The exhibit hall at Legaltech New York promises to be filled to the brim with legal technology companies providing the latest new innovations and amazing upgrades to each of their new systems. Afraid that you may miss something in the commotion? Legaltech News will be covering the latest legal technology company news during and after the show… but in case you want to get a jump on what technologies and innovations some of the biggest names in legal tech will be offering, here is a preview. The first part of this preview, with eight companies listed in alphabetical order, will run Friday, with the second eight companies being featured the day before the conference on Monday.
BQE Software, which provides time, billing, accounting and project management software for a number of industries, has announced upgrades to its BillQuick Legal 2016 product with an eye towards accelerating the efficiency, effectiveness and convenience of legal time tracking and billing. The new features in BillQuick Legal 2016 focus on automation (such as the ability to automatically import transactions, auto-update matter information from the client screen, and create a back-up SQL database), efficiency (with a matter-level retainer, time and expense by class, and a detailed view of unpaid expenses), and technical excellence.
According to the company BillQuick Legal will work with the latest version of operating systems such as Windows 10 and provide significant performance improvements.
“Simply put, BillQuick Legal 2016 allows you to do more in less time,” said Shafat Qazi, CEO and founder of BQE Software, in a release accompanying the news. “With this release, we focused on minimizing the time spent to complete day-to-day tasks. BillQuick Legal 2016 helps legal professionals get things done accurately, intelligently, automatically and ahead of schedule.”
Catalyst has announced that it will be delivering forensic investigation and collection services on a global basis. The new service, which has been rolled out over the past several months, will now provide remote or on-location services backed by testifying experts with a wide range of certifications and forensic credentials. These experts will be called upon to investigate and analyze computer data for purposes of identification, preservation, extraction, interpretation and documentation of electronic evidence, all with an eye towards future admissibility. A variety of hardware and software systems are eligible to be analyzed, including desktop and laptop computers, smartphones and older-model cell phones, and cloud services including Google Drive and Office 365.
At the show, Catalyst will also demonstrate Insight Predict, Legaltech’s 2015 new product of the year honoree, and discuss the launch of its new global forensic investigation and collection services, and how to lower the total cost of review. The company is also releasing the second edition of “TAR for Smart People” with new chapters focused on learning about TAR and CAL, along with new case studies that reinforce the power of TAR 2.0 systems, and updates on TAR case law with the latest decisions.
FTI Technology has announced the launch of Radiance, a new visual analytics software platform that enables organizations to dynamically investigate and understand their enterprise data. Available as a cloud-based service or as a rapid deployment mobile option, Radiance is intended to provide visuals and data analytics similar to the company’s flagship Ringtail products, but with an eye towards pre-discovery and early case assessment analytics. As a result, Radiance is intended to be an “an easy-to-use, scalable platform” that works quickly, visualizing millions of documents from these disparate sources in a single, elegantly designed user interface. More on Radiance will be on Legaltech News in the coming days.
Separately, FTI’s business segment has launched version 8.6 of its Ringtail e-discovery software. Ringtail 8.6 offers a number of feature and performance enhancements, including new timeline analytics and faster rendering, to improve Ringtail’s usability and help legal teams efficiently find important data for legal, regulatory and investigative matters. The company said the focus of the upgrade is “speed, greater ease of use, and continuing our innovation around visual.”
Ipro’s workflow platform, ADD Automated Digital Discovery, seeks to provide a simple and automated way for organizations to manage e-discovery. And with its latest ADD release, Ipro looks to take the automation to another level, introducing Media Manager as a web-based solution to “completely automate and optimize identifying and tracking electronic files across the eDiscovery workflow.” Media Manager, the company added, can also add key delivery and metadata information to source media (hard drives, thumb drives, DVDs, etc.) and electronic files for document management and tracking. The addition also allows users to auto-generate barcodes, copy media content to the network to create and track discovery jobs, and map media paths to existing clients and custodians.
The ADD platform also touts a number of other upgrades in its latest release, including increased integration between Ipro processing and Relativity review on the ADD platform (dubbed “Ipro-Q”), continuous streaming, first-pass filtering, and on-demand license consumption. At Legaltech New York, the company will also be showcasing processing speed and functionality upgrades to early case assessment tool Allegro, analytic web-based review Eclipse and the high-speed processing tool eCapture.
International legal process outsourcing services provider Inventus is looking to shine a light on data analytics with the launching of its new platform Spotlight. Inventus Spotlight is a business data analytics platform that provides clients with insights into their litigation portfolio, which the company said will enable comprehensive outsourcing visibility, predictability and cost management. The tool will aggregate data from various sources, including Relativity, LAW and other third party applications, as well as integrate directly into the Luminosity system.
This tool, the company said, gives clients real-time insight into their data and litigation portfolio, as well as allow them to quantify the ROI on e-discovery spend and better manage and predict the capital that goes into their e-discovery budget. The company will showcase the new platform at Legaltech New York, including its functionality on mobile devices.
