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LegalTech New York 2009 is now officially over, but in spite of the dire state of the economy, Tuesday night still saw the typical slate of conference parties. Many took place at the Hilton shortly after the sessions ended for the day, but electronic discovery provider Fios Inc. opted instead for the Rainbow Room, on the 65th floor of Rockefeller Center. (Unfortunately the driving snow storm took away from the otherwise breathtaking views).
On top of the cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, Fios brought in New Yorker writer and CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin to pontificate on the Supreme Court, the subject of his recent bestseller "The Nine." But what does Toobin think about the state of e-discovery? Hard to say, as the last time anyone uttered the phrase last night was when Fios announced its own new book on the topic, just before ceding the stage to the eminent journalist.
Toobin's talk ran through some of the historical highlights from "The Nine," detailing the ideological trajectory of the Supreme Court from the early 20th century to the present, punctuated by a few jokes and witty political observations. He speculated on the possibility that President Obama will name at least one new Justice during his term, a popular game among legal commentators these days. Rather than a pick from the federal judiciary, as has become standard operating procedure in recent decades, Toobin thinks Obama might hearken back to an earlier era of the Court, when Justices were lawyers who came to the bench from political positions. He says Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine or Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm are likely contenders. But Toobin did hold out the possibility for one non-political pick. In response to a question from the audience (Legal Blog Watch's Robert Ambrogi, to be specific), Toobin speculated that 2nd Circuit Judge Sonia Sotomayor could become the Court's first Hispanic Justice.
The evening wound down in a Q&A session, with a few jabs at Bush v. Gore and some final thoughts on the fate of newspapers in America (Toobin fretted that we may be close to the day when a mid-size American town has no paper of its own), but nothing more about legal technology. It was a grand event -- well-attended by Am Law 200 lawyers and in-house counsel who probably didn't make it out to LegalTech itself -- the likes of which one hopes legal technology companies can still afford to put on next year.
Posted at 07:35 PM in LegalTech New York 2009 | Permalink
Legal vendor West brought back its video interviews at LegalTech this year, providing a handful of reports from the show floor. Most of the interviews are with folks who fall somewhere under the West or Thomson Reuters corporate umbrella, but West did get a number of predictions from legal technology journalists during the conference:
-- Legal Blog Watch's own Robert Ambrogi discusses lawyers and social media.
-- TechnoLawyer publisher Neil Squillante talks about the future of mobile technology for lawyers in 2009.
-- Law Technology News editor-in-chief Monica Bay explains how legal professionals can adapt using technology during these tough economic times.
Incisive Media, publisher of this blog and the parent company behind LegalTech, also posted video dispatches from the show, including an interview with New York Personal Injury Attorney Blog's Eric Turkewitz, discussing his recent post on the future of the legal blogosphere -- and why Twitter isn't it. Turkewitz is a Twitter-sceptic, and his thoughts on the subject provide a thoughtful counterpoint to some of the Twitter mania at the show, which seems to have jumped the shark when one commentator repeated the claim that "Twitter is the single biggest branding tool since TV." Turkewitz has some interesting thoughts on the confluence of lawyers and social media in the next few years. If you don't want to watch the video, read all about it here.
Posted at 05:31 PM in LegalTech New York 2009 | Permalink
It may not be as big as other areas of technology at LegalTech, but companies selling dictation software made a solid showing at the trade show this year. Rees Morrison saw seven, and rounds up his thoughts here. As the prolific author of the Law Department Management blog (which recently released a "blook" collecting hundreds of his posts on management of outside counsel), he knows a thing or two about saving time with dictation.
Posted at 03:32 PM in LegalTech New York 2009 | Permalink
Bloggers were given free passes to attend LegalTech this year, and prime space with electrical outlets in the front row of every conference session. While there were a few problems with WiFi access, several legal bloggers have managed to post their transcripts and reports from the show. A few highlights:
• Notes on the keynote address, from Swerdlove Consulting's Derek Giles, Jason Molder at Small Firm Tech and Tristam Wallace at Document Imaging Blog.
• From the knowledge management track, Goodwin Procter's David Hobbie covers "How Integration Drives KM" and "KM from a Client Services Perspective."
• And Gartner analyst Whit Andrews wins the award for most prolific LegalTech blogger, with his ongoing coverage of multiple panels, including the keynote on day two.
Posted at 04:13 PM in LegalTech New York 2009 | Permalink
After talking with a few e-discovery vendors at LegalTech this morning, the general consensus seems to be that while they all expect an uptick in litigation as a result of the financial crisis, it hasn't happened yet. So far, anecdotal evidence suggests clients have been looking to cut costs, opting for alternative dispute resolution over costly litigation. That's put the trial teams at a number of e-discovery vendors on hold, but it hasn't slowed their new product announcements. These leaner times mean clients should ask more of their vendors, says Sean Doherty, Law.com's legal technology editor.
Doherty provides a roundup of EDD announcements from the first day of LegalTech, including news from Fios, Exterro, Kroll Ontrack and Nexidia.
