Washington and New York to Mitchell via privacy, Singapore and Lobachevsky

February 17, 2014

The problem with running a website which offers news and updates is that people notice when it lies silent – the essence of news is that it is new. In fact, I have never aspired to timeliness and, as I say often, if it is important now, it will be important in a month’s time. This post supplements a brief note which I put up last week. Most of it is about Washington and its wonderful memorials, about the week in New York with my panels on eDiscovery technology and privacy, and about the things which got in the way when I got home. That includes some ruminations on the fall-out from Mitchell v NGN, on the unpleasant and economically-illiterate thug who carries the proud title “Lord Chancellor” and his minions at the Ministry of Justice, and on the decline of London’s aspirations to be a forum of choice for international litigants, with side references to Hong Kong (where I go next) and Singapore. There is also a bit about plagiarism illustrated by Tom Lehrer. You get variety here, if not necessarily thematic consistency.

I was at LegalTech in New York, the biggest eDiscovery industry show in the world. This was my eighth LegalTech and I know the form by now – back-to-back meetings, a couple of panels to sit on, five party invitations every night, dinners with varying degrees of learning and entertainment thrown in, and someone to talk to round every corner. This year brought the added element of sudden snowfalls leading to deep pools of slush at every crossing, particularly tiresome when your meetings alternate between the Hilton on one side of Sixth Avenue and the Warwick Hotel on the opposite corner.

Our attempts, some four months earlier, to book hotel rooms were defeated by some sporting event which apparently drew most of the US population into New York for the weekend. The cost of flights to the US falls steeply if you include a Saturday, so we went first to Washington D.C. – “we” being me, my wife Mary Ann and our youngest son William. The weather was fine and, as always, we were drawn first to the war memorials. Read the rest of this entry »


ILTA brings Insight to legal technology in London on 14 November

October 29, 2013

I am an unabashed enthusiast for the International Legal Technology Association, ILTA, whose big US conference every year is one of the high points of my (over-full) conference calendar.

It has three key elements which are critical to lawyers everywhere – the high quality of its sessions, the peer-to-peer principles of shared understanding and knowledge which are fundamental to its foundation, and the opportunity to supplement the formal exchange of shared knowledge with informal networking. It is a catalyst for ideas – which is why my post in advance of the main show in Las Vegas was called Catalyst for ideas at the ILTA annual conference in Las Vegas.

ILTA InsightAll that comes to London (shorn of some of the side-attractions which Las Vegas offers) on 14 November with a one-day event, ILTA Insight 2013, at the Grange St Paul’s Hotel which offers a packed programme and the other things mentioned above in exchange for a registration fee of – zero.

The Agenda is here. The discovery-related sessions include one called the Ins and Outs of information governance, one called Budgeting and eDisclosure, and my own one called Non-traditional sources of electronic evidence.

Other subjects include artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and mobile working, document collaboration, the ever-developing subject of BYOD (Bring your own device) and the use of social business tools in legal practice.

In addition, there is a keynote by futurist Rohit Talwar in which he shares the findings from ILTA’s Legal Technology Future Horizons Project, a discussion about how businesses have adapted to change where others have not, and discussions about the route to the future from now.

The Co-Chairs are Janet Day, IT Director at Berwin Leighton Paisner, and Gareth Ash, CIO at Allen & Overy. The majority of the speakers are people who get their hands dirty daily within law firms and who are willing to share their experiences.

My own primary aim in going, apart from the sessions in which I am participating, is the opportunity to talk and listen to the people who have the problems and those with the experiences of solving them.

Registration, as I say, it’s free. It is, of course, necessary to register your intention to attend – you can do that here. I hope to see you there.

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Society for Computers and Law seeks sponsor for 40th Anniversary dinner

September 10, 2013

It does not seem that long ago that I attended the 20th Anniversary dinner of the Society for Computers and Law. That shows how time slips by, because the 40th anniversary is looming. It is to be celebrated by a dinner at the House of Commons on Thursday 5 December. Whilst I do not usually promote sponsorship opportunities, this seems to me to be a cause which I ought to help.

Why would a supplier of eDisclosure software and services – the catchment area of this blog – want to get its name in front of the sort of people who attend the SCL’s anniversary dinner? Most eDisclosure marketing is aimed at litigators who are known or presumed to face eDisclosure problems. That obviously makes sense when marketing resources are finite, but it potentially misses a significant and relevant audience – those who influence IT strategy in law firms, those whose contact with clients may be in other areas and, perhaps even more importantly, those who are responsible for wider questions of departmental efficiency, whether in a law firm or a company.

This seems to me to be a good opportunity to raise awareness of the fact that most disclosure providers do more than merely collect and process data and have value to add to litigation departments both for specific cases and for strategic planning.

Contact Caroline Gould caroline.gould@scl.org, General Manager at SCL, if you are interested in this opportunity.

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ILTA and Rohit Talwar – a project to analyse technology disruption and change

August 14, 2013

ILTA is running a project on the impact of technology on legal practice, with the futurist Rohit Talwar. The results will be delivered at ILTA Insight 2013 in London in November.

After the ILTA / ALM technology conference in Hong Kong, I wrote a long article reporting on a speech made by futurist Rohit Talwar. I called it The Ghost of Legal Services Yet to Come – a Futurist tells of things that may be in which I pulled out of the speech those things which had the most obvious relevance to the foreseeable future for law firms and barristers.

That speech was my introduction to a project being run by ILTA (International Legal Technology Association) whose purpose is to analyse the effect of the potential disruption of technology and practice of law. The original press release about the project explains the ambitions for the project. The key areas for study are:

  • Key driving forces shaping business and the legal profession.
  • A timeline of future IT developments.
  • How to leverage IT advances that help enable and enhance tomorrow’s legal organizations.
  • Possible scenarios for the role and management of IT in tomorrow’s legal organizations.
  • IT imperatives specific to law firms, legal departments, and legal technology providers.

