Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Gurteen Knowledge Cafe - London (Deloitte)

An excellent Gurteen Knowledge Cafe held at Deloitte's offices this week in London attracted close to 80 people (with places filling up in a single day).

The topic was around the history and future evolution of Communities of Practice, with the core cafe question being "How will the emergence of new social media, current organizational dynamics and social change shape the role and impact of communities over the next 10 years?"

The cafe kicked off with an excellent presentation by leading thinker and CoP expert Richard McDermott.

We particularly enjoyed Richard's discussion around the realisation that CoP's would thrive more when given formality, structure, leadership and goals and objectives - rather than the traditional view that informality allowed communities to thrive and be effective.

What was also exceptional, was the discussion around the fact that face-to-face allowed for greater success than "on-line", which was a nice introduction into the group discussion around the evolution of social media and the rise of the Google generation - will they (or the tools they use and the way they use them) change the face of communities of practice, and/or change the very nature of organisations in the future?

Richard's research also points to the fact that the less sophisticated the technology - the better the adoption and greater the chance of success - and that too few organisations put enough emphasis on the design of the 'social' side of the community, focusing rather on an over design of the technology to support and enable them.

There was some great discussion across the groups at the cafe, but what it didn't explore enough for us was the individual human motivations associated with community memberships - what are the reasons an individual seeks, joins, starts, participates or consumes from a community? Do these motivations change over time? Is there a link to our old pal Maslow? Do the motivations differ if the group is internal or external to the organisation? Do these motivations match other members or conflict with other members motivations - and does the conflict or co-operation of individual motivations contribute to the ultimate success of the group.

For those in the know, you'll understand the value of having Richard present. He is a founding thinkers on communities of practice, co-author of Cultivating Communities (Harvard University Press) and author of over 3 dozen articles on communities of practice, expertise development, and sharing good practice.

His articles have appeared in the Harvard Business Review, the California Management Review, the Journal of Knowledge Management, the Cutter IT Journal, The Knowledge Management Review and others.

If you've not yet been to a Gurteen Cafe, we would strongly suggest jumping in and getting involved, as it is an excellent way to hear cross industry experiences in the world of Knowledge Management. Well done Dave.

Lewis Silkin & Sword's MS SharePoint Demonstration

Many thanks to Jan and Carol for their time today in London demonstrating the MS SharePoint document management solution to be deployed at Lewis Silkin later this year. This will be an interesting piece to watch and also to reflect on in five years time from a trend perspective. For more details on this, see Charles's info here and further information from Sword here.

Phenomenal Law Firm Time Capture (Not Just Recording) Tool

Just came back from a private viewing of the latest version of the APS DTE time capture tools and BlackBerry integration via the team at Phoenix in London.

The new features coming out are mind blowing, and will be a must see for those who still rely on the standard out of the box time entry features of their current practice management systems (this release does so much more than even the newer ones such as 3E) or the legacy Carpe application. See
here for the video.

We loved the fact that DTE InHand allows users to very intuitively bill calls telephone on the BlackBerry (as well as an option for billing email traffic), while also giving the lawyers a tool for generally updating their time recording history while out of the office (and not necessarily while in range of a signal).

Eversheds and LG are the latest firms to be running with this product, and we won't be surprised if more firms also go down this path (quite rapidly). Hats off to the APS and Phoenix teams for incorporating such a high level of user feedback into this new look, feel and functionality suite.

There is a public event for this being held for those in London on 11th March. See
here for details.

Legal Leadership Forum - Sydney

Janders Dean will be speaking at the Alphawest Legal Leadership Forum in Sydney (9th April 2010) on the topic of "The Evolution of Search and Retrieval Technologies - Inside Law Firms and Across The Real World". Attend this timely forum to hear Justin North explain how search and research technology can help law firms improve client relationship management, productivity and most importantly your lawyers’ needs. Topics covered will include:

* How search and retrieval technologies have evolved within the global law firm environment

* How search engines will be able to connect lawyers to documents that are conceptually related

* How to incorporate informal information into your current knowledge management system to help improve your client relationships

* The current state of the Enterprise Search market across law firms in the US, UK and Australia.

* The newly emerging applications, technologies and presentation/flotation designs and functionality which we can expect to see adopted in law firm applications in the future.

