Category Archives: civility

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 🙂

ABA TechShow 2008 – presentation materials available

AI – Advanced IT/Security
CR – Client Relationships
ED – E-Discovery
GG Going Green
IN – Internet
LF – Large Firm / Corporate Counsel
LT – Litigation
MA – Mac Track
MO – Microsoft Office
MT – Mobile Technology
PO – Paperless Office
RM – Records Management
RT – Roundtables
SSI – Solo / Small Firm I
SSII – Solo / Small Firm II
SM – Show Me How

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ABA TechShow 2008 – I came, I saw, I blogged …

http://www.technolawyer.com

Author’s Note: This year I got to blog the ABA Technology Show once again as I did last year in this pair of posts here and here. In addition, this year I was given the opportunity to publish my work in the prestigious publication TechnoLawyer. And on a related (and equally important) note, this was the second year in a row that I was sponsored by the august DuPage County Bar Association, thanks to the hard work of directrix and champion of technology, Glenda Sharp. To Glenda and this year’s bar President, Fred Spitzzeri, a great big Thank You! Here’s to doing it again next year …

I Attended ABA TECHSHOW 2008 and All I Got Was This Lousy Blog Post

Eliminating the Paper Chase: From Boxes to Bytes (Paperless Office Track)

A Real World EDD Motion Hearing (Litigation Track)

The Mobile Office: Take Your Desktop in Your Pocket (Mobile Technology Track)

Outlook Tips and Tricks (Roundtables Track)

So You Want to Be an ABA Author? (Special Session)

Beating the Startup Blues: A Tech Survival Guide (Solo/Small Firm II Track)

Grand Finale: 60 Sites In 60 Minutes

Crazy Mazy’s Best of Show: SQ Global Solutions

Crazy Mazy’s Best of Show: Legal Bar by BEC Legal Systems

Crazy Mazy’s Best of Show: Electronic Discovery

Crazy Mazy’s Best of Show: Adobe Acrobat Professional

A Report from the Exhibit Hall and Suggestions for TechShow 2009

Go Green? – then what?

Recycle Day

In Illinois, as well as a growing number of other states, you can no longer just leave used electronics on the curb or in a dumpster. The issue is liability for environmental contamination. Then there is data disposal, and as we all know by now computer hard drives must be permanently and intentionally relieved of their data lest it fall into the wrong hands – a malpractice nightmare.

In case you did not receive an email notice or just didn’t hear, November 15th was America Recycles Day – a prime opportunity for individuals, firms, and businesses to go green and find out how to dispose of electronic equipment, computers, monitors, printers, routers, phones, PDA’s, etc. Of course the question of the hour is always ‘what is all this going to cost me/my firm/my client?’ As a matter of fact recycling unwanted electronics often costs nothing – on the contrary, it can yield a tax break or even some money in your pocket. 

Well this is your lucky day because the pm blog is bringing the action to you; send us a list of your configured units, printers, monitors, routers, etc. or call 630-388-7057 to find out more about how the pm blog can help you stop procrastinating and put your assets in motion.

 

my response to Carolyn Elefant regarding Avvo

Avvo Logo

Attorney and legal blogger Carolyn Elefant wrote me to object to the way I portrayed her in this post, and to point out that she is as pro-Avvo as anyone! I had this to say

Dear Carolyn:

I applaud your open-minded position. Then again your message begins by characterizing me as a “supporter of Avvo,” meaning you have written me off as a partisan voice rather than a sound critic of the legal services market-place.  Does that make it easier to write off the points I make in my posts?

To set the record straight, I am glad to see Avvo make the scene, but would have been just as happy if Thomson, Lexis-Nexis, or ALM had done so first. But that wouldn’t fit in with their information oligopoly, would it? I mean, why promote efficiency when you profit from just the opposite? I’m sure that’s a lesson learned from the insurance, tobacco, and health care industries.

But maybe you can tell me why, despite the fact that you and others had a head-start of several years, a monopoly on readership, and now corporate sponsorship, not one of the major legal bloggers addressed the legal market-place mess? You never wondered why neither Thomson, Lexis-Nexis, nor ALM chose to do what Avvo has? It’s not as if they lacked the resources. But I guess asking the question means that I’m just the “pro-Avvo guy” as you indicate in your e-mail.

I am glad to see Avvo make the scene, but would have been just as happy if Thomson, Lexis-Nexis, or ALM had done so first. But that wouldn’t fit in with their information oligopoly … why promote efficiency when you profit from just the opposite? I’m sure that’s a lesson learned from the insurance, tobacco, and health care industries.

Let’s say that I can’t convince you that my position is an objective one, still there is this: the legal blogging elite has decided to be anti-Avvo and nothing will change that. All I’ve read is that Avvo must be bad because it is not 100% accurate — this despite the fact that the site uses information already in public sources and invites lawyers to add their own input. So much for keeping an open mind.

Finally, the real irony is that Avvo looks like the underdog while the legal bloggers are being bullies. I thought that as lawyers we were supposed to advocate and take on the challenging positions. What gives?

I look forward to whatever clarification you can offer, and I thank you for taking the time to write.

document automation :: process consulting :: e-discovery consulting

Dear Robert Ambrogi …

Avvo Logo

Another day, and another chance for lawyer-bloggers Robert Ambrogi, Carolyn Elefant, or Craig Williams, to wail on legal startup Avvo in shifts; I guess the 24-hour anti-Avvo campaign is just too much for one person. Today was Bob’s turn and he didn’t even bother to look objective; he just dove in with these carefully chosen words: “Trust us, Avvo’s ratings are a crock.” Well said sir. But there was so much more. He went on to tell us that Avvo had declined a chance to participate in his podcast about its merit. Content to smirk in a self-satisfied manner up until that point, I felt compelled after reading the piece to leave the following comment

 

Avvo did not send people to your podcast panel? Maybe you called the wrong number and they didn’t know it was you? I mean, why would they not defend themselves on your show? Now, I’m no Robert Ambrogi but you’re saying that despite the fact that

 

  • it made a huge bet on the need for a more efficient legal market
  • its executives previously took on real estate and travel agents
  • it could buy all the PR in the world to drown out your complaints

Avvo was too intimidated to send anyone to your podcast? Okay …

 

Coincidentally, today was also the day TechnoLawyer distributed a piece I wrote some time ago — well before I knew who Avvo was: talk about your coincidences, this turned out to be a great reminder that my position on this point is nothing new. Of course I knew that, but just in case I was being a reactionary I can look back on a history of defending the idea of a free market for legal services. With respect to the TechnoLawyer piece, it happened this way — In response to these comments written by me and published by TechnoLawyer originally

 

Let’s use technology to create a friction-free legal marketplace that will blow away the establishment that wants to keep law as its little secret instead of society’s tool for better living …

 

another member suggested that I had eaten some “bad pizza,” was having a “Jerry Maguire moment,” and that overall lawyers required conflict to have a job. In response I described a scenario that seems to recall what is happening now, and what I believe Avvo could become, namely the first step in the direction of a friction-free legal marketplace (or as close as we’ll come for some time). As I said at the time

 

 

Your response is typical of how people see Lawyers; as predators. I was talking about using technology to speed up the resolution of conflicts and accelerate communication between market participants (lawyers, clients, judges) and the fact is that an efficient market brings prosperity to everyone and shouldn’t be feared or shunned … a rising tide lifts all boats … ofcourse if some ride higher than others in the current market because they can get away with underserving and overcharging clients, they will most definitely reject efficiency, transparency, and speed, because it will cause them to lose their monopoly and the luxury of not having to measure up to the market … these lawyers need to be shown the virtual door — their gain is our pain. We’re better off without them, and eventually everyone wins in an efficient market because such conditions create more business, simpler access, and more money to go around.

 

Okay, so this particular rant reflects a fanciful, even optimistic, prediction of the future. And I’m not putting this responsibility on anyone, much less on one company. And of course Avvo won’t succeed in being all things to all lawyers. But to this lawyer the company may represent the bridge to a better way of practicing law. And with all due respect to Robert Ambrogi, wouldn’t that be a nice change of pace?

document automation :: process consulting :: e-discovery consulting

one Happy Meal, hold the contempt finding …

happy meal This recent item has to do with the reaction of a bankruptcy Judge in Florida to a Chicago lawyer who referred to that Judge on the record as a few fries short of a happy meal. The Judge subsequently issued a Rule to Show Cause stemming from that comment.

What ensued among members of the legal blogosphere was sympathy for … the lawyer! That’s right: the Internet was veritably a-twitter with posts warning that Judges may go too far when they take umbrage to such remarks.

Uh … did I miss something? Is this bizzarro world where hamburgers eat people and cats chase dogs? Is there anyone who doesn’t think the lawyer in question goofed by being so offhanded? My response to the original item was this (and I stand by it)

To think I used to ask myself why my foreign-born and raised clients didn’t ‘get’ our legal system. There’s your reason right there. If you were to set these events anywhere else in the world the lawyer in question would be in irons (literally).

Moreover, where I was born he (there are no ‘she’ lawyers there) would also lose his family and his freedom. Yet I notice the bulk of discussion in the blogosphere has centered on the propriety of the JUDGE’s actions.

Oh, come on people. Just because we are trained to argue every point to death does not mean that we should. The lawyer screwed up and should be punished. Let it go already.

Enough said.

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document automation :: process consulting :: e-discovery consulting