Sebastián Carey: IT and the Legal Field in Latin America

I recently had the pleasure of visiting with my good friend Sebastián Carey - one of the world's leading experts on technology and the law - at his home in Chile. We talked not only about the latest developments in legal IT, but also about the new interest of law firms from the UK, the US and other countries in establishing a presence in Latin America.

Amazing Firms Amazing Practices Oct 13Sebastián's role as an advisor to international firms in the field of legal information technology, particularly in Latin America, was recently acknowledged by the prestigious Legal IT Insider newsletter based in the UK, which sees Latin America as a major contender – along with China and South Africa – for a dramatic increase in activity by international law firms in the near future.

"Baker & McKenzie and White & Case already have a presence there," writes Charles Christian, publisher of Legal IT Insider, "while Dentons, Garrigues Abogados, DLA Piper, Norton Rose Fulbright and Hogan Lovells are all in talks with potential partners/looking to open offices. In fact Joe Andrew, the global chair of Dentons, has been quoted as saying the Latin American legal market 'is on the brink of a seismic change'.”

As for Sebastián, a sidebar to the article describes him as a "great source of on-the-ground intelligence on the Latin American legal IT scene." I couldn't agree more – and I happen to know that he has a very large group of clients, nearly 1000, of which most rank in Band 1 or Band 2 in Chambers and Partners, Latin America.

You can download the September, 2013 issue (#267) of Legal IT Insider here (check out page 11 for the article I've referred to in this post). You can contact Sebastián Carey directly at scarey@tecnolex.cl

I invite your feedback on this post or any other matter, either via the comments section on this blog or by e-mailing me directly.

How the digitization of legal services is affecting law firms' bottom lines: and what you can do about it

 

Chris Bull – Edge International partner and author of The Legal Process Improvement Toolkit  – is worried. He believes that law firms everywhere are failing to take sufficient notice of recent massive changes to consumer attitudes and technologies – changes that are already having a major impact on the practice of law. Bull is convinced that if firms do not begin to overcome long-standing prejudices and start to face these challenges, they are going to be left behind economically and in every other way.

Bull reminds his readers that technology has given law clients access to a wide range of professional services at little or no cost – and forever altered consumers’ views of the relationship between price and value. Today, advice on a range of legal issues, not to mention access to templates for wills and other legal documents, is available to anyone with a computer. As professional processes are increasingly digitized, the trend toward self-service and the offering of “highly repeatable commodities” at reduced rates by online companies will continue to change consumer attitudes towards what they seek in professional expertise. Client expectations will, in turn, transform what services law firms offer – and how they offer those services in order to remain viable and profitable. 

Although lawyers have traditionally preferred to view their work as “intellectual and perhaps individual,” Chris Bull makes a strong case for the need for an immediate shift to towards a business approach that puts process management at the centre. He shows that legal matters have always had a process component to them, incorporating such characteristics as chronology, applicable regulations, the use of forms, etc. Now, he says, as computers take increasing advantage of those exact attributes of legal work, the need has become critical for lawyers to recognize the process aspect of the services they offer, so that they may “define, document and optimize” them.

Bull’s book is organized into three sections. In the first, he explains the factors that have led to a traditional disregard for the process components of legal work, and the bottom-line importance of law firms turning their attention to this crucial aspect of their work at this time. He demonstrates how firms should be working to attain the level of maturity in this field that are being attained by other professions and in other industries.

In the second part of the book, Bull offers solutions that are based on his years of experience in viewing legal work through a business filter. What he offers in this section is, he says, “a starter toolkit” in legal process improvement (LPI). He shows how each tool can be applied to improve process management in law-firm contexts, using strategies such as “unbundling” legal work so that less demanding components can be handled by less senior lawyers, implementing the Six Sigma methodology, and using such tools as process documentation and mapping. He concludes the section with a discussion of comprehensive plans for effective legal project management (LPM), of which LPI is a component.

In the final section, Bull offers readers case studies of firms that have implemented LPI and LPM programs to their advantage.

Chris Bull pulls no punches. He declares up front his fundamental conviction that all lawyers are involved in a business process, and his belief that what varies is merely their awareness of this truth and therefore how well they optimize the “systems” aspects of what they do.

Bull offers a diagnostic tool that every firm can put to use immediately: “Where your paper build up is,” he says, “that's an indicator of process inefficiencies.” He talks about the value of “disruptive technologies” and cautions against outsourcing problems. He shows how the move away from billable hours to fixed or capped pricing makes the need to do work in a process-efficient manner even more important.

Chris Bull acknowledges that the majority of his experience with law-practice management has been focused on the UK, which he refers to as the “the world’s legal laboratory.” However, he has also worked with law firms all over the United States, in Australia and other countries. It is my contention that no matter where your practice is based, you cannot afford to ignore the “tipping points” and warning signs that Bull has set out in his book ­– or to fail to take advantage of the toolkit he has developed to address them.

The Legal Process Improvement Toolkit ­is published by the Ark Group in association with Managing Partner and Edge International.

 

Become a "Vizibility Law Firm" - make every lawyer internet VIZIBLE

160 year old McCarter & English, a firm of over 400 lawyers with offices in Boston, Hartford, Stamford, New York City, Newark, Philadelphia and Wilmington is rolling out Vizibility QR codes on attorney business cards and printed biographies (with embedded patented SearchMeTM buttons).

A Vizibility Law Firm can determine which Google results clients and prospective clients see first by using a one-click access to a verified Google search.

“Adding tools that provide quick access to the online content of our attorneys just makes economic sense,” said Alitia Faccone, Partner in the e-Discovery practice group at McCarter & English.

“We know from website analytics that our professionals are being researched online extensively and that legal decision makers are less likely to hire an attorney if their credentials cannot be verified online.”

I had the opportunity to discuss Vizibility with its Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Oxford graduate James Alexander.  His experience is nothing less than extraordinary including serving as Director of Product Management at Adobe Systems for 7 years. In my opinion, James has given Vizibility a clear vision coupled with extremely powerful technology.

If you can spare one minute and 51 seconds, watch James' bio and then you may understand why your law firm should become a Vizibility law firm and why I am going to test Vizibility's technology myself.

Apple profiles law firm use of iPads

The iPad has become a formidable competitive weapon for law firms:

Quote from Fennemore Craig case study on Apple.com/business:

"If I didn't have an iPad as a lawyer, I'd be at a major disadvantage,"

Quote from Virtual Strategy Magazine article: iPad® Harnessed by Law Firm to Sharpen Client Service

Now, legal materials live on a fleet of iPads that Fennemore Craig pre-loads and loans to clients and adversaries.  Communication with lawyers occurs instantly through built-in FaceTime or Skype apps.

My opinion:  The worry over what kind of laptop to buy is fading because of the domination of the ubiquitous iPad.  If you have not acquired iPads for every lawyer in your firm, at least provide them to a subgroup in exchange for some serious exploration as to how the iPad can assist in your substantive practices as well as your relationships with your clients.  Every day that passes is increasing the relevance of the iPad to your competitive position.

 

 

Top iPhone and iPad Apps for Lawyers

See Top iPhone and iPad Apps for Lawyers via Attorneys at Work and also download free bonus App List PDF


 

Presentation Calendar - inspiration for each month

 

Make your presentations far more effective by drawing on the fabulous ideas in this presentation calendar

Simon Tupman's Future Firm Forum 2010 New Zealand The Management Imperative

Finding Success in a Global Paradox (Keynote ALPMA Sydney 22 Oct 2010 -- Password Protected -- registered participants only)

Around the World Speaking Tour (Gerry Riskin -- Edge International)

SEPTEMBER 2010

September 24th, 2010
ADR Institute of Canada National Conference September 23-24, 2010
Plenary Session: Optimal Marketing for ADR professionals
Workshop: Effective Marketing for ADR professionals
Calgary, Alberta

OCTOBER 2010

October 9th, 2010
Fordham Law School (for Prof Silvia Hodges)
Guest Lecture: Law firm management: Strategy
New York, New York

October 14th, 2010
(with Nicole Auerbach a— Valorem Lw Firm))
Making Alternative Fees Work in Litigation: How to Approach and Craft AFAs
Virtual Program… webinar: Find out how to incorporate AFAs for your litigation matters, and how to avoid the many pitfalls that can arise along the way in this information-packed audio conference. During this 75-minute program, our expert faculty will present best practices for approaching, crafting and implementing these highly sought-after engagements.
Information & Registration

October 22, 2010
ALPMA summit
Keynote address:  Finding Success in a Global Paradox
Sydney, Australia
Information & Registration
 
NOVEMBER 2010

November 4th, 2010
Chief Legal Officer Forum, Public Sector
Auckland, New Zealand


November 5th - 7th, 2010
Plenary Session: Future Firm Forum 2010
The Management Imperative
Tongariro Lodge at the south end of Lake Taupo, on the North Island of New Zealand
Information & Registration

November 11th - 14th, 2010
(with Edge partner, Juhi Garg
GROWTH STRATEGIES 2015
LAWASIA 2010 Conference
The session will describe how Asian law firms can prepare for a flourishing economy including strategies and processes required to fuel growth both organically and inorganically.
New Delhi, India
More Information

 

Welcome to Edge International, Pam Woldow !

My Edge International partner, Jordan Furlong, has done a nice welcome piece on Pam Woldow already (at his Law 21 blog) but I thought I would echo that Edge International is so very proud and delighted to have her on board.

Also, thank you to friends who have joined us in congratulating Pam, like Valorem's awesome founder, Pat Lamb, who expressed delight in his In Search or Perfect Client Service blog post.

Those of you who know Edge International well can be assured that we are intent on growing in strength and capabilities.

Please make sure you follow Pam's new Blog, At The Intersection, for her continuing wisdom and counsel. 

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Will the Legal Profession Use the World's First Temporal Analytics Engine?

I met virtually with Recorded Future this morning for a close up briefing of how their Temporal Analytics Engine might be used by law firms.  Firms who use this can better predict the needs of their own clients and prospective clients as well.   There is so much more that this technology can do if used effectively, including monitoring the industries that a firm serves now and perhaps should serve in the future.

How often does a potentially powerful competitive weapon come along for the legal profession… and, more importantly, will law firms recognize it when they see it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recorded Future, the world's first Temporal Analytics Engine, is a new predictive analysis tool that allows you to visualize the future, past or present.

Start by reading their blog post today Law Firms and Recorded Future.  Then sample their video explanation on their home page

My Prediction:  Very few law firms will do an exemplary job of exploring this technology.  Those who do will likely meet considerable resistance internally from those who are slow to trust technology and especially revolutionary technology.  I am completely OK with that. 

What excites me: is that a few law firms that see the true potential of this technology and will use it in imaginative ways.  At Edge International, our core business is helping clients who are committed to achieving competitive advantage.  You can bet we will be exploring this with our clients, and maybe some prospective ones as well.

 

Edge International Review Winter 2010

We are very proud of our latest Edge International Review.    For a complete downloadable version (or just the articles you want) click on the cover or go to EdgeInternationalReview.com

If you have any questions , comments or suggestions, please shoot me a note.

(You can also check out our Edge International web site at Edge-International.com)

Law Firm Leadership Eye Openers

Take a few moments at the beginning of your next (executive, practice group, industry group, client team) meeting and watch this piece from Australia's George and Margaret Beaton (Beaton research and Consulting).  They have been friends for a long time and not only built an amazing high end consultancy but have done it with panache and imagination.  You will see some data that will act as a catalyst for the thinking of your leadership team.

Enjoy:  The Big (Legal) Picture video

Punchline:  The legal Profession absolutely refuses to stay the same so don't let your partners treat it like it will.

Pat Lamb's added this commentary at his awesome Blog,  In Search of Perfect Client Service:   You'll like irrelevance even less

Gerry Riskin Luncheon Social Media Keynote to LPM section of ABA October 19, 2009 in St Maarten

This is a private password protected copy of my Social Media slides for the Social Media Presentation to the LPM (Law Practice Management) Section of the American Bar Association in St. Maarten on Oct 19, 2009.  Those in attendance can obtain the password from Tom Grella.

Many thanks

Download Here

 

Edge International proudly annouces Jordan Furlong

It is a proud day for all of us at Edge to add such a distinguished partner.  After law school, Jordan articled with one of Canada's leading law firms and then opted for a career in legal journalism culminating with more than 10 years as editor-in-chief of the Canadian Bar Associations distinguished well respected National magazine and executive editor of CCCA Magazine

Now Jordan joins us to offer both strategic and tactical advice to lawyers, law firms and legal organizations, centered around his very clear vision of a legal service marketplace undergoing massive and irreversible change.

