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.
(or not everyone can use goats to mow the lawn)
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking and attending the inaugural Green Matters: Green Cities, Business and Beyond conference in New Orleans. Let me say at the outset, it was a wonderful and inspiring event. The best thing I liked about it was most of the other speakers’ very practical attitudes towards greening.
To begin, a quick question: how many of your key decision-makers – the people who will ultimately give the go-ahead to any major IT project in your firm - know what an ‘Echo Boomer’ is?
I suspect the answer in most cases is ‘none’. A quick Google search will lead you to a Wikipedia page where all is revealed: generally speaking ‘Echo Boomers’ are the children of baby boomers, and are loosely defined as the generation of people born between the late seventies and the close of the last millennium.
(or half an upgrade is worse than no upgrade at all)
There has been a lot of discussion recently among my colleagues about the timing and value of upgrading to Office 2010. That discussion has mostly centered around the Office suite’s new and improved functionality, the features, the improved interface, etc. I’m picking on Microsoft, but my points hold true for any kind of upgrade.
It’s been a couple of months since I last blogged about my thoughts on Outlook 2010. You can read my previous two posts here and here. This post is a look at the presence, contacts and social connector features in Outlook 2010.
First let’s look at the contact cards. In the contacts folder there isn’t anything revolutionary, it’s pretty much the same as previous versions. But it’s the exposure of this contact information in other parts of Outlook that is a nice addition in 2010.
First interview of Allen & Overy's new CIO Gareth Ash
In his first interview since his appointment as Chief Information Officer at Allen & Overy LLP, Gareth Ash speaks to Joanna Goodman about launching the A&O Connect app, his strategy and challenges going forward.
Gareth Ash has been CIO at Allen & Overy LLP (A&O), since August 2010, when IT director Jason Haines was promoted to finance director.
Gareth’s former role as global head of service delivery, involved running all operations, data centres, security and disaster recovery. He was responsible for the migration of the firm’s in-house data centre to a third party and the fit out and move of the London office to its Bishops Square premises.
During a recent one day introduction course to Office 2010 in Leeds, I started thinking how much work Legal IT providers are going to have to put in to really get their products to integrate successfully with Microsoft’s latest offering. The reason is Microsoft have clearly put a lot of thought into Office 2010 in terms of usability. Once you’ve adjusted to using the ribbon interface, you realise that things are exactly where you need them and that a lot of things you want to do that were previously multi clicks have been made much slicker.
Edited by Adam Weissman, Director, Legal Technology
Conducting strategic, effective hiring interviews are a challenge for many professionals. At their most basic purpose, job interviews are simply a forum where candidates attempt to impress you with their diverse skills, to articulate their vast array of experience, and explain why, if selected, she or he would be an asset to your company.For the majority of us, the question-holders, the chosen few who decide the fate of so many hopeful individuals, the all-powerful interviewers, this is as great an opportunity to assess the industry’s talent pool, as much as it is an assignment of responsibility to parse out the generic candidate from the stand-out future employee.
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