Monica Bay now brings us up to date about this in an article on the Law Technology News site called ILTA Charges Into the Future.

Many lawyers will dismiss such studies as having no relevance to their daily practice; they have letters to write, documents to draft, full InBoxes and next quarter’s rent to pay, and you won’t catch me underestimating the effect of all this on forward planning because I have much the same cluttering up my life.  There are, however, rival views as to whether law firms in their present form are doomed; every other industry makes its plans on the basis of the world as it will be next year and in three and five years time and there is no obvious reason why lawyers should approach their businesses differently.

The results of ILTA’s project will be delivered not in the US but at ILTA Insight 2013 in London on 14 November 2013. There is to be a strong eDisclosure / eDiscovery track at that event in which I am participating. Rohit Talwar’s keynote speech will be another reason for attending ILTA Insight (which, incidentally, has no registration fees).

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Catalyst for ideas at the ILTA Annual Conference in Las Vegas

August 6, 2013

ILTA_The_CatalystILTA is the International Legal Technology Association. Its 36th Annual Educational Conference “The Catalyst” takes place at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas between 18 and 22 August. Its website, comprehensive as always, covers everything you could need to know.

[A note for the purists, of whom I am generally one. It sticks in the throat to write "Caesars Palace" without an apostrophe, but that is what the place is called and accuracy trumps purity. Las Vegas is a great conference venue, but it is not a seat of learning - except when ILTA is in town.]

Caesars

ILTA is one of the few events which I attend whether I am speaking or not – indeed, much of the pleasure and value comes from going, as I am this year, with an entirely open agenda. I have formal meetings arranged, of course, with those who sponsor the eDisclosure Information Project or who might do so, and I will see many other people there, including many I don’t know or don’t expect to see. That, to me, is the biggest single benefit to be gained from mixing for several days with a very broad cross-section of the eDiscovery world.

If a lot of what I know comes from hours of reading, from sitting in sessions, and from proper meetings with agendas and stuff, a lot more comes from casual conversation in bars and restaurants. Who is recruiting and who is laying off? What really works and what is all fur and no knickers? Is it really true that…? Did you hear that…? I’m drinking one to every three going down everyone else, soaking up the market vibes, sniffing the breeze and mentally evaluating what I am hearing and why I am being told it, sifting news from gossip from special pleading from wishful thinking. The market gossip is interesting, but what really matters are the portents of big shifts – the recurring subjects, what the clients are asking for, what they are turning their back on. I don’t process it in a formal, statistical way as an analyst would do, but just soak it up and add it to what I know already. Read the rest of this entry »


Blog posts on eDiscovery | eDisclosure in December 2012

January 8, 2013

Here is a list of my blog posts of December 2012 on eDiscovery / eDisclosure and related matters. After several months of experiments, I have abandoned my Google Plus page for my short eDiscovery posts in favour of a second WordPress blog, called eDisclosure Information Project Updates. This blog has its own email sign-up for those who want to be tipped off about new posts.

Google Plus has really good SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), and the existing posts will remain there. Google’s clunky interface was one push factor; another was the feeling of being at a party which everyone else had skipped, despite the tiresome G+ focus on “community” and other things which Facebook does much better if you like that sort of thing – great for florists, car mechanics and High Street solicitors, but of no interest to me.

The new WordPress blog started delivering good SEO almost at once. I can extend its features, adjust its appearance and be sure that it will not acquire some tedious new “feature” next week because a hyperactive geek at Google has some syndrome which requires constant change for its own sake.

I have also abandoned the practice of summarising the short posts, giving a list like the one below instead. The SEO value of the summaries and the links from them was not commensurate with the very significant input which they required. I am not remotely interested in all the detailed “campaign” stats which marketing people get so hung up on. One thing matters to me – how many people go to my articles and thus past my sponsors’ logos? The average number of page views last year, weekends and holidays included, was 224 per day.

The list below, and the parallel one on my web site, are part of the web of cross-links (Twitter and LinkedIn provide the rest) which ensure that no-one can do much research on eDisclosure / eDiscovery without finding something by me.

December was a short month – I was away on holiday for a week quite apart from the long Christmas and New Year break. The volume of interesting material now being published by others is such that there is always a queue – that is, a stockpile of subjects, some already written about, which I hold back to avoid swamping the readers. Apart from time-critical things like webinar dates, I don’t think promptness matters too much – if it is important, it will still be important next week. Read the rest of this entry »


Around the eDiscovery world in 35 days

November 9, 2012

You may have noticed a certain sporadic element in my written output recently, with patches of silence interspersed with blocks of posts. That pattern will continue through the rest of November, thanks to a conjunction of events in the UK and abroad which has left me with a very little time at my desk.

EDiscovery / eDisclosure crosses a lot of boundaries. It embraces statute and case law, procedural rules, technology and the business of being a lawyer; it sits across subjects and sectors; it embraces marketing, practice development and careers; the same issues arise in multiple jurisdictions; it affects judges, lawyers, clients and providers of software and services; its outputs include speaking, writing, webinars and Twitter, and those outputs are fed by a volume of reading matter which never seems to die down, and by conversations with its participants at which I listen as much as I speak.

The activities are mutually exclusive – one cannot (I cannot, anyway) write a blog post whilst speaking from a platform, nor participate in a webinar from an airport lounge. For the most part, the load evens out across a year, but every so often a back-to-back series of events keeps me moving from place to place with barely a break. Written output inevitably declines as a result. Read the rest of this entry »


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