Among his other accomplishments, Jordan is an award-winning blogger.  He has been writing since January 2008 at Law21: Dispatches From a Legal Profession on the Brink, where he chronicles the extraordinary changes underway in the legal profession. He is an Honourary Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management and Chair of the College's InnovAction Awards, which recognize and reward creativity and innovation in legal services delivery.

Welcome aboard Jordan !  (See his biography on our Edge International site)

 

 

Does Social Media matter to law firms?

PUNCHLINE: If Social Media matters, then it matters to law firms because everything that matters to society in general must matter to law firms sooner or later.  Watch this and make your own decision.

When Better Service Is a Bad Thing

What is your initial reaction to the title of this blog post?  I thought it was daft… until I read the complete post by Susan Cramm on June 25, 2008 on her Harvard Business Blog: Having IT Your Way.

Here is an excerpt from her blog post:
Over the past decade, IT organizations have worked hard to improve services and in turn increase IT’s impact on the business. But in the quest to deliver great service, IT actually may have been disabling rather than enabling the enterprise.

How? In two ways. First, continual hand-holding leads to a loss of precious time that could be devoted to more important activities. Second, helping others who can help themselves circumvents learning. It lets them off the hook and alleviates their sense of responsibility. And ultimately it slows down progress as communication is constantly being run through an intermediary. In delegation lingo, this is called taking on someone else’s monkey.


PUNCHLINE:   Based on my observations in the firms I serve around the world, I would say that too many lawyers pride themselves on their IT incompetencies believing that it makes them somehow charming and brilliant.  I say they might as well be sneaking into the firm at night and taking cash out of the safe.  The costs associated with that attitude include:
  • poorer client service by failing to capitalize on the efficiencies technology offers
  • competitive disadvantage (clients do not find incompetency charming ever)
  • wasted IT personnel time
  • distracting and therefore delaying or discouraging the latest IT initiatives
  • <I’ll bet the IT folks out there can add lots to this list>
Allow me to transpose one of Susan’s comments for Managing Partners and CIO’s in the legal profession:
Pleasing partners shouldn't be IT’s ultimate goal (or that of the Managing Partner). Rather, the ultimate goal of the Managing Partner and the CIO is to ensure the success of the firm. Help IT serve you and the firm by making sure that IT isn’t doing anything for individuals that they can, and should, do for themselves.

Answer Your Outsourcing Questions



Answer Your Outsourcing Questions
  • Why do some corporations and law firms outsource legal work while others do not?
  • What ethical issues arise in outsourcing legal services?
  • Who is doing the outsourced work and what qualifications do they have?
  • What type of legal work is being outsourced? What are the concerns regarding the outsourcing of patent drafting and patent searches?
  • What impact, if any, will legal outsourcing have on the elite guild nature of the U.S. legal profession?

The International Out-Sourcing and the Legal Profession conference will be held on April 25, 2008 at the UC Berkeley School of Law.

I suggest you decide whether your firm can afford not to have someone attend.

For more information, contact The Institute for Global Challenges and the Law at  the University of California, Berkeley School of Law:
Telephone: 510.642.7830
Fax: 510.643.2362           
email:GCL@law.berkeley.edu
Registration is a modest $150.

For questions or to register by phone, please contact Emily Arntz: 510-642-7830

To see a full description on line, go to the Institute for Global Challenges and Law

Offshoring in India Changing Legal Services in the West



In Three myths about legal services offshoring (The Hindu) there is some very very sobering information especially for those who hope that it means offshoring will just fade away sooner or later.

If you intend to practice law for 10 or more years then:   READ THE ARTICLE

Here are some teasers/excerpts:
"Attacks on the competence of Indian lawyers and law graduates are about as valid as saying that Indian software engineers are incapable of handling sophisticated IT (information technology) work. To the contrary, the Indian IT industry is a world leader, and the same will be the case with offshored legal services."
"A recent study conducted by Harvard Law School and LexisNexis reveals that 75 per cent of US law graduates admit they do not have the necessary skills to practise law."
"So you would expect that these deficiencies would be met by rigorous training programs undertaken by Western law firms. Guess again! The Harvard-LexisNexis study reveals that 64 per cent of young lawyers receive no organised, on-the-job training."
"By contrast, reputable legal services offshoring companies in India provide rigorous training to their lawyers, and the hours spent on training do not appear on invoices to clients."  
"…at least in the US, law graduates for the most part are notoriously incapable of writing effectively in English. The problem is so severe that some large US law firms now assign a writing coach to each incoming associate. However, most lawyers in the West never receive this kind of training. By contrast, reputable legal services offshoring companies in India train all their attorneys in English writing."
"The future of the legal services offshoring industry in India appears very bright."
"Corporations, not Western law firms, will drive the market in the years ahead."
"Another way that corporations will drive the market, indirectly, is by obtaining flat (or fixed) rate billing from their outside counsel, instead of hourly billing. For example, the mega law firm, Morgan Lewis & Bockius, now handles all of the litigation for Cisco Systems for a fixed annual fee."
"Every sector of the legal offshoring industry will grow dramatically, including lower end services, such as document coding and legal transcription. Ultimately, however, the biggest impact, the long-term mother lode, will be higher-value services such as legal research and drafting – services that constitute the bulk of the legal work now done in the West."
"Long-term, India’s enormous, mostly untapped population of over one billion citizens will continue to make India competitive in relation to other offshore destinations… ultimately it will not only decrease poverty, but increase the number of law graduates."
"On the most positive note, the growth and development of the legal offshoring industry in India will help bring about a major change in the way legal services are delivered in the West."

Telepresence (for your law firm?)


The despised business of videoconferencing is about to get a new lease on life.

This weeks Economist has an article on Telepresence.  The full title is “Behold, telepresence - Far away yet strangely personal”.  (Requires subscription).  Image above is from the article.

Here are a few excerpts to whet your appetite for the story – the headings are mine:

The Problem:
Videoconferencing was supposed to put an end to corporate travel. But positioning people in front of a camera, fiddling endlessly with controls and then either giving up or proceeding to stare at a tiny picture of a blurry face often seems less satisfactory than the humble telephone.
The Solution:
Designers want people in telepresence meetings to appear life-sized, and the tables and rooms at the two ends to blend together seamlessly. (Rooms, furniture and even wallpaper are often identical, to aid the illusion.) People must also feel that they are making eye contact, which involves multiple cameras and enormous computing power. The delays in sight and sound must be negligible (ie, below 250 milliseconds, the threshold at which the human brain starts to notice), so that people can interrupt each other naturally. Sound must be perceived to come from the direction of the person speaking. And getting things started must be simple—ideally involving a single button or none at all.
Saving Money and Time (law firm example driven by client):
In addition to saving money, Cisco argues that telepresence saves time. The firm recently completed a takeover in eight days (as opposed to the usual weeks or months) by putting the lawyers in telepresence rooms instead of on aeroplanes.
More examples:
Lee Scott, the boss of Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, is said to see great scope for improving his supply chain. DreamWorks, a Hollywood studio that helped HP develop its telepresence system, says the technology will help it make movies cheaper and faster, by allowing creative types to collaborate without travelling.
My Punchline:

Managing Partners – don’t think about this opportunity from the law firm’s perspective but rather your client’s.  You may have some clients who will acquire this technology and will want you to participate – I welcome this as I believe that most law firm technology comes because the clients want us to have it (sometimes, “insist”).   If top corporations in your markets populate your client list, perhaps you should become familiar enough with this technology to initiate the discussion with your major clients.  After all, wouldn’t it be refreshing for your client to believe of you that your firm is progressive enough to be at the forefront?

Footnote (Greetings from Uruguay):  Speaking of technology and the world becoming more virtual, I posted this blog entry from my hotel room in Montevideo, Uruguay following an assignment with an MDP (accounting and law) firm here.  The Economist arrived promptly on my desk top this morning and I was able to effortlessly post this story.  Perhaps before too long I will be able to conduct the kind of assignment I traveled here for by video conference.

About The Economist: You can of course buy the hard copy or subscribe on line. This story is marked: Aug 23rd 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO? From The Economist print edition

A Gift for Lawyers who use Macs


    BEN STEVENS
THE MAC LAWYER


If you are a lawyer and you use a Mac (even if you only use it at home) and you do not already know Ben Stevens of The Mac Lawyer Blog, then allow me to introduce you.

Ben is a bright Spartanburg, South Carolina, lawyer with an all Mac-based practice.  He has a Bachelor of Science in Financial Management and a minor in Accounting in addition to his law degree. 


