Monday, October 25, 2004

A favorite quote

Just when you feel like the cycle of projects never ends, keep this quote in mind. I'm not sure who was first to use it,

"The rewards for doing something well is the opportunity to do it again."

Friday, October 22, 2004

Stop-gap disaster recovery for e-mail

Very few things come along that are 'no-brainers' as far as technology goes, this product is certainly one of them.

Many firms are still trying to figure out what their disaster recovery/business continuity plans will entail. Hundreds of thousands (in some cases millions) of dollars are involved in implementing these systems and it take months to get them on-line. In the interim, most firms are still very vulnerable to even the most simple power outage or other type of disaster.

This is where MessageOne comes in. Their system should not be intended as a full-blown DR solution, but certainly something that everyone should look at for providing almost 100% uptime on e-mail. At the LawNet annual conference recently, I heard the Technology Partner of an AmLaw 100 firm say, 'After seeing this, I would be committing malpractice if I didn't show it to my firm's Management Committee." Pretty strong words.

For more information, contact Russell Sachs:

Vice President, Legal Solutions
(212) 812-5017

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Voicemail discovery, the next wave of liability

Now that law firms and corporations are just getting their arms around e-discovery and how to implement the proper retention policies, voicemail is entering the scene. What is making voicemail such an easy target for discovery is the advent of technology which allows the use of the internet as a means of distribution, most commonly voice-over-IP or, voIP. With additional technology, people can receive voicemails as e-mail attachments and can even have voicemails transcribed into text automatically. Once in e-mail, a voicemail's life expectancy is much longer and creates yet another feeding ground for those looking for the 'smoking gun'.

A article posted on the Lexis web-site gives a very good primer on the issues surrounding voicemail discovery.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Outlook as a knowledge hub

Last week consulting firm ii3 hosted a session discussing the merits of using Outlook as a respository for knowledge. It was refreshing to hear two sides to the issue, including some perspectives from outside legal. I'm not sure if they recorded the roundtable discussion, but here's the link to the webinar,

One of the more interesting opinions came from Theresa Grote, CIO at Dinsmore Shohl. While she acknowledged Outlook as a primary tool for lawyers, she was wary of depending on Exchange to act as a central repository, essentially letting technology drive her decision to move more towards Sharepoint. Her firm has done some nice things with various integration points to Sharepoint, but I still wonder ultimately if Outlook is not the place where all roads will eventually meet.

More postings on this topic from Ron Friedman's site,

Friday, October 15, 2004

IT staffing ratios and budgets

Just in time for everyone's budget planning, LawNet published a staffing and budget survey this week. LawNet reports that the results will be posted in early November and available at no charge to its members. Hildebrant used to conduct a staffing and budget survey, but for the last few years they haven't and there hasn't been any good benchmarks to work from. Recently, Baker Robbins & Co. Solicited the AmLaw 250 to participate in a similar survey, but was asking for $2,500 per firm. What I liked about the LawNet survey, which the BRCO survey didn't have, were questions that allowed the responding firm to 'define' what functions fell under IT and assign FTEs to each function. This was intended to address the common problem of comparing apples to apples, not just in terms of the size of the firm and number of attorneys, but what functions one IT staff was handling versus another. LawNet plans on distributing the survey results in a summary form, but also in Excel to allow for further analysis and comparison.

When the results are in at the end of October, I'll create a link to it.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Blawgs v. Traditional E-Newsletters

I recently looked at a product designed for lawyers to start their own blogs, and initially thought it might be a hard sell to larger law firms and that the tool was really more geared towards smaller firms and solo practitioners. But, after looking at how some law firms sends out its newsletters, this quickly became a no brainer (at least to me). Many firms send out newsletters once a month/quarter, are either sent within the body of an e-mail or as a PDF and are typically 10-20 pages long.

This creates several problems.

  1. In many cases, the information is already dated by the time the newsletter is sent.
  2. As we all know, e-mail is a tool that no one can live without, but is also becoming an information glut. News items sent via e-mail on a monthly basis are often not read.
  3. 10-20 pages is a lot to digest in one sitting.

A blog offers several advantages to the traditional e-newsletter. The anti-spam benefits alone are great and this is a major consideration if your firm's marketing department sends out thousands of e-mails a month. The length is a much more digestible for the audience of the typical marketing e-newsletter. The information is 'just in time' and current as opposed to monthly/quarterly newsletter. The target audience can also decide how they want the content delivered, via e-mail updates, RSS, or simply visiting the site every so often. Getting newsletters only via e-mail is like the morning paper, just because it comes at 6:00am doesn't mean that's when you want to read it. These various delivery options are a great feature and free up the e-mail overload. Because the content is on the Internet, it's indexed by search engines like Google, making the growth of readership almost organic. We've experience exponential growth in readership and enjoy high rankings on Google for many of our blogs. We can analyze traffic patterns, see who our visitors are, what the most popular 'posts' are and other classic website traffic monitoring reports. This type of site analysis is not possible with traditional e-newsletter formats. In addition, our marketing department isn't spending days creating the newsletter in Quark, saving it to PDF, only to have lawyers make last minute change upon last minute change. Posting is simple and fast.