"How a County Attorney's Office Is Streamlining E-Discovery"

Hmm, sure sounds like this vendor might be worth investigating:

"While the revised Federal Rules of Civil Procedure pertaining to electronic discovery that hit the books in December may have caused headaches for many in the legal profession, some discovered unexpected benefits. Case in point: the Nassau County Attorney's Office in New York, which implemented new technology to meet the updated requirements and found that it made e-discovery more efficient than expected.

"Nassau County deployed Clearwell's Intelligence Platform -- a program applied to e-mail and electronic documents that automates the analysis, culling and review process -- in February, to comply with the amendments to the FRCP rules 16, 26, 34 and 37. Those rules now require anyone who can be involved in litigation in federal court to retain electronic records -- such as e-mails, instant messages and text documents -- and be able to retrieve them. The rules also require all parties to present a description of all electronically stored information within 99 days of the beginning of a legal case.

[snip]

"'The whole idea about searching to data is a complete transformation from the way we used to do things,' [said Peter Reinharz, chief managing attorney for the Nassau County Attorney's Office]. In the past, e-mail retrieval was turned over to the county's IT department, which would assign someone to isolate items from backup media and conduct manual searches. 'It was very labor-intensive for our IT department, so it was both cumbersome and costly,' he said.

"'Now, he said, any attorney can easily conduct Boolean searches and sift through PST files with a much greater degree of focus. And the IT department is thrilled.'"


LexisNexis Marks Launch of New Data Collection & Forensics Services Lab

This news makes it sound like LexisNexis has been very busy:

"Based at the companys discovery services headquarters in Bellevue, Wash., the new lab features advanced processing and industrial strength decryption capabilities currently found in very few non-governmental labs. This technology component joins the earlier established 'all star' team of specialists, each with years of experience in law enforcement, investigation, information technology, programming, data collection and digital forensics. Together, these assets help law firms and their clients gain greater control over and confidence in the recovery and review of the documents they and opposing parties produce for legal discovery.

[snip]

"After helping clients locate data in places such as servers, workstations, home computers, backup tapes, e-mail, voicemail, cell phones, PDAs, and other places, consultants then leverage the 15 million pages per day processing capacity and specialized technology of Applied Discovery to conduct forensically sound data collection and document review. For those clients requiring a deeper dive, the team, using a vendor agnostic approach, can conduct customized forensic operations such as:

  • Sorting 30 different fields, across all four time stamp types, by file name or signature extension, hash value, full pat and file permissions.
  • Streamlining More than 150 filters help narrow relevant information displayed based on specific client criteria.
  • Finding, viewing deleted files - viewing deleted and unallocated files.
  • Pinpointing critical documents specialized searching based on client needs.
  • Password recovery decrypt password protected documents from most common commercial programs in minutes."

Survey Shows Strong Financial Support for Technology in Legal Budgets

Well, this is good news for legal organizations & tech-oriented paralegals!

"Gone are the days of pleading with law firm partners and in-house counsel about the efficiency and ease that computers bring to a legal practice. The 2007 Survey on Technology Budgeting and Spending [PDF], conducted at LegalTech New York, shows strong sustained support for technology in law firm and legal department budgets. Edge Legal Marketing, a premier provider of marketing and public relations expertise to companies targeting the legal market, today released the results from its 2007 attendee survey conducted at the conclusion of LegalTech New York. This year’s conference was held January 29-31 and attracted 12,000 attendees from New York and around the world, including law firm and corporate attorneys, their support staff, and IT professionals, in addition to hundreds of vendors serving the needs of legal professionals."


"Legal Departments Tell Firms: Get on the Tech Train"

Well, that sure sounds like a smart slap at not-so-tech-savvy firms, huh?

"When Aon Corp. slashed its outside counsel roster from about 400 to 23 law firms in 2005, it quizzed the firms about their tech offerings. 'We asked them about extranets, e-billing and litigation management,' says David Cambria, director of legal operations at the Chicago-based insurance giant.

"But Cambria says that he didn't really care whether firms had all of those products. He had another agenda: 'I wanted to know if [the firms] were playing in the same pool as me,' says Cambria. When they crafted the tech section of their request for proposal, Cambria and his colleagues started from the assumption that all the firms they were interviewing had experienced, capable lawyers. But 'we wanted to take it to a higher level, and the most successful firms were the ones that told us how they'd help us do what we do better, with technology,' he says.