You may want to start with Productivity Programs For Mac Lawyers and then scan a few other of his extremely helpful posts.  There is not a chance in the world that you will (or should) resist subscribing to his site.
 
 
 
 
 
(Gerry's) DISCLAIMER:  I am a stark raving mad Apple zealot having acquired my first Mac in 1984 as a Managing Partner and I have not missed an Apple beat since.  My close friends and business associates, (except for the enlightened ones who also use Macs) remind me that there are many people who just don’t understand.  That’s OK.   I do not apologize for my enthusiasm but perhaps I should for my dogma.  By the way, new Macs will run Windows at the same time as the Apple operating system so compatibility is an excuse relegated to history.

LexBlog teaches lawyers the basics of blogging


The Seattle Times wrote about Kevin O'Keefe today, the creator of my blog (not to mention the blogs of my Edge colleagues Ed Wesemann and Robert Millard).  They featured Kevin in a "Business and Technology" article called: LexBlog teaches lawyers the basics of blogging.

It is no surprise that he understands the legal profession - read these bullet points on Kevin:
  • President and founder of LexBlog, the leading provider of marketing blogs to lawyers and other professional service firms.
  • Founded Prairielaw.com, the leading online law community for consumers and small businesspeople, acquired by LexisNexis in 2001 and now incorporated into Martindale-Hubbell’s lawyers.com.
  • Served as a VP of Business Development for LexisNexis' Martindale-Hubbell.
  • Trial lawyer of 17 years, ceased practicing law in 1999.
  • Successfully marketed own law firm on the Internet in such a positive way that USA Today said “If O'Keefe isn't careful, he may wind up giving lawyers a good name.”
  • While practicing law served as sustaining member of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America and board member of state trial lawyers association.
PUNCHLINE:  If your firm is considering blogging (and if you aren't you should) in my opinion there is one supplier that stands head and shoulders above the rest, Kevin O'Keefe's LexBlog

Law Firm Technology is at Plumbing Stage

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Richard Susskind says:

the 'really exciting stuff' [is] due to take place in the next decade

Richard goes on to say:

By and large, most lawyers have now got their BlackBerrys, they Google regularly, and they think they are on their way — the transformation has occurred," he said. "The plumbing is in place, the infrastructure is in place, and the really exciting stuff that will go to the heart of legal services, the heart of legal process, is coming in the next decade.

Read the entire article titled: Susskind predicts a decade of crucial growth for law firm IT in Legal Week

FASTFORWARD: Susskind is the thought leader on law firm technology. He is worth watching and reading because our collective guesses as to where law firm technology is going are likely limited by our natural preoccupation with what we know as opposed to what will be.

See my two previous Susskind-related posts:

The Future of Law Books, and

Guru Richard Susskind Speaks - We Should Listen

The Future of Law Books

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Richard Susskind opines on the future of law books.

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In his article: It's a book, but not as we know it, reader Richard explores whether (or when) we will give up law books in favor of devices like the Sonyョ Reader.

PUNCHLINE: Susskind is probably right - it is not whether; it's when will law books go electronic. Perhaps a more important question is what other uses will become common place for such a reader - perhaps clients will review draft agreements on such devices soon, or even reports on transactions. Imagine a law firm that gave the "reader" to clients and then sent documents (like agreements or opinions) electronically, ready to read with the quality of paper? Would such a practice create a competitive advantage?

Law Firm Email Volumes Must be Reduced

computer jokes - in utero email.gif

Today's story in the Register, Server bug cripples Dublin law firms, is about Dublin law firms getting one-half million unwanted emails on top what Is likely a large volume in the first place.

I contend that the usual flow of emails is crippling. So, at Edge International, we are working with pilot clients on dramatically reducing the volume of emails through the use of internal Blogs and Wikis.

If you are involved in the senior management in a law firm (or other professional services firm) and are very interested in strategies to reduce email volumes without losing the beneficial data and communications, drop me a note and I will happily keep you posted on our progress.

Bruce MacEwen's modesty exposed

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Bruce MacEwen mentioned his attendance at our global Edge International meeting in London last weekend (see his post Dateline London). What his modesty prevents him from telling you is that his own presentation was "killer". His inspired ideas have already found their way into a discussion with a large network of European law firms (earlier today in London).

