Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Friday's (Christmas) Cocktail Leadership

Well well well....welcome to (probably) the last Friday Cocktail Leadership posting for the year (and what a wonderful year it has been).

As you know by now, Friday's postings are all about things not really related to law firms, knowledge management, legal technology, or anything serious really. Just an excuse for us all to share and giggle as the weekend are you feeling about your year? How are you feeling generally? Need a shoulder rub perhaps? Cup of tea?

To make a start, we would like to say a huge 'thank you' to our wonderful client teams for their involvement
in our successes of 2007.

We've spent the year racing between firms in Australia and London and in doing so we have been fortunate to work with some of the most amazing project groups from some the world's greatest firms. This year we made new friends and caught up with many many old ones on our travels.

We planted trees in Sydney, continued to support our community (which we intend to continue lifting the bar on - and challenge our peers to do the same), and we also
introduced a way to support the causes close to the hearts of our clients.

In 2007 we smiled, we complimented strangers (did you Mrs Meek), we hosted a widely praised series of Knowledge Management Thought Leadership Roundtables in Sydney, we convinced you all to never buy an average
candle again, we shared our thoughts on innovation strategies, adopted an endangered vegetable, and listened to Pachelbel's Canon in D far too many times to count. We even lamented about our girl in the comic shop.

This year we also stood fast to protect and champion our vendor independence so we can continue to best serve our clients as their trusted advisors in this space. We politely declined offers for direct and "value-add" reseller agreements, strategic partnerships, sponsorship dollars and brown paper packages tied up with string.

We collaborated with, contributed to discussions, and commented on, thought leadership areas with some people far more intelligent than ourselves, including
Maister, Susskind, Baldwin and Parsons (who we send best wishes to as his new adventure begins).

On a personal note, we've listened to the beautiful sounds of Barnsbury Street each morning and evening, built up millions of frequent flyer points, cuddled V, called Frenchy once in a while, had coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee with you all, tried to keep up with Toddy, spent far too much time with Mutley (the "other"
Simon), blessed Jen & Tony with our presence, relaxed at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, lined the pockets of Becasse, Zetta and Maisys, flirted with Mel (how you do'n Mel?), predicted (just now) that Bumba would punch us over the comment re flirting with Mel, introduced ourselves to a few conceirge staff from hotels all across Europe - all of who helped with our strange requests for cheese deliveries - and was placed on speaker phone while mascara was applied.

Golly gosh it has been a busy and memorable year now we think of it.....we've bought conifers in London, lost the wonderfully cheeky AJ, been supported by Bumba, sent random faxes to bank tellers, created meaningful pieces of art on Silk Street, placed puppies under office desks on Bunhill Row, shopped at Angel's on Upper Street, skipped down Madison, met evil squirrels in New York, racist squirrels in London, consumed daytime cocktails in Canonbury (and done so many more things in that neighbourhood), consumed many a free kit kat at Twickenham, advised on the dangers of clip clopping down the alley at night, watched the new sport of mad duck fighting and were impressed by branding at
Subtle Tea.

We tried our hand at taking up a hobby by making movies in New York and spent six months of Tuesdays viewing the results to determine if the whole thing should simply just be re-shot.

We left left overs at cocktail bars, picnicked in Paris, held suspicions about Spider's mirrors, tried to fix basement flat bulbs, had the most amazing meal with our best friend Charlotte, and gave charcoal as birthday gifts.

Before we leave 2007 behind us - Caldow (that is Mandy - MANDY - for all those out there who like first names) just sent us
this - a must see for all those who feel that they've lost brain cells because of the festive drinking period. And a final laugh for the year.

The most important thing is that we have all remained immensely "happy and healthy" (as the wise one always advises, and the Tiny one always checks in on).

Enough about all that now.....remember that Christmas is "tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace".

Please take time to consider those around you, and also those that are not close by. We've been moved by the recent UNICEF photography awards, and recommend that before you leave the office today to spend time with your loved ones or your drinks, you take a few minutes with these

To end the year - to all our wonderful friends and family - we would be nothing without you and for this we thank you. We hope we've been able to provide you with some good content, a few smirks, and excellent service in 2007. Have a fantastic Friday and all the best for the festive season.

Janders Dean is back first thing in the New Year with our January predictions on the trends for the year ahead, and we'll continue to share with you our plans for continued growth in London and Australia, and our exciting plans for New York and China.

We'll see you all bright and sparky in 2008. Be safe and bumble beehive yourselves......

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tribute to Tony Angel of Linklaters

LegalWeek today has this video tribute to Tony Angel, Linklaters managing partner from 1998-2007, the recipient of the 2007 City of London Law Society Lifetime Achievement Award. Video was directed and produced by Amanda Anderson of Cardamom.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Maister on Web Marketing for Professional Service Firms

Great questions raised by Maister here in relation to the quantity and purpose of investment (strategic or otherwise) professional service firms place on web presence.

Janders Dean couldn't help but contribute to the conversation with Maister
here while referencing some of our close friends in the industry.

Examples given (for various reasons, so check the actual article by David first, then the track backs to understand what we are discussing in relation to the differences between marketing, branding, client development, relationship development, etc) are as follows:
- UK firm Allen & Overy's website devoted completely to attracting graduates (with excellent use of video webcasting technologies) - US firm Sheppard Mullin have replaced online newsletters with blogs - Australian firm Blake Dawson's online SALT web products based around the provision of training aimed at clients. - the famous Blueflag pioneer product suite from UK firm Linklaters aimed at clients and prospects. - excellent use of blogs and their Elexica online KM product from UK firm Simmons & Simmons. - UK firm Wragge & Co's excellent design and "non-traditional" approach to a law firm website - UK firm Pinsent Masons approach to providing free legal content to secure additional services

We'll see how this thread continues....

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Web2.0 - Are The Inmates Back In Control?

An interesting post here by knowledge leader David Gurteen here in response to another thought leader's piece (Lee Bryant of Headshift fame) here.

Lee speaks of the risks associated with government IT Department potentially limiting the value of Web2.0 technologies by not embracing (in some capacity - not suggesting obviously a full circus) an agile development approach. David has made the comparison between these comments and the trends around Lotus Notes development many years ago.

Lee's quote (as isolated so well by David) below is something many have seen, or will see in the coming year:

"The same IT folks who rail about the "risks" of sharing and online social networking are also responsible for creating systems so unusable and inflexible that they lead users to dump entire databases onto CD and lose them. I think it is fair to argue that IT systems that do no understand people are a bigger risk than human-scale web computing that treats people as adults."

What is surprising is that in some rare cases, it is Knowledge Management "leaders" (not used in the sense of true leadership, but in reference to job titles) themselves who threaten the success of Web2.0 via their background, inexperience, lack of understanding (or fear) of new technologies, and/or simply the bad blood between KM and IT.

This reminds us of the classic "must read" text by Alan Cooper which everyone should be dusting off and reading again (The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High-tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity). This original text not only introduces goal directed design theory, but also the theory (simplified into nine words for this post) that IT development should not be run by IT developers.

