Thursday, October 28, 2004

Pros/Cons Electronic Billing has an interesting set of articles posted which present many of the benefits, pitfalls, successes and challenges of e-billing. Anyone considering implementing such a program to streamline the processing of legal invoice payments, improve cost reporting capabilities, or review/audit incoming legal invoices should review this material.

One comment I would add is that, in addition to doing e-billing via traditional invoice file extractions from law firm billing systems to be transmitted and loaded into the system of a corporate law department, I would also consider advising a corporate law department to use an extranet to collect the costs. Although a law firm billing department will need to enter the appropriate data into such a system, it is often far easier for a firm to allocate 15-30 minutes of time each month by a member of the billing department to do this as compared with allocating IT resources to build (and maintain) a data extraction/feed.

The articles are available via the following links.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

News Alerts

A recent article on the Virtual Chase does a nice job of explaining some of the available options (and pros and cons of some of these options) for news aggregators which can collect and deliver news to individuals via e-mail or other mechanisms. The article is available by clicking here. One typical application of this technology in the legal world is to provide company news to attorneys for the major clients they represent.

Another service I have worked with in the past is They also scan the world of publications for articles about companies of interest to particular clients, apply filters to the content if needed, and then provide similar types of targeted company news information to subscribers.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Methodology for evaluating new technology investments in law firms

The article "Purchasing New Technology: Evaluating the Impact on Your Firm" is a clear and straightforward article which clearly speaks to four important issues related to new technology investments. The points are:

  • How much does this project cost and how will it impact a firm's financials (and, the article points out that either of the following might be financial benefits: 1) expected expansion in revenues, 2) reduction in external costs, 3) improvement in productivity).
  • How will this project improve office productivity?
  • Will this project allow the office to do provide legal services in areas they could not service before, or other services which can not be done now?
  • How will this project improve quality within the office or the quality of the services I provide to my clients?

These questions, or other similar questions identifying both the cost and value of an IT project, should always be asked to ensure the project will deliver value to a law firm.

The full text of the article is available by clicking here.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Internet Privacy Policies

If you need to compose an internet web site or application privacy policy, or think your current policy might be outdated, a recent article on this topic posted on could be of interest to you. It discusses some common sense things to do such as keeping language simple, warning site visitors/clients about the perils of identify theft and credit card fraud, and how/when to promote your services and how/when to provide warnings and guidance to system clients about the nature and type of data they might load into your system or site.

The article is available by clicking here.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Should you install the XP Service Pack Yet?

There was a recent article available on the TechWeb site which offers some useful comments and insight into this issue. The article particularily focuses on some of the security considerations and provides some recommendations. If you are a law firm CIO or Manager who needs to make some decisions on when/how/if to apply this patch, this article might be of interest to you. The article is available here.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Technology Cost Recovery Article

This article on the ABA website does a good job of discussing the issue of how increased use of technology also results in increased costs. The article talks to the issue of which of these costs can be passed along to clients and, specifically, the issue of quantifying the technology costs and itemizing these on a law firm's invoice to their clients.

The article highlights some strategies to capture printing, faxing, research and other costs in an effective and productive manner.

The article is available by clicking here.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Google Desktop Searching

This new and much anticipated desktop searching tool is now available. It allows searches against email folders, local and network drives, within many types of files, and against visited webpages. Looks to be a very useful tool. For more information on this please visit

And, for information about security considerations with respect to this tool, please visit this Information Week article available by clicking here.

Cutting Data Storage Costs in Discovery

Many electronic data discovery vendors are beginning to offer pricing by the gigabyte (fixed price by GB) as opposed to by-the-page as a way to provide more predictable electronic discovery costs to law firms and companies.

A recent article from the Legal Times talks about some of the challenges of better estimating these costs and provides some case studies and opinions with respect to how one might lower these costs for a client. This article can be reviewed by clicking here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Removing Document Metadata

Nobody really wants someone receiving electronic versions of their documents to be able to tell when a document was created, updated, what was updated and when, etc... And, in the legal field, those needs are even more critical.

Microsoft provides a tool to remove this information from your documents created with Office, Excel or preventing. The Office 2003/XP add-on is available by clicking here.

This website also contains the directions on how to remove what Microsoft calls "hidden data" from the documents after the add-on is applied.

This is not a new download, I don't mean to imply that, but it is in some circles a little known fact that all of this hidden document metadata is available in the files we routinely create which is why this add-on is worthy of somewhat frequently highlighting.