The idea proposed by Bruce called for the use of private blogs and wikis behind a firewall. Why not allow blog technology to intuitively drive knowledge capturing and why not let wikis create private knowledge repositories. (I don't plan to discuss his ideas in detail — besides, he'd explain it much better than I could anyway.) Suffice to say that at Edge, we think his ideas "rock".) If our client likes the concept, we'll see if Bruce will collaborate in creating a preliminary model and help us demonstrate it. From there, who knows…

Collaboration in the blogosphere is now going well beyond the theoretical — "Ideas into action"

Guru Richard Susskind Speaks - We Should Listen

Richard Susskind is not short on credentials. Richard has a first class honours degree in law from the University of Glasgow and a doctorate in law and computers from Balliol College, Oxford. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and of the British Computer Society, and was awarded an OBE in the Millennium New Year's Honours List for services to IT in the Law and to the Administration of Justice.

richard01.jpg

In his article: "Why going online is better for everyone" in the TimesOnLine, Richard explores, as an example, use by Eversheds of an online service:

that automates the process of drafting employment documents. The web-based system is designed for human resource professionals in large organisations

There is a link in the article that allows you to see a demo - incredible (see for yourself).

PUNCHLINE: For those who still think it's cool not to understand technology or tease that "that's something my kids do" maybe it's time to remove the cranium from the sand and stand erect as we move further into this new century. There will be two classes of firms soon… which one do you think will be thriving over the next ten years?

Edge International Review — Winter 2005 edition

The Winter 2005 edition of our quarterly magazine, Edge International Review, is now available for downloading as a PDF.

This is a full color 40 page magazine so may takle a few minutes to download. (Some browsers will display the magazine without downloading it.)

Senior management team members in law firms may request a complimentary subscription to the hard copy version by sending me an email.

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Cool technology for in-flight cell phone usage

With nearly four million air miles in the last 10 years, I often joke that I "live in the sky". The impact of allowing cell phone usage during flights is significant to me. This could either be an opportunity or a disaster. I think it is an opportunity for all of us and we can have our cake and eat it too. I found readily available technology to accommodate both interests: those who want to make calls, and those who do not want to be forced to listen to them.

For peace and quiet:
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Slip on a pair of QuietComfortョ 2 headphones - you will neutralize not only the talking around you but the ambient airplane motor noise. You can also plug them in to the aircraft's system (domestically and internationally with adaptors provided) and hear the plane's entertainment system or your iPodョ, or leave them unplugged, and hear pretty-well nothing — at least nothing very loud — almost silence.

For a quiet distraction-free conversation:
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Not only does this Boom Quietョ have incredibly effective noise-canceling earphones, but the microphone is awesome - you can whisper no matter how loud the noise around you is and you will be heard, clearly. This is very important because you can speak quietly enough to be discrete and still be heard. You can visit their web site and hear a demonstration of these being used on a Blackhawk helicopter (click the sound icon near the center of the page--under the lady with the coffee).

For people like me - owners of talkative birds:
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I have both headsets and love them. I never travel without my Boseョ earphones and Quiet Boomョ headset is a life saver when our two cockatoos are noisy during a client call. (They roam freely outside our house in Anguilla)

Food for Thought: While others whine about in-flight cell phone use, let's exploit the opportunity for competitive advantage by being more responsive to our clients. And if we want the solitude, maybe a chance to catch up on reading... or just watch the in-flight movie, there is a solution for that too.

I just wish the Quiet Boomョ had an adaptor so we could use the device for both purposes (and we wouldn't have two things to carry).

Note #1: I have no relationship with either company and would not accept any consideration from either (not that they are likely to offer any), and

Note #2: Thank you to Tom Peters who brought this subject to mind in his TP Wire Service reference to the subject today.

Raindance + Common Scold + Legal Insight = Cool!

monica_bay_front.jpg Monica Bay (known as The Common Scold in the blogosphere) is a keynote speaker at the Raindance Conference produced by the LSSO (Legal Sales & Service Organization).

On the LSSO website, at their Raindance Tab, if you click the words "Listen to Monica" you get a very brief interview with her, complete with her take on the philosophy she intended to espouse at the conference.

What I want you to look at and think about is how cool this usage of technology is, thanks to Peter and Barbara Marx at Legal Insight.

Check it out and let me know what you think.