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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.

ERP mustn’t be seen as a PMS swap out in the legal sector

Guy PhillipsLaw firms have always been enthusiastic adopters of best of breed technology – practice management, document management, time and billing, expense, human resources and more. Unfortunately today, despite the significant investments that law firms have made in these systems, the software is falling short. 

Why? Well the economic and market landscapes have changed – there are increasing competitive and market pressures forcing law firms to change the way they operate. There is a heightened need for operational efficiency like never before as clients demand value for money, greater transparency and the highest levels of service. The siloed PMS solutions are not designed as enterprise-level technology platforms.

Reflections On ABA Techshow 2015

Nicole BlackABA Techshow 2015 has come and gone. It was a whirlwind of activity from start to finish and it’s only now that I finally have a chance to take a breath and look back on it. Here are my thoughts.

As is the case every year, ABA Techshow 2015 turned out to be a great place to connect with like-minded people with an interest in the intersection of law and technology. So if that sounds like you and you’ve never been, mark your calendars now for next year’s show (March 17-19). You really shouldn’t miss it.

21st Century Legal Conferences: The Future of the Profession

Nicole BlackJust as the legal profession needs to change with the times, so too do legal conferences. Even though many studies and books have been released in recent years on how people best absorb information, the format of most legal conferences have changed very little. Most take place in cavernous rooms with horrible acoustics and no Wi-Fi and consist of multiple, back-to-back, hour-long panels where each panelist sits behind a table and provides their own mini-presentation in monotone, replete with PowerPoints straight out of the 1990s consisting of text-heavy, bullet-point-laden slides. In other words, they are the perfect antidote to insomnia. 


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