu -- because it FEELS like the old Stadium. Even the FTI ad is in its proper place. The new video screen is awesome, and the Batter's Eye is now a restaurant, but the subway still screams right by the Short Porch, the Bleacher Creatures still do roll call, and it just feels great. Only the courthouse is missing from the tableau, because of the slight change in real estate.
And making the day even more touching: the first pitch was thrown out by Captain Sully, and the USAir 1549 skyboat crew! (He was joined by the first officer Jeff Skiles and chief flight attendant Doreen Welsh.)
Saturday, Cano christened the Stadium with its first home run, and Tex got back-to-back homers! (Jeter got the Stadium's first hit Friday night.) Joining me at the day game was the fabulous consultant Brad Blickstein, of Chicago's The Blickstein Group (above left), who took most of the photos on this page, and two terrific marketing dudes from Deloitte: Alan Numsuwan and Michael Rachlin. (We had a great conversation about off-shoring e-discovery and the impact of the economy on outsourcing.)
Two things da Yankees gotta do: 1) Get Sweet Lou (who got a standing ovation from the crowd during the Saturday game) to give us another one of his bats to sit on top of the center field flag pole, so we can see the wind direction (Mattingly took the original from the old stadium) and 2) they HAVE to install those nylon rope bank-line things to control the concessions line from blocking traffic all the way across the huge broad concourse.
But no complaints. It's wonderful. It's awesome. Even the birds are already finding their niches. And yes, no question about it, Aura & Mystique and the other ghosts have cheerfully crossed the street. Welcome home.
Among his tips, he warns about surfin' the web from your cell phone or BlackBerry when abroad:
"While it's true that checking short e-mails on a BlackBerry won't break
the bank while you're overseas, the story is far different when it
comes to Web browsing. Much more data has to pass across the network,
particularly on graphics-intensive sites, and you'll be paying-and
paying-for that. You'll rack up the fees even faster if you use any
GPS-type features on your device. "This is where people really get
killed," says Gregson. So if you need to find a restaurant for dinner,
do it the old-fashioned way: Ask someone (just not over your cell
RainMaker Software Inc. has announced a $1 million "Law Firm Economic Assistance Package," where firms can apply for discounts on software if they pledge to "pay forward" the sum to benefit their local communities.
Says prez James Hammond, examples might include identifying new pro bono work programs for laid-off workers; helping families facing potential mortgage foreclosures; or participating in charitible organizations.
Had a fascinating visit today with a specialist in retinas. At first, I was pretty frustrated because you have to wait a lonnnnnng time to see the doctor, but once you're in the exam room, Dr. Kenneth Wald is the model of efficiency. (A good sign: his support staff are awesome, and his patients looooove him -- in fact, when I was getting antsy, two of them told me to chill out, that he's worth the wait.)
And he's the first specialist I have ever been to who literally dictates his medical report AS he examines you. Wald uses a Bluetooth microphone (just like a cell phone mic) that feeds to his BlackBerry. Of course I had to ask how it worked.
The audio file is shipped immediately to India, he explained. By the time Wald has walked his dog at about 5:30 a.m.tomorrow, he'll have all of today's letters to review as he drinks his morning coffee. He makes any changes he wants, prints and signs the letters, and then his staff puts them in envelopes, and mails them to the referring doctors.
Sometimes, Wald says, if a case is particularly interesting or challenging, he will do some medical research and add more info to the letter before it goes out. Fortunately for me, my eyes were neither interesting nor challenging, so the letter to my opthamologist Dr. Julia Katz should be in the mail tomorrow morning.
Video CLE: Ellis Mirsky says Trial.com www.trial.com, now offers free video CLE programs. Tarrytown N.Y.'s Mirsky is exec director and GC of Trial.com, which is a network of trial lawyers and firms. They are also offering litigation management podcasts on iTunes.
Economy crunch: Samantha Carlin, of Steven Brill's Clear, says even if your law firm or company is not reimbursing users for membership in its program that helps frequent fliers circumvent long TSA lines, Clear will still set up employee discount programs, and can send over its mobile enrollment kiosk. I absolutely love Clear, especially when I'm flying in/out of JFK and SFO. Its staff are professional, courteous, and savvy. (Usual caveat: Brill used to be my boss.) Interested? Contact Carlin here.
John Bringarder, news editor at Law.com, caught this enticing post on Above the Law about some of the severe cutbacks at BigLaw.... including a decision by Locke Lord to shift from Lexis to LoisLaw to cut research costs. ATL also broke the classic gaffe story about the chatty commuter on Acela who loudly discussed pending layoffs at Pillsbury.
