Aloha & Mahalo
Just back from a small jolt of a vacation -- to the Hilton Waikoloa Village -- where the air, sea, and sky help rejuvenate the brain and body.
As a former California girl, I still default to Hawaii when I need a restart, and tend to graviate to either Princeville or Kona. On this trip, my mom and sister joined me, and this property is ideal for two generation trips. It's stunningly beautiful; big enough to accommodate ADD personalities (which run in my family); yet intimate. I highly recommend it.
Another secret: as an East Coast-based workaholic (who isn't these days?) it is the perfect venue to accomplish both play and work: with the five-hour time difference, I fall asleep at 9 p.m., wake up at 2 a.m., and thus have at least five hours of blissful solitude each day to crank out time-sensitive editing and memos. (I've learned never to share a room with my mom or sister.) And who's going to complain about being able to work with tropical breezes that bring the sweet smell of Na'u (gardenia, for us mainlanders) through my open balcony doors.
A common topic among most of my friends is the challenge of how to "have a life" when you have a time-consuming job that you actually love. Last summer, SNR Denton's global CIO Andrew Jurcyzk and I played hookey and went to a Yankees/Cubs game at Wrigley, and were talking about how we balance work and family. Basically, we concluded that while we seem to work 24/7, the trick is to take advantage of the ebb and flow of our schedules, in order to grab a vacation day here and there for a quick refresh. Sometimes, an away game, or just working from home for a few days can be a big boost for both productivity and stress reduction.
But there's no substitute for getting on a plane and changing your scenery for a real vacation. You never know where ideas will come from. On a past trip, enroute to Kauai, I watched "An Inconvenient Truth," which was the genesis for LTN's "Green Law" features.
This year's trip to Hawaii was also a milestone trip — I achieved "million mile" status on United's Mileage Plus — which means that I now never have to worry about getting enough EQMs again (that's elite qualifying miles for those of you not obsessed). Assuming that UAL doesn't evaporate like Pan Am, Eastern, et. al — that means I am "Premier Exec/Gold" for life, which will make getting upgrades much easier. Talk about a stress reducer!
On this trip, one of the conclusions I reached as I flew toward the 50th state was that I have neglected this blog for the last few months as we've been consumed with the redesign and relaunch of both LTN print magazine and our EDD Update blog. Me bad! I promise to get back on track and practice what I preach — to keep my spirit and this blog refreshed!
Images: Hilton Waikoloa
I'm headed to D.C. to participate in the 7th annual Advanced E-Discovery Institute, Thursday and Friday at the Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City in Arlington, Va., which has a reputation of drawing the creme de la creme of the EDD judiciary. We are all looking forward to hearing from the authors of so many opinions that have obsessed us during the last year.
Among the jurists on the panels are John Facciola (right), James Rosenbaum, John Carroll, Lee Rosenthal, (left), Francis Allegra, Shira Scheindlin, James Francis, Paul Grimm, Elizabeth LaPorte, Nan Nolan, Andrew Peck, and Joseph Slights. Doesn't get any better than that.
I'm speaking today at 1:30 p.m., on "The Business of E-Discovery," with Robert Eisenberg (Precise), Mark Michels (Cisco), Robert Owen (Fulbright & Jaworsky), and moderated by attorney Jonathan Redgrave. Based on our voluminous correspondence and several conference calls, these guys know their stuff.
The conference is sold-out, but they are maintaining a waiting list if you are interested in attending.
One of the most challenging tasks of conference organizers is finding a keynote speaker to spark plug an event. This choice is especially difficult for conventions such as ILTA or LegalTech New York, where the audience has a huge bandwidth of experience, from absolute novice to jaded veteran.
How do you find the just the right person who will engage your attendees and provide both substance and buzz, setting just the right tone and energy for your event? What works best to motivate the crowd: fear? humor? How do you avoid alienating or intimidating your audience? Do you go for empty but enjoyable calories, or provide the protein that will carry the listeners through the subsequent days of the meeting? How do you find a speaker who won't break the budget (good speakers are not cheap). How do you create "sustainable sizzle" -- content that doesn't evaporate as quickly as the crisp fire of sparklers on a dark July night?
After ILTA's opening keynote, many attendees discussed those questions with the fury of a high school debate team. Jason Jennings is a "motivational" speaker and author of several business books, including Think Big, Act Small, and Hit the Ground Running. His keynote was titled, "Five Secrets to Put 'Strategic Unity' on the Fast Track," incorporating ILTA's meeting theme.
Ultimately, Jennings' keynote was a success, even though (and partly because) he polarized the ITLA audience. He generated intense praise from some attendees and strong applause; yet mocking from others who argued that he was simply putting ILTA lipstick on a canned speech about obvious business principals. One enthusiast from a major firm said he was so inspired that he furiously wrote five pages of notes; another mid-career attendee was so irritated with Jennings' simplicity (and religious undertones) that she walked out.
Jennings focused his talk on five companies whose leaders he had interviewed and operating models he admired -- among them, Smuckers and Staples. He concluded that the prime keys to business legal success involve creating work environments 1) with a common "noble" purpose, 2) where teams can "let go" of failing projects, 3) where employees treat the company as if it were their own (and are empowered to do so), and 4) where owners take a "stewardship" approach to the company, recognizing that it doesn't really "belong" to them. I'm forgetting the fifth component of success, but you get the drift.
The messages of Jennings' talk could be pretty much summed up by comparing it to a formulaic television show that I sheepishly admit I often like: Undercover Boss. That's a CBS show where the top dog of a company goes "undercover" and pretends to be a new employee for a week. (Believe it or not, the episode featuring Hooters was fascinating, particularly addressing the company's reputation of unbridled sexism).
After the keynote, six of us intensely evaluated Jennings and his content. George Rudoy, of Shearman & Sterling, posed a question to the group: Were we more influenced in our reaction by the content, or by Jenning's style? The naysayers were unimpressed with both the content and Jennings' cloying self-promotion, complete with an artificial trick at the end to generate a fake standing ovation. (Think George Clooney in Up in the Air).
But the advocates argued that Jennings was mesmerizing, and that they devoured his insights into leadership tactics and planned to apply them immediately at their worksites.
Ultimately, when you think about what makes a good keynote, doesn't it all come down to, "Did this speaker give me one good idea that I can implement in my own shop." If the answer is yes, my time has not been wasted (although poor keynotes are proof positive why I am so happy that BlackBerrys have BrickBreake). Personally, the idea that resonated with me was the idea of "letting go" of projects that have run their course, and instead turning more attention to new opportunities.
And I quickly concede that Jennings fulfilled his duties -- because more than half the attendees (who, at ILTA, range from IT, to finance, HR, attorneys, paralegals, etc.) appreciated his presentation.
But will I remember his presentation? Well, probably yes, because I now know that I will be able to crack up Rudoy by simple evoking Stuart Smalley ("I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!").
Bottom line: the best keynotes keep you talking for years. They are, as some marketing folks call it, "sticky." People are still raving about Malcolm Gladwell at LegalTech New York 2010, who set the gold standard for keynotes. Also memorable: the former CIA dude who so scared the daylights out of everybody as he talked about identity theft that we all wanted to race to our banks, take out all our money, and put it under our mattress.
Of course, the literally-stickiest keynote in years had to be the fabulous presentation at ILTA a few years back, by astronaut James Lovell, who wisely suggested that the secret of success in life is duct tape.
As the legal technology community gathers at the Aria hotel in Las Vegas for the opening day of the International Legal Technology Association's annual meeting, you might assume everyone would be absolutely abuzz about virtualization,
e-discovery tools, and SharePoint.
Nope. The number one topic of Monday conversations was room lighting. Or, should we say, the lack thereof. As Joni Mitchell says, "You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone."
The guest rooms at the Aria are proof positive that sometimes, you can have too much technology. Where do I start? Well, how about opening the door to your room (when you finally get your room, but that's a whole 'nother story) to be startled by the sound of curtains moving. No worries, it's just the sensors opening the blackout curtains (no doubt closed to save energy by keeping the 103-degree Vegas sun out of your room when you aren't in it). Score 1 point for Al Gore.
But then, you try to turn on the lights. Emphasis on "try." Logic and Pavlovian-dog experience dictate that when a light has a switch, you simple toggle the switch to turn on the light. Those rules don't apply in Vegas.
Turning on the lights at the Aria is like solving a Rubik's cube. There are eight different light panels --plus a device that looks like a counterfeit iPad on the nightstand of the bed. Theoretically, you control the lights from the fake-iPad "touch screen" or the television (IF you can get the television to turn on.)
For example, I could not figure out how to turn on the little desk light. I had to call the front desk twice -- and finally an "engineer" left me a note explaining that the "desk lamp is controlled by the touch panel between both beds. Both touch panel and switch on lamp must be on for it to work." O.K.
The good news: There are so many input/output jacks on the aforementioned desk, you could probably launch a rocket from your room: HDMI, VGA, S-video, video/audio in/out, iPod/iPhone and USB charger plugs, audio in (looks like it's for a mpg player), 2 power plugs, and a reset button. And for a very reasonable $22 you can buy a tech kit with an ethernet cable, an iPod cable, and a PDA charger with 5 tips (but caveat, the box doesn't bother to tell you which PDAs are served by the 5 tips, you just have to guess by looking at the box).
But if you plan to actually sit at the desk and work, well, that's a problem. The chair is about high enough for a 5 year old. It's pretty, but functional -- not. (Fortunately, housekeeping brought me a grown-up chair).
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. The Aria's internet service was down until 4 p.m. Monday and has been iffy all day Tuesday. Great!
There's even technology in the huge "mini-bar." It automatically charges you when you pull an item, so no sneaking out to the convenience store to substitute a $1 can for the Diet Coke that will cost you $4.50.
At least you could never starve in this room. There are four different Aria-branded nut choices ($10-$12); an Aria-branded Martini Shaker Kit (sans the vodka) ($35); numerous Aria-branded chocolates, including Aria chocolate poker chips ($20); and even a bag of Aria-branded "signature hand crafted" potato chips (no price listed). The mini bar includes even more branded sugar options and a "romance kit" (which for some reason they did not brand)($20).
But there is no coffee. I cannot remember the last time I stayed in a hotel where I could not make myself a cup of coffee. So at 5 a.m. this morning, I reached into the aforementioned mini-bar for a non-Aria-branded Diet Coke -- but I guess the faux-iPad had not permissioned the refrigerator to turn on. Oh well. Must be another hint they want me out of the room so the motion detector can close the curtains again.
Anybody got a flashlight?
P.S. A fellow disgruntled coffee addict said she called to complain, and was told that the reason for no coffee maker was that it was a fire hazard. I'm not kidding. Fire hazard. So why do they have an iron in the room? Oh please!
GREEN GRASS, BLUE SKY
Headed to LegalTech West Coast next week in Los Angeles? You'll face a smorgasbord of choices to help you stay up-to-date on the latest technology trends and products.
Among the highlights, Erick Andersen, of Microsoft's legal team, will present the 6/24 keynote about how legal organizations can effectively use unified communications systems to reduce costs and improve collaboration among colleagues and clients.
Microsoft was just chosen by our colleagues at Corporate Counsel as the 2010 Law Department of the Year. A key factor was how general counsel Brad Smith helped engineer a "personality shift" for the software giant, from contentious to cooperative, in resolving international disputes.
The LegalTech seminars will be packed with expert panels on everything from project management, to social media, to cloud computing, to e-discovery; and the vendors at the exhibit hall will welcome the chance to show you product demonstration.
