I am honored to be part of an upcoming conference, Social Media: Risks & Rewards, to be held Sept. 21 at the Harvard Club of New York City. Presented by Corporate Counsel magazine and Incisive Media, the day-long program is designed for corporate counsel and other lawyers with an interest in protecting a company’s business, [...]
TAG | bankruptcy
When I received my most recent Verizon phone bill, I was surprised to see a charge of $14.95 to ILD Teleservices Inc. I had no idea what the company was or what the charge was for. I looked back over my recent bills. I am embarrassed to report that the charge had been appearing on my bills for several months. A quick search of the Web showed me that I am not alone. (See, for example, here and here.)
There is a happy ending to this story. When I called ILD, the customer service rep immediately agreed to credit all the charges I had paid. But I am troubled by how this got on my bill in the first place. When I asked about that, I was told that someone I never heard of gave my phone number as the billing number when signing up for a service that provides dial-up Internet access. That suggests that anyone out there can just pick up anyone else’s phone number and use it for billing.
Can this be true? Are there no stronger protections built into our phone accounts? I am glad that ILD agreed to credit my account, but I would hope it and Verizon would take steps to prevent this kind of thing from happening to others.
Yesterday was one of my most memorable birthdays ever. And it was all thanks to social networking — and some amazingly thoughtful and generous people. I was going to write a lengthy blog post all about it, but then Molly McDonough at the ABA Journal did it for me.
Read her piece and you will understand why I feel today as if I received the best birthday gift anyone could ever hope for — the kindness of friends. I asked people to support a Facebook cause, the Massachusetts Bar Foundation, and many responded quickly, some by joining the cause and others by contributing to it.
I am particularly grateful to the people who contributed money. It goes to the MBF to fund programs in Massachusetts that increase access to justice and that enhance the administration of justice. I want to give special thanks to two people whose generosity went above and beyond the call — Stacy Stern and Tim Stanley, the founders of Justia.
My birthday is over, but your chance to support the MBF continues. I was honored to be elected an MBF trustee last year and I had been a fellow for many years before that, so I know first-hand the good work it supports. It is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year and it is celebrating this milestone with a variety of fundraising and outreach activities. The MBF receives much of its funding from the IOLTA program, and one need only read this New York Times article from earlier this year to understand how hard hit that program has been and how legal services programs are suffering.
Transactional lawyers are the target users of a new Web site, TransactionSpace, that aims to make the deal-making process more efficient, intuitive and transparent. The site’s tagline sums up its purpose: “You do the lawyering. Let TransactionSpace manage the process.”
The site takes the three primary steps of a transaction — negotiation, document drafting and closing — and integrates them within an online management tool. Lawyers who use it would begin by identifying the documents the transaction will require and the parties who will have to sign each document. The system will then track the back-and-forth of negotiating and revising the wording of each document, maintaining a full record of versions and dates. Once the documents are done, the system prepares the necessary signature pages and delivers them to the appropriate parties. As signatures are sent back, they are held in escrow until all necessary signatures are in and the deal can be closed.
As all this moves forward, progress is shown graphically in a matrix depicting documents and signatories. This allows users to see the linear progression of drafts and track the status of signatures in real time.
Here is how a typical transaction would work:
1. The lawyer logs on to her home page and creates a new deal. She enters the names of the parties and the agreements the deal will require. She sends e-mails to other lawyers inviting them to participate in the deal within TransactionSpace.
2. The lawyers post their drafts and redlined documents. As new versions are uploaded, the lawyers are always able to know which is the latest version of any document and the document’s current status.
3. The lawyers assign parties to each document, telling TransactionSpace which signatures will be required on which documents. A tool creates a separate signature block for each party. It also creates preamble language identifying the document and the signature date.
4. When the documents are final, they are transmitted to the correct parties for signature. As each signature is sent back by e-mail or fax, the matrix shows the status in real time. The signatures of parties other than your own clients are kept in escrow until all necessary signatures are returned.
5. Once all signatures are in, they are released from escrow and the deal is made final. Final versions of all signed documents can be downloaded and TransactionSpace also generates a closing book for each lawyer.
While TransactionSpace is in beta, there is no charge to use it. The developers, who are lawyers, have not decided on post-beta pricing, but say it will be based on a flexible, pay-as-you-go subscription. “We believe that simple, affordable technologies, which ultimately reduce legal fees, are crucial for law firms to survive their current struggle,” one told me in an e-mail. Updates about the site will be posted on the TransactionSpace blog.
Last year, in a post entitled, Take Control of Your Outlook Inbox, I wrote about a San Francisco company, TechHit, and its three simple Outlook add-ons for cutting down on e-mail clutter: SimplyFile, EZDetach and MessageSave. Today, the company is releasing the public beta version of an equally simple and clever tool, this time for quicky jumping to the right folder in Windows. Read on for an invitation code to try it yourself.
The program is called QuickJump and what it does, quite simply, is let you find the right Windows folder with just a few key strokes. To open a Windows folder, just launch QuickJump by pressing Ctrl+Shift+J and begin typing a few characters of the folder name. To find a folder named Music, for example, begin to type M, U and the folder will appear highlighted in a list. Then just click “open.”
It also works with the “save as” and “open” dialogs of any Windows application. So if you are working in Word and want to save the document to a particular folder, open the “save as” dialog, then open QuickJump and begin to type the folder name. When it appears highlighted in the QuickJump list, click “open” and the “save as” dialog box jumps to that folder.
During the beta period, QuickJump can be downloaded only using an invitation code. The company has provided a code that readers of this blog can use for a free download. Go to the QuickJump download page and use this code: ll908384573.
One of my blogosphere indulgences is You Don’t Say, a blog about language, usage and journalism by John E. McIntyre, veteran copyeditor at The Baltimore Sun. But earlier this week, “the grim economics of the newspaper business” abruptly gave McIntyre “an early parole.” Fortunately for fans of his blog, he is back to blogging, in a new location, and he even has a Twitter feed. Anyone who writes for a living — lawyers included — can become a better writer by reading John’s blog.
The organizers of LegalTech New York, which takes place Feb. 2 to 4, have announced that they are giving complimentary passes to bloggers. And to accommodate them, each seminar room will have a front-row table with electricity reserved for bloggers. Also, on Feb. 3, LegalTech will host a bloggers’ breakfast from 9 to 10 a.m. As it did last year, Legal Blog Watch will pull together and highlight blog coverage of the conference.
The conference is at the Hilton Hotel in New York. The bloggers’ breakfast will be held in the Hilton’s Petite Trianon room. Bloggers who wish to request a complimentary pass should contact Jill Windwer, vice president of digital products at Incisive Media, jill.windwer-AT-incisivemedia.com.
The Washington bureau of McClatchy Newspapers has launched a legal-affairs blog, Suits & Sentences. The blog is written by reporter Michael Doyle, a former Knight Journalism Fellow at Yale Law School and an adjunct instructor in journalism at The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs.