Yes, I know I have published nothing for days until yesterday, and only one post then. I was at LegalTech in New York last week, and those who might expect me to write about it, about them and about their products and articles well know that LegalTech is not an environment in which one can sit down quietly and write. I suspect that the public relations man who was on my back within hours of my return is not familiar with the market – like so many of his breed (though there are some very good ones), he sees his job as just pushing out press releases and chasing journalists to write about them, feeling no particular need to understand or know anything about the context. Well, I am not a journalist, and prefer to let the post-LegalTech dust settle – there is no chance of being heard, or read, in the hub-hub which accompanies and follows this noisy event. Much of the new material deserves better than that.
Besides, a week away at a conference brings its own challenges – not just the lack of sleep, the meetings, the demos, the dinners and the parties, nor just the fact that there is someone interesting to talk to round every corner, but the dull routine of stacked-up correspondence, of future conferences requiring input, and expenses slips to file.
I have been simultaneously trying to extend my reach and to focus on those parts of my business which only I can do, delegating anything else where possible. Extending my reach lies not merely in considering new subjects which bear on eDiscovery, and new jurisdictions, but new methods of conveying messages. As I have mentioned before, video and audio have interesting possibilities; websites and presentations can include more than just words, though words are critical both for CPD / CLE purposes and to maximise the potential of Google’s search algorithms.
All these things take resources, and I long ago resolved never to employ anyone – employment in the UK brings a host of form-filling, bureaucracy and interference by pen-pushers and busybodies from a host of government departments and agencies keen to justify their miserable existences by making life difficult for employers. The answer, I realised, lies in my son William, whose skills and training embrace websites, audio and video and who has his own business which can offer services to mine. He has brightened up my website for me and is helping me with both media and back-office tasks which free me to focus on writing and speaking. The SEO which I get from my websites and blogs, for example, depends only in part on the sheer volume of original material; much of it derives from cross-referencing indexes which no one ever sees and which take a long time to build. William is now doing things like that for me. I took him to LegalTech with me, partly for practical help and partly to make him more familiar with the eDisclosure/eDiscovery bubble.
Writing about the eDiscovery players, jurisdictions and market is an important part of what I do, but it is only a part. There are new audiences to be won by writing about deeper and wider things such as the future for litigation departments. This serves the same purpose as the market news, since my conclusion, unsurprisingly, is that the objectives of courts and clients can be met only by the adoption of technology and the use of outsourced services to perform discrete components of the litigation task. These articles are very much harder to write than reports of conference sessions or market developments, and I came home with one of them in my head which I wanted to capture before turning to other things. The result is an article called The end of an era: law firms, eDiscovery, Susskind, the year 1599, dinosaurs, and a yellow scooter.
With that behind me, I can now turn to the interesting stuff which has accumulated during and after LegalTech.
By the way, the new photographs on my home page are not yet meant to signify anything – just pretty pictures to test the concept. In case you are interested, they show, in turn, a Hummingbird at Hearst Castle in California, the lighthouse at Orford Ness in Suffolk, one of the splendid Civil War memorials in Washington, buildings reflected in the Liffey in Dublin, a skyscape with contrail, also in Dublin, and a street lamp in Prague – all places which I have been lucky enough to visit in the past year.