We're looking forward to seeing old friends and new when we land back in Sydney this April to share our experiences after a cold winter in London. Touch base with the team from Alphawest if you need access to the event, or drop us an email at the usual address.

Monday, February 8, 2010

London SharePoint Event

Interesting and valuable event for those in London this week around MS SharePoint framework from the ClearPeople people. The event will be held on Thursday 11 February 2010 from 9.00am to 1.00pm at the central London Microsoft Offices (Cardinal Place, 100 Victoria Street, London SW1E 5JL).

here for full details.

Allen & Overy - Welcome to Australia

London giant Allen & Overy is to open doors in Australia from 1 March 2010 with a practice consisting of 17 partners. The firm will target the country's lucrative mining market to begin with, with offices located in Sydney and Perth.

Full story
here. Welcome to Oz!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Autonomy Sales & Profits Jump

Old pals Autonomy saw a 53% jump in fourth quarter sales, with gross operating margins recovering after the third quarter to 44%. Full year pre-tax profits were up 55% to USD$323m. Full year revenue rose 47% to USD$740m, with 16% of this being credited to 'organic growth' and the rest coming from the buy out of another old pal - Interwoven.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Alternative Billing Arrangements - To The Disruptors Go The Spoils

"Disruption is a positive force. It is the process by which an innovation transforms a market whose services or products are complicated and expensive into one where simplicity, convenience, accessibility, and affordability characterize the industry."

Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen (in the text "Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns" co-authored by Michael Horn and Curtis Johnson) stated the above without direct reference to the legal industry (it was the education system in the United States that was the focus of numerous references in his book), but how apt is the text when read over and over with your law firm management hat on.

A useful summary article from the ALB on the trend towards the desire by corporate counsel for more standardisation in alternative billing arrangements, with a case study of the innovation and leadership shown in this space by Gilbert+Tobin (specifically in relation to Telstra).

In the article, Gilbert+Tobin's Managing Partner Danny Gilbert sums up the win-win scenarios available through such innovation saying that "When you've got clients that just want to win all the time on pricing, it just won't work. Where you've got clients who just want to absorb your entire margin either through discounts or fixed-price arrangements then nobody wants to do their work - the relationship can't blossom in those circumstances".

In a sign that Gilbert+Tobin's innovation mojo is still in tack, Telstra General Counsel Will Irving nicely defines the G+T approach not only as innovative, but also makes suggestions towards the power of 'disruptors' in determining the future of the long term market.

"You bring a disruptive player into any market and you will change the economics for the whole lot, and you will give people the incentive to find better ways of doing things" Irving states in the article.

Irving and Gilbert stand validated as news comes in that the Department of Defence has called for similar styles of billing arrangements during its current panel review - stating that they are likely to be the first of many federal government agencies to go down this path.

The Harvard Business School has a nice piece on the power of disruption from 2007 entitled "Jumpstarting Innovation: Using Disruption to Your Advantage" here.

Full article from the ALB re Telstra and Gilbert+Tobnin


As we mentioned back in November 2009, Google is pouncing like a hungry tiger on all things law. The beta of GoogleScholar continues to be a massive hit around the globe, and LexisNexis and WestLaw are taking the threat seriously with the revamp of their products.

An interesting article from the
Business Insider entitled "Welcome to the 21st Century - Lexis Realising Their Power Might Not Last Forever" also follows on from a recent New York Times article of a similar theme.

2010 is shaping up to be the start of something fun for those watching this space...

LegalTech New York - Awards

Although announced late last year (2009), the annual LegalTech awards were presented to the winners last night in New York, and there is some interesting observations.

As we mentioned in previous blogs from 2009, Tom Baldwin of
ReedSmith has a win in two categories (Most Innovative use of Technology by a Law Firm and Champion of Technology). Autonomy has taken out the Gold award for Records Management, Recommind took out the Gold award for Knowledge (i.e. search), and Index Engines Unified Discovery Platform taking out New Product of the Year.

The vast number of litigation related awards and winners indicates an industry within and industry, with the traditional document management and practice management applications and vendors holding less of the marketing buzz/power from previous years.

