Thanks to a reader comment posted to this blog, I became aware of an advertisement for Smart Litigator running this week in the print edition of the New York Law Journal that features a quote from my review of the product and a picture of me that looks big enough for a Times Square billboard.
The reader who posted the comment was critical of my appearance in the ad, suggesting that it compromises my credibility as a reviewer of legal technology products. Citing this ad and my participation on an advisory panel for another product, the reader asserts that I “can’t be so close to the action and objectively review either product.” He also characterizes me as having been “part of the product design process” for both of these products.
With regard to Smart Litigator, I had no knowledge of or involvement in the product until after it came to market. I reviewed the product after its initial launch, not as part of the “product design process.” I gave my honest impression of it. After I wrote my review, they contacted me and asked if they could use a quote in an ad. If they want to quote me, I have no problem with that. Frankly, I don’t think they had any obligation even to ask my permission. My reviews have been quoted in product ads and on product websites multiple times over the years.
While the photo may be a bit more, um, gargantuan, than I would have expected, it was their call and by no means reflects on my objectivity. And I can’t ignore the fact that any mention of my blog in an ad or on a website is free advertising for my blog. I’m happy to have it.
As for serving on the advisory panel for LexisNexis Firm Manager, I reiterate that I received no compensation for that. More importantly, I was not restricted in any manner, contractually or otherwise, in what I could write about the product, except that I agreed to an embargo on writing until a specified date. I thought that my participation on the panel would help me in writing about technology, in that it would give me insight into the process a company goes through to develop a product and bring it to market.