As an FYI - when mentioning the lost CD, Lee is making reference to this story of the UK's Customs and Excise Department finally admitting that they had lost two CDs containing 25 million highly confidential Child Benefit records and the bank details of 7.25 million individual recipients.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Friday's Cocktail Leadership

Good morning everyone - we're not as young as we used to be. Christmas drinks take a long time to recover from these days! This week was tough.....real tough.....not only were we busy with our ever wonderful clients, we are all of 45 days away from being happy!

This week with owe our thanks to Matthew for the original link to the CommonCraft video. We're having a beer for Tommy this weekend. We send hot lemon and honey to Susan W from Liberated Small Mountains. We wish Chrissy B a happy 30th birthday and say a special "hello" to Uncle Buck. By the way - check out the content from Baker Robbins'
website as there is some great new presentations there.

Hello to the Eurostar girl!

So have you done alll your shopping? The last thing you want is to hit Bond Street this weekend - isn't that right Bumba? Lots of awesome stuff to talk about next week we'll keep today's news short and sweet. We want Sophia's mother.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Web2.0 Education Clips

The below links are to some wonderful and simple short videos which are designed to explain the characteristics of social networking and Web2.0 technologies such blogs, wikis, etc to non-IT individuals.

Now if only some lawyers would do something similar for their IT and KM teams and teach them about areas of law and the working practices of lawyers.

Wikis in plain English

Blogs in plain English

Social Networking in plain English

Social Bookmarking in plain English

RSS in plain English

Viva Las Vegas

Is the American club in Sydney a place you go to club Americans?

Good morning everyone - we know it isn't Friday yet, but it is the festive season so every day is like Friday at the moment. We wanted to say a quick 'thank you' to our Las Vegas alumni and all associated Janders Dean friends who gathered together last night for a tonic and lime.

Many thanks to Adam for planning, and special thanks to the new Prime Minister of Australia for dropping in - has anyone seen Lionel and Kevin in the same room together? By the way - if anyone is looking for Chris or Geoff, they were left as 'last men standing' at Zetta at some strange early hour of this morning.

For those of you who are a little worse off this morning, we find that singing to yourself helps the day go by. It has to be done Michael - here.

Finally - go easy on the bar tab this afternoon team - it has been a tough year for some software vendors out there! See you all at 3:05pm.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Friday's Cocktail Leadership

Welcome to the silly season! There you go, we've said it - it is officially the time of year when none of you will actually do a full day's worth of work on any Friday between now and the second week of January. Don't feel bad (we know you don't)...just embrace it and go with the flow. Our only piece of advice this festive period is to avoid tacky Christmas decorations and plastic trees (both in the office and at home). Come on....splash out and buy some decent decorations this year!!

So it is Friday morning, and before we have breakfast with our favourite people from Liberated Small Mountains (we love changing our client and contact firm names - it gives others something to think about) we thought we would give you all something to read (especially those from Blake Dawson - we couldn't think of a clever way to change your firm name - suffering a headache from last night's function).

As you know by now, Friday's Cocktail Leadership is all about those things that don't relate to work, so if you're feeling nerdy this Friday morning and want to hear about law firm management, knowledge management, or thought leadership in legal technology - then you may as well close this window now. However if you do, know that we are ashamed of you! It is Friday afterall - give yourself a break for a while....seriously.

If you really want something "law firm" related to read - here are some interesting reading links for you to review. New information on the Australian Federal Court some frank thoughts on succeeding as an M&A lawyer from David Cheyne of Linklaters, and an interesting overview of the commerical litigation reforms in the UK

Is that enough for you...when (seriously) will you take time today to relax?

For those Germans reading this morning, Frohe Weihnachten! We hope that Nikolaus (or der Weihnachtsmann) filled your shoes this week with lots of lovely nuts and treats (or a puppy for those who have been very good), and that Knecht Ruprecht didn't get in first with a bunch of twigs.

Speaking of twigs - Janders Dean is an active supporter of the underground movement known as
Guerilla Gardening, and have been since our Innocent friends put us onto the idea. Go and plant a tree...

Speaking of doing good - we are also currently supporting
Tonic and suggest that you take a quick look. The team also put us onto this clever little pic which we thought was cute.

Today we say hello to Mel in London and her third kite - "Hi Mel and your third kite" and note that we look forward to the press release. We also say hello to our favourite Australian Irish Englishman Mr O'Reilly, and our favourite English Kiwi Mr Cowan. One other point to note is that we remember that if we can make it there, we'll make it's up to you New York New York. Thank you Frank.

Don't forget the Aeroguard and 'aveagoodweekend...oh, and only one person knows that what we're thinking this Friday is only fit for Tuesday.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Knowles Vision

Another interesting profile/interview from the UK. Alex Spence from The Times has spent time with Nigel Knowles of DLA's aggressive growth fame. Read the full article here.

Software Vendor Consolidation - APAC Market

Although we rarely comment on the software market within the international law firm area, keep your eyes open for news of a consolidation move/buy-out in the APAC market by a major international organisation this week.

Although it may initially be seen as a reactive move by some given the coverage and peer positioning of the target company's current customer base, a little quiet reflection and imagination may turn the move into one which will be seen as quite strategic in the longer term - it is (at the very least) a move to grab a customer base within a particular market bracket, and a potential to move a majority of these forward with either on an enhanced or completely different offering supplied by the new parent.

This prospect of a "strategic move" may be particularly true given that the top end of the Australian and Asian market (top 30 firms by size/revenue) for this area of software is currently (and will remain for the next 3 years) quite tough for those hungry satellite sales juniors trying to convince firms there is enough of a reason to spend funds on back office operational software while also asking the firms to go through the pain of change before the scars of "the last time" are healed, or indeed the new offerings are proven in the domestic market. It is the firms further down the tree where a great deal of potential currently stands, and the volume of sales can be made.

As always, the success of this move will be up to the new parent company and their tactical plans for the future of their new customer base. No doubt everyone will have their opinion on it this week as the press release begins to circulate. Good luck to all who are about to be asked their opinions, and who will ask questions. Now go and read the rest of your emails and pretend you are enjoying being at work early on a Monday.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Friday's Cocktail Leadership

The single most important thing to us here at Janders Dean this Friday (and all days really) is that our loved ones are happy and healthy...and that their clip clop can be heard. We're starting the planning process this weekend for Project Sparky...collaboratively of course!

We've had a very interesting week this week - we're learning lots about China, lots about Kokoda, lots about stress mitigation tactics, and lots about who not to be in an
elevator with (this guy obviously worked on a project that didn't involve Janders Dean). We're also learning lots from those who like learning with us.

How has your week been?

To all our dragon boat crews - enjoy your Friday (especially V the giver of Kit Kats and cuddles....oh calm down Tiny). To all mobile phone/PDA repair companies - don't enjoy your Friday (or your Saturday or Sunday for that mattter). Oh how we long for the sweet sounds of "you have mail". To our new friends at Blakes - good morning... to our new friends at Fidal - bonne nuit...