"Aon isn't alone. Law departments, once the hardware and software stepchildren of the legal profession, are steadily, if gradually, adopting more sophisticated ways to aid their work, according to Corporate Counsel's 2007 In-House Tech Survey."

Sound like a big opportunity for techie paralegals to help "geekify" their firms!


Open Text Legal Practice Support

I'm not familiar with this software, but anything that aids efficiency is worth a look:

"Open Text has announced new enhancements to its LegalKEY Practice Support Suite, designed to help law firms be more effective, efficient and compliant.

[snip]

"Open Text Legal Solutions provide an integrated product offering developed specifically to support law firms' business practices and proactive compliance needs throughout the matter lifecycle - from client intake through to final disposition. The latest enhancements to the LegalKEY suite are the result of extensive feedback received from the Open Text user community."


"Legal Tech Expert E-Mails His Wish List to Santa"

And what a smart wish list this is. I also think those paralegals already familiar with this stuff are smart:

"Dear Santa,

"I've been a good boy this year. I spent all my time helping lawyers and judges with electronic data discovery (EDD) and studying really, really hard about electronically stored information (ESI) [PDF], data harvest, spoliation, de-duplication [scroll down], meet-and-confer [PowerPoint download], search tools, forms of production and computer forensics.

"I didn't use the word 'solution' in a single column.

"Please leave the following presents under my tree:

[snip]

"3. May I have information technology training courses designed expressly for lawyers and litigation support, offering real depth and serious accountability for mastering the subject matter?"

Author Craig Ball, a member of the editorial advisory boards of both Law Technology News & Law.com Legal Technology, is a litigator & computer forensics/EDD special master.


"Five IT Blind Spots That Shut Lawyers Out"

Oh boy, doesn't this sound like an all-too-familiar story?

"In a world where even the most senior of partners can now be found typing away on a laptop, an observer could mistakenly believe that personal computing is as straightforward as using the average toaster. Unfortunately for attorneys, computer software is mostly designed or implemented by computer people for computer people and not for legal professionals.

"What exacerbates the problem: IT's steadfast adherence to flawed beliefs we'll call 'The Five Grand Assumptions.' In order to transform your technology department from good to great, eliminate these five blind spots and open up the door to a better relationship with your users."

Author Tom Ranalli is technology services manager at the Los Angeles office of Kirkland & Ellis. BTW, the firm curently has some legal assistant openings.


NFPA Launches 1st National Legal Technology Conference Specifically for Paralegals

Well, this sure sounds like a conference you should try to attend!

"The NFPA\\2007:\\Tech.Institute\\: is the place for paralegals, attorneys and other legal professionals to gain knowledge, perspective and insight into the benefits, challenges, and pitfalls of legal technology.  Learn about major trends and technological innovations that will affect your career, your profession, and your organization now and in the years ahead.

"July 19th\\20th, 2007, NFPA launches its first Tech Institute at the elegant Omni William Penn Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh.  300 participants are expected to attend and take advantage of 21 educational seminars, as well as a vendor track offering demonstrations of new software, product information, and related services.  Technology products and services will also be featured in an interactive trade show."


"Electronic Evidence - Fear and Loathing in the Legal Profession"

Great post to the MassLawBlog! First, a great quote, followed by a daunting, yet very informative diagram of "client server architecture" [PDF]:

"The schematic displayed...is a simplified illustration of a corporate network which Microsoft provided to the Federal Rules Committee in connection with proceedings on electronic evidence. It was intended to illustrate a generic corporate computer network.

"If you are a lawyer and this seems like an alien concept that no lawyer should ever be required to understand, you’re not alone. Lets face it - like most stereotypes, the old joke that lawyers go to law school to avoid math and technology contains a large element of truth.

[snip]

"Nevertheless, every day emails and brochures arrive announcing seminars and warning that the era of electronic data discovery (EDD) has finally, truly arrived. Luddite lawyers are warned that...99% of all documents created today are in electronic form."

Hey, I think this quote might apply as well to paralegals:

"The best aspect of law school is the subordination of math." Anon


Jobs for legal techies: ITLA

Find some very interesting jobs posted by ILTA (International Legal Technology Association), here.

I counted 122 listings (on 12/12/06), but these are the positions that really caught my eye:

BTW, ads run for three months (but can be removed sooner upon a poster’s request). Most jobs are posted within 24 hours of receipt by ITLA. Happy hunting!