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Collaboration – Google Docs just got served

For a while I’ve been meaning to do a post on document collaboration, especially as working on documents with the client is such a key part of a lawyers work. In a typical law firm this collaboration is through backwards and forwards emailing of the document to the client.

I’ve had some more thoughts on this recently whilst doing a number of workshops on email management, a large portion of email traffic for a lawyer being this transmission of documents back and forth! To be fair this process works reasonably well, especially when you’ve got version controlled documents in your DMS (Document Management System) and tools like Workshare are thrown into the mix, either for use in comparison (e.g. using the Compare functionality or Deltaview as it was once called) or for power users using tools like the collaboration in Workshare Professional to track the multiple amends from various parties.

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How can matter management systems average an ROI of 36% of outside counsel spend?

“Average reported savings from using matter management systems were 36.8% of outside legal spending.” Incredible, and not to be believed.

The claim comes from the 2008 ACC/Serengeti Managing Outside Counsel Survey, which obtained survey responses from hundreds of ACC-member law departments. I have twice before challenged similar claims drawn from this survey, and won’t repeat my criticisms here (See my post of Aug. 5, 2005: average savings on matter management systems from survey of more than 250 law departments in 2002 was 16%; and April 13, 2007: from same survey in 2006, “average reported savings from using matter management systems was 11% of outside legal spending.”). Little of this do I believe can be substantiated.

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One to pass to your IP/IT lawyers

Are you ready for WWW.JДSФИPLДЙT.CO.UK

As of this month the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) agreed to allow non-Latin script web urls. This means the address above could be a perfectly valid web address (domain name).

This gives a whole raft of opportunities for cyber squatters to snap up domains of companies, especially those that are based in the emerging markets of most international law firms, the eastern European, Asian and Gulf region countries. And as well as squatters if you have clients whose brand names are non-Latin character based or who trade in regions where the writing is non-Latin, it could be an opportunity to advise them on protecting their brands.

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Electronic evidence and e-discovery forum 2009 and ESI Trends

Legal IT Professionals was selected as media partner to the electronic evidence and e-discovery forum 2009, held at the Victoria Park Plaza Hotel in London on 20th and 21st October. Joanna Goodman reports from the event.

The Electronic evidence and e-discovery forum 2009 was organised by AKJ Associates, which organises events focusing on business risk, corporate strategy and security management – key elements in managing electronically stored information (ESI) and e-discovery.

The timing of the event was fortuitous, coming only a couple of weeks after the 8 October judgment in the case of Earles v. Barclays Bank Plc by His Honour Judge Simon Brown QC in which Barclays’ award of costs was reduced due to its failure to conduct adequate searches of its electronic data.

Seven recommendations for successful technology projects in your department

From guest author Steven Levy, slightly abridged, here are seven key “go-do’s” for successful Legal-IT projects. They’re based on but somewhat different from CIO Magazine’s tips, and they take into account a few ways in which “Legal is different.”

  1. Require an honest business case. ROI, ROI, ROI. I can't repeat this enough. Return on Investment. Understand -- and require proof of -- the value of the project. Then follow through (see item 7). 

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Everything I need to know about Social Media, I learned from the Boy Scout Law

As part of my ongoing social experimentation in Twitter, I will periodically tweet out random words to see who takes an interest and will start following me. That is, in itself, a fascinating subject but not overly germane to today’s post.  It was on such a #randomwordthursday that I tweeted out these twelve words: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, Reverent. @billvann responded “My kinda list” and @jbtrexler tweeted back “:) haven't seen those 12 in a long time. Eagle Scout?”  While I do not have the honor of having earned the rank of Eagle Scout, I happened to pick those words because I am actively involved with Scouting.  Former Cub Master, now Assistant Scout Master, my oldest son, a Tenderfoot Scout in Troop 1158, is an aspiring Eagle Scout.  And yes as any Boy Scout can tell you, “A Scout is: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.” 

Looking back on the "Alternative Legal IT Conference"

Allan CartonSetting an agenda for mid-market law firms

I attended the Alternative Legal IT Conference last week, which created a fairly unique forum for IT managers and other senior managers in mid-market law firms to share openly their experience, plans, concerns and solutions on IT.   It was good to see delegates from legal, management and IT backgrounds confirm that - in many firms - close collaboration between IT and the management of the practice is making a big difference in adding value on management of the firm and of relationships with clients to improve overall performance of the practice.  This was tangible in some of the real life case studies presented by managers viewing the business from different angles and from the facilitated discussions during the day.

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2009: The Year of the Wait

Jenn SteeleI’m declaring 2009 to be “The Year of the Wait”.  Oh, sure, 2009 might not be over yet, but most of us are in the throes of 2010 budget season, so I’m willing to call it.  Although my firm has been able to do some major projects, almost every colleague I talk to says that they’re waiting for one thing or another (Office 2007 being the primary project that was planned for 2009 and has been pushed off).  Even vendors who cold-call me ask, “Are you going to be purchasing <insert product/service> or are you waiting?” 
Overall, 2009 has sounded like a Beckett play:

Wait! Do not forget to implement SharePoint!

Last month’s column drew quite a bit of interest and many comments here and elsewhere. Most were even positive, and those that were not were at least constructive. Before getting into this month’s topic, I wanted to revisit some of the things people said.

One valid point that was made was that much of what I said last time did not apply only to SharePoint, but to pretty much any implementation of an enterprise software product. While I agree with this, I also think the SharePoint is a little different in that it is a less specific product than many others. When you implement a practice management system, or document management system, or an accounting package, you typically already have at least a high-level understanding of what you want to achieve and what success looks like. This is not necessarily this case with SharePoint – I have seen many organizations charge headlong (or drift aimlessly) into a SharePoint deployment with no clear understanding of the high-level business value.

Working backwards from a figure of $4 billion to be spent on e-discovery software and services

The e-discovery niche, according to the ABA J., Vol. 95, Aug. 2009 at 29, is crowded with about 600 vendors. They are jostling for pieces of a large pie. George Socha, a consultant deeply involved in research about e-discovery vendors, projects that “Commercial spending in this young niche is expected to increase this year by 20 percent to $4.05 billion.”

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Danger! Do not implement SharePoint in your Organization!

This column I want to deliver a warning to all of you out there – do not implement SharePoint in your organization! If you ignore this warning, and implement SharePoint anyway, beware. You run the risk of any number of problems, including:

  • User dissatisfaction
  • Maintainability and support issues
  • Data silos, making information hard to find, hard to share, and hard to maintain
  • Lots of rework
  • General chaos
  • Projects that take 10 times longer than you had planned, if they finish at all.


I do a lot of work helping organizations build solutions using SharePoint – is that all a lie?


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