Nice and short this week as our Kent Street Clients need sweets for this morning's meeting. We're off to play with Lego. Now go away.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Innovation: Lessons From Allen & Overy

We've said it once, and we'll say it again...Allen & Overy rocks!

As validation of their management led dedication to the mantra of innovation (by the way, they are one of the only firm's in the world to devote a constantly updated section of their website to discussing the ways in which they
embrace innovation, rather than simply having it as a corporate buzz word in their marketing material), they are constantly experimenting and thus sharing the lead in areas of technology and KM innovation, online services, and information delivery aimed at client services.

Check out news of their experiments with new media and information delivery vehicles
here, and then watch a cracking example of the quality of their productions, and the potential for the diverse use of this media approach (this example is aimed at graduates) here.

It should be noted that Allen & Overy (and possibly one or two of their peers) no doubt have been doing this and/or thinking of this for some time, and that the wider community is only simply finding out about it now.

Clayton Utz in Australia have followed with a pretty interesting (particularly from a content perspective for those interested in a simple outline of legal privilege and also those thinking of the ways in which enterprise search can be applicable to litigation procedures) example

This is not about saying that one firm will or can win more business, or be better lawyers, because of the fact that the press are reporting about their use of this particular type of media. That is a separate debate. We are simply saying that the potential for positive brand recognition and press inches is constantly seized through this very type of approach to innovation.

Not everyone will find this type of information delivery (or indeed the very concept of utilising different media) applicable or of value to their clients, fee earners, or potential recruits - and many will simply see this as a new way of impacting the brand of the firm concerned, or "playing". Either way, (and particularly in our small community of KM, IT and law firm management) the firm's name is out there as a leader in this area.

Another important observation regarding this type of activity - it doesn't need to be a heavy or expensive exercise, nor does it need to take weeks or months to plan and deliver. As a result, firms should stop procrastinating and putting red tape in the way of innovation. Get a good idea, get buy in for innovation and experimentation from management, admit when you should be getting experts who have seen it and done it before to help you rather than stumbling over it because you may want to "play" or be seen as owning the win, and simply get on with it.

One thing does just show how fast and far firms can fall behind the pack in relation to innovation (and even simply what follows innovation - expectation) if the firm simply sits and waits for things to happen.

No One Likes a Quitter

One internal piece of Janders Dean news that we forgot to mention last Friday in our Cocktail Leadership posting was a quick tale of caution to our existing clients, friends and regular contacts. One of our very own leaders has strategically placed jars (they are quite pretty actually) of jelly beans and almonds at every one of his client sites this week.

Before you all get excited, this is not in an attempt to provide our client teams with treats and surprises (although a number of packets of England's finest Pickled Onion Monster Munch crisps have indeed been left on the desks of Milly and Emma this Saturday morning for that very reason) - nope. It looks like he is finally taking seriously his committment to live longer and spend more time listening to the clip clop tunes of Barnsbury Street.

These snack items (in addition to rather too much gum and bottled water) have been placed within his easy reach as an emergency distraction when a certain craving hits him. We wish him luck and will update you all next Friday on his progress - for those of you in close contact with him - you have been warned, and we offer our apologies in advance.

Now back to your weekends please.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Friday's Cocktail Leadership

Wakey wakey....and welcome to the start of a new weekend! It is with great excitement and glee that we say "hello" to you this wonderful Friday afternoon. As per every single week in the land of Janders Dean, we've had yet another wonderful wonderful week! Big coffee collaboration call outs to those we spent time with this week.

A big thank you to everyone for your support of our Friday Cocktail Leadership rambling too - we've now got a huge readership in our three major regions of UK, US and APAC from all our old and new friends, and we've been getting wonderful feedback from you again, we thank you and promise we'll always try to keep in touch.

The books we are reading this week (in eager preparation for two weeks of fabulous cooking which will be expected of us in January 2008) include French Lessons by the "other" Justin North, and Foolproof French Cookery by the fabulous Raymond Blanc. We are certainly NOT reading the as yet unreleased Jamie Oliver book which may or may not have found it's way to us, as reading this before it is actually released would be unethical of course....honest!

In addition to reading (well....looking at the pictures while eating yogurt mainly) we are very excited about the release of our old friend the limited edition Lemon Honey & Ginger smoothie from our good friends at Innocent. We thank them once again for their amazing gift to the Freshfields team a while back - bravo Innocent.

Speaking of Freshfields - Bruce...we hope you enjoyed your stay in London. Speaking of London - Pricey...good to spend the first 20 minutes of the England game with you this week. We would love to say we were upset about the result, but the thought of the suffering did bring an evil smile to our faces here. Speaking of evil smiles (well laughter anyway) - laugh like Mutley.

When in Paris, we recommend buying black Acqua di Parma cube candles, and doing so at any cost. Now, based on experience and information provided by the ever groovy Acqua di Parma, "these are gently scented with amber, and are a striking addition to any home's decor. The larger size (are you still with us here?) will burn for around 60 hours, the smaller size for about 30". We would say that the scent of these entices floods of memories, but we would say that wouldn't we. So there you have it. Your irrelevant tip for the go and do some work....but before you do...

By the way, in case you are wondering, t
his week, if we were to be reincarnated, we would like to come back as a peppermint frog.

We're off on Monday to Blake Dawson to support the last push of the Kokoda Chics as they entertain us with tales of their trek. We ask you all to dig one more time for Cat and her crew to help them get further past their fund raising goal. We'll keep you posted. Dig deep - we dare you.

Enough (as always) from us. We're off to have a quick Friday Cocktail Leadership drink with (one of) our favourite client teams to show them the bouncing raisin in the champaign trick.

One last point....clip, clop, clip, clop......

Parsons' Passion - Knowledge Thoughts

The one and only Tom Baldwin recently posted an article on the launch of KM thought leader (also the one and only) Matthew Parsons' own personal site - - which is an interesting Knowledge Management resource best described as "the essential toolbox" all of us should take the time to review. This solo identification, collection and collation effort by Matthew aimed at selflessly sharing his personal tools, discoveries and items of KM interest will be of great value to many.

Web 2.0: Are Today's Copyright & Privacy Laws Relevant?

Marc Dautlich and Nick Eziefula (associates in the media, communications and technology group at Olswang) have written an interesting analysis here for The Times addressing the potential impact Web2.0 collaboration technologies and the emergence of social networking (as we know it today) has on the relevance of current laws around copyright and privacy infringement within the United Kingdom. Worth more than the standard four minute skim.

Irrespective of the outcome or future of this discussion, one thing is clear - if the law doesn't catch up at pace to the evolution of these areas, be certain that lawyers and their evolving service offerings and expertise will.