But just when you feel like your brain may just about explode from too much information, Friday, June 25, presents an opportunity to get outside and network in the famous California sun! ALM's inaugural Lawyer Invitational will be held at Trump National Golf Club, an opportunity for the proverbial "quality time" and networking.
Among the technology companies who are sponsoring the event are LexisNexis, Thomson Reuters, Kroll, and First Advantage. Part of the proceeds will benefit the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. For more information, visit www.thelawyerinvitational.com.
With the recent Nashville floods requiring a relocation of the August meeting of the International Legal Technology Association, we regular denizens were keeping our fingers crossed that maybe, just once, we might end up in Alaska, or the North Pole, or San Francisco, or anywhere coooooooool.
No such luck, but not surprised. It wouldn't be ITLA if it we weren't going to a peak-o'-summer venue that rivaled the interior of a Weber grill. 2010 will be no exception: Peggy Wechsler has just announced the new location: Vegas -- to the Aria Resort.
Vegas can be great, if you're with the right people -- and ILTA is full of great folks, so Nevada, here we come.<\p>
For more on ILTA's desert digs, read Craig Ball's post on the EDD Update.
US AIR: EMPOWERED TO SAY NO
Don't make any mistakes if you are buying a USAir ticket online. Unlike United -- which allows you to cancel an online reservation within the first 24 hours with a full refund -- if you screw up on USAir, and notice it five minutes later, too bad.
Never mind that USAir is a United Star Alliance partner. Never mind that I am a UAL Premier Exec-level flyer. They don't care. Don't bother to ask for a supervisor, they don't care. You make a mistake, you get to pay a $150 fee to change it, even if you realize you goofed within moments of hitting that "buy" button. Never mind that the ticket was only $209.20 so I'd be losing almost 75% of my ticket value to change it. They don't care.
Apparently, they don't care about customer loyalty, either -- because in one phone call, they lost mine. And I've always been very happy with USAir, even before Capt. Sully piloted that Airbus from LGA to Midtown.
I won't bother you with the details, and fortunately, it was a relatively innocuous mistake. But because I am flying a United flight via a USAir codeshare, instead of booking thru UAL, I won't get my "double EQMs" (elite qualifying miles).
OK, I'll tell you a few details. When I was comparing prices, I accidently typed the wrong date into the UAL site, which I checked first, and the fare to ORD RT came up around $560. USAir's was $209.20, so I bought USAir.
Then I went back to the UAL site so that I could politely whine to UAL about the price variance -- but when I typed it in again, this time with the right dates, United's price was the same as USAir. Because I care about the double EQMs, I wanted to rebook the ticket directly with United.
I called UAL, and a very sympathetic rep suggested that I could probably cancel my USAir purchase -- but warned me to be sure that I first checked their refund policy -- and then rebook on the flights on United, which, as we have noted, has a 24-hour refund policy on ALL online tickets!
But nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. Not US Air. You hit send, you're done. Period. No escape. No ability to appeal if you make a dumb mistake. Rules, baby, rules. No excuse is reasonable. Five minutes, five hours, they don't care. You hit send, sucker, your money's ours. They don't care.
Did I say that United allows you to cancel an online purchase and get ALL your money back in the first 24 hours?
In my experience, United -- with some notable exceptions -- has consistently good customer service, especially when dealing with its elite-level flyers. (Remember, I'm biased as a UAL brat). On my third call tonight, yet another kind UAL rep was sympathetic -- and made sure I got a decent seat on the upcoming flights. She even volunteered to appeal to Mileage Plus to try get me get my double EQMs. I didn't expect her to be successful, (and she wasn't) but I loved that she tried.
Smart business leaders know the importance of empowering customer service representatives with the authority to make reasonable actions to solve problems. Are you listening, US Air?
And it's a good thing that I don't have a band, because if I did, I'd be singing really loud right now. Just ask United what they learned from Dave Carroll. You didn't break my guitar, US Air, but you sure broke my trust.
LAZARUS FOR CLEAR?
The New York Times.
The service allows previously-vetted passengers to cut to the front of security lines at airports, etc.
As far as I'm concerned, it can't revive a moment too soon. I SOOOOOO miss the excellent service, esp at JFK and SFO - -- two of my most frequent haunts.
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.
They conducted daily interviews with a wide range of lawyers, including "Free Talker" Frank Aquila, and "Gossip at Law" David Lat (who was profiled, and then conducted a very strange interview of Steven Brill, the founder of American Lawyer Media).
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.
iPHONE TRAIN APP STOPPED IN ITS TRACKS
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.
Last October, Apple launched the application as StationStops.com, which is tied to Schoenfeld's blog of the same name. That's when the quasi-public Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which owns the Metro-North Railroad, came calling.
Read the rest here on Law.com
7th ANNUAL TWINS/YANKS FEST
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).
More photos here.
BUMMER: CLEAR FOLDS
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.
Wired Epicenter report: http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2009/06/vip-airport-screening-company-closes-lanes/
Image courtesy of daggle.
6/23 update from middle seat http://blogs.wsj.com/middleseat/2009/06/23/clear-update-what-happens-to-your-personal-data/
HILTON / UAL PROMOTIONS: CAVEAT EMPTOR
Heads Up: If you are planning to use any Hilton Honors / United promotions — such as the current Hawaii promotion to earn double Mileage Plus miles, a 10,000 HHonors bonus, and receive a free bathrobe (see 411 here) — be sure your Hilton account is set up so that you are earning both UAL miles and points.
Despite numerous attempts to confirm that I had met all necessary requirements before we arrived in Hawaii — and nightmare reservations problems bringing 11 members of my family to Honolulu for my father's memorial — Hilton has refused to process the UAL promotion miles — because they said I had not clicked on the "miles and points" option on my HHonors account. They did credit me with the Hilton bonus points, and I got lots of apologies, but they won't credit the UAL flight miles — and we're talking 10,062 miles here.
I brought 11 people to Hawaii for 5 days, and we spent a lot of money at the Honolulu Embassy Suites Beach Walk. I chose the hotel because of the promotion. No good deed goes unpunished.
I'm stunned — and furious. I did everything humanly possible to verify that I had complied with the fine print. I'm no naif when it comes to travel — after all, I'm the daughter of a United pilot and flight attendant -- and both a Diamond Hilton Honors member and Premier Executive member of UAL Mileage Plus! NOBODY at Hilton told me I had to have the account set up for both UAL miles and Hilton points to qualify. Nobody. I even made a point to check with the front desk to be sure I was properly signed up for the promotion.
Frankly, based on all my prior dealings with Hilton, I expected an easy, fast resolution. But no. I've now spent numerous hours appealing this — talking to three different people, all the way up to the top customer service supervisor — with no luck. All I get is, "We're sorry, we can't change it. You didn't click on the points and miles option."
I think what shocks me the most is that it's a 180 degree turn from Hilton's normally stellar customer service. I've been so happy with Hiltons, especially over the last couple years. The service at Hiltons has been reliably terrific, from reservations, to bell staff, to room service.
I've been an astoundingly loyal Hilton Honors member, and this makes me question whether I should bag that loyalty and go back to choosing Hyatt. That will be particularly difficult in Baltimore ...and Chicago ...and Anaheim ...and Los Angeles ...and New York ...and New Orleans ... well, you get the picture: I like Hiltons. I suspect my non-stop raves about the Waikoloa Hilton (probably the best hotel on the planet for a multi-generation family event) have sent quite a few colleagues to the reservation phones.
I just don't understand this. It would take so little to remedy the situation. Why alienate your core constituency — your most loyal customers — when all it would take would be an e-mail to United to straighten it all out?
I'm not done. I'm going to send the whole paper trail to Hilton's CEO, along with a copy of this blog post -- and I'm going to appeal this directly to United, because they are co-sponsors of the promotion, and it's the double Mileage Plus miles that I'm so worked up about. Hopefully, UAL will say "of course" and credit me for the miles. I'll keep you posted.
I didn't even get the dumb bathrobe. But I don't want clothes, I just want my United miles.
Update: 4/29/09: Well, it took only two people at United to diffuse my fury: First, a very nice Premier Exec customer service rep, Janice Border, and then an equally nice and very smart supervisor, Pam Baumberger. Turns out the double Mileage Plus points were NOT for the flights, but for the money spent at the hotel. Ms. Baumberger figured that out -- how come nobody at Hilton caught that out during my appeals?
So while I'm still very annoyed at Hilton, that certainly takes the sting out of the situation. And because Hilton did throw in an extra 2,000 Hilton points, it's close to a wash, so I'll stop complaining.
But the bottom line remains the same: If you are going to do a Hilton promotion, be sure that you have checked the correct box (Hilton points & United miles) on your profile. And carefully review all the fine print of any promotion.
And Hilton: You came very, very close to losing one of your most loyal customers. There were a lot of problems with this entire experience that you might want to re-examine. I hope, at a minimum, that you will:
1) Make promotions terms and conditions more explicit.
2) Improve the clunky reservations process for families.
3) Better educate staff at facilities that are O&O'd by third parties (e.g., Outrigger).
O.K. I'm done. Chapter closed. Lesson learned.
NEW IS OLD AGAIN
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 of Covington & 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.
TECH TIPS FOR INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL
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 phone)."
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.)
FRIDAY THE 13TH
Bad news, better news:
2. Horrible news from Buffalo, Continental commuter plane down, all lost -- stunning photos on The New York Times' website. Adding to the misery, the flight originated in Newark, N.J., second plane incident from our area in a few weeks, and sadly this one with no miracle ending. 50 dead, including someone in the house that the plane hit.
2. Yesterday was not just Honest Abe's birthday, but the 200th anniversary of the birth of one of my idols (No, not Joe Torre - but I did just buy his audiobook and plan to listen to it over the long weekend) - but Darwin.
3. My colleague Jill Windwer found this hysterical "tech" rant by George Carlin. Love the jargon!
4. Another colleague, Anthony Paonita, editor-in-chief of Corporate Counsel magazine, will discuss its new Technology Survey via webinar on 2/19 at 1 EST: Registration info here.
Update: Mark Reichenbach checks in, to advise me to "Forget Friday the 13th. Forget Valentines Day. Today is soooo much more: Using UNIX or POSIX time, at 6:31:30 seconds EST PM today, it will be 1234567890. Numerologists and Unix freaks will be having parties all around the world." He blogged about it here.
And I did forget about Valentines Day.. so a shout-out to all of us who don't have sweeties to celebrate with, including my mom... it's her first VD without Daddyo. May past and future joys buffer the bittersweet day. As an old friend once said, "You never know, when you wake up in the morning, what will happen that day."
May tomorrow bring us all new possibilities for unexpected delights.
VENABLE PARTNER ON US AIR 1549
Our colleagues at The Am Law Daily have just posted a fascinating interview with Venable partner James Hanks Jr. who was aboard US Air 1549.
Best line: “I can't let my life be run by a bunch of geese.”
* 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.
* John Hochfelder wants you to know that he has launched a new blog, New York Injury Cases Blog, that offers news and analysis of pain-and-suffering verdicts and settlements. A good complement to Eric Turkewitz' New York Personal Injury Lawyer Blog.
* 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.)
* Kevin O'Keefe checks in to advise us that he has just launched beta of lextweet.com. Sez he is "changing text Friday to make clear it is open to all legal community, not just lawyers." Kinda a mini-Twitter, interesting!
* Ross Kodner offers 33 New Year's resolutions here. His # 1 prediction: at least 10% of AmLaw 100 firms will collapse by year's end. "The era of the megafirm is over. Heller Ehrman and Thelen are history. Who’s next? (Take a look at these websites - it’s positively chilling - when Goliath falls, he falls hard."