Posted at 03:34 PM in LegalTech New York 2009 | Permalink
LegalTech isn't the most gadget-focused tech conferences out there, specializing as it does in tools for practicing law -- whether that means electronic discovery services, time and billing software or how lawyers can use Twitter. Sure, every tech-savvy lawyer has a BlackBerry (or iPhone), but this is no CES.
Still, there are some good gadgets out on the show floor. Gearlog was impressed with the "extremely cool and fairly terrifying Paraben CSI Stick."
Of course, just because there aren't a million gadgets at the trade show to play with doesn't mean one has to walk away empty-handed. The annual search for the best LegalTech swag goes on -- so far, Matt Homan is most impressed with Kroll's gear.
Posted at 03:13 PM in LegalTech New York 2009 | Permalink
It's official: Twitter has de-throned "electronic discovery" as the most buzzworthy term at LegalTech. While the ratio of EDD vendors at the show is still extremely high, much of the talk surrounding the show revolves around Twitter and its uses and implications for lawyers.
The Monday afternoon panel, "What Is Twitter and How Can I Use It?," generated a flood of tweets from audience members, panelists and online spectators thousands of miles away, all at the same time. Two hours after the panel ended, there were roughly 320 posts pertaining to the discussion, which helped make #LTNY -- the hash tag used to signify that a tweet is related to LegalTech New York -- the number 6 most common term on Twitter for a bit.
The panel's discussion, led by Law Technology News editor Monica Bay, LexBlog's Kevin O'Keefe, Matt Homan of Lex Think and 10e20 president Chris Winfield, covered the most practical issues raised by a room full of lawyers: How does Twitter make money? What copyright issues do we have to worry about on Twitter? How is Twitter being used to monitor real-time court proceedings?
If you missed it, catch a preview of Matt Homan's talk here.
Posted at 06:36 PM in LegalTech New York 2009 | Permalink
The first day of LegalTech New York is typically the most hectic, as vendors scramble to finish setting up their booths in the exhibition halls, visitors wait in line to check in and get their badges and the conference tracks see a large, early turnout. But what happens when a major law firm conference falls in the middle of the biggest wave of lawyer layoffs in recent history? Still pretty crowded, by most early accounts from the Twitterati:
You can follow the steady stream of tweets from LegalTech speakers, vendors and attendees at LexTweet, or by searching for the hash tag #LTNY on Twitter. For show-goers looking to get a little guidance on the whole Twitter phenomenon, the panel "What Is Twitter and How Can I Use It?," moderated by Law Technology News editor-in-chief Monica Bay, takes place today at 3pm in the West Grand Ballroom.
Posted at 02:42 PM in LegalTech New York 2009 | Permalink
This presentation of Blawg Review is brought to you from LegalTech New York, where the anonymous editor of Blawg Review is attending in person along with many other tweeps and blawging lawyers who are arriving in droves in response to Incisive Media's generous offer of a free breakfast and the chance to see first-hand what's new in technology for the legal profession.
Craig D. Ball, P.C. Announces Release of Absolutely Nothing 2.0™ for LegalTech New York.
Seriously, don't miss LegalTech 2009 beginning Monday at the Hilton New York Hotel. In challenging times, working smarter is, well, smarter; so, arm yourself with new ideas at the biggest legal technology event in the universe. And remember: if you don't show, everyone assumes you're in trouble, so be there!
"You don't really see much discussion of the impact of the economy on legal technology," writes Dennis Kennedy, who wonders, "Will law firm technology budgets be decimated in '09?"
Bruce MacEwen, writing at Adam Smith, Esq., discusses the recent New York Times obituary for the billable hour.
Holden Oliver, writing at What About Clients? about the subject that just won't die: alternative fees, demurs:
Because of its flexibility in the hands of client-centric lawyers, WAC? still likes the Billable Hour--even though many (if not most) lawyers abuse it out the wazoo. The problem, as we see it, is not the Timesheet, and it never was. Law is now both a trust-based profession and a business. No single system can make that built-in conflict go away. Only individual client-lawyer relationships can. We support any system that aligns as closely as possible the interests of clients and outside counsel. Hourly billing can do that. Alternative fees--value-based, hybrids, whatever you devise--can do it, too.
"In the last recession (i.e. way back in the early "aughts"), work/life balance took a back seat at law firms," says Stephen Seckler at Counsel to Counsel. But now there's Balanomincs.
Monica Bay discusses "What I Hate About Technology - and what i expect my outside counsel, opposing counsel, vendors and staff to do about it!"
Sam Conforti offers five technology predictions for 2009, including a business crackdown on employee use of social networking sites. Greg Lambert would call that a shame. He terms microblogging a missing (and valuable) communications tool within enterprises, including firms. Donna Seale, who blogs about human rights in the workplace, asks if using social networking sites in the hiring process is a smart move or human rights trap.
