The explosive growth of information has transformed the landscape of technologies supporting litigation and e-discovery. Litigation management is looking beyond document collection, processing and review tools to solutions that help manage the litigation process. Successful legal departments are embracing dashboard technology to help streamline the e-discovery process and reduce their overall litigation and information management costs. A highly effective dashboard provides the information General Counsels need to make timely and intelligent management decisions.
I read a couple of articles last year, one on the demise of corporate IT and another on how corporate IT has the same reputation as Carol Beer (the bank manager in the BBC’s Little Britain hit sketch show, “computer says no”). I agree with some of the sentiments in both of these articles, but not in the conclusion that this is, going to lead to the end of corporate IT in the former article or that this is generally the case that “IT says no” in the later. Here’s my response as to why.
Happy New Year to you all! Hope you had a good 2010 and I wish you all a great 2011. As per last year I thought I’d try a prediction of the technology areas that I will be big for Legal IT in 2011, so here it is my top 5 2011 list of legal IT technologies.
At #5 we have a new entry: More a grouping of technologies I’ve termed "Glue Tech”. The technology that sits between one or more core Legal IT services. Technology like IntApp that uses information in existing systems and applies logic to other systems. Also bespoke developed applications to join systems in ways that provide extra benefit for the lawyer. I also include workflow and case management applications like VisualFiles in this category, a recent visit to a smaller law firm highlighted some of the benefits joined up applications in VisualFiles can make to a business process.
So the end of a another year of blogging. I started this blog at the start of 2009, right at the start of real turmoil in the Legal market. The worst recession in decades was in full swing and law firms were in a massive restructuring exercise that for some is still going on some two years later.
Over those two years in terms of Legal IT we’ve seen some of the big names of the past consolidate, some new players emerge and Legal IT become less niche in terms of IT and move closer to the main stream in terms of technology and demands on the IT departments.
Space…it was the final frontier for one James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise. But where is the final frontier for eDiscovery? Well, there isn’t one. Not yet anyhow. For the pioneers on the cutting edge of eDiscovery, new and surprising sources of ESI are continually being discovered, tapped, and secured.
Any eDiscovery expert or computer forensics professional can find electronically stored information (ESI) in ordinary places such as document repositories and e-mail systems. However, the most creative, intrepid and thorough electronic investigators go farther-- much farther -- to find crucial information in the most unexpected and unusual of places. They find obscure cards, chips, disks, proprietary systems and remote outposts where relevant data lives, preserve it, and bring it into the fold. In short, they boldly go where no one has gone before.
A couple of weeks back I attended the Autonomy iManage (or should that be Autonomy Protect now?) user group in London. There was a good session early on in the afternoon where Autonomy ran through their roadmap for WorkSite. I was struck with a feeling that they were clearly listening to their customer’s needs, in fact some of the indexer additions are almost direct answers to an adhoc customer feedback discussion I attended at ILTA earlier in the year.
So it’s worth blogging some of the highlights of upcoming releases:
While many companies have scaled back on IT investments and focused strategies on driving down IT “total cost of ownership” during the last two years – thankfully, the evolution of enabling IT solutions has continued apace. For 2011, cost still dominates executive dialog, but in key areas, businesses are identifying IT investments that can drive profitable growth through accelerated and innovative product delivery. The ability for CIOs to articulate ROI will largely depend on their capability to understand business strategies, partner with their product organization and create a plan that shows IT investments enabling revenue generation year over year.
Over the past few years we’ve seen a significant increase in mergers and acquisitions across a range of industries. However, the financial services industry in particular has seen a substantial increase of M&A activity. Currently, the total number of bank failures this year has risen to 143, surpassing 2009 numbers – and of course most of these failed bank assets have been acquired. According to a recent article in Barron’s: “The U.S. Banking industry already has shrunk through consolidation to about 8,000 banks from roughly 14,000 in 1980, and that trend will continue, says Toos Daruvala, head of the Americas Banking and Securities practice at McKinsey. Of the fifth- to 20th-largest banks by asset size today, only 10 or 12 will be independent in three years, he predicts.”
Sometimes the most dangerous stance we can take within our specialty field or business niche is to make assumptions. Take for example the legal industry’s reputation for not being 'first movers' when it comes to implementing new technologies, especially with respect to existing configurations and environments. Historically, risk aversion is considered sound business practice for the sake of maintaining application stability as well as ensuring client privacy at all costs. However, the shifting landscape of today's emerging collaborative cloud environments within the global business and social media scene, and the immediate and potential opportunities for the legal industry and its clients, invite renewed bravado. Evolving collaborative cloud environments connect knowledge management (KM) and technology with business drivers that ultimately lead to a culture of change.
One of the issues that arises repeatedly among my training clients has to do with an aspect of word processing that many people commonly think of as relatively simple: line spacing. At first glance, it seems like a straightforward feature. After all, everyone intuitively understands the concepts of single spacing and double spacing.
But for members of the legal profession, even this basic, everyday feature can be complicated. For one thing, people who work with pleading paper derived from MS Word’s Pleading Wizard frequently find that the text in the body of their document doesn’t align with the pleading line numbers at the left margin of the paper.
Since its creation in 2005, the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) has provided a uniform, eight-stage process to help legal and IT successfully execute e-discovery projects. And while the EDRM has become essential to e-discovery, it doesn’t specify the proper project planning that is increasingly the key to successful outcomes.
The EDRM does, however, make planning easier because it provides a set of expectations at each stage so that legal and IT can start the process with the end in mind. E-discovery teams should take proper planning very seriously because it reduces the likelihood of executing a collection prematurely, with the potential for missing key elements and search terms.
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