* Related topic: "Will BigLaw firms gain -- or lose-- business in tough economic times? Integreon's Ron Friedman has an interesting dialogue going on his blog, PrismLegal, here. (Hat tip to WP.)
* Turbulent skies: A holiday message from United's pilots:
December 16, 2008
To our passengers,
As the Holiday Season approaches, the professional pilots of United Airlines want to assure our passengers that whether you are headed home to share the holidays with loved ones or enjoying vacation travel, we'll continue to go the extra mile to make sure that you get to your destinations in comfort with minimum stress and inconvenience.
We are very much aware that the friendly skies have become less friendly in recent times because of increased costs, reduced flights and cutbacks in in-flight service and amenities. We have been at the forefront when it comes to resisting these cost-cutting initiatives because we do not believe that our passengers should be penalized for the mistakes of United's management. We still feel that way and are still fighting the fight on behalf of our passengers.
As we get into the winter months, we want you to know that United is an all-weather airline. United pilots pioneered many of the safety innovations such as onboard weather radar, anti-skid brakes, enhanced weather forecasting, and improved navigation instruments that allow safe operation in inclement weather. And we will not allow our airline to fabricate excuses for not serving the needs of our passengers.
On behalf of United's professional pilots, we want to extend our best wishes to all for a joyous Holiday Season. We will continue to do all that we can to make the skies friendlier for our valued passengers who continue to be our number one priority.
--The Pilots of United Airlines
United Chapter, Air Line Pilots Association
GOLDEN STATES OF MIND
OK, you know you are in California when there is a Best Buy Express vending machine by United's Gate 70 (the SF/LA gate) selling iPods, Bose headsets, digital cameras and other portable electronics. See CenterNetworks blog and Gadling blog.
According to Gadling, the units are from San Francisco's ZoomSystems, and there are more than 650 of them thru-out the country now. The first airport site was Dallas-Fort Worth, it sez.
Call me crazy, but I just would feel queasy about buying a $300 tech item via a vending machine -- but I guess if you are addicted to your iPod or QC2, and you lose it before a 6-hour flight, it might be worth it. And the blog sez that a machine at Atlanta, way back in '06, was pulling in $55,000 a month, and sellin' about 7 iPods a day. Wow.
Speaking of Best Buy, I popped into the Anaheim (Orange) store today looking to upgrade my CardScan (I may have to order it online) and found this nifty Belkin 5-outlet mini surge protector/extension device -- and snapped it up in a second. I'm so tired of having to crawl under desks or call the front desk ... You'd think hotels would be wise up to the fact that we carry a lot of electrical devices these days and have power strips in the rooms.
Anyway, it is about 4 inches long, and it includes 3 plugs and two USB charger slots with a cable that will support Motorola phones. (You can NEVER have enough phone chargers) -- The plug rotates so the device can be horizontal or vertical, and it even has a nifty protector for the plug.
Anyway, before I arrived at LAX, I was upstate (oh my, I have indeed become a NYer, they never call the Bay Area upstate) ... anyway, my colleague Michelle Ball and I spent Friday in the South Bay visiting the gangs at Interwoven Inc., IntApp, Clearwell and Kazeon.
First, another Tech Tip: Garmin's Jill (vanilla Nuvi 200) is so so so so much better than Hertz's Magellan NeverLost. Let's just put it this way -- Michelle got from one destination to our next stop in 5 minutes, via 101. NeverLost routed me on the slow, scenic route on El Camino in bumper-to-bumper traffic for 30 minutes.
Anyway, moving right along: Our first stop was Interwoven, where we met up with prez Max Carnecchia ; Matthew Work, veep, e-discovery strategy; and Dave Packer, director of mktg, and got into an animated discussion (as usual, anytime Work is around) about EDD cost containment and the need to educate the users so they stop being so afraid.
The last time we met up with Work was in June, up in his Presidio digs of Discovery Mining. He seemed just a little too happy. We figured out why a few days later when it was announced that SF-based Discovery Mining was being bought by the San Jose-based Interwoven. The deal closed on August 4.
The addition of Discovery Mining was a good fit with Interwoven's agenda to provide wide ranging content management services, explained Packer and the guys. Interwoven has a broad brush, addressing 12 industries from accounting to manufacturing, and offering an increasing portfolio, many web-based, of services.
John Hall, CEO of IntApp, and Dan Bressler, vp of marketing, take a very different view of their potential market. They want to focus only on legal, the two Stanford grads explained to us over a yummy lunch at a new Palo Alto restaurant, The Oxacan Kitchen. (The reviewers kinda hit it on the nail: still a few kinks to work out, but a tasty bistro indeed)
John and Dan say they are specifically focusing on the unique challenges of the legal industry, and resisting any temptation to grow beyond legal.
IntApp provides software that connects and centrally manages legal programs, with the goal of increasing attorneys' billable hours, reinforcing client confidentiality and maximizing firm productivity. The company offers "Time Builder," to help timekeepers with automated activity tracking and reporting; "Wall Builder," to manage risk, protect lateral hiring activity and comply with regulatory and client confidentiality requirements; and "Integration Builder," to streamline business processes, such as new business and new personnel intake, and provide users with accurate, timely information.
Next stop was Clearwell, in Mountain View, to check in with president/CEO Aaref Hilaly and meet with Kurt Leafstrand and his team for a quick demo of Transparent Search, which was debuted at the August ILTA meeting.
Available with the Clearwell E-Discovery Platform 4.0 version, it is designed to help corporations and law firms during the e-discovery search process. Key features include:
* Search Preview: "Provides visibility into matching keyword variations for wildcard and stemming searches prior to running a search. Users can selectively include relevant variations or exclude false positive variations in their search query, removing irrelevant documents from search results."
* Search Filters: "In real-time, users can filter results by individual queries or variations, and sample the filtered documents to evaluate the effectiveness of their search. This also provides more opportunities for users to rapidly identify false positive documents prior to review."
* Search Report: "Creates a comprehensive report that documents all search criteria and provides detailed analytics of the results for both the overall search and the individual queries within the search.The report tracks search terms that were included and excluded during search preview providing a defensible audit trail of search refinement decisions."
* Multiple Query Search: "[Runs] large numbers of queries simultaneously and provides reporting for both the overall search and the individual queries within the search. Queries can be tested in minutes not days, dramatically decreasing the turnaround time needed to iterate and evaluate the effectiveness of keyword searches."
Our last stop of the day was to Kazeon, also in Mountain View (a gorgeous city, btw). President and CEO Sudhakar Muddu (left); Karthik Kannan, vp of marketing and biz dev; and marketers Andrea Laughlin and David Morris joined us for yet another insightful discussion about the legal profession's challenges with e-discovery -- especially the Baby Boomer leadership (can you say "afraid?") who still do not understand why they need this technology to survive.
I keep feeling like there is so much that LTN -- and the vendors -- need to do to help legal professionals understand e-discovery and other technology. But at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I get so frustrated (esp. in EDD) when so many vendors using the same six words to describe every single product they offer. (And if one more vendor tells me how their product is "revolutionary" I think I will croak.)
David had a WONDERFUL expression for it -- he called it "talking about the baby" -- how too many vendors drill sooooooo far deep into the endless details (like new parents who suddenly can only talk about their offspring and seem incapable of normal conversation), rather than providing listeners with what they want and need to hear. It was a great dialogue.
As for Kazeon, the company offers a range of products, including e-discovery, information security and privacy, governance risk and compliance, and storage. Late last month, it released Information Server IS1200-ECS 3.1, with a new "in-place legal hold, KazHold, and a new agent-less product for in-place analysis of and collection from laptops/desktops." It is designed to help users streamline EDD collection, analysis and processing, and "help users discover all relevant and necessary information for any litigation related activity."
The program is designed to assure that there is no spoliation of data and no modifications to metadata attributes of files and e-mails, the company says, while reducing costs.
It was a heady day, full of lots of ideas for stories and articles. One concrete idea came out of several discussions about Socha/Gelbmann's decision to no longer rank vendors. If you jump over to the EDD Update blog, you'll see that I'm asking everybody to suggest the top 5 questions potential users should ask their potential EDD vendors. Dive on in with your ideas.
That's it! Time to enjoy the SoCal weather for an hour before I head on over to Angel Stadium to watch my po' boys get wholloped by those Devils, oops, I mean Angels of Anaheim /L.A./ San Diego /Oxnard /Costa Mesa / Tijuana .. whatever :)
SUNSHINE STATES OF MIND
My colleague Jai Wallace and I had the pleasure of spending time with LTN board member Cathy Paunov, and the First Couple of EDD (Shawnna and Robert Childress, she of Navigant Consulting and Women in E-Discovery, he of Wave Software). I was looking forward to hanging with Tim Nissen from DocuLex but we had to settle for a nice long phone call when he had a last minute work emergency and couldn't join us at Tropicana Field.
The Childresses are two of the most enthusiastic people you could possibly meet. High school sweethearts, they now live outside of Orlando. Robert brought me up to speed on the latest adventures at Wave Software, and Shawnna gave me an update on the activites at Navigant and WIE, where she is is one of the leaders of the organization. We got into quite a spirited discussion of some of the issues that still face women -- and men -- who are trying to advance their careers in the e-discovery arena. One typical mistake that folks make is going to an interview without first Googling the company and doing due diligence in order to ace an interview.
Paunov still does her legal technology consulting and stays active within the ABA, but like an increasing number of Baby Boomers, she has started teaching. In her case, (and it's a fascinating but convoluted story), she now teaches social studies at Gaither High School -- which she obviously loves. She enthralled us with tails of her adventures in the school, which is located on the same highway as the Yankees' Legends Field (actually, now George Steinbrenner Field). She's a great storyteller -- no doubt the hallmark of a good teacher.
Last night, Rick Georges, St. Pete solo, blogger, and #1 Rays fan invited me up to his incredible seats in the upper deck just above the "L" in the Tropicana Field sign -- behind home plate. It was an enclave of season ticket holders, who tolerated my clothing (and occasional outbursts when A-Rod actually hit the ball). Rick has bought every baseball-related tech device known to man/womankind and faithfully scored the game on his PDA with amazing software. (See update below for the 411 about his tech). (He took the photo above.)
He is a hoot, and full of energy and a walking baseball encyclopedia. We stopped by the Trop's Ted Williams museum, which was fascinating, and walked around the very family-friendly facility. Call me crazy, but just like Minnesota's dome, and despite the lousy "grass" -- there is a certain charm to the two domes. I love all the illustrations on the wall, and the big blow-up cow (but I sure could live without the cowbells... they are truly migraine inducing).
It's fun to spend time with the Floridians -- they just exude the proverbial joy de vivre (am I spelling that right?) -- And what better way to catch up on their latest tech developments than at a ballgame, right? Oh yeah, the 3rd place Yanks won both games. :)
Next stop, SF Bay Area, then da Halos!
Update: Here's Rick's info about the Scorepad software:
Scorepad helps you score the game on a Palm smart phone. Later, the data syncs to the computer, and automatically prints out a complete score sheet, including box scores, pitch by pitch, spray charts, and score sheet. The best software, however, is MLBstats, also available at Scorepad, which automatically downloads the day's current stats on every player in the bigs. Technology, it can do anything. Of course, it is only available on the Palm OS. You can't do this on an iPhone.
MO MAILBAG #080806
Still more incoming:
• Kevin Hunt checked in from July's American Association of Law Libraries Portland (Ore) meeting to let us know that West posted a "Westcast" with Leonard Lee, about how the "Google generation" is approaching legal research. Check it out here.