Selling Innovation - Talk Straight

We here at Janders Dean International encourage using a simple approach to communicating business value to lawyers and management committees. The value of many KM, IT and/or Innovation style strategic concepts can be lost on a management audience during a pitch if the language used to describe the value, the solution, and/or the technology is not kept simple. The tangible values of many ideas and innovations which the support department functions (such as IT) often champion become lost in part due to the presenter's desire to over-sell, over-protect, or over-impress.

Dr Todd Stephens is the Technical Director of the Collaboration and Online Services for the AT&T Corporation. A recent article put forward his simple set of potential project entrance and exit strategies. Althought specifically written to address the world of blogs it made us here think about how this approach of identifying clear and simple pre-project entrance and exit strategies (not necessarily the exact examples below) could be used within the planning, scoping and objectives phases of many
knowledge management or collaboration based innovation projects.

It is the simplicity that we linked into - the fact that they are focused on the "collaboration" and "value" aspects, and the tangible "user experiences", rather than placing any emphasis on identifying technology as the core of innovation is refreshing.
Entrance strategies (i.e. simple ways to sell your concepts to your investment or steering committees) included the following:

* Enhance communication & credibility

* Increase adoption of products and services

* Leverage the wisdom of the crowds

* Develop communities of end users

Exit strategies (i.e. a way to politely admit defeat and save your bacon so that you don't have to continually champion a dead horse for fear of looking like you were the one who originally made a poor decision) included the following:

* No increase in adoption or utilisation of product lines

* Improvements and enhancements are limited

* Communications become distractions to the business model

* Not enough contributions to maintain interest

Although the above are related to a particular area of technology applications in the collaboration space, it has refreshed our thinking back many years to the Deloitte Seven Signals (an internal staff mantra) and particularly the signal which encourages all to "Talk Straight".

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Future of Lawyers - The Times Update

An interesting article to skim read this week in The Times regarding the feedback from a panel of partners representing some of the major UK law firms and their response to questions regarding the future of legal services. If you have a spare four minutes, take a look here.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Friday's Leadership Cocktails

More work we hear you say? Yes...more work for Janders Dean! This week we added CanTeen (an organisation for young people dealing with cancer) and the CP Foundation who fund research to prevent Cerebral Palsy (CP), cure CP and improve the lives of people who have this condition to our list from last friday's post, and so we thank our new client teams for their nominations!

Today we would like to say a big hello to Friday's 5:21am Eurostar from London to Paris. Why? Well think about all those poor people with puffy eyes who had to get out of bed early to catch it - that's why!! What silly questions you sometimes ask....

Please remember that this week is
National Pro Bono week in the UK this week, and also National Recycling Awareness week in Australia. We're not sure what 'week' it is in Azerbaijan or Guinea-Bissau but we'll try to find out.

We also have some interesting reading for all you out there in law firm land which is linked to one of our previous posts. The feedback and comments on Susskinds new book is coming and thick and fast from his exposure at The Times in London. Take a look at some of the comments
here. There is another article of interest (although unlikely to be a trend) from Legal Week this week which we found amusing given that the annual NY pay hike war has commenced. Read it (if you're bored) here.

So how has your week been? See...we do have a concern that you're all working too hard and not taking enough time out. We'll tell you what - why don't you take the next two days off. Seriously. On us. No joke. We insist! You can thank us on Monday.

We're off now. Cheese (with wine)....

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Friday's Cocktail Leadership

OK kids, don't blame us but this week's Friday Cocktail Leadership posting is a brief one because well, we've been busy and continue to get more so as we add to our list of wonderful wonderful clients and engagements. We've also been working hard on our KM/IT Investment Thought Leadership Survey results and with our new friends at Microsoft.

But as this is Friday, and no work talk can leak into the Friday Cocktail Leadership update, let's cover off first things first.

Last week we were feeling sad about the fact that we slightly neglected our social responsibilities in October, and as a result we moved our project work aside and concentrated on introducing an idea we've had since Janders Dean was born. We're not going to shout about the details too loudly (because that is not why we do the things we do, and also because it would damage our voices and hence our chances in the next Pop Idol competition), but we will say that we thank our existing clients for their nominations, and that Medecins Sans Frontieres, Clothing Can Make A Difference and the Australian Royal Flying Doctors Service will all be hearing from us this coming Monday. We're always aiming to do more in these areas, and we will. As a related aside, for those of you who are
keeping up, we also received our Black Sugarsweet Turnip information this week!

For cocktails this week, we're going back to the tried and tested Manhattan. Our thoughts are well and truly in New York both this week and next - especially given the lovely rate of the GBP to the USD. The thought of Tiny shopping in tiny shops gives us great pleasure.

Now just because we are busy, doesn't mean you are, and so here are some things to ponder on during your Friday afternoon before you join us at the Zeta.

A group of larks is called an exaltation, a group of owls is called a parliament, and due to gravitational effects, you weigh slightly less when the moon is directly over head....and here is one you can try when you join us tonight for our weekly client and friend de-brief - a raisin dropped in a glass of fresh champange will bounce up and down continually from the bottom of the glass to the top. We dare you to prove it not be true!

We're off now to celebrate some awesome project wins with one of our client teams before the rest of the night good to your families, your friends, and your feet.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

BlackBerry Innovations - Digital Dictation

This coming Monday marks the start of a new chapter in technology adoption in Australian law firms, with the first ever digital dictation BlackBerry integration being rolled out to a select group of users across a leading Sydney firm. Although most vendors in the digital dictation space have been racing to develop this integration, with a majority of them saying that they are already "live" in one form or another, it looks like the first real-life vendor to have a real-life lawyer dictating into a real-life BlackBerry, it in a real-life situation here in Australia will be BigHand as soon as Monday in a pilot project rumoured to have taken no more than three weeks from selection to completion.

Friday's Cocktail Leadership

This week we start our Friday Cocktail Leadership with a festive note - the Janders Dean "Family & Friends" corporate Christmas gift order was placed this week, and we think that you'll all be chuffed with your prickly pressies this year. All you special people who we love to bits should be keeping your eye on the post or the reception desk in greedy anticipation. If you have not joined our circle of special friends yet, you can do so just by subscribing to our blog - you may even be in time to get on our Santa's list!

Last week we asked you to do some homework for us - don't you remember? So who did you give a spontaneous compliment to then? Shame on you....but, we'll give you an extension until next Monday (a big and exciting day for Janders Dean we think.....)

The Janders Dean team have been busy again this week with our wonderful clients, and have spent the past few days in Melbourne with our latest one - and preparing for the Janders Dean Derby Day Picnic (that is the JDDDP - pronounced "the J triple d P " - for those who have a desire to do such things with words) this Saturday.

While in Melbourne we managed to see old friends and new, and also celebrated the ACLA conference with the funny talking British duo from the VisualFiles team and Tom from the increasingly successful BigHand team. Hats (or caps) off to both vendors for kindly sponsoring the bar at the Longroom on Bourke Street while the team from Wisewoulds and Russell Kennedy talked wikis and blogs with Megan Gale.

