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Yet Another Open Letter To (ILTACON) Legal Technology Vendors

Nicole BlackDear legal technology vendors,

It’s time for another chat. You may recall that right around this time last year I urged you to reconsider your PR efforts leading up to ILTA (aka ILTACON) — or any major legal technology conference, for that matter. This year, I’ve got a different message and it’s about trade show booth manners.

That’s right: manners. You know, that societal custom whereby you are polite and friendly towards others simply because that’s how you’re supposed to behave. And this is all the more true when you’re representing your company. After all, at a conference your booth is the face of your brand. 

True Mobile Productivity for Lawyers: Beyond The Basic Plumbing

Jeffrey BrandtI think that it's fair to say that while the potential benefits of mobile productivity are significant and incessantly discussed, they are not broadly understood and remain elusive to the average law firm.  To many firms, remote access is a separate entity from laptop access, which in turn is different from mobile access. Many firms fell behind in the big push for BYOD and have not yet recovered.  In the rush for multi-platform, consumer connectivity, firms flocked to Microsoft's ActiveSync to enable email but that's it. Many firms have moved on from the original BlackBerry but not from the almost single purpose it served. 

Legaltech West Coast, Wearables, and a SciFi series

Nicole BlackEarlier this month I had the good fortune to travel to San Francisco to speak at Legaltech West Coast on a panel at that was sponsored by the San Francisco Bar Association. The panel’s focus was wearable computing and the Internet of Things. It was called “Legal Implications of Wearables/Internet of Things (IoT)” and my co-panelists and I discussed this emerging era of computing and the legal implications of Apple Watch, Google Glass, and smart apparel, including how privacy, intellectual property, ethics, technology and the law intersect.

Microsoft Matter Center? It doesn’t matter anymore…

Matter Center logoMany believed it to be the major news story at last year’s ILTA conference: Microsoft announcing a SharePoint-based document management solution for law firms and corporate legal departments: Microsoft Matter Center for Office 365. 

The news raised some eyebrows in the industry. After all, Microsoft axed its legal vertical marketing team a couple of years earlier and let go of Norm Thomas, the “public face” of the team. 

Solos And BigLaw Are Dead—Long Live New Law!

Nicole BlackOkay, maybe neither category of lawyers is dying anytime soon. But a recent spate of articles and blog posts have posited that regardless of your firm’s size, drastic change is imminent and will affect lawyers across the board.

Now I know what you’re thinking—legal futurists have been predicting doomsday scenarios like this for years, so why all the fuss now? That’s a great question. According to two very interesting blog posts I recently read, this new conversation revolves around the effects of Uber and “New Law.”

VANTAGE 2015: directions and connections

Joanna GoodmanJoanna Goodman reports on last week’s Thomson Reuters VANTAGE worldwide conference in Las Vegas

Although Thomson Reuters VANTAGE global user conference in Las Vegas was a massive event with record attendance of 1,100 delegates, as vice president of customer advocacy Patrick Hurley tweeted, it still felt like family. And there was a great atmosphere. As one of a small minority from outside the US, I was impressed by the sheer scale and glitz of the venue (the dazzling Bellagio hotel) and the serious work and attention to detail that clearly went into planning and organising this amazing event. 

The business case for automating contract lifecycle management

Jon WainwrightDo you know if your contractual obligations are being adhered to by suppliers?  Are you absolutely certain that you have the most up to date contract saved in your system? Have all the email conversations regarding your contracts been accurately incorporated in the final version? In fact, do you have easy access to all your contracts? I’m not being facetious. Recently, I met the head of an in-house legal department at an organisation who mentioned that they were in the process of renegotiating many of their contracts because they simply couldn’t find the documents in question! 

An Open Letter

Jeffrey BrandtOn June 4th of this year, Kathryn Rubino wrote an article on Above the Law, entitled "Which Biglaw Firm Has Blocked Personal Email?"  In it she noted that law firms Mayer Brown, Latham & Watkins and WilmerHale joined King & Spalding in blocking personal email through the firms' internal network.  I was a bit surprised by her post. 

She quotes one of her tipsters, "[I]t's hard to imagine a more obvious way to alienate the prototypical millennial hire… We spend obscene money entertaining summer associates, then undo all that goodwill by subjecting them to internet content filters which my summer mentee said made her feel 'like a secretary or something.' Meaning, I suppose, a low-level white collar drone nobody respects."  Ms Rubino would seem to think the answer is easy peasy.  "Computer viruses are bad, but some basic online education should shore up that hole." Ahh if only it were that simple!  I might argue that if "some basic online education" worked as well as Ms. Rubino would like, she would never have written this post in the first place. 

Getting the Most out of Law Firm Portals in SharePoint 2013: DO THIS, NOT THAT!

Tim KenneySummer is about here and you know that means two things:  

  1. A deluge of insipid and obvious diet advice segments on television (EAT THIS: grilled chicken on a bed of lettuce NOT THAT: triple bacon cheeseburger a la mode. Shocking!) and 
  2. The year is moving along and it’s time to get serious about upgrading your law firm portal.   

As we all learned in the classic movie Groundhog Day, sometimes repetition and experience make all the difference. Having worked with law firms on various Microsoft SharePoint intranet, extranet and Search projects for the past 18+ years, we’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) what to do and not to do with your portal upgrades.

Larger Law Firms and Change: We Don’t Wanna!

Nicole BlackIt’s that time of year again. The annual Altman Weil “Law Firms in Transition” report was just released. And the results are entirely surprising—that is if you don’t follow the profession and didn’t read last year’s report. And the report before that one. And the one before that. 

The conclusion, in a nutshell? The majority of responding firms agree that everything’s changing, but they’re not really all that interested in acclimating.

How to become a great legal dictator

Maxine ParkA guide to the perfect dictation

When it comes to accurate dictation, a few simple guidelines will help not only make transcription of your files easier and more accurate, whilst saving you money into the bargain. 

The first choice is the equipment you use, but whether it’s a dictation machine or a Smartphone with the latest dictation app., it’s important not to hold it too close. The microphone should be about six inches (15cm) from your mouth to prevent words becoming muffled by other sounds, like the burst of air that hits the microphone when you use ‘plosive’ words like ‘punish’ or ‘benefit’. Also, if you get too close, your breathing can muffle your words.

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