And on the Westblog, Bob Azman, vp of West's "customer experience operations," invites you to contact him directly about your experiences and needs — echoing a theme of our July LTN cover story by Alvin Podboy, who dares legal librarians to start talking to legal publishing vendors. For more info, you can reach Hunt here.
• Update on the laptop seizures controversy: The Association of Corporate Travel Executives' exec director Susan Gurley testified before Congress about the ongoing controversy over seizures of business travelers' laptops. Details here.
• LTN's Safia Maharaj found this tech/beisbol/charity item, "Text Me Out to the Ballgame" -- about a pilot project between the Washington Nationals and MLB.com (major league baseball's website) to raise money for the Children's National Medical Center's proposed Diabetes Care Complex. During the day game on 7/13, fans were invited to text "NATS" to 90999 to donate $5 -- a tactic also used during the All Star Game at Yankee Stadium to raise money to fight breast cancer. Clever and painless -- and less expensive than a soda at the Stadium. Let's see more of these! Check out the Mobile Giving Foundation here.
• Last call! The deadline's been extended until tomorrow (Friday) to nominate your company for the 2009 LTN Vendor Awards, which will presented at LegalTech New York in February. Check it out here. It's quick and easy, and as they say re: the New York Lottery, if you don't enter, you can't win.
WHAT I LEARNED FROM STEVE BRILL #2,145
Steve Brill, now the head of Clear, founded American Lawyer Media, and was my boss for just about a decade. He's brilliant and difficult (a combination that can be challenging but fun) — and what I always appreciated the most (and try to emulate) is that with Steve, what you see is what you get. You always know exactly where you stand.
The rumors about his management style were pretty much true. Tact was never in his briefcase, but fortunately humor usually was. When I was at The Recorder, in San Francisco, he got pissed off because we were splitting too many infinitives in our stories — so he sent us a memo promising that he would fire the next one of us who blew that grammar rule. A few hours later, when he cooled down, he sent us a memo with four split infinitives calling off the threat.
And yes, he really did return edited stories with razor words, such as "Is English your first language?" But when he praised a story, you could trust and truly enjoy the accolades. I loved working for him.
And did he ever teach us to be good journalists — lessons I have preached to my Law Technology News staff for the last 10 years. Above all, be honest and be fair, and admit your mistakes, he insisted. There's no failure in a mistake, he would tell us, but you'll be fired if you don't bring mistakes quickly to your boss' attention. Corrections under Brill's regime always went on page 1 of our newspaper. Always, and with the name of the person who made the mistake. No hiding under a short hidden paragraph buried in the back. People's lives are affected by what we write -- and when we screw up, we must announce it boldly. You stand up and take the consequences. It's only fair. It's always the right thing to do.
He practices what he preaches. When our Court TV was covering the O.J. Simpson trial, one of the cameras accidently caught, for about 1/8th of a second, one of the alternate jurors. Court TV didn't just hope nobody noticed. They went straight to Judge Ito, who shut down the cameras for that first day. But it was the right thing to do.
And on July 26, 2008, when a company laptop containing unencrypted data about 33,000 pending applications went missing from Clear's (Verified Identity Pass Inc.) San Francisco airport offices, Brill's team went straight to authorities. With the assumption that the laptop was stolen, TSA immediately suspended new enrollments into Clear, a "fast-pass" service that pre-screens members, who then get expedited clearance through airport security. (Disclosure: I am a very enthusiastic member of Clear.)
Fortunately, the laptop was found by Clear on August 5, and Clear determined that it had not been accessed. (Further forensics investigation is being conducted by law enforcement.)
"We apologize for the confusion, but in an abundance of caution, we treated this unaccounted-for laptop as a serious potential breach," said Brill. "We're glad to confirm that a preliminary investigation shows no personal information was compromised."
Clear was in the process of notifying the applicants when the laptop was found, and it is suspending enrollment until the information is encrypted (the data was already protected with two layers of password controls, but they are now adding encryption as well.)
No credit information, or social security numbers, or biometric information was on the laptop, however, there was a limited amount of the applicants' personal information, says Clear. According to CBS5, that information included "names, address, and birth dates, and in some cases driver's licenses, passport or green card numbers," citing Clear.
It can't have been an easy experience for Brill and his team, and they certainly should have had the data encrypted from the beginning. (Maybe I should sent Steve a complimentary subscription to LTN :) But I think it speaks volumes that — as usual — Brill and his Clear team went straight to the authorities when bad news hit.
You can find Clear's press release at its home page and you can download it here: Download verified_identity_pass_announces_laptop_has_been_found.pdf
Hat tip to Babs Deacon & Donna Payne for forwarding the news stories.
Update 8/15: Clear is again taking enrollments.
Here's the latest letter from Brill:
We re-opened Clear enrollment on Tuesday, which had been temporarily unavailable after a laptop containing a small part of some applicants' enrollment data was taken from a locked office at the San Francisco Airport (though, as you know, the Clear lanes continued to operate normally nationwide). The laptop was recovered, and preliminary investigations revealed that no unauthorized person gained access to any of the information stored on that laptop. The data was protected with two levels of passwords, but was not encrypted, and it should have been.
Update on Security Enhancements to the Clear System
Clear has encrypted every enrollment kiosk and laptop computer containing personally identifiable applicant and member data. Ernst & Young independently performed an inspection and filed an audit report with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) stating that all enrollment kiosks and all mobile devices are encrypted up to government standards. TSA also conducted its own on-site verification of encryption on all enrollment kiosks and mobile devices at randomly selected locations.
Beyond the encryption of these devices, Clear has also installed other security updates, including physical security enhancements. And, Clear will continue to enhance the security of our system with the latest technology and software security advancements as they become available.
Finally, Clear's privacy ombudsman wrote in a letter posted on Clear's website that he is conducting an independent review of Clear's security processes on behalf of Clear members. He will post those results online once he has concluded his investigation.
Please call Clear Support with any questions, comments, or concerns at (866) 848-2415.
* Bob Johnston, of the Executive Council in NYC, checks in to tell us that if you were unable to attend the recent (excellent) program about "Green IT" you can watch highlights online here.
I attended the program, and was especially impressed with Microsoft's chief environmental strategist, Robert Bernard. Also speaking: Dell Inc.'s Head of Environmental Affairs, Michael Murphy; 1E's CEO and CTO, Sumir Karayi; Weber Shandwick's EVP and Cleantech guru, Paul Jensen, and Brian Dumaine, discussing his new book, The Plot to Save the Planet - How Visionary Entrepreneurs and Corporate Titans are Creating Real Solutions to Global Warming."
* Change of the guard: Leah Bilotta has handed the marketing manager reins at RainMaker Software Inc. to Matthew Altemus, former Marketing Associate. Bilotta has accepted another position and is relocating to Saratoga Springs, New York. It's been a pleasure working with Leah, and we wish her well. Welcome, Matt.
* Michigan's Enrico Schaefer reports on a new website design for his firm, Traverse Legal, www.traverselegal.com. "Note that the blogs are fully-integrated into the remainder of the law firm website. There is no distinction in design, colors, logos, etc. between the nine distinct blogs which each capture a distinct practice area of the firm. Note that the homepage pulls in the last three posts from each blog, creating rotating dynamic content."
* Ari Kaplan notes that his new book, The Opportunity Maker: Strategies for Inspiring Your Legal Career Through Creative Networking and Business Development, has been published by Thomson West.
* Lindsey Goodrich, of Chesapeake Interlink Ltd., checks in to tell us that there's a new website for Needles case management software. It offers a new look, an updated menu structure, additional features and information, with a more comprehensive organization of content areas. "We wanted pages that exhibited a high-tech, sophisticated, animated, engaging, and dynamic web presence," says marketing director Mary Ellen Bellusci.
* Whoppee! UAL's Ted is gone, and UAL is going Star Alliance with Continental. My mom found this article in USA Today by David Grossman about the great news that UAL has executed Ted -- it's discount program that tried to compete with the likes of Southwest. I hated Ted from the outset, and was always stuck on it when I traveled to Phoenix -- and always tried to manuveur my itinerary to avoid it, so I'm thrilled. I'm also thrilled that UAL had the good sense, when merger talks failed, to set up Star Alliance status with Continental, which has a superb reputation (and yes, is the official airline of the Yankees, for what that's worth, so I see a lot of their ads). It always drove me nuts when I was at Sky Harbor to have to walk right past the Continental nonstop Phx/Newark flight when I was headed to the Ted flights and a miserable 12 hour trip home with connections.
* Finally, Susannah Smith offers two gems: First, this link to Eco*Systems, which offers "green" trade show exhibits etc.
And this "BallGirl" video, which has many folks buzzing about whether it's real or faked: Download Ballgirl.wmv. Says Susannnah: "This is from my close friend Jack Rains who was chair of the Houston-Harris County Sports Authority when the (now) Minute Maid Stadium was built."
It's an absolute hoot!
MAIL BAG #060108
* Upcoming Webinars:
-- TutorPro Ltd. is offering TutorAuthor NG, designed to help law firms create online educational programs. There are six sessions scheduled this summer.
-- Guille Rayala of Workshare is inviting you to a Workshare/Microsoft webcast on automating enterprise contract management. It will be held June 10, at 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. East coast time.
* Congrats to Jonathan Ezor and the gang at the Touro Law Center's Institute of Business, Law & Technology. They are celebrating their 5th year anniversary with a bash on June 18 at the Long Island facility. Details here: _invitation.pdf
* Also celebrating a year 5 milestone is "Excited Utterances," a newsletter created by editors Joy London and Sean Hockings. It covers KM, tech, publishing, blogging, open source, and web 2.0 topics, all aimed specifically at the legal community. Check out the current issue here, which has subscription info: Download llneu_149_23_may_2008.pdf
* The San Jose Mercury News is going digital, check it out here.
* United Airlines' Red Carpet Club now offers free wi-fi -- it's still from T-Mobile but you no longer have to be a subscriber, you can simply use your RCC membership number to access it. UAL is also following suit of other airline clubs, and now you can purchase a 1-day pass online for $50 -- that can come in handy as gifts or if you have extra guests with you.
* Deborah Novachick checks in with a report about her efforts to raise money for the Tall Ships Education project.
Thank you so much to everyone who contributed. By the last report we raised $1,800. So wonderful, wonderful. This has been a great experience for me. It is a lot of work to get it all organized, but then you get to e-mail everyone, and hear from so many people. Very much a community experience. I am big on community.
Stayed in roughly the same geographic area all my life, went to college and lived among a very dedicated community of educators, stayed in the same career and industry all my life, and got involved in a lot of community activities. Started in kindergarten when a neighbor who was an elementary school teacher rounded up all the little neighborhood girls to start a Blue Birds group. We all stayed together from Blue Birds, to Campfire Girls, to Jr. High Campfire Girls. Then we went on to sports, cheerleading, student office, peer counseling, and, not surprisingly, many of us ended up in professions like counseling, consulting, lawyering, teaching, real estate, and nursing.
For a bunch of little girls we had some amazing adventures (at 11 I broke my foot when tobogganing with two of the most adventurous girls in Lake Tahoe -- between a Propane tank and a telephone pole – don’t try this at home -- and then I messed around on my cast so much that I had to wear assorted casts for SIX MONTHS – became known, affectionately, as “the gimp” at school, but hey, for 6 months I got out of classes early and had someone carrying my books!)