Reducing telecom costs

Law firm CIO's interested in this topic could very well be interested in reviewing an article in the October 15, 2004 issue of CIO magazine. This article, available by clicking here, discusses cost savings opportunities with respect to the use of VOIP, consolidating telecommunications contracts and providers, careful scrutiny and audit of telecom invoices, the use of VPN's and the public internet vs. Traditional Frame Relay/T1/T3 approaches and other ideas.

HotDocs Tip Site

Need some pointers or quick tips from the experts on some helpful hints and concepts to use on this product. Law Office Computing provides a helpful site where legal technology consultants publish some of these tips. It is accessible by clicking here.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Law firm knowledge management presentation

For those interested in how KM can be applied within a law firm, this presentation by Joel Alleyne on how this is accomplished within a large Canadian law firm may be of interest to you. More details on the meeting, which is scheduled for 11/04/2004, can be found by clicking here.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Electronic Discovery and Records Retention Conference

For those interested in this topic, this conference discussing the latest approaches and cost control strategies will be held at the following locations.

October 28-29, 2004 • Chicago • InterContinental
November 8-9, 2004 • New York City • New York Marriott East Side Hotel
December 9-10, 2004 • San Francisco • Hyatt Regency San Francisco

Information is available by clicking here.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Find a lawyer.

Need an easy-to-use, free resource to find an attorney or law firm. One helpful internet-based legal technology tool is the Martindale service. By clicking here, one can access a site which allows you to search by name, law firm, practice area, state and many other parameters. The site includes attorney within law firms, private practice, corporations and government.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

RIM BlackBerry 7100t Review

A full review on CNET of the new BlackBerry device is available by clicking here. The device is quite different from prior offerings (keyboard style, sleek design, color screen, etc.) and could be positioned to bring a new type and set of user into the BlackBerry community.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Law firm using a SAN (Storage Area Network)

Here is a link to an interesting article describing how and why a Baltimore area law firm installed a SAN to alleviate the strain on their infrastructure when moving from a paper-based to digitally based document storage system (click here for article).

For a general description or definition of a SAN, visit this site.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Telecom Service Selection Methodology

For IT Directors or CIO's of law firms who are looking at their current telecom providers and looking to improve service and/or cut costs (or, ideally, both), a recent CIO article might be of interest to you. This article lays out a plan to help identify all the current costs within your organization, the number of vendors being used, strategies to renegotiate costs/capacity/service level agreements and, finally, a plan to develop an RFP and negotiate a new and improved telecom contract from any finalizes that you select.

The article is a good reminder that the telecom industry is dynamic and rapidly evolving at all times, and thus worthy of a fairly frequent re-evaluation to ensure your law firm is paying fair market rates while also leveraging the best available technologies in the industry.

The article is available by clicking here.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Citrix Discount on MetaFrame Access Suite

Since many law firms use Citrix, I thought this recent change in pricing level for this area of legal technology (remote access) might be of interest. The article contains the current details on pricing and the effective/expiration dates of the current offer. This product (Access Suite) contains the company's flagship remote access product as well as the new products Password Manager, Secure Access Manager and Conferencing Manager.

Read the article by clicking here.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

E-Mail Security

There is an interesting article in Information Week (click here to read) which describes improvements in public key technology known as IBE which is described in detail. The article also talks to other existing solutions (and recent improvements in them) such as PGP and others. But, above all, the article notes that this technology area continues to be one which has many emerging and competing solutions with no clear standard yet in place.

This may be of interest to those law firm CIO's, Directors or mail administrators charged with putting together highly secure email transmission methods.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

The 2004 Money Issue of CIO

This recent issue of CIO is very interesting. It describes, in detail, various techniques associated with evaluating the cost, benefit and value of IT projects. There are obviously many methods and each is well documented in this issue.

I post this here because I wonder how many law firms or legal technology experts are thinking of the IT Department as providing assets, if IT applications and projects are grouped together like a set of assets in a portfolio and evaluated in a financial manner, and if the promised deliverables and savings from projects are tracked and measured after a project has been completed.

Perhaps there are firms that are doing this, if so it would be interesting to hear how these methodologies which are commonly put into place within large Fortune 500 IT organizations are used within the legal technology field. If your firm is not doing this, this special issue of CIO might be of interest to you.

The issue is available by clicking here.