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Posts Tagged ‘Monica Bay’

What’s on Deck for LegalTech NY 2009

Friday, January 16th, 2009

It’s a new year in legal technology, and the visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads quickly give way to visions of LegalTech 2009. After all, who can help but dream about another opportunity to brave the icy streets of New York City in February? Fond memories of attempting to wolf down a stale croissant and cold cup of coffee while jostling for an uptown cab outside the New York Hilton can set even the most jaded litigation support manager’s heart aflutter.

The weather and the Manhattan traffic may remain the same, but, as we’re all painfully aware, this year’s show takes place in the context of a dramatic global recession that is having a huge impact on the legal industry’s use of technology, particularly electronic discovery. It’s in challenging times that innovation often thrives the most, so this year’s LegalTech may actually yield a surprising number of new ideas and technologies.

Innovation aside, this year’s LegalTech will likely have a bit of a different “look and feel” from last year:

LegalTech 2008 LegalTech 2009
Dining hot spot Le Cirque Le Hot Dog Cart
Evening activity Attending swanky club parties hosted by eager and generous vendors Watching Law and Order in your hotel room while eating Chinese take-out
Cheap giveaway Demo CDs Devalued CDOs
Hilton elevator waiting time 20 minutes 20 minutes
Top discussion topic while waiting for the elevator Managing the costs and risks of electronic discovery Managing the costs and risks of electronic discovery

Some things, of course, never change. Fortunately, the team at Incisive Media has been working overtime to put together a stellar lineup of practitioners, legal experts, and judges to provide insight into some of the key issues of legal technology. While electronic discovery is top-of-mind for many, there’s a lot of more than that on tap. Key sessions include:

  • Patrick Oot, Director of Electronic Discovery and senior litigation Counsel at Verizon will lead the first-ever LegalTech Town Hall meeting, to be featured on YouTube. The Town Hall will be an interactive discussion where participants will be able to submit questions in real-time to a panel of experts for immediate feedback and insight on the topics that are of top concern.
  • John W. Woods, a partner at Hunton and Williams, will deliver a keynote on “How eDiscovery is Changing the Relationship Between Law Firms and their Corporate Clients”. Clearly there’s a sea change going on here, which seems to be being accelerating by the economy, and it will be very interesting to hear what John has to say.
  • Finally, LegalTech would not be complete without a contribution from a leading light of the bench. And this year, none other than United States Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola of Peskoff v. Faber and United States v. O’Keefe will be presiding. Ralph Losey said he’s “just about my favorite judge of all time” and it’s sure to be a fantastic session to get up to speed on the cutting edge of electronic discovery law.

The fantastic speaker lineup, of course, just scratches the surface. LegalTech is also an incredible networking opportunity to meet with fellow practitioners and vendors. However, it can be a little overwhelming, particularly to first-time attendees. So, we thought we’d close with a video that Monica Bay put together last year that provides a quick “how-to” guide for making the most of your time at LegalTech.

As a final note, I’ll be attending the E-Discovery 2.0 LinkedIn Happy Hour before B-Discovery’s LegalTech event.  It’s at the Hilton’s Bridges Bar from 8:00 – 9:00pm on Monday February 2nd.  Come by and say hello.  If you are not a member of the E-Discovery 2.0 LinkedIn group, sign up here.  See you at the show!

Five E-Discovery Questions with Monica Bay

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Today’s questionee is Monica Bay, editor-in-chief of Law Technology News. Not only is she the author of The Common Scold, Law Technology Now podcasts, and co-author of the EDD Update blog, but she is also a rabid New York Yankees fan (as you will see below).  Let’s get to the questions.

1) As a lawyer, what advice would you give litigation support professionals to them to help foster more successful and productive litigation support-lawyer relationships?

In June, I wrote “Can You Adapt?” in Law Technology News which explores the changing terrain of EDD support staff. Increasingly, vendors, law firms and corporate counsel are hiring lawyers to handle e-discovery, particularly the review phase. This is creating tremendous opportunities for both attorneys and non-attorney professionals to further develop their careers, and make a whole lot of money (we’re already seeing poaching).

As for advice, it is the same I would give anyone in any job. Think baseball:

  • Be a team player: It’s about the team, not the individual. You win and lose as a team. (See, Derek Jeter).
  • Play your position well: Make yourself indispensible… be reliable, accurate, prompt, and anticipate needs. Raise your hand when there’s a job nobody wants to do because it’s too complicated or detailed. Extra points for utility players (See, Miguel Cairo).
  • Home runs are great, but small ball wins more games. Watch the details. (See, Tampa Bay Rays)
  • Take pre-emptive strikes: If you screw up, tell your boss immediately. It is far better for YOU to bring it to your boss than the reverse. Don’t try to hide problems (See, Tanyon Sturtz).
  • Bring answers, not problems. Don’t whine. Instead of complaining about problems to your boss, come to her with alternatives. Show initiative and ingenuity. (See, Derek Jeter, Joe Girardi)
  • Be low maintenance. ‘Nuf said. Even Manny got traded for being a pain. (See, Jeter, Abreu, Nady, Posada, et al)
  • Don’t sit back and wait to be noticed. Ask for promotions. Do your homework, know the market, don’t take the first offer – negotiate. This is particularly important for women, who traditionally haven’t been encouraged to be assertive. (See Joe Torre, Joe Maddon)
  • Don’t exaggerate your own importance. (See, Scott Boras, re: B. Molina, Rodriquez, etc.).
  • Be loyal, work hard, kind, considerate, passionate, diligent, and work smart (See, Derek Jeter)

2) Socha-Gelbmann abandoning their existing ranking system: Good or bad (or both), and why?