This week we received an introduction to a funny little fellow named Kiwi from our friends at Deacons, and also received an invitation from our old friends at Deloitte to come out and play. We were presented with a virtual visit by our old pals Johnny and Steve as they head to Canada, and also from the talented David Fitch from Simmons & Simmons in London (who did indeed complete last week's homework by providing spontaneous compliments - to us!). Speaking of London, we thank the Trident girls this week for supplying the sparkle to our good friend Sparky.

We send a caffeine collaboration to our friends at ABL and their amazing BlackBerry KPI kit, the Melbourne partners at TressCox for their "first girlfriend" reminders, Kate from Headshift (the only vendors in the global legal technology and KM space to actually be legitimately groovy enough to pull off a client meeting on Brunswick Street), of course the wonderful Chrissy Burns, and all the KM Leadership Roundtable attendees for their amazing feedback and support....oh...and the partridge in that pear tree over there. One of our beautiful clients (Gilbert+Tobin) also deserve a special mention today for their recent announcement.

Our Friday Cocktail Leadership advice today is that more of us should drink with little people in tuxedos who point at the sky repeating the words "the plane" while calling you "boss", but be careful when they start talking dirty...

We have to admit that our work consumed us a little more than usual this week, and we've been guilty of neglecting our open commitment to saving the world and supporting our local communities - so....after we give ourselves a jolly good talking to and perhaps even a spank (calm down Panda)....we're all off down to the pub (knowing that walking there reduced our carbon footprint) to think about more ways Janders Dean can make a difference. We'll report back next Friday, but in the interim we urge all our friends to support our friends at The Thin Green Line.

We wish you all (as always) a merry weekend and a happy new week.

Norton Rose and Enterprise Search

Given the topic of the Janders Dean KM Leadership Roundtable event in Sydney last week, we thought that you all may find this week's "article" on Norton Rose's Enterprise Search project (courtesy of Charles Christian in the UK) of interest - even if it does read a little like an advertisement written by the marketing team of a software provider!

If the fluff and giggles (and both the mystical ROI figure and the fact that the problem was identified four years ago and solved only now) are taken away from the "article", there are a number of points that are interesting and align to the discussion undertaken during the roundtable session, and if for nothing else, it gives us another reference point to look towards.
We hope it is of value.

Gilbert+Tobin and King & Wood

The Australian Financial Review newspaper today announced the news of a strategic alliance between leading top tier Australian firm Gilbert+Tobin and China's powerhouse firm of King & Wood. As we've previously discussed here this alliance further validates the importance of the APAC region, the potential for growth in the region's legal market, and the synergies between the major Australian firms and their close neighbours.

This alliance will no doubt rattle some peer firms both in Australia, and also across the waters in the UK and the US, as Gilbert+Tobin have clearly won the race for China with this move. This is the first alliance that King & Wood (China's largest law firm with over 600 partners and lawyers) have entered into after being seduced over the years by numerous global law firms who have been looking for more than just a satellite office in one of the world's most emerging economies.

The alliance creates a force of close to 1,000 lawyers across the region, and an open collaboration of two brands which are known across the globe for both their innovation, and superior quality in the provision of legal services.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Friday Cocktail Leadership

Welcome to the next Friday Cocktail Leadership posting, where Janders Dean scribbles about our week, rather than giving you tips, hints and information on leadership within KM and IT practices across the law firm world....phew...

Today we congratulate the beautiful Cat Wirth, Marketing Director from Blake Dawson Waldron (soon to be Blake Dawson) and all the Kokoda Chicks for completing the trek to Kokoda and raising huge funds for Australian breast cancer charities. The group reached their target destination this Tuesday night and spent the evening in the village before preparing to fly back to Australia later this week. For those of you who still wish to congratulate cat – say it with cash, and contribute to the fund raising here.

We’ve been very busy here as usual, but we’ve not forgotten to have fun and celebrate. We’re all off to Derby Day in Melbourne next week to do just that, and then London to celebrate our latest project win and host a Friday Cocktail Leadership event with our new friends (oh…and finally finish our London office planning).

For Cocktails this week we like anything Parisian.

Our thought leadership this week extends to the new scientific fact that one of the only single pieces of music where it is clinically proven (and not in the same clinic where they prove that jojoba extract strengthens your hair) that you cannot get stressed if you listen to it is Pachelbel's Canon in D. We took time this week to take a fresh listen to this and must indeed agree. We also took the time to find one person on the globe (as there always is) who bucks the trend.

Thanks to those who crowded in for the first Janders Dean KM Leadership Roundtable this morning - Australia's senior Knowledge Management thought leaders representing firms such as Freehills, Blake Dawson Waldron, Gilbert+Tobin, Baker McKenzie, DLA Phillips Fox, Minter Ellison, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Clayton Utz, Ebsworth & Ebsworth and Sparke Helmore gathered for breakfast and an open discussion on the issues around Enterprise Search and how/if there is a current problem within knowledge management working practices in this country that such a product and subsequent investment can address.

A shout out to our new pals at Deacons, to Jason Newman of TressCox (Captain Smash Sparrow) for the Derby Day treasure hunt, David at Suncorp, and to our new friend Kate from Headshift as she prepares to welcome her own Kate2.0. There is one last person who needs a special mention, and without her we could not have survived this week – she is the maker of muffins, the bringer of coffee, the giver of spontaneous hugs (and left overs) when she thinks we look stressed. Varvara rocks our world!!

We also say a great big Janders Dean “how you do’n” to the CC&T Practice Group at Gilbert+Tobin who invited us to share their Thursday evening this week – if you are reading this CC&T members, then funky Jamiroquai hats off to you for joining the revolution. Remember, as your very own leader told me this week, “in any revolution you have to eventually choose a side and pick up a gun”. We’re glad that you chose our side, but we would rather you pick up a flower or maybe some litter instead (sorry Peter). Wiki wiki wiki ning ning ning…. wiki wiki....

Those in the know keep a regular eye on our email disclaimers – and to those of you who asked about our current buns this week ,you can be safe in the knowledge that they are hard as steel, and reserved for the middle of the matrix.

Have wonderful weekends friends, and please do us one small favour over the coming days – spontaneously compliment someone for something. It makes them (and you) feel wonderful, and is not done nearly enough. Try it, you’ll see what we mean… the way, you look awesome in that outfit. Is it new?

Janders Dean KM Thought Leadership Roundtable

Many thanks to all those who attended this morning's KM Roundtable on the emergence and validity of Enterprise Search in the APAC law firm market.

The country's senior most Knowledge Management thought leaders representing firms such as Freehills, Blake Dawson Waldron, Gilbert+Tobin, Baker McKenzie, DLA Phillips Fox, Minter Ellison, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Clayton Utz, Ebsworth & Ebsworth and Sparke Helmore gathered for breakfast and an open discussion on the issues around Enterprise Search and how/if there is a current problem within knowledge management working practices in this country that such a product and subsequent investment can address.

In addition to a review of the usual suspects in the vendor space, and an informative discussion around fee earner behaviours, the group also discussed the scope and structure of potential proof of concept programs.