David Henderson chronicled this little faux pas by Ketchum's James Andrews who, when arriving at Memphis, carelessly Twittered that he was underwhelmed by client FedEx's home town -- which created quite the brouhaha. (Hat tip to Donna Payne for spotting it.)
As the snow falls in NYC, catchin' up on the incoming:
* Adobe's Rick Borstein checks in to let us know that he's been working with Evermap.com, "to get a special plug-in for Acrobat so that users can write directly on PDFs. This helps firms to save time and avoid printing.There’s an article on my blog and a video demo," here. This is for users of Tablet PCs.
* Shawnna Childress of Women in EDiscovery have an option for those of you who can't attend the sold-out LTN Awards Dinner on Feb 2 (Monday) during LTNY: They are presenting a reception, along with the National Association of Women Lawyers, to support the Susan G Komen Foundation for Breast Cancer. It will be held at the New York Hilton, in Concourse A, from 6 pm to 8 p.m. Drinks, appetizers and entertainment will be provided, and they are asking for a minimum donation of $25. Check out details here -- or e-mail here with your RSVP.
* Nigel Murray of Trilantic is participating a "Band of Brothers Bike Ride," to be held in May, which will ride the 340-mile route of the Allies' liberation of France in 1945. It will raise money for Help for Heroes, which supports young men and women who have lost limbs during combat. You can help him reach his goal of raising 2,000 pounds -- details here.
* United Airlines is expected to announce the availability of broadband wi-fi on its transcontinental "P.S." flights from NY to California. Check out Chicago Trib story here. Hat tip to mom for seeing it first. Whoopeee (altho this will cut into my movie-watching time.)
I am thrilled to announce the winners of the Law Firm/Law Dept. 2008 LTN Awards, which will be presented on Monday, Feb. 2 at our LTN Awards dinner:
judges were Andrew Adkins III, of the University of Florida Law School;
Fredric Lederer, of the College of William & Mary School of Law;
and David Whelan, of the Law Society of Upper Canada.
The winners are: IT Director of the Year: Constance Hoffman, Bryan Cave
Champion of IT: Joy Heath Rush, Sidley Austin
The Most Innovative of Technology: — in a Law Firm: Outlaw, Fish & Richardson — In-House: Vulcan Legal Exchange, Vulcan — In a Trial: Hynix Trial, Bartko Zankel — in a Pro Bono Project: Weil Gotshal
And the judges created a new category, which will continue forward:
Consultant of the Year: Donna Payne
And I am also thrilled to announce that we will launch a new category, Lifetime Achievement Award,
to honor a legal technology leader (55+) who has contributed mightily
to our community. I will judge this category — so start thinking of
nominations for next year!
Here are a few personal tech resolutions, from the Dec. issue of Law Technology News: (More on the website).
During these challenging economic times, I hereby resolve to adopt the following as my vendor relations credo, as first enunciated by professors Jagger and Richards in 1968: "You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, well you might find — you get what you need." I will focus on getting my vendors to provide what I need, both in cost and product, rather than what I want. — Alvin Podboy, Baker & Hostetler, Cleveland
To learn the difference between — and the benefits and shortcomings of — blogs, twitter, IM, and all other new forms of instant communication. — Trisa Thompson, Dell Inc., Round Rock, Texas
To try to be disciplined enough to establish regular "read and respond" hours for e-mail, versus managing my day via e-mail and social media updates. Less distraction — more focus. — Rob Robinson, Orange Legal Technologies, Austin
I've become increasingly frustrated with bugs and other issues with Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Vista. While I plan to continue using Vista, I resolve to buy an Apple Inc. MacBook Pro for home and become expert in OS X— Jack Newton, Themis Solutions/Clio, Vancouver, B.C.
To try and use less technology and reintroduce myself to my family.— Thomas Baldwin, Reed Smith, Los Angeles
To differentiate what I want from what I really need, and then to stay away from impulse gadgets and purchases. — Donna Payne, Payne Consulting Group, Seattle
• To listen to at least one of the legal technology webinars that I registered for. • To stop believing that I will start writing a blog when I get some time. • To better advocate the merits of novel processes and technologies by concealing my enthusiasm with skepticism. • To revert to saying "discovery" now that we all know that relevant electronically stored information is always included. • To refuse to deliver a CLE program on the 2006 Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. — Paul Brabant, Epiq Systems Inc., Washington, D.C.
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.