Category Archives: widget

it’s about time (and billing)

Its About Time (and Billing)

It's About Time (and Billing)

Chrometa - Automated Timekeeping

Chrometa - Automated Timekeeping

Join me for this complimentary webinar about time and billing

Thursday, June 18, 2009
2:00 PM Eastern/1:00 PM Central/12:00 PM Pacific
sponsored by Chrometa

Lawyers underestimate their time by 25% due to bad recording habits, disorganization, and bad management. Enroll in this complimentary webinar and learn how to:

- Capture activities that you’ve been missing
- Create a back-up for time-keeping purposes
- Find out what you do most (and least); and
- Maximize billiable time by minimizing waste

Have your questions answered live by our panel.
Mazy Hedayat – Legal technology writer and practicing attorney
Kristi Royse – Speaker and legal time management and billing expert
Brett Owens – Software entrepreneur, CEO and co-founder, Chrometa

Sign up here.

ABA TechShow: The Video

Live from TechShow 2009 ...

Live from TechShow 2009 ...

 

Thought I’d share some choice video from TechShow 2009 featuring all 4 of the Best of Show winners that I wrote up in TechnoLawyer, plus interviews with some of my heroes such as Bob Ambrogi, Jay Funeberg, and Kevin O’Keefe, as well as sightings of legal blogging all-stars like Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighelle. I’m still excited.  

 

See related videos here and find me on YouTube as practicehacker

ABA TechShow 2009 – Short and SaaSy

Were the ABA Damnit!

We're the ABA Damnit! We own you!

This was my 10th year at ABA Technology Show in Chicago. This year was particularly cool.  Here’s why:

Meeting The Heavies: To me, seeing people like Dennis Kennedy, Tom Mighelle, Bob Ambrogi, Jim Calloway, Kevin O’Keefe, Brett Burney, Andy Atkins, Jay Foonberg (!) and the rest of my pretend blog friends … I mean pretend LinkedIn friends … is like reconnecting with long lost relatives. Exciting and a little intimidating. But all of them were really great and down to earth. Except that Kennedy. Such a prima donna. I kid, I kid.

Meeting Canadians: Who can forget meeting the Great Librarian of Upper Canada! Beat that. Then there was Phil of the Future (my name for him), Steve Matthews (nice guy), Brett Burney (I think he’s Canadian), Dominic Jaar (vive la Quebec libre!), the boys from Clio (or as I called them, the Booth Babes), and a host of other talent from the Great White North. It was great to meet you all: now go back where the ice doesn’t melt until July.

Technology Becoming Accepted: This year for the first time in memory I noticed a preponderance of grey hairs and the careful gait of partners scoping out potential buys for their offices.  This was not the brash, flash-in-the-pan TechShow of the late-90′s in which the Internet was decried as a fad.

SaaS, Saas, and more Saas: Software as a service was all over the place, and by next year it will be pervasive. This year I was knocked out by the number and variety of kick-ass SaaS providers at the show including Clio, RocketMatter, and VLO Tech. Clio was my hands-down favorite for a number of reasons – I intend to use it in my own practice. Whatever your cup of tea, the idea of throwing away the IT department in favor of the Cloud is gaining traction fast.

Less is … Less: One lamentable fact about this  year’s show – there was less of it than I’ve seen in a long time. Another casualty of the economy I’d say, but we shouldn’t overlook the fact that many legal technology vendors have been slaves to profit instead of boosters for innovation and the slow economy is making it painfully apparent what a royal screw job they’ve been giving lawyers all these years. Many players couldn’t make it ? Good riddance to bad company.

Other than that however, it was a great experience as always and one that I heartily recommend to one and all. If you haven’t been to TechShow, go there. If you have, come back. A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

For more coverage see my SmallLaw Column in TechnoLawyer.

Check out Twitter coverage of TechShow.

As always, I’d love your thoughts. E-mail me at mhedayat[at]mha-law.com or tweet me @practichacker.

ttyl :-)

What do you expect from social media?

Courtesy of my colleagues on LinkedIn and the geeks at interactive insights group comes this handy list of websites designed to help measure the “value” of social media (is there any?).

What do you expect from social media such as FaceBook, Twitter, and the rest? Can the reality live up to the hype?


The Shape of Things To Come

pyramid power

law firm growth rates

law firm growth rates

As anyone who’s worked at one will tell you, law firms are designed to push work downward and grow by doubling the number of staff for every associate, and adding an associate for every rainmaker. Firms can keep this up as long as those at the top generate business. As a result  the classic law firm pyramid doesn’t “grow” so much as it expands in all directions at the base.

That wide base makes for a stable structure; not only that, but minions are notoriously good at billing, overstaffed offices make clients feel secure, law schools fawn over big firms, and the obscene profit margins prove that doing things this way is an absolute good.

In fact even auxiliary players favor this approach: from Westlaw and Lexis to office supply stores, everyone makes out when clients foot the bill. ‘But,’ you ask, ‘what about lawyer satisfaction … staff retention … client service?’ Grow up. Firms are too timid to change, billable hours punish efficiency, rainmakers would rather find cheap employees than leverage information; and the type of client that can afford such services is either cost insensitive or doesn’t know they’re being taken. Then again no-one ever got fired for hiring IBM, right? It’s win-win baby!

Ironically, the ones motivated to change the system are so buried in it that they’re rarely seen or heard from. But that may be changing thanks to the big 2.0 – Web 2.0, Law 2.0, whatever 2.0. The point is that applications like Digg, Flickr, Blogger, and Twitter could become the nimble alternatives to the standard bloatware spewing from Microsoft and IBM. If so then the Gen-Y users of these apps could very well level the playing field at many firms or just jumpish ship altogether. The result is that more and more the hierarchy of the firm is giving way to the mesh of relationships we might call the un-law firm.

Of course there is a wide gulf between theory and action, but real change could take place soon; and for all we know may already be happening. The question is, given the opportunity would we support  these kinds of changes or resist them? To answer that question I refer back to my first year in business school when were were taught about the “Buggy Whip” industry at the outset of the 20th century.

circle of life

the un-law firm

It seems that when cars were introduced in the late 1800′s the companies that made carriages and whips laughed out loud. They had a track record going back to the golden age of Western civilization, while cars were loud, uncomfortable, complex, and quite frankly dangerous. Who would want one of those they reasoned? I guess we know how that one turned out.

Better still, e-mail me at mhedayat[at]mha-law.com with your thoughts.

Cheers.

iPhone, iPhone, iPhone, iPhone …

document sharing as gateway to law 2.o?

Google Docs gazhoo lawfiles aka workproduct.net

This is getting scary. First there was box.net, then scribd, docstoc, and now gazhoo — all are document sharing sites identical in concept and vision to this site that I wrote about here.

The question of the day is: Based on the number of competitors offering ways to store and share resources, are we seeing a real market take shape or a fad?

In answer, consider: More and more I see corporate legal departments, not law firms, as the true beach-heads for the introduction of technology. Sure I thought innovation in this space would come from the less structured and more entrepreneurial part of the legal market, but what do I know? Turns out that the small firms and sole practitioners who should be motivated by competition to innovate are instead too strapped and fearful to foster real change. So that leaves the job of introducing more efficient ways of doing things to … who? The vendors? Don’t make me laugh. All they want is to shove the new model of their product down our collective throats – forget about any real improvements. As for what’s coming up on the horizon (Web 2.0, Law 2.0, etc.) – forget it as long as the legal industry is in the stranglehold of West and Lexis. That leaves large firms and in-house counsel to make the bold moves. But realize that in-house lawyers have a solid motivation to keep pace with their mother companies and find better, faster, cheaper ways to do things. Big law firms, not so much. They still live for inefficiency.

Will things change? Maybe what the profession at large is waiting for is proof that web 2.0/law 2.0 has value, and maybe that will happen when clients and the legal climate overall reward us for innovation instead of punishing us for trying to innovate in the first place (it takes a few tries before you get it right). Love me for trying … don’t hate me for failing.