Discussion was also reserved to address the value in developing a series of fee earner "personas" using a goal directed design technique to uncover user behaviours (either search or otherwise), and the fact that developing these personas to a level of fee earner experience (based on years qualified) and also individual practice group (e.g. a 1st-2nd year Associate in Corporate) allows KM and IT leaders to uncover user needs and issues that can then be addressed and better adopted - rather than having a solution that needs a problem found.

Thanks must go to Gilbert+Tobin for hosting the event, and again to those who contributed and shared such valuable content with their peers (while avoiding the desire to move into discussion on Web2.0 technologies).

The next invitation only Janders Dean KM Leadership event will be hosted in December, and will address the topic of which cocktail on the list at the Zeta bar is better. We look forward to once again welcoming you to this peer-to-peer forum.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The End of Lawyers - Susskind Leads The Way

In an email last night, law firm technology guru Richard Susskind OBE invited Janders Dean (in addition to others) to preview his greatly anticipated book "The End of Lawyers" which is a follow up to his 1996 bestseller "The Future of Law" and is extending this preview concept to a wider audience via The Times Online.

For those of you who don't know, Richard writes a column in the Law Section of London's leading newspaper The Times - each of you can now access the previews and provide comments to the book before it is published

The Times writes that "Alongside each week’s extract will be an interview with a leading legal figure: names include Richard Bennett, general counsel at HSBC,
David Morley, managing partner at Allen & Overy, and Mark Chandler, general counsel at Cisco Systems in the US."

This is a fantastic opportunity to preview what will no doubt be ground breaking global thought leadership on the future of law, and the challenges that lawyers around the world will face if they do not acept new ways of working.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Linklaters: A Global Law Firm Management Case Study

For all of you who enjoy the management side of law firms, (and for those that know a good case study when you see one), take the time to read and re-read this article from October's The American Lawyer addressing the management trends and approaches at the global success which is Linklaters.

This is a great historical wrap up of the firm, and points to a number of issues that the firm overcame on their way to a multi-billion dollar business.

Friday's Cocktail Leadership

Another week, another Friday Cocktail Leadership.

Our London friends are still feeling the effects of the first Legal IT Forum to be held in Turnberry (the old Gleneagles event which eveyone is having trouble referring to as anything but Gleneagles), and yet good reports of the presentations and roundtables have managed to come through the whiskey fog. For those of you who want to see what you missed (from the point of view of the agenda) check it out

Our Sydney cocktail consumers have been eagerly attending client sites this week impressing all with their dramatic pauses, hair tossing, and clever use of jazz hands to convey the business processes around knowledge collaboration within law firms - oh...and their imput into some of the most innovative legal IT projects currently underway should also probably be noted. All this while also preparing for the next two weeks of conferences and roundtables in their spare time.

We also paid a virtual visit to our new favorite hotel - the
Hotel Amigo in Brussels. Thanks to Hamlet and the concierge team for their assistance this week.

In our ever present desire to think and be green (just like our friend
The Hulk) we've adopted a vegetable - the Black Sugarsweet Turnip to be exact - did you know that traditional organic vegetables are dying out and need your support? True!

As an example, in the United Kingdom, the Victorians grew over 120 different varieties of tall garden pea providing a continuous picking of freshly shelled peas throughout the summer months. A century later, frozen peas reign supreme. Food processors require varieties where all the peas ripen at once. Consequently, only one tall pea variety remains....sad we know...especially for the cute little peas. Forget smelly pandas and smart arse dolphins for a moment and
adopt a veg.

By adopting a veg you will be directly contributing to its conservation. With your donation you will be helping to pay for the seed handling, storage and propagation facilities, as well as the staff needed to look after the ever-expanding collection.

You can even chose your own from the list - we were thinking of the "Red Elephant" carrot or the "Mortgage Lifter" runner bean, but the Black Sugarsweet Turnip ended up as ours. Click
here for things to do with turnips.

Today we will leave you with one thought courtesy of Australia's High Court Justice Michael Kirby who recently presentated at the 25th anniversary dinner for the NSW Society of Computers & Law. "It's a strange thing the human being. It can have these wonderful mental explosions, it can dream of the farthest planet and distant galaxies, it can send new technologies and vehicles out there to explore, and it can plumb down to the depths of the ocean, it can analyse the genome, break up the gene, split the atom, and yet here on earth we can still do unkind things to each other and still be unequal and unjust".

That is it from us this week - we're all off to Zeta for some turnip cocktails before the next week grabs us...enjoy the weekend friends.

Have you ever hit a nerd?

While we've recently been on the "geeky short guy with glasses" bandwagon discussing the way in which law firms approach innovation in legal practice, and also their approach to the potential adoption of new technologies to enhance the success rate of this legal practice innovation, here is some Friday reading for the nerds who are keeping up to date with Enterprise 2.0 technologies....and particularly those who keep asking us about Sharepoint.

This week Microsoft announced a strategic partnership with the
Confluence wiki platform and the Newsgator RSS application - all designed (in marketing department speak) to enhance the strategic appeal and enterprise social features of the Microsoft Sharepoint portal suite.

Those with experience with the current challenges that many organisations are experiencing with fully realising their enterprise knowledge management and social collaboration objectives with Sharepoint will see this as validation that Sharepoint alone may not (today) necessarily be "enough" (or the one-stop solution so many of you want it to be).

Our tip for the innovators and thought leaders in this space - Lee Bryant, Livio Hughes, and the funky HS team in London.

Now go and do some real work people....

Friday, October 12, 2007

Innovation Warning

Let's talk about the technology aspect of "innovation"....

A number of our clients and contacts have been picking our brains lately in relation to the market and media buzz around social networking (see here) - asking what London and US firms are doing in these spaces (our good friend and global thought leader Ruth Ward at Allen & Overy started it all long ago people, so we question it still being considered an "innovation" by the media, but anyway...), and what can and should be achieved for Australian and Asian firms.

Although we are not going to give away the entire farm, we are happy to share some thoughts.

Our first warning on this topic is to make sure you are not jumping on the band wagon just because you think you need to - and particularly that you are not racing forward without a clear and agreed FIRM WIDE strategy that aligns all the possible and achievable benefits of these new('ish) technologies across the internal practice of law, your possible external offerings to your clients, and the utilisation of innovative technologies for branding, recruitment and market "buzz" purposes. We're not saying don't do it - far from it....

Without clear thinking and a documented approach, you run the risk of falling into the "portal" and "deal room" traps of the late 1990's - everyone wanted one, but no-one was sure why or what they were supposed to achieve - only few clients benefited, but the benefit was high for some - however most firms saw this as a solution to push to all clients and users, rather than understanding the requirements and values.

Without a strategy and some thinking before you start, you run the very real risk of having each department (such as Marketing or Knowledge Management) getting excited after a conference or news items and then running in separate directions (with best intentions) without talking to each other (or the wider firm) about a single approach and the wider goal/s.

