Here is a round-up of notable legal technology news from the past week.
Dictation is good for you. Typing documents directly is less efficient for lawyers than dictating them, according to tests performed by BigHand and Nuance. “Tests show that lawyers are typically three times more efficient when verbalizing their ideas rather than typing them,” said Anthony Bleasdale, director, Asia Pacific, at BigHand. “This is a significant result in an industry where time is money.” Of course, both BigHand and Nuance are in the dictation-technology business, but it is worth noting that their tests found that lawyers could complete a task on average 3.73 times faster by dictating than by typing. An added benefit of dictation, they say, is that it helps train lawyers in the fundamental skill of oral communication.
Surviving LegalTech. If you will be a first-time attendee at LegalTech New York Feb. 2-4, check out the tips for newbies to survive compiled by Monica Bay, editor of Law Technology News. I’ve got one there, as do a number of veteran attendees.
Update for CaseMap. LexisNexis this week rolled out version 11 of its CaseMap case analysis software. The update modernizes the user interface to resemble the look and style of the Microsoft Office 2013 productivity suite. It now includes a customizable ribbon bar and a reconfigured reports drop-down menu that provides users with a wider range of reports they can send to colleagues or clients.
Exemplary legal writing. The Green Bag, that ever-eclectic law journal, has published its list of honorees for exemplary legal writing in 2014. Selections include judicial opinions, books, long articles, news and editorial pieces, and miscellaneous motions and briefs.
Google News Archive returns. Last year about this time, I bemoaned the disappearance of the Google News Archive, which allowed searching of historical newspapers back to the 1800s. Thus, I was thrilled to see a headline recently that Google had brought back the archives. Alas, it is but a shadow of its former self, allowing searches of news stories back only to 2003. To search the archives, search Google News, then click Search Tools, then select Archives from the drop-down menu. As for the older newspaper archives, a Google community manager recently posted this: “We realize how valuable a resource news.google.com/newspapers is to many people. The team is currently working on creating a better experience on the Newspaper Archives that should be available in the near future. Thanks for your patience.”
Research for the judiciary. When I saw the press release, U.S. Courts Awards 5-Year Legal Research Contract to LexisNexis, my first thought was, “Does this exclude Westlaw as a research option for federal judges and staff?” In short order, Thomson Reuters answered my musing with its press release, Administrative Office of the US Courts Selects Thomson Reuters Legal Research Solutions. The Thomson Reuters announcement does not specify the term of its agreement, other than to say it is multi-year. In any event, it appears the federal judiciary will continue to have both Lexis and Westlaw for some time to come.
Hits and misses of 2014. At her blog Dewey B. Strategic, Jean O’Grady, director of research services and libraries at DLA Piper, offers her hits, misses and random observations on legal information and technology in 2014. She has good observations and it makes a good read.