As a profession, we’re haunted by the specter of our incompetence with technology. We should be. For too long, we’ve clung to our Dictaphones, been duped by elementary phishing attacks, and failed to understand the meaning of “reply‑all.”
These “goofs” of the technically inept are becoming increasingly dangerous in both our businesses and our client representations. You hardly need to mention the threat of data breaches or e‑discovery sanctions to send chills down most lawyers’ spines. And the problem won’t be solved by an influx of younger attorneys who exchanged their pacifiers for iPads. In my personal experience, I’ve found many tech dunces actually to be in the ranks of the younger lawyers.
What are we do to? Who is going to save us from our troubles with technology? The answer is simple: Hire lawyers with technical smarts and reward them for their contributions. The tech-savvy lawyer need not have the ability to write programs in assembly language or understand x86 chip architecture. The main components of tech savviness are curiosity and accrued knowledge on how to get the most out of computers.
But I emphasize that these tech saviors must be lawyers; part of our technology problem stems from pervasively outsourcing solutions to vendors and consultants rather than developing skills ourselves. Even partners must grasp the importance of tech issues and understand the methods by which we’ll achieve the best results.
Another suggestion: Be careful about lawyers who proclaim “e-discovery” expertise. Often times, such lawyers know less than they realize about the “e” part of e-discovery, and instead focus almost exclusively on case law, buzzwords and hiring their favorite vendors. Rather than running to a vendor for help, e-discovery counsel should have the skills to perform 95 percent of the e-discovery process in ordinary cases themselves. The remaining 5 percent includes tricky things that counsel generally shouldn’t perform, such as forensic analysis.
What are some characteristics of the truly tech-savvy lawyer? To begin with, this lawyer is fascinated with and passionate about technology and the role it plays in our profession—both as an instrument of greater efficiency and a paradigm shift in the ways we litigate cases and think about evidence. She has no fear of tech, enjoys experimenting with new tools and technologies, and solves computer problems with a Google search rather than a call to the help desk. (In fact, this lawyer probably isthe help desk already.) She is a magician in Word and Excel. (If a lawyer can’t get the most out of these tools, then good luck with more complicated ones!) She has written some code. She has a strong tech vocabulary and probably knows about things like metadata, encryption and relational databases. Nevertheless, we should recall that there are many different colored belts on the pathway from novice to ninja, and in a year or two, the dedicated beginners may be more valuable than the fading masters.
Let’s now consider the benefits that the tech savvy lawyer – consultus technologicus – can bring to her firm and clients. These benefits can be roughly divided into two primary categories: those related to client outcomes and those related to the business of law. Let’s start with the first: how the techno lawyer gets better results for clients.
It’s not an exaggeration that we live in a very different world than the one that existed just two decades ago. In the 1990s, we used stamps and made calls from landlines! Today—unless we forcefully unplug ourselves from the all-encompassing internet to camp on a salt flat in Utah—we’re generating and consuming massive quantities of digital information with every step down the sidewalk.
Aside from the interesting sociological questions raised by these developments, lawyers can’t help but notice that the new world, properly understood, entails a fundamental shift in the way that litigation should work. The day is coming when witness testimony—that stew of faulty memory and over-preparation—will be irrelevant, or nearly so. Already, Florida-based attorney Ralph Losey writesthat he would choose e-discovery over depositions if he had to make a choice, and I agree with him. After learning how to dig for electronic evidence and how to force the other side to give it to me, witness testimony became almost irrelevant because emails, texts, images, metadata and databases revealed the truth of events with photographic precision.
The tech-savvy lawyer knows how to get the good evidence, both from an adversary and from her own client. The stakes couldn’t be higher, and both bar associations and judges are cracking down on lawyers who fail to take account of the evidentiary implications of the Information Age.
The stakes are just as high in the business of law. Tech-savvy lawyers can realize tremendous gains in law firm efficiency. While the cost of inefficiencies can temporarily be passed on to clients (and perhaps even capitalized, to a degree), this doesn’t last long. Clients eventually ask why a secretary spent twelve hours printing documents and manually redacting them with a Sharpie when she could have been redacted them in one hour using Adobe Acrobat.
And then there’s security. Law firms are the perennial dupes of hackers. According to security experts and the FBI, “law firms remain a weak link when it comes to online security.” There’s usually a lot of low-hanging fruit when it comes to improving security—installing operating system (OS) upgrades, utilizing two-factor authentication and training users to spot phishing attacks. Techie lawyers ensure that this fruit gets harvested, and they’re always on hand to train other lawyers and staff in best practices.
All things considered, no amount of preaching by tech converts (or resistance from Luddites) will stop the inevitable rise of the tech savvy lawyer. Some firms will move faster than others, and some lawyers will invest more time in enhancing their tech expertise. Those who catch the wave of rising tech will be the beneficiaries of their own skills, and they’ll bestow wonders on their clients, firms, and colleagues alike.
Jeff Kerr, a former litigator, is the CEO and co-founder of CaseFleet. Contact him firstname.lastname@example.org.