There is also the risk that without thought, your clients and lawyers will be side-stepped in this process, and that your support departments will (again with best intentions) simply create a blog, wiki, or social networking presence because you can (or because other peer firms have). These will undoubtedly have a short life and/or the benefits will not be realised - and with multiple and unplanned efforts, your brand is at risk. One other potential result is that you may easily waste an opportunity to discovery a true use for this technology which may indeed return tangible value to lawyers and clients (remember these people?).

So in short - stop...don't rush....and create a plan first (we know it sounds boring) that aligns what your Marketing, Knowledge Management, IT, HR, partners and clients think they want to try.

So why involve all these departments, and why working toegther?

Well think about it - each have their own reasons to explore the possibilities - for example, HR may want to address the summer clerks, alumni and graduate recruitment processes and utilise some "buzz" and "market spin" via tools such as Facebook (see Linklaters LPC Class of '07 and Clifford Chance's Feb 2008 Trainees page as examples). Although not a law firm, check out what the Eclipse Group (part of Deloitte Australia) have on their recruitment site - play the video.

Marketing may want to be involved as they have been at Sheppard Mullin (see their use of blogs as a replacement for client newsletters here They may also see the value for providing internal tools for their teams where wikis are used internally to capture and collaborate on new and emerging industry and market analysis tasks.

Good old Knowledge Management (where a majority of these technologies were first utilsied within professional service environments) should be looking to utilise these technologies for a variety of both internal working practices and external client value-add reasons (see the Allen & Overy link above and also the way in which Linklaters still continues to innovate with BlueFlag after all this time - even though this is not necessarily bundled in the Web2.0 technologies - and their Linkpedia). Many more examples like these exist - see Pinsent Masons innovations (again not necessarily Web2.0, but evidence of what can be achieved when all the support departments, fee earners, and clients work together to find ways to innovate).

KM have uncovered a plethora of internal working practices that these technologies can be tested on - however it is the type of law and the behaviour of users which will dictate success. Do not be under the illusion that one solution will be a firm-wide success. What a tax lawyer will want and use will be very different to what a real estate lawyer will want and use. The possibilities multiply the more geographically disperse and large the firm.

We hate to go on about this - but rather than allowing each internal department to gain an individual benefit, again think about the benefits of these support teams working together with the lawyers and (yes) clients on these offerings during the planning and design phases so as to achieve a higher potential for overall success, and also - to ensure that from a branding and a "mojo" perspective, the design, the approach, the look & feel, the potential for market buzz, the branding etc for the firm's approach to innovation is consistent and clearly defined/identifiable.
We would have to say that from an external perspective that Linklaters is by far and away ahead of the pack in relation to a single branding and firm wide approach to adoption of "outside world" facing technologies - this is demonstrated simply by the example of their global web strategy and the simple and cheap wins created by the use of consistently branded sub-sites for specific and tangible Marketing and HR purposes. This also shows that cutting edge technologies are not necessarily required to show innovation.

By the way - if we took an approach which said that actually Web2.0 and related technologies are no longer "innovative" because it these are no longer new (that is not to say that you can't benefit still from being a current adopter), we would need to look at the "what next" scenario. Now we are certainly NOT giving away the farm here; however a quick tip would be to have your lawyers gaze at the stars for a while, and ask your clients as well - ask them where there are efficiencies to be gained, products and services to be provided to clients, markets to be tapped (hello China). Also listen carefully to the core information providers and the courts. This approach will give you an answer far faster if you focus also on goal directed analysis, rather than finding solutions first that are awaiting problems.

So who do we rate as leaders in this particular field (i.e. the user of wikis, blogs, social networking, etc)? Well that is easy - we've been fortunate to work with, drink with, scribble with, and spend time around some of the best, and their thought leadership and early adoption has contributed to our thinking in this space. They clearly led the way as innovators, and we are all learning from them now - our ideas are simply taken from the lessons these leaders learnt.

In London we would say that a conversation with our friends Ruth Ward, Marc-Henri Chamay and the team at Allen & Overy, Australian ex-pats such as Matthew Parsons and Katja Ullrich at Linklaters, Stuart Barr at Headshift, another Australian ex-pat David Fitch at Simmons & Simmons, and Sam Dimond at Clifford Chance is essential - as is a glass of wine with the ever youthful Melanie Farquharson (ex-Simmons & Simmons, now Director at 3Kites) is also a must.

It is not surprising that those who have found success and realised a benefit from innovation utilising technology also happen to be those who clearly understand lawyer behaviours, the differences between practice areas and areas of law, and who have indeed been embedded within the practice group floors. Does that tell you something?
When considering the Australian market, the Lovely Chrissy Burns at Blake Dawson Waldron and Gerard Neiditsch at Mallesons are the two clear leaders in our opinion.

The core message to take from the above is to gently pause, thoughtfully plan, recognise that a collective strategy and approach across all the areas that could be impacted or enhanced via this technology is essential, and finally - look for something new, as that is true innovation as well as playing your part in keeping up with the Jones'.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Friday's Cocktail Leadership

We here at Janders Dean love Fridays - it is all we think about on Saturday mornings, plus it gives us a chance to take our beloved friends and clients out on the town to one of the now infamous CLE sessions (Cocktail Leadership Education).

This week has been a busy one for us here - we've been busy supporting our most beloved Cat Wirth (Marketing Director of Blake Dawson Waldron) as a formal corporate sponsor for the Kokoda Chicks trek to raise funds for breast cancer research.

Check out and keep yourself posted on the events and the training regime.

We have also planted four new trees this week - for the nerds out there, you'll understand that each tree planted ‘offsets’ your environmental impact by ‘breathing’ in about 730 kg CO2 emissions over its lifetime of 100 years. It is estimated that the average person needs to save about 7,000 kg of CO2 per year. So planting just 10 trees each year is one strategy for achieving this......or you could simply let all that mumbo jumbo go over your head as you prepare yourself for Friday night drinks but promise us that you will think about planting a tree before the end of the month - we dare you.

By the way - if you don't have space, go here and they'll plant it for you

Not only were we busy being good, we even got a little mention again out there in cyber space. For any of those who subscribe to Australiasian Legal Technology (a free newsletter resource run by Chris McLean at Sparke Helmore to collate news from around the region on legal IT announcements - similar to Charles' Orange Rag), you would have seen a piece announcing the arrival of Janders Dean in Australia (link below).

We love seeing our own name - it makes us feel all warm and fuzzy, but alas, the "first street, first pet" theory isn't correct.

Some of our friends are apparantly are also playing away at Turnberry - news on the conference to follow when they have sobered up and reported back to base (the country code is 61 people - and it is not big or clever to see the sun rise two mornings in a row).

Oh...and we also did some phenominal work with our existing clients, and added two new ones! Welcome to those two, and get ready for your initiation into the Janders Dean CLE hall of fame.

Crouching Tiger About to Pounce

This week has seen some of our old law firm strategic thoughts on mergers and growth trends validated. Although we've been musing over the potential for this since our days in London over two years ago, we were recently quoted here ( as saying that "that the next large merger will not be "vertical" (NY-London), but "horizontal" (China-Australia), because of the synergies between these two countries and their respective economies".