Good.  George Socha and Tom Gelbmann, creators of the Socha/Gelbmann E-Discovery Survey, have said that they are rethinking how they rank, because too many folks were “foolishly” simply relying on their reports rather than doing the necessary due diligence to be sure they were buying the right products. I applaud them and look forward to the next iteration.

3) Helping strengthen the legal technology community is obviously a big passion of yours. Any new issues you are championing?

My latest crusade is the result of recent disheartening news reports that document severe gender gaps in pay for members of our profession; as well as the latest statistics about how painfully difficult it is for minority lawyers to climb partnership ranks, especially in large firms. Even among paralegal ranks there is a gender gap, which is especially ridiculous because that’s an area dominated by women.

There are no easy answers to these problems, but we simply must address them. In our October issue, I challenged every law firm managing partner, vendor CEO and company GC to immediately remedy gender pay gaps in their shops. There is no excuse for those. Solving the issue of obstacles facing career growth for women, minorities, gays and lesbians is a more challenging and nuanced problem, but one that we simply must make a top priority and continue to address. We cannot give up. It is only right and just. I wrote about this in our November issue, and will continue to keep it front and center in LTN.

4) Since it’s Halloween, we’ll ask a scary question. In your view, is e-discovery in its current state a help or a hindrance to the legal system?

The short answer is that it’s both. But e-discovery is here to stay, and the challenge before us is to work to develop systems and protocols that help us attain the real goal – to resolve disputes in a fair, speedy, reasonable manner.

I worry that litigation costs have so escalated that disputes today are being resolved more based on risk management assessments (e.g., the cost of the litigation) than the actual merits of the dispute.

5) Finally, be honest with us: How do you REALLY determine who gets to be in the President’s Corner?

Narrowing it down to the most newsworthy releases of the month, and then finding the one photo among all the finalists that’s actually in focus.

Live from LegalTech West: The E-Discovery Tug of War

Friday, June 27th, 2008

tug_of_war_2.jpgHello from Los Angeles, where the weather’s fine and summer’s in full swing! Accordingly, a few of us in the legal technology community spent the night before LegalTech enjoying a Dodger’s game hosted by LTN editor-in-chief and rabid Yankees fan Monica Bay (outfitted in full Yankee regalia for the occasion). So as to not incur Monica’s wrath, I left my Red Sox cap at home.

At the game, I happened to sit next to a colleague from another vendor who mentioned that her firm is about to celebrate twenty years in e-discovery.

Twenty years! What a remarkable milestone for any company. It got me wondering about how much technology has evolved over that time period, and raised an interesting question to noodle over between innings: With all of the investment and innovation in the e-discovery space, who’s actually winning the electronic data discovery tug of war, twenty years in?

What is the e-discovery tug of war, you ask? Let’s start with the scene in 1988.

On one side, the documents: They stared at you from across the mud puddle — hundreds or even thousands of boxes stacked one of top of another, hauled out from a warehouse where they’d spent their days, against their will, in windowless solitude, ready for battle. They were ticked.

And on the other side, you: With your new IBM PS/2 Model 80 (the best money could buy: 640×480 VGA color screen, 16mhz 386 processor, 80MB hard drive), flatbed scanner, and some new DOS-based database program called “Concordance.” To add insult to injury, Starbucks hadn’t even really gone national yet, so you were probably stuck with a jar of instant coffee to try to stay awake.

You didn’t stand a chance.

From then until now, two different dynamics have played against each other, pulling the flag back and forth over the dividing line:

  1. On one side, the explosive growth of electronic documents has been truly mind-boggling. From a baseline of close to zero in 1988 (WordPerfect 5.1 wasn’t introduced until 1989), today essentially every single business document is created, transmitted, and stored electronically.
  2. On the other side, technology innovators in the e-discovery space have used creativity and a large dose of Moore’s Law to store, process, and search electronic documents with ever-increasing speed and efficiency.

During the seventh inning stretch, with the Dodgers holding a commanding lead over the White Sox, I thought: Maybe technology is about to win.

Here’s the argument: Assuming that the creation of document content will still largely be human-driven, now that most every legally significant class of communication is being created and managed on-line, growth of e-discovery-relevant data volumes may quickly move from being exponential (when everything was “going digital”) to a rate driven more by productivity improvements and economic growth. Improvements in processing, search, and analysis of documents, however, will continue to improve at a Moore’s Law pace for the foreseeable future, presumably making it fairly trivial for advanced e-discovery technologies to outmuscle their longtime adversary.

Google shows some evidence of this victory of technology over data. Remember that just a few years back, search engines frequently trumpeted how much of the Internet they were able to index – and it was far from the whole thing. Today, that’s largely a solved problem. It’s simply amazing how quickly Google’s index ingests new data, often in what seems like a matter of minutes. In fact, I dare say that by the time you read this post, you’ll be able to perform a Google search on some of its content and have it come up front-and-center in your search results. Amazing.

What does this mean for electronic data discovery? The best e-discovery technologies will change to solve challenges that are far more strategic in nature. Instead of focusing on how fast and effectively they can process documents, or how quickly they can allow attorneys to review them, they’ll provide powerful capabilities for addressing some of the most important e-discovery problems that inside and outside counsel face, such as:

  • How do I craft robust, defensible search strategies for my cases while minimizing e-discovery costs?
  • How can I standardize a repeatable, high-quality discovery process that’s executed consistently across my organization?
  • How can my organization become more proactive in identifying potential legal risks and liabilities based on our company’s “legal history”?

I’m sure you can come up with a number of others. What do you think – is the war against documents over, and electronic data discovery ready to move to a new phase? Or are there still many more battles to be fought?