Some items I’ve been meaning to blog about:

LexPredict open-sources its contract analytics platform. LexPredict, the technology consulting and development company founded by CEO Michael Bommarito and Daniel M. Katz, professor at Chicago Kent College of Law, has announced that it will open source the development of ContraxSuite, its platform for contract and document analytics. Starting Aug. 1, the code base and LexPredict’s public development roadmap will be hosted on Github under a permissive open-source licensing model that will allow organizations to implement and customize their own contract and document analytics. LexPredict will provide support, customization and data services for organizations that need it. As for why they’re doing this, Bommarito and Katz have published a detailed explanation.

A primer on AI in law. Speaking of Dan Katz, I recently came across a primer he’s published on artificial intelligence in law. In six parts spanning 290 slides, Katz provides an accessible introduction to AI for anyone interested in better understanding this burgeoning area of technology.

Alexa, tell me what’s up with Cooley LLP. You can now ask Amazon’s Alexa for updates from the Facebook page of Cooley LLP. Cooley has signed on to be a “skill” with Witlingo, a company that enables enterprises to deliver conversations on voice services. Users will be able to ask Alexa to read posts from Cooley’s Facebook page, share the posts on their walls, and ask that links of the posts be texted to them. To try it, ask Alexa to “enable Cooley LLP.” This brief video demonstrates:

Does ILTACON now overshadow Legaltech New York? At eDJ Blog, Greg Buckles finds that ILTA’s annual convention (which kicks off Aug. 13 in Las Vegas) now surpasses Legaltech in numbers of exhibitors (217 at ILTA compared to 152 at Legaltech) and in numbers of event sponsors (25 at ILTA compared to 13 at Legaltech). “ILTA still tries to be a ‘vendor free’ zone, but 217 sponsors and 39 vendor sessions on the agenda clearly demonstrate the marketing penetration of the event,” he says.

Lee Rosen

Two years as a digital nomad lawyer. For two years, I’ve followed lawyer Lee Rosen as he’s traveled the world while still running his law practice, posting regular updates to Instagram, and I’ve wondered, “How the heck does he do it?” Well, now he’s answered that question.

A new podcast on legal marketing has been launched by the legal marketing firm Good2BSocial. Hosted by Guy Alvarez, the firm’s founder, and Tim Baran, its chief marketing officer, the podcast features guests from inside and outside the legal industry. Episodes so far have covered such topics as niche marketing, law firm CRM, social media ethics, marketing analytics, and more. Subscribe in iTunes or follow on SoundCloud.

ALM treatises now on LexisNexis Digital Library. A new deal between LexisNexis Legal & Professional and ALM puts more than 250 treatises published by ALM on the LexisNexis Digital Library, a service that provides law libraries with ebook lending capabilities for more than 3,000 titles. The deal adds titles from Law Journal Press, The National Underwriter Co. and publications such as The Legal Intelligencer, New York Law Journal, New Jersey Law Journal and more. Read more here.

[Another in a series of mini-reports on what I saw at the annual LegalTech conference in New York last week.]

Just after the 2012 LegalTech, I wrote about the new direction taken by Onit, a developer of process-management applications for legal and business uses. After originally launching a Web-based, soup-to-nuts process-management platform three years ago, last year Onit announced it would henceforth focus on developing a new line of simpler, task-specific apps (still cloud-based), called Onit Apps, each designed to address a specific legal or business process within an enterprise or law firm. It also announced that it would be rolling out the Onit App Builder, enabling customers to build their own apps.

Fast forward to this year’s LegalTech, and Onit now has developed a broad array of process-management apps for use in HR, legal, governance and compliance, contract review, sales and other functions. At LegalTech, Onit was demonstrating 10 apps it has developed specifically for legal processes:

  • Contract Review & Approval App, for simplifying and managing the contract review process.

    OnitContractsReview2
    In the contract review app, any authorized user can initiate the review process.
  • Contract Administration App, for managing contracts and business documents.
  • Matter Management App, for organizing a company’s legal information, from documents and emails to invoices and dockets.
  • E-hold Management App, for implementing and managing legal holds.
  • NDA Request App, for processing NDAs.
  • Collaborative Budgeting App, to use in the process of requesting, collecting, reviewing and approving budgets from outside counsel.
  • Alternative Fee Arrangement Approval App, for pricing staff and committees to use in managing the review and approval of AFA requests.
  • Outside Counsel Engagement App, for managing outside counsel, matters and budgets.
  • Legal Process Outsourcing App, for assigning work, tracking progress and reporting on service level agreements.Matter Intake App, for law departments to manage, assign and follow through on the matters they handle.