The full list of winners is below:

Law Firm and Legal Department Awards winners:
IT Director of the Year
Steve Fletcher - Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein

Champion of Technology
Tom Baldwin - Reed Smith

Most Innovative use of Technology by a Law Firm
Tom Baldwin - Reed Smith

Most Innovative use of Technology by a Law Department
Chad Anson- Dell

Most Innovative use of Technology during a Trial
Khmer Rouge Trial Team - Cambodia Tribunal

Most Innovative use of Technology for a Pro Bono Project
Lynn Burns - Pro Bono Law Ontario

Consultant of the Year
Craig Ball

2009 LTN Lifetime Achievement Award
John Alber - Bryan Cave

Vendor Awards winners:

New Product of the Year
Gold - Index Engines Unified Discovery Platform - Index Engines
Silver - Tabs3 & PracticeMaster Version 15.2 - Software Technology, Inc.
Bronze - PC Postage Version 8.0 -

Case Management Software for Large Firms (100+)
Gold - CaseMap 8 - LexisNexis
Silver - Document Mapper for Ringtail Legal - FTI Technology

Case Management Software for Small & Mid-sized firms (up to 99 attorneys)
Gold - CaseMap 8 with DocPreviewer - LexisNexis
Silver - PracticeMaster Software - Software Technology, Inc.
Bronze - ProLaw Software - Elite, A Thomson Reuters business

CRM System
Gold - InterAction- LexisNexis

Collaboration Tools
Gold - Workshare Professional 5.2 SR2 - Workshare
Silver - Martindale-Hubbell Connected - LexisNexis
Bronze - Ontrack Shareview - Kroll Ontrack

Dictation Systems
Gold - BigHand for BlackBerry - BigHand Inc.
Silver - Winscribe Dictation - Winscribe
Bronze - Digta 420 with Easy Mode - GBS North American L.L.C.

Docketing & Calendar Application
Gold - ProLaw Software - Elite, A Thomson Reuters business
Silver - eDockets by American Legal Net - American Legal Net
Bronze - Time Matters - LexisNexis

Document Management System
Gold - Worldox-Worldox GX SRI - World Software Corporation
Silver - Fusion Genome - Exterro, Inc.
Bronze - iManage WorkSite - Autonomy

EDD Services Analysis
Gold - CT Summation Enterprise - CT Summation
Silver - Autonomy Investigator & Early Case Assessment - Autonomy
Bronze - Ontrack Advanceview - Kroll Ontrack

EDD Services Collection
Gold - LAW PreDiscovery 5.3 & 5.4 - LexisNexis
Silver - Kroll Ontrack Data Collection Services - Kroll Ontrack
Bronze - Trident De-Duplication - Wave Software, LLC

EDD Services Identification
Gold - Kroll Ontrack ESI Consulting Group - Kroll Ontrack
Silver - Autonomy Investigator & Early Case Assessment - Autonomy
Bronze - Trident Near Duplicate Detection - Wave Software, LLC

EDD Services Preservation
Gold - Simpana 8 software - CommVault
Silver - Kroll Ontrack Data Collection Services - Kroll Ontrack
Bronze - Autonomy Legal Hold - Autonomy

EDD Services Processing
Gold - CT Summation Discovery Cracker - CT Summation
Silver - EDD & Consulting service - Altep
Bronze - LAW PreDiscovery 5.3 & 5.4 - LexisNexis

EDD Services Production
Gold - CT Summation CaseVault Services - CT Summation
Silver - Kroll Ontrack Discovery Services - Kroll Ontrack
Bronze - The Cerulean Engine - Planet Data

EDD Services Review
Gold - CT Summation CaseVault Services - CT Summation
Silver - Concordance 10 - LexisNexis
Bronze - Kroll Ontrack Document Review Services - Kroll Ontrack

Knowledge Management System
Gold - MindServer Search - Recommind, Inc.
Silver - iManage Universal Search - Autonomy

Mobile Tool/Device/Service
Gold - CT Summation WebBlaze - CT Summation
Silver - BigHand for BlackBerry - BigHand Inc.
Bronze - Worldox/Web Mobile - World Software Corporation

Litigation Support Consultant
Gold - EDD & Consulting service - Altep
Silver - Litigation Solutions Jumpstart Consulting - LexisNexis
Bronze - Kroll Ontrack ESI Consulting Group - Kroll Ontrack