We kept widening our circle of friends, helping each other, and adding new mentors until we grew up. Then we continued to seek out mentors. And eventually we found ourselves mentoring others. I can’t imagine what my life would be like without learning firsthand (experiential education) how warm and generous people can be. And what we can accomplish as a team, a community.
I realize now that we were pretty poor as kids. But I had no idea at the time. We seemed to be surrounded by people who had so much to share.
I hope the girls at the Tall Ship Education come away with that feeling that so many things are possible. I have been prepping for a speech on generational differences in October, so I understand better now that outlooks can be very different depending on the times one grows up in.
But the answer seems to be diversity and communication. And that was exactly what my integrated public schools, the teachers, and mentors showed us when we were kids. And it is what the “Experiential Education” approach behind TSEA’s programs teaches. TSEA creates an environment where a highly diverse community is intent on a very important goal that benefit to the community (i.e., not to sink the ship and all one’s shipmates And then the magic happens.
CELL PHONE BOARDING PASSES
LTN's ace admin asst, Safia Maharaj, spotted this boston.com report about a pilot (bad pun?) project at Boston's Logan airport, where Continental Airlines is testing an electronic version of boarding passes. Passengers with cells phone or PDAs tcan receive an e-mail linked to a web page with their individual bar cade that can be scanned at the gate.
The paperless boarding pass also is being tested at airports in Houston, Washington, D.C., and is scheduled for Newark this month. It's only available for individuals on domestic flights.
NO ENERGY CRISIS IN NOLA
About 300 people attended this week's Louisiana Bar Association's first Solo & Small Firm Technology Conference -- about three times the number originally expected by the organizers of this nuts-and-bolts conference.
LSBA's Eric Barefield, left, -- who has the long title of Professional Counsel for Law Office Management and Professional Assistance -- was the chief organizer of the program, which not only was a crash course in legal technology but a nifty way to rack up a whole lot of CLE credits in two days.
I was honored to be invited to serve as the lunch speaker, on the topic of blogging, and among the others of our legal tech community who participated were consultant Tom O'Connor, a recent emigre to NoLa, Andy Adkins of the University of Florida (Gainesville) Legal Technology Institute, and the ubiquitous Ross Kodner, president of Milwaukee-based MicroLaw Inc.
O'Connor and Adkins, right, are current LTN editorial advisory board members, Kodner is a former board member, and watching them in action this week reminded me of what talent and energy and heart they bring to our community.
They are three very different personalities, but one common thread permeates all three: a true passion for their work. It's a running joke among all of us that if you are on a panel with Ross Kodner, you better speak first or you will be lucky to speak for 5 minutes. He's a very effective, enthusiastic speaker, who seems to almost to burst with eagerness to share his expertise with the audience. If we could tap his energy we would be paying 24 cents a gallon for gas again.
I sat in on his "How Not to Commit Malpractice with Your Computer," and was reminded of how effective Kodner, left, can be at the podium. Aside from his dreadful PowerPoints (Ross! Don't cram so much text on each slide!) he's a whirling dervish of practical information, presented with humor and enough person asides to make the potentially dry material very palatable. In fact, often compelling.
Perhaps the best part of his presentation was when he showed an actual BigFirm document (redacted to remove any identifying material) to demonstrate how a huge firm got fired when its client was able to read all the metadata on the file about its history -- which included such tasty details as the fact that the document was actually originally created by another firm, modified by a low-level associate in less than an hour, but billed out at a huge partners' rate for far more time than one hour. Let's put it this way, Ross had the audience's attention.
Too many CLE speakers at programs are just flat-out lousy who appear to view the opportunity as a chore, and stand up and give flat monotoned monologues while attendees work on their BlackBerrys or play Scrabble on the iPods while collecting CLE credits.
Ross, Andy & Tom are examples of speakers who know how to push essential information while capitalizing on the "theater" of the podium, so that at the end of the session, the attendees want more ..... rather than looking for the fastest way to exit the room.
Congrats to Barefield and the LSBA team for presenting a high-energy, two-day program that was crammed with the pragmatic and the essential, from ethics and malpractice prevention, to overviews of basic technology tools (everything from Adobe Acrobat to Outlook to case management to scanners).
IT'S SPRING... FINALLY!
What a wonderful break from New York's winter weather... Five days in Tampa, with the good company of some of our legal tech denizens in Rays-ville. (Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's no longer the toothy, gritty DEVIL Rays, it's just plain bland Rays. Somebody ought to fire THAT marketer...)
Sunday, it was a road trip to the land o' the Pirates, in Brandenton - about an hour south of Tampa, over spectacular blue waters and a 5.5 mile gorgeous bridge, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, which is very aptly named. (Here's the NY Times architecture review). According to wikipedia, it's the world's longest bridge with a cable-stayed main span. (Photo courtesy of Bridgeworld.net).
Anyway, trusty Garmin "Jill" kinda tilted once we got to Brandenton. She (nuvi 200) is good, but not perfect, and kept insisting on sending us to an area of town decidedly more devoted to chihuaha dogs and beer than to beisbol. It was an interesting scenic tour, but we quickly defaulted to the tried-and-true "ask a gas station dude" method, and with his directions, finally found the charming McKechnie Field at 1611 9th street WEST (not east, as Jill insisted on sending us).
Anyway -- the "we" in this case being the intrepid Teri "Jersey Girl" McCarron (of Minnesota's McCarron Advanced Computing Services Inc.) and her boyfriend Teddy Lindgren, who shows great bravery going out in public with us when Teri and I are bedecked in Yankees-wear.
We absolutely loved McKenchnie Field. Alan Byrd sums it up in his Florida Spring Training guidebook: 'Everything seems to be a little better here than at most Spring Training sites. The grass is greener, the people friendlier, the stadium prettier and the atmospher livelier." He says it's because just about everybody at the facility is a volunteer -- and baseball and the Pirates "are woven into the fabric of the town." The local boosters raised the bucks to renovate the stadium, and they run it. It's beyond charming.
Teri is so enthusiastic, she makes me look like a wall flower, and she soon was engaged to the Parrott, or was it Mike the Super Beer man (above)? Who knows! But EVERYBODY has fun when Teri's at a game. Even Doug Mientkiewicz waved at us from right field -- and then after the game, shook Jersey Girl's hand and signed my cap after we urged him to come back to the Bronx. (Cashman was with him and grinned at our suggestion).
It was a balmy, wonderful afternoon, and the perfect way to spend an Easter Sunday. Who cares that just about none of the superstars players were on the lineup card, and the boys lost, it was a complete hoot.
Monday, it was back to Legends Field, for a chilly night game that was a slug-fest win for the Yanks. Joining ALM's Mike Medwig (left) et moi was Denise Malivuk, (right) marketing manager, and her colleague Tracey McSheffrey, (middle) of Hudson Legal. Two delightful women, they updated us on the activities of their international company (with operations in the U.S., Europe and Asia). Hudson places attorneys, paralegals and legal support professionals, in both permanent and temp posts. It targets both corporate law departments and outside counsel -- and has been particularly active in the emerging area of e-discovery, specializing in large-scale lit matters, antitrust reviews, goverment investigations, and other matters that are document intensive.
Denise and I had a fascinating conversation about how EDD is changing the career terrain, especially for lit support folks. (I'll be speaking on that topic next month at ALM's Paralegal conference in NYC).
Tuesday, we wrapped up our 2008 adventure with a trip to Winter Haven, to Cleveland turf (although they probably are moving to Arizona next year) at the Chain of Lakes Park complex - about 70 minutes east of Tampa. Another charming stadium, (although we won't talk about how poorly organized and congested the parking situation was).
It was terrific to spend time with David Bailey, president of DocuLex (right) and Tim Nissen (left) the company's marketing czar. The company recently sold its Discovery Cracker product to CT (to the CT Summation unit), and has decided to focus on document management as its "core competency." We had a great time learning about its operation, until it was time to head back west. Oh yeah, they lost.
Now it's time to head north -- with my newly-autographed hat (The Parrott, the beerman, the bullpen catcher, and Dougie, who we want back in the Bronx), new and renewed friendships -- and just a hint of a sunburn. Spring Training has been great, but now it's time for the games that count.
Monday! Opening Day! Whoopeeee! Let's go YANKEES.
As always, click on images to enlarge. Photo album here.
DRIZZLED OUT IN TAMPA
I won't even begin to bore you about how difficult it was to fly on Thursday. Two words: Spring Break (for every child in America.) Two more words: Easter weekend. Two more words: Winds & LaGuardia. One word: Delays. Two words: Tight connections. Opps. You're bored. Moving right along!
Friday night was perfect beisbol weather, and it was fun to defrost in Tampa on a balmy warm night -- with a Yankees 2-run 8th inning rally to breakup a scoreless encounter with a very impressive Tampa Bay Rays team. This may be the year the Rays aren't in the cellar all season!
But a cold front came in Saturday morning, and with it some insistent drizzle -- Rick Georges and I were disappointed when the Toronto/ Yanks game was called in the second inning, so we moved to drier quarters to continue our conversation over lunch. Rick, a St. Petersburg solo, is the author of the FutureLawyer blog, which he is extremely devoted to -- in fact, he posts several times a day (something that is breathtaking in and of itself). A morning person, he gets up around 5:30 a.m., before his family is awake, and spends about three hours scouting out the latest gadgets, tools, commentaries, etc., he told me.
His blog, which is featured on the Law.com Blog Network, is always unpredictable: in the last few days he has written about a Microsoft Vista Service Pack 1, Palm Addicts Phone Favs, How to Stay Happily Married, the dangers of BigFirm lifestyles, and about Novell fighting Microsoft over WordPerfect. He even wrote a post about how his Bluetooth headset survived being chewed on by his dog.
Georges' blog has been featured as Typepad's Featured Blog, and he just co-authored the cover story on The ABA Journal, taking the PC side of a Mac v. PC shootout. He's a true character, as anyone would guess from perusing his blog. It was a great afternoon.
Click on the photo to enlarge.
SNEAK PREVIEW: ALMOST-LIVE FROM L.A.
Speaking of live blogging, plans are underway for LegalTech West Coast, in Los Angeles, June 25-26 to repeat our popular "Almost-Live from New York" blog-o-rama.
We'll once again have live reporting on Legal Blog Watch, which will again serve as a central clearinghouse for other posts from other bloggers covering the show.
All non-vendor bloggers who plan to do live blogging will be provided with a free full conference pass (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to register), we're going to have a welcome breakfast on June 25 open to all bloggers.
We're planning to designate the first two rows of every conference program for bloggers and provide electrical outlet strips, and looking into other ways to facilitate blogging at our West Coast show!
I'll keep you posted!
LIVE FROM CHICAGO: ABA TECHSHOW
* Lara Pearson and Arthur Harrington (left) will present "Meeting the ABA EPA Law Office Climate Challenge, from 8:30 am - 9:30 a.m., then I will join them for the 9:45 panel, "Small Footprint - Big Impact:" Improving Client Services with Sustainable Practices. (Northwest 3).
* After our panel, stick around for the ABA TechShow's signature panel, "60 Sites in 60 Minutes," which closes out the event, and features Craig Ball (LTN's EDD columnist), TechShow chair Tom Mighell, and D.C.'s own Reid Trautz in the Grand Ballroom.
Can't attend? No prob: Check out the blog reports:
* The aforementioned Tom Mighell.
* Robert Ambrogi on Law.com's LegalBlogWatch offers links.
* Larry Bodine is blogging (and also on assignment for LTN, scoping out the latest social media issues -- keep an eye out for his report in the April Law Technology News).
* Kevin O'Keefe's (right) team is also live-blogging, with a very interesting concept -- Rob La Gatta is interviewing some of the tech community's leaders, including Jim Calloway, of the Oklahoma bar; Aviva Cuyler, who just launched JD Supra; and Ed Poll, of LawBiz, among many others.
O'Keefe's LexBlog and The ABA Journal (Ed Adams & Molly McDonough) co-sponsored a Beer for Blawgers get together Friday, which was a lot of fun, and O'Keefe even used his live blogging feature to alert folks that the venue had to move to a different lobby bar, due to overcrowding with green-bedecked revelers gathering at the original site (Kitty O'Shea's) to kick off the St. Patrick's Day Chicago celebrations. Chicago LOVES St. Patrick's Day -- and its annual huge parade will take place Sunday.
Deborah Novachick, president of San Francisco's Strategic Automation Consulting, is celebrating her company's 15 year anniversary — and her 50th birthday — by participating in the Tall Ship Women's Challenge, to support the work of the Tall Ship Education. She's asking for your help.
"The Women’s Challenge fundraiser is put on by the Tall Ship Education Academy , a not-for-profit affiliated with the innovative experiential-education group at San Francisco State University. ...Girls Semester at Sea [is] an incubator for women community builders. It transforms young, high-school age women by helping them explore their limits and by connecting them for a lifetime to a large, educational, and inspiring community."
EYE ON THE PRIZE
Richard Branson's not the only one out there offering significant prizes (in the case of Sir B, $25M) to stir the minds of inventors and motivate creativity. Branson's offering a bounty to whoever can figure out how to create munchkin devices or other ways tol gobble up excess CO2 in the atmosphere, to combat global warming.
My former boss, Steven Brill, is tackling terrorism and overcrowded airports. He's offering a prize purse of half-a-mil to the homeland security industry, for new technology that will "allow TSA to modify its security process for members (by allowing them, for example, to keep shoes and outer garments on or not to have to remove laptops from carry-on baggage.)"
The $500,000 Innovation Prize, offered by Clear, "will go to the first industry team that comes up with a TSA-approved technology enhancement that improves throughput by at least 15% while not compromising security."
Start crankin' those ideas.
Meanwhile, reports Brill, Clear has persuaded TSA to drop "the illogical requirement that Clear members need to present a photo identification along with their biometrically-secure Clear cards to pass through security," so if you belong, you'll soon be getting a new card w/ yer photo on it.
As I mentioned in a prior post, I was skeptical about Clear, but I'm drinking the Kool-Aid after my very first experience. It's flat-out awesome.
To be honest, I really didn't have high expectations about the new Clear airport security service, mostly because so few of the airports where I regularly travel have it. For example, it's not (yet) available at the United gates at LaGuardia, my primary "home" airport.
But after my fiasco in Orlando (well documented to regular readers of this blog) I figured, "Why not try it?" Clear does operate at Orlando, where I unfortunately regularly travel and have never once had success with checked luggage arriving with me. So I figured it was worth a hundred bucks to even slightly increase my odds that once, just once, I could travel through that airport without trauma. And it does operate out of Terminal 7 at JFK, which I use when I go to California.
Besides, Clear is run by my former boss, Steven Brill, so I figured I'd support his cause, because, well, he supported ME for so many years when I was at The Recorder in San Francisco. (Good karma).
Let me sum it up like this: The first time I used it, it was worth every penny I paid for it.
I arrived at JFK Terminal 7 on 12/18 at about 6:10 a.m., to start my schlep to Kauai. I was scheduled for the 8:30 a.m. flight to LAX, but United was able to put me on the 6:50 for the first segment of the trip. I got my boarding pass, and casually walked into the normally-quiet security area -- only to find it absolutely mobbed with hundreds of people.
It took a minute to find the Clear lane, but once I did, I was whisked through the huge crowd and through security in literally about three minutes. I didn't even have to race to the gate, in fact, I had time to buy a magazine.
Not only was it fast, the customer service was flat-out awesome. A helpful, professional agent assisted me not only with the process of using the machine that scans your fingerprint, but then she escorted me right to the front of the TSA line, (while being polite to those I was leapfrogging) -- and she didn't leave until she was certain I had retrieved all of my items from the other end of the TSA conveyor belt.
Wow. So worth the $128 a year (and you can get a discount if you use your corporate AmEx). Let's put it this way: If I had not signed up for Clear, there is not a chance in hell that I would have made the earlier flight. And it might have even saved my connection, because -- as usual -- there were nasty delays at LAX, so being on the earlier flight may well have saved the day.
I'm drinking the Kool-Aid on this one, campers! Clear rocks.
GET YOUR MOTOR RUNNIN'
I've been meaning to tell you how much I just love my Garmin Nuvi 200, which I've been using for about two months now. I am wondering how I ever took a business trip without it.
I picked up the unit (the basic model, other version have lots more bells and whistles) at Best Buy, on sale for about $200.
It's awesome. Small, it packs up nicely (I put it in one of the ubiquitous United bags they give out on overseas flights, the size of a small cosmetics bag). The suction device (left) easily pops into two pieces so no awkward angles when packing.
While GPS still isn't QUITE perfect (it does tilt out a bit in complex intersections), it's right about 90% of the time, which beats trying to drive and read maps.
Only caveat, which I only discovered on my last day in California: it's actually now against the law to use the suction devices in California and Minnesota, so I'll have to pick up a friction mount for my next trip West.
Don't leave home without it!
EDD IN SAN FRANCISCO
Warm thanks to the wonderful audiences last week in San Francisco, where I spoke to the Women in eDiscovery's new Bay Area chapter, (left, hosted by Bingham McCutchen) and at the Estrin Paralegal SuperConference.
One of the themes I'm particularly fixated on right now is the impact of EDD costs on litigants. I was blown away by my colleague Julie Triedman's article, "Buried Alive," in The American Lawyer's special Litigation 2007 issue, focusing on Corporate Fraud. (Free, but reg req'd).
I think everybody's been so exhilarated by all the potential EDD revenues, that they haven't thought about who exactly pays for all these explorations -- and who's paying the price. it's a chilling article.
Hopefully, as EDD settles in, and the FRCP rules get oiled through real life use, and Sedona and EDRM models/guidelines get nuanced, there will emerge some realistic standards. If not, the resolution of cases may too often be determined by ability-to-pay, not justice. We should know by now that is not a formula that ends up with good results.
Photo above by Russ Curtis.
Day 99 - IT'S (ALMOST) OVER
I arrived back from California to find a check from Delta, for $912 (to add insult to injury, they discounted my claim of $1014 for "wear and tear" of the lost items). I'd rather have my luggage, thank you.
According to Delta, they will keep looking for up to 180 days from the date of the incident, but I'm not holding my breath. My favorite batik jacket is gone.
I suspect I should plan a trip to Alabama and buy it back on day 181. Sigh. Suffice it to say, I hope to never go back to Orlando. Five trips, five baggage problems. Not good.
ORRICK ENROLLS ITS FREQUENT FLIERS IN CLEAR
Steven Brill, the feisty creator of American Lawyer Media (now ALM), is now CEO of Clear, which provides express security lines at U.S. airports. Brill just announced a deal with Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe to provide Clear cards to the firm's frequent fliers. Clear will provide onsite signups at the firm's San Francisco, Silicon Valley and New York offices. The firm has 1,000+ lawyers and 18 offices in North America, Europe and Asia.
Clear also just negotiated a marketing deal with American Express, where its corporate cardholders can get preferred pricing.
Clear provides members with access to separate line through airport security checkpoints, by using an identity card that contains their encrypted fingerprint or iris images. The charge is $99.95 (you don't get charged until the government approves you). You can start the process at flyclear.com -- and then you finish it at one of the company's locations where biometrics are captured (fingerprints and iris images) and your ID is validated, says the company.
Orrick's chair/CEO Ralph Baxter, left, says using the service saves time and hassles for the firm's legal professionals, thus improving client service. Says Brill: "It's great once again to be serving this firm and the legal community with a product that fills a real need."
Clear launched in 2005, and currently is operating in Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Little Rock, Reno, Newark, San Jose, Orlando, and New York's LaGuardia, JFK, Westchester and Albany. Denver's due to open shortly. The company has 75,000 members so far, says Brill. The company was listed on FastCompany.com's 2006 Fast 50 roster.
Yes, Orlando. I could have used Clear during my August fiasco at Orlando (Delta STILL hasn't found my luggage, now day 76). In fact, I think I'll sign up.
Update: 12/01: I enrolled in Clear and it was a very easy process. I filled out the paperwork online, and then when I was heading to California last week, I stopped by their area at LGA. The only thing that was a hassle was the iris "capture" machine. It took about six tries to get it to work, and it's headache inducing. But I refused to give up, and get trying until the machine finally got it. A small headache I'm happy to pay if it saves me time and hassle later.
A belated post about the terrific Masters Conference, held last Thursday and Friday at the impressive Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C. The event was limited to 350 attendees — a smart move, because the most consistent compliment I heard from attendees (attorneys/GCs/lit support/paralegals/vendors) was appreciation about how intimate the sessions were. The conference was slugged "E-Landscape in the FRCP Fallout," and it featured some top names in e-discovery, including consultant Michael Arkfeld, one of our EDD Update blog authors.
Arkfeld isn't afraid to be blunt, as readers of last month's "An Undercurrent of Fear" LTN cover story saw, with his warnings about the potential hazards of not staying current with EDD. "Ninety-nine percent of lawyers cannot handle eDiscovery," he told the audience. And the consequences are severe: "Losing an otherwise winnable case, imposition of court/agency sanctions, disciplinary action, malpractice, and claims of ineffective assistance of counsel."
Arkfeld, while applauding the work of think tanks, cautioned the audience not to lean too heavily on their advice. The Sedona Principles, he said, are guidelines, not definitive law: "You can't rely on them."
He also warned the audience to be careful about semantics -- that not everyone is in synch. For example, "metadata" can refer to three distinct things, he said: 1) system info (doc creation data), 2) substantive (draft comments etc.) and 3) embedded. Tip: Never, ever scrub files without first discussing it to opposing parties.
Another one of my favorite speakers, John Tredennick, had two panels, one on extranets and another on foreign language issues in EDD. Tredennick, a former Holland & Hart partner, spun off into vendor-land, with a company first named CaseShare and now called Catalyst Repository Inc.
His talks are always accessible, funny, and he loves lists. He reminded the audience why it's often not a great idea for firms to try to build their own extranets. Among the reasons: it isn't your core business; it will detract your staff from other tasks; who will provide 24/7 support?; and it's expensive. But he acknowledged that outsourcing has its issues: limited customization; loss of control; dependence on a remote team; nobody to yell at; service levels; continuity; and pricing risk.
But once you proceed, his tips include: centralize on a single product; keep the interface simple; be sure they are secure; get the right staff; train your team; make sure it's used; and don't forget support.
Women in eDiscovery
I was honored to moderate a panel on litigation readiness, sponsored by Women in eDiscovery, with a terrific panel that included Cynthia Bateman (left) (Georgia Pacific); Amy Scearcy (U.S. Bank); Bonnie Courtland (SuperValu); Carmen Field (Daylight Forensic) and Catherine Muir (Sprint).
We had a lively discussion that focused on cost containment tactics, use of contract review attorneys, "preferred" vendor programs and more.