From what I’ve seen of the Onit Apps, their task-specific nature makes them extremely easy to use. There is virtually no learning curve involved. Likewise, they are easy to set up and configure, so you can be up and running quickly, and they are easy to customize, so one size is not expected to fit all.

One way to look at these is as alternatives to more complex enterprise systems. The truth of the matter, however, is that many organizations are probably managing these processes not through sophisticated systems, but through email. Email is not an effective process- or project-management tool. Things get lost, forgotten and misplaced. These apps are easy ways for companies and law firms to bring order to processes that may currently be closer to chaos.

[Disclosure: Onit has periodically been a paid advertiser on this blog.]

[Another in a series of mini-reports on what I saw at the annual LegalTech conference in New York this week.]

Launched nearly five years ago, Clio was the first of an ever-growing array of cloud-based practice management platforms. At LegalTech, Clio announced its first major overhaul – a ground-up redesign and dramatically improved user interface.

The redesign will be rolled out in stages over the coming months, according to Jack Newton, Clio CEO and founder. In the changes implemented this week, Clio’s forms have been redesigned to increase ease of data entry and a new “quick-start” sidebar timer has been added that allows users to start, stop and modify timers with just a few clicks.

Additional phases of the redesign will continue to be rolled out over the coming months, Clio’s announcement said, until every aspect of the platform is redesigned.

[Another in a series of mini-reports on what I saw at the annual LegalTech conference in New York this week.]

For Thomson Reuters, the big news at LegalTech was the announcement of its new “legal solutions” product strategy and its release of three products tied to that strategy: Concourse, a suite of tools for corporate and government legal professionals; Firm Central, a practice management platform for small firms; and Hosted Practice Technology, a suite of litigation-related tools. But for readers of this blog, that was old news, since we gave a preview of these developments two weeks ago.

Thomson Reuters did have one other piece of notable news: the announcement that it is partnering with CQ Roll Call – a provider of congressional news, legislative tracking and advocacy services – to add a new feature to WestlawNext, Washington Briefings. The briefings will cover three practice areas – securities, banking and energy – and will appear in WestlawNext as part of its new Practitioner Insights feature. Slated to start by the end of March, the service will cover both legislative and regulatory matters, providing news and analysis.

Here is how Thomson Reuters describes it:

The alliance between Thomson Reuters and CQ Roll Call will provide WestlawNext customers exclusive current awareness content and analysis from the CQ Roll Call newsroom in Washington, D.C., leveraging CQ Roll Call’s world-class expertise in legislative and regulatory policy reporting. Regulatory content will focus on activity involving federal agencies in each practice area, providing news and analysis on proposed and enacted regulations, trends and other developments. On the legislative side, CQ Roll Call will provide Thomson Reuters with news and analysis of legislative proposals and congressional actions, with an eye toward the needs of lawyers and other legal professionals.

You can read the full announcement here.

[Another in a series of mini-reports on what I saw at the annual LegalTech conference in New York this week.]

TitanFile is a SaaS file-sharing service – in the vein of Dropbox or Box – but designed for lawyers and other professionals and offering a couple of creative twists. Unlike other such services, it is organized not around files and folders, but around people and relationships.

In TitanFile, you organize files by channels. A channel can be whatever you want. In a law firm setting, a channel could be for a practice group, a specific case or deal, or a project. It could also be used as a client portal to share documents with clients.

fingers

 Add people to the channel, then drag and drop a document to the channel, and it is almost instantly shared with all them. Adding someone is as simple as entering the email address. You see the channels you’ve created or are part of, organized by the most recently used and on down. Each channel appears as a horizontal strip displaying the people who are part of it.

A timeline charts all channel activity, creating an exportable audit trail of every event. When new documents are added to a channel, users receive notification within the application and by email.

TitanFile can be used from any device. The company offers high levels of security, both for data transfers and storage.

The Canada-based developers of TitanFile have won numerous awards for the product. The basic version is free; the professional version with enhanced features is $14.95 per month per user. There is no charge for the people with whom you share documents (such as clients).

[Another in a series of mini-reports on what I saw at the annual LegalTech conference in New York this week.]

