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Outlook 2010

Yesterday was the official launch of Office 2010 and it looks like this is the year of Office. And that’s Office from Microsoft not the “Open” kind as some people would have predicted.

A lot of law firms I guess thought about Office 2007, but due to one thing or another (one big one I guess being the recession) stuck with Office 2003. But now on the back of what will probably be a mass shift to Windows 7 it’ll be Office 2010 that joins the party (the show of hands in yesterday’s Workshare user group backs me up on this).

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Best Practices to Retaining Top IT Talent in the Legal Industry

Geoff ZoddaOf all the major professional industries, the legal industry has one of the highest turnover rates universally. This trend can especially be seen in the Information Technology Groups within many of the top 250, and even mid-sized, law firms around the world. Reasons for such a high incidence of personnel change in Legal IT departments include: aggressive recruitment from competition, the allure of vertical growth opportunities by joining another firm, the marketing of firms known for their organizational stability, the ability to join a consulting group or even open their own IT consulting firm, and the appeal of moving to firms who are forward-thinking with their technology. In the relentless pursuit of acquiring the best candidates in the market, new opportunities are dangled in front of top talent on a weekly basis, which begs the question: Why would an individual pass up on an exciting, new opportunity to stay in their current role?

2010 eDiscovery horizon

Bob TennantWith the explosion of electronically stored information (ESI) over the last year, there is no question that organisations will continue to grapple with the concept of information risk throughout 2010.  The UK’s increasingly stringent regulatory environment has already picked up steam during Q1 following the ongoing recall issues faced by Toyota, and with the FSA’s latest insider trading investigation gathering momentum it’s clear that the situation is only set to intensify.  Add to this concern the increased adoption of new technologies such as Web 2.0 tools, cloud computing, unified communications and virtualisation within the organisation and the eDiscovery landscape faces a unique set of challenges that will undoubtedly keep legal professionals working at full capacity for the foreseeable future.

Backups – that dull bit of IT that someday you wish you’d done!

Jason PlantEveryone who has ever lost data from their computer knows the importance of backups and for a law firm (no matter what size) it’s critical. I don’t suppose there is much point in me outlining the detail of why? But if you are interested in a good summary of why backup is a good idea try this site.

Also don’t fall into the trap of assuming that electronic data is not as safe and so keep everything as a piece paper. More often than not electronic information is just as safe (if not more so) if looked after. Take a look at this story as to why a printout in an offsite facility is not necessarily that safe!

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Generation Y trainees to shake up Legal and Legal IT

We’ve been away this Easter weekend to visit my wife’s family and whilst out yesterday I happened to get into a conversation with an ex-trainee of a Big Law firm. As I got on to explaining that I worked in the IT dept of a rival firm it was interesting to hear his questions and thoughts on Legal IT.


It left me thinking that anyone waiting for the current tech savvy trainees to give us Legal IT professionals an easier time ought to stop reading this post now as I’m about to depress you!

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Four technology observations based on the bio of a speaker at the upcoming Interact Conference

Rees MorrisonOne of the speakers at Mitratech’s upcoming Interact Conference,is Libby Troughton, Senior Manager, Legal IT, at The Home Depot. Since the conference doesn’t take place until May 16-19, my observations are based on Troughton’s bio in the program materials.

A - “Troughton directed a multi-year, multi-million dollar project for the custom development and deployment of web-based matter management solution for the legal and compliance departments and 110+ outside counsel law firms; including interfaces to electronic billing, third party claims administrator system, litigation support and content management.” For a legal department of that size and both the scale and complexity of its software solutions, it takes a skilled person, dedicated to the projects, to implement them successfully. To spend several million dollars on such a program is not unheard of.

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Burke covers ABA TechShow

Burke covers ABA TechShowBurke reports from ABA TechShow

Christy Burke visited last week’s ABA TechShow, the annual legal technology conference of the American Bar Association. During the show, Christy interviewed a couple of legal IT leaders and asked them about their companies, new products and impressions of the conference.

Email, hate the stuff!

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about email recently and I mean a LOT! I’ve concluded I hate the stuff, both on a personal level and on an enterprise level. It’s like sand, it gets everywhere and you can’t get rid of the stuff. And even if you put it in a sandbox, you’re still finding the stuff all over your feet and clothes for days.

The worst thing is that email plays to our natural instinct to hoard. We actively go and collect the stuff. Then we keep hold of it for years! I know of lawyers who have mailboxes running in the Gb’s and have inboxes with tens of thousands of items in them. I remember doing a rollout in 2005 and noticing PST’s in lawyers mailboxes going back to the early 1990’s!

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Show Them the Money!

Make Your IT Department a Revenue Generator

If you saw a hundred-dollar bill lying on the sidewalk with no one around, would you pick it up?  Maybe/maybe not, depending on how much of a Boy or Girl Scout you are.  Now what if you knew that money was actually yours and you had dropped it yourself without realizing it – would you pick it up then?  Of course you would!

Think of this - you didn’t have to work any extra hours for that hundred dollars – it is quite literally found money, rightfully yours, which you weren’t ever going to see again unless you went back and picked it up.  What if you were given the same opportunity to find money for your law firm by leveraging certain kinds of technology - wouldn’t you seek those tools out?  Of course you would.

The Human guide to Workspaces

Workspaces. They’ve been around for quite a while and I’ve thought about doing a post on what they are since starting the blog. The aim being to try and easily explain the concept of workspaces and libraries within the Autonomy iManage WorkSite document management system (DMS). So basically removing the tech speak and explaining what they are in “real life” terms. I was going to title this post “The Dummies guide to Workspaces”, but apart from possibly getting sued for copyright infringement I figured the concept of Workspaces and libraries are terms that to be fair aren’t that easy to grasp. So, here it is. Let me know in the comments if it hits the mark.

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Lather, Rinse, Repeat

It’s a simple set of instructions, really.  I suspect you can find it on bottles in every household around the world.  They are easy to follow (so easy apparently they actually don’t even appear on the shampoo bottles we use for the children - I checked) they vary slightly (on my wife’s bottle they recommend you follow on with the high end conditioner by the same company) One might even say they are timeless.  Which in turn, begs the question, when do you stop?  If you take them literally, you’d run out of shampoo every time you washed your hair. Of course, common sense tells you to stop sometime before you empty the bottle, but when exactly have you reached your goal?  When have you solved your problem?

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