Legal Tech New York 2014 (LTNY) is a wrap. We spent the last day of LTNY attending the keynote and finally spending some time wandering the exhibit hall meeting some of the familiar companies as well as some newcomers...
Thursday started off with the "Privacy & Security" keynote - both ‘hot’ topics no one seems to be able to avoid discussing anymore but even less people seem to have adequate solutions for. The panel, moderated by Monica Bay, Editor-in-Chief of Law Technology News, consisted of Cullen Hoback, Director of “Terms & Conditions May Apply”, a documentary focused on the erosion of our privacy in the increasingly online world; and Donna Payne, CEO of PayneGroup, ILTA Vendor Thought Leader of the Year 2013, staunch advocate of privacy rights, and one of the most credible and compelling speakers on privacy (and otherwise) we know. A last minute addition to the panel (and replacement for Trevor Hughes) was Lisa Sotto, privacy and cyber security partner at Hunton & Williams, and rated the No. 1 privacy expert for the past three consecutive years by Computerworld magazine.
The panelists began by stating their own relationships with privacy. One of the joint points of agreement was that privacy, although on ‘life support’, is quickly changing and that security (to varying degrees) is a critical component to maintaining it. Filmmaker Cullen Hoback pointed out that everything we now do digitally or otherwise has an agreement associated with it. Agreements, that according to the terms and conditions, can be altered by the company imposing it unbeknownst to the consumer.
In terms of our daily invasion of privacy, Donna Payne urged the audience to check out data broker Spokeo.com and search for available information and records for individuals. She originally told us about Spokeo a few months and we did a search and were shocked to see what all was included. (Note: You can have your listing removed.) She also shared a story of a friend who within 10 minutes of starting the search found a slew of private data points including her own social security number. Additional points the panel discussed focused on data ownership and data accuracy. Donna Payne argued that every consumer should have the right to own their personal information even if a personal cloud has to keep that information segregated from what is publicly available or given to vendors. Also, all the data points collected on individuals do not say who they are in totality but only provide a snapshot of who they are at a given point in time. On top of that, the information that is shared is often erroneous so it’s our personal obligation to know what it’s in our private records, especially medical and financial information.
The later part of the panel included a somewhat tense debate between filmmaker Hoback and lawyer Sotto concerning the service agreements companies force us to comply with. Hoback pointed out that companies can not only change terms and service agreements at any time, most of them are unintelligible to anyone but lawyers and vastly overreaching. Ms. Sotto argued that the law requires companies to include security and privacy notices and because those that are not 100% accurate can lead to major liability and prosecution on the part of the company, which leads to the vague language. And, oh yeah, she has been instrumental in crafting 100s if not 1000s of the contracts Hoback lobbies against in his film. The lively discussion concluded with audience questions, one of which brought up the topic of symmetry—basically the idea of an ‘eye for an eye’ when it comes to what companies can do with your information. A member of the audience shared a conversation with a customer service representative who told him that the service call would be recorded for quality and training purposes to which the caller responded he too would be recording the call. He was informed that the CSR could not continue the conversation.
In addition to the keynote, Thursday featured 15 educational sessions and was the last day for conference attendees to visit the 220 exhibitors on the trade show floor. We finally carved out time to roam the exhibit floor and have included a selective LTNY vendor round-up below.
LTNY Vendor Round-up
CoSign (by Arx) - Do you know the difference between digital and electronic signatures and when you need to use which for security, defensibility and a slew of other information governance and compliance related reasons? We do now thanks to CoSign, a global digital signature solution provider, and LTNY first-timer. While you can get all the marketing and promo details off the corporate site, we found three compelling reasons to check out CoSign as part of your legal technology plan … 1. Millions are already using it as part of businesses’ security procedures and legal compliance efforts; 2. Works with word processing and content tools legal professionals already own and use such as MS Office, Adobe Acrobat, Corel, etc. and 3. Integrates with prevalent legal DM solutions and workflow automation technology.
