The phrase ‘perfect storm’ is over used, but there are plenty of reasons for legal IT professionals to look pensive as they look ahead to plan their projects for the next 12 months. Across the legal industry, as “Get Safe Online Week” draws to a close, cyber security is starting to become a buzzword, where before it was only a relatively distant concern. To see the evidence of this change we need only look as far as the last week’s papers. Three recent headlines have framed the technological threats that legal firms are already starting to face.
In recent years, technology has changed tremendously, affecting every aspect of our day-to-day lives, from how we communicate and interact with others, to how we shop, cook, travel and conduct business. Even so, many law firms continue to conduct much of their business just as was done in 1995, refusing to change their attitudes about client service to comport with 21st century expectations.
Now, this isn’t necessarily surprising, given that the legal field is oftentimes so traditional. After all, lawyers are trained to study past legal holdings and apply them to today’s legal problems.
Trends in mobility have disrupted the enterprise world. Simon Price, UK Managing Director at Recommind, looks at what mobility means for eDiscovery practices and how legal practitioners can retain control.
The advent of mobile devices – everything from laptops to smartphones and tablet computers – has had an irreversible impact on the way that organisations conduct business. While employees have always found ways of moving information electronically, gone are the days when they had to transport business information on a USB stick or send work files as attachments to their personal email addresses.
Joanna Goodman joined the DocsCorp team for London’s Byte Night – the IT industry’s annual charity sleep-out – to raise money for Action for Children. The team, which comprised Ben, Greg, Rob and Mel from DocsCorp as well as Samia, Miranda and me – participated in Byte Night, the IT industry’s annual charity sleep-out, which raises awareness – and money – to combat youth homelessness. How did I get involved? I met Ben Mitchell, EMEA VP Sales for DocsCorp, through IT director friends.
Joanna Goodman attended Thomson Reuters Elite VANTAGE EMEA regional user conference at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel in London
Although September is always a busy time for legal IT events, and this year is no exception, VANTAGE EMEA saw record attendance by law firms across the UK and an expanded group of vendor partners. The programme included keynotes from Thomson Reuters Elite senior executives, user group meetings covering popular product lines and new product launches and demonstrations.
Email has become the business standard for communication with colleagues and customers. In legal institutions, email can be an efficient and important conduit for conducting attorney-client communications. However, law firms can be caught between a proverbial “rock and a hard place” with regards to this form of correspondence. While clients demand a simple way to work together, it is essential that electronic communication does not lead to security risks: i.e. someone other than the client or privileged third party obtaining confidential documents.
The next generation of mobile technology is here. Is your law firm ready for the incoming tidal wave of wearable devices that your lawyers will want to incorporate into their workflows? I would hazard a guess that the answer is a resounding “no” if my recent experiences at legal conferences are any indication.
By way of example, earlier this year I attended a session consisting of a panel made up of partners and CTOs and CIOs from large law firms. When the topic of mobile and BYOD was discussed, the general consensus of the panel was that they’d finally begun to support iPhone and Android devices simply because they had no other choice.
At the 2014 International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) conference, Microsoft made what could be a major splash for the legal vertical. Adding to their push for Office 365, Microsoft announced Matter Center. Although it is being marketed as “for Office 365″, Microsoft says it could also work in either hybrid or on-premises SharePoint environments. That said, the fact that the focus is on Office 365 tells you all you really need to know: This is it. This is the tipping point that Microsoft is betting on. The tipping point to grab a market share of legal Enterprise Content Management with an application that is geared to be delivered from the Cloud.
The big themes I took away from ILTA 2014, which was held in Nashville last week, were an emphasis on mobile, collaboration, and control. But more on that momentarily.
First and foremost, what I enjoyed the most about this conference was the people. No matter where I went, I soon found myself engaged in fascinating conversations with like-minded legal technology types, although our conversations sometimes veered off course into politics or current events.
Today’s legal worker is more mobile than ever. From case files to client communications, so much work performed by today’s attorneys is done via mobile devices. As a result, the risk of data leakage is becoming a heightened priority for law firms everywhere.
In fact, lawyers and their staff are collaborating and sharing files using any method that’s accessible to them, from any device they have on hand.
This week, three different stories appeared in my RSS feed that were bittersweet indications of how quickly our world is changing. All three articles were indications that technology is having a tremendous impact on the way that business is being conducted in the 21st century, sometimes to the detriment of tried and true institutions that, by all rights, shouldn’t be disappearing but are due to their leaders’ collective failure to innovate and pivot with the times. My continued hope is that the legal profession as we know it won’t fall victim to this same phenomenon.
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