Throwback Friday – What did we say in 2009?

The legal technology community has now well and truly switched off for the festive season and here at Legal IT Insider towers we’re getting nostalgic as we also prepare to say au revoir to another decade.

So what did we write about at the turn of the last decade? The front page of the December Orange Rag found that ‘New look Workshare gets user thumbs-up’ – then editor and Orange Rag founder Charles Christian wrote: “The new management have been telling us all this year that the Workshare leopard could change its spots, learn the mistakes of the past and restore its relations with customers – and they appear to have done it.” Scroll forward 10 years, and Workshare no longer exists, following its acquisition this year by Litera (and a large number of subsequent Workshare redundancies).

December’s big deals saw Lawrence Graham select DTE Axiom via Phoenix. Where do we start with that one? Lawrence Graham merged with Wragge & Co in May 2014 – Wragge & Co is now of course Gowling WLG, following its subsequent merger with Gowlings. Meanwhile DTE Axiom in 2013 became Intapp Time. Phoenix was this year acquired by Morae Global.

Speech recognition was a recurring theme and SRC (Speech Recognition Company) had announced two new deals. Of course, in 2011 SRC was acquired by Winscribe.

Amid all the excitement in 2009 around speech recognition, Charles had this to say: “These are undoubtedly exciting times for the speech recognition industry. Nuance is reported to be working on the international rollout of its dictation-with-server-based-speechrecognition for the Apple iPhone app it recently launched in the United States. We’re also hearing reports that a legal sector system based on Microsoft’s speech recognition engine is under development – and Microsoft’s software is bundled in free with Windows. However amid all this enthusiasm can we just add a few words of caution. We’ve all been here before. Ten years ago to be precise, when an earlier generation of vendors were telling us speech recognition was the universal panacea that would allow law firms to sack all their secretaries. Let’s not get carried away by the hype or the speech recognition bubble risks bursting once more – and we’ll be having this same conversation all over again in another 10 years’ time. The fact is the technology may be impressive (although a test of its recognition of live dictation, rather than a reading from newspapers, is more instructive) but we have yet to see any big law firms make major practice-wide commitments to SR. It’s still all just small firms or small teams within larger organisations.”

Ahh, how times change. And don’t change at all.