LexisNexis (LN) - We met with Loretta Ruppert, LN's Senior Director of Community Management (although I secretly think she runs the whole company!) who caught us up on LN's shpw announcements beginning with the complete redesign of Firm Manager®, their cloud-based tool for law firm practice management. After more than a year of testing the new tech with hundreds of attorney users, the product managers were onsite to provide demos of the newly launched product. This news dovetailed with a recent LN survey on cloud-based technology forecasting a dramatic rise in adoption among independent attorneys. Attorneys in small law firms overwhelmingly cite “mobility and freedom of access” as the primary benefit of cloud tools, especially the ability to access case and matter information from virtually anywhere, and at any time. Last but not least, LN announced their partnership with LawToolBox to provide a special offer to help solo and small law firms manage their court deadlines.
Sky Analytics - We appreciate start-ups and these Boston-based entrepreneurs are a fairly new (within last 2 years) entrant into the Legal Spend Management space. With a fresh approach to helping companies manage legal spend, and a highly intuitive and graphical user interface, Sky has made great strides within corporate legal. We first caught up with Sky at last year’s ILTA Conference and have been following them since. They gave us a quick demo comparing firms based on diversity scores (one firm had 99.2% men so I'm not sure that would qualify!), staffing across matters and hourly rate benchmarks. A recent press release states continued client growth within corporate legal and its legal analytics database which now includes over $3.1 Billion in legal invoices.
iConect and Xera - The eDiscovery vendor featured its Xera hosted eDiscovery review platform built to optimize the review, analysis and production of electronically stored information. At LTNY, iConect premiered iView, its new custom-designed visualization engine for its review platform. Users will be able to use graphing tools to easily create charts which represent user activity, document coding, metadata and the inter-relations. iView features are ideal for reviewers and project managers, with the ability to create searches and review tasks from the interactive charts with one click.
Thomson Reuters WestlawNext (WlN) - Do you remember when WlN launched at LTNY 2010? Thomson pulled out all the stops featuring a mini-orchestra at the press conference, Time Square digital signage (yes, on the BIG board) and even had the ‘Halal Guys’ wearing WestlawNext gear. Four years later, more than 52,500 legal organizations have made the switch to WlN including 88% of the Am Law 100, and 62% of the Fortune 100. Also, according to the helpful Westlaw LTNY booth staff, these numbers include 41,900+ law firms; 5,300+ corporations; 5,000+ government organizations and all 203 ABA-approved Law Schools. At LTNY 2014, they unveiled Westlaw PeopleMap (quickly find relevant info about people and their connections); Custom Pages (personalized to users’ specific research needs); and Patents (extensive patent resources for IP professionals).
NetDocuments - NetDocuments (ND) continues to make a name for itself in the cloud DMS/email management space … with clever integrations and partnerships; user-driven features and functions included in four annual software updates (check out the ND IdeaBank); and plenty of happy clients (check out the case studies). Last week, ND announced the development of two new technologies – ndOffice and ndConnect. The technologies embed core document management functions directly into Microsoft Office, Office 365, SkyDrive and Dropbox, bringing deeper integrations and increased functionality to the ND solution. Also, as of February 6, all ND clients will be able to download NetDocuments 14.1. The first release of 2014 includes updates and improvements such as: complete re-design of all List View pages (greatly improves the management of documents and emails and in particular the viewing of email messages); Full Federated Identity capability (allows those who are using Microsoft Directory Services to manage their NetDocuments user accounts via the Active Directory services); and a new login page (includes more features to make logging in more seamless and user-friendly).
AdaptiveSky - Welcome to your private cloud. AdaptiveSky is a “super-fast, super-secure, super-charged, private cloud network that is always on and always available.” The AdaptiveSky desktop provides users all of a firm’s legal applications and data, and is available on mobile devices, tablets or online. The start-up’s tagline is “by attorneys for attorneys” and as their site states … “we employ attorneys who kept the 'Esq.', dropped the billable hour, decided to embrace their 'inner geek' and go into IT.”
NeedleFinder - Houston-based Equivalent DATA is the company behind NeedleFinder, it’s end-to-end eDiscovery software platform designed to drastically reduce exposure and eliminate unnecessary delays. According to the LTNY booth crew, key differentiators include service, the ability to customize the solution and the overall flexibility. This might sound like a general marketing pitch but the new and rebranded version slated for April promises to deliver. We’ll let you know.