Litigation Support Software
Gold - CT Summation iBlaze - CT Summation
Silver - Index Engines Unified Discovery Platform - Index Engines
Bronze - Concordance 10 - LexisNexis

Practice Management System
Gold - Tabs3 & PracticeMaster Software - Software Technology, Inc.
Silver - LexisNexisTotal Practice Advantage - LexisNexis
Bronze - Clio - Themis Solutions

Records Management Software
Gold - iManage RecordsManager - Autonomy
Silver - Index Engines Unified Discovery Platform - Index Engines
Bronze - Unified Archive - ZL Technologies, Inc.

Risk Management Service/Consultant
Gold - Kroll Ontrack Secure Information Services-Kroll Ontrack

Time and Billing for Large Firms (100+ attorneys)
Gold - Elite Billing Manager-Elite, a Thomson Reuters Business
Silver - RainMaker Platinum- RainMaker Software, Inc.
Bronze - DTE Axiom- Advanced Productivity Software

Time and Billing for Small and Mid-sized firms (Up to 99 attorneys)
Gold - Tabs3 Billing Software - Software Technology, Inc.
Silver - Rocket Matter - Rocket Matter
Bronze - PCLaw - LexisNexis

Trial Presentation Software
Gold - TrialDirector v5.2 - inData
Silver - Sanction 2.9 - Sanction Solutions

LexisNexis & WestLaw Revamps - More Information technology editor Sean Doherty has the latest (and most comprehensive to date) write up of the new changes to the LexisNexis and WestLaw interfaces. His article (found here) includes good screen shots of both, and an excellent write up.

We strongly recommend a read of this, and that you get your head space fixed on these so that you can place the enhancements on your roadmaps - these are changes that will positively impact the user community, and we encourage you to clearly understand them as soon as possible.

These new releases are causing the most buzz at LegalTech New York this week, and it is great to see these two organisations trying to evolve their offering further to really address and recognise the way in which lawyers actually work.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Something Useful From LexisNexis

At LegalTech in New York today, the world was introduced to LexisNexis for Microsoft Office. In an attempt to jump in on the "single search box" inside Microsoft Office applications, and the enterprise search wagon, LexisNexis may have just stumbled on something that will keep it in the game a little longer. The following is taken directly from their material:

How it Works

While reviewing a Word document or an Outlook e-mail message, Lexis for Microsoft Office users can seamlessly access content and resources from LexisNexis, the open Web, or their law firm or corporate files. Key features include:

"Search" - A single search box that delivers one-click access to the vast collection of legal content from LexisNexis, the open Web and the user's internal company information database. Results from all sources are displayed in a window next to the active document.

"Background" - This function provides background information on "entities" such as people, companies, organizations and cases mentioned in the text of a Word document or Outlook message. It automatically indexes the working document with hyperlinks to relevant information from internal, LexisNexis and Web resources. Upon clicking the hyperlink, the information is displayed in a side pane within the Microsoft Office applications. The Background feature will also display full Shepard's® reports and apply Shepard's® SignalTM indicators directly to the cases cited within the text of the document. Full text versions of case law, news and information cited within an e-mail message or Word document can also be accessed through the® resources directly within the Microsoft software application.

"Suggest" - Similar to the Background function, this functionality interacts with any text in a Word document or Outlook message. By manually highlighting text, the user can prompt a search that will pull up relevant information from internal, LexisNexis and Web resources. The content is displayed in a side pane within the application.

The critical factor in all of this of course (and where LexisNexis typically stumbles) is....cost and pricing models. We'll wait to see what the strategy is across the globe with this, while also being interested to see what actual search technology is behind the scenes.

This will either be seen as a useful addition, or yet another search tool fighting for the attention of the firm's wallets. The product ships for Microsoft 2007 later in the year and is only available to those with LexisNexis subscriptions.

What it isn't though is innovative - remembering that other search engines who focused on the lawyer experience and knowledge related working practices within law firms (such as Recommind and Autonomy) have embedded single search boxes with Microsoft Word for a number of years. The difference is that subscription services historically made it difficult for firms and vendors to access their content.

Looks good - and can