Keynote & Party
Dan Regard of LECG and consultant Ann Kershaw (right) (A. Kershaw P.C.) shared the podium for the luncheon keynote address, where they offered some tips on making sense of the new rules, publications, case law and best practices. Regard also hosted a fabulous kick-off party at his fabulously renovated Dupont Circle home that had me absolutely in an acute state of real estate lust. It reminded me so much of the amazing French Quarter homes we visited during Mardi Gras -- no surprise, considering Regard's New Orleans roots. He's an amazing host and it was an incredible party. Don't ever turn down an invite to a party at Chez Regard.
In sum, a terrific event, and kudos to the speakers, and the organizers, including Lindsay Couch, Sasha Hefler, Cindy Moen, and especially to Amy Juers (of Edge Legal Marketing) for her kind invitation to me to join the WIE panel.
OK, OK, I ADMIT IT'S A CHEAP SHOT BUT....
Delta's New Income Surges
Delta Air Line Inc.'s third-quarter net income more than quadrupled to $220 million as the company's planes were fuller than ever during the summer. In its first full quarter since emerging from bankruptcy, the carrier also saw revenue increase 10% to a quarterly record of $5.23 billion. 411 here.
OK, with all that $$, do you think Delta could spend a few bucks, hire some kids at minimum wage, to open up the piles of "delayed" suitcases they have at their Atlanta warehouse, and get our luggage back to us?????? Day 53. :(
DELTA! ARE YOU THERE? DAY 33
It has now been 33 days since I last saw my sweet green suitcase at the Orlando airport after entrusting it to Delta. I want my suitcase. I will keep updating this post until my little lost bag gets back to me. Enough is enough, Delta. I do NOT want my favorite jacket that I can't replace to end up on a rack in Alabama, thank you very much. FIND IT.
TAP TAP TAP.. ATTENTION DELTA
It's now been 18 days since I last saw my little green suitcase at the Orlando airport after entrusting it to Delta. I have made about 36 visits to Delta's lost baggage website, talked to about 12 representatives and at least three supervisors, and even called United's 1K line three times to see if they could nudge their colleagues. (United booked me on Delta when it couldn't get me home after ILTA.)
I'm losing my sense of humor about this. I want my suitcase. I will keep updating this post until my little suitcase gets back to me. Enough is enough, Delta.
ANOTHER GOOD CAUSE
Yvonne Dornic, head of eSentio Technologies, creates what my friend Russ Curtis calls "a blueprint for living an engaged life."
Every year at ILTA, she hosts a party to thank her clients and colleagues. But it's not just a generic convention soiree. Dornic manages to orchestrate a memorable evening that includes entertainment that educates (the Orlando School of Cultural Dance); a silent auction to benefit a good cause relevant to our tech community (The Youth for Technology Foundation that assists African youngsters); and a showcase for a local chef (Russell Scott). And she always manages to find a very elegant and unusual venue (Isleworth Country Club. Home club of Tiger Woods.)
Dornic carries that aforementioned textured blueprint into her daily life, not just the eSentio annual party. She runs not only the technology consultancy, but one of the very best restaurants in Baltimore - Ze Mean Bean Cafe. Of course, it's not just a terrific restaurant, it also presents nurtures culinary talent -- in typical Dornic style.
Congrats to Yvonne and the entire eSentio team for yet another unique and fabulous evening. She is a true inspiration.
Photos by Russ.
After work, time for a little exploring. It was my first visit to this charming city, and even though it was a brief trip, it definitely won't be my last. Today, the weather was perfect -- no humidity and the '70s -- and the downtown sparkled. The conference hotel, the Omni William Penn, is full of incredible architectural details, and the entire area tempts to you to stop everything and put on your walking shoes. Across the street, I was mesmerized by an amazing city garden with a mini-Stonehedge circle of granite. (I couldn't for the life of me find the URL for it, but I will ask tomorrow.)
The city's architects over the years seem to have a shared sense of humor. Case in point, the dramatic, modern glass-dominated PPG Place high-rise complex -- complete with witty, Tudor-esque top detail. (NYC's iconic Phillip Johnson was involved with the design.) (Photo courtesy of PPG Place.)
It's also a city of many bridges - in fact, 1,945-- and its nickname is the City of Bridges. One of those bridges, the Roberto Clemente Bridge, leads to PNC Park, where Tamara Bigford, left below, joined me for the Pirates v. Astros game. Bigford is technology coordinator for the National Federation of Paralegals Associates, and served on the new Tech Institute Speakers Committee. She works at Goldberg Segalia, a Buffalo, New York-based insurance defense firm.
While we both enjoyed the game, we were even more enthralled with the stadium itself, which takes advantage of a wonderful location on the edge of the Allegheny River. Let me turn the mic over to the Pirates:
"This riverfront facility takes advantage of scenic vistas of the downtown skyline and riverfront, as well as pedestrian and riverboat access, creating an exciting and dramatic urban sports venue. On game days, the [Clemente] bridge is closed off to vehicular traffic and spectators are met by a dynamic retail/restaurant and sports pavilion. ...The facility was designed by Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum (HOK), Inc. ...It is the first ballpark with a two-deck design to be built in the U.S. since Milwaukee's County Stadium was completed in 1953. Because of its intimate design, the highest seat is just 88 feet from the field."
Yes, I'm definitely coming back. Especially because I just read that Frank Lloyd Wright's marvelous Falling Water is in the 'hood.
Kudos to the wonderful audience today, at the National Federation of Paralegal Association's first Technology Institute. I was honored to be invited to present the event's keynote address, and was so touched by the kind enthusiasm of the audience.
The event was co-chaired by the organization's current president, Anita Haworth, and S. Kristine Farmer, who is a board advisor. Haworth is with Carmel, Indiana's Campbell Kyle Proffitt (trivia time: Carmel is also home to David Letterman's mother); Farmer, based in Dallas, is with Fish & Richardson. The speakers committee was charied by Georgette Lovelace, of Susman, Duffy & Segaloff, in New Haven, Ct. My thanks to all of them.
The two-day agenda was quite ambitious, covering a range of topics from the new e-discovery amendments to the Federal Rules and Civil Procedure; to videoconferencing; e-billing, and document management, among just a few of the topics.
After my presentation, I had the opportunity to sit in on an excellent panel, "FAQs for Vendors," presented by Debra Hindin-King, (above) of Denver's Holland & Hart. (She's also on the Tech Institute Planning Committee.
She offered excellent advice, gathered from her experience handling complex commercial litigation (especially oil-related matters), for her peers who may be dealing with e-discovery for the first time. Among her tips:
* Before your litigation team meets with the client for the first time to discuss e-discovery, send them a list of questions, so the meeting will be more productive because they will have had time to anticipate what you will need.
* If you are dealing with a case that involves e-discovery in multiple states, and you are working with a national vendor, your vendor's local contact person may be able to help you deal with the other states' offices -- to set uniform billing, pricing, etc. That, she said, is an advantage of working with a national vendor.
* Be particularly careful when conducting e-discovery in a small town. She cited a securities case that involved discovery in Billings, Montana -- a town so small that everybody knew each other. The case involved documents that revealed very sensitive personal finances about the litigants -- so to protect the privacy of the participants in the lawsuit, Hindin-King decided to ship the documents to Denver for processing -- so that nobody local would be reading any confidential data, and tempted to gossip.
* Another potential conflicts issue can come up in small towns where both sides of litigation use the same vendor (We wrote about a situation like this a few years back, in Technology on Trial, where Connie Nichols' DocuSource Litigation Solutions processed the documents for both sides of a trial.) These situations, said Hindin-King, require particularly sensitive treatment -- and confidentiality agreements.
Other tips: Before you choose a vendor, a) get references and check them; b) ask how often the vendors' software is upgraded; c) discuss storage issue and invoicing; d) go over confidentiality -- squalsh chatty employees in the bud. Be wary, she said, of situations where opposing counsel will go to the vendor's facility to conduct document review.
And get everything you can possible get in writing, she advised.
THIS WEEK'S TECH LESSONS
It seems that every day there's a new tech lesson. Here's what I learned this week in Chicago:
* All hail Andy Jurczyk: You may recall my discussion below about how I almost missed my lunch with Mr. J. because my calendar said 12:30 and his said 11:30. I knew it was some sorta Outlook/Entourage glitch, but I finally figured out exactly how it happened. It was because Andy had sent me a meeting request via O/E, and when I clicked accept, it "helpfully" adjusted the meeting time from 11:30 to 12:30 because I'm based in NYC, not Chicago (an hour back). So be careful, campers -- instead of accepting the e-invitation, you might be smarter to manually enter the appt -- or as Andy suggests, be sure to put the time (e.g, noon EDT) in the subject line o' the meeting.
* Old is new again: There's a reason I never remove AOL software from my computers. When planning my trip to Chicago, I ran into a housing problem: there were absolutely NO hotels available -- even tho I'm Hilton Gold, and was looking way back in January (turns out there was a huge oncology convention, the Yankees, and two gospel choir competitions in town).
It looked like I was going to have to stay in lovely but inconvenient Evanston, until I mentioned my dilemma to one of my friends, whose assistant had a great idea. Her hubby works at one of the major downtown rental apartment buildings, and the building keeps a few apartments available for short-term corporate stays, or for tenants' visiting families, etc. She was able to get me a large studio apartment, at a very reasonable rate, which was nothing short of awesome, especially for a six-night trip. Hotels are great, but having an apartment is even better on a long trip. The ONLY downside was that the unit did not have high-speed access, and I wasn't quite close enough to the adjacent hotel to be able to jump onto its wireless, and people in the building were smart -- their wifi wireless networks were all properly encrypted. So no way to jump onto a signal.
At first I thot I'd have to rely on my Motorola Q, not really practical for a six-day trip. But then I had an idea: what about dial-up. As a Time Warner Roadrunner customer in Manhattan, I get free access to AOL -- but turns out, only for broadband, not dial-up. But turns out, you can add a full month of dial-up for the price of internet service for one day at a typical hotel ($9.95). (Actually, I think it was closer to six weeks because they throw in a free period.) And because the apartment offers free local calls, I was in business!
I thot it would be glacier slow, but it was quite serviceable -- only downside, you can't access your VPN -- so it meant that I had to log onto Outlook Web Access to get my e-mail. This would not have worked if I had needed to access our network or our Adobe/K4 editing system, but when my primary need was e-mail, it did the trick in a pinch. Thanks AOL.
Of course, the minute I got home I requested a Verizon EVDO card, so I'll soon be able to report about how THAT works. Jeeeez, do you think we'll EVER get universal wireless. It's amazing how much money we pour into connectivity -- between work, home, apartment, hotels, T-mobile, airport terminals, and now an EVDO card -- it really adds up. I don't know about you, but I can't work/live without it -- and going six days without broadband was an interesting experience. (I did recommend to my friend that she suggest that the building invest in broadband in its common areas and the corporate units, and that it could easily generate more revenue for the building.)
A jam-packed agenda for my short visit to Chi-Town, but I have loved every minute of it, and want to share some of the details and highlights, with huge thanks to all:
Monday, Jackie Colbeth and I met up with Lisa Rosen, of Rosen Technology Resources Inc., which has won two LTN Vendor awards. She filled us in on the latest developments on her company, which offers ALCoder, software that helps users easily code
e-discovery documents. It's an agnostic product that plays well with others, including both Summation and Concordance transcript management products, she explained. It was fascinating to learn about how she has developed her company from scratch -- she's one of the few women who own technology companies.
Next on the agenda, David Baker, principal of Baker Robbins & Company, which was recently acquired by Thomson Corp. Baker is a fascinating guy, who not only runs the company, but teaches astronomy every spring to grammar school kids, and is pursuing his Ph.D in astro-physics online. We had a lively discussion about where e-discovery is going, and nuances of litigation support. (See below post for more on Baker.)