In an article from The Lawyer entitled "Malaysia and Singapore's finest unite to form South East Asia powerhouse", it was announced that Malaysia’s largest law firm, Zaid Ibrahim and Co will form a strategic alliance with Allen & Gledhill, Singapore’s largest law firm from January 2008 onwards.

Although only a strategic alliance (and one that excludes an Australian presence just yet), we have thought since early this decade that the trend will hit soon as Asian law firms realise the potential of their own regions and the power of their own brands - and hence pause to think about the consequences of jumping into an alliance with an existing US or UK mega-firm too quickly.

At a recent Janders Dean Mergers Advice mini-conference involving firms in both China and Australia, attendees discussed the synergies between the regions in relation to the future growth of various practices of law including energy and resources, infrastructure and construction, and IP/IT legal services. Discussion also surrounded the cultural aspects of potential strategic alliances and mergers, the staffing and secondment challenges, the threat of the existing UK/US mega firms entering the market place, and a friendly wager on the gold medal count at the upcoming Olympic Games.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

KM Thought Leadership Roundtable

With only two weeks to go until the next Janders Dean KM Leadership Roundtable in Sydney Australia, we have been chuffed at the success to date. Within 48 hours of restricted invitations being sent, all places were taken with a majority of Australia's largest and most innovative law firms being represented at senior management level. Now, we would like to think that this is because of our good looks and humour; however we suspect it has something to do with the specific subject matter of this session. Stay with us for an update on the event.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Web 2.0 Across the Enterprise - RIP Law Firm CRM

The final nail in the coffin for law firm CRM (Client Relationship Management) appears to be ready to be hammered home. The emergence of Web 2.0 technologies aimed specifically at the enterprise, and the evolution of social networking funtionality away from "personal" and closer to "enterprise professional"...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The 2nd Annual APAC LawTech Summit

The 2nd Annual APAC LawTech Summit is currently being held here at the Noosa Sheraton Hotel and Resort in Queensland, Australia.

As the event comes to a close, it is fair to say that the content and caliber of this year’s speakers has been second to none in comparison to any other event held this year within the law firm management and/or law firm technology/knowledge management fields. Moreover, the event’s success has been secured by the attendees themselves. A majority of the region’s major firms were well represented with the total number of attendees easily surpassing 100 – an amazing feat given the time of the year, the disruptions in Sydney caused by the recent APEC summit, and the involvement of Australian firms in the recent ILTA conference in the USA.

Tom Baldwin (Chief Knowledge Officer – Sheppard Mullin USA), Sally Gonzalez (Director – Navigant), Peter Williams (Partner – Deloitte), and the ever impressive and innovative (and “fantastically amusing”) Richard Susskind OBE of “The Future of Legal Technology” fame, provided immense input and value to the agenda.

Tom’s presentation yesterday on the application of Sheppard Mullin’s Microsoft SharePoint strategy provided one of the very first tangible examples for many attendees of the way in which a law firm can utilise this platform – a question that (prior to Tom’s session) was on many attendees lips. He also provided a number of innovative ideas and overviews on the state of the Enterprise Search market place – something that he is certainly qualified to do given his experience.

Peter Williams from Deloitte Digital and the Eclipse Group entertained the packed room with his ideas and experience on innovation (and his frustrations with Macs), and was the talk of the networking drinks which followed. Peter’s approach to Web 2.0 technologies, and his encouragement to embrace (rather than restrict) users’ uptake of social networking sites such as Facebook initially surprised a number of the CIOs in the room; however his explanations as to how innovation and emerging trends will allow firms to benefit from the development of such sites had a number of attendees eagerly scribbling down notes for their return to their firms.

Peter’s second session of the conference today on the emergence of Blogs and Wikis within the walls of a law firm was another valuable session which yet again proved that the organisers have been spot on with their thoughts on the non-vendor elements of the agenda.

In our opinion, it is great to see the Australian firms come closer to their international cousins in this area. Linklaters and Allen & Overy (and Sheppard Mullin) are certainly leading the way in their use of these technologies, and it is a great compliment to the firms in this hemisphere that they are able to hold their own against much larger and cashed up firms and IT/KM Departments.

To this point, the event’s link with ILTA again this year has proved invaluable. For those firms not yet members of ILTA, we would encourage you to contact the region’s current chairperson (Brent Snow of Baker MacKenzie) to discuss the program (

We have been fortunate enough to be traveling on the Web 2.0 journey with a number of our clients currently as we work with regional early adopters on their strategy around the internal and external uses of Blogs and Wikis – more to be posted here in the coming weeks as one client goes to market with their announcements.

The event is being chaired by Martin Telfer (APAC CIO – Baker MacKenzie) who continues to provide valuable insight (mixed with Martin’s own famous brand of satire and humour), and has seen additionally impressive presentations from Richard Parsons (Change Management) and Ben Swindale (VOIP) of Mallesons Stephen Jaques, Maureen Duffy (Litigation Support Strategies) of Freehills, and an engaging panel discussion on “the role of the CIO in relation to innovation” featuring John Duckett (CIO – DLA Phillips Fox), Sally, Martin and Maureen which has just concluded after some great audience participation.

Although this was the second annual event, it was the launch of the annual Legal Technology Awards. Large IT Team of the Year was taken out by Baker MacKenzie with Cooper Grace Ward scooping the award for Small IT Team of the Year. Other awards went to BAT, Australian Business Lawyers, Australian Government Solicitors and Campbell & Co.

As a special note – the international version of these awards is currently open for nomination. We encourage all Asia Pacific firms to participate in these awards by nominating peer firms. Australian firms have a great reputation internationally for innovation and excellence in Knowledge Management and Legal Technology, so take a visit to and get nominating. Nominations close at the end of October with the awards being presented in London on 31st January.

Yes, the networking went off with a bang as usual. Of course, what happens in Noosa, stays in Noosa. Special award to the 4am Polar Bear Beach Club members (you know who you are).

The event would not succeed without the involvement of the obvious array of our industry’s software and hardware vendors – although these booths are sometimes seen as a necessary evil at such events, hats off to all for diligently and professionally buying drinks and manning your booths so as to answer the range of questions fired at you by a caffeine influenced crowd who were mainly interested in taking your branded pens and giveaways rather than hearing about your recent wins in Bratislava. Special mentions must go to BigHand Digital Dictation for their demonstration of their impressive BlackBerry dictation integration, Cannon for their amazing support of our industry yet again, and new participants Nuance and Nuix.

Not only the was the event of great value from a content and networking perspective, the team from CMS Chilli Marketing yet again excelled themselves with their professionalism, hospitality, and their understanding of what makes an event of this scale work for all concerned. Congratulations to George, Kathy, Jenny and the team at Chilli for creating such a remarkable event and getting it right each time. The industry looks forward to yet another engaging event in 2008 and applauds the organisers for their hard work.