ABA TechShow Preview: LegalTech NYC Redux

LexTekReport is pleased to be covering the upcoming ABA TechShow 2010 in depth. As part of that coverage, we will provide a series of articles both before, during and after the conference. This is the first of a series of articles. Look also for our upcoming report on the 3rd Annual eDiscovery Survey of Illinois Lawyers over the course of this month.

Law Bulletin Publishing Company, our parent, will be exhibiting at Booth 106 at the ABA TechShow. Please stop by and see Dave, Paul and Lindsay. We will also be introducing our new Associate Editor, New Media at the show.

LegalTech 2010 NYC Redux

I recently attended the LegalTech show in NYC and visited several vendors to learn more about product offerings. Here’s a recap of those vendors/products in consideration for the upcoming ABA TechShow.

What’s Next for Westlaw Next?

The old adage “simple is not easy” probably applies best to Westlaw Next. The new interface leading to the multitude of Westlaw databases mimics Google – in that it’s a single text box. However, once a search is conducted the screen comes alive with a great number of options that go well beyond what Google has to offer. This is a very well thought-out application that has been years in development. Code-named Cobalt, Thomson/Reuters put a lot of resources, time and money into developing a more intuitive, natural entrance to its many databases.

I sat through both the multi-media presentation and then a one-on-one demo. When you enter information into the single, Google-like text box, you are provided search results compiled from the entire Westlaw database for which your search gained a result. You can then drill down into those results. To analyze results from specific databases, filters are provided on the left-hand column, i.e. cases, statutes, regulations, jury verdicts & settlements, etc.

As you look at the detail from a result, options for the specific database from which the result is derived are rendered on the left-hand column of the page. This provides added filtering and other functionality. Also, tabs appear at the top that provide more navigation possibilities, i.e., negative treatments, filings, history, etc.

Additional tools offer the ability to drag and drop research results into folders, the ability to highlight text within a result and annotate it, and the ability to save and retrieve your research history.

If you know the exact database you would like to search, you can still go there. Westlaw no longer uses “natural language” but has a new search algorithm that is suppose to be much better. The person who demonstrated the product to me also alluded to some artificial, learned intelligence as you go about searching and build some research history.

So what’s next for Westlaw Next? West concentrated on its caselaw product and core content to leverage its new search capabilities. Next on the list (according to a Westlaw source) will be riding the new search engine and subsequent features over its ancillary databases, i.e. West Dockets, trial court briefs, orders, transcripts and other Westlaw content.

Lexis-Nexis Office 7 Integration – Not impressed with today’s offerings, but tomorrow’s coming soon

Lexis-Nexis was touting their new connectivity to Microsoft Office. There was really nothing remarkable to see with this connectivity between Microsoft’s Office 7. It makes it easier to Shepardize cases with documents, but they’ve been offering versions of this software for a long time.

Probably an aggravating feature is that all MS Office documents including emails will automatically highlight search terms, companies, cases, etc. within a document or email and you may then click through the highlighted phrase or word to run a Lexis search. My question to the person giving the demonstration was, “can you turn that function off?” It’s like reading a book after someone else has highlighted the heck out of it.

What’s going to be on the plate for Lexis-Nexis at the ABA TechShow? Rumor has it (I read it in the Enquirer, it must be true) they are going to roll out their new brand of a Google-like search interface at either this show or the AALL in July. (You might get a feel for this by visiting their Beta site – LexisWeb.com.) Cross your fingers that it’s this show, as it might give it the jolt it needs. If it’s AALL, there should be an interesting three-way cage match between Westlaw Next, Bloomberg Law and Lexis-Nexis. Get your tickets now and expect some premium chotchkies to be handed around.

Lexis Martindale-Connect

Martindale connect now has 12,000 law firm lawyers in its network, about 4,000 corporate counsel, and (I had to ask) 491 law firm marketers. They are now allowing non-lawyers the ability to join via an invitation. MC is free to anyone, however in order to start a blog, lead a discussion or invite others into the network, you have to pay to play. They have a few different subscription tiers. They do allow secure-access groups and some attorneys are using it as a collaboration method.

We’ll have some interesting statistics regarding Illinois lawyers’ use of these applications in the forthcoming 2010 eDiscovery and Technology Survey report – read it here soon.

3B View

Security for netbooks, Blackberrys, iPhones and Droid phones has become a nightmare for most law firm CIOs. So along comes 3B View, who with a quick install of a small app can secure any mobile device between the law firm and the individual. This is good for lawyers concerning the confidentiality of the work that they do each day. Especially as firms flip to iPhones over Blackberrys (where there’s some security measures in place, maybe?), this product will likely have some serious penetration.

OnIt

OnIt is a new project management tool for lawyers. About ten years ago I spoke at the ALA National conference about the need for project management for litigation support. This is the first time a tool has been presented for lawyers. I ran a test myself, but I determined that there is quite an education needed for lawyers to understand, let alone begin using project management. This would probably be better suited to litigation support supervisors who are preparing large cases for trial and/or eDiscovery projects. It will be interesting to see this product take hold. Get on it!

Big Hand Digital Dictation is Speaking Naturally Now

Big Hand has forged a partnership with Nuance’s Dragon Naturally Speaking so that digital dictation can now be transcribed to a document instantly. Big Hand is a productivity tool on an enterprise level that allows you to dictate a letter, memo, document and then an assistant or secretary can retrieve the wav file, mp3 and/or document and complete the document drafting process. I read a paragraph into a handheld dictation device and it was transcribed into a document instantly with only a few minor corrections needed. Pretty cool stuff. When I spoke with our friends from Big Hand at last year’s ABA TechShow they were concerned about re-educating attorneys on the need for dictation as a productivity tool. We’ll have to find out how they progressed with the education process.

XMLaw from Hubbard One

Continuing their quest for software products, Hubbard One, an arm of the Thomson/Reuter/West conglomerate, recently acquired XMLaw, a company that specializes in Microsoft SharePoint integration. Their product, OneView, provides a law firm with a 360 degree view of all of their information, i.e., cases, CRM, time & billing, research, etc. into one Intranet application. You can also use it to provide an Extranet to specific law firm clients for collaboration purposes. OneView leverages SharePoint and is able to accommodate many of the major software packages in use by law firms today. Here’s a link for more info: http://www.xmlaw.net/default.aspx.

eDiscovery Vendors

The exhibit hall at LegalTech NYC was about two-thirds full of eDiscovery vendors. The latest trends are two-fold, one, they all say they are one-stop shops for every service associated with eDiscovery, two, they are now offering flat rates vs. per gigabyte rates. All this really means is that they will probably burn you in other ways (sorry, sometimes I’m a skeptic) like document review. This particular market is starting to mature and get very competitive. Each vendor has its strength and weakness, in other words, one might be very good at early case assessment and very bad at redaction.

Clearwell and Autonomy

Clearwell Systems and Autonomy were the real eDiscovery monsters of the midway in the exhibit hall. Clearwell seemed to be getting the most traffic, and both wielded large exhibits, but in strange, claustrophobic areas on the 2nd Floor.  Clearwell has its sales group trained to the point where my eyes glaze over after about 3 minutes of eDiscovery jargon. Autonomy has a wide range of products that are in the process of being bundled up to into a mega eDiscovery product.

More previews to come. Stay tuned.

Dave Glynn

~ by CDLB on March 10, 2010.

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