In a post on the ABA Journal's Legal Technology blog headlined "Twitter Becoming ‘Incredibly Mainstream for Lawyers’" Debra Cassens Weiss reports that:
Law blogger Robert Ambrogi calls Twitter a “virtual watercooler,” a place where professionals can talk and exchange ideas. Another legal blogger, Scott Greenfield, wrote on his blog that he has to read Twitter because all his blogging friends use it to comment. “Twitter has become incredibly mainstream for lawyers," he writes.
Several legal bloggers wondered whether a diminishment of Twitter in the blawgosphere might not be a bad thing. Eric Turkewitz suggested that for some, like him, Twitter would be the tipping point toward information overload:
"I'm not looking to retreat to a cabin in the woods, eating grubs to survive and working on an anti-technology manifesto, but I also don't feel a compelling need to open every valve of the technology river."
Here's a list of the lawyers using Twitter who are going to LegalTech New York, compiled by Kevin O'Keefe of LexBlog, who has recently launched LexTweet, a Web site that aggregates Twitter feeds of the legal community.
Speaking about the LexTweet aggregator, Scott Greenfield suggested that lawyerly twittering was generally not lawyerly:
"[T]he biggest issue has nothing to do with Lextweet at all. The vast majority of twits are, how do I say this nicely, worthless to the general lawyer audience. Nothing personal, but intimate details of your personal hygiene don't interest me."
LexTweet proprietor Kevin O'Keefe, understandably enough, was able to find a number of useful ends for Twitter; he asked and 16 twittering lawyers answered.
Scott Greenfield wrote that the valued community aspect of legal blogging has migrated from comments to Twitter. He notes that comments generally are dwindling and what's left there is vitriol and inanity. Jack Balkin's reaction has been more drastic: He's all but shut off comments altogether. He writes,
"[A]fter considerable frustration with the quality and the incivility of the comments, I turned off the comments section for a bit to calm things down and to see whether, after a time out, a culture of civility would reassert itself. It did so only briefly; then the trolls reappeared, the name calling began again, and things went downhill once more."
Elefant noted the controversy and asked for thoughts from her audience -- in comments, of course!
Ernie Svenson has an interesting blog post about how to hire a tech-savvy attorney, which is stimulating a discussion in the comments on his blog, Ernie the Attorney.
Despite Twitter and all the other new toys available to legal bloggers, the traditional legal blog still has its place -- just not inside your firm's Web site, according to Kevin O'Keefe.
When it comes to upgrading your firm's legal technology (or advising clients who are making major IT purchases), there are a few things you need to know. Peter Vogel posted 10 Commandments of IT Contracts.
"Few companies know as much as they should about Internet law. Every company runs across its share of scammers, disgruntled employees and lawsuits. How often a company sidesteps trouble and how often a company gets left holding the bag, often comes down to which side knows more about the laws affecting the Internet and which side has taken steps to use these laws to its advantage," writes Brett Trout at BlawgIT, where he lists six things you need to know about Internet law.
Rick Georges at FutureLawyer asks, "Have you fired this man lately?"
Cord Blomquist at the Technology Liberation Front discusses the Federal Court's "Douchebag" ruling.
The choice of a smartphone is, next to a choice of spouse, one of the most personal and emotional decisions one can make. Ben Stevens highlighted two lawyers' views of Apple's iPhone and RIM's BlackBerry, two of the leading devices.
Speaking of smartphones, personal injury lawyers are blogging about the dangers of talking on cell phones or texting while driving: Hang up and drive!
If you’re tired of being the only lawyer you know who thinks like you do, and long to meet others who feel the same way, you might want to check out Lex Think and Innovate.
Bob Ambrogi notes that LinkedIn recently announced a private beta of a new feature, Connections, that allows you to better manage your lists of LinkedIn connections.
Law.com's Legal Technology Blog points to an article about "artificial intelligence" in legal reasoning. Dan Hull says, "The ability "to think like a lawyer" is about 10% of what you need to be an effective lawyer."
And, finally, Mike Cernovich reminds us that legal tech is no substitute for good old-fashioned due diligence before your send hundreds of thousands of dollars to Nigerians.
We'd like to thank Ed and the helpful sherpas, Colin Samuels and Victoria Pynchon, for their help pulling together this special presentation of Blawg Review for LegalTech, while the rest of us were watching an exciting football game and Super Bowl XLIII Ads.
Blawg Review has information about next week's host, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.
Posted at 09:35 AM in LegalTech New York 2009 | Permalink
A quick programming note: We'll be interrupting Legal Blog Watch's regularly scheduled posts Feb. 2, 3 and 4 to present our blogosphere (and this year, Twitter too) coverage of LegalTech New York 2009, Incisive Media's annual law technology blowout. As we did last year for both the New York and West Coast versions of the trade show and conference, we'll be highlighting reports from Law Technology News and Law.com's Legal Technology editors, in addition to collecting blog posts and tweets about the show from around the Web.
Planning to brave the cold and the crowds for the biggest legal technology show of the year? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. And for those of you with a Twitter account, be sure to use the #LTNY hash tag for your posts during the show.
Posted at 04:26 PM in LegalTech New York 2009 | Permalink