TITUS - Canadian-based TITUS enables organizations to classify, protect and confidently share information, and meet regulatory compliance requirements by identifying and securing unstructured data. According to the website, the TITUS Classification Suite includes the leading email, document and file classification and marking solutions that enhance data loss prevention by involving end users in identifying sensitive information. LTNY was the company’s first venture into the US Legal market and they hope their catchy “take out the eTrash” tagline will do more than raise eyebrows. Seems like the popular information governance angle would be worth pursuing as well.
Logikcull – We met with Logikcull's CEO & Founder Andy Wilson to learn more about his company's product and how it differs from the swath of eDiscovery and document review solutions competing for LTNY floor space and column inches. The short iPhone demo underscored the marketing promise -- ease of use and automation and Wilson's analogy ... "If eDiscovery is the bank, then Logikcull is the ATM" made sense in conveying mobility and again ease of use and access. In addition to that, true eDiscovery experts like Brett Burney and Sharon Nelson have reviewed and favored this new tech on the eDiscovery block, so who would argue with them? Seemingly we could not get enough of Andy, as the next day we saw him speak at ReInventLaw on "How to Build a Product in the Legal Industry that Lawyers Will Actually Buy". How a propos.
LogRhythm - Another LTNY newbie, another Information Governance tool… "LogRhythm is a security intelligence company providing a balance of log management, reporting, event management, privileged user monitoring and file integrity monitoring to support security operations and compliance use cases." At first glance, this seems like an industrial strength solution so it will be interest to see how it adapts to the specific security needs of legal professionals.
BakerHostetler announces Information Governance Practice Group - A few days after we met with BakerHostetler's Judy Selby to discuss our upcoming legal big data initiatives, she and firm counsel James Sherer officially announced their new cross-practice group that draws upon the firm’s established expertise in the areas of Privacy and Data Protection and E-Discovery Advocacy and Management. According to Selby, information is the lifeblood of businesses today, but many entities are overwhelmed by the volume of their data, as well as associated privacy, regulatory, legal, and security concerns. "A comprehensive Information Governance policy provides an important accountability framework for the effective management of information that permits an organization to maximize its value while reducing associated costs and risks."
Overall, we were surprised at how many companies weren't announcing anything new at the show this year. While we barely scratched the surface of the 220+ vendors touting their LTNY wares, the companies above intrigued us for one reason or another. Are these technologies earth shattering and the ‘WOW factor’ we all want to see? Probably not, but we do see how law firms can utilize such tech tools to end up better, faster and more competitive than they started. Also, like we pointed out in earlier posts, LTNY was all about information governance (IG) ... how eDiscovery vendors are transitioning to offer a broader array of IG-related products/services and expertise, how law firms are shoring up their own IG expertise and how associations like ARMA are leading the IG education charge. What will the LTNY 2015 word cloud look like? We'll check-in next January and let you know. In the meantime, there was time for one more event...
ReInvent Law NYC, a day-long conference devoted to law, technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the legal services industry was held on Friday. We were only able to attend the ReInvent morning program but definitely appreciated the speakers’ short innovation talks (ranging from 6-10 minutes) and the prevailing messages: be passionate about what you do; try new ways to solve old problems; innovate now to reap rewards later; and take risks - some calculated, some ludicrous - but take them. Of the 12 sessions we witnessed, Joshua Kubicki’s made the biggest impact. Kubicki, the founder and President of the Legal Transformation Institute which invests in new business models for Legal, asked a group of legal start-ups to join him on stage and acknowledged their innovation, passion and courage for charting new waters with their legal ventures. The impressive group (see picture) received an energetic standing ovation by the ReInvent audience.
Anyone that missed ReInvent, can cheer up since the rapid-fire innovation-themed Ignite Law (now called LexThink.1) event we have been co-producing with Matt Homann since 2010 is back for its fifth year. In fact, the site is up and we are accepting submissions if you would like to speak. This year's theme is “The End of Irrelevance” and everyone is allowed to submit a topic. Once the topics are compiled, we will begin online voting and the community decides which topics/speakers are chosen. If you haven't attended, don't miss it. It's a great event that takes place the evening of March 26, the eve of ABA TECHSHOW. We hope to see you there!