Tuesday's itinerary started with a visit with the always-energetic Audrey Rubin, who is now COO at Wildman Harrold, a relatively recent move for her. She gave me tons of story ideas as we talked about the tech issues that face mid-sized firms, especially in the areas of security, spam, and practice management. The 200-atty firm focuses on litigation, biz transactions and IP, and I appreciated her subtle analysis of the forces that mid-sized firms are dealing with these days.
Then I dashed over to not one, but two back-to-back lunches: the first with Catherine Sanders Reach, at the Backstage Bistro, run by the students at the Chicago Culinary Institute (which reminded me of my days in San Francisco, when our offices at The Recorder were above the California Culinary Academy). She's director of the ABA's Legal Technology Resource Center, and a long-time LTN editorial board member. We dove into nuances of the emerging Green Law area, and how firms are taking a leadership role in fighting global warming -- including discussion of the ABA's new Climate Challenge for law firms -- a joint ABA/EPA project that has been spearheaded by the ABA's section on environment, energy and resources, and its law practice management section.
My second lunch (actually, to accurate, coffee and dessert) was with James Farley, who is channel account manager of WinScribe -- which offers digital dictation software. At the lovely Mid-Day Club (fabulous views). Jackie, Jim and I had a fascinating discussion about the changing role of digital dictation within law firms (as opposed to health care organizations) -- and how law firm culture is affecting adoption... It's kinda ironic, because in some cases digital dictation is either embraced -- or resisted -- by young lawyers. We talked about how it is going beyond mere document prep, as Enrico Schaefer wrote recently in LTN.
Wednesday, I had planned to train out to the bucolic suburbs (Glen Ellyn) to have coffee with edit board member Larry Bodine, but we decided to raincheck it cuz timing was just too tight. Good thing, because I would have missed my lunch with LTN board member Andy Jurczyk, CIO of Sonnenschein , thanks to Microsoft. Why, you ask? Well it's another "it's a feature, not a bug" irritating "tool" of Microsoft's Outlook/Entourage -- which somehow decided to automatically "adjust" my 11:30 lunch to 12:30 in my calendars once I arrived in Chicago. Andy knows I'm punctual, so when I failed to show up at the Capital Grill by 11:30, he called me to check up on me. Fortunately, I was just a few minutes away, so it didn't cut into our wonderful lunch.
Andy's suggestion: ALWAYS type the time of your meeting into the subject line of your appt -- don't rely on the automatic time feature... so you don't get punked by this "feature."
Andy's one of my SharePoint gurus, and he graciously spent a good chunk of our conversation increasing my "knowledge base." :)
The nightcap: Al Gore's aforementioned appearance at the Jewish United Fund's Lawyer & Govt. Agencies dinner. I was impressed with how Gore tailored his talk directly to his audience, unlike so many speakers who just deliver the same speech over and over. (Although his opening jokes are recycled, but still funny.) His message ended with themes that related both to his new book and climate crisis efforts (see below) but was fresh throughout, and after the prepared presentation he took about 15 minutes of questions.
The organizers cleverly handled the overflow crowd by having Gore deliver the speech in one room, then move to the second room for the Q&A. (Video in both rooms, obviously).
Thanks to Ted Banks and wife Cheryl Banks (right) and their lovely family, for including me -- and also to Seyfarth's Hanna Widlus (left) and her hubby (I didn't catch his name -- and solo David Jasmer and his wife (ditto), and Joyce Kagan Charmatz (Keep Chicago Beautiful) for great conversations.
Headin' back home. Thanks, Chi-town!!
...MY KINDA TOWN
I was born in Chicago (to quote Paul Butterfield) and everytime I visit my roots show. Mom grew up on the south side (Sox), dad on the north (Cubs), (both were perpetually surprised that my beisbol gene was recessive until I moved to New York). We relocated to California when I was two -- all my siblings are native Poppy-staters. But every summer I spent weeks in Evanston and Wilmette, with grandparents and cousins. So it has a huge pull on my soul.
It's an amazing baseball town, and this was my first trip since my addiction kicked in where I was able to take in both stadiums. Everybody told me that Wrigley is almost as wonderful as Fenway, and boy are they right. It's just awesome. My Chicago friends almost refused to let me leave the city because the Cubs actually won on Sunday . I had the pleasure of attending the game with Jackie Colbeth of our ad-side team, and my friend Ron Stevens, who is retired from his career in child protection services. We had terrific seats, high above home plate. (Amazing views.)
Wow. Wow. Wow. I absolutely loved it. Didn't hurt that Soriano got 4 hits and some dude hit a grand slam. I loved the ivy, I loved the (in)famous 7th inning stretch ("Take Me Out to the Ball Game" sung with pure gusto by the entire stadium, I loved the smell of the brats and sausage and onions. The only disappointment was that I missed Sweet-and-Sour Lou Pinella who was suspended for a few days for animatedly exercising his First Amendment rights a few days before. And how can you not love a team whose catcher and pitcher get into a fist fight in the dugout?
I also became just slightly obsessed with trying to find the funniest Tshirt I've seen in years: "Every team is entitled to a bad century" worn by a woman with a great sense of humor.
Monday night, it was southside, to the Cell, (nee Comiskey) which was so much better than I expected. It's soooo intimate, which never comes across on TV. David Baker, of Baker Robbins & Co., has terrific season tickets -- about 15 rows up from the Sox dugout, and we had an absolute blast. We had an animated conversation solving all the problems of e-discovery over a wonderful buffet dinner at the Stadium Club, then watched the Yankees lose, to David's delight. Of course, the Yanks were zombies after Sunday night's Maalox Mo midnight+ marathon at Fenway -- and only showed some life in the 9th. Garland pitched so well even the Yankee fans joined the standing O when he left.
The boys did a lot better Tuesday night, with some sleep. This time, we were up in the nosebleed cheap seats behind the Yankees dugout (where Yankees fans tend to congregate at away games). When the Yanks finally woke up in the 6th, it was a rousing game, complete with Farnsworth screwing up in relief (again) to require the services of Mariano Rivera to close it out. It was wonderful to spend time with Hope Daniels, who is on the faculty of the School of Media Arts at Columbia College Chicago, and who has been a close friend since my cub reporter days in Sacramento. I also got to catch up with the delightful gang from YES' Ultimate Road Trip, (above left) who were sitting a few rows back, and hear about their adventures since I last talked to them in Minneapolis.
All in all, it was terrific beisbol-- if very very cold. It was 90 degrees when I left NYC, I didn't even bring jeans. I now own a lovely ridiculously expensive Sox acrylic scarf. Trust me, it was necessary!
Wow, my head is exploding three days into our Seattle adventure. What a glorious city, everytime I come here I am just completely blown away by Puget Sound's breathtaking beauty. It takes my words away!
Thursday, I learned a new verb at Microsoft: "Randomizing" -- it's a polite way of saying interrupting, and I plan to use the word a lot. Context: during a presentation, asking a question that takes the presentation on a non sequitor path. The gang at the Mothership was very kind about tolerating my questions, and allowing their presentations to go down fascinating and sometimes unplanned paths.
Huge, huge thanks to Norm Thomas (left, with his family) -- and to Karin Breedis and Brian Zeve -- for orchestrating a fascinating day that included briefings on Exchange, Vista (and the chance to re-connect with the fabulous and wacky Duncan Sutherland), SharePoint (I think I finally understand it now), Office 2007, Mobile (attn, Lenore and the gang at ALM: there will shortly be a new version of the mobile OS, which allegedly will make the cranky Motorola Q "smart" phones work better in the next iteration); and so much more. We had a great day at Redmond, and as always, completely appreciate the insights. More thanks to Laurie Woicik of Ignite; Diane Prescott, Nishant Padhye, Gerardo Dada, and Reed Shaffner, for taking time from their busy schedules to brief us!
Friday was a whirlwind, starting in Kirkland with Electronic Evidence Discovery, meeting with Jaelene Price (right, with colleague Mary Hunt) and her team. As was the case with all our e-discovery discussions on the trip, we talked about the shift from "reactive" to "consulting" styles among the vendors, and the emergence of more "litigation partners" in firms, plus the changing role of GCs in the process.
Next stop, a few miles over to Bellevue, was LexisNexis, where Marc Osborne (left) had organized a fast-paced but very thorough presentation on recent developments within the litigation services programs, including LN Applied Discovery, CourtLink, Concordance, CaseMap, etc. -- all with baseball-themed PowerPoints. They even Photoshopped a concluding slide to get us in the mood for Friday night's game! (See above right, click to enlarge). Thanks to Scott Nagel (VP discovery services), Linda Lewis (mktg mgr), Scott Merrick (director of mktg) and Michael Gersch (VP case analysis & assessment) for spending a great morning with us.
Then back downtown for a great lunch at Sazerac (www.sazeracrestaurant.com) with the Attenex team, and a cameo visit from Honora Wade (left, with a pal) of Perkins Coie, who spotted us and we couldn't resist inviting her to join us. We enjoyed the discussions with Kathy Thrailkill,Attenex' director of corporate marketing; and Kate Holmes, PR manager. We got an update on Attenex' plans, but I must admit, we did diverge from discussion of EDD for a while, and got into a rousing analysis of when House and Grey's Anatomy jumped the shark. (We pretty much concurred that it was a) the Sela Ward/David Morse story lines and b) Meredith's near-death experience.) But I digress.
Last but very much not least, the irrepressible, charming Debbie Caldwell (left, with ALM's Joe Pavone) lasso'd the Fios troups, who came from Portland to join us... We met up near the stadium at a kewl Tapas joint, Ibiza's Dinner Club and had a lively discussion about everything from EDD to HDTV (which I have declared is the new heroin). I want to bottle Debbie's energy! She's one of the few people I know who has absolutely no need for caffeine, even at 4 p.m. when normal people have mini-meltdowns. Debbie, Fios' PR manager, is also one of the nicest people on the planet, and the gang presented me with a Yankees jersey which I will proudly wear to Safeco!
Thanks to Mark Reber, director of marketing; Mary Mack, technology counsel; Kate Kockler, marketing and events manager John Cogan, product marketing manager and Julia Wotipka, online marketing manager for making the trek!
Then it was off to wonderful Safeco -- we had a phenomenal turnout, with folks from Attenex, Perkins Coie, ProVantage, K&L Gates, EED, Kevin O'Keefe's LexBlog, (right, with David Bowerman);Exterro, Fios, solo consultant Gayle O'Connor who (really) is currently working helping the defense team in a big Hell's Angels criminal trial (and who drove her Harley to the game)(speaking of another person who needs no caffeine); Microsoft, Marketry, IKON, Serengeti Law, LexisNexis, , et al.
We all let out a hearty cheer when the "Welcome Law Technology News" flashed on the big screen (alas, my photo of it on the jumbotron was a bust). It was a great night, lots of schmoozing, fun. And of course, the Yankees lost -- 3 zip -- in a tight pitchers' duel -- making everybody even more happy.
Saturday Update: Allison Walsh (right), of LexisNexis, joined me Saturday (Yanks 7, Seattle 2), after a tour of her charming Tacoma neighborhood, full of parks and fabulous Craftsman homes, all with stunning gardens. I met Allison on my first ALM visit to Seattle, circa 1999, and I always look forward to the chance to catch up with her.
Today, Honora Wade joins me at Safeco, then I'm headed back to NYC Monday.
What a trip! THANKS TO EVERYBODY.