Everyone 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!
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!
One 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.
Burke 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.
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!
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.
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.
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?
Cloud Computing, where you do not own the physical IT infrastructure and avoid capital expenditure by renting usage from a third-party provider, is a hot topic under consideration by many Managing Partners and IT Directors. Cloud services include such things as data storage, computer servers and software as a service (SaaS).
Software as a Service (SaaS) has been gaining a lot of ground in the last year or so and I am encountering many start up firms that have decided that this is by far the best source of applications for them. Established firms are pencilling into their diaries a review of resources with a view to moving to SaaS as their existing provision and support contracts wind down.
I attended the first day of London’s Legal IT Show last Wednesday. Although it is sometimes considered the poor relation of the more glamorous New York event, following last year’s diary clash, this year the events were a week apart, enabling the keenest legal IT followers to attend, present or exhibit at both – with time in between to travel/recover!
The weather was better too. Although there were a few flurries of snow in London, we had nothing like the white out which hit attendance rather hard in 2009. This year, although the event occupied a noticeably smaller area of London’s Business Design Centre and there were clearly fewer stands, attendance seemed to have improved on last year, with all seats taken at Speakers’ Corner for many of the sessions on the first day.
A friend of mine related this story from her son’s school. Apparently when he showed up to class there were Beanie Babies all over the place. His teacher then explained:
“Her group of second graders had come in earlier in the day and needed ‘something’ to do basic matching. She asked the second graders, out of the animals represented by the beanie babies, to each pick two that were the same.
Everyone started to make their pick and one of the little girls picked a lion and a duck. All the other children picked zebras and zebras or bears and bears. After their selection, the kids had to say why they picked their pair.
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