Picture it SettledPredictive analytics are all the rage in e-discovery, but here is a new product that uses artificial intelligence and deep data to predict the course of a negotiation, estimating when the parties are likely to settle and for how much.

Called Picture It Settled, this web-based tool draws on data harvested from thousands of cases. Its developers claim that it is able to estimate when parties are likely to settle and for what amount with a high degree of accuracy. Advocates in a negotiation or mediation can use the tool to plot scenarios and plan strategies.

Here is how the website describes it:

Negotiation between legal parties has historically been a process dominated by uncertainty, guessing games and anxiety. However, today’s professionals can make strategic decisions based on deep data and predictive analytics to improve conventional wisdom and correct cognitive errors in judgment. Using neural networks to examine the behavior of negotiators in thousands of cases, Picture It Settled can predict what an opponent will do, thereby saving time and money while optimizing settlements. Picture It Settled does not replace lawyers – instead, it is a critically important resource that gives them a distinct edge in the negotiation process.

The tool was developed by a team led by Don Philbin, a San Antonio-based attorney and mediator. Its release at LegalTech follows the 2011 release of Picture It Settled Lite, a less-robust mobile app. (In fact, data collected through the mobile app was used to augment the case data collected from other sources.)

Until March 31, you can try Picture It Settled for free. After then, it will be available via subscription as a software-as-a-service.

[First in a series of mini-reports on what I saw at the annual LegalTech conference in New York this week.]

As I’ve noted before, LexisNexis is engaged in an ongoing project to standardize a range of products on the look and feel of Lexis Advance and to better integrate related products and services. Towards this end, LexisNexis rolled out several new litigation-related tools at LegalTech, all with the theme of drawing together in a single suite various useful tools.

One example is the new Litigation Profile Suite, which purports to be a one-stop shop for searching critical information about the key players in a case, including expert witnesses, judges and opposing counsel. It includes information derived from over 100,000 full–text transcripts and more than 40,000 expert witness curricula vitae and resumes.

MedMal_Navigator_Dashboard
The MedMal Navigator dashboard (click for larger).

But to my mind, the most impressive of the new offerings is the MedMal Navigator, an interactive medical malpractice “dashboard” that not only draws together a broad array of medical and legal research content, but that actually walks attorneys through a case-evaluation process that helps answer key questions about a case, including its potential value and the appropriate standard of care.

Accessed from within Lexis Advance, the MedMal Navigator includes access to health and medical information from LexisNexis’s sibling company Elsevier, one of the world’s leading publishers of scientific and health information. Information usually used by doctors and hospitals, this is the first time it is being made available to this extent to the legal community. The medical information accessed through the MedMal Navigator continues to be hosted by Elsevier, meaning it is always up to date.

The Navigator also incorporates verdicts and settlements information, so that attorneys can find out how similar cases fared, and expert witness information, so that attorneys can research experts by disease, condition and jurisdiction. (Verdicts and settlements are not available for all 50 states, but they do cover the most populous states, including New York, California, Florida, Texas and others.

MedMal_Navigator_Standard_of_Care
Q&As guide lawyers through standard-of-care analysis (click for larger).

Perhaps the coolest feature of the MedMal Navigator is its interactive Q&A technology. By walking you through a short series of questions about the facts of your case, it helps you find the most pertinent medical and legal research. This includes a Q&A tool for analyzing the appropriate standard of care for your case, using information created by doctors expressly for LexisNexis.

While at LegalTech, I had the opportunity to meet Yogi Arumainayagam, the engineer who directed the development of the MedMal Navigator. Formerly a director of product planning and development at Thomson Reuters, he described the extensive work and thought that went into the development of this new tool.

I was given a demo of MedMal Navigator but did not test it directly. I am not familiar with anything on a par with this for med/mal lawyers. From what I saw, I would think that any lawyer who practices med/mal regularly would, at a minimum, want to check this out.

Once again this year, legal bloggers are eligible for free passes to attend the LegalTech conference in New York, Jan. 30 to Feb. 1, 2012. This is a full-access pass, covering all programs and the exhibit hall. Also again this year, LegalTech is hosting a Blogger’s Breakfast on Tuesday, Jan. 31, at 9 a.m. in the Petit Triannon room at the New York Hilton.

To reserve your free pass, send an email to Carl Seering at cseering@alm.com. Be sure to include your name, company or firm, address, email and phone number.

I’ll be there and I hope to see you there too.