Ah, Spring. The flowers are in bloom. The sun is out. Honestly, who has time for legal technology? As it happens, I do; it turns out your intrepid Editor recently attended the American Bar Association’s 2007 Technology Show courtesy of the DuPage County Bar Association (thank you Glenda). Now I know what you’re thinking: ‘same old, same old’ right? Well despite being a jaded 10-year veteran attendee and 2-time booth holder, there actually were a number of novel things going on. Moreover, I was actually shocked to find out that my incessant nagging, preaching, lecturing about legal technology and ‘Web 2.0’ has been vindicated. Yes, you read that correctly. I was right and anyone who said it would never happen was wrong. Case in point:
Web 2.0 is Here. How often do I get to say ‘I told you so?’ Not often enough it turns out. So in case you missed my many posts and discussions on the topic, Web 2.0 is the popular term for the wave of change transforming static websites into hubs of (inter)activity. And let me be clear: Web 2.0 is now respectable. How respectable? Expect to see Web 2.0-style applications in large firms this year, medium-sized firms next year, and small and solo shops in 2010.
E-Discovery is Really Real: I’ve been mighty cautious about sounding the ‘EDD’ alarm bell because first, electronic document discovery (EDD) is limited to Federal proceedings, and second, until recently the only way to get a handle on the reams of information EDD produced was to pay through the nose. But this year I spent time with a few vendors whose software, pricing, and delivery options were both impressive and cost effective. As the price of tools goes down, watch EDD pick up.
The Desktop is Dead/Long Live the Browser: 6 years ago at the New York Legal Tech Show I learned about something called an application service provider (ASP). The idea was that you could use MS Word, WordPerfect, etc. without being at your desk. Cool. But not nearly as cool as the fact that you can now write a top-notch Brief or Pleading online and collaborate you’re your fellow writers in "real time" (it happens before your very eyes), without any software but a browser, all for free.
Google, Google, Google: This upstart does for free what Microsoft, Westlaw, Lexis-Nexis, and a host of other pricey application vendors do for a fortune. And if a free application is worth anything at all then your return on investment is about 1,000%, right? That sounds like a good return to me.
So, what do you get out of being familiar with cutting technology – legal and otherwise? Put another way, what is the ROI of LPM (law practice management)? 100%? 1,000%? Of course the answer ultimately depends on who is using these tools, but with the cost of experimental so incrementally low, what have you got to lose but your pricey vendor relationship?
Sound off at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts, and as always, thank you for your support.
Mazyar M. Hedayat, Editor